Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Benjamin Biggs Blocks 8 and 9

Here are my BB blocks 8 and 9.  I must say block 8 was a bit of a fiddle to prep and I had to stitch on the machine very carefully but I am pleased with the end result.


I have tried to take a close up picture to show how invisible the machine stitches are.  I use a Gutterman cotton thread that matches the applique piece as closely as possible and then using a very , very small blind hemming stitch on my machine to stitch right up against the edge of the applique.  I am so impressed with the speed and the results I will definitely use machine applique on future projects!


Block 9 was a pleasure to make, prepping went smoothly and quickly and stitching needed to be careful on the flowers but again a great result!


I am looking forward to doing the next block, I am really loving this project.  Many thanks to the Just Takes Two ladies for their generosity in preparing and sharing these patterns.

On the Carpal Tunnel problems, I am so thrilled at the improvement in my hands!  Taking a diuretic and wearing the splints at night has given me such a huge amount of relief from the painful and irritating symptoms I am amazed and so grateful!  I truly recommend giving these things a try before rushing into surgery, perhaps you too may get relief as I have. I haven't been doing much hand sewing at all over the past few weeks to really give my hands a chance at improvement along with the treatment and it's worked!

Happy stitching everyone,
Rowena

Sunday, August 31, 2014

French General Mini Quilt and Benjamin Biggs

I haven't been doing too much handwork for the past few weeks as I have Carpal Tunnel pain in both hands and it has been really driving me crazy , waking me up at night and constant pins and needles , numbness and shooting pain at times.....sooooo fed up with it!  I went to the doctor and she put me on anti inflammatory tablets and diuretics as well as wearing a splint at night on the worst hand.  I wouldn't usually blog about my ailments but I know carpal tunnel problems are common amongst hand sewers and knitters.  I have stopped the anti inflammatory tablets because they made me violently ill but have been rubbing anti inflammatory ointment on the base of my palm/wrist, taking the diuretics and wearing the splint and I have noticed a marked improvement!!  I haven't been wearing a splint on my right hand because it wasn't as bad as the left but now I have had such an improvement, the pins and needles/numbness is 50% less than it was, I am going to buy a splint for my right hand as well.  If this can be of any help to someone suffering from this beastly problem it will be a paragraph worth writing.

So now to the bit of sewing I have done!  A couple of months ago I bought a little packet of 2 1/2 inch squares of a French General range, Le Bouquet Francais .  Such a pretty selection of fabrics! I have used some of the pieces for applique on Love Entwined.  The remainder have been sitting on my sewing table begging to be used.  So I had some scraps of shirtings left over from the Benjamin Biggs blocks which I used for sashing.  I made this little sweetie.






I used a strip of Josephine, another French General fabric range, for the border.  I am really pleased with the result.  It really lets the French General fabrics shine in the simple setting.  It makes me want to make a full size quilt using the same setting.

The Benjamin Biggs block I am working on for this month has very fiddly pieces! It will be an experience stitching these by machine, I'll have to go very slowly. I have been working on prepping it in fits and starts but must get it finished, ready for the next block which will be released any day now.




I'm afraid my Love Entwined has been languishing on my sewing table but I have been working on my Whig Rose, gradually getting the blocks finished and enjoying the hand sewing.

Enjoy your weekend.

Happy stitching,
Rowena


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Benjamin Biggs Blocks 5,6,7

I have prepped and machine stitched these blocks. I love the last one, I would love a quilt made entirely of that block.


Block 5


Block 6


Block 7

I think Block 7 used in a quilt on it's own would make a great secondary pattern and leave lovely spaces for quilting....mmm.

I have completed another of my Whig Rose blocks, I am loving this and enjoying the hand applique.


Love Entwined has been neglected but I did get it out and had a look , I will get back to her in the near future.  I also have a centre block pinned up hoping to give me a push to work on it.


Not a great photo but you get the idea, it's a Blackbird Designs block from one of their books. I have some great fabrics to use with this , just need to make time.

Happy stitching,
Rowena





Saturday, June 28, 2014

Benjamin Biggs Block 4 and partial Block 5

I have been sidetracked from quilt making a bit lately.  I have been kept very busy by our German Shepherd puppy!  She has so much energy and needs to be walked and played with at least twice a day!  I have lost several kilos without even trying! I have also been taking her to puppy classes...she graduated last week, lol.

I have managed to finish Block 4 of BB and am on my way to completing Block 5 of BB, all machine applique.  I am really getting the hang of the machine applique and love the quick results....such a 21st century girl!


I took a close up trying to show the machine applique, you may be able to enlarge it, I am not sure.


Block 5 still needs the corner buds and leaves.


I have also been hand stitching my Whig Rose blocks that I have been picking up now and again since I started.


I am making 9 blocks altogether and am onto my 4th. It should be a lovely quilt.

Love Entwined has been languishing on my sewing table.....I will get back to it.  The work being shown on Esther Aliu's Yahoo Group of this quilt is truly stunning.

Happy stitching,
Rowena




Monday, May 19, 2014

Benjamin Biggs Block 3 and a New Family Member (4 Legged)

I have been slowly getting the BB blocks done, machine applique mostly.  Occasionally I have resorted to some hand applique for a tricky spot but overall it's an exercise in learning and improving ( hopefully) machine applique.

Block 3 is a lovely block, it did test my new machine applique skills with all those little cherries!


A little group shot, lol. You can see why I didn't have a career as a photographer...dreadful photo but you do get a bit of an idea of how I am progressing. The fat quarter bundle is Floral Gatherings by Primitive Gatherings.


Now to introduce our new little girl. Her name is Ava and she is now 12 weeks old, a German Shepherd pup.  I have been very busy keeping her out of mischief, house training and playing with her ( so she will be tired and have a sleep so I can get some sewing done!!) 

The first photo was the day we brought her home at 7 1/2 weeks and the next photo she was 10 weeks old and had just put herself to bed. 

Two years ago just before Christmas we had to say goodbye to our beautiful 12 year old German Shepherd, Sasha.  She had a tumour hemorrhage in her abdomen and there was nothing the vets could do but stop her suffering. She was such a wonderful dog there was no doubt I would one day get another German Shepherd.







Happy stitching,

Rowena



Thursday, April 3, 2014

Benjamin Biggs Block 1 and 2, Love Entwined Update


I have decided to do the BB blocks using machine applique with the Bernina 1530 I purchased second hand a few months ago.  I have had a bit of a practice on scraps to make sure I can do it as invisibly as possible.  I am really pleased with the results and will use this method again for sure.

I am using a mixture of shirtings for the background fabric and I am pleased with the results so far.


                                Block 1 , Apple Pie Ridge with the design re-drawn to refine it a little.


Block 2

I am still prepping all the pieces for Block 3 but I love how the machine applique goes so quickly once it's all glued down onto the background.

I am quite a bit behind with my Love Entwined but I am still enjoying the process, working by hand, in no rush to finish.


Third Vase, in progress, on Love Entwined


On a non-quilty note.  Yesterday I went to a cheese making class, which was wonderful!  I learnt how to make Ricotta and fresh Mozzarella known as Bocconcini.  The cheeses we made were so delicious.  I came home with a kit to make Ricotta, Bocconcini, Feta, Haloumi and Mascapone.  I can't wait to try making Haloumi and Feta.  The tutor had some Feta she had made with the kit I have bought and it was one of the most delicious Feta cheeses I have ever eaten.  The process was not difficult, you just have to be careful with the temperatures and be gentle with the curd.  I actually pulled/stretched the fresh mozzarella to turn it from heated curd to glossy , smooth and shaped Bocconcini!  I would highly recommend going to a cheese making class if you are interested in that type of thing,  I was so enthralled I forgot to take any photos!

Happy stitching,
Rowena





























Monday, January 27, 2014

Part 5 Vase LEntwined and a New (second hand) Bernina!

I've been a really bad blogger, I've been doing quite a bit of applique and blog hopping , just no blog posting :((

I have finished the vase and flowers for Part 5 of Love Entwined apart from a few hearts on either side of the actual vase.


I still have one side of the dastardly zig zag to do, I'm talking myself in to doing it over the next day or so :))

I have started Part 6, another vase of flowers so hopefully I'll be posting an update on that soon.

I have finally bought a Bernina sewing machine, it's a 1530 made in 1997.  I have been looking for a reasonably priced Bernina 1230, 1260 or 1530 for a really, really long time but they always go for more than I want to pay, by jingo they hold their value!!  I found this one online and couldn't believe what a great price it was and felt sure someone would have snapped it up already but I decided to make an offer anyway and to my utter amazement my offer was accepted.  I am delighted, it had just been serviced by a Bernina technician and given a clean bill of health, I'm in love.  I have a beautiful old Pfaff with an inbuilt walking foot that is nearly 21 years old and has never skipped a beat but I cannot make the stitches small enough to do some of the things I am interested in.  I have wanted to make an applique quilt using the invisible machine applique technique the Blackbird Design ladies use.  I have bought an open toe applique foot for my new workhorse and can't wait for it to arrive in the mail!  Here is my new Bernina 1530.


Just Takes 2 are running another free BOM of an antique applique quilt, the Benjamin Biggs quilt.  If you click on the button on my side bar, up the top, for Just Takes 2, it will take you there for Block 1 and you can find the details.  I am still debating whether to start this as I have 2 other applique quilts on the go but I really regretted not doing Beyond the Cherry Tree they offered as a free BOM so I may still take it on.....I must be mad!!



Happy stitching for 2014,
Rowena