Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Needlecraft Book - Giveaway

The comments are now closed and I'll announce a winner shortly :o)

Last week a very large and heavy package arrived in the post.  It was a copy of the latest DK Publishing book The Needlecraft Book
At 400 pages, it contains a wealth of information covering a wide range of needlework techniques and is sure to be a book that one would return to time and time again for expert advice on knitting, crochet, embroidery, needlepoint and patchwork.  There are over 450 illustrated step-by-step guides to help you along the way.  A quality book, with colour photography throughout, I was very impressed with the clarity of the pictures and of the instructions.

My expertise tends to be in patchwork and that area covered by the book included clear pictures and instructions for both hand and machine work.  There were instructions that covered piecing, appliqué and the final quilting.  It also included a number of patchwork ideas that would achievable to even to the most novice of quilters.

The only danger of having a book this good on the shelf, is that I'm likely to take up a new hobby!  If I didn't have a clue about crochet and knitting before I now have all the help I could need in one book.  I must admit the pattern for crochet granny squares looks interesting and it also included variations like stitching a hexagon granny square...well you know what I mean! LOL
Of course, my DD1 who is the newest knitter in the family has already deemed the book should live on her shelf! 
Here is a sampling of pictures...but if you want to see more then visit the DK Publishing website.

The knitting section covers everything from demystifying knitting needles, to how to read a pattern and understand all the terminology.  It tells you what to do if you drop a stitch and how to rescue your project.

The areas of needlepoint and embroidery were the parts that intrigued me most.  With stitchery the new "embroidery" one is always looking for a good reference book to remind you how to stitch more interesting patterns past the back-stitch and the French knot.  This book has it all and more. 

It is definitely an excellent reference book, particularty if you are into all things related to needlework.

Now for the fun part...

Calling all United Kingdom residents:

DK Publishing are giving me the chance to give one of my UK readers their very own copy!
To win a copy of The Needlecraft Book, leave a comment on THIS post. 
To increase your odds and get another entry, post about this giveaway on your blog and come back and leave a comment telling me you've done so.

Anyone from the United Kingdom can enter as long as I have a way of contacting you.
So leave your email address in your comment if you don't have a blogger account.

(I'm afraid due to its size the giveaway is for the UK only)

A winner will be chosen at random on Friday, October 1st, 2010 in the afternoon at 4 p.m. (BST)

Good Luck!

Until next time...

Monday, September 27, 2010

GO! GO! Accuquilt WINNER!!!

I'm so excited to announce the winner of the Go! Accuquilt Cutter!

That points to Autumn from Autumn Asks Why!  Yeah!!!

I'm so pleased for Autumn because look what she posted at the beginning of the month...she has been lusting and coveting an Accuquilt!  Well Autumn, you needn't lust anymore.  Look out for an email from me with details on how to claim your prize.  Congratulations!!!

This has been so much fun.  Many thanks for all those that played.  I enjoyed visiting all your blogs and "meeting" new friends. 

Now...for all my United Kingdom readers...I have something very special in store tomorrow...so make sure you check back and see what that might be...

Until next time...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Get Ready, Get Set.....GO! - Giveaway

I've now closed the comments...a winner will be announced shortly!! :o)

Last time we met, I left you all with a sneak peek of my plans for the Accuquilt and some scraps that I was sewing together.  For those unfamiliar with crumb sewing it is based loosely on the formation of a log-cabin block, but a lot less precise in its construction.  Basically you sew two pieces of fabric together, turn it 90° and trim up the edge ready to sew on another strip. 

Round and round you go until you have a block the size you want.  Click here to see a great tutorial.
As I was going to trim mine down to 5" using the Accuquilt I made mine roughly 5 1/2"

The Accuquilt made quick work trimming these blocks down.

Again using the same template I cut some white squares and some red squares and sewed my crumbs together with the plain blocks.  I could stop here...but after seeing this tutorial I thought I'd take it further...

As the block measures 14" raw I made cuts through the centre at the 7" mark.

One could use a multitude of "disappearing nine patch" combinations, but I'm opting to make my reds corner stones and the white as sashing.


Accuquilt is letting me choose one person to be the next proud owner of an Accuquilt!

To enter for your chance to win your very own Accuquilt and choice of three dies all you have to do is leave a comment on this post. 
Anyone can enter as long as I have a way of contacting you.
So leave your email address in your comment if you don't have a blogger account.
I'm expecting you all to enter...don't be shy!!!
I will choose a winner next Monday, September 27th at 12 noon (BST)

Good Luck!!!!

Until next time...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Accuquilt...need I say more?

Looky looky, what landed on my stoop a week or so ago?  Ever hear of an Accuquilt? :o) Well, unless you have been under a rock for the last six months, you most likely have heard of an Accuquilt and know exactly what it does...but just in case it is a new term for some of you, I hope I can summarize it in a 1000 words or less. 

The Accuquilt is an eco friendly (as it uses no electricity) die cutting machine.  It is designed for cutting fabric..quilting fabric in most cases of up to 6 layers thick.  The dies are precise and unless you neglected to iron your fabric, you do get perfect cuts almost every time.
I chose 3 different dies to try with the Accuquilt and they were the chisel shape, the 5" charm and the tumbler.

The first thing I noticed when when I unpackaged my machine, is its build quality and weight.  It has to be said this is a hefty piece of kit!  I did wonder how this would be better than the standard rotary cutter, so I was keen to put it to the test.  It has to be said that the 2 most noticeable things that were considerably better were my wrist and my back.  In one afternoon I manage to cut a variety of charm squares and barely felt a twinge in the muscle groups that normally scream at me.
The dies are housed on a foam board and as a result can be a little difficult to see...

So following this video I decided to mark the dies with a permanent marker so I could see what I was doing (I never claimed to have great eyes!!)

As I had a number of fabric scraps that needed chopping down, I started with the 5" square die.  What I did notice right off the bat, is that the dies seem to have an optimum number of layers that they like to cut through...for me I found that was around 4 or 5 layers thick.  Too few and you really noticed it marking up the cutting mat and 6 layers was quite hard to roll through the machine.  Layering up the scraps, I was able to make short work of trimming those odd hunks of fabric down.

One piece of advice I read on the Accuquilt website, is that you should treat your dies as you would your fabric scissors and resist cutting through other materials other than fabric.  One exception to this for me was that I ran one piece of white paper through to create a paper template.

I found that with a paper template I was able to cut my fabric down into a suitable shape before putting it through the Accuquilt.  This was particularly the case when I was cutting the tumbler shape out and wanted to maintain the grain lines of the fabric.

The beauty of the dies is that it cuts all the ears off the corners which allows you to match your pieces perfectly.

I'll be posting more about my Accuquilt adventures, but for now I'll leave you a sneak peek of my plans for the 5" square.  (remember those crumb blocks that were popular a couple of years ago?) 
There is more to this idea..so stay tuned... :o)

Until next time...

Monday, September 20, 2010

A visit from Ferret ...

This weekend the famous Ferret came to speak and teach at Rocheberie Schoolhouse Quilters.  Having only seen Ferret from a distance and through quilting media, I didn't know quite what to expect.  As an award winning long arm quilter, I knew the quilts would be spectacular and I was really looking forward to seeing them in person and hearing the stories behind them.  Ferret was a great speaker and very entertaining, but what probably surprised me more, is that the talented lady behind these quilts was so friendly, warm and an all-around great gal.

She was gracious enough to let me take photographs of her and her work. 

The Phoenix

Her raw edged appliqués are sensational and she has a fabulous talent for capturing the shapes and shading.  This isn't painted in any way.  The shading is all done with fabric..and a lot of it is commercial fabric!

I love this dragon!  And I know my DD2 will love it too when I show her the picture. 
Ferret manages to keep the "fun" in her work and I suspect her life too...she doesn't strike me as someone that gets too serious about life.

Here is the Phoenix again, but this time on a leather coat that Ferret has made and quilted.

On Sunday, Ferret treated us to her Speed Quilt class.  Many ladies finished their quilts by the time we packed up in the afternoon.  Being completely reversible and quilted as you go, these ladies will only need to slap on some binding and they will be finished.  Fabulous!

Honestly, if you ever get the chance to hear Ferret, or even get the chance to take a class with her, you won't be disappointed.  She has a wealth of knowledge and excellent advice that even the most seasoned quilter will learn something new.
P.S. She has a blog too...it's http://ferfab.blogspot.com/

Until next time...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Flowers on Friday...

Now that the days are drawing in, so will end the opportunities for flower pictures.  These snaps taken yesterday will be the last for awhile.  I know a few of you might feel relief and have hope that this blog will return to its roots and show some sewing one of these days.  Fear not, as soon as this is posted I'll shall be cutting furiously and sewing up a storm.  I have big ideas to share with you in the coming weeks.  Until then, enjoy the pretty pictures....

Until next time...

Friday, September 10, 2010

We have a winner....

Yeah Paula is my 400 post winner!! 

{insert the sound of a needle scratching across a record on a record player}

"Eh?...say what???" you all ask?  "What giveaway...Did I miss something?"

No, just me being crafty!  As my 400th post occurred in August while I was on holiday, I decided I would take all the comments made on my blog in the month of August and draw a name.  I used the random number generator and Paula was the 71st commenter.

Congratulations Paula...send me your details and your favourite colour and I'll put a selection of goodies together to send out!!

Until next time...

Monday, September 06, 2010

Upper Canada Village

High on the must-see-and-do list while we were in Canada was to visit Upper Canada Village.  If you are ever in the Eastern Ontario region then this is an excellent day out.  I have several memories from my childhood visiting this attraction and falling in love the the best bits of 1867. 

In 1958 the St Lawrence Seaway was created and in the process of flooding the river several villages were lost.  Upper Canada Village is home to some of the buildings that were painstakingly moved to Morrisburg in an effort to save them and give them a new lease on life.  If you want to read more about the Lost Villages then have a look at this link.  I suspect part of my fascination with the area is that my Grandfather's family lived in Iroquois, a village, a little further down the road and in my collection of old pictures I have some photographs taken by my Great-grandfather of some of the buildings that were lost.  So I guess you could say I feel a connection.

As you go in and out of each of the houses, one notices a variety of quilts on the beds.  Later on in September the Eastern Ontario Guild have a show at the village which I believe will be the weekend of September 18th.

In the Ross Farm House there was a whole cloth quilt in progress on a beautiful floor frame....

To the side was a little quilt to which people could have a go at quilting.

There is so much to see from the woollen mill...

The saw mill...

To the flour mill...  There was also a bakery and we were lucky enough to get a loaf of bread at the end of our visit...yummy!!!

Along the way there are a variety of animals to see.  The goose (or is it a duck?) was very friendly and posed beautifully for the camera.  She was very sweet!

There were lots of picture opportunities and it was a perfect day out and a lovely way to spend our last day in Canada

Until next time...