AROUND AND ROUND WE GO

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’ve all had a fabulous day. It seems for the longest time I felt like I had lost my mojo. I’m sure lots of other quilt makers and crafters feel the same this time of year. I’m not sure if it’s the short days or whether it’s the let-down after Christmas that sends us crashing into the abyss. I do feel like I’m on the mend because I keep scratching around looking for UFOs projects to finish. I’m choosing projects that the most prep done which will put me in good stead to finish or make good progress more quickly. I feel the need to have a good sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.

So, what have I been doing today I hear you say. I sat down and pulled any paper shapes left in my Patchwork of the Crosses quilt top …..

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And then I cut and joined the plain border which I’m adding to the POTC just to frame it up. Once that was done, I sat and pinned and tacked the hexagon centre to the plain border …..

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If you look really hard you can see the tiniest dot of blood. This project has been a true labour of love. Not only that, I put blood, sweat and tears into it.

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I’m pleased to tell you that I had a good play with my Moving Forward block last evening …..

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Not only did I finish securing the patches to the background but I worked on another which is almost finish …..

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Moving Forward!!! Yes, I am. And today I prepped another block …..

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While I was busy in my sewing room, my supervisor was doing exactly what she does best. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz

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My Sarah went to York for the weekend. York is one of my favourite places but I stayed home with Maisie and had a girly weekend with her. Sarah hit the shops while she was there. I love quirky stuff, so when Sarah saw this she knew I would love it. Round and round we go …..

This lovely rotating candle is mesmerising. You light the candle and the heat makes the carousel go around and round. I’m such a lucky happy stitcher.

So, that’s my report for today. I’m so pleased my mojo is finally coming back. I seemed to be going thru the motions everyday for such a long time. Now I am actually enjoying what I’m doing and I look forward to stepping into my sewing room and being creative. I hope you all have a super cosy and creative evening. Until next time,

Let’s all keep stitching.

Lucie x

MOVING FORWARD, ONE STITCH AT A TIME

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’ve all had a super productive day. So far, I’ve had a pretty productive week. Considering it is only Tuesday I think we’re off to a cracking good start.

Last week I mentioned that I treated myself to some new storage. You’ll probably think I’m off my trolley when I show you what I bought to store my current projects and my favourite things …..

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I saw this three-tier basket trolley back in the summer and really liked the look of it. I think it looks rather girly. I’m not used to buying girly things for myself because I shared a home with a man for more than two decades. I’m finally getting used to pleasing myself. As you can see I have started loading my pretty trolley with some of my favourite useful things. And I can move my trolley between my sewing room and my living room whenever I feel the need.

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I did get a little sewing fix today. Don’t get too excited because it was only 30 minutes worth but I produced something that’s quite handy. I pulled a couple of pieces of scrap fabric from the scrap basket. And pressed it. I found a piece of wadding approximately the same size and inserted it between the two layers of fabric. Using a pencil and a rotary ruler I marked out some guidelines. I did some sewing …..

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And produced a few needle keepers. Whenever I go to my monthly sewing sessions there’s always someone declaring “ooooh I lost my needle” … again. Well these little needle keepers are perfect for parking your needle while you’re reaching for your thread and needle threader etc. I’m going to be joining a few like-minded ladies this weekend for a monthly sewing session and I will gift them each one of my simple little needle keepers.

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The good news ….. I have finally finished my Patchwork of the Crosses centre blocks. The next step is to add a plain border which I need to psych myself out for. I’m hoping to get that done by the end of the week and then it will be loaded into my longarm system for quilting. In the meantime, I need an armchair project for the evenings while I watch TV. So, I stood in my sewing looking lost and remembered a project which I started about two years ago. I have drawn out the layout but not all the blocks yet. From the file, I found a couple of blocks ready for hand appliquéing. So, I thought I would have a go at that this evening. I love hand appliqué. All those fine hand stitches are soothing. And knowing that it’s a block that comes from my drawing is so satisfying.

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Once I decided to work on this block I needed to fine my very fine thread. So, it was another hunting and gathering session to find the thread.  I chose three thread colours that match quite nicely with the patches on my block and so now I’m off on the next UFO. I can draw new blocks during the day, do the prep work and sit quietly appliquéing in the evening. I named this project Moving Forward, One stitch at a Time.

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Last week I had showed you my A is for Appliqué blocks which I planned on working on next but I’m still trying to find the fabric collection I need to piece a few more blocks in order to bring the count up to twelve to complete. Besides I can use some of the drawings from my Moving Forward quilt in this A is for Appliqué project.

So, that my report for today. Not very exciting but this is me. Sewing one stitch at a time moving forward quietly. I hope you all have a super cosy evening doing some quiet but productive. Until next time,

Let’s all keep stitching

Lucie x

MAKING BUNTING

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’ve all had an enjoyable weekend. I was such a productive happy stitcher over the weekend. I did everything that was listed on my To-Do List and then some.

My biggest goal was to make the bunting. A task that I’ve been putting off for such a long time. I purchased three long quarters back in December and tucked it away. When I found it last week, I added the task to my To-Do List for the weekend. I did not have a plan of action but knew that I wanted to keep it simple. So, Saturday morning, even before having breakfast or getting dressed, I made a template. My favourite medium for making templates is good old-fashioned cereal box card. I have loads of cereal card because my friends save it for me, only because they know how much of it I use. It all started with a template …..

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Once I cut the template I set it aside and got stuck into my morning routine. Once I finished all the boring morning tasks popped back into my sewing room and pressed the fabric. I used my three prints and some calico and another print for the string. I layered the strips, one of print and one of calico, with rights sides together and pressed the fabric. Doing that puts a little static in the fabric and holds it together while you’re sewing.

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Then I took my very fancy template and traced it onto the fabric, nesting the shapes together. By nesting the shapes together, you save on fabric and reduce the cutting.

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I put a couple of pins in each traced shape and took the whole strip of fabric to the sewing machine.

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I used my ¼” sewing machine foot to sew ¼” from the traced lines. I soon worked out the best way to deal with the sewing without twisting the fabric round and round. Once the sewing was done, I took the strip back to the cutting station. I used my rotary cutter to cut all the shapes apart.

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I repeated the process with the two other prints. The next part wasn’t so exciting to work on. I clipped the points and turned the shapes right side out and poked the points out using this my favourite poking out tool.

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This is a chop stick which I sharpened with a pencil sharpener and then filed the sharp point down a little using an emery board. This is a very useful inexpensive tool.

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Once all the pennant shapes were turned out and pressed, I moved onto making the string the joins all said shapes together. For this string, I found some fabric that tones in quite well. Sometimes a project comes together nicely without any pre-planning. The fabric I found happens to be Kaffe Fassett that I’ve had for many years. It just so happens that two of my three prints are more recent Kaffe Fassett!!! This bunting was definitely meant to be.

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So, I cut seven strips 2-1/2” wide and joined them all end to end. I pressed the extra long strip in half and then pressed each side in toward the centre. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

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Then I decided which order to sew different prints along the string. When I was happy with the layout I pinned the pennants in place and sewed my little heart out.

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There’s probably many ways of piecing bunting but this method worked really well for me. I started and finished all in one day with pretty good results. I suspect that if I didn’t have the short cut tools such as rotary cutting equipment it would have taken longer. I’m really pleased with the result. I pieced twenty-one pennants which I divided into two strings. Here’s a little peek at the one I managed to hang by myself.

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And here’s the one I will get help with when my Sarah comes home from her weekend away.

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When my adventure into bunting land was finished, I settled down to do some serious work on my Patchwork of the Crosses. While I hand stitched the last of the components, I watched Victoria & Abdul. I love a period drama, especially if Judi Dench is in it. It was a good story but not for everyone.

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Sunday morning was spent doing a few chores in the morning and some more POTC work in the afternoon. I started joining the last row of blocks to the main body of the quilt top. Once again, I hand stitched my little heart out. I’m moving forward at a nice pace now. I hope to post a photo of the whole quilt top in the next week or so. English Paper Piecing goes as a slow and measured pace; it’s very relaxing.

I was torn between heading out on an adventure and staying home and having a quiet weekend. In the end I decided to stay home and do some self-care. I’ve come to understand that there are times when it’s important to put ourselves first. The quiet time I spent at home was soothing. The quiet gave me the time I needed to put things into perspective. I’m rebuilding life one day at a time. Next weekend I will be spending time with some like-minded ladies who enjoy quilt making as much as I do. So that will be my well-deserved adventure.

So, that’s my report for this past weekend. Not very exciting but very productive leaving me with a great sense of accomplishment. Until next time,

Let’s all keep stitching

Lucie x

BLUE, BLOOD OR SUPER

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’ve all had a fabulous day. Mine day was mainly a trip to Ikea to purchase a funky bit of storage.

I don’t have any sewing progress to show you today but I did catch this shot of last night’s Super Moon.  I really do think that the moon influences my behaviour.

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I hope to be back soon with some sewing progress. Until next time,

Let’s all keep on stitching

Lucie x

ONCE IN A BLUE MOON

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s all keep stitching

Lucie x

REPLACING USEFUL TOOLS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time,

Let’s all keep stitching

Lucie x

GLAD THE WEEKEND IS FINALLY HERE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time,

Let’s all keep stitching

Lucie x

DRESDENS IN THE SUNSHINE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time,

Let’s all keep stitching

Lucie x

MAKING REALLY GOOD CIRCLES

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time,

Let’s all keep stitching 

Lucie x

PRODUCTIVE TIMES ON A CRISP COLD DAY

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’ve all been enjoying winter. Isn’t it cold brrrr!!! Mind you, if you live in Australia, you won’t be suffering from freezing temperature and snow. It’s been the perfect day for playing in my sewing room.

It’s been a productive day in quilting stitch manor. I did a bit of paperwork, payed some bills, ordered one or two things online and flashed up my longarm for the first time this year. It was just like riding a bike! Once the machine was cleaned and threaded, it came to life and stitched a lovely design on a bright and cheerful jelly roll quilt top. Bright and cheerful is very welcome on a cold crisp January day.

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The quilting design I used is by Apricot Moon and it’s called Hall of Mirrors. It’s a wavy design that gives the straight strips a little curvy movement. It’s such a long time since I bought some new designs, I think I’ll treat myself to a couple soon.

I do have a little progress to show you on my Patchwork of the Crosses…

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The countdown is on. I have four more blocks to piece for the centre section for my labour of love, the Patchwork of the Crosses, to be complete. I’m working as fast as I possibly can because I can’t wait to see the finished result. I’m so glad Lucy Boston shared this design with us all.

I’ve added one newish technique to my To-Do List for 2018. I would like to learn how to use rulers to quilt on my domestic sewing machine. I already have the ruler foot and a few rulers from my longarm system that I can use. I have plenty of fabric that I can turn into practice quilting sandwiches, all I need is the courage and energy to get on with it. Has anyone out there tried machine quilting with rulers on their domestic machine? I would love to hear about your experience with ruler work.

I was chatting with my mother on Skype today and whining about how cold it is here in my little corner of the northeast of England. I do keep up with the north American news but sometimes it takes a personal touch to drive home just what’s happening thousands of miles away. Apparently, the temperature has dropped as low as -49F recently. I do remember from my younger days living in Montreal just how cold it gets in the winter. So, to any of my readers who live in Canada or America do wrap up warm. For the benefit of anyone reading who might not know, I was born and bred in Canada and moved to the UK in the early mid-nineties. I do appreciate the milder weather but not the rain and regular flooding here.

So that’s my report for today. I’d love to hear from you even if it’s just to say hello.

Please pop in again soon.

Until next time,

Let’s all keep stitching

Lucie x