Thursday, October 14, 2010

The garden in autumn

The garden in autumn is still looking lovely with many flowers still blooming although I am very glad that I have added a number of plants in addition to the original planting plan otherwise there wouldn't be very much in bloom at the moment.  We have also had 2 rather strange birds land in our garden!  They have arrived from the Austrian/Italian border and seem to be making themselves at home in amongst the flowers!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Holidays and stitching - just back from a fortnights holiday driving to the South of France and back via Lake Como, Stuttgart and Luxembourg.  We had great weather on the Cote D'Azur - cloudless blue skies virtually every day, no rain until we got into the Alps, great food and lots of driving.

We stayed in a cottage in the South of France which was very rural and quiet yet only 5 minutes from the motorway which it made it very easy to get around and visit St Tropez, Antibes, Grasse and Nice. 

We visitied some very interesting places including the Musee Picasso in Antibes, the International Perfume Museum in Grasse and the Villa Ephrussi di Roschild in Cap Ferrat.

On the way home we also stopped in Brugges for a couple of hours to wander round and enjoy the atmosphere.

Stitching - before we went away I decided to try to get a quilt finished for my nephew, Andrew.  His sister and 2 cousins had each had a quilt when they started university, but as he hasn't gone off to uni I've made him one anyway and here is the finished result.

The pattern is from a book called and was really easy and fun to do - the scariest part was cutting the completed blocks to the right size then trimming them so the would appear twisted.  I then had to decide how to quilt the finished top.  A week before I went on holiday I went on a course at The Bramble Patch with Edwina McKinnon entitled 'But how do I quilt my quilt?'  On the course we discussed lots of ways to quilt the various quilts tops that we had taken and this inspired me when I came back to have a go with a spiral design on this one.  It took me about 15 hours to quilt it but I was pleased with the finished result and I think Andrew liked the finished quilt.

Since coming back from holiday I have been making a pegbag as a sample for this month's Creative  Thread project and preparing samples for a nativity wallhanging workshop we are holding at the end of the month.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Back again
Oh dear!  I should never make a New Year's Resolution as I can't keep them - here we are in august and this is only the second post this year - no excuses really apart from laziness.  So what have I been up to?  Lots of travelling round the world and in Europe, lots of stitching related things, enjoying our newly landscaped garden and a little bit of housework. Here is what the garden looked like before 

and after the landscaping - 

This quilt is one that I designed and organised at the machine embroidery group I belong to - we made the star blocks using a technique of foundation piecing in the hoop which presented us with many challenges which many in the group don't want to repeat!  The embroidered blocks were digitised to represent significant landmarks in the 5 local counties and the quilting was done 'as you go' with the borders and binding added after the blocks and sashing had been assembled and quilted.  The quilt is to be presented to a member of the Armed Forces in the next few months - I just need to make a bag to put it in with some of the spare blocks.

A lot of my time recently has been spent improving my machine embroidery skills - below is a table runner that I made last week for a wedding present for a friend.  It took a lot of practising and false starts before I managed to get the design to stitch out to my satisfaction with a minimal amount of puckering and with all of the elements of the design positioned in exactly the right places.  Now I hope they like it!

These are just 2 of the stitching things I have been doing recently - more to follow.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Hello 2010! 

Happy New Year to everyone!  OK so I didn't do very well with blogging last year - only a couple of posts - lets see if I can do better this year.  As the country is gripped with a covering of snow we've been taking advantage of activities being cancelled and not going far and I have done some more snow dyeing and other crafty things.  I am at the moment experimenting with overdyeing some fabric that I dyed earlier in the week as it came out very pale and not very interesting.  Interestingly the snow I gathered this morning has a different texture to that which I used earlier in the week when it was fresh, this time it was more powdery and finer so I'll be interested to see if it makes different patterns.

We are off on a big holiday in 2 weeks time downunder to New Zealand so this will become something of a travelogue as well over the next couple of months.  In preparation for the trip I have been sorting out a stitching project and thonk that I will work on a miniature, foundation pieced 'storm at sea' quilt.  I have a small cutting mat, rotary cutter and ruler to take with me and decided yesterday to make a wallet to hold them whilst on my travels.  Here is the finished article