Category Archives: Challenges

2017 100 day project – completed!

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I was determined to get to the end of my #100daysofslowstitches project, and here I am.  It wasn’t the project I thought it was going to be, and I was pleased I had made the definition of what I could do broad, so I could change it as I went along.

My two main projects were completing 25 blocks of The Splendid Sampler, for my niece – quilt top above.  And I kept up with the Ice Cream Soda blocks (see the end of this post).

I started with embroidery and English Paper Piecing, and as the days went on I included machine patchwork and applique.  My thinking was, it might be done by machine, but takes ages, so it still qualifies as slow stitching!

The 100 day project I completed a couple of years ago was #100daysofnewrecipies, and that one really affected me.  I saw a huge difference in my cooking ability and confidence by the end.

This time, I think I’ve learned what I do and don’t enjoy stitching.

I wanted to make a sampler of embroidery stitches, but hated counting threads to get straight and even rows of stitching.

I enjoyed making a Sashiko sampler, because the lines were printed on the fabric, and the embroidery transfer from the Aimee Ray book worked well too (see my previous post for more).  I’d like to use more transfer embroidery on garments, as I prefer to make something that can be used, rather than purely decorative.

The project encouraged me to persist with techniques I was finding difficult – like teeny, tiny patchwork pieces – gah!  And push myself to improve my quilting skills (points, people, points).

It might sound obvious, but making the time to do something towards a goal, however small, is a really good habit to get into.  I hope it’s something I will continue.

So, I’m glad I did it, I’m thrilled I completed 100 days – and I will probably join in again next year!

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Dx

PS I loved this podcast from Elise on Starting The 100 Day Project

 

2017 Finish A Long

I’m joining Charm About You’s Finish-A-Long this quarter, and here is my list of projects I’m planning to complete –

Splendid Sampler lap quilt

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A Christmas present for my little niece.  I’ve made 20 blocks, so another five to go, plus sashing, a patchwork backing, and quilting.

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This one is done apart from the applique circles.  I finished the rest of the quilt a while ago, but it got too hot to have a quilt draped over my lap.

Lone star epp

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I have some beautiful vintage kimono and batik fabric which I want to do something special with, so I’m planning a lone star mini to frame.

Holiday bag

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Anna Graham’s bucket bag from Handmade Style, which I need to finish in time to go on holiday!

Charm About You

If you’d like to keep up with my progress, I’m dottie_doodle on Instagram.

Sketchbook workshop with Cas Holmes

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I’ve admired Cas Holmes’ beautiful work for ages, and I’ve often wondered if I could make something inspired by her techniques.  I didn’t know where to start – her books are lovely, but I needed some help.  Then I saw Cas was running a workshop at Thimblestitch in Honiton (about half an hour from me).  It was fully booked (curses), but I put my name on the waiting list anyway.  A few days before the date Zoe rang with news that she’d had a cancellation and I was in!

I absolutely loved it.  Cas is such a good teacher and guided us through a series of exercises – drawing outside, making rubbings, hammering flowers and looking at found objects in different ways.

Below is my first sketch of some grass, and rubbings of twisted wire and waste plastic.

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I wanted to use this day to start preparing for a lampshade workshop with Marna Lunt, so I’d taken along some photographs of the river and fields where I walk Hetty.  This is the piece I worked on for most of the day –

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And this one of a hare which I finished later –

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I feel so much more comfortable with ‘playing’ in my sketchbook now.  Cas gave me some very good advice, which was to draw or do something in my sketchbook every day.  I’m going to start when I’ve finished my 100 day project, which ends on 12 July.  Nearly there!

If you’d like to keep up with my progress, I’m dottie_doodle on Instagram.

 

 

 

5 favourite paper piecing tips

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Four months into the Ice Cream Soda quilt along (progress pictured above) and I’ve picked up quite a few English Paper Piecing tips.  Here are five of my favourites –
1. Clover Black Gold Needles
Until a few months ago, I thought hand sewing needles were much the same.  Oh no!  These needles glide through the fabric.  But they do have a tiny eye, so my next tip is …
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2. Clover needle threader
I’ve been using this one for months and it is so fine and the design helps to keep it in one piece.
3. Aurifil thread
Beautiful colours, fine and strong.  I use 40 or 50 weight for piecing, and the heavier weights are wonderful for applique and embroidery.  The higher the number, the finer the thread.  I got a little bit obsessed with the Aurifil and bought rather a lot.  Have stopped now!
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4. Templates
My dear friend Kathryn gave me a set of perspex templates for the Ice Cream Soda quilt and I am a complete convert.  They make it easy to cut several pieces at once, and fussy cutting is much easier.
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5. Sewline glue
Some quilters baste, some prefer to glue their fabric to the paper pieces.  I’m a huge fan of glue – it means I can get to the fun bit (sewing the pieces together) more quickly. Refills can be expensive and the cost of postage means the price varies widely on the interwebs.  If I can’t buy them locally, I check the price when I’m buying fabric online, and include them in my order if it’s a good deal.
If you’d like to keep up with my quilty progress, I’m dottie_doodle on Instagram.
Dx

The Gigi dress

One of my 2017 Make Nine patterns is the Gigi dress by Olive Ann Designs.  I made this for little niece Greta and was very happy that she chose to wear it for a family lunch at our house.

 

The back of the dress – which is what attracted me to the pattern – is gorgeous.  Pleats give fullness, and the bow is so pretty.

I was a bit worried about the front.  The high neckline and short sleeves didn’t look very comfortable, but they are needed because of the low back.  Greta seems to like it though, and the only problem is that the dress becomes quite short when she lifts her arms.  Leggings or little shorts solve that problem, and I’ve made both for her from this bright pink jersey.

She has worn this with a little denim jacket over the top, and it looked adorable – she’s a stylish girl.

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A pattern for a matching doll’s dress is included but that looked far too fiddly to make and play with.  Maybe when Greta is older!

The 100 day project – halfway there!

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So it’s day 51 of The 100 Day Project.  I’ve been through the “I love this and never want to stop” phase, the “why on earth did I sign up for this, I hate it” phase, and am currently in  “sometimes this is a pain but I am enjoying it”!

My project this year is #100daysofslowstitches.  I’ve learned from past years that it is best to go for something that doesn’t take too long and has a broad definition.  That way, I don’t get stressed or bored with the project.  Actually, I still did, but I would have given up if I’d chosen something more time intensive or restrictive.

I had pictured myself relaxing in the garden/armchair adding a few stitches to a sampler every day, and learning new stitches along the way.  I began a sampler with lines of different stitches, and I enjoyed the stitching but hated having to count threads and get the lines straight.  This is as far as I got before giving up –

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I really enjoyed stitching this Sashiko sampler – the lines are printed on the fabric.

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Mr D gave me Aimee Ray’s Doodle Stitching Transfer book for my birthday and I’ve almost completed this one

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I’ve also included English Paper Piecing, with the Ice Cream Soda quilt blossoms

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and some Liberty and chambray hexagons (possibly for a quilt border)

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And because I like to have lots of different projects on the go (!), I’ve just started to make some of The Splendid Sampler blocks.

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You can follow my progress on Instagram at dottie_doodle.  Hope to see you over there!

Dx

Links:

The 100 Day Project

Sashiko sampler available from Sew Hot

Doodle Stitching Transfer Book

Ice Cream Soda quilt

The Splendid Sampler

 

Finished! Simple Sampler Corfu Quilt

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I started this quilt at the beginning of October last year, as part of The Sewing Directory Simple Sampler Quilt Along.

I hadn’t made this type of quilt before, and most of the patchwork techniques were new to me.  Kerry explains them so clearly, I really enjoyed the process.

The fabric I chose was inspired by a Corfu holiday,  and I’m so pleased with the way the blues, greens, pinks and neutrals have come together.  I’ve included some subtle metallics to represent the light on the sea and stone.

I planned to make a lap quilt and used the bonus partial seam sashing tutorial to join the blocks together.  When I realised how much bigger this made the quilt I decided to go further and add 6 extra blocks to make it into a small double bed size.

I wrote about some of these blocks in a January post, and the others are –2017-03-09

  1. Folk Flower by Anna Maria Horner.  Creativebug
  2. Butterfly – Sew Magazine, October 2016 (You can get back issues of Sew Magazine on Readly, with a free months subscription using this link)
  3. Whippersnapper by Anna Maria Horner. Creativebug.  I’m very pleased with the placement of the little house on this one.

The back is a cream and black floral, with a stripe of cream Moda Zen Chic scraps.

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And I mustn’t forget the support of my little fluffy helper.  Hetty thinks anything on the floor belongs to her!

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Thank you very much Fiona and Kerry for organising the QAL.  I learned so much, and it’s inspired me to carry on quilting!