Tuesday 30 September 2008


I spent simply ages working out the pattern repeats for this border. I had to fit in 11 X 6" down each side and then start the corner treatment 3/4" away from the corner. After much playing with compasses I go it right. I cut the cardboard edge stencil so I could mark the placements. Did it fit when I got to the next corner? No. Much blue air round Toad Hall today. Never mind 'I have a plan' which I shall reveal if it works. If it doesn't, just look skyward towards Toad Hall and see the blue cloud.
I traced the shape six times onto freezer paper, layered it 6 sheets deep then freemotioned without thread along the lines. I have done this before but this time, I put my foot to the floor and moved the paper slowly. This was brilliant, it 'cut' the shapes for me.

Then using a glue stick, I glued each side of each shape, clipping into the concave curves. I didn't fold the ends over as they shall be covered by the next piece.

Just laying these few out on the table, I'm pleased to see they look as good as I expected.

Sunday 28 September 2008

Does everyone do this?

Twice a year one lot of clothes goes up into the loft and the opposite season's clothes come down.
I'm trying to cull both the winter and summer ones. I start off well with things going into the charity shop sack with abandon, and then it slows down....
The one Christian Dior piece I have ever owned. 20 years out of fashion and size. The Karl Lagerfeld jacket.... Then those pants which would be great for painting or gardening but how many gardening clothes do you really need?
Watching Fliss pack up her things for university this year, I saw she has inherited this trait of hanging on to stuff. Not a good thing.
My aim is to have less stuff, much less stuff. I try, I really do try but I'm my own worst enemy.
So yesterday I ended up bringing in more stuff, I can't help myself.
I couldn't resist these Christmas decorations. I already have enough decorations to decorate umpteen trees...
And this Christmas plate. To be fair on myself the plate we've always used for our Christmas pudding was broken last year so we did need another. (duh)
And I did manage to resist this fish tureen until DH fell in love with it too. Do we need a fish tureen? Of course not. We already have a white tureen (not fish). I do love this though.....

Friday 26 September 2008

Today' s visitor

He is often on the roof (and it's a little scary when you are alone in the house), often in the stream, once on the side of the pond. I see him most on the neighbour's house over the road, but this morning he was in the garden.
The photo is not brilliant as the flash reflected of the glass

Thursday 25 September 2008

Remember this quilt?

I don't normally make 'theme' quilts but was given the heads up by a few people to enter the French show as the theme was feathers. It was a specific size so I couldn't send a work already done and did this one. Perhaps I was guilty of arrogance on my part but it truly never occurred to me that this quilt would be rejected. It was.
I found out what it felt like and it's not a pleasant feeling. However I picked myself up and entered it in the Scottish Quilt Championships where it has won the Wholecloth Award. I'm delighted and my faith in this piece has been restored (grin),

Tuesday 23 September 2008

Not a lot to report

I managed to fussy cut the dotted fabric so I shall get spots in the centre of the narrow strips. These scissors were the only ones I could get the bandaged finger through. I have stitched it on and played with designing a chain border, let me just say the designing is sending me nuts.
I'm getting tempted just to design it to the width, ignoring the length and just 'fudging' it to make it fit.

Sunday 21 September 2008

Thank you!

Thank you all for your kind wishes!
After I wrote my blog we went to one of the giant 24 hour supermarkets with a pharmacy to see if they suggested anything different and lollipop sticks were their advice.
I started to feel queasy so we nipped into Marks and Spencers for a ready meal but then I started to faint. Colin got me into the car before the first aider went overboard with her health and safety stuff. And I had my very first Krispie Kreme do nut. Get thee behind me Satan! These are best to be one of those things which never pass your lips. And I started to feel better.
We had a take out instead and stupidly I used my fingers to draw the footstool closer. Ow Ow! Then I fell asleep for a couple of hours. I took a codeine based pain killer .
This morning I had to have a look which was agonising and the waves of nausea came back. I puddled around not doing much and slept all afternoon.
So it looks like I might be fully occupied sleeping over the next week. Works for me.....

Saturday 20 September 2008

A bit Heath Robinson but

it works.

I grabbed the car keys out of the key cupboard in a rush and somehow managed to hook my finger into one of the hooks as I dragged out the keys. For a finger this is deep . I felt the end of the hook scrape the bone. Big ouch! about a third of the pad at the top of my finger flapped loose. Lots of blood and swearing. Found the steari strips and one of those new fangled band aids which seal a wound. Then DH thought it should be immobilised. So a lollipop stick sawn in half, and I have a splint of sorts with an ordinary bandaid holding it in place. I suppose I won't get any stitching done this week....
It, like the burn didn't hurt too much but it does now. It's throbbing for England....

With friends like this

who needs enemies? I did a lot of procrastinating yesterday whilst deciding about the borders. In the end I decided to put 1/4" borders of the blue spot between the main part and the border. The dots on the spotted fabric are just over an 1/8th of an inch so careful cutting is essential if I don't want some parts to be completely blue and some looking as though it has holes were the edge of spots are showing. So I heavily starched one side of this long length. I do mean heavily, I did three or four times and left it pooled on the floor in front of the ironing board before going out.
So who's here making lots of lovely creases when I go in this morning?
Bless Sinclair, I do love him but sometimes he just makes it a little hard.

Thursday 18 September 2008

Designing borders

I suppose this could be another little thing which gives me pleasure. Fax rolls. They are 8" wide and perfect for designing borders.
I did a little playing today. I haven't decided yet which if any of these I 'll use. I think I must have sleeping sickness. All I managed today was cleaning up the sewing room and these few designs (and an afternoon nap) If only I could manage my sleeping in one go and at night.
Fliss's plane has landed and she's on the bus back to her friend's house before driving home. I long to see her.

Wednesday 17 September 2008


I should know better than to rotary cut whilst I'm tired. I did all those pesky part sewn seams (and still managed to miss a little on one of them) then went to trim it down and...
the ruler slipped! OOPS!
In the war against insomnia I took a herbal sleeping pill last night, and though I woke up at about 8am, I didn't get up until noon. I did the weekly shop, thought I'd get the ironing out of the way, and then found my iron has died. It's one of those lovely ones with a big tank and continuous steam. And of course a the best part of a day going to get a new one (not tomorrow as DH is borrowing my car).
I tried to play in QuiltPro designing the borders but then my system crashed......
Some days you should just stay in bed.

Tuesday 16 September 2008

Frozen in indecision

Perhaps I should have looked the photos first.
I had finished the central star and re auditioned background fabrics for it.

In the photos I feel the red lloks best.
However in daylight the royal blue looks stunning and I had planned more of this in the borders. So I went ahead and was quite pleased.
Then awake at 4.30am I took another look, it was dire. On waking a 2nd time it also looked bad so the plan for today was a lot of unpicking and redoing the central star to remove the royal dot (or royal pain in the backside).
Then after my shower I opened the curtains and it looked good again.
Quilting is supposed to be stress relieving isn't it....?

Sunday 14 September 2008

Little things which give pleasure

I thought I'd start and occasional series of things which give me pleasure. This might be because of their function or their beauty or both, or some other reason altogether.
I've just been mixing the Yorkshire pudding batter for tonight's dinner and using my very favourite hand whisk. The one on top used to be my favourite because it was big and had three layers of wires. It's good, very good but the one below it is brilliant. It has two main layers, then a wire ball with a solid ball inside that. It's amazing, in just about 20 seconds (or maybe ten, I wasn't counting) the batter is mixed.
It doesn't take much to make me happy, does it?
And then in the same vein is this little gizmo with the balls at the end of the wires. This one is perfect for stirring sauces in the pan. It gets into the corners and stops any lumps forming. Don't you love it when things work perfectly?
And today I've made a start on the central feather which will go into the middle of the giant one.

Friday 12 September 2008

Slowly but unsurely

I'm getting there.
I started the day at the chiropodist and I have to use the Lidl supermarket carpark, which means I have to shop there. I found this super little thing I've wanted for ages but always felt they were vastly overpriced. This one isn't. Do I do jigsaws? Of course not, but it will be brilliant to roll up unfinished projects away from the cat.
I managed to assemble as much as possible of the quilt without having even decided on the centre. Someone commented a while back that she was surprised I was designing this from the outside in. Until I received this comment I hadn't even been aware that's what I was doing. I 'knew' when I bought the fabrics that the cream fabric was going to be the background and the red spot the sawtooth on the star. So given those facts the design had to go with the order of assembly.
Now I have to choose the centre fabric (BTW there will probably be another star in the centre).
My feeling is for the lighter blue dot. The downside is this particular fabric is not a quilt fabric. It's a light weight curtain fabric. I'll wash it to shrink it down and also to see what it looks like after washing (some fabrics just seem to loose all their oomph).

Thursday 11 September 2008

Quilting is a dangerous sport

I started putting these stars onto the background yesterday. I got four put in place but not the hemming down of the striped bias.
I think I might do a little trial cushion cover to see what happens in the wash if they are left loose. I could guarantee them looking good after washing if I added some piping but this would add a stiffness to this area which is undesirable on a quilt but OK on a cushion. I like the way they add interest to the background without being 'in your face' and detracting from the main star.

Whilst piecing those little stars, I managed to lean my forearm onto the stick part of that little iron. I wasn't sure whether it was worth a trip to the surgery to get it dressed properly as it strangely didn't hurt very much. One look from the nurse and yes I had done the right thing. She covered it with some new cream just for burns and this band aid which has to remain dry and on for 48 hours, and then I have a 2nd type of band aid for a 2nd 48hours. I can shower with a a plastic bag over it but hair washing is a tad difficult.

Whilst I went to the surgery, wonderful Steph had a go at Fliss's bathroom. For me having a decorator in is a luxury, having one who clears the room, and cleans it first is my idea of heaven. We both have come to the conclusion that this floor was a mistake. The biggest mistake was having a non specialist laying it. The mastic type grout is very badly applied and lots is stuck permanently to the stones. This was after she spent ages scrubbing it with a brush and Oxygel. I still like it but would never do it again. And the wonderful Steph is 3/4s finished on painting the room!

Wednesday 10 September 2008

A mother shouldn't be jealous of her daughter

but when she's flying off for a week here wouldn't you be?

I can see DH and I booking a week there next year........

Tuesday 9 September 2008

Standard wisdom say when you are joining two pieces like this together you should get even 'ears' sticking out either side. I don't. I like to crease both pieces in the centre and line up the centres. To me it makes more sense for it to allign in the middle than at the edges.

So I got these done today, I'd not remembered how long piecing takes.
I will need another star to go into the centre of the giant star. I have more space to play with there so it might be a smaller feathered star or perhaps a larger Peaceful Star. Decision time tomorrow.
I got a phone call yesterday from Heide Stoll Weber. She had received her quilt and is delighted.... Phew! It will be shown on her stand in the French show this month and between shows will hang in the studio where she teaches. Stupidly I was in such a rush to send it to her, I forgot to add a label, duh. I'll make one tomorrow.

Monday 8 September 2008

A little progress

I started doing the foundation piecing for the mini (9") feathered stars. After doing two pieces of one point of one star this small I knew I'd never have the patience to do 14 more just for one to the stars let alone for 8 stars. So a rethink was in order.
I decided to do this star which I have always called a feathered star without the feathers. Last night I found it called a Peaceful Star so at least it has a name now. It's the same basic shape as the large one they will surround so it won't clash with it's shapes.

I plan to put them into circles like I did those circle appliqués last week.

Notice how I have extended both the outside squares and triangle so they 'float' within the block.

Saturday 6 September 2008

Playing Quiltpro can hit your wallet

Now I want to buy these fabrics to give it more of that 40's feel.....
I've decided to put smaller feathered stars into the background triangles and squares, so that should keep me busy. It will be in this feather and those little triangles workout at less than 1/2" each. Wish me luck.
I'll do one and if I'm not pleased I shall redraft it with only two feathers off each kite shape.

Friday 5 September 2008

Busy getting not a lot done

I found out the hard way when cutting very large pieces it pays to use templates. I cut them to the finished size in freezer paper, then use the ruler to trim my 1/4" seam outside. With very large pieces the grain line is even more important as there is a greater length to stretch. I can get quite anal about it (no surprise there then) and not only line up on the grain but line up on the grain parallel to the selvedges. This grain has the least stretch.
I takes time cutting like this and I was quite disappointed at how harsh this royal blue dot looked.

So I carefully cut this softer blue, but then was disappointed at how the contrast turned out between the blues. It looked fine next to the lighter blue on the cutting table. (I might still use this in the centre)

By this time my neck was hurting leaning over the cutting table so I sort of fussy cut this cream and roses. I like this best.

Wednesday 3 September 2008

Another day disappeared...

Spent this morning at the hospital, then most of this afternoon spent on the phone to lovely Adam at our isp who did his very best to sort out my router failure. He didn't manage it but a new one is winging it's way over here by 10.30am tomorrow and DH has managed to get me up and running but not him or DD who use a wireless connection.
I did manage to do a little playing on QuiltPro trying out these colour ways. I could go through the process of scanning the actual fabrics I have, but these are close enough.
I removed some of the outer fabric it 'floats' in and added a very narrow red border, a wider border, another red and the a bias cut striped binding.
It's fun
And it only takes seconds to change it all.
Ruth Parker kindly took some photos of my quilt and sent me this snap of me talking with Ricky Tims. (Note to self, do not carry a shoulder strap like that on a loose top again) It must have happened but I don't remember it (grin).

Tuesday 2 September 2008


was less than successful. DD locked her keys in her car at work when she needed to get to a doctor's appointment. I lost and eventually found the label for the quilt going to the show in Scotland (repeat after me, 'I must be more organised') The opticians have failed miserably to get my glasses right yet again but this time they rang up and wanted more money. I have been awake since just before 4am (long term insomnia is counter productive to the creative process)
But still I did get the giant feathered star drawn out in QuiltPro so I suppose that's something. Though QuiltPro really didn't want to play nice today. And in the end the quilt to Scotland and Heide's one have gone in the post.

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Monday 1 September 2008

Other ideas for that appliqué method

Sorry I haven't time to make samples to share with you so you just have to accept these pencil ideas. One day, may be when the Time Lord grants me more hours in the day...