Showing posts with label Rosalie Quinlan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rosalie Quinlan. Show all posts

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Hand Stitching Round Up

It's been a couple of months already since I shared my hand stitching projects, so I thought I'd catch you all up.

I now have three of the Little Wooly Baskets blocks finished:

These blocks have proven to be a big hit! My first photo of the one on the left with the little red berries was pinned on Pinterest well over 30 times, last I checked. But you know ladies, I have to say, that photo was not the finished block! My white basting threads were sticking out all over it. Now it's finished:

Pin away! I'm always honoured when people pin my photos. The block's designer, Dawn Heese, also has a Pinterest board for this project, which is full of good ideas. That's where I got the idea to transform the berries into little flowers with radiating straight stitches in perle cotton. And then I had my own idea to stitch down the leaves with fly stitches, almost like couching. I love that added texture!

There is just a little perle cotton in this one, which is actually Block 1 of the series:

In my first Little Wooly Baskets post, I went to a lot of trouble to come up with 24 unique background fabrics for the project. But actually, I was right the first time, and there are only 12 blocks in the series! Somehow I must have multiplied "12" and "2 per month," and come to the wrong conclusion! The first ten have now been released, so I have some catching up to do.

The second project that needs an update is Vintage Blooms, the free stitchery series from Sentimental Stitches. With these two blocks, I've now finished four of the 20 that will be released.

The satin stitch centres were padded with an underlayer of chain stitch, which gives them that great height.

These are easy to stitch, The real challenge will be to give them more depth and drama with the quilting.

And third, there is another stitchery finished for Best Friends Forever:

After I posted the last BFF block in April, I looked back over all my previous posts on the project, and I had to laugh. Almost all them include a complaint about how hard it is to photograph! Well, it IS hard to photograph, but I will try to stop mentioning it. After today...

The BFF EPP (lol) setting has also been getting some attention:

You can see that I haven't started filling the background yet. Each flower will be surrounded with 24 scrappy light yellow/green/blue kite shapes, the same size as the dark green "leaves:"

That will turn them into big hexagons. With 31 flowers planned, and 24 background pieces each, this will keep me busy for quite a while yet.

So, for Slow Sunday Stitching today, I am spoiled for choice! What I should sew is this binding:

But it's hard to look at Christmas fabric in June, so maybe not!

Anyway, I have a couple more posts planned before I break for the summer, but this is probably my last Slow Sunday Stitching link up until September. Have a great summer everyone, if it's summer where you are. And happy stitching, in every case!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Not Done After All

In my last post I mentioned that I was thinking of making a few more blocks for Rosalie Quinlan's Best Friends Forever stitchery quilt. On Friday, that's what I decided to do!

The decision to make the project bigger is a bit of a celebration for me. In March and April I've been dealing with a personal health scare, and it looked like my time might be cut short. But, on Friday I learned that while the doctor still can't diagnose the problem, it probably isn't the worst case scenario. I had a very clear feeling that the road was stretching out ahead of me again!

Since time was back on my side, it seemed right to finish off the remaining BFF stitcheries. Interestingly, my BFF thread palette was still intact:

I like to pre-cut my embroidery floss and set it up on a cardboard thread organizer like this. I make a set for every project, so everything stays together. When the project is finished, I cut the cardboard apart like this...

...and sort the floss back into my thread stash. I use plastic bags (one bag per colour) on rings to store thread, which works really well for me. I can keep both cut threads like this and new skeins all together in the same bag.

Actually, I've been using the same threads for Little Wooly Baskets:

Most of the BFF thread has been perfect for my wool colours too. Maybe I'm developing a style?

That's a slight digression, but my point is that I never sorted the thread back into my stash, so I guess I was never really done with the project. I now plan to make 31 of the 32 designs, which will give me a good sized throw quilt, probably in the vicinity of 60" x 80" (150 x 200 cm).

And the long break has given me fresh inspiration too. Last time I looked at this motif I couldn't think of what to do with it at all. Maybe the big bird should be teal blue, so the cardinal stands out? This time one choice led to another in a very natural way.

I used to avoid using too much of the tiny chain stitch, because it is slower. This time it didn't seem like a problem, and I used it all over. Last time I was also worried about the swirls over the birds heads. I didn't want a big feather on the head of my cardinal! This time I said to myself, "I'll just blend it out with the light blue, and that will be fine." And it is fine! And once it is part of a big lap quilt, no one will ever think about it again.

So, a little perspective is a helpful thing. :D  25 done, 6 to go.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

All Together Now

Earlier this month I sewed the last two long rows on my Texas Star quilt. Now all 333 stars are joined together:

The bright sun seems to wash out the colours a bit, but I thought it would be a good plan to take a photo before the weeds and ants take hold again on the patio!

I still plan to applique a narrow white border to even out the edges. But it is a nice milestone to get the English Paper Piecing part of the project done. There are around 3200 pieces -- I added it up once, but lost the paper the math was on! By some EPP standards, that is not a lot, but, it's plenty for me! I am glad to have this part done. To see all the posts on Texas Star so far, please click here.

Now I can re-focus on finishing the setting for Best Friends Forever, which is also EPP. Of the 22 BFF blocks, 8 are done...

...and another 4 or 5 are almost done. They are hard to photograph! I have not really looked at this project for about a year now. Seeing it with fresh eyes, I am very happy with how it looks so far. I'd forgotten how pretty the stitcheries are!

Remember this fabric that I bought after Christmas? I was going to cut it up and use it for the pieced background for BFF. But, I've changed my mind on that, again.

Now, for sure, I am going to piece the background with scrappy prints -- mainly light green, and a little pale blue and yellow thrown in.

Each flower block will need 24 scrappy kite shapes to turn it into a large hexagon. It sounds like a lot, but it is actually a simpler plan than some of the ones I've considered!

I know you will laugh, but I've also been considering making this quilt larger. The complete BFF pattern set has 32 stitcheries, and I didn't stitch them all. Since I've decided to make the background scrappy, the project is more scalable, and I may embroider a few more.

To see the posts so far on Best Friends Forever, including all the stitcheries, please click here.
We have company coming this Sunday, but I am still going to try to squeeze in a little sewing on BFF. Maybe start a new stitchery? We'll see. In the meantime, you can see what everyone else is doing for Slow Sunday Stitching right here.

We have just a few flowers in the garden now, but in a week there should be lots more. Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Final Line Up for BFF

Last time I posted about Best Friends Forever, I said that 23.5 of the stitcheries were done. Before I did the final wash and cut, I decided to finish up that last ".5:"

And it's a good thing I did! Look what happened here:

I used the acrylic cutting guide from Paper Pieces to centre each stitchery on the 3.5" hexagons I'm using for the setting. It turns out that these two motifs, the basket and the house, were printed too close together. It's the only place I had this problem for the whole quilt -- usually there was 1/2" or more in between.

I'm not upset, because I wasn't a big fan of the basket anyway. When I stitched it I worried that it was too big, which it isn't. But I guess I knew something was wrong!

I always wash my finished stitching (cross stitch too) in plain unscented dish soap (environmentally friendly) to get out any oil or dirt. It works great, and I've never had any colour run. The linen was hung to dry, and then ironed from the back on a clean pressing cloth:

Cute, eh? Even the grunt work has been fun on this project.

Then all the motifs were cut, backed with muslin, and basted to the big paper hexagons:

I miss stitching these, actually. It was fun to come up with different stitches and colours for each one. The stitching for Down in the Garden, which I'm doing now, is not as challenging and is starting to feel dull. I may need to add something else to the mix!

Anyway, here's a reminder of how the BFF setting works:

As fun and exciting as this all looks, I'm not sure I can work on this and Texas Star at the same time without a total English paper piecing overload. And I've kind of set myself a schedule for Texas Star... So it may be a while before you see any more.

Finally, one problem I often have with internet photos is that you lose the sense of scale. So, here's a last photo with one BFF block, one Texas Star, and one of the hexie flowers from My Country House:

Is it different than you thought? They are 3.5", 5/8" and 1/2" hexagon centres, respectively. I should have put a ruler in the photo too. Anyway, lots to do!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Last BFF Stitchery

Best Friends Forever, Month 8 motif

Woo hoo!! Insert happy dance here:

...if you sexy, then flaunt it!

23.5 of the Best Friends Forever stitcheries are done, but only 22 will go in the quilt. I might make a mini or two out of the leftovers, but, not any time soon!

Next up, the English paper pieced setting, then some applique for the finishing touches. Maybe another year!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New Approach

When I started blogging just over three years ago, I had a lot to say about stitching, and the creative process in general. It irritates me no end when people say that they are not creative, when really, everyone is creative. Creativity is just the courage to try new combinations of things we already know, and a whole lot of practice and persistence.

Best Friends Forever, Month 8 motif

I also believe that there is a lot of benefit in a cross-disciplinary approach, and that no matter how committed you are to one craft, you will improve your skill by trying something different.

So, covertly or overtly, that's what I've been trying to demonstrate with this blog, and it will continue to be my practice. Going forward, though, my plan is to talk about it less, and to just let the work stand on its own. I'm hoping that the reader experience will be more like the serene swan floating across the water, and less about all the frantic paddling going on underneath!

Best Friends Forever, Month 6 motif

There's no doubt that writing less will be a challenge, but I am thinking of it like a meditation practice -- if you are always thinking about how to meditate and analyzing what you're doing, then you're not doing it.

So that's the plan, and we'll see how it goes. I am still always happy to answer questions and discuss details in the comments. But for now, let's just enjoy the view!

Fresh, shiny new thread

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Near the End on BFF

At the end of Ink Week, one thing that became clear to me was that I was ready to close out my current stitchery project, Best Friends Forever by Rosalie Quinlan. Now that all the individual stars are finished for Texas Star, I am also ready for my next English paper piecing project, which is going to be the setting for BFF. So I have two strong reasons to finish the stitchery portion of this project!

Today I have just finished the telephone, which is part of a motif from Month 6, and I'm about to turn on the tv and backstitch all the lettering while I catch up on a few episodes of CBC's Strange Empire.

Since it's Sunday and I haven't linked to Slow Stitching Sunday in ages, I thought I'd do that too! Recently it's seemed like Sundays have been a good day to devote to the sewing machine, but today I'm going to kick back. Plus, I'm keen to finish this up now!

The original, eight-month Block of the Month had 32 hexagon motifs. As I'm not doing them all, a smaller but still nice layout will be 22 hexagons, roughly like this:

Including the telephone, I need three more, so that's the plan for the next while. My cross stitch snowman is back on hold, by the way. My cross stitching neurons are rusty, and I was making mistakes all over because I was rushing it. BFF may not be Christmas-y, but it will sure feel like a nice gift to get this phase of the project done!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sashiko Inspiration

Best Friends Forever Month 5.4

Back in July I was just starting Month 5 of Best Friends Forever, and looking for a new way to fill in the large circle in the centre of this motif, when my blogging friend Jillian took a class on Kantha embroidery. The criss crossing running stitch of that technique reminded me of some Japanese sashiko stitch designs:

I reviewed this book back in 2012. I decided to try out one of my favourite sashiko patterns for this motif. The grid was marked with a water erasable marker:

I stitched around the circle with stem stitch first.  This gave me an anchor for the lines of sashiko:

The stitches look loose here because I tried to blot out the blue ink before I took the photo. Not very well! But they are fine after a proper rinse. The back is cute too:

You can see how I was able to weave the ends into the stem stitch border.

This was the first part of Month 5 to be stitched, and then the motif languished while I stitched all the others. I really was low on ideas on how to colour and stitch the rest of it. In the end it is a little different - the first motif that doesn't have any yellow - and I am satisfied with it.

Plus, after my six week holiday from this project, I am refreshed and full of new ideas for Month 6! Three months left. :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Another Blanket Stitch Variation

Isn't blanket stitch a great stitch? This time I used it as bunting:

It took a bit of trial and error, but I got there in the end! Surprisingly, it seemed to work best with four stitches up to the point, a catch stitch at the tip, and just two stitches back down.

As you can see, colourful bunting was a must on this motif:

This is one of my favourites so far. Bunting is always fun, and I love the lines of the elephant, too. Plus, I think the cardinals are becoming the spirit animals of the project, the way they keep showing up.

I'll leave you with a final detail, before it's on to the next! Don't forget to check out all the other links at WIP Wednesday, too.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Slow Stitching Sunday

While every day is a slow stitching day around here, no matter what I am making, today I am organized enough to link up with Slow Stitching Sunday over at Kathy's Quilts.

My ongoing hand stitchery project is Best Friends Forever, a block of the month from Australian designer Rosalie Quinlan. There are eight months in total, and each month has four different stitchery motifs. I am halfway! Today I will be putting in the final stitches on the first motif of Month 5:

The linen fabric is white, actually, and has been an ongoing challenge to photograph! Right now my plan is to get one motif finished and posted by every Wednesday. Check in with me then for the final reveal!

I'm hoping to get a start on the next motif as well today:

I have been choosing my own colours and stitches for this project, and I have done all the birds as Northern Cardinals, with their distinctive red and black colouring. Here's a finished motif from Month 1 as an example:

The female cardinal is tan, with the same black marking and coral beak. Cardinals mate for life, so I thought they were a good fit for this project.

I'd better get to work. See you Wednesday!
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