BACK INTO THE AUTUMN GROOVE

Hello my lovelies. I’m back!!!! The summer is over, the mornings are cool and feel quite autumnal and the kids have gone back to school. And yes ….. there’s only 100 sleeps until Christmas!!!

Did you all have a great summer? Were any of you able to tear yourself away from the garden in order to do a little quilt making or sewing of any kind. Well I spent quite a lot of time sewing. As you all know one quilting stitch at a time makes everything better. I worked on one particular project all summer. Yes, I know that sounds like such a contradiction to what I normally do. I usually work on several things at once but I now realise that when I do that, I don’t seem to make much progress on anything. Well I can confirm that once you concentrate on one project full time you actually have a better chance of finishing it. So here’s little sneaky peek at my How Does Your Garden Grow …..

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From that one project …. I jumped into this little one. I really enjoyed my journey into freezer paper appliqué again while working on How Does Your Garden Grow. So, I went looking for this little unfinished quilt top I pieced a while back so I could add some simple colourful flowers and such to it. Goodness knows I have enough scraps to add some colourful flowers to several other projects. The more scraps you use the more scraps you make! I am busy doing the fine hand appliqué work that will secure the patches to the background. I’ll be sure to post more about the progress on this quilt eventually. I think I’ll name it My Little Garden as I wish my garden was this colourful and cheerful.

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While I was working on My Little Garden project, I realised that there’s an event coming up for which I desperately needed to piece a quilt. So, I searched out some fabric from my stash. I started with some background fabric and several fat quarters from a collection called Grant Park by Minick & Simpson for Moda. I chose a simple large-scale Bowtie block design and set to rotary cutting squares. I sewed and pressed my little heart out for a whole weekend. And this is what I ended up with …

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It’s a beautiful quilt that has an old-fashioned feel to it. I used a soft blue quilting thread which fills in the negative spaces quietly with a modern feather variation quilting design which also gives the quilt a little texture. All that’s left to do is add a label. I am busy researching quotes for the quilt label. The quilt is for a special event and it was worth every minute of time and effort I spent making it. I was determined to finish it in lickety split time while still producing a nice quilt that will be cherished for years to come.

It’s been a really good summer in my little corner of the northeast of England. I didn’t go very far but enjoyed every minute of my quiet time. Now, already the leaves are starting to fall from the trees. The trees and shrubs and laden with berries ready to feed the birds and critters over the cold months. And I even purchased my autumn/winter plants to replace the summer bedding a few days ago. I can’t figure out where the months have gone. Oh summer, please come back. All is forgotten. No. Actually I really love autumn. It’s my favourite time of year. I love wearing woollies and boots, scarves and gloves. I love the crunchy leaves under my feet. And I truly look forward to the first snow. The rumour is that we’re supposed to have a brutally cold winter this year. And apparently, we should expect the Beast from the East in the new year. So, the woollies and gloves will be most welcome.

So, I guess that my catch-up report for today. I hope you all a super cosy evening doing something you truly enjoy doing. I will be doing some fine hand appliqué if I can stay awake. Until next time,

Let’s all keep on stitching. I kid you not, stitching makes life better.

Lucie x

 

WAITING FOR SUNSHINE

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’re all enjoying a glorious Monday. It’s a holiday here in the UK. I seem to have spent quite a lot of time waiting for the sun to shine this weekend. It’s sunny as I write this post but for most of the weekend it’s been dark and dreary. While I waited, I decided to do something useful. I have been working on piecing a new design this past week or so. And because it didn’t look like we would get any bright weather making it more interesting to step out into the garden to do some tidying, I decided to load my quilt into my longarm and give it a simple quilting job. I love adding texture to my appliqué designs. Here’s my little bit of sunshine while there was none outside …..

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Somehow, I managed to machine quilt and hand finish the binding on this quilt all in one day. Mind you I did very few household chores and basically concentrated on my quilt.

A few days ago, I decided to play with some fabric scraps. I simply gathered up mini scraps of fabric and cut them into small triangles which I placed on a foundation fabric approximately 6-1/2” x 10”. I just kept adding scraps and moving them around until I was happy with the layout. I chose a thread colour that I liked and began to sew the scraps in place. When everything was anchored down, I chose a piece of course grain ribbon which was on a gift set which I got for Christmas and a piece of cotton lace which was also on a gift parcel. I played around with the scraps of ribbon and lace until I decided to set them out in a hashtag design. Then I decided to add some netting to form pockets which I filled with a paper word in one pocket and a few loose buttons in the other.

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Don’t even ask me what I will do with my play time effort! I may add another border and then place it in a frame or possibly just square it off and add a binding but I’ll be sure to play around with this liberating technique again. My effort, to me looks like a mess but I think if I have another go, I might learn to accept my freestyle pieces of work better. I have plenty of fabric scraps and oodles of embellishment supplies. As hard as I try, I am still all about the ¼” seam allowance brigade. I spent so many years making traditional quilts that it can be quite difficult to step away from the quilt police rules. I have said it before and I’m saying it again today, it’s OK to give yourself permission to play often. This is how we introduce new trends.

It’s been a lovely quiet weekend here in my little corner of the northeast of England. Like millions of others, I watched the final episode of the Line of Duty last night. I won’t spoil it for those of you who have not watched it yet but I did not expect that ending at all. The good news is, the BBC have commissioned another series of Line of Duty for next year.

So, I guess that’s my report for this week. I hope to give myself permission to play again sometime soon. Who knows how my next mess of fabric scraps will turn out? 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

SUNSHINE AND HUNKY FIREMEN

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’ve all had a super duper cosy long weekend. It’s been lovely here in my little corner of the northeast of England. Spring has properly sprung. I even made a start on buying my annual bedding plants. I have to empty my planters and replenish the compost and dig one of my front borders and then I can plant the fresh plants. There’s so much more to get done during the warm months but it’s so worth it when you see the fruits of your labour.

So, what have all of you been working on over the last few weeks. Are you working on UFOs or have you got a special gift on the go; a wedding gift, special birthday gift or just a gift for no reason. I can tell you that a quilted gift can be a great addition to any home not to mention that it brings comfort during difficult times. With that in mind, here is my sewing update. I received a gift a couple of weeks ago. My Sarah gifted me a Lush Knot Wrap.

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It’s a printed panel which Lush uses to gift wrap their bath bundles. When I saw this panel a few weeks ago, I just loved it. I love the bright cheerful colours and especially the naïve drawing. At the time, I did not have a plan of action for the use of said knot wrap. And after spending a few days studying it, I decided that I was going to turn it into a wall hanging. So, I stitched ripped the hem, gave it a good press and squared it off. Then I added some corners because the design was on point and I wanted it to hang upright.

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I chose a small print which contains a few of the colours in the knot wrap. I loaded it into my longarm. My longarm hasn’t been working for many months and finally it’s up and running again.

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I added some tradition type quilting in the corners and then went mad adding some naïve stitching all over the knot wrap panel.

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I just let loose and stitched to my hearts content. I love the panel so much that no matter what the stitching is like I couldn’t help but love the finished article. I plan on hanging this piece in a prominent place where I will see it every single day. It makes me happy whenever I look at it.

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Since taking this photo I have sewn in all the loose thread and hand finished the binding. I plan on adding some handing pockets perhaps this afternoon. I wish I was talented enough to draw naïve pictures that I could turn into blocks. Perhaps I should give it a try. I suppose that’s something else to add to my bucket list. So, tell me what makes you happy. Do you have a happy wall hanging that makes your day???

Speaking on making your day. Something quite interesting happened to me last week. One afternoon, as I sat in my front room after doing all my chores, a fire engine pulled up and parked across the street. I didn’t think anything of it until my doorbell rang. I answered and who do you think was at the door … three big firemen. They claimed that they got a call out saying that there was a smell of burning plastic at/around my address. Well I can tell you no one was more surprised than me because I couldn’t smell anything burning. The boss man called the controller for more information and it just happens that the report was for a few doors down for which there was no emergency. I suppose the kids might have been playing tricks. The boss man fireman did say well you’ll have all the neighbours talking now!!! I don’t need a fire engine parked outside to make the neighbours talk. I can do that quite easily all by myself. Hahaha

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So, I guess that’s my report for this week. The weather has been lovely and spurred me on to get things done. My bucket list is growing nicely. And life is getting more interesting by the day. I hope you all have a super cosy evening doing something you truly enjoy doing. Until next time,

Let’s all keep on stitching. It really does make life better.

Lucie x

SUNNY SUNDAY SPECIAL

Hello my lovelies on this super-duper sunny Sunday. It’s bright and breezy here in my little corner of the northeast of England. It was so lovely this morning that I stepped out and did some digging and pruning in the garden. I had a Clematis that needed some tender loving care. It looks a lot less wild and woolly now that I have given it a short back and sides trim. It always feels so good when you see the fruits of your labour. My garden is going to be a wonderful place this summer.

I have been a little busy in the sewing department this past week. I recently found a little pile of UFOs which I have made a start on finishing up. Today’s particular show and tell is a whimsy that I designed and pieced 2012/2013. I can’t believe that I didn’t finish it at the time of piecing of it. I added the finishing touches, a few buttons to embellish, a few days ago. And it now hangs in my living room. I am so pleased with the finished result.

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So, the moral of this story is don’t give up on your UFOs. You may lose interest in them but once they are finished, you will have a great sense of accomplishment.

I have another little bit of progress to show you. Most of you will know that machine quilting is my preference but this little UFO is being hand quilted …..

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I have kept this hand quilting job simple. I have used rulers and circle template shapes to mark the quilting. And so far, it’s looking pretty good. I can’t wait to finish this job so I can show you. I think everyone should have a hand quilting project on the go at all times. It’s a wonderful quiet technique that looks so good once it’s finished. It’s a relaxing occupation that brings much satisfaction. Once again, I will have a great sense of accomplishment once this one is finished.

So, tell me. What have you been working on lately? Have you got some hand sewing on the go or are you a machine girl like me? After this little taster of hand quilting, I think I will make a conscious effort to do more. The secret to my enjoyment is to keep it simple, choose your own quilting designs and use a nice thread.

Well I guess that’s my report for this week. 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

ROLL ON SPRING

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’re all enjoying the last bit of winter. It almost feels like spring here. The temperature is spring-like here today. We even saw a little sun for a few minutes. Roll on spring.

Well the past week has been full of this and that. I did some painting in my hallway. Thank goodness I had Sarah’s help because this almost sixty-year-old happy stitcher doesn’t have the stamina to decorate rooms anymore. As well as that little bit of decorating I did a wee bit of sewing. I’ve been helping one or two ladies finish projects. Here’s one of those projects.

I was given the fabrics and a photo of the finished project but no instructions. So I started cutting and sewing …..

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And joining rows together …..

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And ended up with this little quilt top …..

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Which I turned into this …..

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It’s not identical to the picture but a pretty good adaptation. I think my friend will be pretty happy with the finished result. And now that I managed to make this one, I think I’ll make a similar cushion cover for myself.

I made a drop of soup yesterday. I was chatting with a friend of mine, Ann, on Saturday and I was mentioning that I was on a slimming programme again and I was fed up with salad especially in the colder weather. Well Ann suggested I make some soup. She had a pretty simple recipe for a lean soup which she inspired me to make. So, I set to and made a lovely drop of soup yesterday. I can’t impress upon you how lovely it was to have a warm lunch both yesterday and today. The soup was even tastier today than it was yesterday. I will be sure to make more soup and more regularly now that I have to confidence to try again. Sometimes I just need a little nudge.

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In my quest to do more of what I love, I set today aside to do just that. I loaded a quilt and stitched a freemotion quilting design. This is the back of the quilt as the design didn’t show up very well on the front for photography purposes. I love this design. I will use it again on the next quilt that comes up. It was great fun to stitch especially after the first few minutes when I felt more relaxed about stitching it. I spent so many years using a digital quilting system and now I’m going back to basics and stitching basic freemotion designs.

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Doing more of what we love is so important. We get to an age where we no longer have anything to prove to anyone. We women spend our whole lives trying to prove that we’re worthy. I’m not sure why but we do. It’s time to stop that. So, you can be sure that I will be posting more photos of my freemotion work in the near future. If I can do this anyone can.

It’s been a pretty good day in my little corner of the northeast of England. We got a preview of spring which was lovely. The crocuses are starting to flower. And the daffodil leaves are poking thru the ground. I’m quite sure we have more cold and winter-like weather to endure but knowing that spring is around the corner is making the rest of winter a little easier to handle.

So, I guess that’s my report for today. 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

KEEPING SEASONALLY BUSY

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’ve all been having a great time in this run up to Christmas. I cannot believe that the new year is just around the corner. Did you know that there’s only 27 more sleeps until Christmas?

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I have been keeping busy doing this and that. I have been working on a few Christmas presents ….

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As you can see someone will be getting a pair of socks which I knitted with my very own hands. And someone else will be getting a couple of candle mats. I really enjoyed making the candle mats, I wasn’t really sure how to go about it but I think the mats turned out pretty good. I’m sure the recipient of the candle mats will appreciate them. And the last item I crafted was a knitting needle roll. If you’re a knitter, you can never have too many of these.

Nowadays, my Christmas present list isn’t very long. And I don’t hand craft as many presents as I used to. Sarah and I are both looking forward to the holidays. We’re planning on having a nice relaxing quiet time making new happy memories.

My Sarah and I have collaborated on a project recently. Sarah machine quilted a quilt for Quilts for Comfort and I added the binding. Our little pile of charity quilts is growing slowly. Life has been rather full of quiet activities for both of us and so the charity quilts are growing a little slower than we would have hoped. Slow and steady is good.

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This is the time of year when I ponder what’s been happening over the past year. It’s been a quiet year of rebuilding. You can all rest assured that the simple life that I’m living nowadays is very fulfilling. Life isn’t passing me by, I’m enjoying every minute.

This past week, I helped one of my friends finish one of her projects by doing a little freemotion quilting. Boy oh boy did I ever enjoy machine quilting this jelly roll race type quilt. I filled each strip with one of three different stitching designs. Not only did I get a good old freemotion quilting practice but also, I was doing something useful. I’m quite sure the recipient of this quilt will cherish it for years to come. Does anyone else find that hand finishing the binding is quite satisfying. I sure do, especially when the rain is going past the horizontally.

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I have truly enjoyed every minute of crafting over the last couple of weeks. A little knitting and a whole lot of machine sewing, kept me occupied. And not only was I busy but I found inspiration. Just when my mojo was almost non-existent, by working on my Christmas presents, I tripped on a little bit of inspiration. I guess I better get my sketchbook out and start drawing new designs to work on after Christmas.

I guess that’s my report for today. I hope you all have a super cosy evening doing something you truly enjoy. Stay warm and safe. Until next time,

Let’s all keep on stitching.

Lucie x

A BIT OF DOODLING

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’ve all had a fab day. It’s been another of those bright and breezy days in my little world. I didn’t go very far today. I spent a little time in my sewing room  mooching around and then decided to mooch around my bedroom where I finished emptying a wardrobe that will be collected by a charity next week. Collection day can’t come soon enough.

I am very pleased to tell you that I have finally finished My Sweet Dresden Town quilt project. The binding and the label have been added and all in all I am very pleased with my effort. In fact, I think I’m more than pleased, I am ecstatic. This is one of those projects which I took from the drawing board right thru to the label and binding. There’s no better feeling in the world.

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One of the quilting designs I used on My Sweet Dresden Town quilt was something I called Double E’s. It fills all the negative areas nicely and it’s rather easy to stitch out. I have doodled it out on my Boogie Board just to give you an idea of how it works. You can stitch this out either using your domestic sewing machine or a longarm.

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I’m looking forward to drawing the curtains, lighting a scented candle and doing a bit of knitting while watching some mindless TV. The sun is expected to set at 17:46pm. I love this time of year. I came across a quote that I really liked which I wrote in my notebook recently. The quote is: Paradise is not a place, it’s a feeling. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you who wrote or said it and I couldn’t find it on Google. I totally agree with this quote.

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So, I guess that’s my report for today. We’re already halfway thru the week. Can you believe how quick the weeks are disappearing? At this rate, it will be Christmas before we know it. 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

GOING TO TOWN STITCHING

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’ve all had a brilliant day. It’s been pretty productive day here in my little world. You may remember that last week I loaded my latest finished quilt top, my Sweet Dresden Town, in my longarm quilting system.

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Well today was the day to start quilting my Sweet Dresden Town. Quilting one of my own designs is always quite exciting. Seeing a project come to fruition is so satisfying. So, I did a little simple stitching in the borders …..

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And then did some random stitching in and around the town patches. I call this stitching pattern Double E’s.  I tried to keep the design small in order to fill in the negative spaces enough so that the patches pop.

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I spent all day in my sewing room working on this quilt. I managed to finish the stitching but didn’t get the loose thread sewn in. Custom quilting creates a lot of loose threads but only because you travel from one area to next stitching different designs.

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I am so thrilled to have gotten as much done as I did today. Tomorrow I will sew in the loose threads and join up leftover scraps for the binding. And I’ll bet that even though I’ll be using some of those scraps for the binding I will still have scraps leftover!!! It seems the more scraps you use the more scraps you have, only they’re smaller. I can’t wait for tomorrow to come now.

I have mentioned several times that I have been doing some knitting in the evening while watching TV. I knitted several pairs of socks and thoroughly enjoyed it so I went on to knit something a pullover. I chose some yarn in a colour I would never have used before. Isn’t it amazing how our colour choices changes after a while. I’ve kept the knitting design really simple because I’m using variegated yarn which makes the whole project more interested because of the colour changes.

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It’s been another good day in my little world. As well as quilting my Sweet Dresden Town, I made some soup for our supper. I love chicken vegetable noodle soup which some fresh bread. Oooooh yum. It’s the perfect time of year for soup and other comfort food.

So, I guess that’s my report for today. I sure hope tomorrow is full of as much goodness as today was. I’m quite pleased with today effort. I hope you have a super cosy evening doing something you truly enjoy doing. Until next time,

Let’s all keep on stitching.

Lucie x

BOOGIE BOARD PRACTICE

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’re all enjoying autumn. It’s very breezy in my little corner of the northeast of England. And not only I it windy but that wind is blowing the leaves off the trees!!!

I’ve been enjoying autumn at my slow and measured pace. I’ve been out and about a little bit and seen the trees are starting to changes colours. Autumn is my favourite time of year. It’s starting to cool off sufficient that I can start wearing my woollies. I’ve pulled a few knitted cardies and sweaters out. And I’ve gone on to knit a few pairs of socks …..

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The socks knitted using Regia wool are children’s sock which I will be donating to Quilt for Comfort. Not only do the volunteers of Quilts for Comfort piece quilts but now they are collecting socks to bring comfort to young people receiving cancer treatment. Apparently, your feet get quite cold when during chemotherapy treatments. The donated sock can be handknit or store bought. And the young people love character socks eg: superhero, princess etc. I’m chose to knit a couple of pairs for now. When I’m out and about in the shops I will be looking out for interesting socks.

Speaking of Quilts for Comfort, I longarm quilted one quilt top last week for the charity …..

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I love a scrappy quilt. While I was stitching I spotted one or two fabrics which I have had in my stash over the years. I love this quilt and it has inspired me to make a couple of scrappy quilts for my Sarah and I to use in the evening while watching TV this winter. I have some lovely spotty fleece to use as a backing which will make the quilts even more cosy. Now I just need to decide how I will piece the quilts and to sort thru my scraps. I’ll need to clean my sewing machine including changing the needle and I’ll be good to go.

You might remember this panel that I pieced a couple of weeks ago just because I needed a sewing fix …..

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Well I finally quilted it this past weekend. I cleaned my sewing machine and changed the needle to a quilting needle and did the deed.

I find that I get a bit rusty in between freemotion quilting sessions. So, I need to practice a bit before actually start quilting the project. Lori Kennedy of the Inbox Jaunt recommended using a Boogie Board to practice. In the past, I used paper and pencil or a White Board and White Board marker but a Boogie Board wastes less paper and ink. I definitely agree with Lori that practicing on paper/Boogie Board/White Board helps you give your brain a preview of what you want to stitch on fabric. The more you practice the better your shapes get.

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I quilted this project using my domestic sewing machine, a Brother Innovis VQ-2. It’s a great machine for freemotion quilting as it has a large sewing bed. Once all the quilting was done I turned the panel into a bag. I’m not sure I need another bag but it was a great to practice my freemotion quilting while getting my much needed sewing fix.

With the arrival of the cooler weather my little furry supervisor needs a little bit of comfort …..

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My Maisie was a little off colour over the weekend. With her advanced age she suffers from Vestibular Disease. She had an episode on Saturday. Now that we know what it is when it happens it’s not so scary. Maisie has recovered and is in fine fettle today.

The last few weeks have been great. I have been living a reasonably good and quiet life. I do my best to stay away from complications. A simple life is a better life. My Sarah and I are looking forward to Christmas. I haven’t started counting down the days yet but I have done a wee bit of Christmas shopping.

So that’s my report for today. I have enjoyed my little bit of recent creativity. I hope to finish off one or two UFOs before Christmas but in the meantime, I’m enjoying little bit of stitching that comes my way. I hope you all have a super cosy evening doing something you truly enjoy. Until next time,

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 Lucie x

SUMMER RECAP

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’ve all had a super weekend. It was a lovely quiet weekend in my little corner of the northeast of England.

Well I guess summer is over; the kids will start going back to school tomorrow (in my area) and the weatherman says that meteorological autumn has arrived!!! Autumn is my favourite time of year. We had a super summer …. I’m hoping for a splendid autumn.

So, let’s see. What have I done this summer? Well all in all it was pretty quiet around here. I spent loads of time relaxing and soul searching while designing and sewing all kinds of stuff. I did a bit of freemotion quilting …..

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I worked on UFOs …..

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I attended my Sarah’s graduation ceremony …..

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And I went to The Festival of Quilts …..

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These photos represent just a very small selection of quilts I saw at the show. I couldn’t possibly take photos of everything I saw. These photos were taken using my phone so the quality isn’t great but you will have some of idea of what I saw. I can tell you that there weren’t many hand quilted quilts, the bulk of the quilts were machine quilted. Those that were hand quilted really stood out for me. Here’s a quilt which I recognised as being pieced and quilted by a blogger that I have been following for some time.

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Allison Reid of New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting. I especially liked the quilting on Allison’s quilt. If I remember correctly Allison took a class to learn how to quilt feathers which she later quilted on her Carrie Nation Variation quilt. So, well done Allison. Your quilt looked splendid hanging in the exhibition.

Another interesting part of the exhibition was Nancy Crow’s Mono-Printing. Her quilts are mono-printed and later freemotion quilted. The mono-printing is more in league with what my Sarah produced in university but I can appreciate the process and would definitely like trying to make a small sample for myself.

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All in all, I have to admit that going to The Festival of Quilts was the highlight of my summer. We travelled some 400 miles to get to the venue and back safely. On the days leading up to the event I was trying to find a good enough excuse to pull out. However, I faced my fears and made the journey. And I’m glad I did it.

It’s already the third day of September!!! As I mentioned above, the kids are returning to school this week. The one thing I miss doing is buying new uniform and school shoes not to mention a new pencil case. My goodness how things have changed.

As I sit here this afternoon remembering what I did this summer, the rain is showering my parched garden. And the people are scurrying past the front of my house trying to get home from work asap before they get really wet. My garden must be sighing at the arrival of a little moisture.

I do have some sewing progress. Don’t get too excited because it’s just a small sewing fix. Earlier in the year I used this tool to make a fireplace hearth runner…..

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Ages ago, I sat quietly at my table drawing a little diagram for which I could use my magic Dresden ruler again …..

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So, I chose a background and five different fabrics …..

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After doing a bit of cutting and sewing, I produced this quilt top …..

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I will be adding some freemotion quilting and turning this quilt top into a bag. I don’t need a bag but it’s my go to whenever I need a sewing fix. I look forward to finishing this project sometime in the near future.

So, I guess that was my summer report. I really enjoyed every single day of this summer. The weather was glorious and I thoroughly enjoyed the peace and quiet. I hope you have a super cosy evening doing something you really love doing. Until next time,

Let’s all keep on stitching.

Lucie x