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!
Image library.thinkquest.org

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.