Friday 27 April 2012

that personal touch

I'm quietly* sitting and stitching
(with crossed legs)
but I'm also contemplating.
One of my favourite bloggers Rachel from Stitched in Color
has written a thought provoking post on blog content,
and whether to share personal stuff.
 On the whole I speak from the heart and like to think I'm genuine.
Some things I want to get off my chest!
 Thank you to all my followers and commenter's,
not forgetting emailers who stick by me whatever my mood.
I feel I should also acknowledge emails that have passed me by, and to thank the
lovely people for sending me messages and awards that I have failed to respond to.
I am also guilty of not commenting as often as I should.
my bad

There is a great blog hop concerning blog etiquette going on over
I heed you to take a look, you may learn some interesting things.

Enough of the heavies!
Have a great blogfree weekend?

*actually I'm listening to planet rock

Thursday 26 April 2012

piece and love progress

 Unable to garden due to a torrential April
I have been steaming ahead with my latest epp project.
 It's taken on a life of it's own,
and the more I sew the more I need to sew?
 Many hours of crossed legs have passed and many will follow!
If you would like to join or follow, pop over here for more inspiration.
This is an easy going challenge, just keep the hexagons BIG.
Check out Kristas progress at Krista Stitched

Peace out xx

Tuesday 24 April 2012

purple haze

 Is it me or has it rained every day since I dug the pond?
The only upside I can think to this misery is the fact that 
I have had a cold (since my titanic night out),
and at least the water butt is full again.
So I've been in a funk to put it mildly!
 What to do when the funk strikes?
Start a new quilt!!
Oh and I do work with my legs uncrossed sometimes,
if you didnt read my last post,
let me make it clear that I mean I'm using my sewing machine!
 This biennial is honesty or lunaria
grown from seed last year.
It has lovely papery seed disks after flowering.
 I need to finish this one for September for my best friends 40th.
I think the pattern is a take on the shoo fly block and it's going to be KINGSIZE!!
 I should really be cutting fabric so if you dont mind I'll sign off...

Monday 23 April 2012


  what's the difference between hand sewing and machine sewing?

you can't cross your legs when machine sewing!

Tuesday 17 April 2012

tying the knot

When I make tutorials I often wonder if I should include how I tie my knots.
As I mainly hand sew I make hundreds of knots just on one quilt.
Annette from My Rose Valley has recently started hand piecing 
and has asked me how to make a good knot.
I am sharing the 4 types of knots that I use,
however they all rely on the same principle,
which is pulling the thread through a spiral.
I am using embroidery thread to give you a clearer view.
 The first is knotting your thread at the bottom.
 Hold the tail end of the thread tight between your finger and thumb.
 Now with your left hand, 
wind the thread around the needle.
(the more times you do the bigger the knot)
 Slide the the spiral of thread down the needle.
 Gently pull the needle whilst holding the loops tight.
(not too tight so that you cant pull the thread through)
 Keep pulling the bunch of loops until you reach the end.
This can be tricky and be ready for some bodged knots.
 There we have a knot!
 The second is a knot I use mainly when I'm finishing off tacking my pieces.
When you come to the end of tacking, hold the as above.
 As before wind the thread around the needle.
 Pull the spiral of thread down the needle.
 Hold it under your thumb, 
again with the right amount of tightness,
pull the needle so the thread pulls through smoothly.
 All the way to the end, helping the knot form by pushing it down the thread.
 There we have a knot!
 My third knot is one I use when I'm making permanent stitches,
so I want a more secure knot.
When you have come to the end of your thread or piecing
pass the needle through both fabrics as if to make a stitch.
 You guessed it.
Make a spiral by winding the thread.
 Push it down.
 Pull the needle whilst holding the bunch of thread.
 Ta dah another knot.
(sometimes when I'm finishing off I make a couple of extra stitches before I tie the knot)
 This last version is a recent find, not one I use often,
but useful all the same.
Take the needle through as before.
 Pull the thread and almost make a stitch.
 Pass the needle through the loop.
 Two or three times.
 Then pull the thread tight as if making a stitch.
 You may need to coax it down.
There we are the last knot!
As a daughter and grand daughter of dressmakers
this is how I was taught to tie knots.

It's second nature to me,
which is why I hope I can pass it on 
even though it really is quite simple,
once you've learnt how to you'll never forget.
ps sorry about my gardeners hands!

Monday 16 April 2012

never forget

 Being a Southampton girl I feel it's only right that I share how the city 
remembered those lost 100 years ago.
We were actually on a night out to celebrate a friends birthday, 
when we came across the above layout of the Titanic.
As a deeply nostalgic person I found it so touching.
(I did not stand on the bow and shout the obvious, I'm far too respectful for that)
Another touching detail were the passenger tags and white lilies tied to the lamp posts.

I would love to say we stayed for the whole night,
but we had a night of drinking planned.
I think they had a little re-enactment that followed the last hours of the Titanic.
We had planned to return on our way home,
after a night dancing we made our drunken way to the park.
The time was just after 2 am..
We huddled together with a gathered crowd some in dress of the period,
and listened to a narrator describing what was happening on the Titanic.
Then roughly at 2.20 the lights surrounding us went out as we were told the Titanic had now sunk.

It was a very poignant moment in my life,
I'm glad that we were there....
and then we were back on the high street surrounded by the rowdy Saturday nighters
back to reality!

Saturday 14 April 2012

fluff and the machine

 There's nothing like a free motion quilting marathon to help you get to know your machine.
 As you know I am a fmq virgin.
What better way to practice than to quilt a quilt,
practicing on a small piece is fine,
I did find however that I really only got to grips with it after an hour or so,
which is why a big project worked for me.
Enter stage left
the fluff
After 10 minutes and a clunk my machine came to a halt.
After a mild panic I remembered my Janome hand book.
Fingers crossed I followed the instructions and opened the foot plate.
Hand on heart I have never in my life done this before (my bad)
(remember to unplug before attempting this please)
But whoa do you see the fluff under the bobbin casing!!
This was after I had vacuumed too.
I'm pretty sure I could make a quilt if I gathered enough.
So I gave everything a good clean out and hey presto it only went and fixed the problem!
I must add that the first quarter of quilting is pretty awful.
I started off a bit haphazard and broke the thread more times than I care to remember
(I know now that was a tension problem and generally poor technique)
Day 2 which was yesterday I began to understand and find what worked for me.
I persevered through,
Latex gloves are a must for quilting,
 but are a pain in the butt when threading needles and switching on my machine,
I lost count how many times I snagged them,
even managing to get them wound up with thread when loading a bobbin!!
I worked in random lines 
and found that to do nice loops I could only go from left to right.
Towards the end of my 4 hour marathon I was really rocking the fmq
(like you see on you tube)
And then bam broken needle!!!
It was a new needle too.
Another first for me, I'm not sure how it happened but it did!
I love the wishy washy effect the fmq gives,
it's quite solid yet nice and cosy still.
I am still considering a bit of hand embellishment,
maybe in grey though instead of turquoise.
Funny how quilting can change a quilt so...

my machine janome qxl 605
number of fluff removal 2
grey fabrics by sweetwater
wadding heirloom cotton premium 
design flowering snowball
english paper pieced
name not sure