Friday, 30 November 2007

Aren't these lovely?

These are some of the Jane Austin fabrics from Makower. (take a look, they have some free patterns, including a super Christmas Fireplace by Ferret) Whilst I haven't been able to quilt you can see it's never been far from my mind. (or wallet)
Yesterday was a disaster, I had to go into town to post my DD's phone back to her. Whilst there I popped into the local discount bookshop (I'll show my purchases there tomorrow), from there I went to the other bookshop/newsagents and bought a Popular Patchwork as I saw a photo of one of Ferret's quilts. Then I hit the chemists, picked up a giant pot of my favourite face cream and put it back on the shelf when I was told at the till it was £99 ($200)! It's still cheaper than paying for the small tubes but nothing is that good. The lovely lady at the till told me it will be down to half price in a couple of weeks, I can wait.
Next was another shop to buy a new kettle for making tea in the bedroom, then the mobile phone shop to find out how DD can receive photos on her phone. Then the supermarket. Why am I boring you with all this?
Well my trolley was full of groceries including frozen food, I discovered I'd lost my car and house keys. By this time all the other shops were closed. I had visions of someone wandering round the car park clicking the key until they 'won' my car. Thankfully DH was on the train back from London and I only had to wait 45 minutes to be rescued by him with a spare set of keys.
Another day and things were brighter, they had been handed in at the Post Office.
And here's a little photo that some very kind lady took of DD with her phone at the entrance to the party the other night. She's on the right, the lady on the left is one of the Gyptions.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

A very good friend

I'm very lucky on the friend front. I don't have oodles and oodles of friends but those I do are wonderful. My sister says the definition of a friend is someone who you could ring up at 3am with a disaster and know they will be there for you. I think that's a good one. The rest are friendly acquaintances.
My friend Pauline was just over for a coffee and we talked about how much time the cottage has eaten up. She also thought it was about time I started on my quilts so they would be ready for next year. I explained how I couldn't pin baste them tight enough without getting down on the floor and that is a physical impossibility at the moment. So she's gone off with the sample piece to pin for me and will bring it back over the weekend. When I see how that looks quilted up she's going to pin the whole quilt.
What an angel!
Thank you Pauline!

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

My fairy

Your fairy is called Feather Goblinfilter
She is a bringer of riches and wealth.
She lives in high places where the clouds meet the earth.
She is only seen on midsummer's eve.
She wears pale blue like the sky. She has gentle green wings like a butterfly.
Get your free fairy name here!
I just couldn't resist finding out my fairy name after the magic of last night. How weird is this. Feather (well my blog is feather and GOBlinfilter when just last night I watched the dreadful fearsome GOBlers)

Drawing very large ovals in QuiltPro

First change your grid to circular and set the number of radials (lines coming out from the middle) to a high number which is divisible by four. I've used 16 but 32 or 48 would be better but it wouldn't show up well in a photo.
Then using the circle shape tool draw a circle any size. Then using the line tool draw a line vertically and horizontally going through the centre of the circle. then draw shorter lines going from each outside radial towards the centre but not all the way.

Change your grid settings back to solid. Go to the edit menu and 'select all' and move the whole drawing to the top left hand corner as far as it will go.

Reduce your screen so you can see the measurement for the width you want your oval to be. The using the toggle half way down on the right stretch it all over to that width. You can see how far you have gone by looking at the measurement at the top of the screen. At this point you might want to reduce the screen some more so you can fit in the height of your oval. Then stretch the shape down as far as you want.

Print this off to 'fit to page' . Using the tape measure tool measure the distance from each mark on the outside to the centre and write it on your printout.
Then all you have to do is trace out your printout onto a large enough piece of paper (or place it directly under your fabric) and extend all the lines out as far as you need. Then mark on each line the right distance. Join up the marks and voila! you can have a perfect oval in any size you could wish for.

Too much fun not to blog it.

I've just got home from going to the Golden Compass premiere. It was a really great evening. Great film, true to the book but obviously some bits missing to fit it into the time frame. I'm in love with armored polar bears.
And the after party was great. Great food, great people watching, great music, great champagne and great cocktails.
I copied this just before we left home.
Did I mention Hugh Grant was there as well?
Night, night, hic

Monday, 26 November 2007

Twit Twoo

We've been up at the cottage over the weekend and I think we're finally done. Yippee!
Now all I have to do before life gets back to normal and I can get back to my sewing machine is sort out the two car loads of stuff here.
Saturday night was fabulous, a new moon with clouds scurrying past and the cry of a tawny owl. This is the traditional owl who makes the Twit Twoo sound. You can hear the various British owls and see photos here. DH told me a story of how when he was a lad his father and a friend went out with torches to try and scare one away as they didn't like the noise. I loved this sound, mainly because the owls where I've lived previously all screech instead. By 2am I understood, by 4am I thought the poor bird was insane. By 6am I thought torches were not enough (grin). Why make so much noise and advertise you are out hunting?
I need to stitch. My hands feel as though they are seizing up, it's been weeks since I've had a good go in my sewing room. I'm going to start with a quilt or two for the local neo natal unit. These are small 14" X 16" and the new born have no idea that these are practice pieces.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Early coverlet

Some people shouldn't be allowed out. I'm one of them so I don't very often, the temptation to buy is too great. But of course these days one can buy online. What's a girl to do?
This lovely appliqué coverlet said buy me. I tired in vain to resist but I couldn't. Isn't it wonderful. Some of the fabrics have been fussy cut on the tulips. The toile de Jouy bird only appears in one corner. Was it added later or did the maker just fancy having it on her side of the bed? Or perhaps she placed it so it would show when you opened the bedroom door? It doesn't cover up a hole in the fabric which was my first thought. All the needle turn appliqué is quite finely done.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Who I still expect to see in the mirror

I'm still surprised every morning when I see this stranger who looks vaguely like my mother in the mirror.
In the mammoth tidying up I found these photos.
This was me at 18 high up on a tiny balcony in a Kensington bedsit (taken by a then boyfriend studying photography)

This was in my late 20's with my Jersey cow, Lily. Those horns grew much bigger. She was a darling creature who would happily let me use her as a backrest whilst I read a book in the sunshine and she chewed her cud.

And this is aged about 31-33. By this time all country pursuits had been abandoned and I was (am) deeply in love. This is probably the most like who I still expect to see in the morning (grin).

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Wow, see what happens when....

I played last night with re-colouring yesterday's circular design using 6 graduations of two colours. Click it to see it full sized. This wouldn't actually meet up nicely because I've just looked at how many radials I used to design this and it's 160 which doesn't divide by 6. I could either redo it with 5 graduations of each colour or redo the whole thing with a number of radials divisible by 6.
I think this effect is really cool and might make the effort to actually make this. Though there is still one thing holding me back and that's the lack of space for some sexy quilting.

I've tried before to take photos of these berries in my garden. They look good in the photo but I can't get my camera to play properly. The colour is in fact far deeper and brighter. Pure magenta. They are each the size of a petite pois. I have no idea of the shrub's name (anyone know?)

Thankfully the birds only have a go at them in very late winter/early spring so they look this fabulous for most of the winter. Unlike they hollies which all seem to loose their berries to the birds just before I need a small bunch for the Christmas pudding.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

one design done and one in progress

This first one is a simple Star on Bethlehem. I designed it with the view of making it out of one colour of ombre fabric with the graduation in colour going gently from selvedge to selvedge. I planned to cut the strips for piecing parallel to the selvedge rather than across the width of fabric.
This one has no curves in the piecing despite appearances. However it sent my nearly insane just colouring it in, so I don't think I'd ever have the patience to piece it even though I like it's concept.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Star within a star within star within a star........

I have been thinking about this design for simply ages. I may or may not have feathers on the outermost star. I'm having a problem with the mechanics of the design. In theory this shaped star should fit within an octagon of any size, but as you can see the perfect octagon degenerates as it gets smaller. I've tried designing it from the smallest out and there is still distortion. The basic star itself is probably my favourite block, I love the secondary star of the white triangles.
The design problem happens in exactly the same way whether drawn out full sized on paper or drawn in Quilt Pro. I've been told the problems with the computer is there is a rounding up or down and the drawing on a drawing board is a similar effect.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Great Eye Candy and a small purchase

Renae Haddadin's website must have some of the best eye candy for quilters on the web. She is an award winning longarm quilter whose skill not only lies in great quilting, but in great design. Check through the quilts in her gallery.
One of the side effects of being laid up is spend an awful lot of time browsing the web and reading. As a consequence I placed an order for fabric I really don't need from Hancocks of Paducah. At $3,98 (or was it $4.98) for collections of charms squares and $1.98 per yard who could blame me. It's fairly neutral and at worst shall make good backing fabric, at best it could be a super background with those pale stripes adding to a design. It arrived in an amazing 3 days from placing the order. Sadly they insist on sending their catalogue with the fabric. Do I want to pay for postage for the catatlogue when I shop online? Anyway of course I read it and drooled cover to cover several times. There seems to be a dreadful amount of pseudo orientals around, sixties and roses. I like all of these but to the exception of all else?

Saturday, 17 November 2007

I am old enough to remember when

Bread, meat, milk, groceries and fish being delivered on the front of a push bike to our front door. (Now I can can the same service by ordering online and it's delivered in a cooled delivery van)
Being one of only two girls in my class going on holiday abroad.
Only two rooms in the house being warm in winter (the sitting room and the kitchen).
Sleeping under very heavy wool blankets with an eiderdown quilt on top and a hot water bottle.
Getting a new television (or any other household appliance)was a big event.
Rotary cutters hadn't been invented.
Going to jumble sales to buy old clothes to cut up for patchwork (no cotton fabric available).
When being an air hostess was desirable and glamorous.
When the lights faded as everyone got up to make a cup of tea during the commercial break.
Going to a Chinese restaurant when they only existed in central London and asking to take home the chopsticks.
Drinking milk everyday at school and having to swallow a cod liver oil tablet. (and of course that was exceptionally good for us)
The dentist giving me sweets for not crying.
The 'rag and bone' man on his horse and cart taking away unwanted household items (now I use Freecycle).
Carnaby Street just when it was the 'in' place. (And Kings Road)
When seeing someone in a sari was exotic.
Beers delivered by a team of shire horses to pubs.
Taking our car loaded up with our camping stuff on the plane to France.
The very first tasting of salad dressing in France (when olive oil could only be bought from the pharmacy for the purpose of cleaning out wax from your ears)
Butter being shaped into 'bricks' with a wooden pair of hands in Sainsburys
My friends thinking it very odd that my mother cooked rice as a savory dish.
Spaghetti was only sold dried.
I can remember pea soup fogs in London. (I had to walk to school holding onto garden walls to find my way there and nearly loosing my way crossing driveways) and having a mask of tissues to breathe through.
Traffic jams which meant although we spent each summer weekend by the sea, we'd leave at about 2pm on Sunday to 'beat' the traffic.
Only ever having one light on in the house.
Never using the telephone for a chat, it wasn't there for socialising.
Ice making beautiful patterns between the leaded lights of the windows (on the inside!) (my DH remembers ice forming on the glass of water on his bedside table)
Air hostesses cooking proper food, real cutlery and china on flights.
Furniture being bought and made to last a lifetime.
No one did their own decorating.
Cars cost nearly as much as a house.
The first day I saw underwear which wasn't white or black (or heaven forbid skin tone pink)
Wearing stockings, not from choice but pantyhose didn't arrive until I was about 14.

Just a few musings, I'm sure there are many more odd things which will come to mind over the next day or so.

Would I want to go back, no way.
BTW I am not old.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Correction to this morning's post

A couple of you seem to think I had something to do with the making of this quilt, not me but the lovely local women who make quilts for the refuge.

At last ,something useful I CAN do

OK, no one would say this is the most inspirational quilt in the world but it's going to one of the kids at the women's refuge. One local quilter wanted to practice a pantograph and all I have to do is hand sew the binding down. I see a day of day time TV coming (or at least looking at past programs we've recorded).
You've heard of the Quilt Police? Well, in the form of my DH, I live with the Leg Police. Each morning and evening he checks on it's progress.The bruising is finally going down but yesterday I spent a little longer on my feet than previously and my leg was a tad swollen last night. I'm under orders not to stand today. So very frustrating when it doesn't hurt any more. (though I haven't tried kneeling on it yet)

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Or this?

This works better as a finished quilt. Comes out at about 85" square, has room for quilting and only requires one more block. That I can live with. Still not sure if I make that one block I'll be happy enough to finish and quilt it though.

Don't know why the photos are so very dreadful today if I had the desire I could probably sort it but they are good enough to get the idea and life is short (grin)

Playing with Seven Sisters

Apologies for the quality of these images.
So of course I found those blocks yesterday but could I find the templates? Of course not, so I quickly drafted some more in QuiltPro only to find I'd either got it wrong originally or now.
New version is this, which I find quite nice, though less space for some nice quilting in it.
As opposed to the 'original' from ten-fifteen (maybe more) years back.
Is it worth doing more to get this layout? Probably not.

But I must find something to do with my hands whilst my leg heals....
We were supposed to be going up to the cottage tonight to do some final 'fixing' but that won't be happening now. Meanwhile here at home I have the contents of one of the dressers spread round the sitting room and the temptation to sort it out is something I just have to put off.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Finding something to do

I'm really following the doctor's orders now as I want my leg to get better and it hasn't been thus far. I've spent all week so far doing nothing and quietly going out of my brain.
So I got up for a short time and tried to find some hand work to do. And I found this. Heaven knows what I was thinking about when I started making this by hand! I don't do hand work and haven't since my very first quilt back in the early 70's. I seem to remember there were a couple of extra blocks which really didn't go and someone made them up into cushions or somesuch for a quilt group sale. The block is called 'Seven Sisters'. I must have started this well over ten years ago, not a record for a UFO but well along the way to one.
I have loads of thirties fabrics so I might make a start on another block of these. Or will this send me further over the edge into boredom?

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Finding old Photo CDs

One of the joys of having a clearout is finding things you'd forgotten about.
This is Katy's Kaleidoscope quilt made in a mad rush for her wedding. (apologies to those of you who have seen it before).

On one of the CDs I found photos of the back. From what I remember I used white thread in the elipse shapes, blue in the stars, red in the border and navy in the outermost areas.
This quilt must be nearly 10 years old now and is in daily use on their bed still. It has stood up well to numerous washes which is par for the course with young children and animals around the house.

And then I found a photo of this quilt draped over the back of the sofa. It's my old sofa, my DH, and my fabrics and my style, but I have no memory whatsoever of making it, nor do I know where it has gone. I probably had one of those 'open mouth before engaging brain' situations and gave it away. (grin)

Saturday, 10 November 2007

So excited

If I were totally English I wouldn't be tooting my own horn, but I grew up in Australia and I'm an extrovert.
I heard on one of my lists that Fabrications had a photo of Nostalgia in it. I rang them up for a copy and the next morning a magazine arrived but it was Patchwork and Quilting and it had a photo in too!
Nostalgia is on the right in both these pages. To be fair they both came from the same press release from Christine Porter, the UK agent for the World Quilt Show, but hey, I'm pleased as punch to be in any magazine.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

½ pint of blood and why I create

I went to the doctors today simply because I've been nagged into it. (the previous advice was from NHS Direct). I apologized before I showed him my leg and said I didn't want to waste his time. I rolled up my trouser, and let's just say he was impressed (grin). He said there was at least ½ pint of blood in there. So I'm to rest it some more and just check no more bruising appears in the next week or so. I wish I had some hand work to be getting on with, even stitching down a binding would be welcome.
I have the threads for my big wholecloth, I have both my Auroras serviced and raring to go, even if I could sit at my machine I couldn't get down on the floor to pin it up (well the sample bit first). So frustrating.

Kate has tagged me in a 'why do you create' sort of thing.

1. When did you start and make craft?

I have early memories of making little gardens on plates, using moss as the bushes, mirrors as the grass etc. Making peg dolls was another one. Stitching started with embroidering a tea towel at School in Australia (thank you Mrs Milne!). My teacher said 'nice work Jenny'. I didn't mind she had my name wrong, it was praise and I lapped it up. I designed and made clothes for my Sindy doll, I made a patchwork Humpty Dumpty and soon after I got the book on how to draft your own dress making patterns, I started designing and making my own clothes. I added details like hand smoking, I thought I was so cool.

2. Why did you start creating?
Well the Sindy stuff and my own clothes, just because I wanted my stuff to be originals. I learnt to knit in my twenties just because it was better than sitting in front of the TV doing nothing.

3. Why do you create?
What else would I do with all the ideas going through my head?

4. What do you create?

5. How has this changed since you began crafting?
I'll change this to 'how has this changed since I began quilting?'
When I started piecing it was always with the aim of making it quickly.
Now speed is not a concern, my only concern is to try to make the very best I can do in both design and execution. I'll never achieve perfection but the journey is good.

And I tag
Exuberant Color
Idaho Beauty
If life gives you patches make quilts
Ferret Fabricates

Monday, 5 November 2007

Offically nuts!

My DD is going to Ottery St Marys tonight to the annual barrel rolling. Sounds quaint enough doesn't it? But the barrel is carried through the crowded streets full tar on fire.
Photos of last years event are here.
And more info about it here and here.
The barrels are fully alight and weigh 30 kilos (about 70 pounds).
As I said, we English are officially nuts!
I suppose the thing with bulls running through the streets is equally insane.
I'll sit at home following the doctor's advice and keep my knee up and rested.
Sounds good to me.

Knees and a boompsadaisy

On Friday our car went in for a service, it was supposed to arrive back 5-5.30pm. By 6pm I'm ringing them telling them we need it back to drive up to the cottage. I was getting a little fraught. It arrived shortly after and then it was a case of more haste and less speed to get on the road.
As I rushed back in the house to get the next load I managed to trip over the doorstep and land on my right knee 3' into the house on the stone floor. Apparently I went grey, then white. I remember my breathing went to what you use in childbirth to control the pain immediately. DH said it was ten minutes before I could even talk. (and then I asked for a Vodka).
We still went up, though what I achieved on Saturday was minimal. At one point on Sunday I got down on the floor to do something and had to shuffle on my bottom about 20' to get to a chair so I could stand back up again.
The bruising didn't come up until last night (no pictures, it isn't a pretty sight). Now it only hurts if I use it.
On the cottage front things are looking good. A good clean and a new coat of paint have removed most elements of the tenants from hell. Though I still have to source a new fire grate and TV aerial and signal booster. Funny how they left so much junk but these have disappeared?
I hope to do a little sewing this week but I'll have to see if my knee works well enough to operate the foot pedal on the sewing machine.
Feeling a little sorry for myself (and angry for being so silly to do it in the first place).

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Remember me? I used to be a quilter

Because I've been no where near my sewing machine, I thought I'd gve you some very simple quilt layouts I've done on QuiltPro.
This is a very simple Kaleidescope in blues, I would work well as a scrap quilt just by sorting out your scraps into lights and darks.
So you can see the layout here it is in grey and white.

And here's a giant Carpenter's Star. This is based on 10" squares and with a couple of borders gives a decent sized bed quilt and gives lots of lovely large areas to do some fancy quilting in. Click on it to see it's just squares and half square triangles. For the whole squares cut 10½" and for the half square triangles, cut 10 7/8" squares and then cut once on the diagonal.

We're of back up to the cottage to sort out the odds and ends and make a start on the garden. (I hope it doesn't rain).