Thursday, December 3, 2009

Homespun Magazine a Christmas Design in the Making

When the phone rang last week it was the delightful Catherine from Homespun Magazine reminding me that she had commissioned me for a project for the Christmas in July addition. This meant a flurry of sketches, some exchanging of ideas and a trip to town for some lovely wool felt. 
Here's a peek at what emerged.

Upon entering the tiny Steiner shop in Hobart, which is well know for its wholesome treasures, I was occupied for ages trying to choose form the shelves of felt squares that were before me. This did not amuse Hubby, who after 20 minutes was anxiously looking for an escape plan. He had accompanied me with the plan of starting our Christmas shopping and this was not his idea of playing Santa.

After mush deliberation I just had to buy a dozen and I was very proud of my decision when it was rewarded with another felt square for free. Here is my collection, aren't the colours wonderful. They look so good that I have not released them form the roll yet.

Something I know I will have to do very soon so that I can make a start. Otherwise I will not be able to enjoy them this Christmas which would make far more sense than trying to muster some Christmas excitement after the big event in January, when the project is due.

I'll share some snippets of my Homespun Christmas projects as they emerge.
Stay tuned.
Warmly Lenna

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Creating Country Threads Project Lizzie

Look who appears in this month's
Creating Country Threads Magazine.

Lizzie is no stranger to some of you because she featured in another blog post of mine. She was the naughty doll whose shiny black painted boots left a nasty surprise on my Laura Ashley curtains.

But all is forgiven because she features on the front cover, looking ever so elegant.


You can see from the cover that this issue of Creating Country Threads is
a stitchery special packed full of embroidery projects to tempt you. 

And as usual Danielle and the team have done a wonderful job photographing here.
She's perched in the garden which is fitting considering her floral hand embroidered apron and petticoat

Don't forget to look out for Lizzie in the shops, I'm sure you will have fun making her up for your home.
But please remember to keep her freshly painted boots away from your curtains!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Craft Fun at School Fete

Things get extra crazy around here when it is time to have some craft fun making items for the school fete.
Luckily I have some very clever "crafty friends" who come to my rescue as the date looms.
As usual everything is left until a few weeks before hand. Then all of a sudden it dawns on us.
We kick into action. Our needles are sharpened and our sewing machines begin to race.
Fabric is chopped, creatures are stuffed.
Coffee and chocolate is consumed and there is much laughter.
Slowly the baskets are filled with all manner of crafty delights.
Here are a but a few.

Scrappy Bunnies

Little Birds and Owls made by little hands

Beaded Lizards

Santa's Little Helpers

A few Purses

Heat Bag Characters

And some Button Baubles and an Angel for the tree

Lots of craft fun!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Stroll around my garden

I had always dreamed of having an English cottage style garden. This month as I strolled around my garden with coffee mug in hand I rejoiced because my dream had become a reality.
Here is what I saw...


Such a wonderful thing when a dream becomes a reality!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Nursery Rhyme Quilt Presentation

As part of the launch of my new Nursery Rhyme Quilt I have put together a presentation for you to enjoy.
It may take a few minutes to load but it will be well worth the short wait I promise. For best viewing select full screen, then use your ESC tab to finish.
Sit back and enjoy!

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook: Nursery Rhyme Quilt
Create your own scrapbook - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox scrapbook

Warmly Lenna

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Nursery Rhyme Quilt

It's finally finished, my new nursery rhyme quilt.
This block of the month pattern series has been floating around in my head for some time so it's such a relief to finally see it finished. I have been thrilled with the response from everyone and have enjoyed hearing stories about new baby arrivals and special grand children.

One lady wrote to tell me that as she printed out the pattern she was reminded of her own childhood and the pleasant memories she had of her own mother reciting nursery rhymes to her. This brought a smile to my face because I too have fond memories of singing nursery rhymes to my own children when they were younger. 
I hope they never get lost in our society because they have such value.

If you would like to share the journey of my nursery rhyme quilt, see the blocks close up and discover how you could be stitching this quilt starting from today, head on over to Stitching Cow.
There's a special slide show presentation to enjoy or go direct to the Nursery Rhyme Quilt information page. Enjoy!
Warmly Lenna 

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fabulous give away at Stitching Cow

Just  a quick note to let you know that I have just launched a fabulous give away on the Stitching Cow blog.
Head on over there right now to discover how to improve your sewing skills and go in the draw to win an amazing prize worth over $100.
 Good luck!
Warmly Lenna

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tacking or Basting a Quilt

Tacking or Basting a quilt is an exciting step because it means your quilt is almost finished.
I'm very excited to let you know that my new nursery rhyme block of the month quilt was at this stage a few weeks ago.

Here it is on my worktable as I was hand tacking it in preparation for hand quilting. I always start down on the floor but it is agony on my knees (I have floor boards!!!), so once I get a few lines of tacking in place I put it up higher.



Speaking of tacking out a quilt for hand quilting, I thought I would share a few  tips with you.

If you have tacked out a quilt before you will understand that after a while your fingers become very sore from picking up the needle. A tip to avoid this is to use a teaspoon (yes you heard me right). When your needle comes up from the back place the teaspoon underneath and you will find that it is much easier to pick up. Because the pressure is on the spoon and not your fingers it takes all the discomfort out of it. 

Although use an old teaspoon rather than one out of you best cutlery set because it can get scratched from the needle.

Another tip is to use a contrasting thread that is easy to see. This will make pulling out the tacking much easier at another stage. I also work from the centre out and always knot off into the border of the batting rather than the quilt top. Working a row close to the outside edge is another tip which will ensure that your binding goes on without a single pucker.

Hope you have found these tips for tacking or basting a quilt useful.
Warmly Lenna

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Story by an Obsessed Quilt Maker

We patchwork and quilters are strange creatures aren't we?
Well perhaps not strange but amusing.
Last week my youngest sister brought into the world the most precious little girl you can imagine.
Our family was overjoyed, it has been years since we had a new baby to enjoy and fuss over.

Of course my mind immediately turned to designing something special to help celebrate the occasion.

My fingers were literally itching wanting to create something wonderful.
I had been holding off until we knew whether a girl or boy quilt was in order.

My sister had visualized us having a sewing day together,
which was to take place when I visited from interstate. She had planned an occasion like this before and
I knew from experience that the truth of the matter was that I sewed frantically while she made coffee and chatted. Not being a sewer herself I think my frantic cutting sewing and deliberating over fabric choices amuses her although she is always very appreciative of my efforts and we manage to
talk constantly over the whir of the sewing machine and share some special hours, so I do not mind the arrangement at all.

Keeping all this in mind I literally dived head first into my sewing cupboard and started grabbing fabrics that I thought would be suitable for the new quilt. Trouble was the pile of fabrics started growing so tall that I knew I could never fit them all into my suitcase or hide them from my hubby who would have shaken his head in disbelief and considered me a bit mad I'm sure.

I soon realized that a quick email to my sister was needed to help determine a colourway to design with.
Thank goodness she had taken the lap top to hospital which meant that my problem was soon solved and the fabric pile was reduced to half. I was then able to stuff the piles of fabric between my socks and bras before hubby could notice.

Then of course there was the rotary cutter, rulers, cutting mat, threads, needles...etc etc.
Luckily I zipped up the suitcase before he entered the bedroom, hence avoiding any uncomfortable questions.
although he did comment in disbelief that I had chosen the biggest of our suitcases to take on the trip despite the fact I was only going for a weeks visit. 

And of course there were more comments as he heaved the heavy suitcase out to the car.
Truth is he even made me weigh it as we passed the scales in the bathroom so as not to face an excess luggage charge when we reached the airport.
Thankfully I was just under the limit and did not have to unzip my luggage and reveal my deed and secret fabric stash!

Before long I was on my way, nestled in the comfort of the aeroplane seat, fabrics tucked in safely below.

As I closed my eyes to rest my thoughts turned to the wonderful feeling of cuddling a new born baby and the special quilt we would create together just for her.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Block of the Month Quilt - Block 8

Being a keen gardener I had heaps of fun sewing the last block for my new Block of the Month Quilt design.

The nursery rhyme Mary Mary Quite Contrary was always of interest to me as a small child. I remember pouring over the illustrations seeking out the flowers that had been depicted. It amused me that cockle shells were in Mary's garden because I was a country girl who lived far from the sea. I wasn't familiar with shells and the thought of having them in the garden seemed strange. Now living in Tasmania, a small island surrounded by the sea, the idea of using cockle shells as a garden edge doesn't seem nearly so strange.
Although I chose not to include shells in my design I wanted to include Mary and of course a watering can.
I came across some wonderful photos of old watering cans and thought I would share them with you.

Watering Can (orton) by Auntie P.

Watering Can by Editor B.

Canons cans by Silver Doctor.

watering cans by cra612.

Aren't they amazing!
I have an old watering can that I use for my garden which is the one I used for inspiration for my block design.

And of course there are some flowers with little Yo Yo centres.

And some embroidered Fox Gloves

Now it's time to work on the border .

Until next time.
Warmly Lenna

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Block of the Month Pattern Hickety Pickety

When I was a little girl my grandparents had a few chooks to keep them in eggs. They started with three but as the years went by only one remained. She was a homely little black chook that went by the name of "Murtle".

Unfortunately I do not have a photo of Murtle, but this is what she looked like although I think she was a little plumper.

I have very fond memories of Murtle. When visiting, my Grandmother would invite me to check for eggs. This was always an exciting job because we did not have any chickens at home. Discovering a warm egg in the nest was a thrill!

But the best part was that Murtle was always happy to see me. She was not the kind of chook that chased you around the chicken coop, and she was not the kind to sit on her eggs all day long. This pleased me immensely because reaching underneath a chook to gather eggs was far too much of a mystery for a small child. Who knows what I would find or accidentally grab.

Murtle seemed only too happy for me to collect her egg when I visited. And what made the exercise even more memorable was the little hand woven basket my grandmother had made for the purpose. It was barely large enough to hold 3 small eggs, and made of thick twine so that the eggs were cushioned from the clumsy nature of small hands.

Murtle lived for many years and was a comfort to my Grandmother while she lived on her own. Then one day Murtle died.

A few years later when my Grandmother passed away we returned to her home. While sorting through her things I was delighted to find the little basket, a little swashed but still in good condition.

Its uncovering was perfect because I now had small children of my own and some pet chooks, one for each of them. They were exactly like the ones shown in the photo here. Their names were Fluffy, Scruffy and Peck.

So the little basket came home with me that day and into the hands of the next generation of egg gatherers.

But each time I see it I think of my Grandmother and her black chook Murtle.

In light of this story you will understand why I had to include Hickety Pickety in my new Nursery Rhyme Quilt design.
Hope you like her.

Until next time.
Warmly Lenna

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Block of the Month Quilting Pattern - Twinkle Twinkle

I've just finished another Block for my new block of the month quilting pattern. This week it's all about Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
Truth is I was not happy with my fist idea for this block so went back to the drawing board and came up with a new design.

Stars are such wonderful things aren't they? Its no wonder that they inspire so many craft people.
Here are a few photos for you to enjoy.

Star in wool, is he knitted or crocheted?

Mario's Star by t0fugurl.

Timber button stars, wish these were amongst my button collection!

sTaR bUttonS by fizzee*.

Knitted stars ready for felting

Pre-felting by WordRidden.

Hand pieced stars in lovely fabrics

I'm seeing stars by Twenty-eighth Street.

Which brings me to my star inspired block.
With a few hand pieced stars of my own...

and a small village on the hill.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star has always been one of the favourite nursery rhymes. I have very find memories of my children when they were younger beaming with delight as they performed the actions as I sang along. I can still see their chubby little fingers being twinkling stars.

Have you ever incorporated stars into one of your sewing projects?
Feel free to leave a comment and share your project ideas with others.

Until next time!
Warmly Lenna


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