It’s been a little while since I posted (slap my wrist), but in defence I’ve been ill and also busy. I’m used to September being a really busy month but this year it’s spilt over into October as well.
I won’t bother you with the busy at work bit, suffice to say it’s likely to continue for a while. The sick bit has been very boring as I have that horrible cold which has been doing the rounds, ‘have’ because I’m still not over it. I’m still coughing for England but I’m slowly on the mend which is what counts in the long run.
Blogging wise I got as far as telling you about the large quilts at the quilt show I visited a few weeks ago. I’ll admit I was rather inspired by the whole visit and as a result I’ve not got another two lap quilts on the go. I’ll blog about them later as I’ve lost a bit of momentum on them due to a combination of that horrid cold and my sewing machine being ‘temperamental’.
Autumn Shadows by Jean Wile
No prizes for guessing what attracted me to this beautiful piece.
by Lynne Edwards
or what attracted me to this one.
and these fab cushions were for sale and I came so so close to buying them. In the end I was seduced by a batik jelly roll and these fab woolly sheep had to stay on my ‘admire’ list.
The other thing craft wise which has come into focus more and more the last couple of months is my need for a new sewing machine. I was thinking of heading to the Ally Pally show to have a look at what’s available, but then I ended up spending the money I’d saved on something else. So the budget for a new machine has been reduced, unless I wait longer to save up again. Meanwhile my crafting table to starting to pile up with fabric pieced together with pins. I can’t decide if it would be better to get a solid but basic machine now, or save up more and buy a fancy one which will cost an awful lot more…. Hmmm decisions decisions.
Earlier today I went and visited a quit show at Alresford Village hall run by the Essex and Suffolk Quilters group. Oh how I wish I had the skill, time and patience to create beautiful quilts like these.
Brickworks – Mary MacIntosh
It always surprises me how much I’m attracted to the colours in quilts. This one is actually three quilts designed to hang together.
Jungle Fever by Sheila Frankland
This one caught my eye in part because of the beautiful batik fabrics. I have a pile of similar fabrics waiting to be cut up and pieced together. I doubt I’ll make such a good job of it but I’ll try.
Ben’s Puppy Quilt – Jan Moore
As soon as I saw this quilt I started to smile. I recognised it from Lynette Andersons ‘It’s Quilting Cats and Dogs’ book. I’m now even more convinced I should have a go at this quilt after seeing this beauty.
Asian Charms – Jean Wife
One of the reasons for visiting the show was for inspiration on patterns to use with some of the fabrics in my stash. I really love the tiny black borders round the individual pieces of fabric . I did have a good look and it was beautifully done.
My Family – A Wall Hanging by Kim Williams
I loved this one as well. The imagery is right up my street and the colours beautiful. Oh how I wish I could create something like this for my wall. Not that I have any room on my walls given how many images I already have up there, but I can dream.
I’ll leave you now with some detailing from the ‘My Family’ quilt which I kept going back to. A quilted dragon. What could be more perfect for me.
Earlier this year I bought myself a ‘nifty fifty’ lens for my camera. This is a 50mm prime lens, meaning there is no zoom on it. That’s it in the photo at the top. As my lenses go this is by far the cheapest, (despite being a Canon), but it didn’t come with a nice padded pouch for storage or transport.
So of course this means I need to make one. Last night I simply ‘had’ to start on this pouch. You know the sort of ‘had’ I’m talking about. All the stuff from the study makeover was complete (or as complete as it’s going to be) and my sewing machine is now in position on it’s table behind the sofa. This means I can sew and also have the TV on in the background which I quite like.
So I dug out some batik, wadding and a cream fabric to form the lining. It was getting a bit late in the evening by this point when I remembered I needed some shots if I was going to blog about it. So out came the mobile for a quick snap – but that was long enough for Salem the cat to get his bum in shot.
So far I’ve quilted the batik and cream fabric together ready to be sewn into the pouch. Unfortunately if I run my sewing machine at anything other than the slowest speed bad things happen which end with unpicking and swearing. As a result this part took quite a long time. I’m not bothered though as I’m saving up for a sparkly new machine later this year and I was simply enjoying sewing again.
With luck I’ll get some more done on it tonight
Last year I bought a touring caravan. She’s old (I believe built in 1989) but I love her. She’s got character and it was love at first sight. I named her Maree and, along with the dogs, started exploring this beautiful country in her. But as I’m sure you can imagine being designed and built in that time frame her soft furnishings aren’t, ahem, exactly to my tastes. However they were in excellent condition so I decided to wait. I wanted to spend time considering exactly what to do so that I could try and get it right.
I planned on making the new furnishings during the winter ready for this year but that didn’t happen because of family commitments. In fact I only just got out again in Maree this last week end. It felt good to be away from it all and as I sat there on Saturday evening listening to the radio, knitting a sock, I was surprised how much my ideas on what to do to had solidified without me realising.
So now the project can begin in earnest. I’ve decided not to recover the sofa seats, they’ve survived this long I’m sure they will cope longer. Instead I’m going to make a couple of matching quilts to be draped over, they can then be used to snuggle under on a evening. I definitely want some matching cushions in addition to the ones already in there. These can double up as pillows.
I also passionately hated the curtains that fit into the awning. Mankey, revolting, hate, hate, hate…. I did consider making new curtains last year but discovered that dying them a dark green removed a lot of the revulsion. Enough that I didn’t want to burn them every time I saw them at any rate. But they definitely need to go this year.
There are a few other things but these are the biggies for this year. Colour scheme wise I wasn’t sure what to do. At present she’s themed around green with complimentary colours. I’m happy enough with this and have decided to stay with it. It also means everything should work well together while it’s a work in progress. Last year at the Ally Pally Knitting and Stitching show I found some fabulous green fabrics I thought would be perfect. I think the man on the stand thought I was a little bonkers but was happy to sell me plenty. It’s been quietly waiting in a box while things have been moved about in the cottage (I’ll tell you more about all that in another post) and now it’s time to get started. Some cream fabric is now on order to compliment it and once it arrives I’ll be getting stuck in.
It feels good to have a sewing project again. I just hope my old sewing machine survives through it.
Some people see nostalgia as a dirty word, one used by old people unable to keep up with the times. I think we’re very fortunate in the crafting world that this doesn’t hold sway. We know that newer doesn’t always mean better and we can appreciate craftsmanship from the past.
Don’t get me wrong I love my modern sewing machine, but I can certainly appreciate the beautiful of some of the old completely manual machines. They are objects of beauty in their own right. So when I found all of these being used as a display in a shop on Portobello Road in London, I thought I’d died and gone to sewing machine heaven!
I took quite a few shots with my main camera but I couldn’t resist taking my mobile out and playing with it’s panorama features. These shots are straight off the mobile phone and not as good a quality as I normally like to share. I do think however that the give you a better idea of the numbers of these gorgeous machines.
There were hundreds of them and all designed to be operated without the benefit of electricity. As my companions were all photography rather than crafting people they saw the attraction initially but soon wandered off for other photo opportunities leaving me dribbling in the shop.
I can’t help wondering what tales they could tell of sewing exploits. Most were in immaculate condition although they did show signs of wear and a little rust in places. There is certainly no way my Brother machine will last anywhere near as long as these. Don’t get me wrong I love it to bits and probably should have replaced it a couple of years ago when it first started giving me problems – but it’s not crafted the way these beauties are.
I’ll do a longer post about these later (when I’ve finished going through the photos) but I just had to share with you……
This last weekend was a busy one for me. On Saturday I was at Quilters Haven taking a course with Pippa Moss on Hand Embellishments and Appliqué. I booked the course in the summer not long after buying Lynette Andersons ‘It’s Quilting Cats & Dogs’. I really want to do some of the projects but I’m still not convinced my skills are up to it. Unfortunately many of the courses at Quilters Haven run through the week and I’m simply not able to go… so it was wonderful to spot one that I not only wanted to do but was also on a Saturday.
To my delight it was also the Wickham Market Christmas Fayre in the square and so I was able to have a quick mooch before the course began. There were lots of pretty things but nothing caught my eye enough to get me to put my hand in my pocket so to speak.
Pippa was very knowledgeable about all things quilty – which you’d expect from someone with her reputation – and also very patient with everyone’s questions. We tried a few techniques, one of which I’d never have thought of and is definitely on my ‘do more’ list, then got down to the appliqué.
This is mine just before I started snipping and stitching. Now I suspect that it will be difficult to explain to anyone who has not tried this technique the incredible restraint needed not to swear. I’m sure I managed to annoy the others with my mumbling and growling at the fabric which just didn’t want to do what I wanted. I might have even invented a few new curses under my breath!
As part of the course Pippa talked about was the way people used quilts in the past, how there were quilts to use and quilts just to look at occasionally. She brought in some of her own handmade quilts which she used to illustrate the point. The general gist is you would have special quilts only to be brought out for visitors, generally to impress. This was something my mind kept coming back to throughout the day. I understand intellectually why you might do this, but it just seems wrong to me. The thought of putting that amount of work into something which wouldn’t be used fills me with horror. Of course I suppose it depends on what you believe the purpose of the quilt is. For me the point of a quilt is to be used. Now this could be by snuggling under it, or as a wall hanging to keep out drafts, I can even buy into the idea of a wall hanging to brighten a room. After thinking about it most of the drive home I decided this is another example of how idea change given the time and place in which we live. Changing values in society, all that sort of thing.
Anyway I really enjoyed the course and I dare say you’ll be seeing more photos of my attempts at appliqué. I suspect it’s going to take me quite a while to become proficient at this new technique and I don’t think I’ll ever be doing one of the large quilts like Pippa any time soon. Something small like a cushion or the odd block might be a different matter though…
Do you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD? We were talking about it at work today and most of us believe we suffered to a greater or lesser extent. I find it’s worst for me at this exact time of year… It’s a week after the clocks change, it’s just dawning on my body that it will be dark when I go to work and dark when I get home, so everything comes crashing down. I get the ‘why bother’s’ in a big way.
This year in an attempt to stop this from happening I decided to keep myself busy and make sure there is plenty of colour around the cottage. No idea if it’ll work but it’ll certainly help me get through the fabric and yarn stash’s!
First up was a pair of cushions for the lounge sofa. I spotted some lovely red rose fabric during a visit to Quilter Haven this summer. I loved it and immediately thought of new cushion covers for the sofa in the lounge. There is nothing wrong with the ones I have, except they were made for my bedroom and just don’t fit in with the colour scheme.
The fabric came in two versions, the difference being the size of the print. I was struggling to come up with exactly how to piece the fronts together and then I saw this lovely quilt. Brilliant I thought, I can use that idea…
Coming back to the SAD theme I think one of the reasons I don’t like having all my daylight hours taken up by work is because I can’t figure out when I’m supposed to photograph the things I make. I gave up trying to get a shot of them on the sofa, poor light and dogs getting in the way didn’t help. So here they are upstairs on my reading chair. Next up are more socks and a lap quilt. At least that’s the plan, but knowing me I’ll decide to knock a wall down or something…
My mother has a beloved Siamese cat called Tia, a beautiful old Blue Point girl who loves to climb up for a snuggle. Unfortunately she’s also the type of cat who just can’t help ‘making bread’ while she purrs away. This upsets my mam, she loves the cuddling and snuggling but because of her age and medication her skin tears easily. As a result she bleeds and bleeds and bleeds….
So I came up with the idea of making her some quilts which she can snuggle under, Tia can snuggle on top, and hopefully the quilt will provide enough protection for them to both be happy.
I picked up a lovely little charm pack at the Ally Pally show and decided to run it up into a basic lap quilt. Mam was due for a visit and I wanted to be able to give it to her to take home. All in all I’m rather pleased with how it worked out. The fabric is Maison de Garance by French General for Moda. I’m afraid I can’t remember which stall I bought it off. The back is a plain cream and I used a black satin edging.
I gave it to her when she arrived for her recent visit and she loved it. In fact she was quickly sitting under it on my sofa and encouraging my little beasties up to try it out! Then I was surprised to see it being placed in her hand luggage for the coach journey home, as opposed to her case, but was informed that was in case she felt a little cold while traveling. Once I knew she was home safe and sound I tried to patiently wait a few day before asking what reception it had received from Tia the cat. I say ‘tried’ as I was rather impatient about it! Anyway I’ve now been informed that Tia loves it as much as my mam does, she’s even insisting on sleeping on it when my mam isn’t underneath. It’s so wonderful to hear……
Like so many people at this time of year my bank balance is groaning at the thought of the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace, with the entire event being referred to as ‘Ally Pally’. Those two words have been on everyone’s lips for a few weeks now and this year myself and Maytheweed were planning on a visit together. In the end were were also accompanied by Mr H, self designated bag carrier and smirker when we needed to use elbows to get where we wanted to go.
As expected it was busy and many parts had signs up saying ‘No Photography’. I’d seen this on my visit last year so decided to only take my mobile phone with me and use the camera on that. Anyone not wanting photography is bound to spot of hulking DSLR camera being swung about the place and get a little funny with you even if you’re not taking photos. I know people who would ignore these signs but in this case I have far to much respect for the exhibitors involved to do that. So anyway all photos are off my phone so please forgive them…..
‘Octopussy’ by Janneke de Vries-Bodzinga – It had a Best in Show notice beside it which is hardly surprising. This photos doesn’t even start to do it justice.
‘Hearts Desire’ by Deborah Kemball. The sign said ‘Winner – Traditional Quilts’
‘Mere Kats’ – ‘Winner – group Quilts’ so I guess this was made by a group. Parts of it did make us laugh out loud.
I didn’t spot a name or anything on this one as the flow of people pushed me past.
Over on the ‘Coats’ stand I did get a bit confused as it seemed to say Coats everywhere but there was Amy Butler, Regia, Rowan etc…..
A recurring theme in the conversation as we looked round was how it’s very easy to appreciate something, admire the skill and take inspiration, yet not actually want to own anything like it.
I also spent lots of money although I still stayed within budget, well sort of, but I’ll explain all of that in another post. My life is very topsey turvey at the moment with all sorts of things going on, some just keeping me busy, but others are making life very difficult. It was good to spend a day in such a lovely friendly atmosphere, even if it only helped me forget for a little while it was a very welcome relief. I’m not sure how much I’ll post about what is going on, some I’m not comfortable with sharing in such a public forum as the blog-o-sphere, and other things are not really my story to tell.