Stitching and stencils

Adrift in the warmth and haze of a real English summer, it’s almost time to head out for our holidays.  This, as you will understand, calls for much planning and gathering of suitable projects to take along so that maximum use is made of the time.  So far I can only count 5 project bags, but maybe a few more will get added in before departure – or maybe I’ll just take more drawing stuff, and there’s always that neat little notebook app (Penultimate) if everything else fails…..  One of the bags contains the last 3 blocks (I think) for the Antique Rose Star project which should finish at a mere 23 blocks if I can bring myself to stop making them –

Antique Rose Star blocks

I can’t decide whether to take any hand quilting projects this time, or limit myself to just piecing.  There are three designs that are almost finished, this is the most recent, which you saw as lines and mirrors in an earlier post –

quilting detail

almost finished

and the two earlier ones that need a few more stitches –

design 1

design 2

A really good pre-holiday boost came with the arrival of a sample set of  new stencils of my designs from Quilting Creations – these will be great to refer to in the Tentmaker Applique class and will hopefully meet some of the many requests for this style of design in stencil format.

stencil sample

stencil sample


stencil sample

The stencils have been developed from my Egyptian Treasure pattern book, and should make marking for a quilt like this an absolute breeze

quilt detail

Which gives me an idea of something to put in even more project bags for the holiday – maybe a little applique, or some shadow quilting too?!


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!

Just stuff …

At sea amidst stuff to pack for a quick trip to Quilt Market in Houston, stuff to finish for classes after Quilt Market, lots of paper stuff that might turn out to be patterns, and domestic stuff that needs to be taken care of before swanning off to warmer climes.  It all comes down to stuff and luggage in the end!   Despite the excess of stuff of all types and from all directions, I can report that my Secret Drawer/Stealing Time project is working quite well – the Antique Rose Star pieces are stacking up in their box and the drawer is now filled to a satisfactory level –

For anyone who has been bitten by the Antique Rose Star bug the indefatigable Shirley over at Stitcherydo has turned up a real treasure for you!  – it’s a phone app, but far too good for that and she is brimming with ideas to develop into cloth and stitch.  Do take a look ….


There was a little bit of time this week to mess around put some more lines on paper –

and have fun with mirrors

Still on the theme of “I wish I could” I really wish I could make descriptive lines like The Quilt Rat – if you don’t already follow her blog I can highly recommend it, masses of inspiration and fabulous lines of ink and stitch.  In the meantime I shall just potter on with my low-tech pencil and mirrors…

I was re-acquainted with one of my smaller vintage quilts yesterday – ok, it had been pushed to the back of various samples and been overlooked – and took a couple of pictures with a view to making a pattern.  The border, corners and background grid will be pretty straightforward, but the centre is proving a little more difficult to capture –

And there will be plenty of airplane time this next week that I can use to work on more scribbles and doodles, make plans and dream of Gibson guitars.  Happy stitching!

Ten years on …

A lovely surprise today to see Carla’s post on her blog – all about some of the stencils she uses in her wonderful quilting.  When Carla and I first made contact through cyberspace that was a lovely surprise too!  – it’s always good to know that someone likes your work and to see your designs used is a really uplifting treat.  Back in the days when I designed for fabrics it was a big thrill to walk around a quilt show and see that people had actually bought “my” fabric and chosen to use it, and it’s the same with quilting designs.  Seeing one of “my” designs used in a quilt is like a chance meeting with an old friend and it always feels good.  So, if you’re already familiar with Carla’s work you’ll understand how good I feel when I see how she’s used some of my stencils.   Her post has also made me dig back through my files and find out what I was working on then – can’t believe it was ten years ago! – here’s a couple of other designs I did around the same time –

All this delving into files somehow turned into delving into old quilting samples, which led me to look again at the feathered square motif that was on one of the stencils Carla showed, and reminded me that my hand quilting was not too shabby at this time (remember, we are talking ten years ago!)  –

The corded and quilted piece is now (I think) finished – again, this started off at least ten years ago (wonder if there’s a theme going on here?)  and has only just been hauled out of its hiding place.  The design is closely based on the centre of a vintage Welsh quilt that I own,  and it was featured as a pattern by Colonial Homes.  The addition of cording has made a difference, the effect is subtly richer than it was with just quilting, and I’m pleased with the result, even if it has taken a while!

One of the next things to do is resurrect another sample from the same pile and see if that will respond to similar treatment – or, I could add even more cording to this piece !  It’s decisions all the way!