Sunday, 30 May 2021

BLOG 550


Blog 550


There’s not a lot to report this week mainly because my sewing machine decided it didn’t want to sew properly. Grrrr! I went through all sorts of trouble-shooting exercises, but it still looped the stitches on the back of the baby quilt that I am making. It was maddening! Then I thought I’d use the machine that I won in a competition, a Husqvarna Opal, which has mainly lain idle since bringing it home. The main reason for this is that it requires a special green spool and I have dozens of bog standard spools already filled with threads.



This machine proved to be no push-over! The free machine foot that was provided with the machine just clamped onto the fabric and I couldn’t move it in any direction. More Grrrr!! So I need to take it to the local shop that provided it (if it is still open) and ask for some sound advice. The baby was due yesterday so I was anxious to finish this quilt. Even more Grrrr! It is a floor quilt so I used a dyed calico on the back.


Baby quilt

Free motion quilting

Dyed calico


With the relaxing of Covid restrictions, I have been able to spend time with my granddaughters. We usually try to do some messing about in my playroom and this time Ella did a picture using oil pastels which acts as a resist. It was then covered with Quink ink. I love the effect!

Oil pastels


As it rained incessantly this past week, I was able to spend time with the jigsaw and I am pleased to say that it is finished. What an obsessive effort it has been! It was hard but somehow fun to do because of the interesting and detailed content.  

2000 piece jigsaw


I have been pondering for a while now whether to continue posting a regular blog. I have come to the conclusion that I haven’t anything fresh to say about my quilting endeavours. I have established my quilting style long ago and I have been working in this way for some time. Occasionally there is a new piece of painterly work, perhaps a Linus quilt here or a wall hanging there but I feel that I have got nothing to say now that is fresh.  So I am going to step back from weekly posting for the summer months and decide whether I want to stop completely in September. Thank you to those who have faithfully followed my musings. I wouldn’t have written it without the support of my ’friends in stitches’, my people out there in the dark!  

Sunday, 23 May 2021

BLOG 549


Blog 549


There’s a lot on my design wall to catch up on but this week I changed tack completely to make a floor quilt for a baby which is due at the end of this month.


Design wall


On line, I found a variety pack of children’s fabrics, postage free, so I ordered them and was perplexed to find that they were coming all the way from China! I needn’t have worried about the distance travelled because they were delivered within 5 days. Just how they do it so cheaply and so quickly I do not know. Anyway, after opening the packet I saw straight away that the squares were not accurate so I had to set about reducing them all from an inaccurate 4” to 3 ¾”. I bordered each square with a bright plain fabric and then chose a multi-coloured batik to make the lattice strips. I added corners stones of the plain fabrics to unify the over-all look. Here’s the sequence.

Variety pack




Lattice and corner stones

String piecing

 Lattices attached

Completed top


For my birthday last month I got a mammoth jigsaw. I have never attempted one so big! I have had smaller ones (1000 pieces) made by this designer (Jan Van Haasteren) before and they are great fun to do. There isn’t an inch of space that isn’t full of detail and the same characters always appear in each jigsaw. With so much rain this week I have made a cautious start; I am obsessed!

Mammoth jigsaw







Sunday, 16 May 2021

BLOG 548


Blog 548


Continuing on from last week on the collie theme, I decided to have another go. I thought that I would try a version without voiles for comparison, to see which one I preferred. It was the same process again but with altered colouring and here is the sequence.

Collie 1

Collie 2 #1 Start

Collie 2 #2 In progress

Collie 2 #3 Comparison

Collie 2 #4 Almost complete


There’s a bit more work on this sample and that will give me a second sheepdog that I don’t know what to do with!


And as I started to work on another jigsaw, I understood exactly why I enjoy doing these fragmented images. It’s the correct placement of all the smaller bits to make a combined and pleasing whole. I get a lot of help (or hindrance!) from Wussy Pillow who insists on joining me. This particular jigsaw of the main street in Chester (which I know well but haven’t seen for 18 months) was passed on by a friend who said he had spent 5 hours trying to do the sky but couldn’t manage it. So I thought I’d show him how. It was fiendishly hard so I just placed the pieces wherever I could and sent him a picture for a laugh! Not my finest jigsawing moment it has to be said!

Willow and jigsaw

Impossible sky!




Sunday, 9 May 2021

BLOG 547


Blog 547


This week I continued to do more work on the sketches of the sheep dog in stalking mode. I find it quite therapeutic to draw of an evening and with persistence eventually an image started to emerge. This spurred me on to making a working pattern. The first two sketches are worked with the mosaic shading I like to do and it was this style that I was definitely going to do when I got to my playroom.

Pic 1

Pic 2


Pic 3

Pic 4


You can see from the pattern below that I started to make mosaic shading marks but once I started to work with fabric, I went in another direction entirely! This sequence of pictures illustrates the creative progress that I made.

Pic 5

Pic 6

Pic 7

Pic 8

Pic 9

Pic 10

Pic 11

Pic 12


Once the image was complete, I then overlaid the fabric with voiles to give more depth to the colour.


Pic 13

Pic 14


Once it was complete, I showed it to Himself who immediately said that the dog looked too heavy for a working collie! And once I stepped away from my work to look at it objectively, I saw straight away that he was right! And so I embarked on some selective redesigning, cutting, repositioning and tweeking until I was happier with the over-all shape. And don’t ask what I am going to do with it because I don’t know just yet!

Pic 15


Pic 16

Pic 17

Pic 18




Sunday, 2 May 2021

BLOG 546


Blog 546


You may have gathered that I was rather fed up with my creative flair last week and as a result, I slung the sketch into the bin in disgust!! Later on, I retrieved it because I don’t like to be beaten when an idea doesn’t work the first time. If you tune in next week you will see how this project progressed.

Retrieved sketch


So, while the scant collection of brain cells process this dilemma on my behalf, I used a tray of ready-cut pinked circles to create a colourful background. Here’s the progression.







Once I was happy with the flow of colours, I trimmed it into a square and placed it onto wadding. Now it is ready for embellishment and a border. I have made many such cushion fronts and they are easy to do!

Cutting board


On wadding



And finally, I have found a post-it note behind a cushion with the words ‘Thank you’ written on it! Not a big deal you might think. But when you know that it has been behind this cushion for 2 ½ years, it starts to throw a not too favourable light on my house keeping efforts!! When Tess and family stayed for a couple of nights at Xmas over 2 years ago, she used a pad of post-it notes to say’ Thank you’ and she hid them in cupboards, on doors, in baskets, in drawers and (now we know) behind cushions! It was lovely to find them …. But 2 ½ Years later …. I should be mortified but instead it made us all laugh!

Post-it label