thank you Ivelyne – bookmarks from far far away

One of my English students went to Asia for a couple of weeks, visiting Singapore, Thailand and Bali in her travels.  And she thought of me ^^  Take a look at these wonderful hand-crafted bookmarks Ivelyne brought me back from her travels in Thailand: two in a batik fabric, one by Kannika made with sarong fabric that Thai women traditionally wear as skirts and with a gorgeous elephant embellishment, and two made of embossed pewter (I think) and backed with a very fine piece of wood.

mp Ivelyne1

mp Ivelyne2

Absolutely beautiful !!!  Ivelyne said she kept her eyes open in Singapore but didn’t see any bookmarks, and in Bali she bought a sticker – which I have stuck onto a piece of cardboard, so that it can join my bookmark collection.

 

SAL “Au coeur de la nuit” (Isabelle Haccourt Vautier)

I’ve spent the last few evenings (since Saturday I think) stitching the next stage for the “Au coeur de la nuit” SAL I’m following.  VERY stitch intensive, as Corinne has us working on the owl now . . . I’ve already used up one of my four skeins for the reddish colour and am well into the second skein and there is still loads of work to do yet.

Anyway, here is my fabric thus far

SAL IV Claire03I can now get back to my Indian Brave and perhaps do some latch-hooking before the next stage is set, on May 1st.

Sunday evening pell mell

Well I hope everyone has had a good week and a creative weekend?  I seem to have been running after my tail this week and don’t feel like I’ve achieved a great deal . . . which explains the pell-mell post of today.  Have nothing to show on my larger xstitch projects and my puppy latch hook rug hasn’t seen any work this week. However, I did stitch up two very small kits (that were a Christmas gift) and finished both of them (plus a blackwork) off in acryllic coasters. A very quick and lazy way to do a finish lol but they’ll be going in my “pressie” drawer.

3 coasters

I have finally cut out wadding and backing fabric for my 9 block patchwork sampler (first big project with ladies at patchwork club).  Everything is tacked together, more or less, and I’ve started work on the hand-quilting . . . will be doing swirls on the blocks with cottage and 2 sunbonnets . . . so a start has been made around the cottage. I’ve actually done a little bit more since the photo was taken, but couldn’t be bothered to take another picture.

9 blocks begun

Still on the patchwork front . . . after seeing all of Avis‘ gorgeous quilts, I have decided to take the plunge and have a go at machine patchworking.  Avis is going to help me along (from a distance) and teach me step by step.  For today, all I can show you is some of my fabric for the future project. I washed it all today as I was a little worried that some colours might bleed once the quilt is made up. Am now awaiting the arrival of my cutting tools so that I can start “stripping” ^^

washed fabrics

And last, but not least, a photo to show you that one of my new cushion covers is a big hit ^^

tout confort

“Tangled Frame” finally a finish !!!

My regular followers will know that I stitched “Tangled Frame” (a blackwork by Valerie Warner) as a SAL which I organised on my blogs. Many SALers finished off their stitching into a variety of beautiful objects but my version was, up until now, unfinished . . . as I had decided to make a cushion cover patchwork style, and I’m always very slow at hand-piecing.

Anyway, confidence boosted after the “success” of my dog windows cushion, I decided to strike while the iron was hot and to try my hand at some MACHINE quilting hihi.  Now I really should have asked for some advice from experienced quilters first but I didn’t. I just jumped in with both feet . . . and have learned so much about what NOT to do!   Since it was a log cabin design, I thought it would be easiest to stitch in the ditch . . . but of course, you should only attempt that if you can sew straight lines (as I learned to my expense).  I seem to spend just as much time OUT as IN lol.  It doesn’t help that I used a very light cream thread . . . if I’d gone for something darker, it probably wouldn’t look quite so bad.

Tangled quilt1

 

Tangled quilt backAgain, a plain white cotton on the reverse side since this will be inside the cushion cover.

Never mind – I’m learning and despite the wonky quilting, I am not put off. In fact, I LOVED quilting with the machine and will definitely be getting more practise in the future.

Now, the dog windows cushion was finished off with a pre-sewn back that I had bought. I realise it was a very lazy and expensive way of doing things BUT having the pre-sewn back to hand, meant that I was able to look more closely at how to put in a zip (which I’m not terribly good at because I never know what to do with the ends).   . . . Rummage in my zip bag (which I found) to discover that I had nothing in the right length or colour, so I chose one that would go most unnoticed.  Lots of pinning and unpinning before I was brave enough to sew it . . . but that went relatively smoothly.

zip1

zip2

And then next stage was to trim quilted piece  and zigzag round my back to stop it from fraying . . . and voilà . . . I have a finished “Tangled Frame”.

Tangled cushion1

Not sure if I prefer the dark strips going vertically or horizontally . . . so it’ll probably be changed around whenever I plump my new cushion.

tangled cushion2

tangled cushion3

Once the cushion is inside, the in and out of ditches doesn’t actually look quite so bad. The plumpness of the cushion helps to erase some of the imperfections but next time I try machine quilting, I’ll be following Avis’ suggestion and trying “echo” stitching for straight lines.  And last photo of the back – could have done with an iron, but I couldn’t be bothered lol.

tangled cushion4

more bookmarks and more small stitching

A two-in-one post today . . . first of all to show some more bookmarks I received for my collection. From Flo, who travels a great deal for work and who sent me some bookmarks from Israel, America, Ireland and Oiustreham in France.

from Flo

And more small stitching . . . a second version of a Banu Demirel blackwork, in solid purple this time . . . and a floral bookmark design: a Pinn kit that Kaline sent me for Christmas.  I know how I’ll be finishing off these two little projects, but you’ll have to be patient as I don’t feel in a “finishing mood” today.

encore 2 petites

dog windows cushion cover – finally !!!!!

It’s taken me FOREVER to finish off my first hand-quilting but I got there in the end. This is a design I began piecing way back in January (if it looks familiar) but it’s been waiting several months for me to pluck up the courage and finish the hand-quilting. It’s my practice piece a) because it’s only small and b) because since I was making a cushion cover, I figured the quilting on the reverse side wouldn’t be visible once made up so the perfect project to learn on.

I started quilting on the central square (because I was told to start in the centre and work my way out) so that square unfortunately is far from perfect. All of it’s far from perfect to be honest lol but my stitches were getting neater and more regular by the end. I didn’t try and do anything exciting – no, have to learn to walk before I can run – so it’s just stitched in the ditch. And since the reverse side is hidden inside the cushion, I just used a piece of very boring plain white cotton.

Here is a photo of the reverse of one window – lots of room for improvement, I know, but hopefully my second project will be better.

windows in ditch

And here is cushion itself

windows1

windows2

I cheated for back. Usually I make my own backs but I spotted some pre-sewn backs on sewandso a while back and bought two.

windows back

Obviously it would have been cheaper to make my own but I can’t remember what I’ve done with my zips ^^

Anyway – it was a learning curve – a very time-consuming learning-curve ^^ and I’m not yet sure whether I enjoy quilting or not. I don’t think I do . . . but I’m sure when I get better at it, I will feel more satisfied with the end result.

“Indian Brave” update

I haven’t just been stitching small projects for cards . . . oh no, I’ve also been busy in the evenings, with Le Bleu on my lap, working on my “Indian Brave”.  Here is the photo I posted last time

indian brave1and here’s progress.

indian brave2It looks like I’ve done more than I really have, as I haven’t filled in the white yet (on the strip with yellow line all the way down). So white will be for next time and I hope to finish the bottom part of the chart.

“sleeping dragon” stitched by caro-rose

I come to share another photo with you, of my “sleeping dragon” design, stitched by caro-rose.

caro rose dragon

As you can, caro-rose’s dragon is a girl ^^ and I love the way she had added a little name tag and a collar, or necklace, of flowers.  Thank you so much caro-rose for stitching this peaceful dragon and allowing me to share your photo ^^  If anyone fancies this chart, you can find it on my FREE page.

making the most of FREEs

In the wonderful world of blogging, there are many generous stitchers who create designs to share with us for free.  I expect that, like me, you often save a chart to your hard-drive, and then completely forget about it . . . but at the moment, with my “small stitching spree”, I am making the most of these little gems, and have made two more cards.

The gorgeous rabbit on the left is a design by Alexandrina (link in my blogroll) and the blackwork (which is more a “rainbow” work the way I’ve stitched it) is a Banu Demirel design.

cards 1004

card bd

card a

Both were great fun to stitch and I’ve already begun the blackwork design a second time, but using a solid colour.  So stay tuned for more small stitchings.

temptation for all you Michael Powell fans

Did you know that Michael Powell is bringing out a book? with 20 small designs

Michael Powell

You can preorder now on amazon AND even have a look inside online . . . from what I can tell, it will be available from 22nd April in the UK, from the 1st June in the US but no specified date for France.  I love Michael Powell’s quirky little designs although I have to admit I have never stitched any but my daughter is working on one of his “Secret Garden” series.  Anyway I don’t need much prompting to tempt me . . . I’ve already clicked and pre-ordered my copy ^^ I think this is an absolute MUST.