Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Staggering through February

  February can be a gorgeous month- bright chilly days, bulbs blooming in the garden, buds swelling. A chance to get outside and start planning the year ahead. Not this February. Cold, grey and often wet or snowy- sunshine has been a rare event. Buds have just started to swell this last few days, it is wet, slightly warmer - no sunshine- but days are lengthening and the plants respond, despite the cold gloom. Snowdrops are out, lasting well in the chill, but no sign of any yellow from the Daffodils - my "February Gold" will most certainly be "March Gold' this Spring.

  Indoors my pot of Clivia is cheering me up no end- the shiny dark green leaves set off the bright clear red flowers a treat. The flower buds start growing as soon as the days start to lengthen after Christmas and quickly shoot into bloom. 

 I started by buying two Clivia plants half price about 8 years ago, have grown seedlings from them on and now I have a big pot full.

 I left some seeds on the plants last year so I can grow on another pot full, it takes three/four years from seed to flowering size and with this year's many seeds I should have enough new plants for another big pot of Winter cheer, so this is the last year I shall let the plants seed and have the deep red seed pods and bright red flowers on the plants together.   

 The oldest of my little seedlings from previous years is about to open its first flowers, some of the seedlings are from my own plants and some I bought in that are yellow and apricot- I hope...but won't see those blooming for at least another year- waiting to see what colour the flowers turn out. Some of the seeds have only just germinated after two years, very exciting.
Days out this month and last seem to have all been to Doctor and Hospital Waiting rooms, a start to the year I would rather forget. But I'm through that now- today I am starting a lovely cold to finish the month off nicely- once March arrives on Friday, I feel can start the year properly. 

 I have been working on a Tulip hanging to give my hallway a bit of Spring cheerfulness, almost finished it now, just the detailing on the flower petals to embroider. 

 It should have been a fairly fast make, but with Rita wanting to snuggle under it and Fred to nest on top of it whilst I am hand stitching of an evening, progress has been slower than I might have wished. 

  It will be in need of a very good press and brush down before the final hanging up!

Monday, 11 February 2013

"Washing" line

 We have very damp weather, so drying time is long for my water-soluble-oil-based inks and I've had to rig up lines in the kitchen.  Some different colourways of the hedgerow print and today's new print,which is 6" square - I really love this rich deep red ink.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Latest Linocut Print

This is the most ambitious thus far- 8" square- took about two weeks cutting it out in short bursts, knew I might mess it up if I kept cutting for too long. Photos aren't that good, but I was so excited by the results I couldn't resist showing them off!

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Kimono Case- the pleasure of teaching a class

I taught another class to make my Kimono Case yesterday. 
  I love seeing how the case turns out, everyone brings completely different fabrics and colours to work with, combinations and styles that can be so different from that in Popular Patchwork or the various versions I made developing the design. I sometimes think I could make it in my sleep!

  A particular joy of designing a project is seeing what other people do with it. When one of my designs is in a magazine, I feel a bit sad that I don't get to see the versions that are made as a result,  with a class it is such fun to watch how the design comes to life with someone else's choice of fabrics, great to be surprised by how a design you think you know all about can turn out.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013


 Freezing winds are battering us, lashing cold rain hammers down all night but the early Spring flowers are tough and can cope with whatever the weather throws at them. I'm not so hardy and walking around the garden to look at them hasn't been a very pleasant experience, so today I nipped out and brought some of the Hellebore flowers indoors. I cut a flower from each plant that I have- most of them are seedlings from my original few plants- and floated them in a bowl of water. Hellebores are prolific seeders and eager breeders, the exciting thing is waiting to see what you get, some of these seedlings I shall dig up as the flowers aren't that thrilling, but some of them I will keep as the shape, the veining or the colouration are different from those I have already. The large white is a baby from a white seedling bought for pennies at my local Horticultural Society plant sale- the parent plant  wasn't wildly entrancing, but I had too many pinks and wanted to spice up my stock of plants with some white. The babies are gorgeous- blooms nearly 4" across, bright white. I have two white flowering seedling plants of blooming size, by chance I planted them together right outside my window with some snowdrops, when I draw the curtains back in the morning, there they are, only the first one or two blooms open , but the promise of many fat, pale green buds.

Friday, 1 February 2013

New Cutters...

... not sliced myself- yet!