Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Merry Christmas

I used a small yew tree this year for my decoration as I lent my artificial tree to a friend who needed it more than me.  I also gave her the lights and the tinsel because she did not have any.  So my good deed done, I had a look around my garden and I had a small yew growing in a pot which I thought might just do the trick and here it is.  I had to buy a pretty little bird for the top because the branch was a bit flimsy and there was not much foliage up there, but I am pleased with the effect.  The photo was taken on my mobile phone so its not completely clear as I turned off the flash but I rather like the way it has an ethereal quality to it.  So there it is a small delicate wonderland inhabited by a very pretty bird.

I do hope I can come back on this blog next year as I had trouble logging on, I think Blogger is sometimes very difficult and it kept giving me error messages, so I hope to blog again soon but would prefer it to be a bit more hassle free.

I am now convinced that this next year will be one of innovation and am looking forward to it.  Oh and my Redpolls are back!  I thought they had forgotten where I lived but no they were just teasing me.  So I hope you have a peaceful and prosperous New Year.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Quilt Snuggles

Domestic bliss for some .....

Well it has turned cold in Cumbria so I suppose it was inevitable that Bella would sneak onto the new quilt on the bed and snuggle in.  We have had 3 quilts layered on this week to keep out the cold.  I much prefer piling them on to the idea of a duvet and hate having to go away because we always find thick unwieldy duvet's on the beds at hotels.  We did find one exception this year though when we were in Wales.  Yes, it was a duvet but it was a duck feather one and it was comfy, so there are some which I can tolerate.

I am busy making things at the moment but some of them can't be shown or the surprise I intend will be spoilt.  There is the usual round of sewing parties to attend and most of them require a hand made gift of some sort so it is a busy time for me.  I also bought a new computer today because my DH has been so good and patient waiting for a replacement for his very old Dell which he must have had over 8 years now.  It is on its last legs and beginning to drive us both mad because it keeps doing stupid things and is so slow........  Anyway, the plan is for me to give him mine which is only a year old and for me to have the new one, that way I can help him to familiarise himself with mine because I know how it is all set up and I can customise it for him whilst we wait for the new one to be built and tested.  I now buy computers from a firm where there is an actual man on the end of the phone whom I can speak to and where they are built to order and to specifications I consider to be important i.e. loads of ram. 

Well it seems to me to be a good idea to take him a nice cold beer.....

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Oops stung by a wasp on the big toe

Just as I was about to empty the compost bin I felt a pain on my toe......

Anyway, as I now have a swollen big toe my afternoon plans have changed and I am sitting at my computer instead of doing other things...

So how about looking at some photos of Take 5 at our recent Quilter's Guild Regional Day.


There are five members of Take 5 naturally and they are as follows:-

Debbie Wooley, Chris Gash, Margaret Boughton, Carolyn Madden and Sheila Jackson





They made a lovely, stunning display and I presume the idea was that they were sort of Journal Quilts?

Thank you ladies.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Lemon Posset

Lemon Posset and Lavender biscuits
We had been out to dinner last Saturday and the hotel served this delicious treat to us.  So I had to find out how to make it myself.

The posset is easy as you simply buy a 250ml carton of double cream and place it in a large saucepan which you put on a slow heat.  Then I added 2oz of caster sugar and stirred it in, and let it come to a gentle boil for 3 minutes.  Next it was taken off the heat and placed to one side to cool for 5 minutes.  I added the juice of half a lemon and some of the finely chopped zest and popped it all into my Kenwood chef and gave it about a minute on a brisk whisk.  It was poured into bone china two handed cups and left in the fridge for about 3 hours.

The biscuits are a Mary Berry recipe which you can find here

The decoration is a small sprig of lavender.

Try this recipe if you want to impress someone and want a no fuss simple to make dish, it tastes wonderful and Bella licked the dishes clean too, which is an added bonus......ha ha

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Quilting Time!

This cuckoo clock was on the wall at the NEC last week and it was very cleverly made with a mouse on the top left which you cannot see in this photo from the front.  The reason I loved it was because I often place a pink sugar mouse on my kitchen clock at Christmas on the top left too.

I did photograph some of the quilts on show but it was one of those days when my new camera phone and I did not agree.  Some shots worked and others did not and I don't want to post up inferior photos so next time I go to the Festival of Quilts I will take a camera......

I was not helped by the placement of some of the winning quilts in a corridor which was the main thorough fare of the show mind. Every time I tried to line up a shot it was pandemonium and there was not enough space to step back to get the quilts in.  I saw one woman contorting herself with her head actually leaning against a winning quilt trying to line up a shot of a quilt on the opposite wall.

I expect some professionals managed to photograph them but I failed.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Too hot for quilting

Its been far too hot to sit with a quilt on my knee at the sewing machine for a few weeks now.

So I am gardening and looking after my greenhouse produce.  A bit of an odd shape I know but it tasted wonderful and was really crisp unlike those things you buy in the supermarket.  I seem to have other stuff ripening too, yellow toms are beginning to look good.

My first cucumber of the season

Sunday, 16 June 2013

oops, don't know where the time is going

I have not posted for so long, sorry.  It's been busy here especially last week with all the comings and goings.  The insulation in our walls was damp and not working so we had to have it all removed and it took 3 days last week.  The two men came all the way from Wales and were so efficient and tidy I could not believe how well they did the job which I had been dreading for months.  Anyway, the house is now free from all the gunk they injected and hopefully the black mould and plaster falling off on the inside will now be mending and we can re decorate. 

I have done some more quilting though and without this quilt on the go I might have been driven to distraction with all the drilling and sucking noises, but no I kept on quilting it's so calming.  Or it was until I went wrong and had to unpick half a feather yesterday....

And there is more to do yet.

Friday, 10 May 2013


A spine made with twisted chain
This is my first attempt at a quilt with machine feathers, I had to practice first. Anyway, I have another fifteen of these to do and its only for my bed so I hope by the last one that I shall either a) be smug, b) be relieved its all over, c) vow never to do it again.  Sound familiar?

On another note, I am now Quilters' Guild Regional Co-ordinator for Cumbria; lets hope it is an easier job than machine quilting feathers.....   

Sunday, 28 April 2013

No room at the quilters

I did not think there would be enough room at the Cumbria Patchworkers workshop last week for 17 of us to make these convergence quilts, so I went it alone with some ideas I picked up from looking at photos on the internet and this is the result.  I seem to recall a similar way of adjusting pictures years ago in a basic design book by Maurice De Sausmarez.

The idea was to cut the photo into strips and rearrange it in many different forms to give a different view. The same happens with this quilt, so it's not a new idea.

I made most of the fabric myself because I wanted a particular look. Basically, I had the black fabric with the sharply defined lines and I made the green, orange and yellow fabric by painting on white Egyptian cotton with silk paints, then heat setting it with an iron.

I am still working on the colourful quilt but have not had time to photograph it, but the corners worked out ok and so has the rest of it. I dug out another quilt too which had been around too long waiting to be quilted, its under my Bernina as I type.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Slowing down for the corners

I know my last post said it was going fast, but I had not properly worked out the corners for my quilt as I decided I would make them up as I went along. So it is progressing but taking a little longer than I anticipated.

Meanwhile, I discovered that at Cumbria Patchworkers next week we are making a convergence quilt, so I did some research and found this

I assume we will be making something similar. 

I also sewed a small bandana for Bella earlier this week.  She is a 'tweeting' border terrier so she has a number of pals who keep in touch and they are now in a special group called the #BTposse


 I nearly forgot to mention that my 'Wainwright Quilt' will be exhibited again this year, this time its off to the Loch Lomond Quilt Show 15th - 18th May, check out their website

Monday, 1 April 2013

Colour me brightly

Untidy desktop
Yes it is very untidy, rather like the garden with all this cold weather, but I have high hopes it will make a good quilt which will keep us warm for a few years to come.

I have had this flowery white background fabric for some years now and it was once used for a year as bathroom curtains, then we moved house.  They have been lurking in the bedroom chest of drawers waiting their chance, and here it is.  A friend who came back last week from the States was the donor when he left for Colorado 14 years ago. He is now firmly back on English soil.  His return prompted me to look at the material I had been given again and then I found the curtains, well it does not take much for me to dash down to my small stash and start playing.......

I will post later when the quilt top is finished which is going together quite fast....

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Neck tie craft

Well at the last meeting of the EG they said we did not have long to turn our old neckties into snakes...  I have this striped one, blue and maroon, mainly because I was last to the bag and all the best ties had gone....

But I had an idea...
Snake stuffed with toy stuffing, ready to go

Stuffing the tie from both ends was the first move in the jigsaw, then I had to coax the inner fabric of the tie into the classic v shapes for the tail and the mouth.  Next I had a rummage through my bits and pieces and found some suitable items.

I wanted red leather for the tongue as I wanted it to match the red in the stripes. I also found an old tassle I had made many moons ago.

Finding the right 'eyes' was not difficult as I had some old buttons in my collection too, these came from a Marks and Sparks jumper I seem to recall, not mine, my mother in laws.

Lastly, I found a small piece of chequered ribbon which had been attached to a present I think.  I also needed a name but one kept nagging me and I stuck with it......

So may I introduce you to Melissa the Hissa ...... drum roll......

A snake with attitude!

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Farfield Mill - Margaret Townsend quilt

Great minds think alike, I bought this material too.  The one with the hearts on it, except I thought it would make some great table mats, funny how different the two uses are and yet the hearts are very apt on the edge of this quilt.  I love the whimsical feel this work has and the way she has made the work come together with the use of narrow strips of fabric, a technique which I sometimes employ.  I began to think that sometimes when we go to a quilt show there is so much to see that we pass each quilt by far too quickly to move onto the next one instead of settling down for a really good look and think about the one infront of us.  So take your time and have a good look at this one just like Margaret did when she designed it.

I also like to make tabs on the top of smaller quilts for hanging them by and often use a stick or piece of bamboo as the pole. I chose to photograph a close up of the dog becaue I like dogs in quilts.  My own piece on show in the same room had several dogs on it too. But not like this one which appears to be a fox terrier or Jack Russell. I love the change in 'pace' which the night scene with the owl brings to the quilt and also the way the bars of fabric interact to give subtlety to the fowls and animals which might appear too crude if not sympathetically framed.  Yes I think this is a fun quilt.  Underneath I have reproduced the text from the card displayed with the quilt.

Margaret Townsend

Daisy’s Birthday Pieces

Margaret’s grand-daughter, Daisy, gave her a bag of small pieces of fabric for her birthday, which she brought from a local quilt sale. Shortly afterwards, Margaret came across the work of Janet Bolton, and then her book, My Grandmother’s Patchwork Quilt - so she felt she had to make the quilt! The wall-hanging is hand stitched using needle turned appliqué onto a background fabric, quilted onto a wool batting foundation, with surface embroidery, it falls into the category of Folk Art.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Farfield Mill, Sedbergh quilt exhibition

Two ladies admiring my Wainwright quilt I see
You may recall that last Sunday I went to Sedbergh to see some quilts which were being exhibited at Farfield Mill and that I was unable to post photos of them because of a problem with blogger.  Well they fixed it and so I thought I would make a start this evening. I don't have all of the photos ready yet so you will have to make do with these two.  The first photo gives a general view of the space allocated to the Quilter's Guild members and is at the very start of the event so more people were supping wine than actually viewing..... I quickly downed mine and put the glass back empty because wine and quilts don't mix in my opinion and when I saw that they had placed some of them really low on the floor I was pleased I had not wandered about glass in hand.....

A quilt by Nicola Howell our Quilter's guild Regional Coordinator
This second quilt was the largest in the exhibition and the colours were lovely and vivid, it was a shame I could not find a catalogue anywhere to bring away so that I could name each quilt and I resorted to taking a photo and then speaking into my camera's microphone to say who made each quilt. I did not have time to also say what they were all called, sorry. 

This exhibition runs for another 10 weeks and finishes on the 7th April so you have time to go and see for yourself.  Their are plenty of other exhibits and more quilts in other rooms by professionals.  You will find ample parking albeit a bit muddy and the outside of the mill does not impress, but inside is a different story. There is also a very good cafeteria which sold lunches and the usual snacks and home made baking.  We did not have long to spend there because the snow was starting to lay and we wanted to head back before dark, but we are planning a trip back for the day and you really could spend several hours at the mill, it's so interesting.

I will post more photos soon.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Farfield Mill, Sedbergh

Hi all,  sorry I have not posted for a bit, don't know where the time has gone. Anyway, I will try and make amends with the next couple of postings. This will be short tonight as time has flown again.  But sneak a peak at these......

Oops, blogger will not let me load my photos from my computer, so that's the end of that then.  I was going to post some quilts up....

Does anyone have the same problem, when I click on the photo link it does not come up with the option to upload files from my computer anymore.....and I don't use the picasa option its offering me, I don't like Picasa and I don't like being forced to use software I don't like....... annoyed.