Monday, 17 November 2014

A pause,

I was going to post photos of stuff I took to the Show,which went well, lovely to meet lots of quilters and has intervened, the house move we were hoping for has gone completely awry in the worst possible way and I just have to get my head around that for a bit.

Monday, 10 November 2014


The West Country Quilt Show is THIS WEEK. Yes, Wednesday is the day that the show goes up, ready for the public to visit on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Last Friday I did some double checking on my gallery space, agreed at has morphed into a MASSIVE 25m!
Whilst this is fabulous in one way, it is scary in another. Fortunately I realised when I measured every single thing up carefully that I had 'over catered' and had enough, with a few reserve pieces added into the mix, to fill that space pretty much completely. Had a scary few hours working it all out though!
One more quilt to complete tomorrow, well, later today if truth be told; it is 2am and I am so busy with thoughts buzzing in my head that sleep is eluding me. I would be machining now, but I think the other members of the household might have something to say about that!
I will post photos of the gallery, but at the moment, too busy preparing for many new pictures...see you on the other side!

Monday, 27 October 2014

Slowly but surely...

I am working my way through the MASSIVE list of Things That Need Doing For the West Country Quilt Show. This is in between working my way through the MASSIVE list of Things That Need Doing For Our House Move. Certainly not sitting around getting bored at the moment!

The braid with the little house, trees, sleighs and reindeer is available in at least three different colourways as well as this one from The Eternal Maker- a really lovely quilting emporium in Chichester with fresh baked cakes, coffee, sofas and a gorgeous selection of more unusual wools and oh my, the fabrics and buttons and felt...visit if you can! Back to my stitching now.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

How time slips past

Here we are in mid October, the clocks have gone back and the light has changed to Autumn/Winter mode as the sun has dipped low in the sky. I was away for a couple of days this week and when I came back I noticed with quite a start how the trees in the steep hill the other side of the valley have turned from green to a warm greeny gold. When you are away from something you see every day you really notice changes. It has been a crazy busy time- I have a gallery show I am preparing for, which is now scarily close, am in the midst of the nightmare that is house moving AND -probably as a consequence of these two things- have been struck down with various lurgies that have wiped me out for weeks at a time....will I get everything prepared in time for the West Country Quilt Show? I would have my fingers crossed on that, were they not so busy sewing! Here is yesterday's addition to the list of projects, a festive brooch kit, which will be on sale at the show. Off back to my sewing machine now!

Friday, 17 October 2014

Festive Love Bird Decoration

This is proving a popular class- I will have kits available in a choice of colours at the West Country Quilt Show in November and the class will be running on December 4th at Lady Sew and Sew in Henley on Thames. A gentle, fun felty bit of hand stitching!

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Friday, 10 October 2014

Ill and CROSS

I have been away from the blog for a few weeks, I have had a lung infection that knocked me sideways. Never a good thing. Went off for a week of teaching down in Dorset accompanied by my antibiotics- hello Bridport- came back with a D&V bug shared with me by my family down there. Consequently, instead of being at Ally Pally today doing my demonstration of Embroidery on Quilts, which I was REALLY excited about, I have been slumped in an armchair under a blanket feeling pants. Sometimes things do NOT go to plan.
I will be back with some pictures of lovely things soon, but first, recovery.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Ally Pally

The Knitting and Stitching Show is almost upon us.'Ally Pally' is so popular with those of us who love threads and all matters textile related that they have added an extra day this year, there is always LOADS to see as well as gorgeous stuff to buy and this year, on the Friday, I will be there doing a demonstration. VERY exciting!

If you are there on that day, swing by, say hello and see some of my embroidered and quilted  pieces - and have a go at some stitching!

A bunch- or three- of flowers

Always a joy to have flowers around the house. This past week or so I have been making some flowers in readiness for my show at the West Country Quilt Show- yes, I am getting into a panic about finishing everything in time- I knew those many surplus pairs of knitting needles I couldn't bear to part with would come in useful one day...that is one task ticked off my  exhibit 'to do' list!

Monday, 8 September 2014

Bridport Hat Festival

 This weekend was the Bridport Hat Festival. I always love visiting Bridport, I have family there and it is set in the most wonderful countryside, has fabulous beaches nearby full of fossils, the food is great and there is always something fun happening in the town - including the awesome street market.  For the past four years the Hat Festival has taken place at the start of September and I always look forward to going there to sell my hat pins and meeting up with 'regulars'. I end up missing all the outside fun as I am behind my stall, but so many people come in to the Arts Centre that we stall holders get to see almost everyone and their hats over the course of the day. A lot of my hat pins found new homes, so I was a happy stall holder! I would have loved to have stayed down there for longer, especially as we have Indian Summer weather this week, but there is so much to get done in the next few weeks, I needed to get back to my needle and thread.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Fun with old knitting needles

Starting to get my displays ready for the West of England Quilt Show- there will be more than just quilts!

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Loads to do!

 I sat and made a list last night of all the things I need to do before November and the West Country Quilt Show. Realising it was already September, I thought I should get my act together. I now have a scary list of 21 projects. Only 21? No pressure!
 First thing to get completed is my 'Runaway Sampler" knee quilt. Teaching three classes at Lady Sew & Sew  September 9, 11 and 14. If you take all three you will have a sampler knee quilt by the end-all the blocks are 'quilt as you go' so can be put together any way you want- three techniques, Foundation piecing,English Paper Piecing and Needle-turned Appliqué. Currently finishing up the final row of English Paper Piecing, which I am finding a very relaxing technique. Tracey Chevalier is giving a talk the evening of Wednesday September 10th, plenty more classes during the week to compliment her talk and a show by Maidenhead Quilters who have made  quilts using all the techniques and patterns mentioned in The Last Runaway- should be a really enjoyable week at Lady Sew & Sew September 8-15!

 What else is going on? This coming weekend it is Bridport Hat Festival and I will be there again with a new set of unique Hat /Shawl pins, always a really fun weekend and I get to visit my family too! More photos of the new pins and hats will follow.

 Have made a start on organising  for the West Country Show- rather excited about making these into something fun to go with the quilt displays...

Sunday, 24 August 2014

A Traditional British Flower Show

Sunny weather, plenty of visitors, giant marrows, flower arrangements, glorious dahlias and home baking and knitting. A proper traditional Flower Show!

Friday, 22 August 2014

Crumbs, another year, GONE!

 It is Flower Show Weekend. Can't believe we are at Flower Show weekend already- the year has whizzed by. This evening I will be making my way down to the hall with my buckets of flowers to put together my final entry for the local Horticultural Flower Show. We will be moving away after 42 years- apart from four years in Holland- in the same small town. For most of those years I have been a visitor to the Flower Show and for at least the past ten years, since I got a good sized garden, an exhibitor. The past few years I have won a cup and it has become a bit of a challenge to try to win it every year- there was one lady I recall from my youth who won it every year for about ten years in a row...looks like I won't make it into double figures, but going to have a final try this Saturday. It is always fun going out early the day before picking for the display, everything is very well into early Autumn this year, so there will be plenty of seed heads and fruits in the arrangement.

On the appliqué front, I have finished the three blocks and put them together, making the first row of the "Runaway Sampler ' knee quilt.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Two panels out of three...

Tweaking to do on the first panel to get the positions right for machine quilting- I am making myself do machine quilting, partly as it is faster but also to stop myself being so cross/scared when machine quilting is required, the quilting I have done on this panel is pants, but I will do another and make it much more accurate! The second panel has three layers of appliqué and is working better than I thought it would. Back to sewing...

Monday, 18 August 2014

Needle turned applique: The Old versus The New

 I am teaching three classes at Lady Sew and Sew in September themed around Tracey Chevalier's 'Last Runaway' book ( she is giving a lecture there). All the classes are using traditional patterns and techniques, one is foundation piecing, one English Paper Piecing and one is Needle turned Appliqué. I am usually a bondaweb girl when it comes to appliqué, though I have done some needle appliqué, but on quite a large scale, small 'Baltimore' type motifs are new to me. I immersed myself in you-tube tutorials to size up all the available techniques. Liking a swift result, I was eager to find a 'fast' and nifty method of making the little motifs. Freezer paper is your best friend when making appliqué motifs but I have always baulked a bit at the cutting and removing stage of using paper, so removing the paper after pressing the turn under in position,  glueing the turned under edges then sewing appealed to me as a great technique- the removing tacking and paper stage is gone. Admittedly, I was not feeling well when I tried this over the weekend, I have a lovely sinus infection and my head was woolly and my eyes watery, but I soldiered on cutting my shapes, using paper templates to turn the edges under, snipping the edges to make them turn under neatly, then glueing them in position. Started sewing them yesterday, realised they were absolutely rubbish as the glue made tidying up imperfections with the needle as you sew pretty much impossible- and boy, were there imperfections! Decided to do it all over again the 'old fashioned' way this morning. I thought this would take way longer. Wrong. If anything, it was faster to tack the fabric onto the paper shapes, and boy, were the results better. I have a feeling the glue method would work fine for larger shapes, which I will be trying out later this week, but for me, for small shapes, the traditional method wins hands down- the photo says it all, stitch and paper on the left, glue on the right. There is a reason appliqué has been done the 'old' way for centuries...and it isn't only because the glue wasn't invented yet!


Arriving Early

Autumn. Yes, Autumn. The season is changing early this year. The Geese have arrived, five skeins of them honking past the window early one morning, the garden is full of the sound of Robins setting up their territories by singing and nagging at each other, the swifts are gone and the colours out there are on the turn. We are still weeks away from full-on Autumn, but the air has changed, the seasons have moved and with the cold North wind this morning it isn't only the cats looking longingly at the radiators! Fred spent much of yesterday huddled in his basket- when he wasn't pointedly leaning against a radiator- and Rita disappeared underneath the duvet on the spare bed. A bit of a change from only a few days ago when they were spending  leisurely afternoons lying on their backs with their legs in the air in the sunshine on the gravel of the drive. Mid August and seems like the only Summer we will get now will be an Indian Summer. Time to re-open the sock drawer and dig out the cardigans. I do hope it doesn't get too chill at night as my random tomato is about to really get into its stride and produce ripe fruits. Random tomato? Yes. No idea what sort it is, decided not to grow my usual greenhouse full of tomato plants this year as we are moving house and as it looked like this would happen in September, when the plants would be producing their crop, I decided that a glut of tomatoes to sort out at the same time as moving house might just be a bridge too, no tomato plants at all. One morning whilst watering my front door pots of phormiums and grasses I noticed a tiny tomato plant sneaking up from the compost. Being soft-hearted I left it, thinking 'it will never come to anything'. We then had a couple of weeks of really sunny hot weather and boy, did that plant grow FAST. Before I knew it it had flower buds and how could I resist the thought of a few fresh picked, home-grown tomatoes? It could be a baby from seeds in my compost heap from last year's tomatoes or it could be a seed from a shop tomato or it could be a completely random arrival. I love surprise plants, especially edible ones.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Festival of Quilts

 Almost recovered from four days at the Festival of Quilts. I stuck to my shopping list, despite forgetting to put it in my bag, saw LOADS of quilts, did some classes and as I was stewarding for a couple of hours most days met lots of lovely people as well as meeting up with some online sewing chums in the flesh- which is always great fun.
Which quilts really caught my eye? Well, there were an awful lot of quilts but the ones I really liked were definitely in the 'traditional' style, though playing with a modern interpretation and I for one would love to see some gallery space given over next year to an exploration of how traditional quilts are being re-interpreted, either by using really modern fabrics or playing with scale and arrangement- there is so much exciting stuff happening that has its roots in traditional piecing and I felt that there was a bit too much emphasis on experimental quilting- way into the art textile end of making- and that the balance needed to be redressed as many quilters still love going back to the roots of quilting design for their inspiration. Goreous though many of the things on show were, I did long to see a bit more 'trad' inspired work! the quality of my photos is pretty grim- the heavens opened on Sunday morning when I was going round before the show was open taking photos and the light levels were awful and I had my old camera without the anti- camera shake widget...

I love the 'cotton reel' block and this bright and cheery version with foundation pieced reels and applique and some chunky hand stitching really made my heart skip.

 A beautiful hexagon quilt- all hand pieced- the hand quilting on this one was beautiful.

This joyous quilt proves beyond doubt that one can never have too many spots and stripes in the stash. But especially spots!

Really simple piecing, loved the little buttons in the centre of each block and the controlled colour range. So restful.

This was a panel- smashing use of stitches and limited colour range and trapunto.

The technique of this quilt- which was a prize winner- was awesome. Stunning precision, inventive use of ric rac, fabulous use of levels of 'puff' and as for the immaculate edging and the use of! all this and jolly too- sometimes a quilt can be so technically perfect that it goes 'dead' but this one was all singing, all dancing. Fabulous.

I am a hand stitcher, but loved that machine stitched take on a whole cloth quilt- at least, it looked machine stitched- if it wasn't, hats off!

Not usually a fan of quilts made from old jeans, but this one used the faded denim so effectively.

So, which one would I bring home with me? The prize winning quilt was fabulous, but a bit scary- I could never let the cats near it- so I think the spotty wheels would be be a more sensible choice.
There was another glorious quilt all in cream and soft gold, but it was so badly lit I couldn't get a photo that did it justice, another quilt that no cat should ever get near to, but that I yearned for. So, spots it is!