Cottage Garden Quilt HQAL

It’s three weeks since I lasted posted about my cottage garden quilt, it was a very brief post as I was freshly out of hospital, I’m now thankfully feeling much better so I’ll elaborate a little on the blocks I showed you then…

The wheelbarrow block is about 6″ square, I love the little cat peeping over the edge and the vegetables standing in a row. The butterfly ones are quite clever, they’re only small, the finished size is 2″. The wings are made from three parts, two of them use the wrong side of a fabric. It took a while to find the right bit of fabric as many I’ve used showed very little colour on the wrong side. However I eventually found an area of one with big dark roses on which was a dusky pink on the back. I think it’s a very effective way of making the underneath of a butterfly’s wing. Kathryn (the designer) suggested finding a fabric for the background with a flower on so they could be just about to land on it.

Having completed three embroidered blocks I set about sashing them. I found the butterflies surprising tricky to choose sashings for due to the blue background – all the others are on various cream backgrounds. I liked the darker green with pink flowers, in fact it was the only one that really worked, so I was happy with that as the first sashing. Initially for the outer sashing I used a mid green, but having looked at it on my design wall for a few days I really wasn’t happy with it, it made the whole block too dark. Eventually I unpicked one block and started to try other fabrics. Eventually I hit on the pale pink ditsy flowers, I think it works. Here’s the two blocks together…

For the wheelbarrow I wanted to use the cream oak leaf fabric for the outer sash and a light to medium fabric for the inside. I realised fairly early on in this quilt that Kathryn keeps her quilt balanced by having four lighter block sashings, this is one of them.

The partner to this block is a lovely square of a watering can and a trug, every cottage garden has it’s watering can. The little kitty makes an appearance again, watching the robin on the watering can handle. In the book examples are made of flowers etc which add to the design, but free rein is encouraged, I enjoyed choosing flowers to embroider.

The centre block of the quilt has a bird box with a kitty looking hopefully up at it, it’s a gorgeous block. I’m particularly pleased with how by chance the fabric markings have worked out on the cat, the brown is actually a leaf from a floral fabric. In case you’re wondering, Kathryn gives clear instructions on how to embroider a bumble bee! Again there’s lots of room for flowers next to the cat.

I’ve made two churn blocks which I’m not 100% on, my thought when I chose the fabrics was that they would link up with the two ‘red’ corner blocks, whereas the other diagonal has the green stars and corner blocks, we shall see! I’m also almost finished with embroidering a length of ivy, then there’s just one more block to embroider and it all joins together with quite a few 2 1/2″ blocks. This shows the rough layout with the top and bottom row…

Hopefully when I next share the cootage garden quilt with you in three weeks time then the middle row will be complete and the three rows stitched together. Then I’ll just have four corner stones to embroider before attaching the outer borders.

I’m really enjoying making this quilt, it’s coming together beautifully. The design is in a book by Kathryn Whittingham, it includes all the templates and well written, clear instructions. Having had a fair bit of interest from abroad she has now opened shipping to USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand on her website, Patchwork Katy.

Kathryn has also recently published her next book with a gorgeous seaside design. I’m not usually that into seaside stuff but this quilt brought back so many memories of holidays with my children in Whitby on the North Yorkshire coast. This was hardly surprising as when I read the book seaside holidays in Whitby and the coastline there was the inspiration for the quilt.

Kathryn kindly sent me a copy of the book and I’ve already started collecting fabrics for my seaside quilt!

Hand Quilt Along Links

This Hand Quilt Along is an opportunity for hand quilters and piecers to share and motivate one another. We post every three weeks, to show our progress and encourage one another.  If you have a hand quilting project and would like to join our group contact Kathy at the link below.

Kathy, Margaret, Deb, NanetteSharonKarrin, Gretchen, Daisy, Connie, Monica and Sherrie

I’ll also be linking up with Kathy’s Quilts for Slow Stitching Sunday, please follow the links for lots of hand-stitched inspiration.

Posted in embroidery, Quilt-a-long, Quilting | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

Making my Book of Days

When I made my stitchbook a couple of years ago a few readers asked me to write a tutorial on how to make the actual book. Life got in the way and apologies but it was never written. The double page spreads were evenweave linen whip-stitched together with a textile cover…

As I’m just starting to make my Anthea Calendar SAL and wordplays into a book, I thought rather than writing an actual tutorial, I would write posts as I’m going along with the various stages and link them together on a separate page. Hope that helps everyone. It’s hard to write an actual tutorial when so much depends on how the pages are made in the first place and how you want it to feel. I’m also making it up as I go along!

Preparing the pages.

These embroideries were all stitched on a square of even-weave linen, supposedly 36 count, though a 28 count sneaked in ! One factor that has become apparent whilst stitching this book is that all 36 counts are not equal! There is variation between manufacturers, so I tried to keep to the same make, I usually use Permin linen as I like the crispness and they have a wonderful colour range. Linen, I also discovered this time, also varies between the warp and the weft thread. The warp thread runs along the length of the piece, the weft goes from weft to wight (sic! sad, but thats how I remember it!!) Usually if you are creating a single picture that doesn’t make a difference, but if you are wanting pages to match up to be stitched together, it does. Once I realised this I tried to always have my linen the same way up, using the selvedge as a marker.

Once each page was stitched I stitched another row of back-stitch where the page edge would be. I stitched over four threads rather than two (equivalent to two cross-stitches) both for time and also as it does give a little wriggle room if I needed to fudge it!

Once the embroideries were complete I applied a square of interfacing to the back, just inside from the back-stitching line. This gives strength to the pages and also makes ones on a thinner linen more opaque. It also has the advantage of showing clearly if any squares are a bit out size-wise.

Stitching the pages

I trimmed the outer edge to about 1cm from the back-stitched line. I tried on one page to trim the corners to reduce bulk. However it didn’t seem to noticeably reduce bulk at the corners and made it more difficult to get a neat finish as corners were more likely to fray.

I double and triple check that the pages are the right way up and in the right order!

I finger-pressed the seam over at the back-stitched line and then whip-stitched the two rows of back-stitch together. I just used an embroidery floss that coordinated with one of the pages, you could also use a contrasting stitch to make a feature. I’ve also seen books with beads added say every 5th stitch which looks really pretty. It also crossed my mind whilst stitching it that you could use a blanket-stitch to link the two back-stitch rows, probably giving a clearer edge. I just kept it simple!

I also decided to always start at the upper outer corner of the page. My theory here is that if the pages don’t match perfectly (and they don’t always!) the fudge side will be in the spine of the book or the lower edge! I had one page which was about two stitches out, I could have stitched another row of back-stitch, but instead I just caught two linen threads instead of the back-stitch. It also taught me to check the sides of the page before I start stitching, just by holding them together. This means if I need to make alterations I can do it more evenly, rather than having the design not central to the page.

Once stitched together I’m pressing the corners and seams initially with steam and my tailors press on my wool pressing mat. I’m then just pressing the edge with the steam iron, avoiding the stitching where possible.

I’ve stitched six pairs of pages together so far, so half way through the year, though I still have to embroider a title page and a back page. Last night I thought up a design, so hopefully they won’t take too long.

Next stage will be binding the pages together, though I’m still working my methods out for that bit!

Posted in cross-stitch, embroidery, Serendipity, Stitch-a-long, Textile Books | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

A Stitch-a-long or Two

Every year I tell myself no more stitch-a-longs, and every year I fall for one…or two! This time though they should both be fairly quick to do!

I’ve been tempted to try blackwork ever since Claire and Avis started a blackwork sampler and last autumn I found the Peppermint Purple facebook page. Claire from Peppermint Purple has lots of lovely blackwork patterns but she was also running a free stitch-a-long, a different pattern each week for a year. It was lovely seeing all the different colour combinations as people shared their progress. When Claire announce she would run another SAL for 2021 I decided to have a go. One sampler which really caught my eye was one which incorporated a picture of a candle using colour across the various blocks…well I wasn’t going to make it easy for myself!!

There are two choices of layout, oblong and square. The square is actually on point but border and filler options are included to make it square. This is the layout I’m using. I’ve drawn the outline on the layout pattern of my special place, Catbells of course! So I’m planning to use mountain colours to outline the fell and then blocks of colour for the interior of the mountain, in greens, purples, browns, I’ve sorted myself a bag of mountain colours to potentially use. I’ve stitched two blocks so far and the third one has just been released…

The blocks are less than an inch square or or under 1 x 2″ oblong so they shouldn’t take long each week. I’m using a lovely hand-dyed evenweave which I’ve had for a while in my stash, I’m hoping it will help with the sky and lake with it’s blue shades. I’ve realised I have a gap in my floss collection of mid blues, so I’ve just ordered a selection so I can use different shades in different blocks. It’s not easy getting the tone right with the sky, I want the pattern to show but I don’t want to use a dark blue. Ideally the blue I’ve used in the second block would be a bit darker, but I’ve stitched it now and I’m not unpicking!

Some people have already stitched the whole of their border, but I still haven’t decided on the colours I want to use, so I’m waiting until the picture takes shape. I might use a neutral shade to fill in or I might decide to continue the picture across the filler area and just do a darker outer border…decisions!

The second SAL is by Cathy Reavy of Threads, it’s a stitch wheel and eventually it will include about fifty stitches. Although I did a stitch book a couple of years ago I do find I tend to use the same few stitches in my work, I’m hoping this will widen my repertoire! I was particularly attracted to the second ring which is lots of stitches to use to stitch leaves.

It’s all on Youtube so you can easily start whenever you want. She provided a template for the wheel if you didn’t fancy drawing your own. It all fits in a 10″ hoop. I’m using a Kona cotton in snow white for the background. Although it’s a quilting cotton I was surprised how much stretch there was in it when you start putting it in a hoop, so I’ve put a fine muslin on the back which is very fine but has no give at all, so hopefully it will support the kona. It’s also useful for starting and finishing threads at the back.

The outline is stitched with split backstitch which is then whipped to make it more raised. She’s converted me to split back-stitch, it’ll be great for stems and such like as I seem to get a smoother outline than stem stitch. It’s also very economical with thread if you use the method which involves coming up through the last stitch. I used a variegated thread which I’ve had a while in my stash, I’ve lost the label so I’ve no idea what it is, but there’s four strands to the thread and each strand is like a fine perle. I like it! I used two strands for the outline.

The centre circle is french knots, I used two shades of soft gold with three wraps in the middle and two wraps round the edge. I’ve selected a palette of purples, greens and golds with the idea that it will go on the wall in my sewing room as hoop art once it is finished. It will hopefully act as inspiration for stitches when I’m embroidering.

The first circle is I think going to be in shades of purple, I used two shades of DMC thread to make pistil knots which are like french knots on stalks, I use these quite a lot.

The next three blocks have been released, bullion knot, colonial knot and a bullion knot rose, so I have a bit of catching up to do. Like the previous SAL, they’re only small areas so hopefully they won’t take too long each week.

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December Wordplay

I’ve finally stitched the final wordplay for my Anthea Calendar book. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, I could think of lots of words or phrases, but most of them were Christmas rather than December, I managed to think of a few non Christmas ones to balance it.

The design for December was poinsettias and hellebores, or Christmas roses, together with holly and mistletoe. It’s lovely and bright and feels Christmassy…

Poinsettias are not my favourite plant but the always remind me of my mum as she always bought one for Christmas. I have quite a few hellebores in my garden, mostly lenten roses which flower in the spring, though I do have one little Christmas rose which is still trying to flower despite the snow we had last week.

We don’t get snow like we used to do and although a white Christmas sounds lovely it does cause chaos. As a child I remember snow being on the ground for weeks on end, these days it’s usually gone in a couple of days. We had a heavy snowfall last week, the garden looked very pretty and luckily I didn’t have to go anywhere.

I always associate the smell of gingerbread with December, I used to make about twenty gingerbread houses to sell so the house was filled with the lovely smell of gingerbread for most of December.

I think Christingle services started in the 1970’s, partially as a fund-raiser for the Church of England’s Childrens Society. I find them very moving, all the children are given a Christingle, which is an orange (to represent the world) with a candle stuck in the top (Light of Christ), four pieces of dried fruit or sweets on cocktail sticks (can’t remember if thats fruits of the world or seasons!) and a red ribbon round the middle (blood of Christ). At the end of the service all the Christingles are lit and the children stand in a circle around the church, making a circle of candle-light. The main lights are turned off and everyone sings Away in a Manger. It makes me cry every time!!

For a quote for December I was tempted by some of the morning after the storm quotes which Laura shared on her blog, it has been such a stormy year…

Every storm runs out of rain, just like every dark night turns into day. -Gary Allan

In the end I decided to go for happy memories instead. I grew up at the bottom of a cul-de-sac and it seemed that every Christmas Eve the Salvation Army band would come to the Grove and stand outside our house to play carols as they went door to door with a collecting tin. I would stand on the doorstep with my mum and dad and sister to listen. We could request any carol and I always requested O Little Town of Bethlehem.

During winter we have a lot less birds visiting our garden, many will go off to warmer climes, I think other just go further into the woodland nearby. The little wren was seen quite a few times hopping round the undergrowth. They’re tiny little birds though they do have a very loud song.

I do like the twinkly fairy lights of Christmas, they used to be limited to the tree, but now we hang them everywhere, inside and out. It does make the place look cheerful. I often use holly and ivy to make a display for our back door, I used to use it for my Advent ring, but now I’m trying to avid oasis I just use artificial or dried things instead, with a few fairy light stoo of course…

21st December is the shortest day here in the UK, it doesn’t get light until about 8.30 and it starts getting dark at about 3.30, it’shard when you work somewhere that doesn’t have any windows like I do as you arrive in the dark and go home in the dark! Vitamin D deficiency from lack of sunlight is quite a problem here. At least once the shortest day is past we know the days are getting longer and spring is on it’s way.

So, here is my December wordplay…

I’ve enjoyed stitching these wordplays, it’s not turned out as I anticipated with weddings, holidays and lots of fun things, I don’t think any of us could have foreseen last year, but I think it will be interesting to look back on. I am planning to write a little notebook to slip inside my fabric book explaining my thoughts and the quotes I’ve included each month, I think otherwise in a few years time I may wonder what I was thinking of!!

Here’s all twelve together…

All I need to do now is stitch them all together with the flower pages to make my book.

Posted in cross-stitch, embroidery, Stitch-a-long | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

Stitching 4 the Soul SAL

Ever started something to find further down the line it makes things tricky? When I started my #sewing4thesoulbook in the summer I decided that rather than making a book from batting and then embroidering directly onto each page (as Anne Brooke the designer does) I would do each page separately and stitch them onto calico pages like my stitchbook project. It must be easier than directly stitching into a fabric book…

Everything went swimmingly at first, the first hint of trickiness was the woven week, when I had to work out my piece so it would flow across two pages without interfering with the binding. Then three weeks ago I finished a page which includes a window with a view through to the next page…

This was going to take some working out!

I needed to work out a way of having a hole through the two sides of the calico page and the next piece of embroidery, whilst ideally having the ‘view’ working on the previous page…it took some thinking!

In the end I drew through the circle onto the page and ironed some bondaweb inside the page pocket, just big enough to hold the circle closed. I could then make the window in the calico page. I also drew a circle where the next window would be on my next piece and a circle where the ‘view’ would be on the right hand side…..still with me??

This pair of pages was all about circles, we started by making a circle in negative space using lots of seeding stitches, this took quite a while as I’m not very good at ‘random’. I then cut various circle from the upholstery fabric sample book I’m using for this book. I used silk noille as the background, adding a fine muslin behind to give it some stability.

The circle round the window has bondaweb as it frayed too easily for a window. I wanted the big circle seen through the window to look like the evening sun, so I chose two different soft golds and embroidered them with pistil stitch. With these fixed positions in place I could then arrange the other circles around. I decided to make a sort of spiral, adding buttons to complete the look. This was my initial layout part way through the embroidery.

As you can see I was starting to embroider the circles and where possible to then incorporate the embroidery into the general drift of the piece, so the fly stitches are spreading away from the circle. I used herringbone stitch around the window with blanket stitch on the inside. The little embroidered red seed pod is cut from one of the fabrics, I then continued each vein with a pistil stitch. The little circle next to it has a spiders web stitch in the middle and some french knots in between the spokes.

The larger red one has blanket-stitch round both the outer and the inner circle, I really wasn’t happy with this one and changed it later as you will see. By chance I had a circle which was too big, so I cut a smaller circle using my die machine, I then saw the ‘negative space’ and used the ‘waste’ instead, embroidering it with feather stitch, and adding a further circle of feather stitch to the background. The last circle has a lattice of embroidery threads with tiny cross-stitches to hold it in place.

I’d found a few buttons to fill in spaces, but I then decided that actually it might look better with circular stitches instead…

So this was the final finished embroidery. As you can see I removed the red circle to reveal the fabric embroidery, just adding blanket stitch round the edge to soften it. The herringbone from the window flowed across the gap to the sun, mixing with stray pistil stitches as it got nearer. I stitched another negative space circle with the seed stitch, flowing it up to the next circle. Little circles were stitched using blanket stitch, pistil stitch, a spiral of chain stitch, together with fly stitch and french knots over a little circle. It was definitely one of those times when you’re not sure when to stop. I could have done more stitching on the background to accentuate the spiral, but I decided I’d spent enough hours on this piece…and I still had to put it together in the book!

I stitched the previous page embroidery over the hole in the calico page first, just using dressmaking thread and tiny stitches. I cut the calico hole slightly bigger so it wouldn’t be seen in between. Once I knew the windows were secure I could stitch round the rest of the page. I repeated this for the new half of the window. I still wasn’t happy with the final effect of the double sided window, the edges looked messy. I then had the idea of whip stitching the two windows together, through the hole. Both sides had been blanket-stitched so it proved a fairly simple exercise and made all the difference. My final task was to check the right hand page was in a good place for the ‘sun effect’ before stitching it to another calico page.

Phew!! That took some stitching and thinking!!

And the view of the sun over Catbells was worth it…

This stitch-a-long is organised by Avis from Stitching by the Sea. We post our progress on our chosen project every three weeks, just long enough to keep us motivated. Please follow the links to see what everyone else is stitching.

AvisClaireGunCaroleSueConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyHayleyMeganDeborahMary MargaretReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneConnieAJJennyLauraCathieLindaHelen

Posted in embroidery, Stitch-a-long, Textile Books | Tagged , , | 18 Comments

A Robin Sings

I finished another cross-stitch small today. I’m trying to break my 2020 bad habit of completing a piece of stitching and then not doing anything with it!

I started this one whilst I was in hospital between Christmas and New Year. My daughter was packing a bag for me and asked what stitching I would like – she knows me well! I had three of these bird kits in my stash so I asked her to choose one and bring it in. She chose a pretty robin singing it’s beautiful song.

This is another kit by Fido Stitch Studio on eBay, it’s the third one I’ve stitched. I would usually change the 14 count aida provided for 32 count linen as I’m not keen on aida, but when you’re stuck in hospital, you’re happy with anything! These are the other two Fido Stitch designs I’ve already stitched…

There weren’t many days in hospital when I felt up to stitching but I made a start – my family knew I was starting to feel better when I posted a photo on facebook of my cross-stitch! Once home I cracked on with it. These kits are lovely, the designs are beautifully detailed, the charts are clear and everything is provided for about £9! Here’s my finished robin…

I found some fabric in my stash which seemed to go OK, it’s a Christmas one but not too Christmassy. I also found some embroidery threads to make a cord from and some beads to titivate with.

As the robin was a good size (for a small!) I didn’t want to add to the dimensions with extra fabric borders, so I just made a simple mini pillow, stuffed it and slip stitched the opening closed. I didn’t have any suitable trim in my stash so I found two old DMC bobbins which worked well together, picking out the colours in the robins breast. I made a twisted cord and stitched it round the pillow adding beads at the corner. I decided to have a tasseled corner, adding lengths of beads too. I’m not sure if I’ve overdone it a bit, but it’s staying!

I’ve started another of these kits already – a nuthatch, but I think it will be a while before it’s finished, it’s ready in my handbag in case I need something to stitch whilst out, but I’m not exactly going anywhere at the moment!

Posted in cross-stitch, embroidery, Smalls of the Month | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

From Little Acorns…

…mighty oaks do grow

I’ve developed a bit of a bad habit over the last twelve months of finishing a piece of needlework and then not doing anything with it, my pile of things waiting to ‘finished’ is growing. Though I think any bad habits picked up in 2020 (like home made jam tarts!!) are completely acceptable! Anyway, I decided to complete this little piece as soon as I had stitched it…

This is another facebook destash buy, from the same lady I bought the strawberry pot from, I think I bought about four different charts and kits from her! This one is called Acorn Sampler, it’s by Elizabeth Designs circa 2001. It included all the charms too.

I started this when I was self isolating before I went into hospital the first time, I used a mixture of recommended threads (DMC ones) and substituted Weeks Dye works ones for variegated ones I had in my stash. I stitched it on a light green linen. The chart was simple to follow, I like the variety of stitches – the tall tree on the right is rice stitch, the oak leaves and the acorns are satin stitch. It was fairly quick to work but I ran out of the DMC thread with about twenty half cross-stitches of the dark green borders to go!! Very frustrating!

With a new skein in my possession I finally got round to finishing it yesterday, adding all the charms and beads too. I like it, it’s simple but pretty.

I hunted through my quilting fabrics for a fabric I remembered having, it was large oak leaves on a blue background. I couldn’t find it anywhere, I even hunted through my scrap boxes! In the end I settled on my second choice, the bumble bee fabric which I’ve used quite a lot for cross-stitch smalls, the colours just seem to work, it picked out the greens and the blue of the writing. I rummaged in my trimmings drawer and the only one that worked was a variegated grey ric-rac.

Having tried to machine sew the ric-rac round so I would just have a border of ‘humps’ I realised it was not going to be as easy as it looked to get a neat finish. Out came the seam ripper! At this point I was thinking of making a twisted cord from DMC threads. I stitched the basic cushion on the machine, turned and stuffed it. Whilst I was slip-stitching the turning gap closed I noticed a bobbin of what I would call chenille thread sitting under my sewing machine. It was the perfect colours, greens, brown, grey, a real woodland mix.

I couched it round to give a sort of scalloped edge and added a bead at each couching point. I fashioned a little bow at the join with a line of beads over the middle.

I really like it, for a cross-stitch small it’s probably as big as I would want to go as it’s just over 5″ square, it would have looked lovely framed too but I’m rapidly running out of available wall space! At the moment it is on display in my sewing room.

Posted in cross-stitch, embroidery | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Rescuing a Dogs Dinner

I decided to make myself a top over the weekend, something nice and simple! I chose a pattern I bought last year, Butterick 6256, and picked some pale mint jersey from my stash. It’s a lovely weight jersey, I bought it in Fabworks a couple of years ago, I think it was their organic cotton range. I’ve got a length of pale mauve as well.

The fabric was made in a tube, which I’ve not come across before, when I say a tube, I mean there was no selvedge, both sides were on the fold. It feels lovely and it was nice to sew too.

Considering it’s a simple pattern – there are only three pattern pieces, it’s amazing how many mistakes you can make when you’re not firing on all cylinders! I sewed the wrong bits together, sewed back to front…my seam ripper was well used!

The front of the top has a crossover design and a curved hem. The first time I tried it on it looked awful, a right dogs dinner, I commented to my OH that it was a perfect lockdown top as I wouldn’t be going out in it! It was too big, even allowing for dropped shoulders and the front cross-over just sagged in a most unbecoming way!! I took it in a bit down the side seams..

The fit was a little better, but the cross-over was still awful, it sagged under my bust and made me look about 7 months pregnant – not a good look!

I then hit on the idea of stitching the cross-over in place. Initially I was just going to slip-stitch it down but I then had the idea of embroidering the neckline and continuing the stitching through all layers of the cross-over. It worked brilliantly. Initially I thought I would have to stitch both sides, but having secured one side the other side sat OK. I just used fly stitch in a very pale blue DMC thread.

Please excuse the lockdown hair – my last haircut was the end of August – I went from autumn lockdown to self isolation to national lockdown!! Goodness knows how long it will be when I next manage to get an appointment!

I rather like it now, whilst it’s not a great make as the hems are wavy, it is wearable out of the house! I’m even tempted to make another one now, probably a size smaller though!

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First Finish of 2021

Yesterday I finished off an embroidery I started just before Christmas. It is called a Strawberry Pot, it’s a kit by the Historic Needlework Guild which I bought for £3 from a Facebook destash page last year. I suspect it’s quite an old kit as the copyright date is 1997!

When I was packing my overnight bag to go into hospital for my operation I wanted a nice simple cross-stitch to take along. Looking at the photo I thought this fitted the bill, no complicated colour changes, a nice simple design…

…I didn’t twig that the centre strawberry design is stitched over one thread!! Nevertheless, I made a good start in hospital, it took my mind off things whilst I was waiting to go down and I even managed a little stitching the next day before I went home.

It was lovely to stitch as the thread is silk, it felt gorgeous to use, though I’m not convinced it looks much different to DMC once it’s stitched.

I finished the stitching a few days later and then it sat in my workbox as life went a bit pear-shaped over Christmas, until yesterday.

It was fairly easy to make up, though a litle fiddly at times. Having cut the embroidery into a fan shape using the template provided, I stitched a gathering line using a zig-zag machine stitch over a length of strong thread – I used hand-quilting cotton. Then it was a matter of machine-stitching the sides, stuffing and gathering up the top.

The top is finished using a big spiders web stitch with perle thread. I think it’s very effective as a way of covering the top. The stork embroidery scissors give you an idea of size…

As a final finishing touch I added a beaded loop using some tiny green beads from my stash.

I love it! It’s a pretty little thing, it was quick to stitch and easy to finish, a perfect project for convalescing!

Posted in Crafts, embroidery, Smalls of the Month | Tagged , , , | 22 Comments

Cottage Garden Quilt HQAL

It’s three weeks since I last shared my gorgeous Cottage Garden Quilt, it’s a design in a lovely book by Kathryn Whittingham. I’d just finished the bottom row so just one more row to do and then the border…

These last three weeks have not gone to plan at all, I had an operation on my neck on the 18th as planned, managed a little sewing with blocks I’d prepared earlier, but then ended up back in hospital with a nasty wound infection from Christmas Day to New Years Day! Hence this post will be short and to the point!

I stitched three blocks, a wheel barrow in a vegetable plot, this will be a 6″ block…

I also stitched two sweet butterfly blocks which will be just 2.5″ square when trimmed…

I’ll write more about the embroidery next time when I’ll hopefully have more energy and I’ll also share Kathryn’s new book of a Seaside Quilt which is gorgeous and I’ve been lucky enough to be given a copy. Kathryn has now set up her website so she can ship her books to America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, so follow the link to Patchwork Katy if you’d like to make this quilt or the seaside one.

In the meantime…

Hand Quilt Along Links

This Hand Quilt Along is an opportunity for hand quilters and piecers to share and motivate one another. We post every three weeks, to show our progress and encourage one another.  If you have a hand quilting project and would like to join our group contact Kathy at the link below.

Kathy, Margaret, Deb, NanetteSharonKarrin, Gretchen, Daisy, Connie, Monica and Sherrie

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