Malvern Quilt Show 2015 – Three Counties Show Ground

I realise I am very lucky, Mr D not only enjoys doing the Art Trail and shares my passion for painting, but he is also kind enough to accompany me to various sewing events! He discovered the Malvern Quilt Show was at the Three Counties Show Ground, so I headed to the Cotswolds for a lovely relaxing long weekend.   The Malvern Quilt show was about a 40 minute drive away from Broadway, we headed off in the bright sunshine in my little red car, with roof down and some 1950’s rock and roll playing on the radio, winding round the glorious countryside. Perfick! to quote Pop Larkin!

After reading the Last Runaway, I have come to look at quilting in a new light.

12-IMG_1650

This quilt was outstanding, the piecework was incredible.

14-IMG_1652

each one of the fans are made up of six or seven pieces!

I believe this is entitled Curved Lines by the incredibly talented Fiona Macaulay Davies.

21-IMG_1659

While two colours might be considered simpler,  this quilt entitled Cappuccino by

Gwenfai Rees Griffiths put so much detail in the quilting stitches creating a whole new pattern.

It was so delightful I spent a good while following the intricate lines.

22-IMG_1660

I loved the smaller quilts, this little one was a delight

It is called Little Meitdrranean Village by Julia Gahagan

23-IMG_1661

I loved the nautical theme, with the centre piece reminding me of degrees on a compass

It is called Winter’s Day, by Andrea Ashwell

24-IMG_1662

Yhis beautiful colourful horse was amazing!

It is Called Horse of Many Colours by Danai-Rae Matthews who is amazingly only 11 years old!

25-IMG_1663

This is entitled Red Arrows over Sandy Bay, by the very talented Patricia Denholm

I think this little one was my favourite, it has inspired me to design a small quilt of my own.

The grass was long and loose threads, and the movement of the kite and draws the eye in.

The curves in the sky are the red arrows.


27-IMG_1665

This adorable cot quilt had three demential sump work  lilac flowers and butterflies.

It is called Flutterbies – by Sheila Warman

28-IMG_1666

None of these shapes is regular, quite a work of art.

31-IMG_1669

These little flowers were free motion embroidery

giving a three dimensional effect.



34-IMG_1672

Pretty, pretty flowers!

35-IMG_1673

Oh yes, David Bowie!  this is called Ziggy by Ann Beech

she hand dyed the cotton and used blanket stitches!


37-IMG_1675

I could not believe this was a quilt! There was so much detail!

It is called Cocktails in Manhattan by the marvellous Jane Hopkins.

39-IMG_1677

This is a small section of one of the ladies dresses, Jane Hopkins is a very talented lady!

40-IMG_1678

I could not believe the padded detail of this quilt,

the stitching was used to raise or squash the layers

41-IMG_1679

with artful precision.

42-IMG_1680

Four seasons in a quilt

43-IMG_1681

I loved the shading of the fabric leaves, summer turning to autumn

44-IMG_1682

Beautiful flowers – the dark background enhances the flowers


50-IMG_1692

Another three dimensional quilt, so beautifully done!

It is called In My Garden, by Penny Armitage

There are a number of shows all round the country and definitely worth a visit.

While I wanted to share these works of art with you, I have kept the pictures small out of respect to the makers.

Be inspired to create your own while giving due regard to these artists creativity.

Sewing Word -50 to Make Bookzine – Cafetiere Cosy

Fifty to Make web graphic

My Cafetiere Cosy is featured in Sewing World 50 to Make Bookzine which is out on the bookshelves now!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It uses reverse appliqué

cafitiere Cosy

The cups are made from ribbons stitched together

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

with little pretty heart buttons

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

designed to fit six cup cafitiere – and your coffee warm

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I think there are some amazing projects,

one of my favourites is the Camper Van tea cosy who doesn’t love Camper Vans!

Little Lingerie Bag – Appliqué

There are times when I am rushing through a project and my sewing machine is going great guns  it is all about getting the project done but hand sewing seems to be the opposite. It means that you have to take your time, enjoy the process of creation one stitch at a time. I made this project one sunny afternoon in our little caravan, the appliqué is entirely hand stitched right down to the beads and ribbon bow, but the bag itself is machine stitched.  I use it to keep all my tights handy as they seem to end up all over the place. It is unashamedly girlie but then I am a girl after all.

Cup Cake Cushion

My friend was moving  to a wonderful flat situated above a baker shop, we discussed the marvellous delights of waking up to the smell of warm bread and baking on cold mornings it seemed such a lovely place.
It was while I was making a card for her, using crayons I came up with the idea of a cup cake house, but then I realised it would also make a lovely cushion and a great a housewarming present – since we were coming into Autumn I wanted to use warm fabrics like wool and tweed – there is something really comforting about these fabrics in Autumn when all I can think about is cuddling up on the sofa with a good book as the evenings draw in.
I love working with tweed, it is so soft and easy but can fray, so I made sure all the appliqué was backed – it is much easier to draw the outline on the fusible interfacing first then adhere the pattern to the fabric – then cut out it seals the edges much better.
I took a square of fabric, and added a contrasting border – adding side strips first then adding the top and bottom. It was approximately 3 inch strips of pink tweed.
Taking the hill template, I cut the background green then added the fabric strips on top, I loved the flower cotton and the curved edges added to the overall effect. The pathway was from beautiful textured tweed, which is why this is such a delight to work with. After attaching the hill to the cushion top I simply added decorative stitched lines in green to continue the flow – it looks just like an upturned umbrella!
The top of the cupcake was made in layers, first I mad the little window, using a reverse appliqué technique topped off with a little machine embroidery.  I added a little roof topping and used black stitching to give the child like drawing to the project.
The cupcake base had a little curved door and I used stitching lines to indicate the folds in the cupcake adding two more windows. Then it was a case of layering it onto the backing fabric
I found a delightful tiny heart shaped button in my stash that made a lovely door handle. As you can see I was considering using a different background while I was at this stage but in the end decided on the pale blue – I was concerned that the cupcake would not stand out enough but I resolved that by using the black stitching.
After backing the cushion with wadding, I quilted a cloud with the sun just peeping behind, using a simple zig zag stitch. I used crayons to increase the shading slightly to give a hint of colour change.
So the top was ready, I machine stitched the edges down now that the cushion had some backing it gave a lovely quilted effect, I followed the edge of the appliqué shape as well which gave it a little more depth. I also stitched my ‘cherry’ red button to the top.
I felt a button closure was more important and used these lovely wooden buttons from a stash I bought in a charity shop. I always find it easier to mark out the button gaps before stitching otherwise I end up with the gaps either too big or too small! It also means that I have a good spacing, which tends to go awry when I do it by eye! As it was a gift I wanted to get it right!
So here is the finished cushion, I found it hard to part with it! Maybe I should make one for me too now!

Tweed cushions for Autumn

Tweed made a huge impact on Autumn interiors, (it is a recurring theme) our leather sofa needed something warm, nothing is nicer than tweed and wool.
I decided to make a set of cushions working loosely with deer, so created this little friendly chap. The blue is an dissolvable pen which disappears once the embroidery was done, in a little water.
Hand embroidery is a pleasurable delight, while slower than a sewing machine, I love the connection with creating each stitch – there are times when hand made is nicer to do than machine stitching,  I love the irregularity outlining the deer in blanket stitch and using stem stitch to follow the curves of the antlers.
Then it is a case of trimming the tweed to a square and edge strips to frame it.

I love the way the deer’s body is a diagonal while the strips are fairly straight, it creates a lovely contrast.

The back was made easily; lay a zip under the folded bottom edge, stitch in place. Fold the top piece with a deep fold, (enough to cover the zip). It is simply a case of following the bottom stitched edge for about 2 inches, then going vertically up until you reach the other zip edge. Stitch along until you are 2 inches away from the side, stitch vertically down over the zip again and then stitch along to the edge. It creates a lovely concealed zip effect on the back keeping the cushion nice and soft with no hard zipper.
I always push stuffing into the corners of the cushion, it creates a nice neat edge then add the cushion.
I made another three cushions with the tweed, creating a trio. The left hand deer is a machine embroidery pattern, the patchwork squares were angled again to give a more interesting effect.  The blanket is a beautiful blue welsh wool we bought at the Country Living Christmas Fair.
Now the sofa is a cosy warm place to watch the crackle of the log fire hearing the wind and rain pelting against the window, a perfect winter’s evening.

Fabric Portraits

DSC01658

Its wet and cold outside, so there is nothing more delightful than having a little time sewing and being able to kick back and play a little. I am teaching a couple of workshops and one of those explores free motion embroidery but I thought I would also try a hand at appliqué portraits as an option.

It is a great way to use up scraps as you only need small amounts of fabric. It can be quite interesting to play around with the fabric direction to enhance the shape. I really liked the way this brown flower piece seemed to create an interesting top detail.

Free motion embroidery is addictive! its just a case of dropping the feed dogs, (the metal teeth that move the fabric past the needle), most machines have a little button, most likely your manual will tell you where to find yours. Use a embroidery needle, its not just sharp but also has a strong shank.

Self portrait

I used this picture as a template – I wear a lot of hats and so it is a recognisable feature.

You need to print your picture out roughly the size you want to stitch.

While this photo looks a good choice, the tilt of my head creates an angle for my eyes, and my mouth is slightly tilted you can see what problems crop up in the stitched portrait.

As it is just playing I decided to go with it.

Stitched portait

You can get something called dressmakers’ carbon paper, its used to transfer embroidery designs or simply use ordinary carbon.

Iron your fabric so that it is free of creases it should be larger than the picture.

Lay the carbon paper on top – make sure the transfer side is face down onto the fabric – finally place the picture on top.

Carefully trace the features, eyes, mouth, hair and nose. It helps if you use a ball point pen that shows up in the photograph so you can see what you have traced. Its important to check you have all the pieces because once you lift the picture off, you cannot re-do it.

begin stitching

I find it easier to back the fabric with some iron on interfacing, and a hoop. It prevents the fabric from shifting and wrinkling as you stitch.

Drawing with your sewing machine is easy but different to using a pencil. The needle stays in place and you move the fabric to create the lines rather than the paper staying still and the pencil moving!

Use a darning foot – you can see easier and the loop of the foot prevents the fabric from being pushed through the holes in the footplate.

You may find it easier to work backwards and forwards, moving the fabric quickly results in large stitches, or slowly creates tiny stitches.

applique shapesOnce you have created the features, you can trim it and then assemble the appliqué shapes.

Use the photograph to create the appliqué templates, such as the hat, and the dress.

Use the lines not just to highlight the features, but also to give shading to the hat.

rose applique

Finally I added a rose appliqué, another feature I often have is a flower brooch in my hair – this was a tiny flower on a scrap of fabric, but it really brightens up the whole picture.

I think it is best to simply follow a few lines, rather than go into too much detail. I could have put in the cheeks and little dimple that you can see in the photograph, but it can go drastically wrong! less is more.

As you can see, the tilt has meant my eyes are at a slight angle. I think I can get away with it, but maybe next time I shall try and get a more level photograph.

I do hope you will try this, its so much fun – frame them in an embroidery hoop and hang on the wall.

ttfn x