Tuesday, 14 June 2016

FAL Finish: EPP Pin Cushion

Finish A Long 2016

My current FAL list is, well, laughable, but I'm plodding away and have a finished project to show you!

At the start of the quarter I set out to make an EPP pin cushion using some of my Japanese import fabrics and I'd chosen these fabrics:
EPP pin cushion

After my Oakshott table runner was (finally!) pieced, I needed some hand sewing to replace it and this was the perfect choice!

I did a bit of planning and then cut out my papers (from 5mm squared paper so I didn't have to faff with rulers!) and got tacking.  I also use a line of Pritt Stick along the centre of the paper to hold the fabric in place while I centre it.

I only do EPP when absolutely necessary (and it is for these fabrics!) and I only make these pincushions  for a chosen few.  I can't share more than that at the moment, but I can say it's not going to live with me...  Intrigued?  Good! ;o)

I then got to work stitching.  The black dotty fabric isn't shiny, it's just the paper inside catching the flash!
There's not much sewing going on in Archie towers, but I'm making progress on the #EPP pin cushion.

And after a couple of nights, I was ready to add the bottom.  That piece was supposed to be the top, but as it's reversible and there's no real bottom to a pin cushion, it was fine!
The final side is going on! I won't get it finished tonight (it's time for bed), but perhaps tomorrow or Friday?   I wonder what's going to happen to it once it's finished?!
I took my usual two attempts to stuff it.  I always get about two-thirds through the first attempt and discover that I'm not happy with it and so pull it all out and start again.  Just me?

After my usual two attempts at adding stuffing, the pin cushion is ready for finishing #wherewillitgo #nobodyknows #notyetanyway #maybesoon?
I closed the gap with ladder stitch and then took it outside to have its photo taken.  The mimulus flower volunteered to pretty up the background!

Archie quite likes playing peepo round one of the new chairs:
Notice me...
Notice me...
Have you forgotten to feed me? I'm worried you have.  Please feed me before I slip through a crack in the pavement. I already disappear when I turn sideways.  Look at me, I've seen more fat on a butcher's pencil. FEED ME NOW!
Have you forgotten to feed me? I'm worried you have.  Please feed me before I slip through a crack in the pavement. I already disappear when I turn sideways.  Look at me, I've seen more fat on a butcher's pencil. FEED ME NOW!
I want something and I'm going to make you guess what it is. To help, I'll whinge until you get it right.
I want something and I'm going to make you guess what it is. To help, I'll whinge until you get it right.

I think he's found a new hobby!!!

Thanks for popping in!  I'll be linking up this finish when the link opens at the end of the month - not long now!

P.S.  There are a couple (I think) of new Summersville stories going up in a moment, click on the page at the top to find them!

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Pretty Little Thing Table Runner: Finally Finished!!

The last time you saw this project (in my tutorial for the blog hop), it looked like this:
Pretty Little Thing table runner

and I hadn't managed to get it completely finished in time for my turn on the blog hop.  Over the last few weeks I've managed to claw back enough energy to tackle the quilting and I have some more photos to share:
All the pins... #justwhenyouthoughtIhadstoppedpostingaboutthisproject #oakshottliparis #handpiecing
I use a  teaspoon to help close the safety pins - it helps avoid drawing/safety pin thumb!
Look, @ochil_lynz, I've done some sewing! One set of lines done, two sets to go #oakshottliparis #handpiecing #machinequilting
I quilted in the same mid grey (Aurifil 50wt 5004) that I used for most of the piecing.
I've started quilting the final set of lines on my #oakshottliparis project (the horizontal lines). I'm using Aurfil 50wt in mid grey (5004) and Frankie (Valli and The Four Seasons) is keeping me company. #currentlysingingalongtoDecember1963 #loveFrankie
I eyeballed most of the lines, and used masking tape for sections which were difficult to eyeball. 
I used a pin to mark the position of the tips of the segments so they weren't chopped off when I added the binding.
It's finished! My project for the #oakshottliparis blog hop is finally finished, just over a fortnight after my blog post/tutorial ;o)  I'll do a quick blog post about it this week and link it to my original post, where there are links to the template she
I'm really rather pleased with how it's turned out!
The back of my #oakshottliparis project. I've started sewing the binding to the back so it should be finished this weekend #handpiecing #machinequilting
The back
And a closer look #oakshottliparis #handpiecing #machinequilting #needacupofteanow #anyonegotasconegoingspare #orcake #notfussy
A closer look at the quilting.

And if that wasn't an exciting enough thing (did I mention that this is a finish from my 2016 Q2 FAL list?!), there's a new member of the tribe:
Meet Eddie, Mam's new friend! #newdoginthehouse #notmyhouse Archie has yet to meet him...

This is Eddie and he's come to live with Mam.  He was a little hairy when she got him, but he had a haircut (and gained a dickie bow!) and now (until his hair grows again!) he looks like this:
Eddie's had a haircut! #cute #lovethebow #mightneedtomakeoneforArchiewhenImakehiscollar
He's a golden cocker spaniel and is almost four years old and has come via a friend of a friend who could no longer look after him.  He and Archie get on fine (i.e. they mostly ignore each other!) and Eddie has spent a couple of afternoons here, dozing at my feet.  Here they are together on Monday, when Eddie had just arrived back from his walk and so he's still wearing his halti (which stops him towing us down the street):
Two dogs, two chairs. #whendowegettotrythem Guess how many of them will get the nod?

Thanks for popping in, I'm hoping to be back soon with some more updates, but I'm pretty tired at the moment so I'm not promising anything.  I hope you're working hard on your FAL lists (mine is here, if you want a laugh), though, because the finishes link up opens in a smidge over three weeks.  Yes, three weeks!  Best get cracking then, eh?!

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Oakshott Lipari Blog Hop: Pretty Little Thing Table Runner

Today is my turn on the Oakshott Lipari blog hop, which is being hosted by Lynne and runs for the month of May and showcases Oakshott's Lipari collection.  I've made no secret of the fact that I'm a huge fan of Oakshott's fabrics - they're beautiful to look at, as well as being lovely to sew and I'm honoured to be part of this blog hop.  Thank you, Lynne and Michael, for inviting me to take part and trusting me with the fabric!

Oakshott's Lipari collection contains eighteen colours, and each of the colours has a black warp and a different coloured weft which results in luxurious colours that shimmer and shine.  The fabrics subtly change shade depending on the light and this gives projects a really special look that you just don't get with other fabrics. Also, the fabrics are 54" wide so you get a lot more than you'd expect in a fat eighth bundle, which is always good!   You can find out more about the inspiration for this collection here.

At this point, I would usually unveil my finished project, but I have a confession to make: I haven't completely finished my project!  Don't fret, I've finished all the piecing and have all the photos I need for this tutorial, it's just that a month (literally a month - the fabrics arrived on 11th April and I'm writing this on 11th May) isn't long enough to hand piece, quilt and bind a project larger than a mini quilt!  So, with that in mind, here's what I've made:
Pieced and pressed!
Oakshott Liparis table runner
Can you see why I haven't managed to quilt and bind it?!!  I can't quite believe I've managed to finish it (you wouldn't believe how much hand piecing I've done over the last three days to get it pieced on time!) and I'll admit that I'm rather pleased with how it's turned out!  It measures around 37" x 17.5" and is (yet another) table runner for my new coffee table, but could easily be made longer for a dining table.

I found the block in 5500 Quilt Block Designs by Maggie Malone (ISBN 4972507749), where it's called 'A Pretty Patchwork'.  There isn't a reference for when it was first called by this name or who first designed it, so I'm assuming it's one of those 'been around for as long as anyone can remember' blocks like the churn dash or nine patch.  I don't tend to name my projects (other than calling them what they are: the hexy quilt, the blue and white quilt, that one I made for Nanna, etc.), but at the moment I'm calling this 'Pretty Little Thing' (aka 'What On Earth Was I Thinking?' or 'I Must Not Have Been In My Right Mind') which makes me think of the Queen song.

I'm not going to do a step-by-step tutorial for this project as most of it is fairly straightforward piecing (albeit a little time consuming!) but I will share some progress photos which show my stitching sequences and some tips to make things a little easier, as well as some general hand piecing tips.  Let's get on with it, shall we?

You will need:

Fat eighth bundle of Oakshott Lipari
0.5m Pollara (for the background in the stars blocks)*
1m Salina (for the segments, backing and binding)*
Wadding (approximately 40" x 20")
Thread (I used Aurifil 50wt 2692 (black) and 5004 (mid grey))
Paper (to make templates, I use freezer paper)
Template pattern (find that here)

* Please be aware that you may need a bit more than this, depending on how you arrange your template pieces on the fabric, but these two colours are in the fat eighth bundle so you have a little extra to play with if needed!

Prepare the following pieces:

21 B pieces in each of the following colours: Lipari (dark pink), Marina (teal), and Gallina (purple).

15 B pieces in Scari (mid blue).

12 B pieces in Volcano bleu (dark blue).

18 B pieces in Canneto (mid pink).

104 C pieces in Pollara (grey - background for the stars) and 8 'half C' pieces (edge pieces for the half stars) - cut template C along the red dotted line to make a half C piece.  You will need both halves of the C template for each half star as it needs two mirror pieces to make it correctly.

65 A pieces in Salina  (green) and two 'half A' pieces.

12 E pieces in Pollara.

Tips for preparing templates and fabric pieces:
  • I print my templates onto freezer paper and then iron them to the reverse of the fabric (although there's no reverse side for Oakshott because it's woven), draw round them with a fine pencil and then cut out approximately 0.25" from the drawn line.  The freezer paper stops the fabric from shifting when drawing round the templates.
  • Use a fine mechanical pencil to draw the sewing lines, and use a ruler to help draw any straight lines.
  • Make sure you haven't got 'fit to page' selected before printing.
  • It doesn't really matter if your 1" test square isn't exactly 1" square, as long as you've printed all your sheets with the same printer using the same settings, and all your pieces are the same on each sheet of templates.
  • Use a strip of paper/card 0.5" wide to help space the templates.
  • Remember to include the match marks when drawing round the templates as these will help enormously when sewing the curved seams. 
  • Extend the sewing lines beyond the points of the templates as this helps you see the start/stop point more easily.
  • The E template has very fine points at either end so take extra care when preparing these pieces.
  • There is no D template!  (So don't panic when you can't find it on the sheet!)
  • When cutting out my pieces, I like to have something on my lap to catch the off-cuts (in this case the lid of my sewing tin, but it's often a cereal bowl) which keeps things a little tidier.
  • Clip the curved seams before you start.  I clipped about halfway through the seam allowance (about 1/8") and clipped above the match marks and twice between each match mark.

Spacing the templates
Sewing lines
Extending the sewing lines beyond the points of the template
Extending sewing lines
It's a little hard to see (grey pencil on green fabric is quite hard to photograph!) but if you look closely, you will just be able to see the match marks as well as the drawn line going beyond the ends of the template.

Catching trimmings
Catching the off-cuts

Make the following sixteen whole stars and four half stars:
  • Three whole stars and one half star in each of Lipari (dark pink), Marina (teal), and Gallina (purple).
  • Two whole stars and one half star in Scari (mid blue).
  • Two whole stars in Volcano bleu (dark blue).
  • Three whole stars in Canneto (mid pink).

Tips for piecing the star blocks:
  • I used black thread to join the star pieces together (the colours) and then mid-grey thread to join in the background (grey) pieces.
  • Use as much continuous stitching as possible to avoid starting and stopping unless necessary.
  • Start and finish each seam with a back stitch (I also use a knot when starting a new length of thread, but many hand sewers don't.)
  • I stitched the first pair of star points together from the outside in, and then stitched the next piece onto that pair from the centre out (i.e. without breaking the thread).  I continued round the star until I'd joined all six pieces together.
  • Circle the intersection when piecing in the final piece.  This helps close up any small hole in the centre and draws the points together.
  • When piecing in the background pieces, sew from the background piece side as it's a little easier to see the sewing lines.
  • Finger press as you go.  (It's easier if you make sure all your seams go in the same direction.)
Stitching sequence stars

Arrange the stars and half stars as shown in the photo at the start of this post (or however you want them!) and start joining them together, adding in the segment pieces as you go.  I started by joining two stars together (with a segment in between), then added two more segments and then joined a third star onto that piece:
Stitching sequence 1
Stitching sequence 2
Stitching sequence 3

Tips for joining star blocks and segments:
  • Use mid-grey thread so it doesn't show through.  If you don't have an exact match then it's better to go for thread a shade darker rather than a shade lighter because slightly-too-light thread will show up far more than slightly-too-dark thread.
  • Stitch from the star side of the seam - it's easier!
  • Pin, pin and pin some more!  I put a pin through each match mark as well as the beginning and end of each seam and often put a pin between as well.
  • You may find it easier to just pin one section (i.e. the space between match marks) at a time and then stitch that before moving to the next section.
  • Use whichever stitching sequence you find easiest, which won't necessarily be the same as mine.
  • Don't despair!  It can be easy to get a bit lost with where you are, which is why I worked along the first two rows, joining first one star to the top row and then one star to the middle row.
  • When joining on the bottom row stars, I attached three segments before attaching a star.
Yesterday's progress #oakshottliparis #handpiecing  Need to get my nose back to the grindstone, but I need to go to the supermarket first! (There's still lots of sewing to do, I think I'll be at the piecing halfway point when I get that star sewn in.)
You can just make out the three segments I've attached before joining on the next star
Getting there

Once you've joined all the stars and half stars (as well as the two half segments needed at either end of the middle row), you need to join in the E pieces to make the top and bottom edges straight.

Tips for joining in the edge pieces:
  • Template E has very sharp points and it can be tricky to prepare the pieces accurately.  You may find that you need to slightly alter your sewing line (or where the beginning/end of the sewing line is) when joining to the segments.  Pin the match marks and the obvious seam start/end first and then use the intersection on the segment pieces as your guide for the start/end point of the curved seam.
  • Stitch from the grey side.  Even though the end point can be harder to spot on this side, the rest of the stitching is easier from this side.
  • I joined two segments to each edge piece (to make a piece resembling Mr Potato Head's moustache) before then joining this piece to the rest of the table runner.  It was much easier and quicker this way.
  • I found that, contrary to experience and received wisdom, I got a better result when joining the 'moustache' to the runner if I started each seam with a new piece of thread rather than doing continuous stitching all the way along each side.
  • Remember to circle the intersection where three segments meet to get a neat finish.
Does anyone else think these look like moustaches or have I spent too much time sewing?! #oakshottliparis #handpiecing
Edge pieces and segments joined before attaching to the edge of the table runner
One down...  #oakshottliparis #handpiecing
One edge piece attached

Once all the pieces are joined together, take a few moments to lay it out and admire your stitching.  This step is important because the next step (pressing the seams) can be a little soul destroying and you need an image of the finished item in your head to spur you on!

This is how my project looked once the piecing was finished, but before I pressed the seams:
Pieced, not pressed
Pieced, not pressed (back)

Tips for pressing the seams:
  • It's a s*d of a job, just keep going!
  • Do your best!
  • A little bit of steam helps, but only a little bit or you'll end up distorting those bias seams!  I had my iron on the second lowest steam setting (there are six), and at the start of the cotton (three dots) heat setting.
  • Where possible, it's easier if you can press the star seams in place first before tackling the segment seams.
  • I pressed all the segment seams towards the centre of the segment.
  • As far as possible, swirl the seam intersections to reduce bulk.
  • The clipped seams help you to squash the seams under each other.
  • Once you've pressed all the seams as best you can, turn it over (right side up) and inspect all the seams to see which need a bit more attention.  Turn it back over and tackle each one, it's usually that part of the seam close to where three segments meet is turned back on itself.
  • Once all the seams are as good as you can get them, turn it right side up again and give it a good press (with a little bit more steam) to give a crisp finish.  A little (and I mean a little!) judicious 'squashing' with the iron can work wonders with any stubborn segment intersections! 

Turning the back of a project from the higgledy-piggledy mess of seams on the left to the flat and organised seams on the right is tedious and time consuming, but also very satisfying.  It's also very hard on my hands, wrists, elbows and shoulders,  parti
Pressing the seams - those on the right have been pressed into submission, those on the left are yet to be tackled.
Spotting which seams need a bit more attention with the iron
It's easy to spot any seams which need more attention, you can see where they've not acquiesced and followed the 'go towards the centre' instruction!  They soon realised the error of their ways...
Pieced and pressed (back)
Pressed seams from the back

Pieced and pressed!
Much better!
And once more for luck:

Pieced and pressed!

At the moment, I think I'm going to quilt in the ditch either side of the segments and possibly round each star.  However, there's a chance that I'll do straight line quilting (in the same mid-grey I used for the piecing) when it comes to it.  It very much depends on whether I think I can get a good result with the ditch quilting with those squashed seams at the ends of the segments.  Or there's always crosshatch quilting, perhaps at the same angle as the centre line of the segments?  Hmmm...decisions, decisions!  (Feel free to wade in with an opinion!)

If you make this project, I'd love to see it!  You could email me a photo (archiethewonderdogblog at gmail dot com), contact me on Twitter (@Archiewonderdog) or on Instagram (also @Archiewonderdog) and use #prettylittlethingblock so I find it!  Good luck!!

Edited to add: It's now finished!  http://archiethewonderdog.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/pretty-little-thing-table-runner.html

Here's the schedule for the blog hop, please follow along and see what everyone has made with these beautiful fabrics:

5 May     Allison Dutton        allison-sews.blogspot.com
10 May   Nicholas Ball          quiltsfromtheattic.wordpress.com 
12 May   Me!!!                      archiethewonderdog.blogspot.com
17 May   Lynn Harris             thelittleredhen.typepad.com
24 May   Jessica Skultety     www.quiltyhabit.com 
26 May   Karin Jordan          www.leighlaurelstudios.com
31 May   Elisabeth Vaughan  sharksdinner.com
2 June   Kitty Wilkin            nightquilter.com

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some plants to plant and some housework to do.  I think I'll have a little lie down first, though!

Thanks for popping in!

P.S.  You didn't think I'd blog without a photo of Archie, did you?!
Archie would like to assure @verykerryberry that he's his usual size and hasn't shrunk in all the rain we've had over the last few days. He insisted on having one of the #oakshottliparis stars in the photo with him as he's become quite fond of them!
I quite like this star, is it for me?

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Summersville Sunday: Blocks 47 - 49 (The Final Three!)

Welcome to my final Summersville catch-up post!  It's been a while since I posted one of these so if you need a refresher about the blocks then you can find the other posts in the series here: blocks 1 - 4blocks 5 - 8blocks 9 - 12blocks 13 - 16blocks 17 - 20blocks 21- 24blocks 25 - 28blocks 29 - 32blocks 33 - 36; blocks 37 - 41; blocks 42 - 46.  I've also started a page for the Summersville block stories and intend to go back and add in the stories for the earlier blocks (when I didn't bother sharing the stories behind the blocks, partly because the posts were supposed to be short and simple.  I should have known I couldn't keep that up for long!) and I'll try to remember to let you know when new stories have been added.

You probably won't remember, but back in the first of these posts I mentioned that the final three of these blocks hadn't been without their problems:

I cut 48 squares of Summersville, 24 each of 'Town' and 'Avenue'.  At least, I thought I'd cut 48 (I needed 49 but decided not to cut the final square until the end in case I'd missed a building I wanted to include), but it turns out that I only cut 46; at the end of this series of posts I'll tell you how I solved the 'I thought I had enough fabric left for more square but I don't and it sold out years ago' dilemma.  Oh, and the 'I did have enough fabric for more squares but it's plainly from a different bolt of fabric as the background colour is a different shade of cream' dilemma.  It wouldn't do to show all my hand right at the start, now would it?!

Once I'd embroidered all the squares I had cut and interfaced, I confidently went back to the box marked 'Summersville' and got out the remains of the Town (big houses) fabric.  I must admit that I was a little surprised to find half a metre left with a little bit cut out, and lots and lots of 7" wide pieces which were left from when I'd cut out the initial 46 squares.  I knew that the half metre was the first piece I'd bought because I made a pin cushion with a bit of it and that's what sparked the idea for this quilt.
Summersville pincushion

I cut three 7" squares from the fabric (and three 7" squares of woven interfacing) and then put them over the banister for a couple of days until I was ready to fuse them.  Every time I went past I kept thinking that there was a pink tinge to the background, but as that was generally at night I blamed the energy-saving bulb in the ceiling light and thought no more of it.  It wasn't until I'd started embroidering the first of these 'new' squares that I thought more about the background colour and put it next to one of the existing blocks.  That's when I got a surprise:

The new square is on the right and even in this photo you can see how different the background colours are.  It came as quite a shock, let me tell you!  There was no way I could use the three new squares without them standing out like sore thumbs, even though there's going to be background fabric and other blocks between the embroidered squares.  In person, the difference in the background colours is much more marked than the photo suggests and is obvious even when they're across the table from each other!  (I know, I tried it!)

I realised that the solution lay in the 7" wide pieces that I were left from the original piece of Town and sorted through them to see if I could find pieces which would work together (and which had buildings/vehicles on which I wanted to include) and found three pieces of each.  When I (eventually) piece the quilt top, these will be pieced with a strip of background between the buildings piece and the road piece so they're the same size (6" finished) as the other embroidered blocks.

The council decided to brighten up a shabby corner of their town and so painted the two tower blocks in block 47 in bright shades of yellow, orange, purple, green and blue.  Now they're once again fit for habitation, the flats have been rented out to key and low-paid workers (emergency services, medical staff, teachers, porters, cleaners, etc.) who otherwise couldn't afford to live so close to the centre of town.  As well as being renovated outside, the buildings have been fitted with the latest solar technology (you can see it on the left-hand building's roof) and the stairs for both buildings (the orange windows on the left-hand building and the purple windows on the right-hand building) have been fitted with sprung floor stairs to harness heel strike energy, which help keep running costs low.  The same technology has been built into all the floors in the building (including the floor in the dance/aerobics studio) and the exercise machines in the gym feed generated electricity back into the building's power supply.  The units on the ground floor are rented (at a minimal cost) to start-up businesses and part of their rental agreement states that the business must directly benefit the surrounding community to help further regenerate the area without pushing up house prices.  So far, there's an artist's studio (which runs after school clubs - their graffiti club is particularly popular), a cafe (they run cooking classes for the community as well as providing a free daily meal to customers of the local food bank) and a physiotherapist (she runs community fitness classes in the left-hand building's gym in addition to her physio clinic and the local grannies love her chair-based body popping classes).  The council have now bought the two buildings next door and plan to renovate them to the same standard.  Good luck to them, I say!  (The caretaker of the buildings has a work's van, painted in the same colours as the buildings she looks after.  Snazzy, don't you think?!)
Block 47
Block 47 - back

The owner of the toy shop in block 48 asked the local primary school bairns what their favourite colours were and used the results as his paint choice for both his shop and his mother-in-law's house.  To say that his mother-in-law isn't particularly keen on having the outside of her house look like an episode of the Teletubbies is a bit of an understatement, but he assures her that it'll 'weather down' and look 'just the ticket' by next winter.  As if having a house which resembles the Teletubbies (she won't have it that one of them is purple, not blue) isn't enough to contend with, her husband has bought himself an 'I'm going through a second mid-life crisis' sports car to match it!  It's no wonder she's taken to having a strong gin in the early afternoon...
Block 48
Block 48 - back
You can tell I finished this block on a typically dull November day, can't you?!!
Block 49 contains a building close to all our hearts: the fabric shop!  It's co-owned by a pair of friends who have been sewing together for decades and is painted in their favourite colours.  When a pair of houses on the High Street went on the market for a knock-down price (if you'd seen the insides of them then you'd know why the price was so low!), they decided to club together and buy both of them.  The building on the left-hand side is the shop, with four studios above (rented out to local textile artists, one of whom is a longarm quilter) and the right-hand building is their retreat house.  They run day workshops, weekend and week-long retreats, as well as people being able to compile 'a la carte' retreats: they stay for as long as they wish and join in the workshops being run at the time or work on their own projects as they wish.  The enterprising duo have rented out both back gardens (they're right in the centre of town but they have a surprisingly substantial plot.  The age and size of the buildings suggests that they would have been merchants' houses and, as such, were prominent landmarks when they were built and so required room for stabling and such like.) to a local gardener/plantswoman and she has converted one side from a tired, overgrown space full of old bricks and rusted bikes into a wildlife haven which is full of flowers as well as a surprising number of fruit trees (dating back to the original garden on the site).  She uses the other side as her nursery and vegetable garden and she sells plants from it as well as holding regular classes, including 'Grow Your Own: From Patch To Plate' and 'Cut And Sniff: Flower Growing And Arranging For The Petrified'.  In fact, her classes have had such an impact that the local GP surgery has started sending patients (and staff!) there for 'classes on prescription' and there are plans to start their own flower garden in the grounds of the practice.  
Block 49 (final block!)
Block 49 (final block!) - back

And that's all 49 blocks done!  I've taken a photo of all the blocks together (this isn't how they're going to be laid out in the final quilt top), but it doesn't make for the most interesting photo because, as planned, most of the embroidery doesn't hit you between the eyes from a distance.  You can pick out some bits, though:
49 Summersville blocks

I've been doing a spot of gardening (or pretending to garden, but really just enjoying being outside) and Archie has been keeping a close eye on me, mainly to see whether, while I've got my coat and shoes on, we're going for a walk once I'm finished.
Hang on...
Hang on...I think I hear a biscuit calling my name!
Thanks for popping in!

P.S.  Have you seen Lucy's wonderful Stitchy Pie pattern for a clever needle book?  I've seen lots of versions since the pattern was released and, trust me, you're going to want to make one of your own.  At least one!  You can find it for sale on Lucy's blog or in her Etsy shop.   Go on, you know you want to!

P.P.S.  My friend Lynne has a new (and superb) book out and there's a blog tour going on at the moment showcasing patterns from the book.  I'm lucky enough to have a copy of the book and I can honestly say that it's well worth the money: there are lots of wonderful patterns (so many that I can't narrow it down to one favourite!) and merely flicking through it has me itching to pull some fabric and get started on one two half a dozen of the projects.  You can find it for sale in all the usual places so why not hunt down a copy?  In fact, hunt down two: one for you and one for a friend!

P.P.P.S.  If anyone has a clever idea to stop bird seed germinating on the ground (the 'no grow' stuff is much more expensive and the birds are already eating me out of house and home without giving them that!), then please shout!  You can read more about it on this Flickr photo.
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