ONCE IN A BLUE MOON

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’ve all had an enjoyable day. It’s already the last day of January. Can you believe how fast the month has come and gone!!!!!

Yesterday one of my readers comments mentioned quilts that are pieced using hankies. Well I pieced just such a thing a long time ago. I dragged my hankie quilt out of the back of beyond last evening. The quilt is made up of simple foundation pieced basket blocks and fabric that was printed to look like ladies’ hankies. After all these years, I look at the quilt and see how crude it looks with that wee bit of hand quilting but I still appreciate the work that went into it. I didn’t use a pattern, I just made it up as I went along. It’s quite a girly looking quilt. I wonder why I didn’t make more girly quilts??? I quite like them. Way back when I made this quilt, I wasn’t labelling anything I made. I reckon this quilt must be nearly 20 years old and as you can see was well used and loved. It’s a shame I didn’t have the foresight back then to label my projects. Nowadays, I’m a great advocate for labelling quilts.

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I have been hearing on the news that we’re supposed to have a super moon tonight. I find it quite interesting that they also call it a blue moon. I wonder if that’s where the expression once in a blue moon comes from. You can bet I’ll be watching for that blue moon tonight.

I’m very pleased to tell you that I finally pieced the last of my Patchwork of the Crosses blocks yesterday. The next stage is to add the little pale squares that connects them all together and then I can sew the last row of blocks to the main body of the quilt top. I’m hoping to be doing that this weekend. I’ll be super happy when this quilt top is all pieced and on my longarm system in readiness for machine quilting. I reckon sometime in the next couple weeks I’ll be able to use it in earnest. Yippeee

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It’s been a fabulous productive day in my little world. I was able to tick off all the tasks listed on my To-Do List. I even fuelled the car and ran it thru the carwash. That in itself was an adventure because for some reason the wash cycle was interrupted while I was sitting there!!! The operators soon got it started again and we were on our way with a clean sparkling car. Life is full of adventures isn’t it.

So that’s my report for today. I’m still trying to figure out how to use my Freebie fabric which I posted about yesterday. Perhaps this weekend when it’s quiet, I’ll come up with a bright idea. I hope you all have a super cosy evening doing something interesting. Until next time,

Let’s all keep stitching

Lucie x

FREEBIES

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’ve all had an enjoyable day. My day was full of this, that and the other. I did plenty of jobs that needed doing. The washing won’t do itself don’t you know.

The best things in life are free. Finding the perfect piece of scrap fabric for a certain part of a project ….. oh yah! When a perfect stranger smiles at you while you’re out dog walking … yeehaw!!! When you find inspiration just when you need it most ….. yes please. When your friends and family are on call whenever you need emotional support ….. invaluable.

Speaking of free things ….. while I was prepping my sewing room in readiness for painting last autumn, I came across a whole lot of stuff that I didn’t even realise I had. I gathered up a serious pile of fabric that was tucked away here there and everywhere! So, this afternoon’s task was to go thru this bag of fabric and work out how to store it and/or use it.

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I sat on a little stool and emptied one little pile after another out of this big bag. I loosely divided it up by colourway, sort of. A lot of this fabric was purchased many years ago with no plan of action. To be honest, it took me longer to fold the bag than it did to empty it!

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So, now I have to work out what I’m going to do with all of this. One things for sure, I’ll be getting my books out for inspiration. In the meantime, I’ll store the fabric in bins as neatly as I can, until I have a proper plan of action.

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This free fabric would be great for prototypes of some of the new designs/projects coming from my drawing board. Once made up, I can practice my freemotion quilting on it. It’s quite amazing, that little pile of fabric has inspired me to design and make new projects. I quite fancy making a couple of scrappy quilts with a twist; perhaps some string piecing would suit the fabrics. The sky is the limit.

It’s been a pretty good day in my little world. I got plenty done giving me a sense of accomplishment. Since becoming a single parent, this finding my feet malarkey has been quite difficult but I think I’m finally turning the corner. I’m actually enjoying making choices and decisions on my own. My new designs have changed, even the colours I use in said design samples are quite different nowadays.

So, that’s my report for today. I hope you all have a super duper cosy evening doing something you truly enjoy. Until next time,

Let’s all keep stitching

Lucie x

REPLACING USEFUL TOOLS

Hello my lovelies. I hope you all had a fabulous weekend. There was very little sunshine in mine but today is bright and breezy. It’s almost as thought spring is just around the corner but that’s not going to happen this early in the year.

I would like to kick off my Monday report with a sneaky peek of my hearth runner. I completely forgot to post a photo of the finished result in place. I’m so pleased with my effort that I plan on using my Missouri Quilt Dresden Template Ruler to make another project soon. I’ve drawn out the new project and worked out the dimensions. Now I just need the time and the energy to get on with it.

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I had my boiler and gas fire serviced this morning. Hopefully I will have uninterrupted heat and hot water for the foreseeable future now. It doesn’t always follow that if you look after something it won’t give you bother. As you may remember I took my Maisie for her six-month check on Wednesday last week. I was so pleased that the vet was quite happy with her progress. Well on Saturday morning Maisie was not very well at all. She was acting like she was having a stroke. Naturally I was very worried but managed to book an emergency appointment at my vet hospital immediately. Sarah cuddled Maisie in the back seat on the car on the way there. The vet saw us pretty quickly and put us at ease almost immediately upon seeing Maisie. She was having an episode of Vestibular Disease. It’s like a very bad case of Vertigo that although can be treated with meds usually takes time to heal. The young vet gave Maisie a starter injection of the same meds we were sent home with in pill form and the effects were apparent within the hour. It’s a condition that is quite common in older dogs. This adventure has taught me to never become complacent and always consider that we never know what tomorrow will bring. Watching Maisie suffer from this condition and not knowing whether we would be bringing her home or not was very scary. She could very possibly suffer more episodes in the future.

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Once the boiler man left, I disappeared into my sewing room to do a wee bit of sewing. I made a plan of action and followed it to the letter. It turned out that my plan worked very well and I accomplished everything I wanted to do. I cut some strips and joined them together and proceeded to cut cross sections to form long strips for a border …..

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I love the Lewis & Irene Ditsy prints. I quite like the vintage feel they give this project. It’s such a contrast from the last biggish project I worked on using a stark white background. Now I need to add the last plain border, choose a backing fabric and longarm quilt the three layers together one quilting stitch at a time.

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I like good sturdy tools for use in my quilt making. My rotary cutter was pretty blunt last week so I changed the blade. We all know how dangerous rotary cutters can be but especially once the blade is blunt. Once I changed the blade and started cutting strips for my latest project I found that it was a bit wobbly and I wasn’t quite sure it was cutting accurately. So, as the rotary cutter is four years old I decided to order a new one. As you can see my preference is the 60mm Olfa Rotary Cutter. I like the spring-loaded safety mechanism that automatically engages when you put the cutter down.

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It’s been a really nice day in my little world. Happy Stitching Manor is a pretty good place to hang around on a sunny Monday. I got a few chores done and went on to do a little sewing too. According to my diary it’s suppose to be a quiet week in my little world which means I can get quite a few chores done. I have a very long list of stuff I need to catch up on. So, I have started filling in all the pages of my diary for this week with plenty of said chores to be done. Hopefully when spring comes along I will be ready to enjoy life. You know spring isn’t that far off now. It’s almost the end of January already.

So that’s my report for today. I hope you have enjoy a sunny day and have a sense of accomplishment on this first day of the week.

Until next time,

Let’s all keep stitching

Lucie x

GLAD THE WEEKEND IS FINALLY HERE

Hello my lovelies. Can you believe it’s Friday already??? It’s the last Friday of the month as well. I hope you’ve all had an enjoyable week.

So, while I was mooching about today, I searched for some blocks I made a few years back ……

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These blocks were part of an appliqué challenge which ended up in the imaginary UFO pile. These blocks will be the next UFO project I’ll turn into something. The blocks need a bit of embroidery or embellishment to liven them up a wee bit. I’m just hoping to turn them into something nice. I’m not looking for perfection, just something reasonably nice.

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As most of you will know my main hand sewing armchair project for the past 12+ months has been the Lucy Boston, Patchwork of the Crosses. Rest assured that I’m am making progress. Here’s a little peek at my latest blocks including one that is still in the prep stage. Only one more block to go and that’s it for the centre of my quilt top. I get quite excited whenever I say only one block to go but I forget that the whole process of adding the last row of blocks takes quite a lot of work and will take at least another week or so. I’m going to miss working on this project when it’s done so I will definitely be choosing another hand sewing armchair project for evening time. My hands to be busy while I watch TV in the evening.

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With the end of January looming and February just around the corner, we all know that Valentine’s Day will soon be here. Every year I buy myself a little tin of Lovehearts sweet.

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I do like the sweets in the tin but I like the tin itself even more. It’s the perfect size to hold a small sewing kit and a few hexagons. Does anyone else buy sweets, biscuits/cookies just because they are packaged in an interesting tin?!?! I’m sure I’m not the only one who does that.

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I’m glad the week is over. I plan on spending the weekend doing a few chores but mostly catching up on some hand sewing and perhaps watching some TV shows I taped over the last week or so. I’m going to pretend I’m on holiday in a warm place. Sigh ……

So, that’s my report for today. I hope you all have a fabulous weekend doing something fulfilling.

Until next time,

Let’s all keep stitching

Lucie x

A SUNNY FOUR PATCH DAY

Hello my lovelies. Have you had a fab day? It’s been a pretty good day in my little world. My Sarah and I started the day off with a hair appointment. I just had my regular trim to tidy away all the dead ends but Sarah had loads cut off the length …..

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Sarah’s hair was almost down to her waist and decided she needed a bit of a change. So, her hair is only down to her collar bone now.

We went on to run a few errands in town and upon arriving home and after having a cuppa and a snack I disappeared into my sewing room again. I pieced a few simple four patch blocks amongst other things …..

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I like to be sure to press my seams in a way that reduces the bulk. So, I did the old propeller trick …..

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We took Maisie to the vet for her six-month check up yesterday. I always worry about taking her for her check ups now that she has a heart murmur. I hold my breath when the vet listens to her heart. Once again, the verdict is that her murmur isn’t any worse. Thank goodness for that 😉.

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Well it’s been a great day here at happy stitching manor. The sun was shining affecting my whole outlook on life. It seems I always get more done on a sunny day than a dark one. After spending a few hours in my sewing room, I cooked a bit of comfort food for our evening meal. Tonight, it’s chilli bean sausage casserole. It’s not very exotic but it will keep us going for a bit.

This evening I hope to make progress on another Patchwork of the Crosses block. I’ve only got two more blocks to go to finish the centre section of my quilt top. I hope you all have a super cosy evening doing something you love doing.

Until next time,

Let’s all keep stitching

Lucie x

DRESDENS IN THE SUNSHINE

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’ve all had a fabulous day. It’s been a productive one here in happy stitching manor. I spent several hours making progress on my newest Dresden project.

I disappeared into my sewing room right after breakfast and finish securing the Dresdens including the centre circles on the background fabric.

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I went on to rotary cut a mountain of squares to start framing the blocks …..

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I’m quite pleased with todays progress. And I must admit that I like the Lewis & Irene Ditsy prints I used for the Dresden blades. The Ditsy print gives the block a vintage look.

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Last year I set myself a To-Be List. And one of the tasks on said list was to be authentic. I’m doing my best to be authentic but what does it really mean to be authentic. I Googled the meaning of the word authentic ~ of undisputed origin and not a copy; genuine. So, after having a little think I decided that there are probably different ways of interpreting the meaning. I think I’ll approach being authentic by being myself and doing everything to the best of my ability as I see fit.

I did a little machine quilting yesterday. It’s a little connect the dots type of quilting (mark the dots and sew from one dot to the next). The most difficult part of connect the dots is working out what design to aim for. I kept it simple and straight forward and this is what I ended up with.

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It’s been a really good day in my little world. Over the last two years I haven’t wanted to hang around my sewing room much. Last autumn I decided to paint said room to change the look and feel of it. Well the job is done now and it looks fresh and there’s definitely a different atmosphere in there. While prepping for painting a while back, I found a whole slew of fabric that I had forgotten about which I can use in new projects. The sky’s the limit now. I’ve put pen to paper a few times in the last couple of weeks recording ideas and drawing out projects that I would like to work on over the next few months. Although the wind was blowing a hooley today the sun was shining brightly this afternoon spurring me on to get a few more patches sewn together. What more can this very happy stitching lady ask for than working on Dresdens in the sunshine. The time I spend in my sewing room takes me away from all the rotten things happening in the world. Slowly but surely my confidence is coming back and I’m rebuilding my life in a quiet positive way. Oh, happy days.

So, you’re up-to-date now. I hope you all have a super cosy evening doing something creative.

Until next time,

Let’s all keep stitching

Lucie x

MAKING REALLY GOOD CIRCLES

Hello my lovelies. I hope you all had a great start to the week. I’ve had a quiet day mooching about the house. I spent some time in my sewing room and I had an appointment with my financial adviser. Two very different subjects.

On this pretty dull Monday, I decided to go into my sewing room first thing after walking my Maisie. Maisie is my biggest fan and a super companion. She follows me into the sewing room and supervises everything I do until she falls asleep. Maisie is twelve years old. She has a heart murmur and half her teeth are missing. She’s a curious but very cautious girl. And we love her to bits.

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While Maisie was supervising and while I was waiting for my financial adviser to arrive I did a wee bit of sewing. I couldn’t get too engrossed into anything so I decided to make some really good circles. I started by auditioning some fabric. It came down to two choices of which I chose the darker shade.

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The circles will be sewn onto the centre of four Dresden Plates blocks. I hope to make more progress this week in between hair appointments and trips to the shops. I have a definite design planned for my Dresden Plates but there’s loads of rotary cutting before I can start putting it all together. I hope to show you what it’s all about sometime in the next week or so.

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It’s been a pretty good day at happy stitching manor. The day turned out quite as dark as yesterday and the snow we got yesterday is now all melted; which is a shame. It does make it easier to get out and about.

So that’s my report for today. A good time was had by all.

Until next time,

Let’s all keep stitching 

Lucie x

SPLENDID PROGRESS ON A SNOWY SUNDAY

Hello my lovelies. It’s a beautiful snowy Sunday afternoon as I write. I was in my sewing room adding binding to my latest project when I noticed that it was snowing. I shouted out to Sarah to have a look outside and she squealed with delight. I know not a lot of people like snow but we love it; especially if we don’t have any plans to go anywhere.

My last report included my progress on the hearth runner I was piecing in order to practice machine quilting on my domestic sewing machine using rulers. Well, I’m very pleased to tell you that the I have done the quilting and am about to hand finish the binding on the back of the runner.

I started by cleaning my sewing machine. I changed the needle to a size 14 Topstitch needle, switched the foot to a ruler foot and threaded the machine with 50wt Aurifil. In most jobs I prefer a nice fine thread …..

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Before I actually started to machine quilt on the actual project, I did a test run on a practice sandwich …..

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Sometime between the test run and the actual go on my hearth runner I chose to use another ruler from my Parrs Reel Ruler system which I have hardly used …..

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I start in the centre of the quilt and worked my way out. As you can see the Parrs Reel Rulers system works by inserting the ruler foot in the slot. So, I simply lined up the edge of the slot against the seam and proceeded to stitch up one side along the seam and down the other. The trick is to be able to hold the ruler down firmly against the foot while moving the quilt around while the machine stitches. I found it pretty easy to do with a straight ruler but it was a little more difficult with a curvy ruler. Having said that, I feel that with practice, it can be done. I must admit that I wouldn’t want to be machine quilting a king size quilt using this method but working on a small quilt such as my hearth runner was enjoyable. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the progress. I have a sense of accomplishment after that little bit of machine quilting using rulers. There are a lot more complicated designs which I hope to try sometime in the near future perhaps on a cushion cover or a small table topper or bag. I certainly have enough rulers to produce something interesting.

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Even though I kept this trial as simple as possible, I still think it looks nice. The next step is to hand finish the binding on the back. The binding is my favourite part.

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I have a couple of UFOs that I would dearly love to finish but I have added another technique to my To-Do List. My friend Susan from Oz reminded me that we both purchased Quick Curve rulers some time ago. Well I haven’t used mine yet. I even bought a pattern that uses the special ruler. Imagine, I could probably piece a small project and do some more machine quilting using rulers on my domestic machine doing some curvy stitching. I guess I better find the ruler and the pattern so I can have a go.

It’s still snowing. In fact, the snow is lying now. I have no doubt that it’s even whiter further inland to where I live. Isn’t it amazing how from one town to the other the weather can be so different.

So, that’s my first new technique crossed off my To-Do List. I’m pleased to have added another technique, Quick Curve ruler design, to the list that I can plan for. I’m looking forward to the challenge. I hope you’re all enjoying all your challenges on this very wintry day.

Until next time,

Let’s all keep stitching x

Lucie x

MAKING PROGRESS, MOVING FORWARD

Hello my lovelies. It’s red letter weekend in my quiet little world. I got such good news yesterday which I am still revelling in. My Sarah, my lovely clever and very creative daughter, received her grades for her dissertation. She got a first. This mean she’s almost assured to graduate with honours. What more can this super happy stitching lady ask for. I’m soooo proud.

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I have a little progress report for you today. You might remember I started planning a runner for the hearth in my living room yesterday. I chose five different fabrics from my stash and started cutting it up. Originally, I was planning on piecing my runner from simple strips. However, once I got into my sewing room and when I was reaching for a rotary ruler to start cutting, I noticed a Dresden Plate ruler which I have never used before. So, I changed my plan of action. I cut a few Dresden shapes from each fabric and laid them out to work out which fabric to place where.

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When I was happy with the placement I started to join the shapes together in groups of five shapes …..

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I just kept progressing until I had the whole runner pieced. I even got it layered up and ready for quilting ….

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It doesn’t look like much at the moment but I’m quite sure when it’s all quilted and sitting on my hearth it will look fab. If this works out well, I may even make another that’s spring themed and possible another summer themed. The sky is the limit.
I hope to bring you some more progress about the machine quilting using rulers sometime in the next few days. I plan on keeping the quilting design simple in order to get used to the feel of holding a ruler against the sewing machine foot while free motion stitching. I think it may be a case of patting your head while rubbing your tummy all at the same time. Possibly some straight lines might do the trick. We’ll just have to see when the time comes.
It’s quite interesting working on a new technique. It seems to be coming to fruition a lot quicker than I thought it would. I must admit that the runner I pieced was rather simple and the fabric came from a bag of fabric which I discovered while I was sorting and tidying in preparation for painting my sewing room. I wish all projects came together that easy.
Well that’s my little report for today. I hope you’re all planning seasonal projects that come together as easily as mine has.
Please pop in again soon.
Until next time,
Let’s all keep stitching
Lucie x

 

MORE TOOLS THAN I THOUGHT!

Hello my lovelies. Winter has definitely hit my little corner of the northeast of England. I personally haven’t struggled too much but only because I live so close to the coast. For some reason which eludes me, it always snows a little bit extra farther inland. Truth be known, I do enjoy watching the snow fall but I’m not so brave driving in it anymore.

In my quest to practice a new skill, I took inventory of the tools I already own, that I can use to do some machine quilting using rulers on my domestic sewing machine. It seems that I have accumulated quite a lot of rulers over the years. So, I guess I have no excuse not to have a go.


I selected a few fabrics from my stash to piece a narrow runner which I plan on laying on the hearth in my living room. Over Christmas I put a Christmas runner on the hearth and put candles on it. It looked so good I decided to make another runner which I can use all year round. My finished measurements need to be 53” x 10”. And I’m planning on keeping this project simple. It’s going to made up of simple strips that I will join together. I’m hoping the result will be a naïve homespun finish. I love anything wonky me.

What kind of sewing tools do we all count on? I stick to basic tools mainly. I do have a few specialty tools in my stash which I always forget about or can’t find when I need them!!! Sometimes its just easier to struggle that search for a tool that truth be known, you can do the job without. These are my go to tools, the ones that I use in the making of all my projects.

You will notice the piece of paper, it’s greaseproof paper which I use to protect my iron and ironing board when using fusible web. I’ve been caught out with gunk on the sole plate of my iron once too often. So, I make the effort to use greaseproof paper whenever I do raw edge appliqué.

It’s a sunny Friday. My washing machine is whirring away and I’ve planned to do a little cooking, some soup, meatloaf and perhaps some peanut cookies too. It’s quite cold again today, making it a great day for comfort food.
Well I guess that’s my story for today. I hope you’re all keeping busy on this third Friday of the new year.

Please pop in again soon.

Until next time,

Let’s all keep stitching

Lucie x