woodland

Another peek behind the scenes …

by Helen on September 14, 2014

Thank you so much everyone for all your kind comments on the making of Miss Matilda Catkin – who I’m delighted to report is now finished, though I haven’t taken her official photographs yet.  But a lot of people told me they liked to see what went on behind the scenes, before I present my finished projects, so I thought you might like a peep into this afternoon’s activities.

Of course before you start work it’s very important to make sure your “helpers” are all quiet and content – especially our little visitor who, I have to say, is more trouble than both the Newfies put together.  However, even lively energetic puppies have to stop and rest sometimes ….

She looks as though she’s finally managed to find her inner newfie – though I don’t think for a moment she’ll stay this way for long!  But anyway, while they were all resting, having enjoyed fun and games in the garden, a long walk, and a delicious tea, I sat down and switched on my laptop.  It’s been cloudy and a little chilly here this afternoon, so I’m back indoors ….

Though there’s no need to light the log burner just yet!  Here’s the view from my laptop – I am stacking up projects that need their patterns writing for this month’s Bustle & Sew Magazine.  There’s my Toadstools Patchwork bag and Miss Matilda Catkin – looking very pretty in her vintage feedsack dress with little lace trim.  She also has a lovely necklace decorated with a flower-shaped button, but I’m not sure if you can make it out very well in this picture.  My Cath Kidston mug was a gift from Rosie a few years ago now.  Sadly it has a hairline crack in the side so I can’t use it for coffee any more, but it looks very pretty holding an assortment of pens, pencils and brushes. At the back is a blue box that contained my new camera – very exciting!  I’m still learning how to use it, but already I think I’m taking much better pictures than before.  Then on the other side of my laptop (I’m a very messy worker I’m afraid) ….

Is what I think will be the final set of three images for my Christmas Woodland Friends hoops.  There’s a bear, fox and (disappearing from view on the right) a rabbit wearing his Christmas stockings on his ears!  I draw my designs out quite a few times, tweaking and changing, before I reach this final version that I hope will be good enough to scan and print ready to work with.  You can see the dotted lines marking the bottom of the hoops and at the top is a rejected bear  – I think there was a problem with his scarf.

Then over the coming evenings I’ll be stitching them ready to photograph for the magazine.  But my canine friends are on the move and I think I’d better go and see what’s happening – what mischief Tilly has led Daisy and Ben into now, I wonder!?

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Woodland Alphabet Quilt wip

by Helen on March 5, 2014

Sometimes it feels so easy ….  I’m sure you know what I mean …. those rare occasions that you have an idea and translating it into fabric and thread just flows, everything happens right the first time.  It’s such a magic, wonderful feeling that for me at least, happens only rarely – usually I can be found muttering, unpicking, tweaking and re-stitching!  But there was no unpicking at all while I was stitching this project – my Woodland Alphabet Quilt …

It’s destined to be a gift for some friends who have been waiting for adoption for some time.  They’ve recently heard that they’ll be bringing home a little boy aged seven months in just a few weeks time.  I do hope they’ll like my gift…

It’s still very much a work in progress, but I finished piecing the top late this afternoon – just some borders around the edges and it’s onto the quilting.  I was inspired by the clean lines and appliqued text of the Baby Life Quilt design by V and Co that I found in the Moda Bakeshop

I love the uncluttered feel of this quilt and wanted to try to give my Woodland Alphabet Quilt the same feeling of simplicity and space – as well as including lots of  forest friends ….

 

I followed Vanessa Christenson’s tip of zig-zagging around my applique shapes with clear thread.  All my shapes were quite simple so there wasn’t too much huffing and puffing while pivoting around corners.  My favourite block is R for Rabbit (of course!) …. 

Though the hedgehog and mouse are cute too.  I’m considering whether to add a narrow patchwork border around all the squares before the final wider borders – if anybody has any thoughts or suggestions I’d love to hear them.  This project will be included in the April issue of the Bustle & Sew eMagazine and then I’ll be wrapping it up ready to send to my friends in time for their baby boy’s arrival.  

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Bits and pieces … lots going on!

by Helen on March 3, 2014

Sometimes it’s hard to decide what I’d like to blog about – when life has picked up pace and so much has been crammed into a few short days – and now is one of those times.  Should I tell you about the tremendous thunderstorm we had here? The lights went out, the roof leaked and the flagstones were covered with enormous hailstones (which enchanted my furry friends when they went outside to investigate after the storm had passed)….

Or I could tell you about our wedding preparations .. Rosie and I spent a long time working on the invitations and maps on Saturday afternoon.  At last they’re finished to both our satisfactions and we’re eagerly anticipating their return from the printers very soon indeed ….

Then there’s my new Woodland Alphabet Quilt.  It’s destined to be a gift for friends who have just learned they’ll be bringing home a new baby boy very soon.  They’ve been waiting for adoption for quite some time and so I wanted to make a special present.  It’s still very much a work in progress, but here’s a quick snap of the first few blocks….

Not the best picture I’m afraid – I snapped it very quickly with my phone.  But I’ll take more photographs as I go along, and the finished project will be in the April issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine.  Which sort of leads me onto my final piece of news … the March issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine is now available in paperback form from Amazon …..

CLICK HERE to see it on Amazon.co.uk and

CLICK HERE for the magazine on Amazon.com

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Choosing colour and a sleepy Fox

by Helen on January 7, 2014

I so much love dreaming up new patterns and designs, playing with texture and colour to (hopefully) create something that I love – and that I hope others will too!   When I’m starting a new project, choosing the colours I am going to work with is possibly the most exciting moment of all.  I simply adore tipping out a rainbow of floss onto my workroom table, then picking  colours and laying them out to make my final selection. For my little Cupid Bear I had to choose 4 colours for his fur that would work well together, as well as deciding upon those for his balloon and wings: 

I must admit I tend to work by eye and choose colours that appeal to me, though when I check back I usually find that my choices do fit within colour wheel theory.  However I know through sad experience – and much unpicking – that making the right choices isn’t always an easy process, so last year I put together a few pages that I hoped others might find useful about choosing and using colour…..

If you don’t already have it and would like a copy, then please CLICK HERE for the free download.  Sometimes though, colours just seem to come together without my even having to think about it – and this is definitely the case for my next design for the February issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine……

Proving, I think, that woodland works for spring as well as autumn projects.   This sleepy little fox is still very much a work in progress, although coming along very nicely indeed.   I’m afraid there may be a slight delay in showing you the finished design though, as I won’t be doing a lot of stitching over next few days. This is because the date for the operation on my knee has finally arrived and I’m off to the  hospital tomorrow.  I shall be so pleased to get it fixed as I’m getting a bit fed up of limping around.

Daisy

“I didn’t mean to hurt you Mum!” 

 All of this trouble is  thanks to Miss Daisy who, when we were out on a walk, charged into the back of me, knocking me flying.  Unfortunately when I returned to earth I landed mainly on my left knee which was already a bit wonky due to an old horse-riding injury).  So this will be me for a while …

I’m the one at the end!!  Still it will be a good excuse to take it easy for a while!

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