Saturday, 26 December 2015

Once upon a time

in a mind far far away, a thought was born, the thought of a most spectacular quilt, a quilt to keep, a quilt to savour, a quilt for me.

At first it was a nebulous vague thread of thought with little substance.  It was fleshed out with material collected with the quilt in mind.  Jewel tones, beautiful patterns, the building blocks for the beautiful quilt to be, although there was no fixed pattern the probability was of course, something logcabin based.

Without a firm thought to give the quilt voice, other quilts shouted loudly to be made first and their shouts were heard and answered. Years passed, material continued to be collected, admired, folded, stored, periodically unfolded, admired again, stroked and put away.  All beautiful. yet somehow not just right.  Then occasionally patterns other than log cabin made an appearance, lessons were learned, tastes changed and applique made an appearance in my repertoire and still the dream quilt was no more than thought without real shape.

A pivotal moment came with a promotional brochure for a local area, the picture on the front a combination of an actual landmark and an nod to a local legend, it caught my imagination. Now there was one fixed point in the nebulous thought, the quilt would have a version of that image in the centre and once upon a time became Whisht lads! haad yor gobs, An Aa'll tell ye's aall an aaful story"

So the focus became finding material for dragon skin, green dragon skin mind not just any colour, it had to be green.Fabric was bought, considered, and discarded time and again. Family and friends joined in the search but how could they find what I wanted when I was not even sure myself?

I found some perfect dragon skin but not in the right colour.  It has been used twice for dragons but not for The Dragon for The Quilt! first on a duvet for my brother"inspired by a cross-stitch"  and then on a quilt for my friends son "The Castle, a quilt".

Pivotal moment two was the realisation that I already had some material that would fit as skin and was green.  It had already been in other quilts, not the scale effect the earlier material had , yet now it felt right.  Other material from my stash also suddenly fit for the sky, for the building (at least the colour it will always be in my memory).  Pattern worked out, stitching order for the padding and 3D effect considered I set to.

With cross stitch and other applique I normally have a little quirk, not to do the eyes till last..they watch me.  However, this time I did the eye first, painted with silk paints on satin.

  The green eye made a little appearance in an earlier post.(Eyes of green)

Dragon eye

It did indeed watch me. 
For seven years it watched me.
 As I slowly satin stitched the seams and once again worked on different "me now" projects.

Dragon watching

The building in the design is a real building, a monument that sits on the top of a hill and can be seen for miles around, it connects me to memories of trips to my grandparents. Journeys there and journeys home passing by it's silhouette against the skyline. Memories of climbing up the hill (and on one giggle invoking occasion a piggyback ride to the top) they all played through my mind with each stitch.

Oddly by the time the central design was just about finished my workplace had a view of the same monument.  Not sure my workmates understand why I would want its image when I was away from work.

Once the central dragon was finished out came all the beautiful material collected over the years. None of it was right, the colours were overpowering, the patterns not sympathetic. So once again, a pause, a re-think and the dragon languished on its rectangle of sky and mountain, the tip of its tail dangling un-finished waiting for the main body of the quilt it was to be attached to.

A year or more of waiting and I found it, a large patterned material in beige and grey that would complement, not upstage the dragon. A little thought and some material to hand, previously not considered, with the added advantage of matching my curtains and on to the next stage. Planning the quilt top.  No, I had not firmed up that stage.  Logcabin was still a go to but the tip of tail would not easily stitch over the heavy seams logcabin on curtain weight material would produce. My fingers ached just contemplating it.

Quilt top design

This is my plan for the quilt top, the dragon in the middle large sections of the patterned material around it onto which the tip of tail and some puffs of smoke could reasonably easily be satin stitched then onto the log cabin.

I "fussy cut" the rectangles that would go round the dragon so that the same section of pattern (as near as anyway) would be in the panel.  By this point The Quilt had evolved and had a new working title.  The Monument Dragon.

Monument Dragon

A mad, crazy and my BFF would say very Deborah idea took hold, to quilt a design initially (and still if I ever get to it) created to be carved onto a wooden bowl, around the edges of the quilt.

Bowl dragon

Bowl dragon adapted

Border design

I tried to talk myself out of it however, I refused to listen.  The idea just would not go away. This delay was fortuitous as in the time my mental gyrations were taking place the material used for the edge had proved itself (pulled out mulled over folded and stuffed back) to be too delicate and clicky for such detailed quilting.  Off with the what to use.  Another pause, I knew what would look good, the same material used for the dragon skin but I had used up the little bits I had and there was no more.  Trip to the local shop that had stocked this material in the past. They did again, in pink and red and blue,just not in the green! Then looking through the stash for another "me now" project trying to insert itself before the Monument Dragon there it was, a great big bit of the green.  I can't recall getting a second lot but I must have, either that or my Dragon is magic and impatient to be finished...well you get the idea.

So new boarder attached I can turn my thoughts back to the quilting. Some outline quilting around the Dragon to hold him down (I think it is a him even with those long eye lashes) Small stylised clouds in the sky to hold that down too. Round the Acanthus leaves on the four big panels, then I had just intended to sew in in the Furrow between the green/blue and the beige grey logcabin sections.

And last but not least, that mad idea for the edges.  Now of course one dragon meant for a bowl had to be altered to several to go round a quilt. (well 16 to be exact).

Four fitted reasonably well top and bottom with a small extension of the flame and I was happy with that.

Original small flame design

Four on the sides was not enough, six too many and five uneven, I started out trying to do interlinking flames with a Celtic knot feel.  Theses attempts failed dismally. Then I thought of the frond shapes from the material in the main body of the quilt.  With such a big space to fill nothing was flowing, nothing that is until my narcissistic tendencies raised their head.  This would be my quilt after all, and it would have my name on it, it would have my name on it because it would be mine,.in fact it would have my name on it twice, but subtly, the dragon in the middle is after all the star.  One of the Facebook groups I am a member of  (Our Love of Blackwork, Celtic knots and free links) were supportive even after I moved away from the Celtic knot to the acanthus leaves (I didn't know what they were called till then).

Deborah in acanthus leaves

Quilting marked out I set to, once the Dragon was done I worked outwards and realised as I moved onto the sew in the furrow that the blue/grey sections being larger needed more. Pondered puzzled and the obvious hit me, bigger stylised clouds.  Marking on with the wadding in is not the best way to go but newly made cardboard cloud stencil (cereal boxes are our friends) I managed then it was to be back to the stitching.

Corner with linked dragon tails

Once the main section was done it was time to move onto the dragons. I wanted subtle but still visible.  The dragons took time, more time and I began to wonder if it was a step too far  and shades too light.  But the phrase I've started so I'll finish ran through my mind often and I kept going.

Monument Dragon on the hoop

Got to the end and with only the binding to go started to have withdrawal before I had even finished.  Life without The Quilt lurking in the back of my mind.

I had some material ready for the binding, the same shade as the spine on the central dragon, it felt appropriate the binding looking like it was made from dragon..  A pause as Mint Tulip now took precedence and the Monument Dragon once more had to wait

Gold edge

Here it is before washing to take out all the markings, a nervous moment washing, will it all come out (so far it always has) and in this case would the dragons, my name, flames and date round the edge be visible enough once the pen had gone?

2014 becomes 2015

Oh yes the date, I forgot to mention that, my first optimistic marking of the date was for a 2014 finish it got over written with 2015.  The delay did allow for a more fitting style of numbering to come to mind. You can see both dates here being breather out by dragons.

Here it is

Dragon Monument Quilt

Well, yes the marking pen all came out, and yes the stitching was a bit too light so the quilting on the edge is not easy to see.  However, I know it is there and after some contemplation (and knowing making it stand out more would be difficult) I am content with that. 

2015 without markings

So now that it is finished..what will be the next long for me project I wonder..hmmm

Friday, 25 December 2015

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Sunday stitchings second week of December.

I had hoped to get the second shade of grey finished today, that was not to be and there will be no stitching next week as I have been assigned a talk for Sunday.

Anyway here is todays progress.

Sunday stitching

Saturday, 12 December 2015

A Christmas fairy cushion

Boxes of treasures gifted to me in September by a downsizing crafter felt like Christmas.  Of the delights contained was a small panel of Christmas fairies, one strip of  ecru with holly leaves and a couple of squares of red.

So first project totally out of the box (of goodies) this little Christmas cushion.  I don't think the intended recipient is a visitor here so I don't have to wait till the 25th to post it.

Christmas Fairy Cushion

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Flat Santa cone'd

Another kit from Cross stitch Crazy (211)and a new medium for me, vinyl aida.  The kit contained patterns and makings for a Santa and a Fairy.

I have made the Santa, he starts out flat and looking a little odd.

Flat Santa

Cone  Santa Ornament 

Then turned into a cone he looks a bit more the thing.

Now I won't be turning my back on normal aida but this stuff is quite fun to use.

Santa's back

Oh and that is not quite the end of this post, the kit also provided a needle, now either I don't know my own strength or this is the softest needle I have ever used.  Never before have I had a needle bend like this. Madly it became an obsession to finish the project with the same needle I started with no matter how much it began to bend. Threading it was the hard part as the bend also became a twist.

Bent needle from side

Bent needle from above.

As with the penguins in my earlier post, the Santa Cone went into work to participate in the Christmas Charity day.  However, I did not find quite as sparkly a resting place.  Instead he sat atop of a jug of roses that sits on my desk (there are many many of these jugs of roses through the office courtesy of a senior manager) 

Tuesday, 8 December 2015


An addition to the Christmas stitching courtesy of Cross Stitch Crazy Issue 210's gift, including the red hoop mount.  Stitching it up went smoothly however, getting it into the hoop was another matter and tightening the screw required pliers.


I took it to work and added it to the team's Christmas decorations for our Christmas charity day.

Sparkling Penguin wreath

I rather liked the sparkly surround, and will be keeping my eye open for one of these hanging wreaths for my home. 

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Sunday Stitchings into December

First Sunday in December and here is my progress today, still with the same shade of grey.

Decembers Sunday stitchings

Thursday, 3 December 2015

2015 Online Christmas Advent, day three

So the Advent Blog hop question posed by Jo over at serendipitous stitching for this year is around Christmas Eve traditions.  

So we normally wait until Christmas Eve to put up the decorations (unless it falls on a Sunday then they go up the Saturday before). However, there are some exceptions, In the last two years an Advent calendar has made an appearance on the 1st of December.

Cross stitch advent

You can see more about that in my posts back in 2013 from first day of December to all empty so (just click on the links)

It has joined my Christmas embroideries which also go up at the beginning of the month. In their case because I took me so long to make them I feel they need maximum display time

Their story can be found under the heading Christmas card inspiration this is the first of the three finished embroideries, I might get the fourth started this year.

For unto us a child is born a Nativity
I have not thus far been a prolific Christmas cross stitcher however I am slowly adding to the collection, and my choice for a this blog, something small that symbolises where I like to spend Christmas.

Yes you got it. 
Home with my family. 

Little Christmas House

I hope you enjoyed day three of the advent hop and will be viewing day four and onwards via serendipitous stitching and if I don't see you hear again before then, I wish you a safe, warm, happy, family Christmas.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Sunday stitchings..the grey goes on

A little here a little there and so it grows, one of the subjects covered in today's talks at Church was the same concept towards making the world a better place.

We may not be able to change the world all in one go, but we can start small with ourselves and little by little...things can change, just as stitch by stitch a cross stitch grows (although the speaker did not make the sewing connection!

Sunday stitchings on 29th

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Sunday stitching going grey

At first I felt a little uncomfortable still posting after the shocking events in Paris, then I mulled it over and decided that acting as normal (on a certain level) is the best way to thwart the intent of those who committed the atrocity. 

So here it is.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

King Arthur and Guinevere

My brother did not provide me with any lead in time to his wedding.  So no wedding sampler however I did want to make them something.

There is always the scary moment of choice, what to do, will they both like it. So do I ask what they would like and end up stitching something I dislike or something that will take forever while they wait and wonder?

One day when they visited I just happened to have a cross stitch catalogue out on show, introduced it as a topic of conversation, persuaded them to flick through and took note of the designs they paused at or commented positively on.

Later I reflected on their choices and from them made mine..

Arthur and Guinevere

   I was in a hurry to get it finished for Christmas and the metallic elements had taken longer than I had anticipated.

The intention was to have it framed professionally but professional framers get quite testy if there is not a good few inches of material around the design and I miscounted and ended up with a very scant amount on one edge.  So I had to frame it myself.

I traced round the edge of the design on some greaseproof paper to work out were I had to add curves to get it to fit.

In retrospect I think that this counting error was serendipitous as the adjustment resulted in a more interesting framing solution than would have been the case had I got it properly centered.

I rather enjoyed stitching this , metallics and all, occasionally I think I may do it again. 

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Halloween Trick or Treat blog hop.2015

Welcome to my post for the 2015 blog hop, I do no't at time of posting know the order of the hop. If you arrived here randomly then I recommend a visit to


(the link to that wonderful blog is on the right hand side of my page)
to see what the hop is about.

This year I made something just for the hop. Here she is my 2015 witch. Not quite sure what to do with her just yet.  As you can see I did not quite get myself started in the middle, room for some very small letters perhaps?

Moon Witch

The pattern is from this book, I bought it a good few years ago when I succumbed to a glossy flier for a craft book/supplies club.  Those starting offers were always so tempting .  Anyway this book is one of the more used rather than just looked at occasionally purchases. The many little designs in it have come in very useful over the years. They are detailed enough to be special and at the same time easy to modify the colours to make use of little bits of thread or fabric.  I think it is focused more to the American market as it has a whole section on the State Flowers and it patriotic section is also for the USA with the stars and stripes ext, not a Union Jack in sight.

Anyway back to the hop and the letter you came here with a burning desire to find.

Good luck with the hop and your next destination is

(and hey I finally learned how to put in a link)

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Sunday Stitching first past black

I was beginning to think that there would be no post for today.  Not because there was no stitching but as I was having technical difficulties getting the picture to attach.

So if you were waiting for a bright colour after the black was done, sorry starting the not black with dark grey.

Here it is.   

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Sunday stitchings double day

Now normally I stitch on a Sunday at Church during the talks, see my earlier Sunday stitching posts for details. Conference gave me a little longer stitching time.

This week I doubled up, normal 45 mins at church got me to here...

 Once home, after lunch we decided to enjoy more conference via the internet, so more stitching time leading to...

The black is all finished, I think the image is coming into focus just from the black.  Next week I will have to decide what colour to do next and will I try and work all of that colour before moving to the next?

Saturday, 10 October 2015

The Castle, a Quilt

The latest of my applique quilts for my friends children.  Sadly I don't mean that it has just been finished but rather it was the one that the recipient had to wait the longest for.  It was not completed until after his 8th birthday.  Although in mitigation I offer the following:

  • His sisters quilt  "Willow Fairy" took much longer than anticipated.
  • On this occasion the parents did not have any preference for the design. Leaving me for too much choice.
  • I lost a year, nothing drastic I just somehow managed to make him a year younger than he actually was. (If I could really do that for people I would make a fortune) so in my mind I was well on track for a before his birthday finish.
  • My original simple thoughts got a bit more complicated, I do that sometimes.

As the young gentleman in question was fond of the Harry Potter books I originally planned to do an owl design.  Similar to the one carved into my Halloween pumpkin.  A slight variation, to add a scroll into the owls claws to make it more Potterish.. I had the design sized up the background material picked however, the material for the owl was just not coming together and I started to have second thoughts.

In an earlier post I described a toy castle I made (with help for my father) out of a bought plastic portcullis,  a cardboard box, bits of wood and pipe lagging . That castle was a gift for the same boy this quilt would be for.  His father assured me the castle was still popular some years after that initial Christmas unwrap so I started to think about castles.  "Castle toy post"

Much as I generally dislike repeating a design I could not get The Castle by T.W out of my head.  The finished cross stitch now hanging on my wall kept it at the forefront of my mind. Finding the pattern used for the duvet cover and the  remains of the watermark material sealed it.  A second applique inspired by the T.W design started to take shape. 

The Castle 

There were of course some changes from my first homage. The moon in this case is white satin giving an nice sheen.  I had by this point started including wadding in the applique (the previous one was flat) and of course there was the added dimension of the quilting both on the central design and out onto the quilt as a whole. 

Circles to emphasise the moon and waves to set the island into a sea.

As with his siblings quilts the back had a simple geometric design into which his initials could be included.  Although admittedly this quilt with the addition of a bit more padding is less reversible than the other three. 

Here it is held up by the recipient, only his fingers on show (pending at some point his permission for the full picture, he was smiling).

I made him a matching cushion, as I had for his siblings, it was a bit slow in reaching him and therefore made it, as a last thought entry, into the local show that year.  And it won, it had his name on one side and a small silhouette of a dragon in flight, the other side was log cabin. 

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Sunday stitching..General Conference.

Got more time stitching this Sunday with it being General Conference. Feel like I got caught up on those missed Sundays.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Inspired by..a cross-stitch gift.

If you have visited with me before, you may recall I was gifted The Castle by T, W as a kit by my brother and his girlfriend.

Before I had finished sewing my kit I made an applique inspired by it as a gift for them.  I did not feel I had time for a full quilt so I put it in the middle of a purchased duvet cover.

They were most enthusiastic about were their cats who apparently liked to sit on top of the applique.

Castle dragon

The moon and the tip of the wing on the right of the image are my additions.

The edge of the dragon is satin stitched using an orange to white variegated thread. 

The watermarked material sang dragon skin to me when I saw it and at the same time gave a feathered effect to the wings.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Friday, 25 September 2015

Eddies' quilts big brother

Pastel Log Cabin.

This is the full log cabin lap quilt I made which had extra panels that became eddies quilt (Eddies Quilt, an inspiration)

I had two colour variations of the same material.  It gives a nice muted pastel effect. 

Log cabin close up