Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

A Happy New Year to everyone. May 2012 bring you peace, happiness and prosperity! I'm really looking forward to it. Lots of good resolutions like finishing all my UFO's and being more organised! :-) And I will try and keep the blog up to date!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dyeing Silk Ribbon

I have had a lovely day dyeing 450 metres of silk ribbon. Varying sizes of ribbon from 2mm to 7mm and all done in 20 metre skeins. That was the worst part skeining up the ribbon and tying it so that it wouldn't come adrift during the dyeing process. I haven't dyeing ribbon for some time now so I had to remind myself how to do it but it was like riding a bike. One doesn't forget! I used acid dyes and the microwave; first soaking the ribbon in vinegar and water. It was great fun and I'm looking forward to the next ribbon dyeing session. What wasn't fun was the unwinding, ironing, cutting into lengths for sale and putting said lengths onto cards. It was very tedious and long winded! But it does look lovely!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Silk Ribbon

I've just had a delivery of 1350 metres of silk ribbon! So at least I will have plenty to keep me occupied over the Christmas break. Because I have been asked to do some classes on silk ribbon embroidery we have decided to add hand-dyed silk ribbon to the website. I love dyeing silk ribbon as it looks so gorgeous when it is done and it is wonderful for embroidering flowers. Go here to see some examples. I shall do plain  and multi-coloured ribbons. I am not sure whether to sell in 3 metre lenghts or 5 metre lengths. Which would be the most useful? I'm doing two widths - 4mm and 7mm, as these I think are the most often used. If you have any ideas on this do leave me a comment. It will be gratefully received!

One more day and I will officially be on holiday! I have eleven days off this year and don't go back to my part-time day job until the New Year. I have great plans for getting a lot done, including the silk ribbon dyeing, but often I find life gets in the way and not nearly as much is achieved as one wants! I really do need to have a blitz on the workroom as it is getting almost impossible to find a clear place to work on! I do this periodically though not as often as I should and I am always amazed at what I find! This makes the whole exercise more than worthwhile. However when everything is tidied and organised I then forget where things are so we are back to square one! Its a vicious circle! I think some serious New Year resolutions are called for here!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Blog Hop Winners!

 In reverse order!

Third name out of the hat is:

Linda at

Linda please email me and let me know what colour of fabric you would like.
Second name out of the hat is:

J Fortune at

Joyce please email me and let me know what colour of fabric you would like.
First name out of the hat is:

Connie's Quilts at

Connie please let me know which colour you would like for the crazy quilt pack......elegance or roses

Can you all let me have an address to send to. Thank you! Can't guarantee things will arrive before Christmas!!

My email is    Congratulations to you all and thank you to everyone who came and had a look at the blog and took part!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Blog Hop!

Wow! I'm amazed at how many folk have looked at the blog so far and so many good comments in answer to the questions. I think I'll make it a 1st, 2nd and 3rd draw!  Another couple of FQ's for the drawing!  

There are some amazing blogs out there! I've had so much fun looking myself! 

Keep the comments coming! 


Tuesday, December 06, 2011

This should be lots of fun!

The Blog Hop starts from December 10th until December 17th!

Blog Hop Party with Give-AwaysWell this is something different but I thought I'd try it out! I'm giving away one of our Crazy Patchwork packs(winner to choose from the two examples shown) and also 2FQ's of our hand-dyed fabric! The fabric pieces are examples and again the winner may choose the basic colour that she or he would like!

To enter the give-away:Leave a comment answering the following questions:   What’s the one thing you now know that you wish you knew when you first started quilting? What do you look for when buying kits for quilting?  Winner will be randomly chosen on December 17th. 

Click on the panel at the top to visit all the participating blogs. Have fun!  

The Give Away is now closed! Thank you for participating. I will announce the winners later tonight! 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tomorrow is the day!

Tomorrow we collect our new motor home! As well as being very excited I am also quite nervous as I haven't driven anything this size for quite a while! I think the actual driving on the road will be fine. It is the reversing into our drive way next to the house that is the problem. It isn't the easiest of places to access and with no back window could prove to be a very testing time! Fingers crossed! 

Today has been lovely and sunny! And I've actually seen a person swimming in the sea and they didn't have a wet suit on! It is incredible that tomorrow is the first of December and we haven't got the heat on yet! Long may it continue! While the weather is like this long walks around the coast are on the agenda before the paths become muddy and impassable. Before we know it Christmas will be upon us. As usual I am in a mild panic about Christmas presents but as happens most years I expect all will be well on the day!  

Monday, November 28, 2011

Always something to do!

I have been tidying up to make more space! It is a very therapeutic thing to do! And in the course of the tidying up I found this half started quilt top. I could see why it wasn't finished as it lacked pizazz! So I added to it. Here in pictures are the steps so far. 

I decided to add butterflies to give it more interest.  And I put blue circles around the centre circle.

It still looked a bit bleak so I put extra circles into the centre circles. However this still didn't quite give it the feeling I was looking for.
So I added markings to the butterflies. This was much better and I decided to leave it at that. I will now layer it up with wadding and a muslin backing and then quilt it. The quilting and stitching will transform it....I hope!

I shall post more pictures of the quilt as it progresses! The butterflies were all fused on as were the small circles on their wings and in the middle fabric circle. The original piece of work was a version of Drunkards Path and was very quick and easy to do! 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Little bags

I am using up scraps of silk ribbon to make little sachets like these to put lavender and rose petals in. I think that not only would they make good little gifts but one could also hang them on the Christmas tree!  The biggest problem I have is a lack of time! But they are very quick and easy to make that I am sure I'll find the odd half hour to make a few.

There is exactly a month to go before Christmas Day and I haven't done very much preparation for it at all. I have lots of ideas but that is about it. I have sent the grandchildren Fenella and Fred their advent calendar and they love it so that is good!

The weather is at long last getting a touch of winter about it. Colder at night and more windy as evidenced by the waves on the beach! 

There are still lots of seed heads in the garden and the leaves are still on the oak tree so winter isn't here quite yet. In fact Graeme finds it so much warmer down here than Scotland that he is still wearing shorts! Now I am into jumpers and woolly scarves feeble person that I am!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Sad Day!

Well my lovely Renault 25 txe has gone to the big scrap graveyard in the sky! In the end I scrapped it as the locks all jammed and it would have been as expensive to get them fixed as to the amount of money I'd get selling it. And the scrap man did give me some money for it so it's not all bad! But I will have the lovely new motor home to play with soon!

I think I have finally cracked how to use the Slice Fabrique. The secret is to use a brayer when putting the fabric onto the plate. This really helps bond the fabric with the spray glue on the plate. And also to make sure that the transfer adhesive is well and truly ironed on. Having said that I can truthfully say that I am now having 99% success. There is the occasional screw up but this is down to operator error on the whole. I've just cut out a set of numbers for an advent calendar and they went like a dream! So perseverence pays! And a new design card arrived today which is not particularly for the Slice Fabrique but for the ordinary Slice which is designed for paper and stuff. To my delight the Slice Fabrique cut out some really funky curly letters with no problem even though they were narrow and twirly! This new card has loads of stuff for Christmas so I will be playing with it as soon as I get a spare moment! Spare moment? What's a spare moment!!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Very irritated!

I am extremely irritated with Blogger as every time I look at a blog and want to leave a comment it tells me that I am not authorised to leave a comment under the account I'm signed in with and that I should log out and sign in again. Well I've done this to no avail! I could use lots of bad language! $**£&"^*!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Joys of Dyeing

There is something quite blissful about doing some dyeing. Getting the colours out and deciding which to use. Cutting the fabric and arranging it in the buckets. Then waiting, and waiting, and waiting, until finally the fabric is rinsed and put in the washing machine and one does another load of waiting. The excitement of then ironing and finally seeing the finished colour is the cherry on the icing. Yesterday we dyed some browns and did a time delay on the immersion into the dye. The resulting colours were amazing. The darkest colours were to be expected and although lovely nothing new but the lightest colours were fantastic and surprising. Who would have expected to get green streaks in a brown dye! Some lovely pieces for landscapes! The two browns, chocolate which is a warm reddish brown, and dark brown which is a cool brown colour with blueish overtones, reacted completely differently to the experimentation. I am now anxious to try this experiment with other colours to see what results we will get. 

Today in class we made advent calenders, which the students found fun,  and I was able to utilise the numbers that I had cut out with the Slice machine. I am getting more adept at using this piece of equipment I am pleased to say though I still don't feel it is completely problem free!  Now that the advent calendar is finished I can fill the pockets with gifts. I have bought some lovely chocolates to put in some of them and that is such a temptation as they are really yummy! 

My next job is to think of Christmas and decide what if anything I am going to make as gifts. I have some picture cushions to do but apart from that I'll probably not make things this year due to a lack of time and the pressing need to get other things finished. I have the pictures printed onto fabric and ready to be incorporated into cushions. All I have to do is find the time! I have got to the stage where I have lists of lists! 

We have bought a mobile home so that we can not only take stuff to shows but also have somewhere to rest our heads and save on hotel bills. I am quite excited and can't wait to take it on a trial run. Firstly though it will need equipping and that will be fun as well. So far we have booked to do six shows next year so it will get a fair amount of use! I shall be very sad to sell my Renault though as it has done me proud over the last ten or so years. However it has really come to the end of it's life being around 20 years old and having done 120,550 miles! It is becoming expensive to maintain! I shall use Graeme's little car for running around in....much cheaper on petrol too!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Slice Fabrique part 2

I have been playing with my Slice and am beginning to understand it. I cut some numbers for an advent calendar that I am making plus some of the other shapes on the card which comes with the machine. It took me some time to cut the numbers as I tried to be economical and the machine screwed up every now and then. I have found that it is important that the fabric is smoothed down onto the cutting plate between cuts and a rubber roller really helps here. Also it is important not to cut to closely to any other cuts. Make sure the transfer adhesive is well and truly ironed on and then the machine will work perfectly. Here are some pictures of some to the stuff I've done. 


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Slice Fabrique

I have treated myself to a Slice Fabrique from Making Memories. I watched lots of videos on the net and read up about it before I bought it and was well impressed. However when I got it home I found it wasn't as brilliant as I had expected. That isn't to say that it isn't good but it is NOT the next best thing to sliced bread!

It is light and compact and comes with everything one needs to get going. However having said that the adhesive supplied with the machine isn't the best! And only three small pieces of transfer adhesive are supplied! I put too much of the adhesive on to begin with which was a mistake as the fabric slipped around on it. Also I didn't let it dry sufficiently so my impatience to get going didn't help. As well as the kit I also bought the 12" hands free kit which was well worth it and some spray adhesive which is MUCH better. 

So the glass mat is tacky with adhesive and I've put some transfer adhesive onto a 12" square of cotton poplin fabric. This is now my second attempt having not been very successful with my first attempt due to the reasons stated above. I'm using the transfer adhesive that I always use as that way I can have a larger piece of fabric on the glass. The disks with the designs on are easy to insert and have a large number of designs including letters and numbers. The machine comes with a basic applique disk which is very good. I also bought the Christmas disk. To access the designs one pushes buttons on the front of the machine and when one has chosen a design then one can choose the size. Designs can be cut from 1" to 4" in 1/2" increments. They can also be mirror imaged and a shadow effect can be got. On some of the disks there is a layering technique which is useful. 

It is important to make sure that the fabric is smoothed down onto the glass mat thoroughly so that it won't move while the machine is cutting. Once the design is chosen all one has to do is select it to put the cutter into position and then hit the on button. Within seconds the design is cut. It does make a fair amount of noise while it is cutting! Then one lifts up the cutter and voila upon lifting the fabric one has a cut out design. I found that it was easier to lift the cut out design using a paint spatula but you can buy spatulas for doing this from Making Memories (or local supplier). 

I like to utilise every scrap of fabric and this wasn't the simplest of things to achieve. Possibly with time I may find it easier. I did manage to cut out enough numbers to make an advent calendar but not without a few problems along the way. One of the problems is that if one cuts too close to a previous cut the fabric screws up. Also the blades seem to blunt very quickly and a blunt or nearly blunt blade doesn't like cutting curves! Blades cost £12 for 5 so they arn't that cheap! However they do seem to be easy to change. There are three blades that come with the machine plus one that is already installed. The instruction book is quite good but could be better.

What I found was that I couldn't rely on getting a good cut each time. I would think that I was going along swimmingly and then it would crack up. Most annoying! I did cut different types of fabric such as silk and rayon and they cut OK. And using 505 one can adhere copy paper onto the fabric if one doesn't want transfer adhesive. For example cutting patchwork shapes.  At the end of the day I think the biggest problem is knowing when the cutting blades are giving up the ghost and changing them.

Am I pleased I have one? Yes and no! The pros are that it is quick and cuts shapes that would be fiddly if having to be done by hand. It is light and also works both on the battery and plugged into the electric. It holds a charge for a long time! So would be good for taking to class. The designs are good and the design cards are not expensive when one considers that one is getting fifty or so designs each of which can be of several sizes. It works well on paper so could be good for card making or labels. It is quick in its operation.

On the con side it doesn't always give one the result one is expecting. One can waste a lot of fabric. It is necessary to have a fair number of spare blades on hand. The adhesive supplied in the kit isn't useful. It is necessary to have the spray adhesive.

At the end of the day I think I am glad I have one and the more I use it the more I will learn about it. For anyone who loves applique as I do it will open up a whole new world. The main thing is not to let it stress you out and to take it slowly when starting! It is allowed to yell at it! lol

Wednesday, November 09, 2011


Malvern was fantastic and I would have written about it sooner only no sooner had I arrived home than I was struck down with a heavy cold which is still refusing to give up the ghost and go away! Not fair! 

We hadn't been to Malvern before and were blown away by the view over the valley from out room at the Wyche Inn. Unfortunately I only took pictures of the sunset which was incredible! I can highly recommend this inn for a visit to the area. The food was amazing and I put on pounds just looking at it! And what was even better was that it was only a fifteen minute drive to the show ground. 
We had fun at the show and I was pleased to see that the Crazy Patchwork packs all went. Eleven years ago I started selling packs for crazy patchwork which included all one needed and they were very popular. Then over time I gave up on them but now I am finding that they are just as popular. Also the light to dark packs of cotton fat quarters also walked off the stand. Very pleasing. 

And I had to wander round and see what everyone else was doing. It was very tempting and I had to restrain myself from using all the profits to buy more stuff! There were some lovely quilts on display. Beautiful eye candy! 
So all in all a good show!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


We are off to Malvern tomorrow for the quilt exhibition there. I'm really looking forward to it as I've found the last two shows we did great fun as well as meeting all sorts of people and putting faces to names. As I write Graeme is starting to pack up the car. It is always difficult getting everything in, especially making sure every inch of space is used!    If push comes to shove then it will be my clothes that get cut back! This time we have more fabric and more packs and patterns so it will be even more of a squeeze.

We are going to get a mobile home as it will not only give us more room but also will double as living accommodation for the three nights we are away at shows. I can't wait! As soon as Malvern is over we will start looking. In fact lately much of my life has become 'after Malvern' so I am going to be really busy when I get back. Hopefully it won't pour with rain tomorrow! We are staying at a place called The Wyche Inn which is very suitable for a gig so close to Halloween! I'm taking a witches's hat just in case! lol

Should you go to the show do come and say hello!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

This and That and some dyeing!

This view signifies the end of summer for me. Empty beach huts and an absence of people. The summer is over....what summer! 

The following and the picture above are pieces of crazy patchwork that I have put together to work on over the winter. I like to have some hand work on the go and I have plans for these pieces! The above piece was made from scraps of beautiful silk that I had. 

The piece above and the similar piece below are the front pieces for an armchair tidy. I find these small holdalls very useful for keeping one's sewing equipment in one place when sitting on the sofa sewing.I have worked quite a bit on these two pieces and there is every chance that I will get the whole thing finished in the near future!

 The next piece is a longer piece which I want to use as a runner. I shall be very careful where I place any beads so as not to make a rough and  uneven surface.


And the last piece I put together to take away with me to work on but I didn't actually do an awful lot! 

This is a hanging I did some years ago to demonstrate fabric manipulation. It was cut hand-dyed cotton cut and re-shaped and then overlaid with nets and then machine stitched. It is actually straight but the way I took the picture made it look very crooked!

I had net lying around and some hand-dyed fabric that looked like muddy fields so I did this study of leaves on mud. Very much an autumnal piece as is the next one which is similar though has more leaves. I love working with leaves! 

The next pictures are of yesterday's dyeing. A range of light and dark half metres. I dyed five metres of fabric in a bucket and then cut it up into half metres. The dyes were literally thrown onto the fabric as I was stuffing it into the bucket!

A slightly darker piece.

I did two lots of five metres and the second lot was very pastel as I was running out of dye and I just diluted it. Lovely pieces for skies and pastoral scenes!

This term in class I am doing an appliqué runner and this is it before sewing. This is a close up. The pattern is reversed at the other end!

I try to include at least one applique piece each year. The gooseberries were last years offering! We did a set of fruit blocks!