Wednesday, 19 October 2011

whats that button?

Im still working on the hand quilting of the stash and slash purple quilt. Its slow..I am slow..but its is happening gradually.

As an interlude my darling daughter asked me to take up some rather expensive PJamas for short is a feature in my family, we reckon long as our legs reach the floor that's okay. These lovely Mama's and pappa's PJs were long! nice fabric so setting to cut a few inches off the bottoms and hem them was no real problem. Interesting little button down here says I as daughter models them with me scrabbling about on the floor..well at 7 month pregnant she isnt climbing on any tables to let me hem them..cant say I blame her tbh. coming to the conclusion that this pretty little button detail is nice but odd we proceed and turning a nice hem discover that nice little button had a nice hidden tab with button hole to roll up those long even by our diminutive size length legs.....long story short they look great but not as the designer intended ..OOOooopssssss.

Friday, 16 September 2011

The power of the password

There is nothing worse than being at the mercy of your password, especially when you forget that pass word!!!!!! aghhhhh
Took me a while but finally I have it!!!

The quilt show was great! Fat quarters for £1 and I filled my shopping bag! It was a rather tired but happy little band of assorted sewists that headed for home. I didnt take the camera but there were some stunning quilts on show, something for every taste I think.

Kate very kindly let me have her small old quilting frame so I am trying (oh how I am trying) to find the most comfortable way for me to work at it. I am sure there is some marvellous trick involved, but having a back that due to a past break, complains when I do too much of anything (thats my excuse and I am sticking to it) its all very slow.

I think finding your own style and method is something I strongly advocate, I know I am not at all technically above beginner.SO I plod along happily at my own pace.

I was delighted this morning to receive a beautifully hand carded and spun skein of wool. Thank you Ash, I do hope you enjoyed the fleece. The girls will be so chuffed when I tell them they have finally produced proper wool, now if I can just get someone to knit it into a hat for my grandson!!!

Speaking of the girls, do wish them luck, one or two of them plus tup lamb will be making their show debut at Masham this year, all things being equal, and they are not at all impressed at all the leg and face washing they are being subjected to!!!

I promise I will take pics soon!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

pups and patterns

For a sewing tray it makes a neat little laptop. shame its not always well behaved.
Of course much of that is my fault!

gratuitous pic of puppies..

and it is grey AJ greyyyyyyy :P call yer' self computer guru!!! ~ducks~
Most of it so far is Moda Petite ecole. with a few additions thanks to Caroline and our trip to Embsay. I'm saving up now for Harrogate Sept 2nd. We country girls know how to have fun.

I must not eat toast over the laptop. I must not eat toast over the lap top..

Friday, 12 August 2011

twinkle twinkle

yes yes browns again!

Nothing more English

There is nothing quite so English sounding as afternoon tea with the Vicar. Unless of course it is afternoon tea with cucumber sandwiches with the Vicar!

Of course the ulterior motive to all this delicious sandwich and yummy cheese cake scoffing was meant to be sewing. Being the obsessive compulsive fabric tidier that I can be (at times)I had a ball rooting through Caroline's scrap/fat quarter box. No NoI refuse to believe that was all scrap category. The very generous Caroline even donated a few bits my way, I got the real bargain cheese cake AND fabric! Thank you Caroline, of course they immediately got utilised in the carpenter star quilt I am growing.I say growing because the pattern is all in my head and very liable to change and grow rather organically.

my imperfect points I think may be due to my less than perfect pressing....I will have to experiment, but on the whole Im not too downhearted and the tiny hexes are organically growing too..handy to just do a few when I'm anxious.

I actually did some sewing!!! okay it was only a couple of hexes but hey its something and besides the rest of the time I was either stuffing my face or having fabric envy..(that is a sin you know!!)

more tea Vicar?

Wednesday, 3 August 2011


These four are enough to keep anyone busy...

but having finally finished the quilting on the zigzag I needed to start something new,the stack n slash took one day,and reminded me that maths is my greatest failing.

Not sure I have enough lifetime left to make a hex quilt on this scale!!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

"According to researchers at the University of Glasgow, quilting is “uniquely” good for us, offering, as it does, an outlet for creativity and bringing benefits that mere physical and outdoor pursuits can’t provide."

unravelling secrets

Sunday, 29 May 2011

I keep returning to this song as one that moves me and sums up all I hope for my loved ones.

"Forever Young"

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

Friday, 20 May 2011

My fabric purchases, along with stuff already in my stash haha my little box of fabric..I should have enough to keep me going a while.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Fabric, patchwork chicks and an olde naked man

How's that for an attention grabbing tittle. More on a great day out will follow but for now suffice to say much fabric was admired and bought. The fabric section of the embsay leg of the tour grabbed my attention and good prices and for me a decent variety to choose from was refreshing. We discovered a dire shortage of solids and reds in particular.
After a light lunch we headed off again, adventurously sans map, until C stopped and bought a great bargain £2 map half price. Though it certainly wasn't needed as like a homing pigeon, the call of fabric and quilting ephemera called us on. arriving at patchwork chicks

You know what its like when no matter where you go you meet someone you know? C is one of those who always seems to bump into someone. By this time we weren't even in Yorkshire any more!!! Yours truly was having a moment of "over the rainbowness".

Still no reds to speak of.

Finally we headed back determined to find ice cream, a quest is a quest, and by now it was almost our duty to find ice cream yes? Yes that's what we thought too. Heading back into God's own County we found ice cream and a nice bench to sit and enjoy it on, and that is where the naked man comes in.Ye olde naked man
Directly across the street. Personally I still think he was wearing the wrought iron equivalent of 17C Y-fronts.

Thursday, 12 May 2011


I havent posted anything here since Easter. I havent really done a lot of sewing either but I did get to go peek at a second quilt exhibition with Caroline and another expert quilter Kate.

When I am not cringing because I know how poorly my hand stitching compares Im avidly soaking up the visuals. The fabric choices people make fascinate me. What makes your heart leap in the fabric department?

I think for me I like colours and fabrics in the same way I like paint, or paintings I suppose is more accurate. The bright and light palette in an impressionist painting drawing my attention sooner than the dark sombre colours of a constable. I think its the light, the way paint and fabric can reflect light and create a rich atmosphere. colour that is pure attracts me colour that invigorates.

I appreciate the primary colours their simplicity and honesty, strange word to pick perhaps but the primary colours shout "we are basic honest fundamental to the world" Caroline I must say uses them to perfection!

So next adventure will be a fabric shopping trip and I'm very excited to see what is available and what choices we all make.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

An easter message

Here in the UK we were blessed by some fantastic warm weather, great for lambing although some rain now to get the grass growing would be good for the growing lambs.

Every birth is remarkable, precious and when you lose one its truly sad. The ewes mourn, they know their babies should be moving and bleating and they try so hard to get them to respond.

Easter Sunday we lost a lamb, were lucky enough to find a lamb in need of a new mum and began the gory process of resurrecting the ewes lost lamb. OK it isnt resurrection in the biblical sense but restoring the ewes role as a mother, hearing her softly bleat to the imposter as if he just might be hers and finally accepting him is a resurrection of sorts. Its in some way a fulfilment of the promise her pregnancy made, life affirming in a way that washes some of the sadness of the lost lamb away. It was for me at least, profound.

The death of a child, that grief never leaves you entirely, but the blessing of a chance to pour your love into a new life does ease it somewhat. Me? I'm pouring mine into a handsome chap who is almost walking! Grandma privilege says I get to send him home too :)

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Spoonflower redux

After my little outburst yesterday expressing disappointment in Spoonflower's delivery time guess what arrived this morning!

Yes that's right the fabric!

The cotton is not as white as Id have liked nor quite as closely woven but thats just me being picky

Given the lead time to produce it I'm still disappointed but if you know something will take 2 months and are happy to wait its not too bad.

would I do it again? You know I just might if I came up with a design I just had to had to see in fabric.
Perhaps it would be a way of creating quilt labels?

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Spoonflower disapointment

Way back at the end of February I decided to test out Spoonflower the fabric printing service online. Sadly I'm still waiting despite promises that it had been despatched twice now. I cant say I am impressed by the delay. The fabric isn't cheap so it isn't like just a few pounds lost. Nice idea shame about the service.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

shows and tell

Together with a quilting friend, aka Caroline the quilty vicar, and mum, I went to the Threadbangers show. Situated in Highington Co Durham there was a wonderful array of quilts. The show was very well attended and well worth the visit. What surprised and to be honest pleased me was the number of machine quilted quilts. I always worried that machine quilting might be the less acceptable choice for "proper" quilters. I felt encouraged too, that not every point in the room was perfect. I personally have this on going battle with perfect points, some days no matter how hard I try they elude me. What the show did do, was inspire me to keep plodding on.

There wasn't a whole cloth quilt in sight which was also a surprise. It is wonderful to see how many women are actually out there quilting in a relatively local area.

What seemed clear was that each was doing what she enjoyed, and thats just what I intend to do!
I also picked up a little bundle of fabric that will go nicely with my next project.

here are a few pics of the show.

So despite having lost my favourite pair of glasses and struggling to see at the distance I really need to sew or write I have been messing about with fabric and ok, yes missing a few points and being imperfect but all in all I don't mind long as I'm doing sewing.
And let me tell you, without my glasses it aint easy!

Friday, 8 April 2011

Spot and his sister


"Dyscalculia or math disability is a specific learning disability involving innate difficulty in learning or comprehending mathematics. It is akin to dyslexia and includes difficulty in understanding numbers, learning how to manipulate numbers, learning math facts, and a number of other related symptoms."
This business of what is a simple block keeps nagging away at me. Quilting is so much more than sewing. As someone who struggles with maths even simple patterns can be taxing at times. There is also less pattern to hide any mistakes in and so missed points stand out far more than usual.

Simplicity can be taxing.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

The following is in response to the "dumbing down" controversy.

I think there is scope for all styles.Pin wheels may not be anything but beginner level and the wording of the post that sent you off on your *rant* may or may not have been a last straw kind of thing.

I have not been quilting long, I'm not a purist, I use a sewing machine! I am not a purist because I enjoy seeing what happens if I do xyz rather than yzx. I wasn't a purist at art college either. I experiment I learn by looking at the images people put up and by trying to figure out how they did what they did. But I suspect your annoyance isnt against folk like me. When I was earning my living as a sculptor I'd get similarly annoyed at people who bought made in china pre-made moulds poured a bit of plaster into them and sold the results as hand made art.
For me it seemed folk didn't care or couldn't tell the difference in the final result. But you know, in reality they could tell, some could tell and didnt care of course and likely never would, some could tell and it gave them a new found appreciation for the real art works. Some just couldnt afford my work and the pale clumpy imitations were their way of saying I aspire to that but can afford this.

Self promotion happens with all sorts of people. If the latest trend draws the first glimmer of interest from a whole new audience a goodly number of those will stick at that first, inviting level but others, like me will make that a toe dipping step and who knows where we will end up?

I love looking at all the variations on a theme, sure I will get bored of simple blocks, just as likely I will get bored of repetition in appliqué designs but for those people who have so enjoyed their new adventure into quilting who can begrudge them looking for praise? Dont we all like a little pat on the back from those we aspire to be our peer group? As others have said there is more to quilting than pure technique, there is more to any art form than that, but lack of expertise doesn't stop the DIY home handy man from getting out his tools and having a go, shouldn't stop the DIY quilter either.

The internet is a place of ideas, ideas freely shared for the most part. Don't like one set of ideas move to the next there's plenty to go round after all. The internet also has opened up access to fabric buying for many of us, it is capable of giving us choices long since taken from us in the high street. If we toe dip by buying charm packs what of it? even squares have to eventually be cut in some way. And it does give affordable variety, or must we, in these days of poly cotton and man made fibre clothes wait a lifetime to amass our own stash of off cuts?
So promote the next level of quilting as you see it, because to carp at the baby steps and inviters-in of the new, only puts off the timid to try.

Saturday, 2 April 2011


Its a messy business being born.

But life is nicer in the sunshine

And dont the ladies who lay look proud of themselves?

It never rains but

It crashes with thunder and lightning!

Some time in the dead of night a horrendous thunderstorm hit. And it did hit, wiping out the electricity. Most of which will condescend to come back on with the flick of the circuit breaker all that is except the sockets in the main part of the house. One advantage of this hose has always been that it has 2 separate electric supplies and 2 water supplies, well they branch off just outside so enter separately or I'd be gnashing my teeth by now.

Thankfully despite my fears that they might lamb out of sheer shock none of the girls gave birth during it. Both sets of twins are well.I did plan to write a post about the birth and put up some very dark pictures I managed to take last night but that can wait now.

Friday, 1 April 2011

I seem to be playing catch up with pictures and posts.

Yesterday I bought a new rotary cutter, while this make isnt the poshest or most well known brand its serviceable and the blades are blades. I also got a new blade for my old one. Oh the sheer pleasure of zipping through fabric with a clean new blade, there is something poetical about the crisp cut.

So I have been cutting fabric!

I love the jewel-like colours of this Kaffe Fasette fabric (there is a little Amy Butler in there too). Put with white they really zing!

Today also saw the birth of our first lambs, twin Rylands, one boy one girl who looked wet cold and miserable. Now they are tucked up with mum in the hay barn and with luck the beautiful weather of last week will return. What is it with sheep that they ignore good weather and lamb in the foul wet cold? This daft mum even chose to give birth in the mud! I will of course get round to adding a pic later, see what I mean about playing catch up?

The hens are laying like its Easter, no wonder easter egg hunts were invented this devious lot find all sorts of places to lay their bounty. There are only so many eggs a body can consume so Im hunting down recipes to cope with the unsold glut. Never one for baking much its something of a challenge. So fatless sponges and pavlovas and quiche and of course Lemon curd, hmm lemon curd ice cream any one?

Just incase the picture doesn't show it one of those eggs is a lovely duck egg blue, laid by one of the two columbines. Most of the ladies who lay are rhode island types rescued from battery farms a few are black rocks or light sussex. They come running soon as they see anyone in hopes of getting fed, greedy girls.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011


Having been a good girl and put off starting a new quilt until the last one was completed I got myself all nice and calm, zen like dont you know;) to begin. Fabric laid out neatly a little treasury of fabrics I had indulged in Kaffe Fasset all proper quilting fabric like the proper sewists would use.Oh yes I had everything set, why I even remembered to go slow enough to take the requisite yummy pile of fat quaters pictures.

Then what? I hear you eagerly enquire.

Then I discover that after a few cuts, 2 1/2 strips neatly rather reluctant to sever said strip form FQ I had to admit defeat my rotary cutter had decided that it longer enjoyed this cutting lark and it had decided that in the interests of driving me potty it would be blunt. Yes to put it bluntly in fact it is now a non-functioning non cutting rotary cutter. My zen like calm fled! Back to all systems normal then. So thats cars broken down shower broken down and now rotary cutter playing the "I want a new blade" game. It is a bad sewist that blames her tools so Im just going to pretend I wasnt ready to start today and cultivate more serenity. Oh and head for the shops to get more blades or an upgrade on my rotary cutter....I wonder can you get upgrades on life locally?

Meanwhile here are a few pictures to prove I'm not making it up that I did indeed finish my son's quilt!

Monday, 28 March 2011

do you......

A/ Start a new quilt when you get inspired or B/ discipline yourself to finish the work in progress?

There is always the excitement of commencing a quilt then the rapid progress as blocks come together, then the quilting part...Its the quilting part I have a love hate relationship with...My brain and imagination is convinced I can do it but my hands say I am not accurate enough and as mistakes sneak in I get disheartened. It is around this point in the process I start looking round for my next attempt quilt design. This time though I have disciplined myself to press on with the quilting. My son was worried that hand quilting would leave the quilt I am making for him a little too vulnerable to timmy the rabbit and brambles the kitten, his children pets. I have compromised with machine quilting but risking as far apart as the Hobbs batting assures me is safe. Over all the result looks okay, and I'm at the stitching down the binding stage...But ohhhhh the siren song of uncut fabric desperately calling me to start something new!
Isn't he cute? I bet you were expecting a picture of a quilt:D

Friday, 25 March 2011


"Time is there so you don't do everything at once" OK I am probably misquoting but you get the idea. It was probably something about everything happening at once. Its not that I am putting off finishing that quilt binding, or starting to cut the next lot of fabric its just that there is all this time with stuff like broken cars to mend during it and cats to see and of course adorable grandsons to play with that well, Einstien and the quilts wont really begrudge me a a little time to play .....will they?

insert gratuitous picture of mrs Monkey.....

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Polar bears

My sister has a thing for polar bears and since she is one of the few I have yet to inflict grace with a quilt I'm thinking a little of this cool fabric would be just the thing.

I found it at No idea who the maker is Im not up on all that kind of thing yet but it could well just pass the must have polar bear fabric test ;)

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

ebay toe dipping

I have just parcelled up my first ebay sale. It reminded me of the linnet and moss days. I'm not 100% convinced yet but many a mickle maks a muckle right?
The teapot and cups are by Andrew Hague and beautifully made. I hope their new owner enjoys them as much as I did!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Spring will come

In my effort to look positively towards sunnier days I have made myself a dress. I was always a bit of a Laura Ashley fan with something of a hiatus when they went modern :( I know this fabric probably wasn't really designed to be dress weight but it works just fine for me. Look out for it in future quilts! The dress its self is a pattern from the V&A and can be found here Mine didn't quite seem to turn out as streamlined ....I was tempted to put the dress on Dolly, my ex-shop display dummy that with some jiggery pokers 2 rolls of duct tape and one hysterical afternoon spent with Em too on a more me shape. Much like a dummy version of Edwin Drood, Dolly is now weightier than I am although not by too much. Unfortunately it is enough that she is no longer any use for fitting my size. This is a good thing far as my own weight goes although I'm still well padded myself.....If you too are tempted to make a duct tape there are tutorials on the net.. To be honest my results were not good enough to really recommend, but still nothing ventured nothing gained, right?
As for the dress, as my dad would have said "It fits where it touches" ;) So if spring ever does come the dress might even see the light of day!

Friday, 11 March 2011

I had to smile seeing Coronation street this evening, baby Hope is home from hospital and the factory give Fizz a quilt! Each choosing a strip of fabric to make up a whole baby quilt. So quilts really do get everywhere. I find now when I watch anything it is the fabrics in the back ground that draw my eye. I think they say thats the sixth sign of addiction!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Stina over at has begun an adventure into bobbin lace making. cats and bobbin lace dont go together very well as anyone who has had to unravel the tangle of threads left behind by a playful cat will soon tell you much the same thing.
this pic is of some of mine, actually this piece turned into the handkerchief edge for my daughters wedding.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011


when it comes to machine quilting the drag of the stitching as you go along can really cause problems.Since my Toyota is not equipped with an extension I realised I would have to make one myself.

I used polystyrene and followed the instructions found here

It also is doubling up as work space because I still shift my machine to the workbench when I want to do any piecing or general sewing.
here it is holding the entire quilt.

Monday, 7 March 2011


I didnt post anything yesterday, I tried to start a lone star and just depressed myself...oh well..the trouble was it was just too mathematical for me to "guess" how it is done. So the result was less than stunning. Having read a few blogs that placed perfect point high on the agenda I was rather disappointed in attempt. It reminds me of school music lessons, no matter how hard you tried if you didn't have the magical "perfect pitch" you were some how a lesser order of being. If you hadnt had piano lessons from the age of 1 you were highly unlikely to meet the grade (piano or otherwise)

I stepped away from my sewing studio....AKA the laundry room with the sewing machine in it. Today Im tackling yet another project I have had in mind for a long time. Details will eventually follow I hope.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

what would you do?

I am troubled. I came across a post on a blog tonight about some bargain embroidered piece from India an influential quilter/blogger had found. My first thought however was that it reminded me of this quote "Rough estimates show that there might be 5000-7000 embroidery units functioning in Delhi, with each unit employing around 25-30 children. Most of the children working in embroidery and zari workshops are trafficked from Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. The children, who had been rescued through our raid and rescue operations, reported that they got as little as Rs. 20-30 a month and worked for more than 12-14 hours in small crowded rooms with poor lighting and ventilation. As a result many had eye problems/infections and skin allergies."
does that make me the bad fairy at the party if I comment ?

Friday, 4 March 2011

Thursday, 3 March 2011

be afraid be very afraid


he looks a bit cross to me.
I am also thinking
I like how the fabric bleeds the dye, I used setacolour. I think I will have to do a lot of work to get to where I think I want to take this.

For now you will just have to use your imagination.