Start again

Trying to get back to posting – it seems to be a winter affliction and I know it’s been months.  So a quick catch-up, starting with “stuff seen in magazines” –





A quick glimpse of some Antique Rose Star blocks which have been shared by their makers – (mine are still growing quietly in the Secret Drawer in the kitchen dresser)




I’ve been busy with various other hand piecing projects that seem to have got themselves under way –










Quilting and design projects are fighting their way back onto the worktable, lots of planning but nothing to take fuzzy photos of as yet.  Today I’m tucked away from reality at the annual quilting retreat with lots of creative buzz all around me and ideas forming almost by the minute – a very heady atmosphere!

Welcome to all the new followers, hope everyone enjoys the Quilt Snaps I’ve scheduled for the next few Fridays.

More of the same –

– but from Spain. While middle England basks in very untypical continuing heat, I’ve found a shady terrace with comfy chairs, a handy large table and a splendid view


Near the table are various things that might come in useful –




On the table are a selection of familiar items –





Further reports in due course!
technical note – slow-ish internet connection at present means uploading smaller size pics. This issue may be resolved by the next post

Summer sewing

Back home after three lovely summery days travelling and talking (I’ve always said this is a really difficult job but someone has to do it!).  First stop was at Nynehead Court near Wellington in Somerset, where the redoubtable Shirley from Stitcherydo meets with like-minded friends for stitching therapy.  As you can see, the surroundings are hugely attractive and everything was at it’s best for our informal class on the Whig’s Defeat block …

Nynehead Court


Nynehead Court, church




hard at work




layout 1layout 2


layout 3







back to work



comfy corner?

An extra treat (along with the strawberries, cream, and similar goodies) was a private showing of the estate church which contains some wonderful old glass and a Jacobean family memorial

recycled stained glass section


stained glass section



family memorial


English summer


Thanks to Shirley and friends for organising such a lovely day – I’m expecting to see pictures of several completed blocks before too long!

Design stuff

After a lot of playing around with gadgets, apps and stylus and having fun, I found myself scribbling on real paper with a real pencil.  Even more fun!  I started with a small leather coin purse acquired in Denver

Denver purse

and it went from there.  I’m fairly sure that some good new designs will come out of this little creative burst.  Usually I just work with pencil and pen lines but this time I thought it might be interesting to fill in some random colour – helpful for looking for applique possibilities as well.  Here’s a selection of the reference pictures I took so you can see how things developed –

starter sketch

developing motifs

motif #2

add colour

change section

change colour

change section

change again

change again

add circles


I foresee a whole new set of patterns – perhaps for shadow applique too? – in the next few weeks!

Quilt round up from Denver

Way behind with intended regular posting so I’ll try and catch up a little with a second batch of pics from the Denver trip. I was in the mile-high city to teach a 3day class for machine quilting supremo Harriet Hargrave with the delight of staying at her home included for good measure. As you can imagine, there were some seriously good vintage quilts to enjoy as well as a side trip to the quilt museum in Golden where there was an exhibit of old and new quilts featuring machine stitch. The “new” was represented by a selection of work from Sue Nickels and Pat Holly. I think you will enjoy some of the following –







and from the exhibit –















I was rather taken with this porch as a potential stitching spot – shame the house was not for sale! (no, it’s not Harriet’s home).

So it’s back to domestic things for a few days and getting ready to travel to Scotland next week – more packing!

Close-up quilting

From the top of the stack of quilts in The Cupboard comes a satin crib quilt, unused, wool batting, guesstimated date 1930s.  I use this piece as a hands-on class sample to point up some of the differences between wool and cotton battings, simple patterns and non-turning corners – it started me off on a happy half hour taking close-ups of one or two other quilts and then onto close-ups of some of my own stitching.   I encounter the stitch size obsession so often in classes that, just for interest, I included a small ruler as a reference in many of the shots.  There’s no point to prove, no pictures of  entire quilts, just to observe that the size and quality of anyone’s stitch is dependent on so many variables – the top fabric, the batting, the backing fabric, the needle, the thread, the experience, the age, the quilting culture.   And I can’t be the only one who enjoys just looking at quilted texture up close and personal – can I?

diamond filler detail

feather detail

quilting detail

quilting detail

corner detail

The next quilting detail is provided by a quilt made around 1910-ish, probably North East, cotton top and back, dense and compacted cotton batting.

swag lines detail

swag quilting detail

infill fern detail

circled rose corner motif

centre detail

Just from the above I think you might agree that, if you want to make a major impact with your quilting, choose shiny fabrics!  It certainly makes an impression and adds some wow factor.  For good measure, here’s a close-up look at the quilting on the red and white strippy I showed you recently.  Heavy fabrics front and back, thick cotton batting, most definitely not easy to stitch through this quilt sandwich –

quilting detail

And jumping forward to the present day, see how easy we can make things for our quilting with much lighter weight fabrics, much thinner battings ….

feather detail

I can almost feel a whole series of posts coming on –  let me know if you can stand the thought of more close-ups.  After all, there is an entire Cupboard to deal with –

The Cupboard - detail