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

Monday, April 24, 2017

Review: "Painting for Quilting" Workshop with Mary Gamester

Hello Dear Friends,

A few weeks ago I took part in a Workshop "Printing for Quilting" at my Handicraft Group. Our group consisted of ten members with one visitor who in all honesty was was the most industrious amongst us (and by visitor, I don't mean our tutor!)!!

We were instructed by Mary Gamester, on how to load our paintbrushes with paint to cover the blocks we were using for printing, and how to use sponges ..... dipped in paint ..... for different background effects.

After a fun introduction, and guidance from Mary who brought along lots of samples of her printed work, to give us inspiration, and a large collection of Indian printing blocks, and paints for us to use, we all set to, to see what we could do!

I have to confess I didn't make a note of the manufacturer of the paints we used, but they were fabric paints.


I used some fabric which I had previously dyed in a tie dying workshop, others commented that they thought the tie dyed fabric worked well as a background for the block printing! However, I'm wondering, looking at my photos now, whether or not I applied sufficient paint to my printing blocks!

BTW - nearly forgot to say - all fabric needs washing before painting .... hence the crumpled appearance!

My printing
My experimental printing

In comparison the photo (mine again) below shows printing on a plain yellow fabric which looks a little stark to me.

My painting
My printing, again.

Looking at the visitor's blocks I think she had a lot more idea in respect of applying the paint to the blocks than I!

The Flashing

The Flashing

Some of you will no doubt recognise that the following three blocks involved sponge painting .....

The Flashing


When we sat down for our lunch break we noticed these cute little critters just outside our window ..... they obviously thought they had found a lovely quiet place to hunt, but had no idea how many pairs of eyes were watching them!!!

The Flashing

You can't see from my photos, but they were sitting, side by side, just a foot apart from each other .... proper hunting buddies!


After lunch we worked towards the projects we each intended to make from our blocks.

The Flashing

The Flashing Scissors

The Flashing Scissors
A future book cover

The Flashing Scissors

The Flashing Scissors
The long piece here is going to be made into a cover
for the tissue box.

The Flashing Scissors

The Flashing Scissors

Don't forget you will need to iron your painting to "set" it (Protect your iron and ironing board with sheets of baking parchment or baking paper either side of your fabric.) Once ironed your precious masterpieces, will be washable!


Well, I hadn't been sure what to expect from this workshop, however, I thoroughly enjoyed the day, and only wished I had produced more painted pieces! 

It would be nice to have another go sometime!

Barbara xxx

PS I see Benta from SLIKstitches has blogged about a "Lino block" workshop held at her Crafty Group, and she also shows the use of "Magic" blocks for printing - Click here to visit Benta's blog.

You might also be interested to visit Svetlana's blog SOTAK for her quick tutorial on stamping and printing - Click here for Svetlana's blog.