Monday, 3 March 2014

Practise Makes Perfect!

And I certainly need plenty of it when it comes to free-motion quilting on the sewing machine, but I am trying . . . . I had a lovely time yesterday (Sunday) putting together a little table runner from leftovers from my little heart quilt, after watching another YouTube video from Missouri Quilt Company.

 It's a quilt as you go project - lay out your backing fabric, place your wadding on top, and then begin to sew on strips, one at a time! Easy! The only thing to be careful of is that your strips of fabric are precisely cut so you don't start going lopsided, be sure to press the seams after each addition, and in no time you have a sweet little runner.



The cute little blue houses are on the back . . . .


So then today I thought this would be an ideal opportunity to practise the free-motion quilting - you remember my new book, 'First Steps to free-motion quilting' by Christina Cameli - so, armed with a reel of quilting thread and my trusty Bernina, I set to with a practice piece. Have you found that everything works beautifully on a practice piece but once you start on the real thing something goes a bit awry?!!!

Never mind, I just kept going, not being one to give up, and what you now see is my first serious attempt at free-motion stitching - lots of different uneven sized stitches I'm afraid, and quite a few 'too' squiggly lines, but hey, I refuse to beat myself up over it for the stitches can hardly be seen anyway. You see, my friends, there's a wee bit of method in my madness - I didn't use a coloured thread, no, just a lovely creamy off-white which is very forgiving, especially on all this patterned fabric.

Anyway, look closely and you'll probably see what I'm on about, but please be gentle with me, I'm doing my best and will get better - with practise!!!




You see what I mean, some of the stitches are way too big but I'm not unpicking, no!!! But anyway, the back looks kinda cute, don't you think? The stitches do show up better on the wee house fabric and I quite like the effect gained from the swirly spirals and circles, don't you?




I've also been busy this week with the crochet hook, after being inspired by the lovely Forgetmenotsblue and her never ending granny square blanket, thanks so much FB! I will show this another time as progress has been slow - why is it that every time I do a wee bit of crochet or knitting my hands start to pain - anyway, it won't be a 'never ending' blanket, but it will take a bit of time methinks!


What I have spent quite a bit of time on though is a disappearing four-patch quilt, again after watching a YouTube video with Missouri Quilt Company. I really didn't know what people were on about when they spoke of disappearing patch quilts, but now I know and am quite in awe of the cleverness of these experienced quilters. Now if you are really interested in seeing more on this subject then I'd suggest you pop on over to YouTube and see just how simple these things can be, but in the meantime, I did take a few pics with you in mind . . . .

. . . . the pic to your left shows the four squares cut out and ready, and on the right the patches are sewn up and pressed . . . . 




Now this won't be easy to explain, and I probably should have left it to the experts but just look closely . . . . and compare with the pic above . . . .  all I've done in the pic on the bottom left, (after taking the rotary cutter and special ruler and cutting through the whole patch four times, one inch from the centre seam), is take the bottom two big squares and swap their positions, and the same with the top two, okay? Then the little patch in the centre is moved around one position only . . . .  see the bottom right pic, yes?




And then stitch them all together very carefully, being sure to match all those little seams! I hope I've explained that okay, it's just an appetiser for those of you interested in giving quilting a go. There are so many great videos available on the web and they're so helpful!




I have made up a few of these patches but certainly have a long way to go, which is why I took a break and made the little table runner - something nice and quick from start to finish, and which I really enjoyed!

These are roughly set out and you can be sure that this time I'll be more certain I'm happy with the placement for I don't want to be taking this quilt apart to change blocks around. Lesson learned! Anyway, a long way to go yet but a very enjoyable project!




Nothing from the garden today my friends - apart from the roses standing on the runner up top there - our weather has been so dry with no rain at all for a couple of months and we so badly need it, even if only for the gardens; Saturday saw us welcome in Autumn time supposedly, but we had 36c - usually we're about 10c less than Perth but not on Saturday. I am pleased to report though that today has been much more cool and pleasant so hopefully we've seen the last of the hot stuff for a while!

Every time I come to the end of my post I find myself thinking that there were other things I meant to say when I got around to posting, but now can't think! Ah yes, I will be linking up with Chrissie again for Stitching Sundays,  thanks so much Chrissie, you're a darling!

Here are a few wise words I came across this morning:

Live without Pretending
Love without Depending
Listen without Defending
Speak without Offending 
(anonymous)

So I will love you and leave you, wishing you all a very happy week and very good health!


Joy xoxo

74 comments:

  1. Hello Joy, a lovely update of your crafty endeavours! Hats off to you for persevering with the quilting. It all looks so complicated to me. Have a wonderful new week x

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    1. Hello Sharron, lovely to have your message, thank you! I am enjoying the quilting but you know I like change, so who knows what might be next! J x

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  2. I love that new table runner you've made. The colours are so fresh looking. I love the free motion quilting too. Well done!
    So you've taken up a crochet hook again! I shall look forward to seeing what you are getting up to!
    Have a wonderful new week!

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    1. Thanks so much Sandra - it was good to use up some of the leftovers - I love the colours too. Ah yes, the crochet hook is never far from my mind even if it doesn't pop into my hand very often these days! Wishing you a wonderful week also! J x

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  3. I don't know where to start. Your table runner is really sweet and the colours are really lovely. I think your squiggly lines make it more personal to you and the squigglier the better I say!...I should point out though that I can't quilt soooo... I have asked a friend to make a patchwork quilt for me, the problem has been I haven't quite envisaged the colours or design, until I saw your disappearing squares! The colours are gorgeous and the design is so much fun. So thank you Joy :) I can't wait to see your crochet and hopefully your hands won't get too painful, but I know how difficult it can be xxxxxxxxx

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    1. Thanks so much for your lovely message Emma, you are very encouraging! I hope your quilt turns out to be just as you want it! Joy xo

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  4. Dear Joy
    What a beautiful table runner! It looks amazing to me and the colours are so pretty and happy. The new patchwork looks incredibly complicated but I know it will be beautiful too. Congratulations on more lovely projects.
    Have a happy quilting week,
    Best wishes
    Ellie

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    1. You're so sweet Ellie, thank you so much - I also thought the squares were awfully complicated until seeing how they magically came about and after doing a couple they are quite simple and easy to do, really!
      Happy days to you, hugs, Joy x

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  5. I think your FMQ looks great for a first try. Don't worry about uneven stitches and all that, the only way to combat it is with practice

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    1. Thank you for your kind encouragement Wendy - practice it is and practice it will be! J x

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  6. Hello JOY, What a very pretty table runner in bright colors that make the roses even look more gorgeous. Your Machine quilting swirls are very well done and I like that wee blue house fabric... Those words are wonderful and definitely words to live by. Have a lovely week JOY... Hugs Judy

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    1. Hiya Judy, I'm so glad you like my latest endeavour, thank you so much! Yes, I intend to keep thinking on those words for sometimes I forget and get caught up in things . . .
      Hugs my friend,
      Joy xo

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  7. I am so thrilled that you are quilting!!! The Missouri Star Quilting Videos are the exact ones I used when I wanted to freshen up on my quilting skills. She explains everything so well and makes everything look so easy and really.....it is. It just takes a little time to put it all together but so worth it in the end. Looking at all your little projects (BTW, your free motion quilting looks pretty darn good from here. don't worry so much about it, you should have seen my very first one....didn't look anything like your for sure so good job) I want to start up another quilt myself.
    Hugs, Shari

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    1. Your encouragement means so much to me Shari, thank you, and yes, Jenny is great isn't she! Like you, I'd love to do some hand quilting, or finishing off at least, but at this time it just seems like I want to prove to myself that I can produce a nice quilt - and quickly - then I'll be more inclined to take my time over the process! I'm looking forward to your next project Shari, and thanks again for all your inspiration! xx Joy

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  8. Oh my friend, what marvellous quilting! I can't quite believe how many projects you are zipping through - the table runner is absolutely lovely - I can see you using both sides, those wee houses are so sweet! - and the strips of fabric are gorgeous. Well done with the free motion quilting - I'm terrified of that technique even though I love it to bits! I am terribly impressed! And the disappearing patch quilt is going to be simply beautiful, my first quilt was a disappearing nine-patch and I had such fun making it! Cxxx

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    1. You are a darling, Chrissie, thank you - my deepest gratitude for all the stimulation and happy influence you've been in my crafting endeavours- you have really encouraged me to step out and be daring! I was terrified of the free-motion stitching as well but Christina Cameli is so supportive in her book one almost feels compelled to be positive, stop thinking and just do it!!!
      I remember your gorgeous quilt, you did a great job with it my friend! xo Joy

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  9. Wow Joy you have been so busy! I think your FMQ is great, and I love the new disappearing patch quilt. I hope that you have a lovely week! Sarah xo

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    1. Thank you so much Sarah, I am very happy to have your sweet message! Joy xo

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  10. Darling Joy your work is so gorgeous, you astound me every time I read your lovely blog. Your fabrics, colours and designs are wonderful and I adore your runner, it looks perfect with your flowers. Well done on the free motion, you are a whizz at it and I am suitably impressed. Joy I always look forward to reading your post as they are always filled with such wonderful things and you always know the right words to say - thank you lovely Friend.
    All my love as always
    Dorothy
    :-)xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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    1. Ah Dorothy, you're so sweet to me, a huge thank you! Although scared out of my socks at the thought of it, once started I did really enjoy the challenge of free-motion, and trying out different 'designs' and stitches - I hope you give it another go soon on your lovely new machine! I will talk soon! Loads of love to a special lady and friend, Joy xoxo

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  11. Wow Joy im amazed at how well you have picked up quilting, Your little runner is smashing.Never been good at free motion stiching, but must say only tried it once.It went really wrong and the work got stuck in the machine : ( love the quote at the end of your blog, if only we all lived by these wise words x

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    1. Hi Joy - thanks so much, I'm enjoying this journey so much! Sorry to hear your first experience with Free-motion didn't work out so well but I really would like to encourage you to have another go; there's lots of help and advice available on the web if you are interested, as well as many books including the one I have. A lovely week to you, Joy xo

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  12. You have been so busy Joy and I think your quilting is amazing I'm so impressed! I love all your lovely projects. :)

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    1. Thank you so much dear Linda! xo J

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  13. Your quilting is beautiful and I love the colours of the last piece of work.
    Sounds as if it is still very hot over there, I think my son and his family are regretting coming back and are hoping to return to Aus again in September.

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    1. Hello Anne, and many thanks!
      Changing countries can be quite traumatic for many people and we know of those who never really settle here or there. For us it was a lot easier, having family here, but now as we get older the missing of the wonderful old country is stronger with all the memories - and the beautiful soft greens of the countryside!!! I do hope your family can make the right decision for their future over-all - it's a hard one to make and I wish them the very best!
      Joy x

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  14. I appreciate your wise words, I needed to see them today. Your free-motion piece looks wonderful to me. I've never tried it, I'm a little scared of it, actually. But I would like to learn someday and I will look for that book. I hope you have a great week, Joy. :)

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    1. Hi Jennifer, I hope everything is good with you today!
      I think we are all a bit apprehensive of free-motion stitching but I hope you can find the book for CC is so very encouraging and the advice so easy and straightforward. It can be quite a thrill once you get into it, even if the results are not as good as you would like, haha!
      Lovely to hear from you m'dear, and thank you! Joy xo

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  15. Your quilting looks lovely, Joy! Such pretty colours and fabrics in your little runner too. Thank you so much for visiting me, it is lovely to find your blog and I look forward to visiting you here again.
    Have a great week!
    Helen xx

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    1. How lovely to have you here Helen and thank you for your sweet message - I'll be very happy to-ing and fro-ing between our blogs, I love your work! Joy xo

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  16. Wise words indeed. Gorgeous colours for your quilts, so happy and bright, they look amazing xxx

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    1. Hello Grace and thanks so much - yes, those words struck a chord with me - maybe an idea for a little stitchy to hang on the wall, I'll have to think about that! Jxo

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  17. Oooh, I really love all the fabrics in your table runner Joy. They are simply beautiful. I like the words in your quotation too. Have a lovely week.

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    1. Hello again Joyful - I'm happy to have your lovely message, thanks so much! Yes, the more I look at those words the more I realise I need to do something with them . . . .
      Wishing you rest and relaxation my dear! Joy xo

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  18. Joy! I love your work. I am not good at spotting errors...I looked but did not see any. I especially like the swirly design. Thanks for sharing the YouTube source! Wishing you a happy week, oh and I loved that saying you shared! xx

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    1. You're always so kind Gracie, thank you so much! Happy days to you and yours, Joy xo

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  19. Hello Joy, what a gorgeous table runner, I love the fabrics you used. They are wise words indeed and good to live by I think. Julie x

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    1. Thank you so much Julie - isn't it wonderful the variety of fabrics available to us these days! Joy x

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  20. Your table runner is gorgeous Joy, I particularly love those sweet little blue houses. Those are very wise words indeed at the end of your post...
    Marianne x

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    1. Thank you Marianne, I also love the wee houses and intend to be on the lookout for more fabric in a similar line - it's fun! Joy x

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  21. Hello Joy
    Hope you are well?
    Your table runner is fab. I cant believe how well you've done the stitching I don't know if id be brave enough I have enough of a problem sewing in a straight line on my machine!
    Your fabric is very pretty the houses are very cute I also like the floral with the yellow flowers it reminds me of a dress I have.
    Loving the look of your quilt in progress and your lovely girl on the swing making an appearance again she's so lovely.
    Ooo I look forward to seeing your never ending granny square blanket :) so glad you decided to make one xx FB

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    1. Hi FB, yes I am well and thank you for asking, you're a dear!
      Aha, you noticed the girl on the swing - I'm hoping that when I do stitch things together she will be happy in there, haha!
      I think the secret to having any success in the free-motion stitching is to do lots of practice first on fabric and wadding identical to that in use for the project, but even then, once you start on the real thing the nervousness attempts to sneak in. When all's said and done we just have to jump in and do it!
      The granny square is growing FB, but slowly, and I'm being tempted by other colours too so am a bit undecided in that regard at the moment! I'm enjoying it though and that's the main thing! Joy xo

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  22. Hi Joy, I have had a go at a project from the free motion quilting book and it is quite hard isn't it? I do think you have made a good job though! Your patches are great! Thanks for sharing this method, I love the nifty tricks that can be used to make the blocks up. I'm loving how your quilt is looking so far and can't wait to see the finished item, keep cool. Sam xxx

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    1. Oh gosh Sam, you are brave - I have only been practising the stitches so far but keen to go further; it's worth the effort though, don't you think?
      I really love how those little 'disappearing' blocks come together - how clever those people are who work out those things! Thanks so much for your lovely message Sam, and I'm wishing you happy and relaxed successful sewing. Joy xo

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  23. Art and craft can never be wrong, it's ART baby! ( think Austin Powers)
    You are verily motoring along with your quilting there, I am impressed with your quiet determination to conquer the world. :-) re the hand pain........have you ever discussed carpal tunnel syndrome with your doctor? It happens and it can be remedied. Or stop and gently exercise those wrists of yours it could be shoulder tension also. Well I am glad to see your projects progressing there.

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    1. Yeah, it's ART - and does sound like something AP would say!
      You always make me have a chuckle Susan, and that has to be good, thank you!
      I haven't discussed that dreaded thing with the Doc, no, I have enough with arthritic joints and think CT on top of that would be tooooooo cruel - but it is a nasty thought in the background!!!
      How're you going these days? Wishing you happy days and plenty 'ART' times to keep you satisfied! Joy x

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  24. Your free-motion quilting looks amazing Joy!! Really, you should be so proud of this! Isn't that the whole idea with free-motion is that it ISN'T perfect?! A little wonky? The overall look of the finished quilting is gorgeous :) I love this idea with cutting the four squares this way ... the things people think up, eh? It makes it look like you've been hard at work for many hours carefully cutting out all those tiny strips. This is going to look great when it's all pieced together. You have been such a busy bee for the last little while ;) Enjoy the rest of your week, and I hope you get that rain you need soon. Wendy x

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    1. Ah you know how to make a gal feel good Wendy, thanks so much!
      I have great admiration for the folks who work these things out to look, and be, so simple, and also am so grateful to have at my disposal these special rulers, cutting mats, and rotary cutters - absolutely essential for me!
      Many thanks for your encouragement, it really helps me along on this new track I've stepped onto! Joy x

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  25. A lovely table runner Joy, such pretty fabrics and the free-motion quilting is a great effect - quite a lip-biting moment whilst doing it I should imagine! I love the back too, the little house fabric is so sweet and the swirly effect created by the stitching looks like little clouds. I've not heard of 'disappearing patches', such a clever thing and something I must try, but I am a complete novice at patchwork so it may take me a while to get there. Thank you for stopping by my blog and for your lovely comments. Enjoy the rest of your week.
    Jane x

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    1. Thanks so much Jane; lip-biting yes, but you soon get into the hang of it and then it really is most enjoyable and satisfying. Working around with patches is great fun too, and a lovely challenge! xx Joy

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  26. Joy...I'm loving this little table runner just as I loved your heart quilt in the prior post. You've got SUCH quilting talent Missy!!! :) Your fabric choices are so lovely. I hope to see lots more! xoxo

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    1. You are an absolute GEM sweet Paulette, and always make my day with your lovely messages, thank you so much! xxx Joy

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  27. Great job Joy.. You have so much patience.. what a lovely whimsical touch the little girl on the swing in the centre is.. The table runner looks country chic.. To me it's the slight flaws that add more charm. I have a horrible feeling that we're in for a few more hot days Joy, but not long to go now before beautiful autumn.

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    1. Hello again Grace - it seems that everything is a lot easier when one really enjoys the activity, which I do. I'm really happy to have your lovely comments, thanks so much.
      It certainly looks like summer is not planning on slipping away quietly - you've really had it hot up there this season - our recent 36c day was a horrible shock and far from the usual 10 degrees lower than Perth!!! Roll on autumn - and RAIN! Jx

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    2. Not sure if it will really happen Joy but according to the weather report I've just heard we might get some rain tomorrow.. wonder what the chances are :)

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    3. Oh yes, fingers crossed, and toes … J x

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  28. What a lovely, lovely table runner - and your free-motion quilting looks great to me! I never worry about perfect stitch length, as long as the quilting is more or less even. Yours looks perfectly spaced. :)

    Here's to the changing of the seasons - may we soon see spring and autumn take over from winter and summer!

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    1. Thanks so much Sue - yeah, I think sometimes I become too serious!!!
      Oh yes, I think we are all ready for change in the weather patterns xx

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  29. Hello Joy, Oh my word how have I missed your post, so sorry. Your table runner is beautiful and so rich, I love the blue house backing fabric. The quilting looks amazing - well done. The pattern of your four cut squares is stunning and I can hardly wait to see the finished result. Think I will stick to hexies for the time being LoL.
    I live in Sunderland, right beside the Sea.
    luv
    irene
    xxxx

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    1. Hi Irene, always lovely to 'see' you, and thanks so much for your lovely comments on my work - I've been enjoying all of it and am really looking forward to getting back into those squares! Your hexes are looking lovely and my very 'little' attempt at them is a relaxing 'in-betweener' - I'm enjoying the hand stitching and stillness of it after all the controlling of the machine whilst free-forming on the table runner!!!
      Sunderland is a very familiar name/place to us (or was many years ago); lovely for you to be close to the lovely sea and brisk fresh air. Hugs, Joy xo

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  30. What a lovely table runner Joy! You chose some really lovely fabrics and I think your free motion stitches look great! Your roses look lovely. I hope it cools down for you soon and you get some rain. Have a wonderful day! xx

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    1. You are so kind Ellisabeth, thank you so much! Today is thankfully to be much cooler with the possibility of rain - I do hope it comes! Joy xo

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  31. Wow, Joy! Your table runner is simply gorgeous. How clever are you? I have promised myself that one day I will make a little and very basic patchwork quilt. My sewing skills are really quite limited and I'm a terrible perfectionist so I daresay it will be a project of mammoth proportions! I do love to see what other people create though. You are beautifully neat and I am in awe of how perfectly your seams match up.

    Have a super weekend. Heather x

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    1. I'm so glad you like the runner Heather, and thank you so much for your loveliness!
      So many of the projects I've started have been due to the inspiration and encouragement gained from fellow bloggers so I'll look forward to seeing you making a start on a little patching/quilting subject sometime - once you start you'll probably be like me Heather, totally hooked! Wishing you the best, Joy xo

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  32. Looks to me like you'll have free motion quilting and disappearing patches licked in no time :)

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    1. I'm certainly working on it Annie …. and loving it! Thanks for dropping by, always lovely to 'see' you! Joy x

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  33. Oh this table runner is lovely and so neat looking! I really need to try learning to use my sewing machine!!

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    1. Thanks so much Hazel - I'm sure you would find it worth the effort; I'm so happy to have got back into my much neglected sewing machine! Joy x

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  34. Love your table runner, it's so pretty - I want to fill my home with this type of lovliness...but I need to invest in a rotary cutter and mat first so I can then start creating some sweet patchwork projects. Hurrah for Youtube! So many crafts, and wip's, so little time!
    Now it's time for a swap - you hand over some sunshine and we'll hand over our soggy weather. ;-D XX

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    1. I do hope you can make a start sometime soon - I have found these projects to be so much fun; there are lots of people out there who prefer the more casual, unmatched seams, look in patchwork and use scissors rather then a rotary cutter, so if you're really keen you could cut out some little pieces with scissors and start stitching, just to have a go? However you decide to do it, I do wish you well with it and am sure you will have happy times!
      I think a weather swap sounds like a very good idea, although I must admit it might not be too fair a deal for we have finallybeen having a (very) few light showers over the weekend, although sunshine has still prevailed.
      Thanks so much for your enjoyable message - a great week to you! Joy xo

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  35. Oh hello and apologies for taking sooooo long to get your blog post. The problem is that everyone spends too much time blogging and I didn't see your blogpost till now and what a treat its been. Now you have been super busy my dear friend haven't you??! I can't quite believe what you are coming up in such little time. I love your pretty table runner and I love the way you freemotion quilted it too, how clever are you??! I must say I don't really understand the quilt as you go malarkey, so will need to watch the video. I am LOVING LOVING LOVING the look of your disappearing four patch quilt, and those gorgeous fabrics, oh my, they really are very special. I look forward to giving this a go at some point. If I am honest I was really hoping to make a quilt for little Es for her birthday, but for now it seems that its not going to happen as we have three weeks before I go home to SA for the first time in around 5 years, wow!! Anyway, I am missing you and I am sorry I am a little quiet. You are never far from my thoughts and thank you for your gorgeous post filled with all this wonderful eye candy. Love the saying at the end, very wise. Sending you much love and healing light xoxo

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    1. Hello my dear friend, it's always lovely to see you Hannapat - and I understand how difficult it is to keep up with all the blog following, the list keeps growing and so often I am running way behind these days! It's a bit of a dilemma isn't it - our blogging is mostly about crafting but if we spend too much time on the computer there's none left for crafting!!!
      I am so appreciative of your enthusiasm for my projects and I'm sure you'll be very happy working on a disappearing patch quilt but sounds like you won't be having much spare time in the near future: how wonderful that you are going back to the old country for a visit and maybe you'll be doing some stitching with your lovely Ma - and won't that be a wonderful treat!
      I'm missing you too lovely but will be in touch 'proper' soon! In the meantime, it was so lovely to have your message as you've been on my mind - and in my heart!
      Keep well and take good care, much love and wishing you miracles in your life! Joy xoxo

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  36. I just love your quilting! Absolutely beautiful as always - you have a fantastic eye for colours and fabrics. The blue and white reminds me a little of old fashioned Dutch china, it's gorgeous. Thanks so much for sharing your latest projects! xxx

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    1. Thank you so much Hazel, I really am very happy to receive your kindness! I hope your week is going well, enjoy it! Joy xo

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