Coatigan Sew-a-long

This time last year I made a coatigan, a lovely coat pattern by Schnittchen. It’s been a great coat for the winter, nice and snuggly and easy to wear. At the August Quilt show in Harrogate one of the stalls was selling furnishing fabric, I saw this fabric and immediately thought ‘coatigan!!’ There was another lady buying some to make curtains, we were both cooing over it and she looked very tempted to make a coat too! It’s a linen/cotton mix, so apparently it is washable. I just loved the colours and the geometric pattern.Making a Coatigan

Helen wanted to make a coatigan too, she had borrowed my pattern, cut it out, but struggled with the instructions, so we decided to have a sew-a-long in between Christmas and New Year, with a sewing machine either side of the table in the conservatory. I read the instructions and we stitched each section together. It was great fun.Mother & Daughter Sewing Days

Helen, being young and fearless in sewing (and life in general!!) was making hers in a fur fabric as she liked the feel of it. She’s only been sewing a year but she’ll sew with sequins, satin, stretch, whereas I’m more likely to think about the problems sewing with such fabrics!

My coat went together reasonably easily and quickly. The instructions aren’t the best, there are some bits that are completely missed off, like sewing shoulder seams!! There are also no pictures, which Helen would have found very helpful, so really I think you do need to know the basics in order to follow the instructions.Coatigan

Helen’s fur was slightly more tricky. I suggested a longer stitch, an old book I have suggested always sewing in the direction of the pile, which made sense. She used lots of pins and after a few minutes sewing I suddenly thought of the walking foot, it went together much easier after that.Helen got her basic coat done that day before she got distracted by the gym, I never seem to have that problem!

I bought the lining at Craft and Create in Skipton, it’s a warm camel colour and it feels really nice. The instructions tell you to bag the whole lining and turn it out through a hole in the sleeve. I’ve never fancied doing that so I stitched my lining in as usual, hand-stitching the hem edge.Lining view of Coatigan

I was hoping to put buttons on it as that is the one thing I missed with my first coatigan. I bought three lovely buttons at Craft & Create but when it came to making the buttonholes, I couldn’t actually get the fabric under the buttonhole foot, I might decide to try with the normal foot but at the moment I’m going without again.Coatigan

I’m really pleased with my coatigan, it’s probably more spring and autumn weight, but I’m sure it will get a lot of use. It was great fun having a sewing day with Helen too, hopefully we’ll have another one soon.Coatigan

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Signed Tealed & Posted!

Over Christmas I managed to finish the centre block for Kate Chiconi’s Signed, Sealed & Delivered quilt which will be auctioned to raise money for Ovarian Cancer research. It was only when I was checking back through e-mails trying to find Kate’s address that I remembered I’d also promised to make a postcard block! So over New Year I thought I’d better make one…

The 12.5″ block needed a front and back view of a postcard, but the design was completely up to us, I checked on Kate’s blog to see what everyone else had made, I pulled all the teal fabrics I could find out of my stash and eventually decided to do a scene of Catbells, my favourite fell. It’s an image I’ve created several times over the last few months so I knew I could make it relatively easily.

I made the front of the postcard first, I used bondaweb to attach Catbells and the reflection on to the background. I blanket-stitched round using one of the embroidery threads from the cross-stitch block, which reassured me that the colours should work with the rest of the quilt! Signed Tealed & Delivered quilt block of Catbells

For the back I used the same teal batik as Catbells, I appliqued a ‘stamp’ from the fabric Shirley gave me in my Stitching Santa and then embroidered the writing in back-stitch using the variegated thread from the cross-stitch block. It took a while to decide what to write and it was my daughter Helen that suggested the Ordnance Survey grid reference number and the height. Signed Tealed & Delivered quilt block

My original plan was to bondaweb the whole postcard onto the block fabric but I was concerned it might make it too thick and stiff, so I just appliqued them on instead. I put the picture at the bottom because it balanced better with the plain area of the back partially covered by the front. The front needed a bit more definition to make it stand out from the background so I chain-stitched around the edge using the variegated thread again.

I’m really pleased with this block, it’s worked out as I hoped. They will both be in the post tomorrow Kate 🙂Signed Tealed & Delivered quilt block

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Eighteen for 18

Last year a couple of blogs I follow were doing ’17 for 17′, lots of little (and big) things to aim for over the year. I liked the way it include non sewing and lifestyle aims as well and a monthly post helps to see how you’re doing.

So, here’s my eighteen for 2018…

  • 1 Etsy store opened; I’d love to be able to get a little income from my sewing, just got to make sure it stays a pleasure!
  • 2 Tutorials; I’ve been thinking about this for ages, hopefully listing it will give me the kick I need!
  • 3 Sessions a week in the garden; I’ve been very careful not to make a time on this, in the winter I might only manage 10 minutes, but all those minutes will add up to help me get on top of my garden.
  • 4 Quilts; I’ve one to make for a wedding in March, my Down the Rabbit hole quilt to finish, a wall hanging kit and I really need to start using my scraps!
  • 5 Craftsy Classes; I’ve quilting, embroidery and sewing classes just waiting to be watched…
  • 6 New Patterns; I’m embarrassed just how many patterns I have that I have never actually used!
  • 7 Kits stitched; I always fall for kits at the various shows I go to, I have a box of them waiting to be stitched!
  • 8 Pages in my stitch sampler book; I’d like to get more done but I’m trying to be realistic!
  • 9 Pounds Lost!!! I’d like to lose a lot more than 9lb but that will be a start!
  • 10 Mini Embroideries; some of these will be for the travelling sketchbooks, others for a fabric book I have planned. I’ve really enjoyed the embroidery work last year so I want to do some more.Robin Embroidery
  • 11 Letters to friends; I used to be a big letter writer, then a long came facebook and e-mails, but it just isn’t the same. I still have letters I received from friends when I was in my teens and twenties. I’m going to make an effort to write to friends again.
  • 12 Boxes or Drawers sorted in sewing room; my sewing room needs a serious sort out, I’m going to tackle it box by box!
  • 13 New Recipes; after years of cooking for a family it’s easy to get into a rut with cooking, this will give me new ideas for meals.
  • 14 Less Lengths in my stash! I know, I’ve been trying to reduce my stash for years, but this year it might just happen!! I’ve just counted and I’ve got about 60 lengths!
  • 15 Posts a month; There are months when I post this number and more, but there are also months when I post a lot less, this will hopefully even things out a bit.
  • 16 cross-stitch smalls; over the last few months I’ve quite got into little cross-stitch items, I rather like the idea of having a seasonal display. 16 may sound a lot, but it’s only just over one a month!A Christmas dachshund and a cute pug in cross-stitch
  • 17 items of clothing made. This is quite a tough one as I do think 17 is a lot, I also know that my wardrobe is getting depleted and it will also help with no.14! I have the fabric and the patterns, I just need to organise myself and do more dress-making.
  • 18 Walks; my daughter thinks this is a lot, but my OH and I want to start going for a ‘proper’ walk once a month, it will be good both from a fitness point of view, but also just spending more time together will be good. My friend and I need to get some practice walks too in for our long distance walk this year, St Cuthberts Way in September.

So, that’s my aims for 2018, it may seem a lot but some things may tackle several posts, like making clothes with fabric from my stash with a new pattern could count for three different aims.

Posted in Crafts, Dressmaking, Eighteen for 18, Quilting, Serendipity | 21 Comments

Stitch-a-long 3

It doesn’t seem three weeks since I last showed you my Signed Tealed & Delivered cross-stitch, I started it in mid November so I think I’ve made pretty good progress.This is going to be part of Kate Chiconi’s ovarian cancer fund-raising quilt, I know most of the blocks are now with Kate so I wanted to crack on with my contribution.

This is where I was three weeks ago…

…and this is where I am now, all the way round to Australia! Guess what that means…

…time for a happy dance! I finished it on Christmas Day evening, so it will be winging it’s way to Australia next week and will hopefully soon by Signed, Tealed & Delivered to Kate 🙂

There’s quite a few of us taking part in the stitch-a-long, all stitching our own project and posting our progress every three weeks. Please follow the links to see what everyone else is stitching. If you would like to join our merry band, please send a message to Avis;

AvisClaireGunCaroleLucyAnnKateJessSueConstanzeDebbieroseChristina,

KathyMargaretCindyHelenStephLindaCatherineMary MargaretTimothy,

HeidiConnieJackie

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Down the Rabbit Hole…

…otherwise known as my Fluffle quilt! I learnt the other week from Tracy’s blog that a collection of rabbits is called a fluffle, isn’t that such a gorgeous word, so this is now my fluffle quilt!!

Over the last few weeks I’ve been working on the deep applique borders stitching rabbits and flowers on, there’s still a lot of stitching to do there but in this post Christmas hiatus I decided to stitch the previous border which I had put on hold whilst I decided on the colours.

This border is made of elongated hexagons and triangles, it’s particularly effective when two main colours are used as it looks like a twisted rope. My initial hesitation was over the little triangles. Having seen a few on facebook (the advantage of being behind!!) I liked the effect when the triangles were the same fabric as the adjacent border, so all you see is the rope. Before I cut over eighty triangles I wanted to make sure I wasn’t leaving myself short for the main border, hence the wait! Continue reading

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My Secret Santa is a Squirrel !

I hope your Christmas is going well, we had a lovely day yesterday when my mum joined us for lunch and today has been a quiet sewing day, so a pretty perfect break really!

I’d been eyeing up my basket of Secret Santa presents all weekend, we stagger present-opening through the day, so I knew I wouldn’t be opening it until after lunch! It’s a tradition I’ve carried on from my own childhood. Our children had stockings on their beds with little presents in, they always had a satsuma and a £1 in the bottom! They then had to get dressed before coming down to the lounge to open their presents from us together. Presents from everyone else waited until after lunch, when I was little we had to wait until after the Queen’s speech! I think staggering the presents helps to spread the excitement through the day, it also means that children don’t think everything comes from Santa, only the stocking came from Santa!

After lunch we all sat down for presents and I could finally open all those little presents from my Secret Stitching Santa! Firstly can I say a huge thankyou to Sewchet for organising Stitching Santa each year, it’s great fun and I appreciate all your hard work planning it.

I opened the card first, my Stitching Santa was Shirley from Squirrels Knitting Conquests, she had put together a wonderful array of gifts, she has obviously been having a good look around my blog as she has chosen perfect gifts for me…

…two lovely co-ordinating fat quarters, wonderful sewing themed fabrics,  I think they will be perfect for a sewing accessory, I’ve got a couple of projects in mind….

…a metal sewing gauge, I’ve wanted one of these for ages, they’re great for spacing buttons.

…a needle minder, I’ve only just discovered how useful these are and if, like me,  you have several projects on the go, you definitely need more than one. This one is like a mini chocolate doughnut covered with sprinkles!

A Christmas cross-stitch kit and hoop, I’ve really got into cross-stitch smalls over the last couple of months, so I’ll enjoy stitching this one ready for next Christmas.

A notebook, which will come in very useful next year when I try and get myself a bit more organised!

A box of Scottish shortbread. I have to confess this is already opened and sampled! A finger of shortbread goes so well with a morning cup of coffee! Shirley is from Scotland and shortbread is a Scottish treat.

Then came the extra special presents, the hand made ones…

…an appliqued and embroidered Christmas mug rug, this will be great for my sewing room, plenty of room for my cup of tea and a finger of shortbread.

…a zipper pouch. I love the design of this, it’s like a big mint humbug shape, so it will fit a surprising amount in.

But the best present of all is a bag, a tote bag. Shirley has stitched a tree on the front with dozens of individual leaves, all from different pretty fabrics, there’s a bird button sitting on a branch and she has embroidered Stitching Santa 2017 in amongst the branches too. I just love it,I really appreciate the time it must have taken to make it, all those leaves… It makes a lovely memento to Stitching Santa. I think I will use it to take my sewing things to Embroiderers Guild each month.

Thank you so much to Shirley for my wonderful presents,  I’ve not only received a lovely present, I’ve found a new blog to follow, your blog may be just what I need to inspire me to get back into crochet 🙂

 

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Twelve Days of Crafty Creek Christmas

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

Twelve decorations

Eleven Christmas rosesDecoarting Christmas Cakes

Ten holly leaves

Nine Trees on Napkins

Eight stained glass figuresStained Glass Nativity

Seven Santa Clauses

Six Christmas quilts

Five Cross-stitch Smalls

Four homemade cards

Three fabric wreaths

Two tasty cakes

…and a partridge in a pear tree!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas

and lots of happiness in 2018

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Christmas Eve Eve

It’s Christmas Eve tomorrow and I finally feel ready for Christmas, we collected the turkey this morning at about 7.30am, we always go early as otherwise the queue at the butchers is winding down the road and round the corner! I popped into the supermarket for some smoked salmon for starters and a few last minute bits before heading home for a final vac, sweep and tidy up.

I’ve wrapped the last few presents and remembered I still had some cards to finish off. I used to make all my Christmas cards, nowadays it’s just a handful for close family. I couple of weeks ago I ran a silk painting workshop for my WI, we used pre-gutta-ed cards as we only had a couple of hours so I didn’t have time to teach them how to apply gutta. Silk painting is great as it’s like painting by numbers, the paint automatically stops at the gutta so you get a really neat outline. It also blends beautifully and adding salt can make a lovely dappled effect. I love the vibrant colours too, they have a translucent quality, a bit like watercolour. Silk painting Christmas Cards

Usually with silk painting the silk is stretched on a frame, however with small pieces you can iron them onto freezer paper instead, much easier! It can then be left on the paper when attaching it to an aperture card. I managed to make three that evening, I’m not sure if my favourite is the town or the penguins…

I finally finished off my card for my OH. I made a little cross-stitch of mistletoe earlier in the month which was flat mounted on card. I attached a hanging ribbon so next year it can go on the tree. To make it into a card I simply hung it on the card and used sellotape on the inside to secure the hanging ribbon. It’s bit bit top heavy so it does need some help (from a candlestick) to stand up but my OH was really chuffed when I gave him it today.Mistletoe Christmas Card in cross-stitch

Whilst I was in town I also called into the mail sorting office to see if there was a parcel for me. There was…it’s my present from my Secret Stitching Santa!!! This has been organised by Sewchet, I took part last year and it was great fun. I sent a parcel off a couple of weeks ago to my recipient and I’ve been eagerly waiting for my Secret Santa present to arrive!

I unwrapped the outer parcel and I couldn’t believe all the little presents inside for me, all individually wrapped. I popped them all in a basket with the card under the tree, I’ve been very good and not squished or peeped at anything, but I can’t wait for after lunch on Christmas Day when we open our presents.

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Holly Humbug

I think this will be my last finish before Christmas, a Holly Humbug for our tree…

Last year I stitched a Mistletoe humbug and it’s my favourite Christmas decoration this year, so much so that when I got a discount code at the end of the Lizzie Stitching Wallet stitch-a-long I bought the patterns for about another six humbugs!Mistletoe Humbug, gorgeous cross-stitch  Christmas decoration.

As you may have guessed it’s another design by Faby Reilly, so it’s beautifully designed, very pretty and delicate.

I stitched the design over about three evenings. I used a left over piece of evenweave linen I found in my stash. I didn’t realise until I’d been stitching a little while that it is 36 count linen, my eyes really struggle nowadays with 18 stitches to the inch!! Having been stitching 14 to the inch with the Signed Tealed & Delivered cross-stitch I found it a lot harder with the finer linen, you wouldn’t think four stitches extra would make that much difference….Holly Humbug gorgeous cross-stitch decoration

I’ve also decided I really don’t like stitching in gold thread, or rather, I really don’t like stitching with DMC gold thread! It snagged, knotted, tangled…I love the effect, I just find it hard work to stitch with. I think next time (I’ve another four humbugs to make!!) I’ll look into the Anchor Lame thread instead as I used the silver on my flower lattice and that was fine to sew with.Holly Humbug gorgeous cross-stitch decoration

Having said all that, it looks gorgeous, I love the twisting ribbon loops and the delicate row of holly leaves. I stitched the design and the outer back-stitch edge and gave it a good press before stitching the beads on as berries.Holly Humbug gorgeous cross-stitch decoration

Faby has a really good tutorial on her website on how to make up the humbugs, they are stitched together by whip-stitching the back-stitch outline. The thread at the top is left so it can be used to make the hanging cord. I was planning to use red beads but I spotted these gold ones and I had quite a lot of them so I decided to make a gold cord instead.Holly Humbug gorgeous cross-stitch decoration

It’s already hanging proudly on our Christmas tree, I think the other humbugs will have to wait until next Christmas 🙂

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Christmas is Coming

I’m gradually getting a bit more into the festive spirit, it’s taken a bit of doing this year!! Yesterday I finally finished putting all the decorations up. One thing I do like at Christmas is reacquainting myself with various Christmas decorations I’ve made over the years, luckily I’ve put a date on some, as otherwise there is no way I would remember this bell pull is nearly 30 years old!! The cats on it would date it a bit as that’s Oliver and Nellie, cats I had in my 20’s. I love the Skating Santa bell pull, I think it’s his elegant shape, this was stitched a few years ago.

I’ve made a few wall hangings over the years too, these two Santas come out every year, they are probably from the same era. A more recent one is the Partridge in a Pear Tree quilt which I made just a few years ago. These are all pre printed panels which are then hand-quilted. I made the Advent calendar when James was little and it’s come out every year since.

I’ve made two father Christmas’s over the years and I’ve got a pattern for another one! My favourite is the Thimbleberries one which has an embroidered coat, his beard is made from Wensleydale sheep wool which is lovely and curly.Felt Embroidered Santa

Last week a friend came round to make a Christmas wreath. I don’t usually do an actual wreath for the door, more of a seasonal bunch. I discovered this by chance when I was helping decorate our village church for the WI Carol service a few years ago. We had some big pieces of greenery left, rather than waste it I gathered it together into bunches, tied a red ribbon round it and hung them on pillars, they looked really good, so that’s what I usually do at home. I have to be careful with the holly as my OH isn’t impressed if it attacks him on the way in!Christmas Door Wreath

My Advent ring has been up for three weeks now so it’s starting to look a bit sad in places. At this time I usually take out any obviously dead stuff and fill in the gaps with natural and artificial bits, such as pine cones, clementines and floral pics. As you can see we’ve three candles lit now for the 3rd Sunday in Advent, together with the daily Advent candle in the middle.Advent Wreath

Another floral decoration I’ve made this year is round a candle. I found some silver gypsophillia in my boxes of decorations. My original though was to sort of hold it in place with the candle, that didn’t work! In the end I tied small bunches together with silver wire in a row and then tied it round the candle. I think it looks very pretty.Gypsophilia Christmas Candle

The Fold and Stitch wreath has now got a candle lantern in it’s centre, the inside needed a little something so I threaded some baubles onto red ribbon and tied it round the base.Fold and Stitch Wreath

I’ve quite a few homemade tree decs now, little cross-stitch ones from years ago, a cross-stitch house I made within the last couple of years. The red and silver bells and the sheep are left over from the fair I did in Grassington.

I think my favourite one still though is the Mistletoe humbug I made last year, it’s a design by Faby Reilly. I liked it so much that when I got a discount code for completing the Lizzy Stitching Wallet, I bought patterns for several more! I’m over half way through stitching the Holly humbug, it’s looking very sweet, I’ll hopefully get it finished in the next couple of days. How are your Christmas plans coming on?Holly Humbug, Faby Reilly

 

Posted in Christmas, Crafts, embroidery, Quilting, Serendipity | Tagged , , | 25 Comments