This is my Christmas haul….some fantastic embroidery books!

Every year at Christmas, I give the ‘Christmas Elf’ (also known as a ‘husband’) some ideas of what I’d like for Christmas. This system is foolproof – this way, I always get things that I love (and so does he – there’s a female Christmas Elf who collects ideas of what he’d like, too!).

This year, I had a bumper crop of gorgeous books:

Embroidery and patchwork books

This first one is one that I knew had to be on my Christmas list as soon as I saw it first advertised, back around September.

Passion for Needlework

It’s the new Inspirations book ‘A Passion for Needlework 2: Factoria VII’. This features twelve designs from a variety of designers who also create designs for the Australian ‘Inspirations’ magazine. The book is the second in what is now looking to be a series of volumes, fortunately – this is stitching eye candy at its best. The book is very well produced, the photography is wonderful, and I’m tempted to start on one or two projects right away! This is one of my favourites from the book, which I am itching to stitch:

Embroidered etui set

And these gorgeous little stumpwork pots are calling to be stitched too:

Stumpwork floral pots

One thing that I wasn’t very keen on with this book was the settings that the photography had been done in – a converted bacon factory in Australia, which is now a home, but it’s been decorated in the, admittedly, popular ‘industrial’ decorating style. But I hate that! The actual embroidery, in many of the images, seems a bit ‘lost’. Like this one:

Passion for Needlework

I don’t like to have to play ‘hunt the embroidery’ when I’m looking at a picture in an embroidery book……

This next book has been on my Amazon wishlist for a couple of years, but never got beyond that:

Stumpwork embroidery book

I think that’s because although the embroidery is great, I’m not personally very keen to stitch things all in white, so the cover was putting me off. But on Pinterest a few weeks ago I saw an image taken from one of the projects inside the book, and then I ‘upgraded’ the book from ‘maybe one day’ to ‘yes, now!!’

It’s got some gorgeous stumpwork projects in it – really creative stuff. This complements Jane Nicholas’s style very well (Jane is Australian, and has a lovely neat stumpwork embroidery style, doing mainly botanical studies). I’m looking forward to trying some of these projects, too. This is my favourite so far:

Stumpwork embroidery book

The book has a long section at the beginning covering all sorts of ‘how to’s’ – very good detail.

Stumpwork padding

I also received a couple of patchwork books, as I have a huge interest in making American Civil War-style mini quilts at the moment, using reproduction fabrics from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Patchwork

This book is by two really good quilt designers – Jo Morton and Kim Diehl. They both showcase designs based on the same blocks throughout this book, showing how a designer can be influenced in very different ways, when using the same basic elements as another designer.

This is my favourite design from this book. It’s one of Jo’s:

Jo Morton quilt

The other quilting book is a very new one:

Patchwork and quilting book

This book uses a novel idea – the author took one ‘layer cake’ of fabrics (that is, a pack of 40 co-ordinating fabrics, each ten inches square), to see how many projects she could make out of it (plus the backing fabric).

These are all quick little projects, so I want to get a few of these done soon, such as this one:

Patchwork mug mat

I’m hoping to share more of my attempts at patchwork and quilting on this blog during 2019.

Finally, I also got the latest Johanna Basford colouring book ‘World of Flowers’. If you haven’t seen this, you’re from another planet! I want to work on this one on the right hand side first:

World of Flowers

So, as long as I get some spare time (Ha!! What’s that?!), I should have some good things to be working on during the coming year  🙂

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needle minders, needle holder, pin keep, sampler, cross stitch, magnetic needle holder

 

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How to make a quick quilt: 2

Back in June, I posted about this quick project that I’d started – it’s called a ‘cheater quilt’, as the fabric is already printed with the patchwork-style blocks on it, so I didn’t have to piece all those tiny shapes together! I just wanted a simple hand quilting project that would be portable, to see me over a few weeks of the summer while I was travelling about.

So, the quilting itself was completed after about a month. Very easy to do – I just did running stitch around the edges and inner patterns of all the printed blocks, and stitched little squares in the intersections of the blocks, to hold the fabric down nicely.

Then I did the binding, using a long quarter of a fabric I’ve had in my stash for years, which I bought from the Cotton Patch shop in Birmingham. I used two inch wide strips, and pinned the strip to the reverse side of the quilt, flush with the edge, with right sides together.

Then I handstitched the strip in place from the front side of the quilt, half an inch in from the edge.

I folded over the strip to the front, making a hem, and pinned it in place, then slip stitched it into position.

Then I did the same on the opposite side of the quilt, so both long sides were completed first. To neatly bind the two shorter sides, I pinned the strips in place in the same way as before, but first I had to turn back a half inch hem at the start and end of the strip, so that the corners would be neat.

This is how it looked sideways on.

After stitching half an inch in to attach the strip, as before, I slip stitched the binding in place.

This is the finished cheater quilt – it measures about 22 inches by 16 – not very large, but quite impressive considering I didn’t actually do any real patchwork for this!!

I love the checked backing fabric – it goes really well with the colourway of the front.

And this is what I made it for – I have some reproduction dolls that usually sit on the first floor landing in my home, and I decided to make them some mini quilts to sit on (actually, I wanted to make some mini quilts and couldn’t think what on earth to do with them, so that was the best ‘reason’ I could come up with!).

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Are you interested in doll’s houses and stitching? Then why not visit my website, where you can buy doll’s house needlepoint kits to make all kinds of soft furnishings for one-twelfth scale dollhouses. There are over 280 kits to choose from, plus chart packs, fabric project packs, tutorials, and lots of eye candy to inspire you! Kits are available on 18 and 22 count canvas, 28 and 32 count evenweave, and 32 and 40 count silk gauze, so there’s something for everyone – from beginners to experts.

As a special offer for new customers on my website, use the code FIRST TIME 10 at the checkout to receive 10% off your first order!

Dollhouse needlepoint kits

 

How to make a quick quilt: 1

I’ve decided to take a break from my embroidery and dollhouse projects for a bit, and make a quick quilt. This because I’m due to go on holiday in a few weeks, and I want to get a project started that will be very portable and simple to do while I’m on the move.

I’d actually been looking around for a simple embroidery project, but then I saw this lovely fabric, and decided that I really wanted it!! It’s a fabric by Northcott, called ‘Stonehenge: A Stitch in Time – Quilt Blocks panel’. I got a half yard piece for £7.50 from The Corner Patch, which is based in Sheffield. They have a really good website. I bought the yellow gingham (a Makower fabric) at the same time. The mustard colour fabric was just lurking in my stash  🙂

cheater quilt

I’m planning to use the yellow gingham for the backing, and the mustard fabric to bind the edges. The quilt is only little – it’ll be about 20 by 25 inches when it’s finished – more like a tabletop quilt than a cot quilt, even. Sometimes these panels that you just do quilting on, without having to make the patchwork first, is called a ‘cheater quilt’. I can see why! I’m planning to use it as a sort of blanket for my reproduction dolls to sit on, at the base of one of my doll’s houses.

I bought some wadding for the quilt from Cotton Patch, based in Birmingham, for £7.95 – they stock loads of different types of wadding, but the kind I bought is cotton/polyester blend, specially for hand quilting. I only needed a small piece, obviously, so I bought their small pack for crib quilts, and I’ll still have enough left over to make several more of this size.

cheater quilt fabric yardage

I sandwiched up the layers, and pinned them one on top of the other, then tacked the fabrics together in both directions, starting from the centre and using long straight stitches, with the rows about three inches apart.

patchwork fabric

Then I just have to do running stitch along all of the lines on the fabric where they have already printed little running stitches! This is so easy, and it’s a great project to do in short bursts, when I only have a few minutes at a time. The ‘patches’ are about four inches square on the fabric, and each one takes about an hour to quilt. The wadding is thin enough to quilt by hand, and makes nice little ‘puffs’ on the fabric, which you can see in the picture above – the patch in the top right hasn’t been quilted yet, but the one on the left has.

I like to use a number 10 size quilting needle for my hand quilting. They are very short, so they are easy to manoeuvre through the layers of fabric. I’ve got a quilting thimble, but I never use it, so I just put up with getting  a hole in my middle finger!!

I used polyester thread for the basting, and 100% cotton quilting thread 50/2 by Aurifil in a deep cream for the actual quilting, which I bought from the Cotton Patch when I bought the wadding.
hand quilting

It’s quite obsessive, once I get going on it – I love the rhythm of just making the simple running stitches, over and over again. It’ll be a good one to take with me on my hols!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Are you interested in doll’s houses and stitching? Then why not visit my website, where you can buy doll’s house needlepoint kits to make all kinds of soft furnishings for one-twelfth scale dollhouses. There are over 280 kits to choose from, plus chart packs, fabric project packs, tutorials, and lots of eye candy to inspire you! Kits are available on 18 and 22 count canvas, 28 and 32 count evenweave, and 32 and 40 count silk gauze, so there’s something for everyone – from beginners to experts.

As a special offer for new customers on my website, use the code FIRST TIME 10 at the checkout to receive 10% off your first order!

Dollhouse needlepoint kits

 

Book review: ‘Make Mine Mini: 13 miniature quilts from traditional to contemporary’, by Christine Carlson

I’ve been getting back into quilting during the past few weeks, and I found this book on my bookshelf:

‘Make Mine Mini: 13 miniature quilts from traditional to contemporary’.

It’s a slim book of 64 pages and was published in 2010, and features 13 little quilts, using various techniques. It is a very useful way to learn the techniques, as each quilt shouldn’t take too long – these aren’t difficult designs.

MMM 1

There are 23 pages of general information at the beginning of the book, covering how to make the most of the blocks you have chosen to make (by setting them in different formations), to how to choose fabrics wisely, and how to bind your finished quilt.

MMM 4

The instructions for the 13 projects are very detailed, especially the information about fabric quantities and how many of each square or triangle to cut out.

The section on colour theory was really good
The section on colour theory was really good
Quick tips for rotary cutting are also included, with advice on how to save time when piecing at the sewing machine. This book covers the ‘flip and sew’ method, and also shows you how to make trims for your finished quilts, such as yo-yos. There are ‘box-outs’ throughout the book with tips relevant to that page, and I found these really useful.
These are the 13 projects in the book
These are the 13 projects in the book

The project I liked the best was the Spools Variation mini quilt (featured on page fifty – see the illustration above for the visual index to the book), with an edging made from ‘prairie points’ (folded fabric triangles, caught into the seam between the front and the back fabrics).

MMM 5

Although, on the whole, the fabrics chosen for the quilts in this book aren’t my choice really (they are either a bit too pastel, or a bit too brown, for me), it is easy to substitute your own palette when you start to make your own version. So, visually I was not attracted so much to this book, but once I started reading it, the information contained in it is very good, and I can see myself making several of the projects at some point soon.

The book is published by Clotilde, and costs $11.95 in Canada (I paid £3 on Amazon, second-hand. New, it’s about £6). ISBN 978 1 59217 323 5.