Archive | July, 2012

Mr Cool and the Bag Lady

26 Jul

I have been having a bit of  an embroidery fest.  For weeks I don’t do any embroidery and then I churn out a whole pile of them in a couple of days. This week it was Loralie Designs and also a designer called Gretha Botma from South Africa. Loralie designs are funny and whimsical but there is a bit more earthy reality about Gretha Botma’s Ruby. I will be working my way through the Ruby collection in the next few weeks and will post as I complete them. It is a bit of a challenge as I work with Madeira and sometimes Sulky but these are done in a different range. I have been lucky that most embroideries I have wanted have been in Madeira and as I have the full range it means I don’t have to fiddle about trying to decide what colours to use. One thing I have realised is that there is not really such a thing as a substitute colour in another range. For that reason the following embroidery is done in two sets of colors.

See what I mean? The darker one is done with the colours suggested by a substitute chart. As it was nowhere near the original I changed a few colours. The over blouse is a bit more convincing but perhaps I need to work on the hair. Anyway you see my problem. There are also a lot of colours which is not too much of a problem on a one needle machine if a little time consuming. On a multi needle machine it requires a bit of maths and sometimes a spread sheet. What we do for our art. I suspect the original picture was a drawing or painting that was then converted into stitches, thus the intricate shading. The results however are rather satisfying .

At various timesI have changed the colours on Loralie designs but to be honest unless there is a particular reason to do so they are perfect as they are.

Mr Cool

The Bag Lady

Serious Shopper

Sophistishopper

Charlotte

Norton Brown

Blue Daisy Dancer

I have done lots more. If you want to see them have a look at my web page at this link for the ladies or this link for the men.

They make unusual front pockets for bags. I have made greetings cards with a few crystals and I have used them as blocks on quilts. Very versatile.

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Jeremy Fisher and Friends and Another Vanquished UFO.

21 Jul

This week I have been finishing a quilt based on frog fabric. I actually bought the fabric in  a shop in Trinidad. There’s a bit of name dropping for you. Before you go  green with envy, we went at Easter and it was closed. The only highlight was the revolving restaurant at the top of the hotel. It was a good job we went as there were not too many other people there.

As I finished it I realised that it wasn’t the only frog related item I had made over the years. I once made a quilt and matching bag based on the Peter Rabbit stories. As it wasn’t needed after all I still have it so I took a picture of the Jeremy Fisher alphabet block in faux cross stitch.

Also on the matching bag in normal stitching.

I also, at some time made a couple of frog characters when my Daughters were small. I don’t think anybody actually used them for anything but I haven’t got as far as the charity shop with them yet.

With the quilt as background.

Relaxing on the day bed.

He looks a bit miserable.

This one looks startled.

 

 

I also did some embroideries for a ‘Rainforest’ quilt that  I never somehow got round to. He is particularly fine.

Now for the purpose of the blog – the quilt.

As you can see it is a very easy pattern. Each small square is 2″ (2.5″ before seams) making 10″ finished and each frog square is also 10″ . The border of each square is either 2″ (2.5″) strips or 2″ (2.5″) squares. Add  2″, 1″ and 4″ borders and bind. How much easier could it be. As long as you watch your seam widths and match the seams it cannot fail to look good.

I think I may be getting the hang of the quilting frame. The size  of quiltable quilt on the frame at any one time is still frustrating but at least I can do a good job as long as I plan it. There are times though when I would love to do a really big design. Not,I fear something that will happen in the absence of a win on some game of chance. I don’t think I’ll hold my breath blue in the face not being an attractive look.

See this tip on one of my other posts for the ‘how to’ on seams.

I had occasion to make a wedding  anniversary card this week. If you are interested the embroidery comes from Emblibrary.com. under ‘Tweets’. There are lots of different ones. You need to scroll down about 5 designs then you will find all the different tweets. There are patriotic ones, boy scout ones, golf ones, birthday ones etc etc etc. As usual the digitising is faultless.

I decided to change all 15 needles on my embroidery machine yesterday. They didn’t appear to be a problem but some of them had been in rather a long time so I didn’t think it could harm. I was quite impressed with myself. They are usually a pain but once I had loosened the screws I managed to get them all in without a hassle. The reason they are a pain is that the shanks are round so could go in any way except that they can’t or they don’t work. The difference between front and back is obvious if you can see the thing but bionic sight would be an advantage. The screws were the problem. I had been working on the basis ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ but the tightness of some of the screws made it obvious they should have been changed before. Still, hopefully they should be fine for a while now. After all who needs a working wrist.

Another Day Another Cake

15 Jul

I must have been blogging for about a year as I distinctly remember blogging about BC’s birthday last year and the cake produced by Daughter Number One. This year she has produced another one.

I think she could have found a new interest.

The whole family arrived for BC’s birthday and we had an excellent meal at Neville’s Restaurant in Little Green. It was, as always very, very good. I thought BC deserved a meal out as he always does the cooking. If you are ever in Polperro you really should try this restaurant. You will not be disappointed.

Just in case you don’t know what else there is to come here for, have a look at our restored lifeboat. Don’t worry it’s not used for saving lives any more. We may have many ancient traditions but we do have a modern lifeboat.

Some more boats.The outer harbour.

See how I suffer.

I have finished another quilt but not taken a photograph as yet. Watch this space.

In case you are interested I made BC a card using Loralie designs ‘Senior Prom’ embroidery collection.

I love her designs, embroidery and fabric but the embroideries are so well digitised they are a pleasure to use.

Been There, Got Several Teeshirts.

7 Jul

I don’t know whether anyone else has noticed but the variety in fabric design seems to have declined over the last few years. You may have noticed that my fabric of choice is bright and cheerful and if the colours clash a bit well it wakes me up in the mornings.

Take these fabrics I used in a Sunbonnet Sue quilt I blogged about some time ago.

Now whilst you might not want an outfit made from them, these fabrics work really well in applique. I did wonder if fabric companies are afraid to be too adventurous in case they can’t sell it, the price of cotton being what it is these days. It could be fashion, although the fabric companies by definition set  trends. It could just be the recession and general air of depression of course.  On the other hand a jazzy bit of fabric cheers me up no end.

Anyway, when fabric with a zing was available I bought it and here is one of the quilts I made with it.

This is a very good way to use up some of the smaller measures of fabric sold by retailers. There is also no reason why the sleeves could not be a different fabric. Another way of doing it would be to sew strips of fabric together or crazy patch some pieces from odd scraps. You could even use the logos from old tee-shirts or design your own and use printable fabric to make lots of miniature shirts. Only your imagination can hold you back once you start down that road.

See how it’s done? A rectangle of fabric with a neckline cut out and two more smaller rectangles for sleeves. This allows different fabric for sleeves or the same fabric in a different direction as on the striped shirt below.I used embroidery stitches to sew them on but satin stitch would be less likely to fray. It depends whether you like the ‘country’ look. As a rule I don’t but tee-shirts are allowed to fray. In fact walking down the high street I see a few holes might make them more authentic. If you are using the same fabric on the whole shirt you could just draft a full tee-shirt shape and cut it out in one piece. I would suggest you use either the three piece or the whole shirt method as a mixture might look strange. Not that I have ever tried, just making sure you think about it before committing all that fabric.

A few more.

To finish it off and draw it all together, matching corner squares.

Now tell me that didn’t cheer you up on a dismal day.

Cupcakes, Cream Teas and Crocodiles.

2 Jul

After much hinting and the realisation that just about everybody who visits us or is visited by us seems to be a member of the National Trust, The Big Cheese bought me a membership for my birthday. A combination of that and a free pass for a non member saw myself and Daughter Number One visiting Coleton Fishacre in Devon. It was a lovely day and, despite being a sunday, was not greatly overcrowded.

We had a very interesting time looking round the house. It used to be owned by the Doyly Carte family of Gilbert and Sullivan operetta fame. If you are ever in the vicinity and like historic houses and lovely gardens I can thoroughly recommend it.

The front of the house with some of the vast gardens

The sloped roof in the front is a side view of the loggia used for all meals whenever possible. I think the weather must have been better in those days.

The gardens were also lovely with many walks and we saw some plants we had not come across before.

Apparently these are a type of orchid. They look like dozens of tiny orchids on one stem.

Needless to say we had to sample the creams teas too. We sat in a sunny courtyard and they certainly didn’t skimp on the jam or cream.

The day after I arrived to stay with D1 she went on a course to decorate cup cakes. I was very impressed. I suspect that both skill and patience are required to achieve results. She certainly has the patience and she seems to have picked up the skill as well. What do you think?

I particularly like the pigs.

I can tell you that those bows are not easy. I was given a quick lesson on Sunday and Isuspect I have neither skill nor patience.

This week is her sister’s birthday so she decided to convert her skills into cake decorating. Slightly different scale but the skills seem to transfer and she certainly has patience judging by the time spent on the decoration.

Daughter number two was born in Africa and lived there for her first few years. The logical cake therefore was obviously a map of Africa with some native animals.

The tablecloth rather betrays the birthday girl’s origins.

Just in case you are missing the quilting element of the blog, here is my birthday gift. You may recognise it.

I have not had time to do any quilting having been away from my workroom. perhaps next week I will have made something more to show you.