ALL CHANGE

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’re all well and in good spirits. Like most of you I’m having ups and downs but thru it all I recognise that I am grateful for all I’ve got. Sarah and I feel safe at home and we’re in reasonable health at the moment.

We both step out first thing in the morning with our Maisie girl dog. We go early in order to ensure we don’t meet too many people. Yesterday morning we came across some chalk markings along the way …..

Hashtag Strong

And …..

Hashtag brave

I think this describes our current situation nicely.

And then on our way back home past the little play park …..

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We found this sign on the entrance gate to the park ….

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And this padlock securing it shut for the duration …..

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I don’t need to comment on this because it’s obvious that it’s for everyone’s good. Normal service will eventually be resumed.

It’s all change on the current project. I switched from hexagons to some hand quilting …..

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I’m hand quilting in circles. I am keeping it simple by quilting concentric circles. I quite like this type of quilting design. It’s easy peasy to mark by overlapping every which way. And by using matching thread, you don’t see the uneven stitches, only the texture which is what I’m aiming to produce.

Here, at happy stitching manor, we’re keeping busy. I still feel a little distracted but I am confident that in a few days the isolation will become the normal and I will be back on track and being creative again. I’m currently jumping from one thing to another and not getting much of anything accomplished. I managed to spend several hours hand quilting over the last couple of days. I think things are improving.

So, I guess that’s my report for today. I hope you’re all getting on with doing things you enjoy doing. After all life has to go on while we fight this invisible enemy. Until next time,

 

Let’s all keep on stitching.

Lucie x

KEEPING BUSY IN LOCKDOWN

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’re all safe and well and in good spirits. We’re still on lockdown here in my little corner of the northeast of England. This lockdown will surely slow down the spread of Covid-19.

We’ve had a lovely couple of days weather wise. The temperature yesterday was 15C and pure sunshine all day long. What a shame the kids are on lockdown and cannot take advantage of the glorious weather with wild abandon as they usually would. The small play park across the road from my home is empty. The swings are still. It looks very sad indeed. Today was a little misty at times but plenty of sunshine.

The purpose of this post is not to moan but to reassure you all that you’re not alone. We’re all in the same boat. And once the dust settles and we don’t feel so distracted by the newness of the fear and panic, we should all take stock of what we’re doing without and whether we can eliminate it for good. I miss the social aspect of my life. I generally live a quiet life nowadays but I miss not gathering with other like-minded people a couple of times a month and catching up with what’s going on in the world. I learn so much from others. I don’t consider myself to be anti-social in the least.

Yesterday I mentioned that I felt quite distracted. Well I have heard from a couple of friends, male and female and they have confirmed that feel much the same. My friend Veronica described it as having birthday money and not knowing what to spend it on. That’s such a great description. We are confronted with oodles of time at home when we can finally play in our sewing rooms to create beautiful things but not knowing what to create. I’m not giving up hope that in the next few days I shall find the on button for my creative side to emerge and produce something splendid.

In our time of isolation, it’s important to stay connected. Most of us have the internet which helps everyone to stay in touch. My neighbour phones me everyday to make sure we’re alright. And I have a weekly phone coffee date with my creative buddy at 11am on a Thursday booked for the foreseeable future.

So, what am I planning on doing once I stop feeling distracted??? Well I managed to order some new garden tools …..

Trowel and Fork

My old garden tools had seen better days. They were ancient and the trowel was taped together but finally gave up the ghost recently. I kicked off the gardening season last week and I plan to get my garden up to scratch in the next couple of weeks. It’s something I can do without danger of encountering the current invisible enemy.

Do you remember I posted about finding feathers everywhere recently? Finding said feathers has been happening for some time now. Well, I came across several pictures of a feather quilt in different websites online. So, I tracked down the pattern and ordered it …..

Feather from heaven

Arctic Feather

I have pulled and chosen fabric for this project which I hope to be able to concentrate long enough to get it rotary cut and start stitching the patches together. It’s a long time since I’ve worked from a pattern because I design my own quilts but this feather pattern was calling my name. So, watch this space for progress reports.

After my morning routine was done, this includes walking my Maisie dog with my Sarah, I disappeared into the kitchen and baked a batch of cookies. I used the very last of my flour. I shared our cookies with my neighbour. They were soooo good. I hope to be able to buy some flour soon as I would like to make a lemon drizzle loaf which I plan to share again. I haven’t baked in some time but the whole process today kept my mind busy and we ended up with a nice treat.

Oatmeal Cookies

So, my friends, if you would like to pop in and tell me how you have been keeping busy or indeed are able to concentrate on life in lockdown, please do. We’re all in this together.

So, my friends, I guess that’s my report for today. Rest assured that Sarah and I working on conquering this new way of life. I hope you all have a super cosy evening doing things that you truly enjoy doing. Until next time,

Let’s all keep on stitching.

Lucie x

STAYING HOME AND BEING WELL

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’re all safe and well on this glorious day. If you look outside everything looks just as it always did but it’s not just any ordinary day. We are in lockdown due to the war against an invisible enemy.

I count myself lucky. I have a roof over my head. I have food in my fridge. And I have the company of my Sarah and Maisie the dog. Maisie the dog is unaware of the war going on all around us.

We have taken government advice which of course is to stay home and save lives. I believe anyone who chooses to take this advice is a hero. So, congratulations to anyone who has hunkered down until it’s safe.

Sarah and I take Maisie out for her morning walk together. That way we all get a bit of fresh air and a leg stretch every day. As Sarah and I both live in the same household we are safe to walk together while keeping our distance from strangers. This morning we met absolutely no one. Early morning is a great time to step out. We have a small garden we can hang out in whenever we feel the need as well.

I’m finding it hard to find my feet. I can’t seem to concentrate on anything for any length of time. This morning I forced myself to do a few household chores and some cooking. I have a ham cooking in the slow cooker and if I have enough flour (I couldn’t find flour at the supermarket for love nor money) in the flour bin, I might bake some oatmeal raisin cookies.

Has anyone else had to hit the supermarket since the official lockdown started a few days ago here in the UK? Well I went first thing yesterday. I went at 7am to my local Morrisons supermarket and was turned away because I wasn’t NHS staff. 7am to 8am is reserved for NHS staff. I don’t begrudge that. I feel we need to support our medics. So, I came home and waited it out until 8am and went back. It was all quite surreal. Even getting in the car and driving to the supermarket. I felt like I was driving thru a warzone that didn’t look any different than usual. I seemed to be on high alert on the lookout for police. I’m glad the journey to and from the supermarket only takes about 10 minutes from door to door. Once I got in the supermarket with my trolley, I was really aware of personal space. I felt like a ninja trying to avoid coming too close to anyone else. For the most part everyone was very accommodating. I got most of what was on my list except the flour. There were plenty of fresh veg and meat and fish. Milk and dairy were well topped up, they didn’t have skimmed milk but I can live with semi-skimmed for a while. There was no pasta but it wasn’t on my list, I just happened to notice the shelves were empty. There will be hundreds of people with dozens of bags of pasta which they will still be eating next year! The freezer sections were a little thin on the ground but the supermarkets are doing the best they can to keep up with the demand of people stockpiling. I must admit that I was glad to leave the supermarket and get back into the fresh air. Ninja style doesn’t suit my slow and measured pace.

So, now we are left to re-invent ourselves to suit the situation. I have been soul searching in order to decide how I’m going to go forward once life returns to some kind of normality. I truly believe that life will never be as it was. The economy will take a hot minute to improve. Employment will change drastically. And life will be very different from what we’ve been living.

I remain of the opinion that stitching of the sewing, knitting, crochet, needlework etc variety makes life better one stitch at a time. It keeps your mind occupied and your hands busy. You produce something that you can be proud of. You make history with every project you complete. The sense of accomplishment is amazing.
My sewing endeavour at the moment is my hexagon UFO. I started this project at least two years ago. And slowly but surely, I can see progress. And the progress feels soooo good.

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As I write this post, I can see cars going past my house in both directions. All of these journeys are supposed to have a specific genuine essential reason. I can see familiar people walking their dogs and getting some fresh air while avoiding contact with others. There are no groups or crowds gathering anywhere that I can see. For safety’s sake this is how it must be for now.

I guess that’s my report for today. This is my account of how this invisible enemy is affecting me and mine for the time being. I am prepared to follow government advice that will hopefully save lives. Whatever you may be doing at the moment, I hope you are all safe and well at home sweet home. Until next time,

Let’s keep on stitching. And let’s all be heroes by staying home saving lives.

Lucie x

ANGEL WATCHING OVER ME

Hello my lovelies. I decided to pop in today to let you all know that I’m fine. I’ve had a bad case of writer’s block but with all that’s happening in the world at the moment, I thought I’d pop in to see if I could somehow lift your spirits.

First of all, how ya all doing??? If you’re anything like me you’ll be staying away from the madding crowd. My Sarah and I have been practicing social distancing for the last week as advised by the government. I have only stepped out for essential food shopping and to collect meds. There has been no socialising except thru digital messaging and the rare phone call. I, of course, have plenty of UFOs to work on but with all that’s going on and things changing almost hourly, I’m finding it hard to concentrate on my projects. However, I’m sure that I will settle down into this quiet isolation period and get some stuff done. As well as my projects, I have loads of tidying to do in the garden. Sarah and I have been demolishing an old deck type patio which had become dangerous. With the help of a borrowed crowbar we lifted the whole thing and there is no more danger of breaking our necks. When things start taking a turn for the better, we will take the rubbish to the tip.

The bulk of the schools in the UK closed on Friday for the foreseeable future. We have no little kids in our household to worry about entertaining in a state of isolation for the months to come until the Covid-19 situation improves. We have only been under “house arrest” since last weekend and already I feel a little cabin fever creeping up. So, I can only imagine what the mommies are going to do with small kids for the next few months.

This whole situation seems surreal to me. It feels like we’re war against an invisible enemy. I have no family here in the UK. They live in Canada and I imagine that things must have a very similar feel there to how things are here. In all my years on earth I have never experienced what it’s like to be at war, not up close and in person anyway.

My only advice to all is have patience and be kind whenever you can. Find chores and projects to catch up on. And this may be the perfect opportunity to get some much-needed rest. Make plans for the future. This is the time to plan how to make your dreams come true.

Over the last few weeks, I have observed some interesting night skies …..

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And some lovely sunrises …..

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I have officially launched the gardening season …

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And look there seems to be an angel in my garden …

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I really enjoyed hanging out in the garden for a bit this morning. I dead headed the hydrangea after seeing that the leaves are sprouting. I did a wee bit of pruning and filled the garden waste bin.

So, tell me what have you been doing to keep busy this winter and during our time in isolation. Sometime after Christmas I finished knitting my purple pullover …..

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And a few days ago, I dragged out my hexagon project. I’m just working on squaring it up before I add a plain border to it …..

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I have been trying to make a plan of action for the next few weeks. My notebook is full of scribbles and lists …..

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And look another feather. There must be an angel watching over me for sure.

I don’t spend much time in my sewing room anymore. Most of my quilt making projects are of the slow stitching variety which work really well as armchair projects while watching some mindless TV in the evening. Having said that, when I do disappear into my sewing room my little Maisie joins me in her capacity as project manager. Maisie will soon be 14 years old. She has a number of physical ailments now but she’s hanging in there nonetheless. We treat her with care and kindness. She has been our devoted companion for such a long time she deserves to be treated like a princess.

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Today is Mother’s Day here in the UK today. Well I am very grateful that my daughter is with me today. So, to all the mothers who cannot spend some time with their children today due to isolation, I wish you a very happy day. Life is an adventure these days. I reckon isolation may be the very best thing we can do at the moment. Just view our isolation as saving lives. This is our way of helping the NHS. Who knows, we may all be heroes.

So, my friends, I guess that’s my news for this weekend. I hope you all have a super cosy day doing things you enjoy doing. Remember, this too shall pass.

Until next time,

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

 

Lucie x

NEW PROJECTS THIS AUTUMN

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’ve all been enjoying the autumnal weather we have been experiencing. I am still crunching leaves underfoot in the morning while walking my Maisie. This morning the sun was shining beautifully showing off the naked branches of the trees. Comfort food is the order of the day. I have made one or two pots of soup and serving warm breath with it. It’s the perfect warmer for this time of year. Casseroles and pasta bakes go down really well too. Are you doing any comfort cooking right now?In my last post I ran a giveaway draw for 5 pairs of tickets to the Knitting & Stitching Show being held in Harrogate which is running from November 28 to December 1, 2019 in the Harrogate Convention Centre. The winners are:

Ann Burch – Newcastle Upon Tyne
Heather Smith – Northumberland
Jayne Davey – Lancashire
Bal Bailey – North Yorkshire
Chris O’Rourke – Newcastle Upon Tyne

Congratulations ladies. I would appreciate it if you could all supply me with your home addresses so I can submit them to the organisers who will forward your tickets. For those of you who missed out on entering/winning tickets and would like to attend the show you can book tickets online and by using code ONE19 you will get a discount.
So, let’s move onto sewing progress. Last time I showed you a part constructed Cathedral Window panel. Well I finally finished the panel …..


And appliquéd the panel to the back fabric …..


And layered up the Cathedral Window quilt top ready for a little hand quilting around the borders …..


For those of you who would like to try this traditional technique and think that it’s far too difficult, please do try it. The trick is to take this technique one step at a time and it makes it much easier to digest. Even if you only ever make one panel, do try it. It will use up some of your stash and you might even turn it into a gift for someone. I’m definitely going to gift mine for Christmas.
My UFO inventory is dwindling away. And with that in mind, I decided it was time for me to have a stab at something new and different. I think my new project will be or perhaps is already trending. The project is English Paper Piecing and it’s called Brimfield Awakening. Here’s a look at what I’ve pieced so far …..


The most difficult part of starting any project for me is choosing fabric. I was determined to use what I’ve got in my stash. So, I opened every drawer containing fabric and pondered what would go together. Well the task is so difficult now that my stash is dwindling away to nothing but I did find some very fine, lawn like fabric produced by Lecien that I purchased a few years ago which I was saving for Sunday best. Well baby, Sunday has finally arrived and I have cut into the fine fabrics and they seem to be working quite well for this particular project. For purposes of photography I have laid the blocks out on soft bamboo wadding in the vane of showing the colours of the fabric prints. Once I have pieced a few more blocks I will be able to decided what colour background I will need. Pinterest has a really good selection of photos of Brimfield projects. There’s something quite satisfying about working on English Paper Pieced projects because you know that your project will be accurate and neat. So, for now, I will alternate between my Brimfield project and my current knitting project as my evening armchair work. For today though, my washing machine is whirring away getting my bedding clean and I will step out to rake an enormous pile of leaves into my garden waste bin in readiness to be collected by the council tomorrow. It’s a bright but very cool day so I will no doubt come in from my outdoor adventure in the garden with roses on my cheeks and my glasses fogged up so that I can’t see where I’m going.
I love autumn. I love the crunchy leaves. And I love crisp sunny days in autumn. I love wearing woollies and chunky boots. This is my perfect day.
So that’s my news 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; did you know that one quilting stitch at a time makes life better? Take it from me, it does.

Lucie x

AUTUMN AND WINTER TO-DOs

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’re all enjoying the fresh autumn days. During my walk with Maisie in the mornings over the last couple of weeks, I crunched leaves under my feet and found one or two white feathers confirming that I’m on the right path to happiness.
So, let’s see. What have I been up to lately? Well I have been knitting up a little storm …..


This piece is going to be turned into a pullover or possibly a cardigan. I haven’t decided yet. Once I finish knitting up the back, I will make up my mind.

I have been attempting to work on a traditional patchwork technique called Cathedral Windows …..

I plan on turning this piece into a cushion. I dragged out a few red fabrics from my stash and cut them up and sewed them back together in a different order and so far, the piece looks like this. For this technique I used my sewing machine to piece the beginnings and now I’m adding the finishing touches by hand. I really do enjoy hand sewing. This is the perfect armchair project while watching some mindless TV shows. I will show you the finished project eventually. It might make a nice Christmas gift once it’s finished.

A few weeks back I pieced and machine quilted a quilt for a special occasion. I only showed you a small area of the quilt at the time. The quilt was a wedding present for a special couple. Well here is a better view of the quilt. I completely forgot to take a photo of the whole quilt before wrapping and gifting it. I received a message from the lovely Sheila asking if I could post a better view of the finished quilt, so I hope this does the trick.


With winter just around the corner not to mention Christmas in only 72 sleeps and we can expect short daylight hours and very dark nights, it’s important to find lots of things to add to our To-Do List to keep us busy indoors during the winter weather. Well I have a suggestion for all my readers who live in my neck of the woods. You may or may not know that the Knitting & Stitching Show event is taking place in Harrogate between November 28th and December 1st at the Harrogate Convention Centre. And the good folks who run and promote the event have offered me 5 pairs of tickets with which to run a free ticket giveaway. So, ladies and germs, here’s your opportunity to have a grand day out at a crafty show. To be in with a chance to win a pair of free tickets just post a comment. In the comment please tell me what your favourite craft is and in what county of England you live. Unfortunately, since the Knitting & Stitching Show is held here in the northeast of England, I will only enter the names of those who live in England. I shall be pulling the winners on October 27th and announcing the winners soon after. Good luck to everyone who is brave enough to enter my giveaway. If you’re wondering how to  comment, just scroll up to the title of the post and click on it and then scroll down to the bottom on the post and you’ll see the comment box. For more info about the show click on the picture below to be taken to the website.


So, my friends, I guess that’s my news for this weekend. I hope you’ve all been enjoying this glorious autumn. I look forward to seeing a few more pumpkins around over the next few weeks. And I’m going to carry on crunching thru the fallen leaves underfoot. I’m going to carry on adding events to my To-Do List to keep me busy thru the winter months. It’s important to always have something to look forward to especially during the dark cold months. I hope you all have a super cosy evening doing something you truly enjoy doing. Until next time,
Let’s all keep on stitching because one quilting stitch at a time, life gets better and better.
Lucie x

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

 

GIVEAWAY WINNERS

Hello my lovelies. I’m afraid this is just a short post to announce the winners of my giveaway draw. The prizes are five pairs of tickets to The Festival of Quilts which runs from August 1st to the 4th. The winners are: Helen Archer from Derbyshire, Anne Doak from Durham, Maureen Birkett from Blackburn, Lynn Cosgrove from Leicestershire and Eunice Eldridge from Guide Post. Congratulations to all the winners. I hope you have a fab time at the show. I have emailed you all separately in order to get your addresses so that your tickets can be forwarded to you directly.

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It’s been a busy time in my little world. I am quietly working my way thru my To-Do List. Lots of tidying in the garden and lots of sewing going on in the background. Remember, one quilting stitch at a time makes life so much better. I shall hopefully be back over the weekend with some sewing news. Until next time,

Let’s all keep on stitching.

Lucie x

THE FESTIVAL OF QUILTS TICKETS GIVEAWAY

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’re all enjoying a productive time. Things are pretty busy here at happy stitching manor. I have been working quietly behind the scenes on my latest creation. I must admit that I have absolutely and thoroughly enjoyed every single minute of my creativity. I think this project is the best I have created so far. I can’t wait to share How Does Your Garden Grow. So, watch this space.

 

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I’ve popped in today because I have once again been offered free passes to attend The Festival of Quilts this year. However, due to previous commitments, I will not be attending this time but the good organizers of the festival have set aside 5 pairs of day tickets for me to giveaway. The show runs from August 1st to the 4th. I think it’s going to be a great show. There’s always loads of beautiful quilts

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to see and the wonderful Jenny Doan of the Missouri Star Quilt Company will be in attendance. I would love to attend one of her lectures. Jenny’s story of how she got involved in the patchwork scene is a very interesting and inspirational one.

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As well as Jenny, there are oodles of super vendors selling things that you cannot live without!!! I always look at the tools and gadgets carefully. Attending The Festival of Quilts is always an adventure for me. Things change from one year to the next, including the roads! I always manage to get lost but that’s all part of the rich tapestry of life.

So, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. If you live in the UK and you are planning on going to The Festival of Quilts enter my giveaway draw. It’s quite simple, all I ask is that you tell me what patchwork technique you enjoy the most (pieced blocks, appliqué block, strip patchwork, freemotion machine quilting etc) your name, and what town and county you live in. You can do all this in a comment. Click comments at the top of the screen, scroll down and enter your info in the comment box. Come along ladies, step right up and bag yourself a free pair of day tickets for The Festival of Quilts. You know you want to. The draw will close on June 27th. Good luck everyone.

So, that’s my news for today. I will be back soon with some progress news. I have loads to share with you but I really want to make a little more progress before the big reveal. 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

SEW CREATIVE ON SUNDAY

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’re all enjoying a super weekend. It’s a bank holiday here in the UK. Yahoo, three days of peace and quiet. So, I got up early and did my household chores and disappeared into my sewing room and had a little play. Here’s what I have been prepping …..

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I’m hoping to be able to give myself permission to play in my sewing room again tomorrow. I really would like to start machining these patches in place. Note that I keep my designs simple nowadays. Doing this kind of appliqué work gives me a chance to use my scraps. If you look closely you see that even the background is pieced using leftovers from other projects. Piecing the background is a boring chore but it’s definitely worth the effort. Not to mention that when I next purchase fabric to be used for backgrounds I won’t feel guilty.

Well that’s my report for this fabulous bank holiday Sunday. I hope you all have a super cosy evening doing something you truly enjoy doing. Until next time,

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

Lucie x