Tag Archives: Cornwall

Seaside Postcards from McKenna Ryan

14 Apr

One of the perks of a wholesale account with McKenna Ryan is that I also get to make her quilts at an affordable price. Imagine the problems I had resisting the deal on laser cut kits on two of her designs – ‘From the Coast with Love’ and’ Snow Buds’


snow Buds

It is sort of cheating but I just fancied a bit of applique that I could do in a hurry. I have started on the Coastal one as I thought it would make a good window display, my being by the seaside and such. Added to which, I already bought the pattern on its own and having it made up as an example never hurts to sell a pattern.

I also have two Kukaburra Cottage quilts cut out ready to applique so the next few weeks could be busy on the applique front. I just need the machine to behave now and I will have fun.

I have laid out some of the Coast but I will be doing it with satin stitch rather than the McKenna Ryan method. It is the way I like to work and even wall hangings need a wash occasionally and I would not be happy if they frayed. Having said that I see why she uses her straight stitch method as it means the lines stay clean on what are almost paintings done in fabric.

Here are the first three laid out.





The fabric is interesting. It might be interesting to try it with other fabric too.

I will keep you posted on progress.


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.

Stop Press – UFO Numbers Diminish Over Cornwall.

28 Jan

I am going great guns here. Finished Five  UFOs and counting. I am also getting to grips with the ‘evil machine’, the combination of quilting frame and sewing machine. I traced a couple of problems to design faults probably made worse by my refusing to upgrade the carriage I had on the frame as it was perfectly servicable. Having already laid out nearly the original price of the whole frame on a stitch regulator I didn’t really see why I had to pay out even more for a new carriage when the equipment fits the original one. The only problem is that the wire is a bit short and I think was causing the sensor to be pulled away from the wheel and therefore stop controlling the stitch length. It also restricted the amount of travel available and that is serious on a none longarm setup. The Big Cheese came to the rescue (the engineering degree wasn’t wasted then) and a with a bit of judicious rearrangement of control boxes and wiring I think we have cracked it. The proof of the pudding, as they say will however be in the eating . I am forcing myself to finish each quilt completely before quilting the next so I am only now rolling the new one onto the bars. If I didn’t finish each one I would just end up with a pile of UFOs in a slightly more finished state. They would still constitute UFOs.

I shall be keeping my fingers crossed that the fix has worked although that could make working the carriage a bit difficult.

The one I have just finished is an Old Macdonald theme from a pattern by one of my favourite Australian pattern companies, Kookaburra Cottage. I just love a lot of their BOM projects although they do work out rather expensive if you just buy the patterns. I get over this by doing lots of each. This one is ideal for a beginning applique as the pieces are all nice and big so no fiddly corners to negotiate. The original pattern has buttons for eyes too.

I present ‘Little Macca’s Farm’

I fancied a pastel version for a change.

A few close ups.

The Farm












I didn’t want to do stitch in the ditch after I had finished but I like to define the blocks. I tried doing some meandering as I went along to get over this.

Meander over the ditch

I also did a label to match on my embroidery machine.

The Label

I  haven’t reached the standard I would like to but I continue to  experiment and I  still have a huge pile of UFOs on which to practice. Lets hope the little green men don’t arrive before I’ve finished.

Storms, Boats,Teddy Bears and Hearts

16 Jan

It’s been a bit blustery the last few days. I forewent the walk yesterday and did the housework. Cleaned from top to bottom – and believe me this is a big house. At least it now means I can get down to what I want to do for a few days without feeling there is something I should be doing.

Just in case I should think I might actually do what I wanted, The Big Cheese decided that today was the day we would wash the boat. Sensibly one would think that the time to wash a boat was when it was first removed from the water. That would have been in October. What went wrong you might ask. It has all got to do with location and weather. If location is the most important reason for buying a house let’s hope it isn’t for renting a garage. The boat shares a garage with the car when not in the harbour. The garage is a long way along a winding single track back road from the main road. The main road is accessible up a very steep and winding hill. The weather has to be right – no point in washing the thing and its getting splashed with muddy road water on the way back. Also the car wash has been known to ice up at the first sign of frost. Last year there were some very dirty cars round our way. Thus I found myself sitting in the passenger seat of a car towing a boat. You have to know at this point that I don’t do towing boats nor do I do winding roads. Combine the two and I could be a gibbering wreck,  however I do what I am told. I coped quite well especially considering I discovered I wasn’t just a bystander. I was supposed to sponge the blessed thing off as it was washed. Apart from a contretempt with the bilge pump that resulted in wet trousers I think I performed reasonably competently. More than I can say for an old gentleman who managed to dismantle a section of the automatic car wash and the front wing of his car in front of us by forgetting what gear it was in. Even The Big Cheese had a moment of frolicking fun doing a cartoon skid across the wet decks and ending up in a most inelegant position in the aft section. He always did know how to enjoy himself. Mind you talking about enjoying oneself, we could have had a night out on the amount of pounds fed into the machine. We got back without any further adventures apart from meeting a couple of cars on the back road and manouevering the boat back into the garage in a way in which the car could still be accommodated. Not an easy task although truth to tell I did more directing than manouevering. I’m not sure I will be able to move my arms tomorrow but at least the ordeal is over for a year.

Here is the boat in case you are into that sort of thing.

I can't see no ships

However, back to the quilting.

Truth to tell I am waiting for wadding. I finished two quilts on my frame  last week. The quilting looked OK on the front but I am struggling to get the stitching on the back as good as on the front. The problem is, of course that I can’t see the back until the quilting is done and rolled on to the next section. It is all very frustrating. I guess the stitch regulator will only work at a very consistent speed. If I go faster in one section the control can’t keep up and the tension suffers. Maybe number three will reveal the trick. If I don’t get the hang of it soon I may get disillusioned which won’t be a first with this frame. Hopefully the wadding will arrive in the next few days so that I can test the theory. I have the next quilt on the frame ready just to add the wadding and pull the top over and pin it.

I am slowly working through my pile of OFOs. With most people this would be a manageable number. Would that ’twere so with me. I spent many years overseas, sewing prolifically but not being able to finish quilts as they would have taken up too much room in the suitcase. As a result I have many. That is why I have to conquer the frame.  My second attempt was a quilt from kidsquilts. The quilting does finish it off and if I discover the secret to the perfect back I will share it with you.

A close-up of the quilting.

Now if I can get the back to look like that I will be happy.

Here are some close-ups of each panel. Don’t look too closely at the satin stitch, it was a long time ago and we all have to start somewhere.

It is a very good way to use up all the small pieces you have been saving for you didn’t know what.

This one with the gate is my favourite.

In case you don’t feel up to doing anything as detailed but like the idea of applique, this hearts quilt is easy to do. I used a set of charm squares and an embroidery stitch from my machine. I then quilted using an all over meander as a way to get used to the machine on the frame. This was the first one I tackled.

I will be persevering with the frame and will let you know how I get on. Maybe I will come up with a few tips that I can pass on.

Please Put a Penny in The Old Man’s Hat

9 Dec

On Saturday I am going to take my wares to the local Christmas craft market. This involves a walk of about 50 yards so I don’t think it will be too arduous. Last year I travelled miles for absolutely no return. This year I will stay at home and support my local community. At least if I get cold I can send a runner for a large mug of something hot. I have bought myself a pair of those gloves with cut off fingers – after all I will need to be able to handle the oodles of boodle people will be handing over in return for my wonderful Christmas goodies whilst keeping my fingers warm. Well, I can hope.

I am trying a variety of things – some quilty and some not.  I am going to have a few of my dolls on view. These have been seen in the village before and I did sell quite a few through a local shop. Unfortunately when I went overseas and came back I never got back into selling them.

I shall have some of these.

This one and a couple of similar.

I thought I would also have some of my embroidered totes. Very eco-friendly in this ‘bring your own shopper’ age.

I am letting this quilt go too.

I will also be trying to sell my other Sunbonnet Sue quilts as featured in one of my early blogs. These feature —


and many more.

Maybe a couple of aprons.

Myself and a couple of willing helpers also do a rather smart line in appliquéd shoebags.

A few bags.

I will also be selling some of my patterns and kits for amongst others, ‘Jamie Plays ‘—



A touch of patchwork.

Bag kits.

Cot Quilt kits.

I have also been cutting fat quarters in every hue.  Just need some customers now. Keeping my fingers crossed.

If you are passing Polperro, which is very difficult, pop in. I can certainly promise you a cheerful, multicoloured stall and I might find you a mug of something hot .

What Shall We Do with the Drunken Sailor.

21 Jul

As I was taking my constitutional up along the cliffs, I suddenly thought you might like to see what I saw. Today has been the first really lovely day all week and we decided to go for a walk. What I didn’t realise was that we were doing Land’s End to John o’ Groats. At least that’s what it felt like.  Mind you I did get treated to an icecream at the three quarter point. That would be gooseberry if you’re interested although I’m not sure why you would be. Anyway this is the view as you descend into the village. It was taken before the hoards started to appear so not too populated.

Whilst we are on the subject and bearing in mind the title of this blog let me also show you a picture of the Big Cheese’s boat complete with Daughter number one. I’m not sure if she has the sun in her eyes or is doing the ‘I see no ships’ thing. By the way I am not suggesting that any sailor was even slightly inebriated during the taking of this photograph. It just seemed like a good title for a seasidey blog.

You’ll have to excuse the seagulls. As you can see they are not house trained. They ruin everything. I can’t even hang washing out in case they decide to reenact the Battle of Britain and ack- ack the whole lot as they zoom down the line. The noise is worse. They seem to think that if I walk past a window in my own house it is a cue to screech. I have even caught myself reasoning in conversation with a seagull that as the house is mine I am entitled to walk past a window with impunity. I’m not saying they were the exact words but you catch my drift. Anyway, I used to like the sound of seagulls but I hate the little devils with a vengeance now I live amongst them. You would think twenty years would be long enough to get used to it but I’ve got news for you. They also stand in line at the chip shop waiting for someone to drop a chip or lurk outside ready to attack the unwary and pinch a whole fish supper. I saw someone lose a saveloy right before my eyes one evening whilst listening to  the fishermen’s Choir. Still the tourists seem to like them and they say if they bomb you from a great height it’s lucky. Well they’d have to say that wouldn’t they.

Here’s another view from a different angle. See the big fishing boats. The village is still a working fishing village so boats can be seen going in and out of the harbour when the tide is right.

I’ll be back with more on applique in the next few days.