Friday, 30 March 2012

Time to look.

Occasionally it is good to get things out and take time to look at them.I did this yesterday with my more recent brushed cotton quilts. It is so easy to get the feeling that one is achieving nothing : I'm a great list maker and I never run out of things to put on my to-do list. I have come to the conclusion that the making of a a to-do list is an attempt to grasp slippery infinity. It is reassuring to look back at what has been finished before moving on to the next list - which is growing longer every time I look into my sketchbook...

Sunday, 25 March 2012

A weekend in the garden

I love the longer light evenings, out in the garden until dusk, lots to get done before everything grows beyond help: in between cutting back the overgrown hedge, pruning the roses I should have pruned a month or so ago and sorting the greenhouse, it is nice to take time to enjoy the Spring flowers.

Even nicer to take time to sit outside in the sunshine on a comfy bench with a cup of tea, smelling the perfume from primroses, hyacinths and violets wafting on a gentle breeze.
Indoors? Not on days like these.

Monday, 19 March 2012


Photos taken in a bit of a rush as the sun was setting this afternoon- quilt completed!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Not just quilting

I am very fond of science fiction. Especially science fiction films, and especially science fiction films that create an absolutely believable universe with serious money spent on getting every detail just right...I was thrilled by the new Star Trek film a year or so ago, beautifully directed and spot-on, even for a die-hard old Trekkie like myself . Oh what fun going to see it at an imax cinema.
Another imax treat is in store for me this Summer when a Ridley Scott directed (sort of) Alien 'prequel' comes out, Promethius. I still get absolutely terrified by Alien, despite watching it many, many times over the surprisingly many years since it came out and this new film looks to be pretty promising from the trailer- gorgeous design, nicely sinister and a very decent cast.
My Star Trek home-made costume of choice? Borg, every time- yes, I know Romulans or Ferengi have way more potential for quilting, but for me, it just has to be the Borg.

Thursday, 15 March 2012


Four blocks completed! Now for the surrounding strips ...

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Autumn Leaves:progress

Second panel finished and stitched to the first- I am enjoying making this in small "quilt as you go" sections.

The 22" blocks are simple to piece and are just the right size for sitting hand sewing of an evening, big enough to get to grips with, not so large I'm swamped.

Also too small for cats to sit on/under whilst quilting/embroidering is in progress. Once they are completed, it is a different matter....

The backing fabric is also in sections- not so sure about this, I need to tweak the design further to be happy with it, but this is, after all, only the first version. Perhaps some more sashing appliqued on the back. I'll play with that idea this evening- though now the two panels are together, I'm sure the cats will want to test them out whilst I do it.

Saturday, 10 March 2012


This has been a difficult week.
About ten years ago when I lived in Holland I was organising art and craft classes at a club for ex-pats. A lady called and asked 'is there a patchwork group?'. 'No", I said, "would you like to organise one?". She agreed. I had made two double quilts and a pair of curtains from patchwork in my youth and felt that I really had made enough patchwork for one lifetime, but as I was supposed to be organising and supporting such groups, I went along, promising myself it would be just for the first meeting, after which they could get on with it by themselves.
Ten years on I'm still patchwork quilting and still meeting up with the eight friends I made back then. We live all over the world now, but whenever we are in reach of eachother we get together. We go away together for a break when enough of us can arrange to be in the same country, during which time our champagne and canape consumption is never less than heroic. Likewise or fabric purchasing. Our ages cover a twenty years plus span, we now live in six different countries.
Yesterday five of of us managed to be at the funeral of the baby of the group, and our unofficial 'Brown Owl', a remarkable lady called Angela. I have never met anyone as capable of bringing people together as easily as Angela- without appearing to do anything- who could do as much without ever being in a flap or appearing to be under pressure, as ready and willing to have a laugh or give serious and sensible advice. I have been honoured to know such a delightful woman, such a good friend.
The first quilt we all made was a sampler quilt- mine only had four panels as I was impatient to get on with a second quilt: Angela's grew to a magnificent 24 panels- though she never did include 'Drunkard's Path"- a design intended for the quilt that we all hated doing and yesterday several of us ( myself included) admitted to throwing away our attempts at it.
So, above is a photo of my sampler quilt, the first quilt I made with my friends: this one is for you, Angela, with love.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Stitching against the clock

Remember the Autumn Leaves blocks?

Now I've started on a 'final' small quilt sized version, using all four block designs and I need to have it ready to show a class I am teaching to make it, so I'm stitching against the clock.

Enjoying it though, as the design is turning out even better than I hoped.

I'm doing it in brushed cottons as I like brushed cottons, I realise I probably need to make another in batiks, as it does look good in batiks. Making work for myself? I fear so. But I am thoroughly enjoying doing all the handwork on it-edging and quilting.

If I make it in batiks I will do it all with the machine as I've found batik fabrics are horrendous to hand embroider- very dense and very hard and boy, do your fingers hurt afterwards.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Time flies

I remember my Great Aunt Lucy saying, on her 90th birthday, "when you reach my age, it is Christmas all the time". I think I am starting to realise what she meant. I was still in my twenties then and time stretched out before me. Now I'm heading for sixty, before I even get to grips with what day it is, another week has gone and we are in March already. But a week with some pleasure- had to have some fun as there has been a lot of sorting of paperwork happening this week. Frankly, I'd rather do almost anything than tackle paperwork. Almost. I'd rather do paperwork than re-fill the salt dispenser in the dishwasher. The salt comes as little balls, balls that roll and bounce into every single nook and cranny of the kitchen when they overflow from the bag they are packed in. The bag is fine until you snip off a corner, then the heaviness of the salt instantly causes the bag to rip beyond your control and an avalanche of bouncing,rolling salt balls engulfs everything within a six foot radius. This happens regardless of any precautionary measures undertaken. I have a big plastic bottle I decant the salt into- easier to pour it into the dishwasher and as the bag falls apart in moments, easier to store the left-overs too. I have a funnel to guide the salt. Still have a kitchen covered in salt. Then it is time for kneeling in front of the dishwasher and pouring the salt in. Once again, impossible to do without major salt spillage. I think this is my most hated domestic chore, even cleaning the fridge is preferable. I am convinced that docking the Space Shuttle to the International Space Station is a simpler procedure than re-filling the dishwasher salt without spillage.

But I haven't spent all week with my head in the dishwasher/cupboard under the sink, I have made it into the conservatory to enjoy these cheery Clivia flowers- suddenly, as soon as the day length is right, the Clivia sends up its buds. Glorious.

And there has been sewing- brooches and the final version of the Autumn Leaves Quilt is started.
Made in brushed cottons, which are lovely to stitch but quite pesky to cut as they are rather slippy and, by heck, does bondaweb stick to them...not always in a manner one would wish it to!