30 April 2014

Vintage Cottage

It all started when I heard about a new (to me) company based in France which specialise in silk embroidery threads - The Silk Mill, they have a wonderful website full of temptation - you have been warned! http://www.thesilkmill.com I purchased their country cottage garden pack, it is even better in real life :) I love the countryside and thatched cottages with their pretty gardens especially; while I live on the edge of a town and don't (yet!) have such a pretty garden, I do live in a thatched cottage and there are fields across the road!
For a while I have wanted to stitch an embroidery of a vintage cottage, a bit like these...
I even bought a vintage embroidery transfer...
However much I admire these pieces, what I really want is to stitch something I have designed myself, something based on my own cottage...
I am still working on the garden! I bought a couple of second hand books for a penny each
which are full of wonderful illustrations of victorian cottages and gardens

Although it looks older, our cottage was actually built in the 1930's. I have decided to base my colours on the 1930's palette, lots of sugary pastels and bright colours. I bought some silk ribbons when I went to London with a friend and added a few more from my stash; I thought the raffia tape would be perfect for 'thatch'

I had a bag of DMC rayon and variegated threads I bought as a job lot and so pulled a few of those too

I think I will use linen as the background, but I am not sure which colour, I think the pure white is a little too bright ?
I am leaning towards the cream at the moment as it is almost the exact colour of our cottage :)
I still have to design the piece and somehow fit in Jasper in the garden if possible :)  It will be a romantic impressionist idea of how our garden could look :) but I can see this hanging in our spare bedroom with the GTSB quilt on the bed, now I just need to finish it too!

25 April 2014

Baddesley Clinton

My husband and I were 'Up North' visiting family this week, on the way home we took a detour to visit Baddesley Clinton - a beautiful moated tudor house owned by the National Trust.
I was very happy to see some patchwork and a sampler in the old housekeepers room

A pretty sewing table in the Drawing Room
And some beautiful pieces of embroidery, this firescreen was in petit point in what looked like a mix of wools and silk, very effective and incredibly detailed

This one looked to be in simple long straight stitches worked in a silk chenille, on a very fine canvas. I have never seen this type of embroidery before, so I could be wrong but it was beautiful and the colours were still clear and bright. Do any of you know what this technique is called or even if it would have been a chenille thread?

18 April 2014

Value Proposition Mystery Quilt Along

When I read that Karen over at Faeries and Fibres was planning a mystery QAL combining three of my favourite things - mysteries, hexagons and hand piecing, I was tempted :) but I talked myself out of joining in as I don't really need another project at the moment! However I then read that it was to be a study of value; now value is something that I am really bad at! I understand the concept of using lights, mediums and darks to add sparkle and interest within a project, but in practice I tend to make quilts using lots of different fabrics in medium tones in a very limited colour palette with a pale background.  While I am generally happy with the finished quilts they sometimes look a little too safe and boring!
So I have decided to play along and join the fun, hopefully learning something along the way! I decided that I don't want to be distracted by colour choices! My blue fabrics basket is overflowing!  I can't resist buying blue fabrics, but I rarely use blue in my projects!
The ivory/cream basket is also full to the brim...
I have decided on blues for the blocks and ivory/cream for the path, I chose some initial fabrics for the first block ...
You may remember that I tried using the glue stick method for preparing my patches for the hexagon block in my GTSB quilt and really liked how quick and easy it was, I have decided to use this method again. If you want to try it too then I suggest you watch the excellent video Sue Daley has prepared showing the whole process, you can find it HERE.

I have my pieces all prepared ready to sew...
I think Karen plans on a new block every two weeks, you can find all the details on her blog HERE and see all the quilts as they are being constructed in the Flickr Group HERE

15 April 2014


Sharon over at Pintangle has an interesting post today about Hussifs. I started digging around in my sewing room and found several I have made over the years. I love making sewing pouches, bags, hussifs etc to carry around my supplies, they are usually quick and easy to make and are much nicer than plastic bags!

Some are very simple such as these pouches...

Some are more elaborate, this hexagon purse was from a Brigitte Giblin pattern and the needlebook is the Harikuyo needlebook from an online class I took with Susan Elliot.

I have also turned small cross stitch designs into hussifs ...

and made some larger quilted ones...

What I would really like to make is a crazy quilted one to hold all of my embroidery tools, Sharon has shared some links to some really fabulous examples!

14 April 2014

Green Tea and Sweet Beans Update

It has been a while since we had an update on my 1930's Green Tea and Sweet Beans quilt. The weather here has been so nice since we got back from Rome that most of my spare time has been spent in the garden. I do miss working on my patchwork so this afternoon I got all the blocks I have stitched so far out of the box to have a look at what I still need to do. (Quite a lot!)

I have finished hand piecing the units for the Drunkard's Path blocks, I just need to press them and sew them into the two blocks...
I have cut out the pieces for the two Tulip blocks, not sure if I will hand or machine piece these...
I have also prepared some Clamshells for English Paper Piecing...
And started hand piecing the Lily block...
There is still a lot to do before I will have a flimsy, but I am enjoying taking my time with this quilt and working with these happy summer colours!