27 December 2015

A Review and a Plan

I really enjoy reading the posts appearing at this time of year, with all the quilts and projects online friends have finished, and the goals they have for the following year. I had great plans for 2015 too, unfortunately I have been plagued with joint pain, making quilting especially very difficult, as I really like to work by hand! Once I stopped feeling sorry for myself, I gave myself permission to work on anything I felt like and it has been liberating! Embroidery has been my 2015 focus as I am still taking term time lessons, I really enjoy them and I have signed up to Easter. I find I can stitch embroidery much easier than I can hand quilt or appliqué.

This is my small list of finishes in 2015...

I don't have any real plans for next year, I need to take each day as it comes depending on my joints and general health. I would like to continue to hand quilt my Welsh quilt when I can...
To work on my oldest WIP 'Remember When'

To make something with this wonderful collection of Liberty fabrics...
To finally decide on a setting for all my Stonefields Blocks possibly using these Dutch fabrics...

08 December 2015

The Owl and The Pussycat

I have always loved this nonsense poem by Edward Lear

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
   In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
   Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
   And sang to a small guitar,
"O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
    What a beautiful Pussy you are,
         You are,
         You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!"

Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl!
   How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
   But what shall we do for a ring?"
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
   To the land where the Bong-Tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
   With a ring at the end of his nose,
             His nose,
             His nose,
   With a ring at the end of his nose.

"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
   Your ring?" Said the Piggy, "I will."
So they took it away, and were married next day
   By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
   Which they ate with a runcible spoon;   
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
   They danced by the light of the moon,
             The moon,
             The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

So when I came across this embroidery kit by Jenny Adin-Christie, I had to buy it.
It comes complete with all the materials neatly labelled in little bags
a forty page book of instructions!
and the design printed onto a lovely silk satin, the first step was to fuse different colours of organza to make a watery sea
and appliqué some metallic mesh ribbons for a cloudy sky
It is very effective
The whole lot is then covered with embroidered silk organza to soften the look
The rest of the embroidery is worked over the top.

I had the last embroidery class of the term yesterday, and I worked on learning Needlelace, something I have never done before. I think I got the hang of it by the end of the two and a half hours! I need to practice some more and then stitch the owl.

There is no class now for five weeks, I am not sure how much I will be able to do myself at home as there are many distractions :)

02 December 2015

A Hyggelig Advent

We lived in Norway for a couple of years in the late 1990's and it was there that I discovered the joys of advent and the concept of "hygge" it is difficult to translate, often the meaning is listed as "cosy" or "homey" but it is more than that. I love this Norwegian phrase "Nu er det hyggelig" (Now, it's cosy! - usually uttered after lighting the woodburner and a couple of candles, before snuggling under a quilt with a hot chocolate to watch your favourite film)

I think coming from the North of Scotland with long cold dark winters, I embrace the concept of hygge quite well, for me it is all about making the house warm and inviting,  baking cakes and home cooked family meals, long brisk country walks, and then home for tea and crumpets in front of a roaring fire, a little bit of knitting or quilting, watching a film snuggled under a quilt...

Jasper is very good at hygge!
I also adore advent, the start of which usually triggers my hyggelig inclinations. I like to clean the house and make it all warm for winter.

Waiting for the Christmas Cactus to flower
lighting the first advent candle

This year in addition to the real tree, which will go up later in December, I have an advent tree in the kitchen.

 I put it up on first advent Sunday and I am having a lovely time adding one decoration per day from this basket of lovelies, all appropriately Scandinavian!

Our advent calendar is of the strictly chocolate kind, I am afraid there would be a revolt if I suggested otherwise!

I have noticed all over blogland, that there are lots of different creative advent calendars around and some very clever people making things from them. I was very interested to read Karen over at Cornflower's idea of having a creative advent, each day she will draw a ticket out of a hat with a current project on it and then work on that for a few hours. I have a few neglected projects that I would like to work on, I will try and do a little each day on one of them throughout advent.

My long term WIP Remember When 
My Current Knitting project
Hand Quilting The Welsh Quilt
I will also continue with Bonnie's Quilt Mystery each week and my current Embroidery project when class ends on Monday. It deserves a post of it's own, it is a stunning design by Jenny Adin-Christie!

Linking up to Freshly Pieced and Esther

30 November 2015

Allitare Mystery

Each year between Thanksgiving and Christmas Bonnie Hunter over at Quiltville generously hosts a free mystery quilt along. This year's mystery is inspired by her trip to Tuscany earlier this year. Full details and the clues so far can be found on Bonnie's blog HERE
I was not going to participate this year as I do not need another full size quilt, however I would like to make a lap quilt for my son and his girlfriend for their new flat. I have decided to make just over half of the units that Bonnie makes each week. I am rounding up to the nearest number divisible by eight and that will hopefully give me enough to play around with. I may have to make extra units once the final design is revealed, by I am happy with that. In the meantime I get to join in the fun and use up some stash!

I can't decide on my final colour scheme. Bonnie is using Black, Red, Gold, White/Creams and a constant Grey fabric. I have plenty of Whites and a lovely piece of Grey that I can use, but I don't have enough of the other colours. I don't want to buy anything so at the moment it is between two colour schemes.

White, Grey, Navy, Purple, Aqua

White, Grey, Bottle Green, Purple, Orange
Luckily clue one only uses the neutrals and the constant Grey, so I still have a week to make up my mind! I have stitched and pressed all my half square triangles and started trimming them and pinning in groups of 10
I just have these to trim and clue one is finished
I am linking up with lots of other Mystery Quilters on Bonnie's Monday Linkup

23 November 2015

St Michael & The Dragon

I have finished my embroidery of St Michael and The Dragon. I am really happy with how it has turned out, I think my silk shading is getting better. The goldwork still needs some work but I love the effect it gives and just need to keep practicing!
This is the original image I found on the internet (still don't have a source to credit)
My embroidered version, a mixture of silk shading (wings and robe), appliqué (tunic & dragon), goldwork (staff, halo, crown and dragon details) and split stitch (face, hands and tunic detail)