A Passing Fancy


One of the problems with my being a perfectionist, is that, as time goes by, I end up with a crate full of bits and pieces that have been started and never finished.  I call them PASSES (Projects at a Stand Still)!  From what I read of other stitcher's experience, I am not alone!!!!

Some of my PASSES have been an experiment, or a trial run for a new design. I found this completed appliqued and stitched "Les Macarons" and had great difficulty in working out why on earth I rejected it a few months ago!  It looks now exactly as I wanted it to look!  Then I remembered that I used two strands of black thread for the cake stand and I thought it was a bit thick, so re-worked it with just one strand! I am my own worst enemy!  So what to do with a rejected centre from the wall-hanging? - make it into a cover for a recipe binder:


I was playing with some small left-over bits of fabric and started making a crazy heart.  Why didn't I finish it?  I don't remember - yet another 'Passing Fancy'.  A bit of lace, a few fancy machine stitches along the seams, a twisted cord around the edge and another PASS hits the dust:


I pulled out a piece of burgundy velvet and discovered a completed circle of embroidered grub roses.  I was actually quite impressed with how sweet it looked. Why had it sat unfinished for three or four years? Laziness? Procrastination? A new design taking precedence? Just not as perfect as I had hoped? It really was time to do something with it.  A couple of hours later, with some ribbon roses and lace added, and it had turned into a pretty cushion:


Among the bits and pieces in my PASSES crate was an octagonal needle-case front. The applique and embroidery was all finished and I thought it looked quite good.  I had to go and have a look at the one that finally passed the test to work out why this one was rejected.  I must have decided it would look better with a butterfly than with just flowers! It didn't take long to put the reject together into this lovely needlecase:


Thankfully, most of the time my designs pass my test on the first go, otherwise I would have PASSES up to my eyeballs!  As it is, I reckon there are enough remaining to keep me going till Christmas if I tackle one a week ... and not collect any more on the way!

Here's one that passed my test. It's Father's Day in Australia next Sunday, so I designed these masculine-looking mug rugs.   


I find it difficult to think of things to make for men.  If you are in the same position, you might like to download my Male Gift Ideas which I put together with the help of my blog readers a couple of years ago.  The link is on my sidebar, or you can download it from here.

The mug rugs are in the latest Patchwork & Stitching Magazine, Vol 14 No 7.


Happy stitching!
Val


Ric Rac Ramblings


If you've been reading my blog for a while, you will have worked out that I love embellishments on my designs. One of my favourite things to use is Ric Rac braid. It is available in all sorts of colours and sizes and there are so many ways to use it.  But, how do you attach it???

Years ago, the only way we ever attached Ric Rac, was by sewing it straight down the centre by machine, and that is certainly still a very useful method:


If you look closely at the small pocket in the photo above, you can see that I worked a couple of French Knots under each scallop on the fabric, just to pretty it up a bit.

If you've been making the Apples of Gold free block-of-the-month quilt, you may have been using this method of attaching the Ric Rac, as I have.  I'm putting this photo here because it shows a different effect that is achieved by having a space between the ends of the braid, so that the frame is not completely boxed in:


Another easy way of attaching Ric Rac, is by hand stitching diagonally across each section of the braid to form a zig zag pattern.  You can use a contrasting thread for a decorative effect:


... or use matching thread which is a purely functional way to keep the Ric Rac in place:


One of my favourite methods is to work a French Knot in each section of the braid.  This method works well when the Ric Rac has pronounced 'zigs and zags':


I love the effect of the contrasting dots:


An extension of this idea is to work 'dashes' along the centre of the braid as well:


I've couched the pink ric rac in place with gold beads down the centre in this example:


To achieve a rope-like effect, I have worked diagonal stitches over the Ric Rac in only one direction on this table runner:


Jumbo ric rac is great for making a scalloped border effect:


The jumbo ric rac in the example below was perfect for couching with diagonal stitches and then embroidering little rose buds in each section.  My absolute favourite:


One method I intend trying some time is to work a long chain stitch on the Ric Rac with some embellishment flowing from that onto the fabric. I'll show you when I get round to doing it!

A commissioned quilt project has filled most of my days this week and no doubt it will fill a few more next week as well!  My night hand-stitching time has seen me complete the stitching on a couple more of my PASSES, (Projects at a stand still), but there are more than enough photos on this post already, so I'll show them off some other time.

Happy stitching!
Val

Free BOM - Apples of Gold - Block 8


Block 8 in the free Block of the Month "Apples of Gold" quilt is now available.


It's hard to believe we are already on to the last row of our quilt! I hope there are many wise words spoken into your lives, and in turn, that you can bless others with their many benefits.


The pattern is available for download here.  

We have had some absolutely stunning weather this week - perfect Queensland winter days - warm with bright sunshine. The Bay has been a picture of serenity:


I could almost get enthused about spring-cleaning!!!  I said 'almost'!  Instead, I completed a pretty bag, planned the layout of a commissioned quilt, drew up a new design and posted off a couple of projects to magazine editors.  Sure beats cleaning!

I was extra pleased how the latest embroidery design turned out:


I can now show you the birthday present I made for our younger daughter:


It's the Garden Dreams Calendar made in Janelle's fabric choice - all fresh and pretty.


It takes for ever to stitch all the little mini quilts for the days of the week and then all the numbers, but so worth it when it is finished.  I love giving a Calendar that never goes out of date!

I didn't do very well with my PASSES (projects at a stand still) this week, only completing one, but then if I finished one each week, I would have 20 done by Christmas. (Did you know we just completed week 32?!!)

With that pleasant thought, I will close off!

Happy Stitching!
Regards,
Val

The things you discover ...


Every couple of months I do a check-up on the internet to see what people are doing with my blog posts and photos. There's a lot of illegal stuff going on 'out there' so I like to keep an eye on what is happening!  There are also some lovely incidents I find where people have pinned my photos because they like them, or they've shared something I've shown on Facebook, or they've mentioned one of my designs on their blog.

I've discovered some interesting things in the past, both good and bad, but this week blew my mind when I discovered that I had been published in a French magazine two years ago .... and I didn't know a thing about it!!!  It was all quite legal evidently, but it would have been nice to have been told! Anyway, I'll share my glory moment, even though it is a bit late!  

Inside the magazine:

and "My Herb Garden" gracing the cover of Quilt Country:

So another of my dreams has come to pass - being published internationally!

But I do love our Australian craft magazines. We have a fabulous array of them.  Handmade magazine recently published my "Strewn with Roses" travel set:


It consists of a toiletry bag and a bag for shoes.  I love it when a project comes together exactly as I wanted it to:


End of July/beginning of August heralds a heap of birthdays amongst our family and friends. My "Sew Vintage" embroidery was revamped in 'sunshine yellows' for one of our daughters:


Silk ribbon flowers and embroidery on Silk Dupion:


Can't help myself - I just have to include applique with my embroidery:


I wanted to make a pretty card for another friend for her birthday. I was quite pleased with the results -  Silk threads and ribbon on linen, inset into one of those cards that has the hole pre-cut:


It turned out to be quite a productive week, which will always put a smile on my face.  Our tax papers are now all done, the front yard lawns and gardens have had their manicure, a new design was drawn up, cut out, stitched and completed, and I have started work on reducing the pile of PASSES I have. 

 When the lid isn't sitting shut on a container, you know that it is becoming just too full.  That's how it was with my PASSES - Projects At a Stand-Still. (I think that's a much kinder name than UFO!) So far I have transformed four PASSES into lovely items that will be great for a fete or stall. I am trying to be disciplined and do one or two each week. I'll show you the progress next week.  

Keep an eye out also for the next block in the free Block of the Month "Apples of Gold" quilt.  

Happy stitching!
Val