29 July 2014

Hand Made

The Big Stitch Swap

Last night I finished the last bit of hand sewing on my Big Stitch Swap, and it's ready to go out to my secret partner next week.

And here's a close up of the hand quilting, because you can't see it on the main photograph.
This is my first real project that is almost entirely hand made, and it's going to be very hard to give it up!

This is also my first finish for the Q3 FAL 
Finish Along 2014

27 July 2014

The Big Stitch Swap

Once upon a time, when I was new to the on-line blogging world, I would sign up to any swap that was going, just to be "in with the in-crowd".  Nowadays, I try to be a little more selective, as I always have so many other projects going on, and my list of "quilts I will make one day" gets longer as time goes by!  So I only sign up for things I really want to do, and for something I would really appreciate receiving in return.   So when Cindy and Sarah announced a swap that would involve hand sewing, I got in there quick.  I love having a hand sewn project to do.  I find it very relaxing in the evening, and even if we have visitors (which we do... lots through summer) I can sew and chat, and not feel rude about carrying on with my sewing.

The Big Stitch Swap

The rules are simple.  I have been assigned a secret partner, I know her likes/dislikes, and  I make something for her, anything, so long as hand stitching makes up a significant portion of the project.

My hand embroidery is not brilliant (I can't see well enough these days!) so I opted for a bit of EPP.   I've had this pattern for ages
Quilting: Triangle Tipped Squares EPP Pattern

I picked out a few fabrics I thought my partner would like
Played around with them
Stage 1 EPP

Stage 2 Applique
Stage 3 Hand quilting

Finals stage today is assembly.  It'll be finished then, ready for the posting date in early AUgust, long before the next set of visitors arrive!

There are lots of other beauties appearing in the Big Stitch  flickr group, so if you can bear to use flickr, pop over and have a look at some of them.

19 July 2014

Moving on

At the beginning of September, it will be 9 years that we have lived in the Czech Republic.  When we came, we didn't know how long it would be for, but we promised ourselves we would give it 2 years, then review how we felt.  So we kept our old house in England and rented it out, so that we had a plan B, if we ever needed it.  Well, after 2 years we left our employment, started our own business and moved into our new house here, and the rest is history.  But still we kept the house in England.  The financial crisis in 2008 meant the bottom dropped out of the housing market, and it wasn't a good time to sell.

Fast Forward to 2013 when the old septic tank gave up the ghost, and we had to have a new 22,000 pound sewerage treatment plant to meet all the new regulations (thankfully the insurance paid!)  but we decided that the time was right for selling, before anything else major went wrong (it is 400 + years old, and there is always something to go wrong!).  We gave notice in January to the current tennants, Gordon spent two weeks in April re-decorating, and the house went up for sale.  And we had sold it within 3 days!!!

Thankfully the sale went through without too many gliches and yesterday, it finally completed.  The end of an era.
Circa 1998 when we moved in
Am I sad? Well I miss my lovely garden, and have given up hope of getting to anything similar here, with the very different weather conditions

And I miss our walks in the woods with the dogs
And we had some good parties!
All grown up now.  The girl in the pink dress now has 3 children of her own!!
We were very happy there, but truthfully  it ceased being our home many years ago, so no.  It is a relief to know that it is no longer our responsibility.  We cracked open a bottle of bubbly last night and moved on ........

13 July 2014

More in hope than certaintly.......

Finish Along 2014

Thinking about my quarter 3 FAL projects didn't take long.  After a cracking quarter 2, I have less WIPs hanging about, and most of what is left are old faithfuls, but I did find one I had forgotten all about last quarter

1. Blue Baby quilt  - Just needs the borders, quilting and binding
2.  Ballerina cardigan - just needs on front border making, but I don't know where the wool is after all this time (or the pattern come to think of it!)
3. Boys jumper - needs the neck border making and for this one, and I have the wool and the pattern!
3.  Time for Tea - This is the one I forgot last quarter.  It just needs a border, quilting and binding, although I may opt to hand quilt this one.
5.  Diamond Falls - I'm already onto the quilting, then there's just the binding to finish
6.  Big Stitch Swap - this hand stitching project one has to be finished at the beginning of August
So that's the 6 I'm aiming for.  There's not much chance that I will finish many, as we have a couple of weeks away and lots of visitors too, and produce coming off the garden faster than I can deal with it, but I'll give it a go!

12 July 2014

It had to happen

I woke up yesterday morning to the sound of pouring rain, and when I got up it was only 18 degrees.  Perfect weather for a day's sewing and tackling the quilting on Diamond Falls.

I basted it a couple of weeks ago, and have been putting off quilting it.  I fancied doing a diamond pattern within the diamonds, and thought I would have to draw up the quilting lines, so that I could get the lines straight.  But this morning I just marked a few marker points, and went for it.
A few months ago I bought a little work table to sit my machine in,  and this is my first opportunity to test it out on a full quilt.  I butted it up to the dining table and it's definitely cut down on the amount of drag on the machine - there are fewer corners to get caught around but I still need a table at the side and something to cover this little gap

So far so good, but I think it could still do with a line of stitching down the middle

That's better

And please tell me, am I not the only one that looks like this when I'm quilting?

(and yes, I am still in my dressing gown and I desperately need a haircut!)

Have a nice weekend everyone.  I'm off to sort out my finishes for Q3

05 July 2014

End of the quarter

Finish Along 2014

I set myself quite a task for the Q2 FAL - 10 finishes, which was a bit unrealistic after a big fat ZERO finishes in Q1.  But I had a really good start, and whilst I slowed down in July, I managed to finish 6 of them. So I am a lot happier with myself!

I have already blogged all but one of these, so if you're visiting my blog for the first time, you can follow the links if you want to read more about them.  If you've read them before, I won't be boring you to death!

1. Stitch Tease 2 - FINISHED 

2. Euro Siblings TogetherFINISHED 

3. AND 4 - Christmas Cushions 1 and Christmas Cushion 2 - FINISHED  and waiting for Christmas

5. Love Beads - NOT FINISHED but basted and ready for quilting

6. Cardigan - FINISHED
7. Cushion cover - NOT FINISHED I hate this so much, I don't want to finish it.  But I have offered it to my SIL for the church fete, so I really should

8. Baby Boy quilt - NOT FINISHED, but progressing

9. Ad infinitum - NOT FINISHED in fact they have taken a backwards step, as I had sewn them together, but pulled them apart again to use the fabric on the baby boy quilt!
10. An apron for Gordon
This is the one I have not blogged about, but it was finished for his birthday.  He had an apron that was made for him by his mum about 15 years ago, and was a little the worst for wear.  So I bought some Fabric from IKEA, and used the old one as a template to make a new one.  This is probably the easiest thing I'll ever make!

He said he was pleased, but I don't think it's been worn since!

So that's a big fat 6/10 this quarter.  It feels good to have cleared a few things from the sewing room, and I'm sticking to my "not starting something new till I've finished the rest" rule, although the effort is nearly killing me!  However, I have joined The Big Stitch Swap, so I can legitimately start something new for that!

Here's the link to the Q2 FAL linky party over at Katy's, and there are some really good tutorials this week too, so you should go check them out.