Monday 4 November 2019

New Theme

What an amazing collection of Dream quilts!  It was wonderful to see all the different interpretations of the theme and the different techniques everyone used. 

We now have the following themes left in the bag:
  1. The Sea
  2. Memories
  3. A quilt inspired by a newspaper headline
  4. Emotions feelings
  5. Opposites attract
  6. Colour theory
  7. Wishes
  8. A scene from a book
and the random number generator has chosen... our theme for the reveal at 10.00 GMT on February 1st 2020 is 'Wishes'.

I can't wait to see what everyone makes for this one and, in the meantime, remember you are very welcome to post your progress, thoughts or techniques here,

Friday 1 November 2019

Dream in Colour

When I wake up, I almost never remember my dreams and, even when I do, they are never particularly interesting. I do, however, day dream a lot - mostly about the things I'm going to make if I ever have time. 

So I based this quilt around the subtitle of my blog ('Dream in Colour, Create in Fabric, Thread, Yarn, Words, Whatever you have to hand'). 

It includes some techniques I've dreamt about trying, a section of gilded Orange Peel quilt that I've been dreaming of making for ages and some examples of things I've dreamt of making and then actually made (on the washing line). 

And, of course, it includes a caravan as having people actually buy my Sewing Machine Cover pattern was a dream which came true and it also relates to the Granny Square stories, some of which are still only half dreamt up! 

A million misadventures have meant my photo here is on a rainy day on the kitchen table but I will post more fully (and perhaps with better photos) on Rainbow Hare during the next few days.

I can't wait to see all the entries for theme :)

Dream A Little

I had to dream a little when it came to this challenge. I think I had two other ideas for the quilt before I settled on this one. How to interpret the theme dreams - should it be dreams in my sleep, or dreams I have - like what I hope for? Since my sleeping dreams are fairly fractured and rarely make any sense after I've woken up, I decided to go with the other.

It is interesting to me how things often come together at the right time. As I was pondering this challenge theme, I began reading and working through The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. My reading has made me ponder how I dream. Well, actually, why I don't. I've come to realize that through the years I've been so busy with family stuff and helping my husband - supporting their dreams, if you will, that I've quit dreaming. Don't misunderstand, I have enjoyed helping them and all that goes with that. I was just surprised to realize that when it comes to dreams, I have a difficult time naming any.

I have this sign above my closet in our bedroom that says "Dream a Little". Obviously, placed there, it refers to sleep dreams. I decided I should use those words in a mini quilt for my quilt room, to be placed on my wall of mini quilts, to remind me that it's okay for me to dream a little.

I used something new to me for the lettering, Crayola fabric markers. The gray was just the color I was looking for, and it didn't bleed at all, not even when I set the color. I'm not sure how it will wash up and may not ever know since this is a wall quilt and may not get washed; at least not often.

For the borders, I had some left over improv scraps from another project, so I stitched them together, cut them into blocks, and sewed them back together. The plan was to use them for another small mini. Then I realized I could rip the two rows apart again, cut the two rows of three in half the long way, and have a border for this mini. Perfect!

But what to do with all that gray space around the lettering? I pulled out a Sue Spargo book of creative stitches, thinking I'd come up with some stitching to use on the lettering. I was thinking maybe it needed something. Then I realized it might be fun to do pick stitching, or seed stitching, around the letters. It all came together when I realized I had a Valdani variegated thread that complimented the border fabrics. A little binge watching while stitching and, voila! What fun!

I'm pretty happy with the way the stitches make the wording pop a little better.

I had this leaf backing in my stash, and the colors coordinated. I used a lime green thread for the straight line quilting in the border. The binding is the same blue Grunge fabric that's in the border.

It's a good reminder for me. What a fun challenge this was. I can't wait for the next!


Tornado Dreams on November 1st

The base of the vortex.
This quarter's theme of The Endeavourers quilt guild was Dreams.

I was six when I first saw The Wizard of Oz on television. I had seen nothing like it in my young life, and it filled me with wonder and delight. What appeared on the screen- the plot, the characters, the music, held me entranced. I could not look away. When the tornado appeared, I was terrified of the looming, sinuous black column of doom, yet still I sat, transfixed. The fabulous songs in that movie became part of the soundtrack of my life, sung again and again. The tornado also incorporated itself into my life, but in a very different way.

Blue skies behind and green skies before the funnel.
Shortly after seeing that movie for the first time, I found myself staring into a black and green sky as an actual tornado pelted us with hail but missed us by several miles. Shortly thereafter the dreams started. Tornado dreams. And for the next fifty years of my life they returned once or twice a year to haunt me, usually when my waking life was in some kind of turmoil.

The tighter the isobars, the stronger the winds!
In the beginning, the tornados were far off in the distance but headed my way. As the years rolled on, they came ever closer and the dreams were filled with terror as I tried to get my loved ones down into the basement to safety, but, in the way of dreams, they refused to cooperate. Then, one night, the tornado in my dreams hit the house, and, astonishingly, I lived! That was the last tornado dream I ever had. (Except, not surprisingly, for one I had last week as I worked on this quilt!)

Somewhere over the rainbow bluebirds sit.
This quilt is about 23 inches/58 centimeters square. As usual, I challenged myself to use only the fabrics in my small stash. I further challenged myself to use only the fabrics of a single jelly roll: Flow by Zen Chic for Moda; and I further further challenged myself to use only squares. I would have made other design choices if I could have used different shapes and fabrics, but I like seeing what I can do when limits are imposed. So, here it is, Tornado Dreams on November 1st.

The Endeavourers #8, Dreams, "Moonlit"

When I found out that our theme for this quarter was 'Dreams' I knew I wanted to make a quilt about the moments between twilight and dawn when your senses become really acute but at the same time the natural world takes on a magical and rather dream-like quality. 

One of the best things about being involved in a quilt group like ours is being inspired by all the other members.   In this quilt I borrowed a technique from Fiona who is always very adventurous in trying out something different.  In her last piece for the group she used cyanotype (solar-printing fabric) and the colour and effect of this technique fit perfectly with what I envisaged.

My initial plan was to use a bit of cyanotype along with overprinting and painting but once I got started I fell so in love with the result that I did not want to add any further colour or techniques, so my quilt owes a far bigger debt to Fiona than I first intended!

I laid out a series of images, and once I'd put them together into a composition (which took ages of faffing) I wanted the stitching to add texture and interest without dominating in any way, so the only thing I did was to add some barely-there embroidery (seed stitch and french knots) to the moths and fennel flowers, in off-white Aurifil wool because I love the matt and organic look and feel of it.   I also took advantage of the pattern showing through the 'moon' from underneath and highlighted it with some machine quilting.

I preferred the more blurry and ethereal prints to the ones that had printed very sharply, and I also liked the variations in colour according to how long the prints were exposed for and how sunny it was at the time, and exploited this for the section with the abstract 'moon'.

I've posted a little more about the process, along with more pictures, on my blog

Dreaming in rhyme

Well, it is time for another reveal in this wonderfully inspiring group.

I ended up really struggling with this quarter's theme "Dreams". From the outset I intended to make a Dreamcatcher and spent most of the quarter trying to work out how to achieve the transparent, gossamer thin look that I wanted and still make a quilt.

With one week to go before the deadline I eventually decided that I needed to have a re-think!

Thoughts of dreams led me to thinking of sleeping and the rhymes and rituals associated with getting a child to sleep. When our grandson visits he loves to climb into our bed in the morning and go through a book of nursery rhymes with us. One of the sections of the book is bedtime rhymes and that was my initial inspiration for this challenge.

When I came across a lovely black and white illustration for the old poem of Wynken, Blynken and Nod I knew that I had my project for the challenge!

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe –
Sailed on a river of crystal light
Into a sea of dew.
"Where are you going, and what do you wish?"
The old moon asked the three.
"We have come to fish for the herring-fish
That live in this beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we!"
Said Wynken,
And Nod.

I had some lovely, shimmery voile in my stash so backed it with fusible web to create my herring fish. 

The old moon laughed and sang a song,
As they rocked in the wooden shoe,
And the wind that sped them all night long
Ruffled the waves of dew.
The little stars were the herring-fish
That lived in the beautiful sea.
"Now cast your nets wherever you wish –
Never afeard are we!"
So cried the stars to the fishermen three,
And Nod.

 I used varying shades of grey thread for the quilting, the lightest grey being used to represent the foam on the tops of the ruffling waves. The shoe boat is appliqued black felt and the sail is an appliqued scrap of dyed habotai silk that I bought ages ago for an embroidery project that never happened!
All night long their nets they threw
To the stars in the twinkling foam –
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,
Bringing the fishermen home:
'Twas all so pretty a sail, it seemed
As if it could not be,
And some folk thought 'twas a dream they'd dreamed
Of sailing that beautiful sea –
But I shall name you the fishermen three:
And Nod.

Wynken, Blynken and Nod were my first ever attempt at stumpwork figures and I definitely thought halfway through that maybe starting with such small figures probably wasn't my brightest idea :) When I came to attach the three of them to the quilt I did consider ditching them altogether and finding another way of representing Wynken, Blynken and Nod but I decided just to go with it in the end. They are definitely not the most proficient stumpwork figures you will ever see but for a first attempt I can convince myself they are not too bad!

Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
And Nod is a little head,
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
Is a wee one's trundle-bed.
So shut your eyes while Mother sings
Of wonderful sights that be,
And you shall see the beautiful things
As you rock in the misty sea,
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three: –
And Nod.

The poem was written by Eugene Field, an American poet and journalist and has the alternative title of a Dutch Lullaby which might explain the spelling and the wooden shoe connection.

As ever the Endeavourer's Challenges really stretch my creativity, and open up lots of exciting opportunities to try out new techniques, and this one has been no exception and I must again thank Janine and Catherine for inviting me to join this group.

I look forward to seeing all of the undoubtedly wonderful interpretations of this theme.

If you want to read more about the creation of this mini quilt head on over to  Celtic Thistle Stitches for more information.

Sweet Dreams

This was a really fun theme to work on. My whole inspiration was these wooden star buttons I found a while ago. I wanted to create something of a magical fairy tale scene. So I used textile paint to create some strokes of color. The blush color of that paint is so soft but it shimmers with the light and think it adds to the fairy tale effect.
I really loved working on this project specially because this is the first thing that I have created in months. So satisfying to be back in the sewing room.


Wishes and Dreams

"Wishes and Dreams"

I like it turned 90 degrees as well.

Whenever I pick up one of those huge old needlework books, I start dreaming of going through and trying out every single technique in the book.  So for this theme, I decided to make part of that dream come true, and incorporate a technique that was new to me.

The image I was trying to achieve was that of a colorful net floating over a quilt -- beautiful threads coming together into small blocks of cloth, then stretching away as individual warps and wefts.  I chose satiny pale gold and blue knitting yarns, and multicolor rayon boucle yarns.  From Lace in the Making, first published in 1923, I adapted a pattern to create a piece of large-scale bobbin lace.

Beginning the bobbin lace squares.

As I worked, I realized this lace complemented the silk quilt I did for our Texture challenge, so I used that as the base quilt.  That might seem like it was cheating, but I spent at least 15 hours on the bobbin lace, and many more hours stitching it down, and adding silk strips, beads, and couching as well, so I hope that it is okay, at least this once.
This was my piece for the Texture theme, but I always felt like it needed something more.
The bobbin lace floating over the quilt to provide more interesting texture and color interaction.

I do think the bobbin lace piece would look good on a whole-cloth base as well.

I thoroughly enjoyed being absorbed in this process!

You can read more about my artistic inspirations and the steps in making this piece, on my blog Deep in the Heart of Textiles.

Sweet Dreams Pillow

I was excited about the theme of dreams for this challenge. 
I had ideas right away for a quilt project. 
I wanted to include some of my vintage doilies and lace, 
with a new idea for a quilted item. 

You can read about my process HERE
along with some starts and stops along the way. 

And, what I did make was this Sweet Dreams Pillow, in my favorite color of blue. 


When the Endeavourers November 2019 was announced I didn't have to think about the theme for very long before what I knew how I would approach it. 

Terry's health and my own Carpal Tunnel recovery limited how elaborate I would make this piece.
Money doesn't grow on trees is a saying that we all have heard or said at one time in our lives. As a child it was embedded in my thought process.

The pieces I stitch for the The Endeavourers Challenge and the pieces I did for the Bead Journal Project are always about me.  The leaves on the money tree have been fused to the piece  then stitched around the edges with black thread. You see this technique used a lot and I admit that I have never liked it much.  It goes against my A-type personality to leave the edges raw. Having done it, I admit that I liked DOING it.  I wanted to have a little girl catching 'leaves' in a basket but I just didn't get to that part.  I did quilt in the background. I have always admired those that FMQ.  I have also felt that I would never do it.  My mind has changed on that and I definitely will give it a try.

Endeavourers has encouraged me to try some new technique that I have never done before.  If you want to know more about why my DREAM is a money tree, please visit my blog post about the DREAM challenge.

Thursday 31 October 2019

She Dreams

 This little girl is having some happy dreams.  Even in her sleep she is smiling.

Friday 2 August 2019

New Theme Announcement

What a fantastic reveal that was!  I think we should all feel very pleased with ourselves :-)  As always it's wonderful seeing the variety of interpretations of the theme and the different techniques that members have experimented with.

We now have the following themes left in the bag:
  1. The Sea
  2. Memories
  3. A quilt inspired by a newspaper headline
  4. Emotions feelings
  5. Opposites attract
  6. Colour theory
  7. Dreams
  8. Wishes
  9. A scene from a book
and the random number generator has chosen.

So our theme for reveal on 1 November is Dreams.  How exciting!


A Shady Path, second try

A Shady Path, second try. As usual, I am down to the finish line with this challenge. I begin by collecting images on Pinterest of what I had in mind. I spent many years in the San Francisco area and loved nothing better than walking through the redwood forests. So after discarding the idea of a flower garden, I decided to try a walk through the redwoods. There were many excellent photographs and I loved the ones with the sunshine backlighting the trees. I narrowed known my choices to two or three and finally settled on just one picture. That was as far as I got a week or so ago. I gathered a lot of batiks and decided to work with them.

Three days ago I came upon a beautiful printed forest in my stash. It was not redwood trees, but was really alive with color. I don't know where it came from, but I know it is a Northcott fabric.

For batting I found instead a double sided fusible foam stabilizer. It is In-R-Form Plus by Bosal. One quarter of it was 8-1/2 x 11 inches, so I was ready to go. This type of fusing was new to me so that was a challenge. I was able to fold over the front fabric to the back and fuse it therec as well, not needing any binding. For additional texture I used glue basting to attach the path and its borders.

About six weeks ago I bought a new Pfaff machine and am thrilled with it. However learning all the bells and whistles means I am constantly referring back to the manual. After an aborted attempt at trying some free motion quilting, I gave that up. I chose a varigated olive green thread which blends in very well.

On the backside I fused a piece of peach colored batik and my bobbin thread is my usual beige. The quilting shows up better there.

I managed to get to get my finished project photographed before sunset.

The other challenge I set for myself was to get good areas of contrast with these subdued prints. One was the addition of a scrap of batik with black branches. The other one is the light colored edging along the path and the bit of orange highlight on the path itself.

Once again this Endeavourers challenge has really broadened my quilting experience.

An Apology and Explanation

After looking at everyone's challenge piece I went back to look again and found that not one of my comments appeared on the blog.  This really upset me because I value and support being a member of this group.  I follow most of your blogs and am pretty sure that I commented on them too if you posted your challenge piece on them.  That's the apology.

This is the explanation.  I use Chrome and have an extension added called Privacy Badger.  It is an extension that prevents advertisements from appearing on my side bar when I am browsing.  Periodically I come across I site that I can't navigate then remember about the extension which allows me to click a setting to deny it to the site and all is well.  Recently I found that there are certain blogs that I cannot publish a comment, but there is no warning that I was denied.  I just comment my little heart out, publish the comment then go on to the next blog to read on my list.  That is what occurred today when I read all of the posts for the current challenge.  When I came back to review your posts I noticed that none of my comments appeared.

Privacy Badger is really a great service that I highly recommend.  You just have to remember that you have it.

I sincerely loved each and every project posted.  Some inspired me.  Some made my thoughts spin in wonder. All were creative and gave great and diverse interpretations of the theme.


Thursday 1 August 2019

Not a walk in the Park

Hello friends... I love seeing what you created for this theme. Unfortunately I don’t have anything to show for this reveal. I had an unfortunate kitchen accident and cut one of my fingers pretty badly. I haven’t been sewing or doing much. So sorry to have missed this... I hope for the next theme I’ll be all healed.

A Walk in the Park

I put off thinking about this challenge theme too long. There was no reason for that, other than too many other projects that needed getting done. When I finally got around to thinking of this theme, I had no idea what to do. Should I approach it literally, and create a scene from my walk in fabric? Since I don't usually walk in parks, that would be a challenge. Should I take it as making something that comes to me easily?

In the end, I chose to make a quilt of what I like to see when I do walk in a park. I'm not a gardener, but I do enjoy seeing gardens full of lovely flowers. I had a quilted piece left from last month's challenge, so I used that as the backdrop. (I thought it was fitting given how much rain we've had this season.) So my flowers have rain falling in the background.

I had a piece of Kaffe Fassett fabric in my stash, and it was just what I was looking for. Cutting those flowers out was a bit of a chore, I'll admit.

Once I settled on a layout, I pulled out my embroidery threads and got to work. No fancy stitching, just long and short stitches wherever I thought it worked. I had all the right colors of threads, which is always a bonus.

I'm not quite finished with this yet. No binding, since I'm still debating whether to bind or face the quilt. I may add a few more details, like a dragonfly if I can find one to stitch on.

It's been a good challenge piece to work on in the evenings!


A Walk in the Park

“Let us to go for a walk in the park”, she said.
“We will take some bread for the ducks
And jam jars to catch fishes in
And, maybe, a skipping rope…”

“The blackbird is sure to be singing,” she said,
“And children will be flying kites,
Making castles in the sandpit,
And throwing balls for their dogs”.

“You can watch the butterflies dancing,” she said.
 And I’ll see how high I can swing…
Then, perhaps, we will buy ice creams
To eat on the bus back home”.

This quarter's theme was NOT a walk in the park for me so I'm very much looking forward to seeing the other quilts. I'm not really fond of parks so I struggled for a long time to find anything I could make with enthusiasm. Then I remembered how, when my brothers and I were very young (pre-school), our local park seemed so exciting with the swings and slides and river and sand pit and we used to beg my mum to take us there. I think, if I'd decided on a plan sooner, I may have been able to make a nicer quilt inspired by this memory but finished is better than perfect!

I hope everyone else has enjoyed this theme and I'm looking forward to visiting you all later today :)

A Walk in the Park

That is what someone is hoping for anyway.

A walk in the park 1

Think the idea was better than the execution but might be improved with a bit more work - I sound like a teacher marking homework haha

It's always exciting to see how everyone has interpreted the theme.

A Walk in the Park - 'Taking a Lion for a Walk'

As usual it was a lot of fun thinking random thoughts about the theme, which suddenly went in the direction of a doodle we used to do at primary school called 'taking a line for a walk' - maybe you know the one; you do a squiggly line and then fill in all the intersecting loops with different colours or patterns, preferably using your best felt-tip pens.

For no real reason I thought perhaps I could take a lion for a walk (ho ho) and so here is my quilt.

My little lion has just taken a wander through a park filled with flower borders, and is now sitting down smelling the flowers and enjoying a rest.

Click on the pictures to see them better.

The flower borders are made from Liberty scraps.  The lion's mane and tail are accentuated with lazy daisy stitches in perle thread, and I used 28 weight aurifil for the stipple quilting.  I used fusible bias binding for the line, and carved a stamp for the paw prints - the first time I've used either in a quilt. 

I wanted a binding that looked like a picture frame so attempted a faux-flanged binding and have to admit that it took me two goes.  So although my quilt is really just a bit of fun I did try some 'new to me' techniques.  I enjoyed making this one a lot!

You can see a few more photos at

Quiet counting in the park

 Another quarter, another reveal this time on the theme of "A walk in the park". We are lucky enough to live next to a small park so that was an obvious place to start when thinking about what to do for this challenge.

 At the same time I had been toying with the idea of making a Quiet Book for the gorgeous grandsons, so had the lightbulb moment of combining the two projects to make "Counting in the Park"!

The book has six pages each of which are related to an element of our neighbouring park, so we have one model yacht, two swans, three windows on the clubhouse, four dogs, five flowers and six ladybirds.

 The flip side of the Quiet Book pages are made with blocks of sun-printed fabrics surrounded by numbers.

The sun printed items are also of things that you would find in the park i.e. one feather, two flowers, three leaves, four (paper-cut!) butterflies and five fungi. I drew the line at using dead butterflies for my sun prints so resorted to paper stencils instead! As you can see that did make a difference in the outcome of the final print. The butterflies, fungi, leaves and flowers were all printed for the same amount of time in the same place on the same day but the level of detail transferred from the flowers is much higher than from the leaves, which was a surprise.

My grandson found the feather as we walked in his local park and 'helped' with the sun printing so it is particularly appropriate that it is the front cover for the book.

Head on over to Celtic Thistle Stitches to see the pages in more detail and read more about my quiet book.

Once again, I had great fun planning and creating my Quiet Book for this challenge and I am really looking forward to seeing what my fellow Endeavourers have come up with.  I am sure that there will be lots of " I wish I had thought of that!" moments as I read their posts :)

Thank you Catherine and Janine for giving me the opportunity to push my creativity further yet again!

A Walk in the People's Park

I read a quote in a book I got out on loan from our local library.  I don't remember the name of the book but the quote went something like every artist knows you shouldn't let your materials dictate the direction of your piece rather your piece dictate the materials you use.  This seemed like good advice when I first read it but I've gone completely against it in this challenge.

As soon as I heard the theme "A Walk in the Park", I knew exactly what I wanted to do, exactly how I wanted the piece to look and exactly what materials I wanted to play around with.

Every Sunday in the summer, when I was little, my Dad and I would go visit my Grandad's house.  On the way home there would be the stop off at the pub where I would be whisked away upstairs to visit with the pub owners family, have red lemonade and a packet of Kings or Tayto crisps while the pints of Guinness flowed downstairs as an aperitif before the big Sunday dinner.

We'd walk home though the Peoples Park where my uncle Pat was a Park Warden, chat for a bit and Dad would somehow manage when no-one was looking to snaffle a rose for Mum who was busy cooking the Sunday roast.

So the idea that popped into my head was a quilted Rose.  I had bought Dye-na-flow paints at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham last year and not used them and I wanted to try them,  I also wanted a watercolour painted effect.  Lots of wants in that one idea.

Our housing estate has a very active neighbour's association and they love their flowers.  We have flowerbeds in the two greens we use for giving the dogs a run.  A remembrance garden and an allotment.  My garden Roses had done blooming but whatever they are feeding the flowers on the green they are blooming away all summer long.

So on one of our dog walks I took some photos, pulled out the watercolours and made an attempt at painting some roses.  Some roses make for better subjects than others so there was more than one attempt at it!

Then it was time to be brave and move onto fabric.  Unlike watercolour paper the dye bled quite a bit more when mixed with water so it was a little bit difficult to control.  I read that you should use 20% water.  Used straight out of the bottle gives a hard edge which could be fun to use too but not the look I was going for.

Also I taped the fabric down to an old cutting mat and that may have led to more bleeding.  I've seen people use resists and suspend the fabric in a frame to control the flow and spread of the dye.  Still I was happy with the delicate effect it gave.

In the quilting stage it needed some contrast so instead of using the black to define the edges like in the sketches I thought about different colour pink threads and went for hot pink!

Lastly I wanted the background to compliment the piece and touch on the idea that memories are there in the background and they don't disappear even though the moment that in it, is the Rose in front of me today, so I quilted in some Nora's Roses (see Lori Kennendy @the Inbox Jaunt) in white to fade into the background.  I put it in a frame as a gift for my Mum whose favourite flower is still a Rose.

So there you have it "A Walk in the Park" and a trip down memory lane.