Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Visit to Quilters' Guild York

Today was very exciting as I managed to have a day off work and go flaunting off to the wonderful city of York with fellow members of Cumbria Patchworkers on a 'jolly'. Phew, it was a day I needed I can tell you after the rigours of the Keswick Mountain Festival last week left me shattered. I even managed to find a seat to myself so that I could sneak a cat nap on the way back as I am still not getting a full nights sleep at the mo due to a certain brown terrier who keeps barking at 2am. I suspect a neighbour has a new cat and its waltzing into our garden in the small hours which Bella of course takes exception to......

Anyway, I have decided that is the moaning over now and so to business. The museum is superb and I am sure most of you will know where it is and have visited it by now, but here is the website incase you need to do your own research or if you just happen to be one of my overseas readers.

The main hall has some of the collection on display but the rest of the many quilts owned by the Guild cannot be shown in such a small space so you need to consider that if you plan to visit and choose a theme which appeals to you.  We chose to go when Sheena Norquay from the Orkney islands was doing some workshops and giving talks as she is one of the foremost quilt teachers in England today. Her work is always winning awards at shows and features very heavily quilted landscape quilts usually with views of Orkney and often with mythological themes added for interest. If you need to know more try her website.

York itself was worth a quick visit too and I managed to view the entrance to York Minster from a Starbucks 'perch' whilst sipping a Latte, (that is a new desire which I acquired whilst visiting my daughter in Palm Springs) so now if I see a Starbucks I just have to indulge :-) However, I did not order the iced variety because it was nothing like the temperature in California.....

I did manage to find some Aurifil 40/2 thread though which I have wanted to try for some time, they did not have the 50 which would have been finer but I was lucky to find any at all. I also found some orange batik style material from Benartex called Fossil Ferns which is just what I need for the edging on my quilt.

Yes folks, I hope now I can start to quilt it. I enclose a few photos of the edge of the quilt after I stamped some more fabric and made what I call my trademark 'candy' border. Basically, I just keep putting together lots of coloured squares with a plain sashing border either side to make them stand out well. The stamped squares I made are the purple, green and yellow/orange ones.

This last photo is a closer look at the overall design around the central motif of the quilt I showed you before when Bella was having a sneaky sleep on it. I really like this quilt and although I have not even tried to piece it perfectly, I find that its little inaccuracies don't bother me. Quilting it is going to be the challenge I need. 

Sunday, 16 May 2010

I've been away

The idea of camping in May is usually sound, afterall, the nights are light and in Scotland the midges are still hibernating, but it should also have been Spring like weather; well it wasn't, it was winter......

The first day as we set up camp gave no indication of how cold it was to become. Here I am with Bella after we pitched the tent and set things to right inside. We had purchased two camping chairs and the table especially for this trip so we could have a bit more comfort as usually we sit on the ground. I also added the luxury of a new double blow up airbed instead of old two very old Woolworth's Lilos which we had used for over 20 years! So this trip we were going to be luxurious and comfy I thought... Well we ended up staying four nights and I can tell you that the tent had ice on it every night. In the mornings I would unzip the flysheet to find it covered in ice and the ground frosty outside. One night my DH got up in the night to go to the toilet block and he slipped and fell on the steps because they were covered in frost which he could not see in the dark. I lay in the tent and heard the clatter, bang and expletive! Right, I thought, I will wait and see if he arrives back ok before I leave my tepid sleeping bag. Bella was so cold that she had to sleep in the bag with me so it was not easy to get in and out of the bag..... He came back, but was not too pleased at banging his elbow when he landed on the ground. He was fine by the morning however and we went up another mountain but he did complain that his arm would not bend......

We did achieve our objective by the way, just incase you thought the cold made us wimp out and we climbed three 3000 foot hills. The weather was not too bad on the last day and the sun came out for a while.

This is a shot of me coming off one of the Munro's called Beinn Fhionnlaidh which is Gaelic for Findlay's Mountain. It was towards the end of the hike as we came down to a stream with a couple of very rudimentary and rusty old bridges. We decided to just cross the stream on the rocks. Back at camp I discovered that my glasses had fallen out of my rucksack sometime just before this photo was taken. They had been stuffed into a red case and then were supposed to be pushed into a side pocket by my DH but he thinks that he probably pushed them between me and the rucksack strap because they were nowhere to be found. So I lost my glasses on the hill and if you dear reader happen to be on Beinn Fhionnlaidh and find them please let me know ;-)

Here is Bella waiting for us to load the car so we could go home. She was all wrapped up in her quilt because she did not like her bottom on the cold ground. So the answer was to keep her warm and snug.

Soon after this photo was taken we drove home and once inside the garden she could not wait to go and have a lovely roll in the grass on the lawn. I think she was really pleased that she had survived the camping trip.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Dig in

I sent off for some free seeds from and sure enough they came last week. I planted them up in my new Hartley greenhouse and they have nearly all sprouted in no time! Two huge courgettes have come through already with the other 3 lingering which is good because it means the plants will hopefully grow at different stages and the crops will be staggered. It's no good having masses of courgettes all the same month. The French beans have not come through yet, but the mixed salad leaves are starting to poke through the soil and the Basil is looking good. Lastly, the carrots have just sprouted in my heated propogator in the greenhouse, which is connected to the electricitiy supply and meant I could overwinter many plants which previously died in the cold. I really can recommend the idea of a frost free greenhouse and the electricity bill was not really much higher too, even though we had a really bad winter.

So it has been a mixed week of gardening, pricking out seedlings and doing the odd bit to 'scrappy' quilt when I have a spare moment. This afternoon heavy showers have settled in so I lit the woodburner and turned to the edges of the quilt. I am really very happy with the way it is going and it will probably end up on the bed as it is much bigger now. I am going to use Mathilda wool wadding for the first time too and I can't wait to see how it quilts. I am not sure if I might not experiment with the little Brother sewing machine and see how it quilts on this one, hmm I will need to set a test piece up. I still have the log cabin quilt to finish too, so I have plenty to do. Also my husbands nephew and new niece were here to stay last Saturday and I promised Kelly I would make her a new silk purse for her mobile phone. What a superb phone it is too, it does almost everything and its called a Palm Pre.

She wants me to make a long purse in white Tussah silk, so that will be a little job for later this week. If it turns out ok, I will show you how I get on.