Wednesday, July 19, 2017

WIP - Quilting and Cross Stitch

Gosh, Hi there everyone! It's been a while! Thank you for dropping by.

Today I'm linking to Esther Aliu's WOW - WIPs On Wednesdays


I don't know where the time has gone! There has been so much happening, but nothing too interesting!

Oh, I guess I could tell you about the day we went to a café in a little side street in Streatham (South London). DH and I were sitting quietly enjoying our food ..... I thought there was a bit of a commotion outside, looked out the window to see the road blocked by a few Armed Response Units and "plain clothes" police cars, oh and about a dozen very tall policemen, all armed with those mean-looking machine guns you see on tv these days. I thought "This cannot be real", and was looking around for the movie crew ..... but they weren't there, it WAS for real!

It was a bit scarey at the time, coming as it did not long after the terrible attacks in London.

Don't even know what happened, you never do with these things! A flash car had been stopped and surrounded, right outside the café, we had a grandstand view. But this was the one day I did not have my camera with me!

We could see the suspect with his hands on the wall, armed police surrounding him, we then saw the sniffer dog arrive ..... doggie was led to said car, did his sniff around - inside the car, and in the boot ..... and off went the doggie crew.

Dear Hubbie decided to have a look outside the café and one of the armed policemen's voices boomed out "Could you step back inside please, sir", next thing we had an armed policeman standing right across the open doorway of the shop to prevent any other joker from leaving. He then popped his head in and said "It shouldn't be too long now, once we've all gone you can leave the café whenever you wish."

We were reasonably happy sitting at the back of the shop out of the way, but I was still worrying in case we were about to see something like the awful scenes at Borough Market!

I disappeared to use the loo and by the time I returned all the police had gone, and the road was open again. So I don't know if the suspect was arrested or not! I would imagine so, as they seemed to know what they were doing.

It has recently been announced that the police have prevented 5 terrorist attacks within minutes prior to their taking place, due to their surveillance operations.

But anyway, I digress. I wasn't going to talk about all that, but now I have!


So ..... back to sewing matters ......

WIPS - Quilting

I've been following Lori Kennedy's Spring Quilt Along over at The Inbox Jaunt (which you can read about HERE) and had been trying to resist the urge to join in, but last week I saw a lady showing her version of Lori's quilt and I lost the battle!

I had some 3" squares I bought at a local quilt show a couple of years ago, and I'd been wondering what I was going to do with them ..... this seemed just the ticket!

I know! I'm a bit late ..... but better late than never, eh!

These are my HST's made from my 3" squares ..... if you quilt you will know what I mean ..... if not you can read about Half Square Triangles HERE.

Measuring and trimming half-triangle squares
I just happened to have a 2 1/2" square measure!
Trimming half-triangle blocks
I've been trimming all my blocks to 2 1/2"
"Design Wall"
Finished blocks on my "Design Wall"
Design Wall
Not sure I've made the best colour choices
..... but hey, I'm new to this sort of thing!

I managed to stitch my 4 rows but unfortunately realised 2 of them were orientated wrongly, so some ripping has ensued! I'm almost ready to stitch them together again now.

Should you be interested in Lori's Spring Quilt-a-Long she has sumarised all the details HERE.


Oh, and in the evenings, while watching recordings of  "The Chase" and Law and Order - UK I've managed to work on my cross stitch.

Last time I was here:

Cross Stitch

Since then I've stitched the green cotton reel and started on the other reels. 'Fraid this has been slow going as our sweet cat, Tom, has decided he needs some "me time" in the evenings, and demands to sit on my lap. As he is such a big cat there really isn't room for me to stitch as well as cuddle him!

Updated Cross Stitch

I have a few finishes to share, but no photos ready yet, so I hope to be back to show soonish!

Happy stitching!

Barbara xxx

Sunday, June 11, 2017

A Mini Finish & a few Quilting WIPs


I'm linking to Amanda Jean's (Crazy Mom Quilts) Finish it Up Friday (where, for a few weeks, the link up will now be open until Sunday afternoon).

I wonder if anyone can help me! Somewhere I saw a link up party for "things you just had to drop everything for, to make that item", and I would have linked there too, but I'm afraid I can't remember where it was! I'm sure one of you will know, if you do, could you point me in the right direction please?


Yippee! I have a Mini Finish!

The other day I fell down "the black hole" that is Pinterest ..... just for a change! Tee hee!

A friend had said she would like to do some embroidery, and that she had never done any before. Because I can't resist trying to help I looked at Pinterest, remembering seeing "Pins" that said something like "10 easy embroidery stitches for beginners". Of course I couldn't find even one such "Pin" now that I wanted to!

But while searching, something drew me to thread catchers ..... and then, I saw ..... Mini Thread Catchers (MTC)!

Oh, the excitement of it! Well, you know me ..... I love my "Mini" projects. And, that was it! Everything else went on hold.

I'd been meaning to make a MTC for some time, although I had tried to convince myself that I really didn't need one!

My Mini Thread Catcher (MTC)

When I read about the thread catchers that Jill had made, on her blog "Creating My Way to Success", they looked so dinky, I couldn't resist any longer, and set about gathering the materials to make a start. 

You can see the plastic I used here, with the finished
thread catcher, and a tassel I was making on Friday night

In case anyone fancies a go, here's a few notes on how I made mine (Jill has a tutorial link on her blog)

  • I made a rim from the plastic - 5" long and used sticky tape to make it into a circle.
  • Fabric - 5 1/2" x 5" (You need to measure your rim, and add 1/2" to the width for seam allowances. I used 2 scraps 5 1/2" x 2 1/2" and joined them together)
  • Cardboard circles x 2 (I made my circles 1/16" smaller than the rim, but would advise 1/4" so the bottom will fold up into the rim)
  • Fabric circles plus 1/4" seam allowance - stitched in the style of a yo-yo (or Sussex Puff) x 2
  • Wadding same size as cardboard circles x 2

  1. Start by turning 1/4" hem down, top and bottom of your main fabric.
  2. Then make into a tube, by stitching the short sides together .... this is the fiddly bit! you will need to graduate your seam  ..... to make the bottom fit the cardboard circles.
  3. Thread fabric through your rim and fold the top edge down to join the bottom edge.
  4. Make a row of stitches, holding the top neatly around the rim.
  5. Stitch around rim of fabric circle, as if making a yo-yo. Then layer your fabric circles, RS down, wadding, then card. Gather thread, and secure. Stitch both yo-yo's together, RS out.
  6. Stitch yo-yo's to base, catching both inner and outer fabrics.

Et voila! Finito!

It seemed a good idea to be able to attach the MTC to my Mini Sewing Kit ..... so I've used a few old fashioned poppers!

And here's the thread catcher folded away!

This was another Friday evening stitching project, and although these stitches look large here they are actually quite teeny!

More poppers were needed here to hold the MTC closed

It will be much easier to use than storing my threads in my glasses case!

I will definitely be making more of these ..... Mum has already said that it is just what she needs to go with the pouch I made her!



Just prior to making the MTC I was tempted to start this little quilting project, for my handicraft group where we are making things with birds on using embroidery, crochet, appliqué, patchwork ..... whatever! Oh, and I meant to link to Tusal ..... that's why my thread jar is in the picture ..... but I keep missing the date! Sorry no time to add links here, I will talk about this again another day, with more detail.

I must work on this some more now I've finished the MTC!


And my other WIP - "Laundry Day" quilt:

"In the ditch" quilting
Here's me ..... quilting "In the Ditch"

For my non quilting friends - this means stitching as close to the edge of the folds as possible.

Wavy line quilting on my "Laundry Day" block
Wavy line quilting the road

I'm not sure how close to the edge to quilt .... on my experimental block (blogged about HERE) I stitched all round the block to keep all the layers together, then when I added the binding the needle kept wanting to slip off the block, making it very difficult stitch an exact 1/4"seam.

I've quilted the pathway too, but then had the dilemma..... should I be changing thread colours for the sky and the grass! Decisions, decisions!

I'm ready for the binding though! 

Prepping my seam binding
I've chosen 2.5" binding

I will finish this binding by machine stitch, and so I am using a slightly wider binding than I would normally ..... hoping to catch all the binding with the machine.


And just look what I found yesterday!

He was just peeking at me!

Our cheeky little cat was sleeping tucked under our duvet, adjacent to DH's pillow! he obviously thought he'd found a very nice place to sleep!!!!! How cheeky is he, the little imp (the cat!). But don't worry I didn't tell him off .... I think he was feeling the cold after being out in the sunshine all morning. We were so relieved when DH finally found him, as we had been looking all over the house, and in the garden for ages! We were both very relieved to see him.

Sorry this was a bit long ..... I got quite carried away!

Have a great week, and stay safe everyone!

Barbara x

Monday, May 29, 2017

Gifted Gorgeousness and a Catchup!


Late again!

I'm linking to Jo (of Serendipitous Stitching) for May's Gifted Gorgeousness ..... just in time!


My blogging friend Christine of The Mulberry Mouse (formerly blogging as UK City Crafter) very kindly sent me this sweet brooch, which she had crocheted, and the pretty ribbons. (For a link to the daffodil pattern, by Lucy of "Attic 24", visit Christine's blog by clicking HERE)

It was lovely to wear Christine's brooch to my handicraft group, where it got many complements!

Lovely gift from Christine

And, as it happened, Christine's yellow ribbon was just what I needed to make sure I keep track of my teeny travel scissors, and added a sweet 'pop' of sunshine to my newly finished Sewing Kit (which started as an inkling of an idea HERE, progressing HERE, and finishing HERE).

Travel Sewing kit - back
Travel Sewing Kit - Back
Travel Sewing Kit - front
Travel Sewing Kit - Front 


It's been a few weeks since you've seen my cross stitching, and as these three projects qualify for Gifted Gorgeousness too, here they are!

The first was a present from Jacquie of "My Journey"

Stitch by Stitch (Anchor kit)
"Stitch by Stitch" - Anchor 

The next two are my travel projects, but as I've been suffering with a cold that has turned into a horrid cough we haven't been travelling much lately ..... so not much progress. However, the last time I was travelling I finished the frame and started stitching some of the lilac stitches on Butterfly.

Heritage kit - Butterfly
Butterfly - Heritage kit
(A present from family)

The pattern for the beehive says this takes 5 hours to stitch, and despite the fact that I only stitch a little here and there, I would say this is taking at least five times that!  It's tiny, and has lots of half stitches!

Beehive progress
 This was a free gift in a magazine!

There's only a couple of bees to stitch .... then it's on to the backstitching 

Thank you for dropping by! I'm off to catch up on reading everyone's blogs!

Have a great week!

Barbara x

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Mini Quilts - Binding

Yay! I have a finish! Well, two actually. The first being my experimental block, and the second, a Mini quiltlet I stitched yesterday evening, to go in the blank space between the washing line posts on my experimental block!


To recap, some of you may recall that in March I took part in Jen & Jan's Mini Blog Hop QAL - "Laundry Day", but I didn't quite finish my Mini Quilt!

I hadn't been quilting long, and was nervous that if I rushed to finish I would later be unhappy with my quilting, and the same with the binding!

I've finished many purses and bags in the past with bound tops, but my first experience of a mitred corner was on a pincushion that I made for my favourite needle case - click here.

In order to work out how I wanted to quilt my "Laundry Day" block I made a practice block which you can read about here. And as all quilters name their quilts I've now decided this one should be called "Practise makes perfect!"!

Binding, and mitred corners

Although I've seen many tutorials They never really gave me that "lightbulb" moment, and even as I stitched my practice quiltlet I wasn't quite convinced that I was stitching the mitred corners correctly!

"Practice Makes Perfect"
 Finally ..... on the wall! 

"Practice Makes Perfect"

"Practice Makes Perfect"
 Another use for a branch from our old cherry tree! 

The triangles on the back are there to hold the cherry branch, for hanging.

"Practice Makes Perfect"
I think you can see the branch
 better here! 

And here is my "Mini" quiltlet:
Finishing at 9.5 cm square (3.75" approx).
The mini binding finishes at approx 0.5 cm (width)

"Practice Makes Perfect"

Mini quilt
Not quite finished ..... still a couple of pins in the binding

Mini quilt - back
You can see my quilting on the back,
stitched "In the ditch"
Mini binding
About to mitre the corners
Mini binding
I was so pleased with this join! It went
together like clockwork! Really neat!
Mini binding finished

This was the third project I've made in a row with binding, and I was really pleased with both the speed I was able to bind the Mini quiltlet, and, the actual finish. 

I had intended making a tutorial for binding a quilt ..... it took me ages to find a method that worked so well, and then, today, I bought a quilt magazine, and there ..... was a tutorial for binding ..... but it wasn't quite the way I did it, so maybe I might write one for me anyway!

After all ..... I'm bound to forget how I did it if I don't make notes!!!!!


And just because we were out walking ..... and I couldn't resist taking some pictures of the pretty blossoms, and the lovely blue sky.

Hawthorn flowers


Thank you for visiting!

I hope the weather is treating you all well, and that you've had time for some stitching this week! 

I'll be visiting blogs tomorrow, it's time for bed now! Goodnight all.

Barbara xxx

Linking to Amanda Jean's "Finish it up Friday" at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Finish It Up Friday! - A post full of "Mini's"


You might have seen my previous posts where I have been contemplating what to do with some 1.5" vintage squares in my scrap collection ..... (if not see my previous post).

Well ..... Yay! .... today here is my Mini Travel Kit finished!

"Weighing In" at approximately 3.5" x 4.5"(9 x 12 cms), 
with a Mini Pincushion, approximately 1 3/4"(4.5 cms) in diameter.

I also used quite a few larger pieces from my Vintage Scrap bag.

Front view - Mini Sewing Kit
Ta -dah! Complete with Mini pincushion!

Back view - Mini Sewing Kit
And, here's a Mini  home made button!

I am sure you will be able to see the "secret method" I have employed to attach to whichever handbag I happen to be using!!!

Front - Mini Sewing Kit
..... pockets empty .....

Oh, and did I say? .... that large creamy expanse in the middle ..... might some day be a suitable place to add an embroidered name tag ..... and, darn it, that reminds me I haven't added a label!

Working on a Mini Pincushion
.... and, full again!
Mini pincushion in progress, in foreground   

I couldn't finish without a photo of some of the wild (Mini) strawberry flowers in our garden, complete with Mini bee (please ignore the other wild plants in the view).

Mini Bee and Wild Strawberry flowers


Thank you so much for visiting, do come again!

I hope you are having a super weekend.

Barbara xxx

Linking to:
Crazy Mum Quilts for "Finish it up Friday"
and Quilting is more Fun than Housework for "Oh Scrap"

Sunday, May 07, 2017

FNWF - Travel Sewing Kit

Hello folks!

Friday evening I stitched along with Friday Night With Friends at Cheryll's place.

I have been meaning to make something with some of my vintage 1.5" sample squares and I had been considering how I could turn them into some sort of mini travel sewing kit.

I thought 3 squares stitched together would make two pockets suitable for carrying needles, needle threaders, bobbins of cottons and other tiny items (hexie papers, buttons, etc).

Previously I had stitched a seam around the lower three squares, turned it through to see how it looked, then decided the pocket would be more secure if the edges were stitched into bound edges.

Vintage blocks

Friday night I cut all the pieces, but as we had been out all that day I didn't have time to stitch!

Fabrics Prepped

I thought  I'd be able to stitch them all together the next morning, and have a finish! Silly me, I always underestimate how long it takes to make my little stitchy things!!!

But there has been progress .... both sides are now ready to stitch together, although I still need to think of some type of teeny pincushion ..... and maybe it needs a little decoration.

I must leave you now, visitors arriving soon, and housework outstanding! Have a great week!

Thank you Cheryll for organising the party!

See you soon!

Barbara xxx

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Theme-tas-stitch - April - Water

Hello Dear Friends,

When I saw Kerry's (Ramblings of a Biscornu Adict) theme for April (Click here to visit Kerry's blog) was water I instantly thought of a project, buried at the back of our wardrobe!

Started a couple of years ago ..... and something well outside my comfort zone!!!! My craft group had suggested our members would embroider pictures on tapestry with the connection of water ..... just not in tent stitch ..... what a coincidence that Kerry's theme is water too! Back then I'd found a view of a lighthouse that I thought might be fairly easy to stitch! I never got very far with it ..... in fact all I'd done was consider what stitches I could use.

Stitching plan

Well, I had found some wool ready .....  but all I stitched was the foreground ..... which took me a while as I wasn't used to the stitch, two little roofs oops! rooves, and the light of the lighthouse!

Sea Stitch
And this week I started stitching the sea!
The purple stitches are the start of the sky!

I am intending to stitch the tiny buildings, and lighthouse, this week ..... wish me luck!!!

I have another water project, but I haven't decided how I will embroider that yet!

Thank you, Kerry, for the inspiration to pull this old project out, I really must finish it now!

I hope everyone else managed to stitch more than I have!

Not sure I will be able to join in next month as I don't think I have any projects with only one colour ..... for Monochrome May!

See you soon,
Hugs, Barbara xxx