Saturday, 28 October 2017

At last my Cove holiday quilt is finished apart from a label

I have finally finished this quilt I started in Cove in February. I left it most of the summer because I was busy with the garden. 
 I grew more lilies in pots than ever before and they really added a zing.
 Also this hydrangea had never flowered properly even though I had planted it 16 years ago, so I was delighted with it.  I had to cover it up against the frost in the spring but it was ok.
 I bought some new fuchsias from Wales this one is Carmel Blue
I made 4 fruit marmalade and windfall apple marmalade
 But here is what you have been waiting for the photos of the Cove quilt.  I used a simple 9 patch theme and decided to quilt it in the Welsh style with coloured threads which I selected in greens, blues, pinks and yellow.  The yellow thread was thick and it was for lining out and giving some detail to the flowery centre. I also found that my new walking foot was excellent for making small Welsh style squares and lines because it had a seem gauge I could adjust.  Now the only thing I am not sure about is where to place a label? It would look odd on the back but also may not suit the front.....

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Gardening whilst the weather is good

Icelandic poppies I grew from seed
I have been using up my spare time whilst its sunny and doing a lot of weeding and sorting in the garden.

This Syringa is always a treat at this time of year.

a miniature lilac I have had for 18 years

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Progress on my 9 patch quilt

Backstitch on the back
 I am using machine quilting for the main motifs and filling in with hand quilting on the 'scissors' in the hearts as its in the Welsh style. Jacqui Harvey does a video on how to do it on her website, and she is one of the very best hand quilters in the UK. 
Its going to be double sided
 I am going to finish all of the hearts and then fill in the leaf shapes with hand quilting too but probably just ordinary quilt stitch not backstitch.
Back of backstitch is bolder
 The patchwork side is showing up the bold reverse effect of doing the backstitch from the back of the quilt.
Herdwick sheep in hiding?
 We walked our Border Terrier Bella down by the lake today and this sheep was so relaxed about hiding in the grass . In the background you can see the steeple of St. John's church and also the local hills.
Derwentwater this afternoon

This is the view taken the other way of the lake and Catbells with Derwent Isle in the centre of the lake and the boat landings on the left.  I am so lucky to live in this beautiful part of the UK.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Finished and plants added

The safety glass is in place
So this was the scene yesterday before I put some plants inside as the weather in Cumbria over the Easter week is set to be quite cold at night, there could even be a frost for all I know.

It must be warm inside as the glass is misting up
So I added some fuchsias which I bought on a trip to Trefriw last spring.
Roualeyn Nursery
North Wales
LL27 0SX

They are the best growers of these wonderful plants that I know. My favourite has to be Garden News it just bloomed all summer on the patio outside my new conservatory, superb.

Hardy Fuchsia 'Garden News'
Well its pouring with rain today, so I think I will do some more on my quilt.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Progress on my garden again

The base I made with my trowel
I carefully made four channels for all of the bricks for the base of my cold frame and now it is ready for some weed inhibitor fabric to be laid on the raked earth.  Hopefully it will be easier to keep the weeds at bay once its installed.  The safety glass has been ordered for the frame doors and should be here tomorrow but Easter may make that a bit more uncertain.  Anyway, the frame will be finished next week and I already have loads of young seedlings waiting to harden off in it from the greenhouse.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Latest project non quilting its gardening instead

I have been quilting at night but during the day, as it is now spring I have been using skills I learned at the age of 17 when I was an archaeological volunteer with 'LEMARGE' or Lower Medway Archaeological Research Group.  Yes I have been using my 5" mason's pointing trowel to make small trenches for bricks for my new cold frame foundation.  Lots of fun in the garden in the lee of the greenhouse.

This is the area for the new cold frame

My husband is making the cold frame he is brilliant at joinery
More pictures will be coming once I have this project cracked!

Monday, 27 March 2017

Birthday carrot cake

I have a friend who was having a special birthday last Friday so I made him my Carrot Cake.  I take it that this photo taken by the legendary mountaineer Alan Hinkes of the 'living legend' rock climber Paul Ross means that it was appreciated and not that it was hard to cut ha ha...

Paul having fun cutting the cake

To celebrate his special day, Paul climbed Little Chamonix in Borrowdale and he was filmed doing so.  I can't wait to see the footage.

Paul has a very interesting Facebook page where he often posts photos of his adventures and he also gives lectures about his life so too does Alan Hinkes of course as he is the only British mountaineer to have climbed all 14 of the world's mountains over 8,000 metres.

Anyway, Alan said to me that although the cake was for Paul he thought carrots were strictly for dinner and he preferred chocolate or lemon cake.  Was that a big hint I wonder?

Sunday, 19 March 2017


Old curtains but with a use?
Sometimes you just have to admit that your plans won't work.  I had hoped to use a backing for the quilt from a piece of fabric I had but after adding the sawtooth border the quilt grew too big.....

So, as I had a set of cream calico lined curtains no longer used around the place I checked them for length.  Do you know that they were about right but only if I unpicked the heading tape arghhh.

So life gives you opportunities I said to myself and got stuck in, after all it only took 40 minutes on a wet Sunday morning, what would I have done if I had not had the unpicking to do?  I might have been gardening in the mud. I don't think so.  They are now in the washing machine.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

The blocks are joined and the edge added

I have just finished the quilt top by adding a sawtooth border all around the blocks.  I have no intention of making it any bigger as this is going to be a 'topper' quilt for when it is cold and we need a bit of extra warmth rather like the old eiderdowns I grew up with.

It fits on top of the other quilts
I know it will shrink in when I quilt it and I have a thickish 80/20 cotton/polyester wadding chosen.  So the weather is set to rain for the next few days with the storm which hit New York arriving as cold wet rainy and windy conditions.  At least it is better than that snow.... The perfect pastime is to quilt when its cold and wet outside.  I do anticipate better spring weather soon though as DH mowed the lawn for the first time yesterday and my greenhouse is starting to resemble a tidy haven for plants again, just a little more to do and some seed trays to plant up.

Monday, 13 March 2017

A holiday quilt

We went on holiday to Berwickshire at the end of February for 6 nights and stayed in a lovely cottage called The Watch Cottage.
Our home from home

As we do not have a television at home (not for the last 16 years) we always ignore these black boxes when they appear in cottages.  So we took our usual hobbies, he took his modelling; 0 Gauge Railway engine kit he is making and I took my little portable Brother sewing machine.
The evenings were spent doing our thing and we both had a good break.  I took over the small kitchen table and he had the dining room one with the wonderful view over the sea.  Anyway, the resulting blocks are as you see below.  It is of  course a simple 9 patch as I did not want to try anything complicated on holiday but I think the resulting quilt will be good.  I am working on sewing all the blocks together this week.  I have left the medallion quilt for the moment but will return to it once this little one is complete.

9 patch quilt

By the way the hiking around Berwickshire is great and the coastal paths are special, so too are the interesting rocks on the way.

Lovely weather in Berwickshire for early March but very windy.
We visited the local church at Whitekirk and it has an interesting copy of a charter but you will need to brush up your Latin to read it.  The interesting thing of course is the signatories who could not write their names so they used crosses shown at the bottom.

Well I hope you enjoy this little reminder of our holiday and I will be back soon with piccies of the finished 9 patch.  If you are 'across the pond' you will find the village of Cove which is where the cottage is to the right of that huge metropolis called Edinburgh, just follow the coastline until you see a village called Cockburnspath which is pronounced Copath and Cove is on the coast above it.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Bought a new vacuum cleaner a couple of weeks ago

I had my old vacuum for so long that it was shoddy and a bit out of date.  It was a good one but needed replacing with something better as there is so much choice out there now.  I chose a Dyson in the end because I did my research into the various tools it came with.  I don't know about you, but buying a vac without plenty of accessories is a waste of time I think.  I wanted a machine which gave me plenty of opportunities for getting in nooks and crannies and for reaching up to the picture rail which is in nearly every room in the house and which collects dust badly if left.

Anyway, I also wanted to try it out on my smaller quilts which hang on the walls in the house.  Do you know it was perfect. I kid you not.  There is a special tool for dusting flat surfaces and it has a very soft underneath which I used actually on the quilts and it removed all of the small particles of dust without dragging the fabric or distressing it at all. 

Quilt based on the ceiling at Sizergh Castle, Cumbria
This quilt is cream and has extensive machine embroidery and even a few Swarovski crystals attached.  It hangs on the wall at the top of the stairs and has been there for about 8 - 10 years, I had brushed it now and then but mostly ignored it... So the top and bottom had dust and also a small amount on the roundels but not anymore.

The photo shows the tool and I had just used it to remove some dog hair, yes Bella had jumped on the bed and she is quite hairy at the moment because being a Border Terrier she will need stripping in about 4 weeks as she has to be done twice a year.

Irish Chain quilt with Dyson tool

One of the 'Sizergh' stags after cleaning.

Fuji Autumn had a clean too
So I had a go at Fuji which I used to keep in the bedroom and now and then passed a clothes brush softly over. I am pleased to say that I now know I can trust this tool to keep my quilts which I don't wash as they are wall hangings clean.

Friday, 10 February 2017

New quilt underway


A Medallion Quilt
I am busy trying out different effects with fabrics which I hope will make an interesting antique looking medallion quilt.  I have made quilts with a central theme before but they were for the Linus Project and were donated by me to that charity.  So this one is for me and I want to try and quilt it in the Welsh style and that seemed to support the idea of a central motif.  Of course I mean to machine quilt it, but I don't see why it should not still look Welsh.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Night Owls

I managed to photograph the new quilt in my conservatory as it is so large.  I had my DH helping me with holding it up one end on a chair...
I used some Japanese owl fabric in the small sashing squares and elsewhere hence the name.

So now it is finished I might be able to sit back and enjoy it, as it certainly took a long time to make.  It was an idea put forward during a meeting of a quilt group I go to in Penrith about two years ago.  So we all bought Lyn Edwards' book on Sampler Quilts version 2 and were supposed to make one block a month.  I left it for several months before I realised I had not made a single block and they were on about number seven.  So I switched up a gear and made some.  It's a mixture of hand and machine piecing which was a challenge at times.  Eventually I finished about twelve blocks and then had a look at the block choices remaining and did not like some of them. Luckily I did have a couple of Susan Briscoe books and turned to her Japanese blocks for inspiration.  I think they were 9 inch and I had to size them up on my HP printer to about 12 inch. Anyway, I chose all appliqué as I preferred those designs and thought I had done enough complicated piecing! So those of you with an eagle eye can see if you can spot which blocks are Susan's.  A clue; there are five.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Long time away

Well it has been a long time since I visited this blog, but I had a long long visit from my DD who I had not seen for 5 years and when she left in late May there were holidays and work and somehow the summer went into autumn.  Anyhow, I have at last finished the Sampler Quilt which I must have started over two years ago, it took so long to do!  At the moment I don't have many good photos of it so I am going to post just the odd one if I can find it.

Still quilting but on the last pieces
I moved my sewing table into a small bedroom at the front of the house and I was surprised that everything managed to fit into such a confined space.  I actually like it up there because I had to be very selective about what went where and that has made it easy for me to put my hand to anything I need.  I bought a new swivel chair too and its also compact but works well in the space.

Nearly finished, just the edges to do.

I tried it on the spare bed and it looked ok so this was before I finished the edges and removed all of the blue marker lines with cold water.  I will need a good day to photograph it and also need to put a hanging sleeve on it too and of course the label which is ready but not sewn on yet. Hopefully I will post again later this week.