ALWAYS CHOOSE JOY

Hello my lovelies. It’s already Thursday. Where the heck did the rest of the week go??? I know I say this often but I really can’t believe how quickly time flies. Very rarely can I say I’ve had day that dragged on. They all just seem to whizz by.

I spent the morning in Costco. We were desperate for a few household supplies. I just kept putting it off every week. So, today I had no excuse. My list was getting longer and longer every week. We came home with a little car full of household products and one or two treats. I felt absolutely exhausted after running that errand. So, I decided to do something quiet this afternoon.

I sat down at my dining table and started prepping a block. Beth from St. Louis asked a question about my method of hand appliqué. So, rest assured Beth, I will do my best to add more info about how I prep my patches and how I tack them to the background fabric over the next week or so. I have plenty of blocks to piece before I hit my target to be able to finish this quilt. Here’s a couple of blocks I have been working on ….

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I pin all my patches in place and the I tack them. This way they don’t move on the background fabric. It might seem like a lot of work but this is tried and tested method that works really well for me. Once all the patches are tacked in place I can start the process of fine hand appliqué.

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I think the best part of the prepping process is laying the patches out on the background. It shows you how the picture is coming together. In this photo the freezer paper and templates haven’t been removed yet. I’m hoping to pin and tack these patches in place this evening.

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At the risk of repeating myself, for many years I stayed away from appliqué work of any kind because I was work shy. I worried that I wouldn’t do a good job. I started with a little raw edge machine appliqué many years ago and I’ve built up my skills over the years. Now I draw my own blocks and design my own quilts!!! I used to be afraid to show anyone my work because I didn’t think it was good enough. And then one day all that changed because I showed someone a little bit of my work and they really liked it. We all have different tastes. I know that we quilt makers know what kind of effort goes into building a quilt from scratch. And I’m quite sure that not everyone likes what I do but they appreciate the effort that went into it. So, if you have a hankering to do some appliqué work from scratch, do have a go. It’s very satisfying be able to say that a project is your baby from start to finish.

It’s been raining today but my Sarah and I didn’t let that get us down. This afternoon we both sat in the living room catching up of our favourite TV shows while we worked on our projects. It was warm and cosy and we had a few good laughs. Nowadays life is a joy. I’ll always choose joy. Life is a precious gift made for living 😉 

So, I guess that’s my report for today. I hope you all have a super cosy evening doing something that brings you joy and happiness. Until next time,

Let’s all keep on stitching.

Lucie x

IN MY NEIGHBOURHOOD

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’ve all had a super productive day. I spent mine mooching about again today. I’m feeling a bit dragged out at the moment. I desperately need some warm sunshine to revive me. It’s the time of year when we feel like we’re in-between seasons. I spent a little time on Monday tidying the front garden. There’s still loads to do outside but it’s still quite cold and we’re expecting stormy weather over the next few days. So, the outdoor tidying has been put on hold for another week.

I ran a couple of very local errands this morning; my Sarah and I will start painting the hallway soon so I thought I should buy some paint. It’s quite a big job and I certainly don’t look forward to it but I think together we’ll get thru it quickly. I have a feeling we might have to put it off for a few weeks in order to give Sarah a chance to finish her major projects for uni. This particular job has waited quite some time, what’s a few more weeks. It will be nice and fresh once it’s done.

I’m very pleased to tell you that I finally finished my Dresden Neighbourhood quilt top. I was going to layer it up in readiness to add some freemotion machine quilting but I’m wondering whether I should make it into a bigger project!!!!! I really really like. I’ll give it a day or two and make my decision about whether I should extend it and turn it into something bigger.

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Yesterday, I set myself a challenge to quilt a certain number of charity by the end of the month. Well this morning at dawn I was loading the first of a few quilts into my longarm for quilting on Friday. It’s a fab scrappy quilt top which I will turn into a quilt by adding a few thousand stitches. I have decided what thread colour to use but not the quilting design yet. I’m looking forward to getting this one quilted, bound and labelled. I love a scrappy cosy quilt.

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I sat quietly this afternoon and drew a couple of Moving Forward blocks. And then I started the prep work. I’ve decided that once the fabrics are chosen the rest is so much more interesting. Now that my Dresden Neighbourhood is practically finished, I can concentrate of Moving Forward.

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I guess that’s my report for today. It’s been a great day in my little world. I mooched about and worked at my slow and measured pace. Sometimes is really good to pull into the slow lane and view the scenery. I hope you all have a super cosy evening doing something you truly enjoy doing. Until next time,

Let’s all keep on stitching.

Lucie x

MORE MOVING FORWARD PREP WORK

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’ve all had a great day. I spent my day mooching about doing this and that. There’s always a few household chores that need doing. I filled and ran the dishwasher, walked the dog and tidied a few things away. Everything is swings and roundabouts; for every one thing I put away, I pulled out a Quilts for Comfort quilt top to meet a challenge.

I have set myself a challenge. I plan on getting these few quilt tops longarm quilted before my next Burnopfield Belles meeting in a couple of weeks.

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These quilt tops were pieced by our wonderful volunteers. I will turn these scrappy quilt tops into proper quilts ready to be handed over in order to bring comfort to young people. I’m so pleased that there are other ladies who help in whatever capacity they can in our quest to bring comfort when it’s needed.

In between chores and mooching about, I decided to prep a couple of blocks for my Moving Forward quilt project. While I was tracing templates onto freezer, cutting out the freezer paper shapes out and ironing them to the back of my chosen fabrics, I had plenty of time to breathe and think. Life is so very different today than it was two years ago. The stressed-out person I was back then seems to have disappeared. I feel so much better today. All the uncertainty has melted away and I’m back to the happy old self that I always was. My creative juices are returning and my enthusiasm is back two-fold. I started drawing the layout for Moving Forward two years ago. I think it’s time to get it pieced, longarm quilted and enjoy and explore the patches I have lovingly sewn into it.

The prep work for my appliqué work is just as much fun as the actual sewing. I enjoy choosing what fabric colours to use and every other bit of the prepping process. There was a time I stayed away from fine hand appliqué work because I thought it was too involved. I have learned so much from my preferred method. One of the best things I have learned from the process is patience. Hand appliqué is such a lovely quiet technique. Here’s a little peek at my prepping process.

I trace the templates that make up my picture onto freezer paper …..

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Cut out the freezer paper shapes on the traced lines and iron on to fabric …..

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Notice that I leave a ¼” margin of fabric when I trim it up. And the last thing is to choose the background fabric. In this case, I am using different fabric from a collection giving it a scrappy feel.

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I’m hoping to start the sewing part of these two blocks soon. I have plenty of other blocks to draw and decide on for this particular project but I’m so pleased with the progress so far. Being creative is the perfect way to keep your mind occupied and also for working things out.

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So that’s my report for today. I have had a superb creative day. I’ve played with my favourite bits of fabric and tidied a few things away. I’ve found inspiration in places I never thought I’d find inspiration. And I have formed a plan of action for my latest challenge to longarm quilting a few more charity quilts. I live a simple life all the while trying to keep out of trouble.

I hope you all have a super cosy evening doing something creative. Until next time,

Let’s all keep on stitching.

Lucie x

MONDAY REPORT

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’ve all had a fabulous first day of the week. Do you realise that we’re almost halfway thru the month already??? It’s amazing how quick time flies.

I don’t have much sewing progress to report today. I mainly worked on securing my Dresden Houses in place. I have secured all the roofs and the dark doors and windows. I’m working on securing the light doors and windows in place now. I am really enjoying working on this small piece.

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The light wasn’t any better yesterday but I did manage to get a shot of last week’s Quilts for Comfort finish …..

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The pink and grey bubble quilt was collected this morning to be delivered to the hospital. This is how it looked when it escaped thru my front door …..

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Look what I received today. For the last couple of years, I have made an effort to keep flowers in the house at all times but recently I have been more lax about it. Flowers seem to cheer a room up. So, when these arrived I was rather grateful. Thank you to Sandra and David for the lovely bouquet.

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So, that’s my report for today. It feels a little light but it’s a little news. I’m hoping to prep the new blocks I designed last week for my Moving Forward quilt project this week. I have so many tasks listed on my To-Do List but there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in a day not to mention energy. The best thing to do is keep breathing and everything will fall in place. I hope you all have a super cosy evening doing something you truly enjoy. Until next time,

Let’s all keep on stitching.

Lucie x

THIS WEEK’S ADVENTURE

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’ve all had a fabulous sunny day. I spent most of my day in my sewing room. Something about the sunshine that spurs me on to start and finish stuff.

I was awake at 5am this morning. I had a really good sleep and was ready to get up and at it. The first thing I did was to cut 2-1/2” strips from an assortment of fabric I use on my latest challenge. I joined enough strips to make enough binding for said challenge. I don’t normally cut my binding before I finish the quilting but today I needed to feel like I was making progress. Somehow I did all this even before the sun came up …..

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I moved onto making the label.  I make a very simple label by composing the label words on my laptop and printing it out. I don’t happen to like my writing so using my laptop and printer solves that problem. Once the words are printed out I use a light box to trace the words onto the fabric. I use a fine permanent pen which sets with heat. I like putting my label in the corner. It forms a pocket which you can either hide something in or simply just sew it shut.

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Once daylight arrived I started longarm quilting …..

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It was quite easy to decide on what quilting design to use. I stitched until the job was done. Then machined the binding and label on. Here’s another little peek …..

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I’m hoping to hand finish the binding this evening. For me, hand finishing the binding is the best part, especially this time of year when it’s still a bit cold. I look forward to snuggle under the quilt while I’m hand sewing.

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Now, for the benefit of those who don’t know, this quilt that I pieced and machine quilted over the last few days was made on behalf of Quilts for Comfort. I happen to be a trustee for this small northeast charity. Quilts for Comfort strives to bring comfort to children from age 0-25 who are receiving cancer treatment principally at the RVI in Newcastle which is located in the northeast of England. When Sandra, my QFC colleague received a request from the hospital for this particular quilt, she checked the inventory to find that we did not have anything suitable. So, after checking my stash and working out that I had the required fabric in my own stash I stepped forward and offered to piece a quilt. I did not make this quit on my own. My Sarah stepped in and washed dishes while I cut fabric into strips. And one of my friends stepped in with soft fleece to be used for backing. Sandra will be popping up on Monday to collect the quilt and deliver it to the hospital.  And so on and so on. So, while I worked piecing this quilt, I was never alone.

Quilts for Comfort has oodles of volunteers all over the north of England. Some of our volunteers belong to groups and other are simply interested in helping on their own. The feeling you get, when you finish a quilt and handover in readiness to be delivered to the RVI, is one of being useful, a sense of knowing that you will bring a young person comfort in a time of need.

So, that’s my story about this week’s big abventure. I’m ending the week on a very positive note. I know that next week my simple creation will bring comfort to one young person and possibly their family. Now I know that my simple design works I will make notes so I can use it again if I ever have to piece a quilt in a hurry again. I hope you all have a fabulous weekend. It’s Mother’s Day in the UK this Sunday. So happy Mother’s Day to all the lovely dedicated mothers. Until next time,

Let’s all keep on stitching.

Lucie x

CIRCLE PROGRESS

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’ve all had an enjoyable day. It’s been a lovely day in my little corner of the northeast of England. We even had lovely warm sunshine. That doesn’t mean it was toasty warm, the temperature only got as high as 5C. But still the sun was so nice.

I’m back today with a little progress report on yesterday’s challenge. I didn’t hit the ground running this morning because I had a hair appointment pretty much first thing but I did one or two household chores before leaving for my appointment. There always seems to be so much to do when you want to get on with something else. Having said that I made good progress and I am exactly where I wanted to be this evening.

The first thing I did when I jumped back in was to secure the circles on the quilt top. My sewing machine produces a pretty good blanket stitch …..

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Once all the circles were secured in place I joined all the sections together. The reason I didn’t join all the sections together and then add the circles is I thought it would be easier for me to push just three row sections thru my sewing machines while sewing the circles in place rather than a whole 85” quilt top. I was pleased to see the whole project joined into one lovely quilt top. It brought a smile to my face. And now the quilt top as well as a layer of calico and the soft fleece backing is loaded in my longarm system ready to be quilted tomorrow.

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The most difficult part will be to choose a quilting design and thread colour. The reason I added a layer of calico is to stabilise the quilt. You see, because I’m using fleece as a backing fabric, it’s not necessary to put wadding in between. However, I feel the calico gives it a little more oomph and will stabilise the whole piece of work.

I’m looking forward to binding this project. I think I’m going to use up all my leftovers to piece said binding. A pieced binding is quite a lot of work but brings more interest to the quilt. Not to mention that it uses up little leftover bits that you can’t bring yourself to throw away.

So, today once again, I’m feeling good about my accomplishments. And I feel great about being able to help. It’s the one thing that I can do. I’m not a great cook and so I can’t have bake sales to help. I’m not a great author who can write beautiful interesting prose. Having said all that, I can make a quilt now and again to help when it’s needed. I will be back tomorrow with photos of the quilted quilt for you to see.

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

Let’s all keep on stitching.

Lucie x

A NEW CHALLENGE

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’ve all had a super-super day. My day had lots of sunshine in it. I could actually feel the heat in the sun. It gives me hope that spring is just around the corner.

I’m quite excited today. As of last evening, I started working on an emergency quilt. I’ll tell you more about this when I have finished said quilt. Just let’s say that I stepped forward to make a quilt that may bring comfort to someone. My brief was to make a quilt using the colour scheme of pink and grey and that it needed to be a little bit longer than our usual. I started by searching my stash for pink and grey before I put myself forward. I wasn’t sure that I would have enough but by the time I stopped pulling pink and grey I had enough fabric to make two quilt tops!!! I also managed to find a sponsor who was happy to donate scrounge some nice soft fleece which I will use as backing.  It was meant to be.

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My next step was to work out what block design I was going to use. I feel that this quilt needs to be made in lickety split time. So, whatever I did it needed to be a quick make/finish. So, I decided on uneven brickwork type rows. I set to and rotary cut strips of the different colours while I watched the 6 o’clock news. Then I sat down and sketched a plan of action breaking the rows down into sections. And then I sat down to watch some TV and did some hand appliqué because I planned to get up early and start the cutting and joining up process at dawn.

As per my plan, I got up just before dawn and settled in to my work. Maisie sat in the sewing room with me and supervised my every move. By 8am this is where I was …..

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I had to shut down because I had an appointment but I carried on when I got home …..

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Standing back and looking at it I thought it was a little bland. So, I started hunting down a Accuquilt die that I thought might jazz up this quilt. So, I cut some circles …..

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Thee circles are back in Bondaweb which will make the next step pretty simple. I ironed the circles here there and everywhere……

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There are two more sections that don’t appear in the photos because my design wall is long enough.

My next step is to blanket stitch the circles in place. And if I’m lucky I’ll be able to join all the sections and load the quilt into my longarm to start stitching is on Friday. I think the stitching will add to the whole design making more interesting again.

I feel good about being able to pull this project together in such a short time. And no, I don’t wear a cape or wear my nickers over the top of my street clothes. I’m just a normal everyday woman who is determined to help. Every now and then I get the chance to help someone in need of comfort. This week it just so happens I’m able to do it.

So, I guess that’s my report for today. I will definitely be back soon with a progress report on my latest challenge. I hope I’m able to stick to the time frame I set myself. Sometimes life gets in the way but we just around the obstacles and carry on. I hope you all have a great evening doing something you truly enjoy. Until next time,

Let’s all keep on stitching.

Lucie x

SURPRISE PARCEL

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’ve had a fabulous day. For the most part it’s been a lovely quiet day in my little world. I had a dental appointment this morning but once I got back I was very happy to stay put. It was raining cats and dogs all night long. There was plenty of flooding all around me.

So, while I waited for the rain to subside, I sat and drew one or two new blocks for my Moving Forward quilt …..

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I’m still using the old fashion paper and pencil method. I will someday sit quietly and work out how to do it using my EQ7 quilt making software. For now, I’m quite happy to sit at my dining table quietly. My rulers and shape templates do me proud.

I cut out some templates to be used in quilt making projects. Good old fashion cereal box cardboard does the trick for me. Isn’t it funny how the simple things serve us so well.

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The postman brought me something quite special this morning. I wasn’t expecting any parcels. When I saw the postmark, I was really perplexed until I saw the return address. Australia!!!!! My Aussie friend Susan sent me this …..

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I recently posted about machine quilting with rulers and also the dot to dot method of freemotion machine quilting. Susan mentioned this particular book in her comment. So, Susan dug out the book, it’s in pristine condition, and she posted it to me. Susan also wrote a lovely note which brought me to tears. Like so many others, Susan has followed my ups and downs over the last couple of years. And the note referred to how strong I was to have gotten thru my ordeal and lived to tell the tale. Susan’s note made me realise that I did indeed survive every bit of unpleasantness that was thrown at me. Well I only survived all the unpleasantness because of all the support I received from my family and friends who propped me up when I needed it the most. The note will be tucked away in the book and whenever I get the book out for inspiration when I’m doing freemotion quilting I will read that note and keep marching down my little path toward much more pleasant times. Susan, thank you for the book but most of all thank you for reminding me that I survived to tell the tale.

It’s been a pretty good day here at happy stitcher manor. The rain finally stopped. I can actually jump the puddles without drowning now. I’ve made a little progress by drawing a couple of blocks. The best part of the day was the peace and quiet.

So, that’s my report for today. I haven’t picked up a needle yet today. I’ll have to correct that this evening. I hope you all have a lovely peaceful evening. Until next time,

Let’s all keep on stitching.

Lucie x

CREATIVE WEEKEND

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’ve all had a very enjoyable weekend. It’s been a good quiet one for me. The leftover snow from the wintery weather we had last week kept me quite close to home. That isn’t to say that I couldn’t get out but I stayed near home for fear that I might get caught out by poor road conditions. Today, Monday, most of the snow in my neighbourhood has melted but there are plenty of other areas that are still struggling with the poor conditions.

Staying close to home gave me a good chance to work on some of my projects.  Last week while I was stranded at home, I decided I needed to work on something fun. I chose a Dresden Plate Variation called Dresden Neighbourhood. I did quite a bit of the prep work last week but I carried on over the weekend. I managed to prep all the roofs, windows and doors …..

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and pinned them in place …..

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I went on to tack the whole lot in place in readiness for the fine hand appliqué stitching …..

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I auditioned the Dresden Plate on different fabric colours. White was too stark and beige was too boring. In the end I chose this fine grey stripe because it made me happy. Here’s little close up that shows the fine stripe …..

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It’s a soft colour grey that’s neither too dull or too stark contrast. I’m quite happy with it. And once again, I’m using up some of my stash. I’m quite looking forward to getting on with the appliqué stitching. I’ll be trimming the background fabric to 24” and possibly adding a pieced border of all the different fabrics I used in the patches. I realise that hand appliqué is not everyone’s favourite method of appliqué but I think a little raw edge machine appliqué would make it interesting too. The sky’s the limit.

This morning after walking my Maisie I disappeared into my sewing room. I needed a sewing machine fix. So I squared off a good number of my Moving Forward blocks to the correct size and started joining them together …..

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It’s not a very good day for photography. The joined blocks look much better up close and in person. I took inventory of the pieced blocks I have and how many more I need to piece before I join the next section of blocks to the two sections I joined this morning. This little scrappy appliqué quilt, which I designed is speaking to me now. I don’t have enough hands to finish everything I would like to finish. One things for sure, I am enjoying my creative time. The more I create the more I want to create. Using up my stash makes my heart sing but only because it gives me permission to buy more fabric when said stash starts to get low!!!!

So that’s my report for today. As you can see I have been keeping busy no matter the weather. Being creative keeps my mind occupied and away from all the bad news published every day. I hope you’re keeping busy. Life is a very precious gift. So let’s make the most of every day. Until next time,

Let’s all keep on stitching.

Lucie x

COSY TOES

I’m so grateful for my hand knit socks. It’s the perfect day for cosy toes.

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These socks were great fun to knit. You don’t have to do anything special other than knit using your favourite sock pattern.  My friend Lynn introduced me to this beautiful self-patterning wool. Thank you Lynn for sharing your stash with me. I think I need to order some more to knit up a few more pairs.

It’s a very dreary wet day here in the northeast of England. It doesn’t know whether to rain or snow. Here we go again. Until next time,

Let’s all keep on stitching.

Lucie x