Thursday, 17 April 2014

Spring Giveaway

As I promised last week I'm back today with a rather lovely giveaway.  At least, I think so and I hope you do too. In celebration of  Spring and it's promise of regrowth and beauty. Regular readers may have guessed ... ok ... I've told you lots of times .... that one of my most favourite designers is Atsuko Matsuyama.  A designer for Lecien.  I've been collecting her fabrics whenever I've seen them and have got quite a pretty selection of them.

Pretty eh?
So, I thought, and Reene agreed, that it would be nice to share a little of it with one of our readers.  I pulled my pile of fabrics, grabbed my cutter and ruler and set to work.  They are mostly half a charm square in size, 5" x 21/2" and there's a nice selection, one of almost every one I have. 

Aren't they lovely? Quite retro and all my favourite colours, lots of dots and flowers too.

Of course, once I had them all out and the cutter in my hands I had to have a play didn't I?  :-)
The front
So just for you, or at least for one of you, I made a cushion/pillow.

I used Reene's Hexiestar pattern templates (you can find the free PDF for them in the side bar on the right), a small selection from the Lecien fabrics and Kona white for the background. To finish it off I machine embroidered it using a couple of fancy stitches on my Pfaff machine and a pastel pink Aurifil thread.
You can just about read the Nellie's Niceties label I think 
The back
Well, there you are, I hope you like this little offering just for you.  To make it easier and cheaper to post I will take the cushion/pillow form out.

If you'd like to be in with a chance to win our giveaway just leave a comment.  And if you are a follower, leave another comment telling us that you are a follower. We'll do the draw for it the weekend after the holiday weekend. I say we but I mean Reene, I've no idea how the random generator thingy works!  No surprise there is there? :-)

It's Reene here. I'll close the draw on Friday 25th April at around 10pm (BST). The draw will take place as soon as I get a free minute on Saturday 26th April and I'll announce the winner then too.  

Until the next time hope you all have a good holiday, however you celebrate it.  Take good care of yourselves. If you have the chance to sew, happy sewing.

 Yvonne Xxx

Monday, 14 April 2014

Unrealistic - Reene's FAL list Q2

Oh look, I'm just scraping in under the wire again! Joining the fun with Katy and pals at the Finish Along 2014. I have a tonne of secret sewing to do this quarter so my time for finishing projects just for fun will be limited. Even so I would love to see the following projects finished very soon!
1. Hexiestars cushion - I haven't got a whole lot to do for this to be a finish so I should be able to knock this one out of the park quickly :)

2. Cardigan for Jess -  After many years as a non-knitter I have finally mastered the basics, more or less! In my infinite wisdom I decided to knit Jess a cardigan with cables and a fancy pattern, yep, I have lost my marbles. Jess is very keen for me to finish this one so I ought to get on with it. I have the back and left front completed. Still to do is the right front and the sleeves. I'm hoping this will be doable this quarter! I am currently contending with reverse shaping. There are no instructions in the pattern for that so it's a bit hit and miss...

3.HipBees village quilt - My fabulous bee mates have been waiting too long for this to be a finish! This was started way back in August 2012 and I'm fairly ashamed that it's not done yet.
4. HipBees Denyse Schmidt string quilt - Another HipBee quilt to finish. This one only needs 1 more block to finish it!

5. New York Beauty project - I started this one in March 2012 so it's really about time I finished it! I think it will have to become cushions as they will go perfectly with my new footstool ;)
6. Amish with a twist BOM - This BOM started last year and I've got a shed load of Log Cabin blocks to complete before I can piece this monster quilt together.
Well, that's more than enough to be going on with! I'm linking up with FAL Q2. Off to do some sewing now, catch you soon x

Saturday, 12 April 2014

There once was an ugly duckling...

...well. more of an ugly footstool really :) A bargain, £5 from one of our local charity shops. Everyone thought I'd lost the plot when I said this 80s monstrosity would be perfect.
I'm very happy to prove that it is perfect after all! My footstool is now a swan ;)
Melody Miller, Echino and Anna Maria Horner make for a very glamorous footstool. I'm so pleased to have finally sneaked some animal print into our front room :) The family are not so pleased but hey, I made it so they'll have to suck it up ;)
I've had most of the prints for a few years and have been waiting for the right project to break them out. This was it!
The finishing touch was this funky stud trim that I acquired from Ebay. I'm pretty much in love! Look it works :)
Catch you soon x

Friday, 11 April 2014

The week that was...

manic! Note to self: don't commit to submit 2 quilts to a quilt show within a 2 month time frame when you haven't started either of them! Improv takes me way longer than I could possibly have imagined and tiny precise piecing is time consuming and stressful. I'm breathing a sigh of relief this evening as I have finally finished both quilts for the Quilt and Stitch Village show just in time for them to be mailed tomorrow - the deadline is Monday! Talk about last minute panic.

Anyway, enough rambling, I'm sharing one finish with you today - The Never Forgotten improv quilt.
I have to say I'm really proud of this little beauty. It finished up around 40" square. Well, square in the loosest sense of the word. I tried squaring it up but it just kept on shrinking and for fear of having to submit it as a mug rug I gave up ;) Here are some of my favourite bits in my more detail:
The poppy wreath
The stamped centre of the poppy wreath - Never Forgotten
Crazy straight line quilting - tram lines
I used 5 different colours of Aurifil thread for the quilting because I wanted to echo the colours in the fabrics without any one colour overpowering things. This was easily the scariest part for me as I loved the way the top looked when it was finished and was worried that my quilting would ruin it.
Clearer close-up of quilting
In the end I am thrilled with the effect, it has made the quilt really tactile. So now it's all packaged up and ready for sending out. Quite what the judges will make of it is anybody's guess but to quote one of my favourite movie lines, "Frankly my dear I don't give a damn".
Catch you soon xx

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Yvonne's Round up of Finish Along 14 Q1 ....

.......... and Yvonne's FAL 14 Q2 List

Well I've totally missed the deadline for the 'linky' thing with this post, sorry Katy for being even later than Correne!! 
Even so, I'm going to list my results and then I'll let you know what my aims are for the Q2 list... it won't be long as I only had three items anyway.. so no need to fear getting bored!! :-)

Here goes:
You can see the original list and photos here ... I'm afraid I've deleted the original photos in a moment of tidyness.... once again sorry. (Honestly, I am blushing at how disorganised I am!!)

1. Tiny Hexie Cushion

I was so close to finishing this one.  The top is completed all I have to do is make up the back and stitch it together and bind it.  I guess it's a fail as it isn't completed. But I'm not too upset as I had totally underestimated how many of those 3/8" hexies had still to be made and stitched together.  So it will go onto the Q2 list for completion!

2. Fresh Modern Bee Blocks to be turned into a quilt

Now this one I hoped to be completed by the end of 2014.

I can't believe how far I have got with it!  I've got one block to complete, the green one in the top right, it's a bowl and I've got to add the flowers to it.  Apart from that it's just filling in strips to join it all together. I love it and really hope that it will be a quilt top by the end of Q2. So in my mind that's a success... you agree?

I used the book 'Gathered from the Garden' by Cindy Lammon as inspiration for this quilt, more specifically the quilt 'My Secret Garden' the last project in the book. 

 3. Petit Fleur fabric pieced and hand quilted


Completed!!! And blogged about here.  A success.... no kidding myself either!! :-) 
And I love it despite it's ... shall we say ..... quirks?

So there we go, thank you Katy for the incentive, I know that's two projects that would still be in the box if it hadn't been for the FAL.

Now for my Q2 list.  I'm still going to limit myself to projects I think I can achieve.     

1.     Finish the Tiny hexie cushion.
2.  Finish the Fresh Modern Bee Block Quilt Top.
3. Swoon Quilt Block.  Only one block made back in 2011 again!!   

I'd love to have the rest of the Swoon blocks made for the quilt designed by Camille. I hope to have it quilted and bound too by the end of this quarter.
4.  To replace the hand piecing of the hexie cushion that I've been doing in the evenings I plan to work on this little beauty.

Excuse the rubbish all around it!!  These little hexiestar  blocks that Correne designed are so addictive.  I love them and have added a few other blocks to them.  I knew exactly what fabrics I wanted to use as soon as I saw the hexiestar block.  Atsuko Matsuyama designs for Lecien.  I plan to have made a table topper or a lap quilt with these by the end of Q2.

That's it then, four objectives and I have to say I don't feel as trepidatious about them as I did about my list in the first quarter.  That's down to you kind readers for your support and encouragement. Thank you. :-)     

I'm off now to get Correne to do the linky thing for me.....again!!  I'll be back next week with something rather least I think it is.  Hopefully.... you will too.  Thank you for dropping by and staying awhile.
Take good care of yourselves and happy sewing.  Xxx


Sunday, 6 April 2014

Easily distracted - Reene's FAL Q1 round up

I'm just scraping in with my round up, I almost completely forgot (sorry, Katy). I've been really productive this quarter but unfortunately a lot of my productivity has been on secret sewing. I may also have thrown in a few other projects that weren't on my FAL easily distracted! On to the list...

1. The Not-so-Lonestar quilt - as you know I started this one in 2011, it has since been unpicked and started again so it's almost as though I only it started in 2013 ;) I am utterly determined to finish it this year!
I managed to finish this one with the help of Trudi's awesome quilting skills! The post for this one is here.
2. Diamonds, kites and stars EPP - I started this one in September when I was recovering from my op. I feel a bit of cheat adding this one to the list as I've just finished it but as I'd already mentioned it as a WIP here I'm kidding myself that I can get away with it ;)
So I might have cheated with this one as I've already said but I did finish it ;) The post is here.
3. Quilt and Stitch Village competition quilts - I think I'm safe adding this as I have the ideas firmly in my stitching journal and have just sent off the entry forms. Last year Susan and I dared each other to have a go this year, so we have both filled out the forms with trepidation and sent them on their way. In my infinite wisdom I've decided to enter 2 quilts that haven't yet been made. One low volume improv quilt and one bright and fun medallion. These must be done this quarter without fail!
I'm hanging my head in shame for this one as I've still got to finish them! I've almost finished the improv quilt but I've got loads to do on the medallion! They need to be finished and posted by the end of this week so I foresee no sleep for the next few days!
Finally, 4. Crochet blanket - I couldn't find any pictures of this on my computer but there are quite a few over on instagram. I started this when the cold weather set in and would really like to get it finished before Spring other wise it will be relegated to the back of cupboard somewhere :) So far I have 9 rows completed of a total of 16.
I made zero progress on this one as I've learnt to knit instead! I never thought it would happen but it kind of has. I'm part way through making a cardigan for Jess.... you can see where this is heading can't you...another WIP!
So a 50% success rate...definite room for improvement! At least it's not long before I can share with you some of my secret sewing that put a spanner in the works for my FAL success ;) 
Catch you soon x

Friday, 4 April 2014

Cherished moments.....

........  long waited for never to be forgotten.  We'd been looking forward to it but were holding our breath in case it didn't happen.  Trying to keep a lid on our excitement so as not to be too disappointed.  Thankfully, most thankfully in fact, it started on Sunday evening and lasted until Tuesday evening and was such a lovely time, I can hardly put it into words. I've been trying to write this post all week and only now feel that I can express myself.  Regular readers will understand why when I tell you.  Here goes:

                           JESS CAME TO STAY FOR TWO NIGHTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We worked it out...... it's been over five years since she was even remotely well enough for sleepovers. In fact, she has very rarely been well enough to leave her own home.... a trip around the corner to see us was a far off dream.  So, this has been a really big event for us all and most certainly a time to be cherished and diarised. I somehow knew that you would be happy for us too.  

     Here she is chilling out listening to Rammstein in the evening while Ralph and I watched the rugby.

We had lazy days.... sitting in bed until one in the afternoon reading books and blogs and chatting...... then lunch together,  such a treat................ and a quiet sit in the garden watching the wildlife and flowers, Jess's photos are much better than mine!!!

Bet you can't guess which are mine!!!  

                                                                 Birds nesting in the hedge.   

                                                            Cheeky squirrel after the peanuts.
  I know ..... it's a rubbish  photo....  I told you Jess' were much better!! Bear with me... I'm excited and want to give you a taste of our days............ 

                                                   Checking out the new shoots and flowers

And our afternoons were spent resting and enjoying being together, looking at old photos and watching home movies from when she was little.
          Seconds after this shot the hat was flung away and she let us know in no uncertain terms that baby                                 girls did not belong in flowerpots!!!  No matter how cute they looked. :-)

 We had such a lovely time together, we are both wiped out after it but it was bliss just being with her and I will treasure the memories always. Thank you Jess. 

And because no post is complete without fabric photos, here's the tote bag I made for Jess as part of her birthday present.  


 Rachel Ashwell fabrics sewn crazy patchwork style, trimmed with lace and ribbons and machine embroidered with pastel pink aurifil thread.  

The icing on the cake for me was using part of a handkerchief that I had bought for Mum with an 'N' embroidered on it, you can just see it in the top right hand corner.  :-)

So there we are, thank you for listening to my ramblings.. I really do appreciate it.. I'll be back next week with a little giveaway that I'm working on....  Until then, take care and happy sewing. Xxx