Tag Archives: Christmas Stitchery

Monkey Puzzle Solved and the End of Christmas.

18 Jun

Just an update on the projects featured in the last post.

And  this one.

I had completed the alphabet monkeys for what was going to be a cot quilt. I obviously took my eye off the ball and having put it together with a set of 25 patch blocks, realised that it was a bit on the long and thin size. The only way to proceed was to make it into a full sized quilt for a single bed.

This I did.

DSCN2598_450x600Some Detail.

DSCN2605_600x600   Yet More.DSCN2607_600x600

And again.DSCN2608_600x600

Not my usual colours but I think they work quite well.

At the same time I was finishing ‘Chrissie Down Under’ by McKenna Ryan.

I can’t say I am as thrilled as I hoped by the completed wall hanging but at least it is finished.

I think my conclusion is that she does animals and birds very well but the Santa and the Cat don’t quite work. The problem with her patterns is that it is not easy to find a large picture of the finished quilt to see what it will look like.

I did use satin stitch round all the appliques rather than the suggested straight stitching with a poly filament thread. At least I can wash it without it falling apart.Mind you my all singing and dancing newer Pfaff refused to have anything to do with the multiple layers of fabric and glue. Whilst it was sulking I dug out my original Pfaff bought in 1985 and I have to say that it is far superior to the one I bought to replace it when the motor gave up. Nothing to do with the fact the original was made in Germany of course. (sarcy face emoticon) Luckily I decided that the small amount of money I was going to be charged to have a new motor fitted was worth it so I now have my old machine back and this quilt was able to be completed. What I will do with it I am not sure. We may have to move house to get higher ceilings.

DSCN2591_450x600 I love the detail on these birds.

DSCN2592_600x286Fiddly but worth it.

DSCN2593_600x306These may be my favourites.

DSCN2594_600x397This bird presented the biggest challenge with its layers of feathers.

DSCN2595_559x600See the detail.

DSCN2596_252x600Kangaroos and pelicans.


As I sit posting this I can hear music from the village green. Every year Polperro has a music festival so every afternoon there are a couple of bands performing and then lots more in all the pubs in the evening. The Big Cheese and myself even took in a spot of chamber music on Sunday.


Bow Acquires Colourful New String.

30 Jan

As if I didn’t have enough  hobbies and hobbies in abeyance I have started down the road to bancruptcy with yet another. I bought some rather beautiful hand dyed fabrics at two separate quilt shows. They are fantastic for applique as each piece of fabric can yield hundreds of variations of colour and texture  rather than having one overall  pattern or colour.

Although I have several, I got to thinking how useful it would be to have  variations of variations ad infinitum. The rest, as they say is history. I had a bit of an expensive hicccup at the beginning, choosing the wrong type of fabric but even that wasn’t a disaster, just a teaching aid.

My first mistake was to believe the wording on a fabric supplier’s site that stated that it’s RFD (ready for dyeing) fabric was the best it had ever seen. On the strength of that I bought a quantity. I would probably have been happy with the results if I hadn’t had the hand dyed fabric I had bought at the shows with which to compare it. The colours were bright but the finish on the fabric was letting them down. They looked dull when I wanted vibrant.


Over Christmas myself and Daughters numbers one and two did quite a bit of dyeing of fabrics but we were definitely underwhelmed with the results. I searched the internet to find out how other people tackled the problem. and found several answers and a reasonable consensus on the best way to go about things.

First of all I discovered that mercerised cotton is a better way to go. The treatment of the fabric means that the surface is less hairy and the  fibres absorb the dye better, thus providing the required vibrancy.

I also discovered that it appears that keeping the dye bath warm for as long as possible gives better results. For someone who works from a cellar that is decidedly nippy at this time of year this could be regarded as essential information.

The picture below was taken in said cellar and still you can see the difference.


The other thing that became apparent was that the way the fabric dyes also varies with the different fabric/methods. There is less of a flat colour with the mercerised cotton. See how the pattern is varied on the bigger sample below.


To an applique addict this type of fabric is the answer to so many problems.

I used the first fabrics I dyed to finish off my latest design. It is actually a Christmas wall hanging so it’s a bit late or a bit early depending how you view it. The design is actually from daughter number one and interpreted by yours truly.  I am particularly pleased with the fabric I used for Rudolph. It wasn’t planned but turned out to be perfect.


First the elf that has lost his clothes and the friend that thinks it is hilarious.



Not quite fiddling whilst Rome burns but something equally dangerous.


Seasoning greetings.



Above an inebriated Rudolph.

Below it doesn’t pay to sleep with idle hands in the vicinity.


At the moment I am working on some clowns using the more vibrant mercerised cotton. I will post pictures to show the difference. I will also do a tutorial based on the things I have learned. Watch this space.

News of Cheese and a New Year Wheeze

2 Jan

In case you were wondering what happened to The Big Cheese and his big cheeses here is a peek at what remained on Christmas Day by the time I managed to get a photograph. They have all been maturing away for several months and certainly all have a kick. Must be the unpasteurised milk.

Gouda, Gruyere, Cheddar, Stilton and Gorgonzola.

Still on the subject of food,  Number One Daughter made star biscuit christmas trees for some of her work colleagues. Could be an inspiration if you are stuck for an idea for next year. The edible glitter doesn’t show up on the photographs but was very impressive.

Presented in cellophane.

She also made some cards.

Just in case you thought my trunk full of old projects was empty I took some photographs of a ‘Night Before Christmas’ quilt I made a couple of years ago. It took a very long time to do the embroideries but the rest was fairly straight forward. An heirloom I think.

Embroidery patterns available from Emblibrary.com

To round off the year we dressed up for New Year’s Eve. Daughter Number One embroidered masks as a token to fancy dress. She used quite a few metallics in tribute to the occasion.

Our village embraces fancy dress every New Year so if you go out dressed normally you feel out of place. The sad thing is that wearing ball gowns with the addition of a mask was enough to count as fancy dress. Sad times.

The patterns for these are also available at Emblibrary.com

My New Years Resolution is to finish my UFOs. I’ll keep you posted on the progress.

Frozen Turkey and Pickled Rudolph

21 Dec

In case anybody thinks the above is a cranberry sauce substitute or a way of preserving venison I will explain. I have been having  another rummage ino the photo gallery of old projects. They are part of a group of apron designs by Daughter Number One.

They generally feature elves doing things that good little elves shouldn’t do. I guess that if you get to make and distribute all the presents there isn’t much of an incentive to be good all year or, in fact, any of the year. This is the aformentioned turkey with his feathers removed and feeling quite chilly. The elves appear to be adding herbs to an oil and lemon mix with which to anoint the bird. The humour is perhaps a little dark. I wonder if dark humour is hereditary.

The next one seems to show an elf doctoring Rudolph’s drinking water with something that is probably not a soft drink judging by the stars he is seeing, the bubbles coming from the dish and  the obvious attack  of wobbly leg syndrome.

Then we have the pyromaniacal elf who does not seem to be content with a light sprinkling of brandy and a quick ‘whoosh’.  He’s obviously looking forward to a visit from the fire brigade. He could, of course be a disciple of The big Cheese.  After all burnt toast seems to be the overriding smell in our house every morning.

Last but not least the attempted rescue of the elf in the pocket is about to be hampered by the appearance of the elf with the scissors.

There is one that is still unmade showing a sleeping santa having his boot laces tied together. Probably someelf  in the workforce objecting to the Boss not pulling his weght

The other thing I found was a table runner and matching mats.

This one is in three bits as it is so long it won’t photograph in one.

Santa is flying over the handlebars as the reins break and the reindeers stampede.

The mats are – We three pengkings.

All friends together.

This week I tried some Sue Box designs. I have never embroidered any of these before as generally they are not really my taste. However, I downloaded some of the free designs and the christmas ones are particularly good. They are well digitised and despite being mostly metallic threads, there were no breakages.  I have made a link to the web page. here are my versions.

I wish you all a lovely Christmas and a much improved New Year.

Resolving the New Year

16 Dec

If you have been following my blogs you will know I have spent a long time overseas and that I developed patchwork, applique etc as a necessary hobby. I deliberately didn’t mention quilting because I have done more of the former than the latter. Filling suitcases with quilts every time I came home was bad enough when they were just tops. If they had been quilted they would have been a nightmare. As a result I have a huge pile of tops ready to quilt. Luckily I had ten years of dollmaking in the middle or I wouldn’t be able to get in the front door. Bear in mind that the tops I have are left after I gave a pile to Project Linus to finish for me.

Just to give you an idea of the nature of my New Year’s resolution, take a look at this lot.


There are actually two piles.

Luckily I have done one of the Grace Frame courses at The Cotton Patch. I can recommend them to anyone who is feeling frustrated trying to use their frame or thinking of buying a new one. I am waiting for some extra bits to arrive from America at the moment but I shall be full steam ahead after Christmas. With that lot I should become an expert.

Enough of my problems. We have the tree up and dressed as they say. No room for lazy trees in our house. I have also done the customary window display. For all you people with large gardens full of trees and flowers I shall explain about my house.

It is on a narrow street running through the village. It is so narrow you will not find it on Google Earth as the car can’t get down it. If it did, getting out would be a long process followed by a trip to the panel beater. My large front window looks out onto the street and passers- by are practically in the front room. Normally we get over this by living on the top floor. At Christmas, however, with the tree downstairs we tend to live down there. In Winter it is a tad dark, courtesy of the two foot thick walls and therefore deep window reveals, so we put on the lights. This immediately lights up the room like a guide to a ship in the fog. We either spend Christmas waving at passers-by or block out the view. We choose to do the latter. I usually do a display of dolls and a few Christmas lights – as shown in the photo. It’s Christmassy and serves the purpose.

Close up.

Closer up.

The other thing I have been doing this week is a bit of embroidery. I had my machine serviced and so am ready for the New Year on that too. I made another decoration in the shape of a fairy embroidery – courtesy of Emlibrary of course. There are lots of other fairies too. Excuse the reflection as I have framed it and there are a lot of lights where I photographed it.

If you look carefully in the first one you can just see me.

Of course I had to add a few sparkles. I couldn’t help myself. After all if you can’t sparkle at Christmas when can you.

The Goose is Getting Fat.

1 Dec

How do I know Christmas is coming? I answered the door three times yesterday to delivery men. Whatever happened to the ‘trip to the shops’ with its christmas goodies and accompanying cheery songs. Gone all gone – replaced by a trip into cyberspace. It’s easier but is it as much fun?

My problem with shopping is the getting there. I live in a village where driving out of it involves a 10 minute walk up a very steep hill. This is followed by negotiating narrow streets and sundry persons, finally popping out at the top of the village and then having to meander along narrow twisting roads to get to the nearest town 30 miles away. Having reached said town parking is the next problem. I hate parking when the car park is likely to be full. I am convinced someone is going to leap into the only remaining space just as we are lining up to back into it. Yes ‘We’ – the sad bit is that I never drive. I get this neurotic just sitting in the passenger seat. I am a bit more interactive with the winding roads as they make me feel ill but that is neither here nor there.

Having reached my destination I am usually disappointed. There are no little shops selling something individual any more. They are all chains or small shops selling goods supplied by one central source. I find myself wandering through shop after shop and finding nothing. Well ‘Bah Humbug’ is what I say. Much easier to do everything online. The added bonus is that instead of spending the day in traffic and useless shops I have time to whip up a couple of christmas goodies.

This year’s tablecloth for instance.

Here are a few of the embroideries.

A little snowman runner to add a little Je ne c’est quois to Je ne c’est quois.

Sorry about the missed clippings.

I suppose it is what you would call redwork, except it’s white.

You know I really should get out more. How about some shopping therapy.