I was sitting in our back garden this evening, listening to the sultry sounds of Chet Baker, when I realised that it has been quite some time since my last blog post. I had hoped to have been able to share a finished quilt with you by this point but it has sat languishing morosely by my sewing machine. The reason for my online silence has been due to a particularly busy period at work. I will soon be saying goodbye to my friends and colleagues and leaving for pastures new so I have been working as hard as I can to ensure that all loose ends are tied up. This has unfortunately led to a few long days and I have been pretty worn out in the evenings and even at weekends.

The forthcoming change is exciting and somewhat daunting in equal measure.  I read a post that had been shared on Facebook (accredited to Hugh Laurie), which says that ‘it’s a terrible thing, in life, to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There’s no such thing as ready. There’s only now.’ I think that this effectively summarises how I feel at the moment; you have to just go for things and hope for the best. If it doesn’t work out, you can always come up with a plan B.

Right, that’s enough self-reflection for one evening; let’s get on to all things sewing-related! In the middle of May, I went to an appliqué workshop at our local Art shop. It was run by a lovely lady called Hilary Adams and she taught us how to use heat ‘n’ bond (a bit like bondaweb) to make appliqué pictures. It was lovely to spend a whole day crafting although I have to admit that I didn’t do very much sewing as I spent quite a long time deciding which fabrics to use then spent quite a bit more time trying to arrange them into a picture. Prior to the course, I had decided that I wanted to create a picture of a house that I could perhaps frame in an embroidery hoop. I am hoping to put this in our second bedroom once it is all decorated (at the moment it is a dumping ground for boxes that we haven’t yet unpacked and a rather effective play area for our cats).

Applique picture

As you can see, the picture isn’t quite complete. I need to finish the actual appliqué (the process of stitching the fabric pieces onto the background) but in order to do this, I need to become a little bit more confident with what I think is called free-motion embroidery. This essentially means that you lower your feed dogs (or, in the case of my machine, you cover them up) so that you can control the way the fabric feeds, in essence creating a ‘scribble’ effect. This was my attempt at ‘scribbling’. Hilary could pretty confidently write her name but I’m afraid that my attempt wasn’t quite so expert and the needle, ahem, may have snapped…

Scribble embroidery

Modern sewing machines have a special foot that can do this, which has made me think long and hard about whether it may be time to retire my current machine and purchase a shiny new one. Hen of Henhouse Homemade absolutely swears by her Janome machine and I was quite impressed with one that I recently saw in John Lewis. As my birthday is approaching, I think I may have to have a word with the husband…

I have quite missed my sewing this month and I have decided that I need to write a list of all the projects that I want to complete in the next few months. I can’t seem to achieve anything unless I write a list and I find it extremely satisfying when I can put a tick at the end of a particular task. I may even reward myself with a slice of cake…

I thought that I would share a few projects on my list with you. This way, I may actually have some hope of completing them:

  • Finish quilting and binding my first quilt.
  • Make a lined tote-bag that I can use for work and thus learn how to actually make a lined bag.
  • Learn the technique for cathedral-window quilting
  • Make a block for a ‘quilt-as-you-go’ quilt (much easier to do when you only have a small sewing machine).
  • Finish my appliqué picture.

I hope that all of these projects will be achievable in the next few months but, as ever, I’ll keep you updated with my progress!

Before I sign off on this evening’s post, I thought I’d share the details of my wonderful leaving present. At some point in the next couple of months, courtesy of my lovely colleagues, I will be partaking in an afternoon tea bus tour of London. I absolutely can’t wait…and I may have to purchase a new dress for the occasion…