Sunday, 17 December 2017

Tissue box to Hat

This is a project with inspiration in stages.  It began with one of the many antique related T.V programmes. My mother watched the programme and it had a thinking cap on it.

My brother likes hats, wearing them, collecting them, so my mother mentioned  the thinking hat.  He noted it sounded like his type of hat but not at the £45 the one on the show sold for.

She then mentioned it to me and that lead to the oft expressed phrase of the crafter, I could make that.  Together my mother and I though about what material we might have at hand and of course there would need to be a tassel.

I am not sure if the project would have gone any further had I not spotted a tassel out of the corner of my eye in a box of mixed items at a Stray Aid Charity Shop.  I rooted it out thinking the tassel might be one I could use for the hat.  They can be expensive new.

The tassel was one of two attached to a cover for a paper handkerchief box.  A rather sumptuous handkerchief box cover. With two tassells, and looking like it had never been used, score!

Tissue box cover

The more I looked at it, the more I thought it might supply more than the tassels for the hat.  Look at the dark green velvet, the brocaded satin.  It even had lining and maybe the bias binding could be used.  I handed over the most reasonable price,(surely less then I would have paid for one tassel retail) got an odd look from the volunteer as I noted I was going to make it into a hat, and took it happily home.

I started unpicking it and the more I did so the more I thought this might all work for a thinking hat.  I looked them up online and viewed other peoples blogs, one of which had a nice link to Godleys patterns. I looked at lots of pictures  and realised that I needed something pivotal before I could start.

Measurements, the size of my brothers head to be exact. So I messaged my sister in law and asked her if she could get them for me without telling my brother why.  I thought she might measure one of his other hats.  Shortly thereafter my brother posted on facebook.

"Earlier this evening, as I sat in my tub chair watching nonsense on wife measured my quietly and unobtrusively as possible.....there was no exchange of words.....I pretended it wasn't happening......that's just normal isn't it.....happens to everybody doesn't it?"

Oh how that made me laugh, I could just picture the scene. My sister in law when passing on the measurements noted direct and silent usually worked and had made my brother most contemplative, she did not ask what I wanted the measurements for, content to also wait to be enlightened. Now I had the measurements I needed it was time to figure out a pattern to fit with the material I had. Basically a long strip pieced from the velvet and checks and then six triangles from the satin brocade.  This required some geometry!  I checked it would fit the material, finished unpicking and paused.

Then as I was looking for something to watch I came across Bagpuss, the pink and cream stripped cat who oft required a thinking cap in order to think of a story to fix things.  Between the Wombles and the Mice from the Marvellous Mechanical Mouse organ in my formative years is it any wonder I hoard, use scraps and discarded stuff and mend things...I think not.

Anyway back to the thinking cap/hat. I decided to reverse the order of the material and have the checkered at the bottom as it was stiffer being a gauze ribbon over a slightly quilted satin, and the velvet at the top in the hopes it would be easier to sew the top of the hat in.  There was already a thin layer of wadding in the hankie box case so I kept that  adding a bit of quilting to the velvet to add to its structure and hold the wadding in place. 

Whilst the material for the top had to be made from triangles to get the circle out of the strip of satin brocade, I could do the lining for the crown as a full circle cut from the lining of my charity shop find. 

It went together quite well. I did even manage to use the bias binding to make the edge all nice and neat.

Thinking Cap

Tassel on thinking cap

Inner thoughts? 

The original item had one small label attached to the lining 

It said


I thought that quite suitable for my rather oriental looking thinking cap. So I left it on.

The Tassel went on through the crown of the hat and into the crown of the lining thus holding that in place.  Of course there were two tassels so I still have one left for some other tassley project some time in the future.

Happily it  the measuring was successful and the hat fit.

As requested, and gracefully granted by my brother, picture of thinking hat on the thinking head.

Playing cat and mouse

with two bits of material gifted to me from a fellow quilter I met at work.  There were bits in her stash she had not got plans for so they became my stash.

There can be interesting inspiration in gifted bits.  Material I might not have chosen for myself but looking at them I am inspired.

In this instance it had to be a cushion for my cat mad brother and his equally cat mad wife. Then I thought perhaps one each using the gifted material on the front and something else on the back.

That morphed into the back being decorated using T shirt pens and the fabric dye pastels,  as the seams would take bits of the original cats and mice away.  Add their names ready to make cushions.   

They turned out OK I think.                    

Maybe a little big for the filling, but then it has room to move.

My brother and sister-in-law liked them.

Monsieur Twiggy Toupe (yes they really did call this cat that) really really likes this one and has claimed it as his. 

That one of the cats would end up on the cushions was not unexpected.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Day Fifteen of the Advent

Some of you will have seen this design developing (and upside down) today it takes its intended place as the picture for day 15 of the Online-advent-calendar hosted by Jo over at Serendipitous Stitching. If you came here direct and not via Jo then why not click on the link, look at the previous days and join us for the rest of the hop.

So the question Tom wrapping ready for gifting on Christmas Day or unwrapping early?  Either way he looks rather happy.

In addition to the Christmas Picture to go behind door number fifteen Jo asked I share any Boxing Day traditions.

I have been mulling it over and there are not many, a fry up for lunch from Christmas dinner leftovers.  Try out any gifts that were not already full explored the day before...mooch in front of the TV and eat far too many chocolates.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Secret Santa

Two words that are an immediate crafters dilemma 

Should I consider making something!

The question can't be answered until the moment the little bit of paper is drawn and the name revealed.

So now knowing who it is, should I craft, what should I make and perhaps most importantly of all have I the time to finish whatever I start. 

This year I have just changed teams, bidding farewell to people I have worked with for years and who's likes and dislike  are as known to me as mine to them.  Now the new team is a mix some I have worked with and know a little, others I do not know at all. 

I had some hopes I would draw the Star Wars enthusiast.  Alas that was not to be. I drew the name of a male colleague who's preference I have no knowledge (except he is on a diet which ruled out the easy chocolate option).  

I finally decided to craft, I bought a box and turned to my pyrography tools a quilting book and a calligraphy book to personalise the box.

You may guess that the recipient of my Secret Santa'ing  has the initial P.

Here are the books I got the Celtic Knot and the P from.

I finished nicely in time, early actual as I will not be at work for the gift giving so I won't know for at least a week  if he liked it or not.

At least I had fun making it.

A little update, he liked it and what is more embellished it.

carefully colouring it in with highlighter pens, which surprisingly have set into the varnish.

I think he was after the fact worried I would be upset at his addition but hey as a meddling embellisher myself I am rather chuffed he liked it enough to add his own personal touch and make it his own!

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Upside down

this looks rather scary and weird!

an angry sort of tiger!

right way up?

And the final image is coming together.

Can you make it out yet?

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Christmas runner

The material for this Christmas runner came in a bag of "scraps" from a local curtain shop.  I was already delighted by the price of the "end of roll" material at the back of the shop.  Material over £20 a metre at £1 or occasionally on sale for 50p.

Always happy to cut just a metre and willing to advise if a particular material just was not going to wash at all well the shop assistant was ever cheerful in woolly hat and gloves almost all year round.  Brrr was that shop cold! A bag of free random bits, well that is a delight to me both on the parsimonious side but also there is something about figuring out what to do with random that appeals.

Cream on cream

This cream and gold (reversible to cream on cream) material was already in strips. Very heavy curtain weight it was not going to do for the patchwork however, my mother had mentioned liking the idea of a table runner, and the ones she liked were not cheep.

Gold on Cream

So, edged with satin bia binding (bought from Boyes at a most reasonable price) and finished with matching tassels from my stash this particular bit of gifted fabric became a Christmas runner.

I have some more strips, and of course it is in the back of my mind (and for some time it has stayed there who knows when it will reach the front) to get some more bias binding and tassels and make some more.

The happy lady trying to stay warm in her woolly hat was always encouraging me to make stuff and sell it. I never have. Well other than the charity craft fair at work, but I am not sure she would have counted that!

At the moment I just wish I knew where (if at all) she and the shop she ran have gone.  The shutters came down at the location I knew a long time ago and although she spoke of them reopening at another location there have never been any "we have moved to" signs on the door.

Now that would be a good Christmas gift, finding them again.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Hospital stitching

Well this time the appointment went ahead as planned and happily I got less stitching done than anticipated as the procedure took less time than expected.

I can't say that the addition of a bit more grey and some red have clarified things much however, I am still finding it quite pleasing to look at.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Sunday stitching, a new start

and three colours in (not three colours finished just in) and just theses few stitches make a rather pleasant abstract shape.

Not that it gives much of hint at this stage of the finished image.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Fame at last

courtesy of Joe over at Serendipitous Stitching where I get to be

...drum roll please...


Sunday, 19 November 2017

Sampler quilt, small progress.

Had the sewing machine out for another project (to be seen later) and some hems that needed doing so I took the opportunity to sew together the strips cut  previously when getting the triangles for the blue quilt (which has stalled at the mitered corners, and I will get to that also in a future post).

So the instructions were to sew the  eight strips into two sets.

The difference between the two sets? The direction the seams are pressed.

This is apparently going to be pivotal  once the strips are cut into squares then triangles and sewn back together again.

I may need to work up to cutting my stripes into the next shape.

My friend has been working on her Graduation quilt so has not caught up with me yet on the Sampler Quilt.  However, being an organised person I expect once she sets her mind to it, it won't take her long at all.  It is going to be interesting seeing the difference her fabric choices will make to the various blocks. 

Thursday, 16 November 2017

A stitching finish

Well this little design got to be a hospital stitch after all.  Not for the original planned scheduled minor take an hour or so procedure cancelled earlier.  No for an unscheduled trip with my mother.  Waiting for scans, waiting for consultants, waiting....

and sewing and trying to make the time pass.  It passed, and all is well again and home and safe.  The planned procedure is rescheduled so another stitch will be getting that job.  Again something simple to keep a worried mind and hands busy.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Sunday stitching brown and white

or boots, a touch of hair and a bit of filling in.

I did not use this as a hospital time passer as expected, the best laid plans and all that.  Nor did I get as far today as I might have expected as I was joined by a lovely young lady from Ethiopia/Eritrea.  We had a nice chat as her English is very good (you may recall my language skills are limited to English).  I look forward to more chats in the future.   

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Hallowe'en Trick or Treat Blog Hop 2017

Fairly sure given the "letter" assigned to me by Jo our hostess for this blog hop  that I am not the beginning of this years journey.

So if you have arrived here direct and not as a redirect from Jo or someone else on the hop may I recommend you click on over to serendipitousstitching.- read the rules and start at the beginning.

Here is my little Halloween contribution this year.   

and of course the letter...well sort of....

Good luck with the blog hop, one and all.

click here for the next page in the hop

Sunday, 29 October 2017

A touch of pyrography Prague Castle

After a trip to Prague a work colleague brought in a box of chocolates for us to share.

This is the cardboard wrapper, and what did it wrap (other than chocolates?) a small wooden box.  Nice as the chocolates were and as much as I do like chocolates the wooden box was also most tempting, I do like boxes.  

So the box came home with me and had the rather nice line drawing of Prague Castle or Prazsky Hrad from the wrapper image burned into the wooden box.  I placed it a little lower on the box than I had intended but it did not come out  too badly.

Prague Castle

And what will I do with the box, take it back to work and give it back to my colleague as a remembrance of her and her daughters city break.  

Sunday stitching, pink and green

three colours more and the image is a bit clearer.  This might get some stitching before next Sunday as my mother has a hospital appointment and some sewing whilst I wait may be just the thing.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Sunday stitching on to the red

I was briefly joined by a five year old girl and her mother today.  The young lady looked at my progress and asked if I was sewing a ship? My mother thinks it looks more like a tropical fish!

What do you think?

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Sunday Stitching a new begining

a visit to a Charity Shop resulted in 4 cover kits (for 50p each) so I am back with cross stitch for the Sunday stitching.

Started today with the pale lilac.

Its a good job I prefer to stitch in hand and not on a hoop as the fabric in the kit certainly would not go on a hoop.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

The fairies or elves have been!

now they may not have fixed everything  when they visited and I am not sure what item left out enticed them to provide assistance.  However, from my last post on this quilt (although I have sewn on it between then and now) something has occurred, as with the top sewn up the points are mostly points and the seams are mostly lined up.


You may recall that when I cut the fabric for this quilt originally I cut  strips from the patterned material for the border on this quilt.

The four rolls in the middle of this picture are intended for the edges.

The pale strip on this will go in the seam allowance.

I have not sewn them on yet, this is the strip laid against the top to show how it should look.  I am hoping to mitre the corners.

It should bring the size of the quilt up to the same size as the top of a double bed.

So far I am pleased with the way this is progressing.

Stitching the rows to set the squares on point was odd.  It has not put me off trying it again (the on point) that is.  

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Love it or hate it...backstitch

I guess I feel both emotions about it depending on how much there is of it, how complicated and whether I am just about to start it, in the middle and wondering if I should have started it or out the other side with the item finished.

I have been thinking about this conundrum again recently due to a birth sampler I have been working on.

You may recall my mentioning I had offered to do one and the only parameters the mother set were, pink and yellow. 

My BFF brought over her collection of patterns from magazines and I found one I was drawn to.  Another Forever Friends design (I have used one twice before) but to meet the parameters it needed some colour swapping.

The recommended material 16 count, I chose to do it on 14 as I had 14 to hand (I had contemplated 18 and I am so glad I did not, I will come back to that) and anchor threads.

I figured as I was changing blue to pink (and a pink bit to purple) anyway, and did not have a full range of the anchor threads I would colour match as best I could. 

With just the cross stitching finished it does not look particularly  prepossessing. 

Particularly the flowers, insipid is more the word that springs to mind.  However the design gave me hope that once the backstitch goes on then things will improve.

You can see the original with blue flowers here.

I had a bout of selective amnesia when looking at this design and recalling the previous successful Forever Friends (twice),  I forgot that the designs have that most beloved of backstitch styles (not), they don't follow the x-stitches.  They go between stitches, half way, in the middle, small stitches a third of a square!  They require a needle with a point. Not too bad on the bear, but on the flowers, oh my so glad I was not trying this on 18 count.

I did the bouquet first and encouraged by the marked improvement moved on to the bear.  Then the flowers in the border. It felt like there were more than twelve.  Now initially I was not sure how much thread this was going to take and to ensure all the flowers were the same I decided to do them first, then the ribbon if there was enough dark pink left, if not I would change colour. I was already thinking the purple might be OK as was.

However, the more I looked at it like this, the more I liked all the ribbons without any backstitching.  I even left it over night just to be sure it was a choice of taste rather than an avoidance of more maniacal backstitch.  I even did one section along the bottom, contemplated it and unpicked it. 

I like it like this, honest I do. I still have the name (more backstitch) and details to add and the frame to go.  I will update with that later, at the moment I have run out of steam (but I do like it like this, it is not the lack of very hot water that is putting a halt ot the ribbon backstitching..hmm am I protesting too much perhaps? Nah this is good ) 

Before and during, not liking the backstitching at all, done it works and most of it was indeed needed.

Perversely, considering my comments about backstitch I like blackwork!

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Cutting it fine

(as in close, not as in well!)

You may recall I decided to set the beige and blue squares on point. To do that I needed another twenty triangles the same size as the half square and four double sized triangles.

There was some of each shade of blue material left. Less of the dark blue, which was my preference to use than the light blue.  There was not enough fabric to do the twenty small and four big triangles.  Hmm what to do, there was enough for the twenty small and two larger triangles, use that? Change the plan?  Then it occurred to me was there enough for twenty eight small triangles.  Sew two small together and get a big one, sorted!

So here they are cut out and next to the trimmings which are all that was left over from blue material when I was as you can see I was cutting it rather fine.

Small triangles

The plan
Whilst I was cutting triangles I decided to cut the strips for the next block in the sampler quilt.

It is back to the sewing machine for this block.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Sampler Quilt..Card trick

Card trick block

Well that is the next block in my sampler quilt finished and added to the others. Now I was expecting to have to add a sash to this to bring it up to size.  However, it is the same size as the tumbling blocks square so it will need to wait till all the others are done and I see what overall sashing is required. 

Friday, 22 September 2017

All together now

I have been sharing a project that started out with one intention, altered destination mid-course and ended up something entirely different.

(Previous posts.)

I pondered several ways to set out the appliqued panels and contemplated what to put in the separating blocks.

I ended up with three Celtic Knots ,the one at the top contains a poem about the nature of love that in itself is similar to a knot as it takes some thought to decide where the beginning and the end actually are.  I have used this knot before, now that I think about it, twice, once on a cushion for the female half of this couple (a dog ate that) and once on a wedding anniversary card.  The anniversary card was for a Missionary Couple, here on their mission at the time of their 50th wedding anniversary.  They were doing their mission in the archives of Durham University and at the Cathedral. Both were fascinated with history, illuminated manuscripts ( also a passion of mine see tracing-inspirations ) and the symbolism of flowers.  Hence the embellishments in the spaces on their painted card. 

 I put a key to the meanings of the flowers inside the card. They were delighted with it (and the cake my mother made for them).

Right, I got distracted there from the sewing didn't I, so back to the sewn project.

The tree at the bottom, well that is my design based on an ornament I have, a tree made of wire and semi-precious stones for the leaves.  I added it as I find it soothing and as four Celtic Knots did not for some reason work. I like my tree and it may find its way into another project someday.  Also there is,I guess the idea that a tree is often used to symbolise the family and perhaps is a little nod to the three of their four children that did not make it into the wall hanging (which is what it ended up being) 

So all together now.

It finally made its way to my friends, who although they appreciated the work, did not exactly know what to do with it!

Ah well, sometimes that is just the way it goes.

It was an interesting journey.

Had I not still one quilt left for a child to go at that point, I may well have stopped with the applique. However, after that quilt I promised myself no more of these, well except for the Monument Dragon for me.

I have not started another one so perhaps that is the end of them.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Big sister's name

not my big sister, Heather's. I did warn right at the beginning of my blog journey that posts would not always be chronological.

So this came first.

As you can see it is a similar theme of a decorative name. 


However, a different alphabet.

If I recall correctly it is on 18 count, navy blue aida.

And the alphabet came from this book. 
Lisa took (a very good don't you think) photograph and sent it to me.
To be honest I had forgotten what fabric I had used.
nice to have the reminder.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

A Flutterby of Roses

Finished...I would have pushed to finish for the show, but there was no show. 

Still happy to be finished and ready to move on to another project.

I am quite pleased with  the way the butterflies turned out, especially as they are my own design.  As I guess is the quilt as it grew from bits left over from another project Roses for Helen and from other bits.  I even like the way the shades of pink work, the pale pink for four of the butterflies and the binding  and the darker for the other three. The butterflies and flowers and in the furrow around the burgundy frames were hand stitched. the lines on the wide boarders machined.

And for the first time ever the thread in the bottom bobbin had six inches to go after I finished the last row.  

Saturday, 9 September 2017

All in the name

Some of the first personalised gift cross stitches I made were not birth samplers or  baptism commemorations.

They were for the young women in the branch as they reached 16 (if memory serves me correctly) 

This is the second one I completed, based simply on the recipients name it followed the trend set for her older sister and would be followed by one for their younger sister.

There was one other but in that instance I just did the first letter of the young womans name as she had not quite decided if she prefered her full name or one of two diminutive  versions using with the same starting letter of K.

Books of alphabets are a great resource, love alphabets.