Will your anchor hold in the storms of life?

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This is quite a small panel, one of the last ones I made, but the one which will be in the top-left-hand corner.  Some of the panels have fents or offcuts instead of costume prints, including this one, which has three pieces of the finer lawn prints from the 1980s and 1990s.  On top of this is some beaded lace, and some burnt away fabric offcuts from another project.

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Because this came quite late in the process, I bought little items rather than using things in my stash, and as ever, I have only dim memories of where they came from.  But these two bits came from Copenhagen:

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I am quite proud of the little seed beads holding on the golden spray of leaves, and I really like the little black crown underneath the key.

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Although this doesn’t look much, I am very pleased with the stem-stitched box round the leaf charms.  Stem stitch has always defeated me until the wonderful Tanya Bentham showed me how to do it properly in one of her workshops.  So a small personal triumph.

I really enjoyed the hand embroidery on all of the pieces.  This is a ribbon rose:

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IMG_0845I wish it were as glorious as this contemporary take on a crazy quilt from the Bristol Embroiderers’ Guild Exhibition.  Unfortunately, I didn’t make a note of the artist’s name, so only one unauthorised picture.  If you know who made it please let me know.

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What I did at the weekend

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If you read my previous post you will know that I have had a very busy time recently.  So this weekend, although I have a head buzzing with Laura Ashley ideas which need making, I found myself making small scale old school patchwork.  I made two dolls quilt size pieces.  I suddenly had the urge to do some very small, simple, self-contained bits of sewing.  They were made with the tiny leftovers from the squares I cut for the quilting bee last week, and which I couldn’t bear to throw away.  The fabric came from Flo-Jo Boutique on Gloucester Road, very kindly donated for our premature babies quilts.

The first piece is a sort of crazy quilt, just laying down the pieces in a more or less random way:

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Then adding some machine embroidery with variegated thread, and some hand stitching with embroidery floss.  The machine embroidery was done on the cheapo IKEA machine which is great, except that it has a massive take up of thread for its first stitch which means the needle comes unthreaded repeatedly and is a bit irritating after a while.  Otherwise it is brilliant, and I used it throughout to make the two pieces, except for putting on the binding where I wanted the 1/4″ foot on the Bernina.  The Bernina, incidentally was playing up and snapping threads.  I gave it a good clean with a stiff brush and removed a mountain of fluff, so let’s hope that fixed it.

Here’s the embroidery on the first piece again:

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The second piece is a variation on the old strippy quilts and I thought I might do some embroidery on the strips, but in the end, just plain in the ditch quilting seemed to work fine:

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Nice stitch on the IKEA machine.  This is the back which I pieced from a remnant I bought and which was exactly the width of the front – meaning I needed to add a bit to make sure it fitted.  Somehow, despite adding a good inch it was still the exact width of the quilt.  Strange:

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I have always liked those pieced backs, and this is about the size I can cope with.

I really loved stitching on the binding as the cotton fabric is so lovely and so crisp to work with.  It had a very soothing effect.  I was talking to some friends about why we quilt and they talked quite a lot about its bringing order and giving a sense of control.  Clearing up the scraps and making them into something and then actually finishing them did act as a restorative, I think, after a very busy week.