TIS THE SEASON TO BE JOLLY

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’ve all had a great day. Phew!!! It’s such a busy time of year. I feel like I’m trying to wrap up all the chores I wish I had done earlier before the last day of the year. Isn’t it funny how we become anxious about things that don’t really matter? I’ve had one or two chats with myself about such things that don’t matter of late. It’s very hard to reason with myself at times.

So, along with a few chores I’ve also had a little playtime in my sewing room. I embellished my hexagon wreath …..

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As you can see, I kept it simple. A couple of gold bells, a bit of raffia and some fake holly leaves and berries and Bob’s your uncle. I quite like my little wreath. It’s such a simple make which is the perfect evening armchair project for this time of year.

 A few weeks ago, I treated myself to a few long quarters of fabric to make a new notebook cover. Well the fabric sat onto of a pile for a while. I kept looking at it longingly trying to work out a plan of action. Today, I decided that it was time to piece said notebook cover. So, I found a blank notebook in amongst my stationery and pressed the fabric and started cutting it up. Once again or as usual, I kept the piecing simple and straight forward.

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I layered up the little quilt top and added some stitching using some of my much loved Aurifil thread. My Aurifil only comes out on special days to be used on special projects! I used some of the fancy stitches on my sewing machine. I don’t use fancy stitches very often but you’ll notice that I still kept it simple.

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I use this notebook every single day. I write my To-Do List in it. I draw chicken scratch diagrams for new ideas. I write notes regarding things that I don’t want to forget such as appointments and phone numbers. I generally go thru two notebooks a year. After today’s little sewing session, I ready for the new year ahead.

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Apart from buying fresh food, I’m ready for Christmas. My fairy lights are up and twinkling. My wee Christmas Tree is decorated. My scented candles are lit every evening. And the stockings are hung on the fireplace. The Christmas spirit has arrived at happy stitching manor, finally. The only thing that could possibly make me feel more festive is a dusting of snow of the big day.

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So, I guess that’s my report for today. I hope you’re all enjoying the run up to the festive season. I notice the shops are getting busier and the traffic is pretty bad at times. Tis the season alright. 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

LET’S KEEP WARM

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’ve all enjoyed a happy Wednesday. It’s been a wet dreary day in my little world but I kept busy doing this and that and tried not to worry about the dreary weather. I spent a little time sorting thru Christmas decorations. I even hung a wreath on my front door. Now that my Sarah is grown, we don’t put as many festive decorations up. We tend to enjoy the gentle flicker of lovely scented candles and the twinkling lights of our Christmas Tree. We have a few Christmas quilts to snuggle under on cold dark winter evenings. It’s all very relaxed. And there’s no worries about disappointing anyone with the simple way we do Christmas.

I was recently asked for a pattern for my classic mittens. I have been knitting these particular mittens since the eighties. They’re quite simple to make and look pretty good too.

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So, as I was going to write the pattern anyway, I decided to share it with all of you. There’s still plenty of time to knit a pair for yourself or a loved one before Christmas. Just click here to be taken to the a printable pattern.

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The last few weeks have been busy doing something and nothing. I seem to be going in circles and not accomplishing very much. Today I have looked back on those weeks to realise that in fact I have solved a few problems, finished a few Christmas projects and generally minimalised the clutter making life a little better for us. My To-Do List for 2019 is starting to take shape and I’m a little more light-hearted than I was this time last year. So, all in all it’s been a pretty good year.

So, I guess that’s my report for this week. I hope you’re all busy preparing for the holiday. It’s such a jolly time of year even if the weather isn’t co-operating. I have one wish for Christmas …. A dusting of snow on Christmas day would be lovely but it’s not very likely here in my little corner of the northeast of England. I will have a great Christmas regardless. 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

SEASONAL UPDATE

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’ve all had a super-duper day. I’ve noticed something in the air. Until today I couldn’t quite work out what it was. I found myself feeling a bit anxious since the weekend. And then I heard something on the news at lunchtime today which helped me work out what’s up. Christmas is in 43 days and I’ve got not much of anything ready. I used to be so organised when my Sarah was a little girl. By the time she broke up from school for the holiday everything was ready to go. I wonder if, as we grow older, Christmas becomes more relaxed.

So, I have reviewed my latest To-Do List and rejigged it to reflect the holiday season approaching. I managed to tick two different seasonal jobs from my list already. And I have a new Christmas project finished and ready to enjoy. I designed and pieced this cushion cover over the summer but forgot about it until this past weekend …..

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I kept this project simple by using up a few of my scraps and a fat quarter for the background. Less is definitely more in this case. The iridescent ribbon pretties it up nicely. And digging around in my button jars was great fun too.

Still in keeping with the spirit of the season, my friend mentioned she wanted to make seasonal wreaths using hexagons. So, I offered to help her work out how to do it. This is what I came up with so far …..

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Once the actual wreath is pieced, we could add any kind of embellishment we wish. I dragged out some ribbon for hanging and the bells can dangle from the centre hole. However, after giving more thought, perhaps raffia or jute twine might do just as well for hanging. I suppose the sky’s the limit. Working on this little wreath project kind of put me in mood for the holiday which has creeped up on me. I’m looking forward to the quiet days between Christmas and New Year and all the stuff I dream of doing. We all know that whatever we plan will most likely not happen!!! but it’s nice to dream.

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So far, it’s been a pretty good week in my little world. I had a nice lunch date yesterday. I tend to be pretty quiet nowadays but when I get the chance to step out for a bit, it makes a nice change of pace. My quiet little life is perfect for me at this stage of life.

So, I guess that’s my report for today. I’m about to head outside to sweep a few leaves up and move a little planter into it’s rightful place by my front door. I hope you all have a super cosy evening doing something you truly enjoy doing. Until next time,

Let’s on keep on stitching.

Lucie x

END OF ANOTHER BRILLIANT WEEK

Hello my lovelies. Have you had a good week? Mine has been brilliant. I’ve done a bit of this and that and thoroughly enjoyed every minute.

I ran a few errands this morning and a wee bit of fabric may have found it’s way into my bag …..

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It’s time again to start thinking about making a notebook cover. My current notebook is coming to an end and I’ll be using some of these long quarters to fabricate said notebook cover. I love the cheerful colours and as I use my notebook daily will enjoy using it. I didn’t really need to buy new fabric but I thought as I have been pretty good at using up what I have for a good while, I deserved a little treat. And besides, the new prints might bring me inspiration. I look forward to cutting into these new babies and piecing something gorgeous that I’ll see every single day.

The weather was very co-operative today. I hadn’t planned to spend anytime outside, in fact, I was going to disappear into my sewing room to have a sewing fix. However, because the sun was shining and the wind was virtually non-existent, I decided to step out and start my autumn garden clean-up.

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I clipped and chopped until I filled two reusable garden waste bags. There’s a fifteen-foot Buddleia in one of those bags!!! That’s almost three times my height!!! I worked in the garden space just outside my sewing room. It was getting quite overgrown and scary looking. After an hour of clipping and chopping I managed to clear three-quarters of that area of my garden making it look much tidier. I will dispose off the garden clippings at the tip tomorrow on my way to my sewing session.

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My companion supervisor, kept an eye on me while I quietly worked my way thru what looked triffids. She stood just off to one side trying to take in some of the lovely autumn sunshine.

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Maisie is in pretty good shape for an old lady dog. She’s twelve now and she loves all of life’s comforts. Once we came inside she assumed her position on the end of the sofa and snored for an hour. It’s hard work supervising outdoors.

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I recently finished piecing my latest project and loaded it into my longarm quilting system a couple of days ago. I’m really looking forward to finishing the quilting and binding but in the meantime …..

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My design wall is looking so sad. So, tell me ladies, what are you working on these days? I was thinking perhaps, that while I work out my next design, I should probably use up some of my scraps to make a couple of cosy scrappy quilts that my Sarah and I can use on cold winter evenings while watching TV. I bought a large piece of fleece a few weeks ago, which would be perfect to back a couple of cosy scrappy quilts. In the meantime, I can workout what my next theme is. Writers get writers block well I’ve got quilt designer’s block at the moment. I’m sure the inspiration will come soon enough and my design wall will be covered is loveliness again.

So, I guess that’s my report for today. It’s been a fine week in my little world. I hope you all have a super cosy evening doing something you truly enjoy doing. We all need to do more of what we love. Until next time,

Let’s all keep on stitching.

Lucie x

NOT LOOKING FOR PERFECTION

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’ve all had a super-duper day. My Sarah and I have been enjoying lovely lazy summer days. I hope our glorious summer days last thru the whole season.

I’ve been working hard on my latest quilt project, My Sweet Dresden Town. There are only a couple more blocks to draw and stitch. Well I thought I’d take a little break from that in order to work on a UFO that’s been in the pile for some time. In fact, it was so low in the pile that I had to dig around to find it.

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This project consists of a sandwiched piece of calico to which I added some colour blotches which I planned to add some freemotion quilting to in order to give it some definition. So, with my Sarah’s advice I chose a nice pale green thread, Aurifil 50wt. And then I prepped my sewing machine and got down to the nitty gritty.

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I outlined all the colour blotches in a medium grey thread …..

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And then switched to the green thread to fill in all the negative spaces. I kept the design simple …..

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While I was stitching I felt quite disappointed at the jaggy bits I was stitching out. I haven’t done any freemotion quilting on my domestic sewing machine in a long time but I persevered …..

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The more I filled in the negative spaces the better it looked. And once I was done I felt really good about what I accomplished. I no longer look for perfection. As long as it’s better than what I started with I’m happy. Well I’m definitely happy with what I did today.

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Now that I’ve had a little taste of freemotion quilting on my domestic sewing machine again, I feel like doing more. I have a little idea of what I’d like to do next time but that won’t be for a while. I have a To-Do List as long as my arm to finish up before I start another project.

I just realised today that there are only three days left of June!!!!! Next week is Sarah’s graduation ceremony. I can’t believe it. I look forward to whatever life has in store for us both.

So, I guess that’s my report for today. I had some well deserved fun freemotion quilting a long time UFO. Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be great. 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

A QUICK CATCH UP

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’ve all enjoyed a lovely sunny spring day. After two or three days of dark dreary and wet days the sun was ever so welcome. I didn’t post yesterday because I was out all day and did not have any sewing news to post about. However, with the sun shining so brightly it put me in the mood to motor thru a couple of jobs. So, let’s catch up.

The first thing I did this morning is this …..

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And this …..

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And then I put it all together to produce this …..

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This simple Dresden Plate block is to add to the nine other blocks of my A is for Appliqué project which I started many years ago. So, I have a total of ten blocks now, only two more to piece. I’m moving forward on this one Joanna.

After emptying the dishwasher and walking the dog I went right into work mode. I disappeared into my sewing room and started to join the four sections of my latest obsession together. I joined the different ready quilted section together using 1-1/4” sashing strips for the top and 2” strips for the back. For those who may not know the sashing strips are the strips that join blocks or section together. In this case, I pieced my sashing using short scraps in hopes that the top sashing would blend in with the blocks. I’m quite happy with the result. I’m hoping that my fellow Belles help me refine the whole method of this type of Quilt as You Go technique. My quilt is not perfect but it’s good enough to bring comfort where needed.

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My current task is to hand stitch the open side of the sashing down. Followed by hand finishing the binding and the label. I have really enjoyed this project and I’m sure to use this method over and over again. I really like the straight-line quilting. I like the vintage feel it gives the quilt. Besides it makes a nice change from the scrolly curvaceous designs I stitch using my longarm. I think this type of quilting would suit those quilts that we snuggle under in the dead of winter in front of the fire. You know those quilts that have every kind of scrap fabric we can put our hands on at the time of piecing. Those are the quilts that take me back to times long gone because the scraps are ages old and I can remember exactly what project I bought the fabric for.

It’s been a lovely quiet day. Apart from walking my Maisie I haven’t ventured out which I must admit was a relief as I was out all day yesterday attending appointments and running errands. We’re still on Easter Holiday here. My Sarah won’t be going back to university for another week or so. We’ve both spent the day working our way thru our To-Do List. Personally, I have added more jobs to the list than I have actually completed!!!

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

Lets all keep on stitching.

Lucie x

MY LATEST OBSESSION PROGRESSES

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’ve all had an enjoyable day. We’re still in Easter holiday mode here in my little corner of the northeast of England. The sun has nowhere to be seen today. My Sarah disappeared into her art studio and I disappeared into my sewing room. My latest obsession is progressing nicely. I have now machine quilted all four sections of my charity quilt. Here’s a little peek at the sections waiting to be joined together.

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It’s a long time since I sat for several hours at my sewing machine to stitch until I couldn’t stitch anymore. Even when I piece a quilt nowadays I do an hour or so at a time and carry on tomorrow. I’m sort of fixated on this current project because although I don’t usually struggle with quilting full-size quilts, I am trying to work out how to quilt sections of a quilt and then join it together neatly in a way that’s not obvious. This way my fellow charity volunteer worker bees might benefit from my experimentation. I’m sure plenty of other quilt makers have worked out how to do what I’m doing but I need to do it myself in order to be able to explain to someone else. It’s good to challenge your brain now and again.

In between household chores and my latest sewing obsession I unwind with hexagons. I am making progress albeit slow progress. At the rate I’m going now, I may finish this hexie quilt sometime in 2020!!! Considering that I only work on it in my armchair in the evening, when I don’t fall asleep in front of the television, I’m probably progressing nicely. Hexagons have been my go-to project for many years.

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While messing around in my sewing room a couple of days ago, I found a few bits of fabric that I had given up finding. A while back I posted about some appliqué which I pieced as part of a challenge years ago. Well it turns out that I’m a couple of blocks short and I was determined to use fabric from the collection I had used to piece the first nine blocks. Now that I have found the fabrics I can get on with the task of piecing the last three blocks making a total of twelve. I have no plan of action for how to join all the blocks. I suppose if I just join them in the tradition way with sashing and such, that will do the trick. I’ll be glad to finally see this project finished and ready to use. I have a few bits of vintage lace which I can use to embellish but if I had some mother of pearl buttons to add the effect would be even better. So, if anyone out there has a few mother of pearl buttons to spare or knows where I could purchase a few I would appreciate it. I don’t have time to quilt it by hand but I’m sure a little simple machine quilting would do the trick. I’m determined to finish as many UFOs as I can this year.

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So, I guess that’s my report for today. I may not be posting tomorrow because I have an appointment in the morning and an errand with Sarah in the afternoon. So there probably won’t be any sewing progress to report in any case. I hope you all have a super cosy evening doing something relaxing. Until you next time,

Let’s all keep on stitching.

Lucie x

VISIT TO A BLUSTERY BEACH

Hello my lovelies. I hope you all made it thru Valentine’s Day. My Sarah and I had a great time. There was no pressure. It’s lovely to spend an evening with someone who doesn’t need to be impressed.

It’s been a bit of a busy day in my little world but I don’t seem to have accomplished much of anything. I kicked off the day by collecting my new specs at the optician shop. Then I renewed my house insurance; this is a task I hate doing because I seem to spend ages on the phone. This year I decided to renew online. It took only a few minutes and it was straight forward. I’m good for a whole year now. Yippeee

I went out for lunch with my friend Anne and her husband Malcolm. We went to our local fish and chip place on the beach. The place was packed but the service is excellent and the food is really good. It’s ages since I’ve been to that chippy. After our meal we had a short stroll to look at the sea. The wind was whipping around and blowing the sand all over the beach. I sure wouldn’t like to be in the water today.

It seems that all us quilt makers are of the same mind. We all love stationery. So, Anne gave me this little present which is very welcome indeed …..

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Not only is Anne’s gift pretty, it’s very functional as well. I was scrambling around last night to find a scrap of paper to make of list of blocks I want to draw for my Moving Forward project. So now I’ll put my notebook in my project box and add to my list as I think of new designs to be added. Thank you for the thoughtful gift Anne.

The sun has been out all day and the windy has been blowing like mad. While I was out walking Maisie this morning, I was wondering if spring would ever get here. I must admit that I’m fed up of being cold. The days are definitely getting longer but it still feels like winter. OK that’s my rant for today.

Between ranting and collecting specs and renewing insurance I also did a little hexagon prep work. You might remember that I cut strips yesterday. Well today I traced the hexagon shape onto the strips ….

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Stuck a pin in the doubled up folded strip in each shape traced to keep all four layers in place while I cut …..

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I use good Fiskars scissors to cut thru all those layers …..

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In no time flat I cut these three piles of hexagons …..

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We all have our own method of cutting hexagons but this works really well for me. I never cut all the hexagon shapes in one go. That’s probably because I’m never sure how big I will make the project. And it also gives me chance to add different colours and prints.

It’s been a pretty good day in my little world. I enjoyed socialising. And I’m pleased to be able to tick one or two things from my To-Do List. So, I guess that’s my report for today. I hope you all have a super duper cosy evening doing something that brings you joy. Until next time,

Let’s all keep on 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

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