A few months ago I signed up to take part in this years mystery button club by Lynette Anderson Designs. Seaside Town is a 12 part BOM, each month getting a pattern and a hand painted wooden button to embellish the block with once the quilt is completed. I signed up with Cross Patch here in the UK. I was full of good intentions to get each block completed before the next one arrived, but life in general and other sewing projects got in the way so I've been rather behind in getting this one going. Today I decided it was about time to make the small pieced blocks for Month 1 of Seaside Town. I'd already completed the applique/stitchery block and just needed some uninterrupted sewing time alone with my Bernina to get the remainder finished so I could get started on Month 2!! First of all I cut some narrow strips of fabric 1.5" wide and laid them out until I found a pleasing arrangement. The strips were sewn together in sets of 4, then cross-cut and pieced together to make the final block. This method was a lot less fiddly than sewing 16 1.5" squares together! I used Aurifil thread 50wt in a medium grey for the piecing, and I'm using a Titanium Microtex size 60 needle together with my straight stitch needle plate for precision piecing...
...a couple of hours later, and all 4 blocks were ready for pressing - a quick press with a shot of steam and they were done! The embroidery/applique block was made several weeks ago. The design was traced using a ligh box and a Micron Pigma pen (pale brown in colour is my favourite) and weaveline (a fine woven cotton fusible interfacing) is fused to the wrong side of the background fabric. I used the applique paper gluestick and apliquick tools method for the applique (there is a brilliant tutorial on YouTube with Lynette demonstrating this method). The hand embroidery was all done with variegated Valdani threads. These can be a bit dry and are prone to breaking, but I find if the threads are conditioned (Thread Heaven is especially good for this) and using a good quality needle (my favourites are Tulip needles) then that eliminates too many issues with snagging. So here is the finished result - a few months after the first block arrived "Under The Tree" is finished. The cute hand painted wooden button will be stitched in place once the quilt is completed. Now I can make a start on Month 2 which has been languishing in my sewing box for simply ages!
What do you do when a friend is coming round for afternoon tea? Why - bake a cake of course! I used Tana Ramsey's recipe for Lemon Drizzle cake, from the BBC Good Food website. It didn't take very long to prepare, and the added bonus was having hens at the bottom of the garden means the eggs were EXTRA fresh. Parchment paper cake tin liners mean there is no chance of the mixture stitcking to the tin, and these were bought from Lakeland (I really should have shares in that place - the wonderful lemon grater also came from there)...
...45 minutes after the mixture was popped into the oven, this was the result! I drizzled a mixture of castor sugar and lemon juice over the cake while it was still ward, and added another layer once the cake had cooled a bit, to add a zingy, crisp topping. Well it certainly tasted delicious, and Mr F took a HUGE slice to work with him for his supper.
A few days ago I was offered a press pass for the Festival of Quilts, (which is the largest quilting exhibition in Europe, and takes place from 10th-13th August 2017 at the NEC, Birmingham) and not only that, but would I like to be a guest blogger on the FOQ blog! Well, I was beyond giddy! I'll be at the FOQ on the Sunday, and look forward to catching up with lots of quilting friends and fellow bloggers - are any of my blog followers going along too? The show has some great content including The Mastery exhibition curated by Nancy Crow, galleries from Bonnie Smith and Diana Harrison and the quilt competition with over 800 quilts. If you go to www.thefestivalofquilts.co.uk you can see what the show is all about. Looking forward to seeing you there!
As you know, I do lots of hand embroidery on my sewing projects, and enjoy working with a variety of threads. These GORGEOUS Cottage Garden Threads from the Traditionelle collection arrived in the post today from Cross Patch in Wales. Shades are 01 Un, 02 Deux, 03 Trois, 04 Romarin and 05 Merci. These variegated threads are beautiful to stitch with and are ready cut into easy to use lengths. If you would also like to take part in this thread club, you can contact Julia on the Cross Patch website.
When I drove over to Sew and So's at Bungay last weekend to look at the Quilt Show, I couldn't drive all the way home empty handed, so I topped up my fabric boxes with some GORGEOUS Lecien fabrics - these aqua prints are from the Floral Collection Antique Rose 2016 collection - and these neutral background prints are by Lynette Anderson Designs. I spotted some Aurifil 80wt thread which is my favourite for hand applique,and as it was such a good price I bought 2 spools...
...Sew and So's always has a great selection of bag making hard wear, and as soon as I spied this green webbing shoulder bag strap that was quickly added to my haul, along with some swivel clips for self-made bag handles. I'm always looking out for bag making bits and bobs and saw these jumbo sized snap fasteners on the Empress Mills website. These ones are 25mm in diameter, and decided to get a few packets in the antiqued brass finish. These will be extremely useful as I plan to make a few more bags for gifts this year. These jumbo snap fasteners arrived really quickly in the post - excellent customer service from both of these independent retailers!
Yesterday I went over to Sew and So's at Bungay, to have a look at their Quilt Show - there was an impressive display of work from customers and students on display in the Emmanuel Hall, Bungay. Here is just a selection of the beautiful quilts that I admired. There was plenty of inspiration - I've never made a sampler quilt, but seeing some of these has made me think maybe I need to make one!
I really enjoy making smaller quilted projects, and bags are my favourites. This one is Beehive Bag, by Lynette Anderson Designs, and was bought as a kit online from Little Quilt Store. I'd seen this online ages ago, then recently I'd seen it again on a FB group that I belong to, "In Stitches With Lynette Anderson" - the lady who made it had used some old buttons and had used re-used leather strap for her version, and that really appealed to me. The front of the bag has two pockets, one is embroidered and appliqued (DMC threads were used for the embroidery, and I used the applique paper and glue stick method with apliquick rods for the plant pot and bee hive). Those bees look very busy buzzing around - they're nearly as busy as those busy bees buzzing around near my hollyhocks in my garden! The final touch to the first pocket was stitching on the cute wooden hand painted ladybird button. The second pocket is pieced and quilted and has a flap - I used a simple fastener on the underside of the flap, and added a button on the front. A couple of years ago my mother-in-law gave me her button tin, and this one was in it. It was just perfect for this project!...
...two loops are stitched in place to attache the bag handle. The binding was machined to the front of the bag, folded over and hand stitched in place to the back. Clover Wonder Clips were perfect for holding the poins in place rather than using pins. I added my own little twist to the pattern, and added a clip for attaching my keys...
...and here's the finished bag. I used In R Form for the bag wadding - this is a fusible foam wadding that gives bags structure and stability. It was really easy to quilt and to sew with - although if I made another bag like this with a pocket on the front, I'd just use it for the actual bag and not the pockets too. I'd bought a couple of metres back in October from the Knitting and Stitching show from the Empress Mills stand, but this was the first chance I'd had to use it! I'm really pleased with the results, and look forward to trying it when I make a larger tote bag. There are instructions in the pattern for making a fabric strap, but I really liked the idea of using a ready-made one, and this leather one was just what I had in mind. This Beehive Bag will be really useful to use when I go to Festival of Quilts in August, and will be able to show it to Lynette in person!
We've had some very busy bees buzzing around in the garden - and this one was as busy as the busiest bee that ever was busy! A couple of weeks ago we noticed a lot of buzz buzz buzzing going on, and some very busy bumble bees have made a nest under the decking in the back garden. They seem particularly fond of the pollen-laden hollyhocks in the front garden, and as you can see this little fellow is positively covered in the stuff!
The perfect end to a very hectic week! Month 4 "All Aboard" of Seaside Town - this is a mystery button club by Lynette Anderson Designs, and it was waiting for me when I arrived home from work yesterday evening. Thanks to Julia at Cross Patch for her super speedy service! I've got a bit behind with this BOM, as I've been so busy with other projects and catching up with friends and that little gig on the side called a full time job!! I really need to get month 1 finished, then I can make a start on all those foundation pieced cottages for month 2 and 3 then I can finally stitch this sail boat!
Here are some close-ups of the 4 blocks of Scandinavian Christmas. I'd bought the set of patterns just after Christmas last year, from Patchwork Chicks here in the UK. A few months ago Lynette very kindly sent me a bundle of fat eighths of her latest festive fabric collection, Frosty Friends, which I teamed with some beautiful linen that I'd bought a few years ago when I was on holiday in Norway - this was perfect for making this quilt! All the hand embroidery was stitched with DMC thread, and the hand applique was completed with the applique paper and glue stick method, and stitched in place with Aurifil 80wt thread. The churn dash blocks are so cute! This quilt was machine pieced together with Aurifil 50wt thread, and finally it was custom quilted by the very talented Janette at J-Quilts. I used a dark red "Lynette" fabric from my fabric box for the binding, and a previous post shows you the quilt label that was stitched to the back of the quilt. A sleeve has been added to the back ready for hanging on the wall at Christmas time. If you're going on one of Lynette's workshops at Horwood House in August you'll be able to see this - Lynette will also have this on her stall at FOQ in Birmingham. If you'd like to purchase a set of these patterns, they're also available from Lynette's online shop, Little Quilt Store. And the fabrics will soon be available here in the UK too.
Blogs I follow
These are the UK shops that I use to purchase my quilting supplies - fabrics and threads etc.