Monday, 28 September 2015

Ashes to Ashes

My Journal Quilt for September is finished and it commemorates the combining and scattering of my parents' ashes.
The scattering took place on Saturday, today would have been their 59th Wedding Anniversary.  We held a traditional family picnic in a place that was very special to Mummy and Daddy and then, basically, made sand castles.  They would have had a quiet evening to themselves before the tide came in.
M&D would have appreciated the Champagne libation!

My JQ keeps all the rules I set at the beginning of the year but, for the final four quiltlets the text is free machine "written".  The words on September's quilt are from John Masefield's "Sea Fever", written in 1900:

"I must go down to the seas again,
... and quiet sleep and a sweet dream... "

I have captured sea glass and treasures collected by Mummy and Daddy under the layer of gold organza on the quilt and held them loosely in place with gold thread.
I wonder whether I would have signed up for the JQ challenge if I'd known what an emotional year 2015 was going to be? It's certainly been an interesting one to record and it's not over yet!

September JQ - Machine Writing

The final four journal quilts of 2015 and going to have their text machined stitched.
This is my first real use of the technique which I learned in a great workshop with Angela Daymond.  Basically, you set the machine up for free motion quilting and then "handwrite" by moving the fabric rather than the pen/machine.  Hmm, if only it was that easy.  I'm not unhappy with my attempts but practising a lot would obviously lead to better results, as with all these things.
Having "written", today I am back to slow stitching by hand and much more relaxed!!

Thursday, 17 September 2015

A Brace of Quilts

Today I have finally finished this sampler quilt (from Lynne Edwards' books) and named it Second of a Brace, "The Pear Tree Without the Partridge".
This quilt has had a long gestation period.  I started it to learn how to quilt, to try lots of techniques and find out what I liked and what I didn't.  The plan was that the nine block quilt would drape over one of my sofas.  I finished the quilt top in August 2009: Sampler quilt top finished

One of the first projects we did when Country Roads Quilters started was a Fat Quarter Frenzy
and I made a quilt of that design in 2012 which I gave to Daddy, it was One of a Brace  (scroll down to the end of the frosty post). I then decided that I would finish the green sampler quilt for Mummy, it would be the Second of a Brace.  Mummy died before the quilt was finished and I put it away, wondering whether I would ever finish it.

In May 2015, after Daddy died, I decided to finish the sampler quilt in memory of my parents and complete the brace.  Daddy's quilt was machine quilted, the Pear Tree quilt is all hand quilted, it has been slow-stitched and very good therapy during a difficult year.
And today, it is finished.  Next weekend, just a few days before what would have been my parents' 59th wedding anniversary, I shall take both quilts to a family picnic in a special place where we will be scattering Mummy and Daddy's ashes.  I think they would like that.

Friday, 4 September 2015


certainly wouldn't have had the strength for Harrogate today but I have managed a little stitching.  I've done some hand quilting on the green sampler quilt (from some date BC) and have raided Mummy's button box to add both interest, texture and memories. And, for a change, those buttons are not there to hide imperfect points!!

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

JQ August - Deadline Met

Only just!  This is my Challenge JQ for August, the text if from the poem, "Appeal" by Anne Bronte. The last four months' quiltlets had to be posted to the Contemporary Quilt Group Yahoo page by the end of August, this one got there with no time to spare (although May, June and July were posted during their respective months).

Very little quilting has been going on, in fact, very little of anything has been going on recently.  I have been in hospital for a week following a Crohn's flare in the early hours of Saturday 22 August.  I'm now home, taking some hefty meds that stop me seeing well or doing a lot.  A little reading, a little time on the computer, a little sewing, or a little television viewing and then my eyes cloud and I have to rest.  My appetite is massive but as I am hardly moving I am having to be very careful about what I actually eat.

I am feeling a lot better than I was, I was well looked after in hospital and now am being well cared for by Al and getting lots of love from friends and family in messages, cards, flowers and phone calls.  I have to listen to my body and rest for a while.  I should be setting off for Harrogate tomorrow for a weekend including the Quilt Show, the Quilt Museum in York, Harlow Carr RHS Garden.....but that will have to happen another year now.  I'm looking forward to hearing all about it from friends and on blogs, lots of photos please.

While my body is resting, my mind doesn't seem to.  I am hatching plans and quilts and I'm delighted that Global Piecers have started some new swaps - more to think about.

A nice cup of tea and sleep now.....

Monday, 3 August 2015

July Journal Quilt

I'm running a little late but at least I'm running!  I have a whole day to myself, home alone, and I'm going to stitch my journal quilt for July.  The concept is that we are in steady waters, although they are tumultuous below the surface.  As always I am sticking to my self-imposed rules.  I'll (hopefully) post the finished quiltlet later today.  Happy stitching everyone.

Later the same day...

I've just finished the challenge piece for July:

Monday, 13 July 2015

Not Much Stitching, Lots of Planes

Isn't it strange how we often fail to visit places of interest on our doorsteps?  We had friends to amuse today and took them to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at RAF Coningsby, just a few miles from home and we had never been before!
Planes are not my thing as machines, engineering feats or for their wartime exploits but they interest me in an emotive way, they are nostalgic and the stories of individual crew members make me feel humble.
The BBMF had been in London on Saturday for the fly past at Buckingham Palace in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and, as the weather was poor yesterday, we weren't sure if they would be back.  We joined a hangar tour and while we were learning about the Dakota plane a Hurricane and a Spitfire were returned to the hangar and tucked up quickly out of the rain.

After oohing and aahing we moved on to learn about other Spitfires from our amazingly knowledgeable guide who gave us over two hours of his time and enthusiasm.

One special thing we learned brings us to the little bit of stitching referred to in the title of this post. Here is a close up picture of a Spitfire wing.
Can you see? These plucky little planes were covered with Irish linen and the fabric was cut with pinking shears.

The finale of the tour was the Lancaster, one of only two still flying. She had an engine fire recently, hence all the scaffolding and work going on, but still looked amazing.

All in all a great day out, we must visit other local attractions.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

June Journal Quilt Done

My CG challenge journal quilt for June was finished this afternoon.  Called "time to stand and stare" it follows all my rules, yay!! The chaotic nature of the piecing and stitching is a reflection of the fact that although making time to stand and stare is desirable, it is not necessarily achievable.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

A Little Finish

You might remember that I trialled a natural dyeing idea for Angela at Fenland Textiles.  I decided to use the dyed fabric to make a sketch book cover and fold it to create a pocket where finds and treasures could be slipped for safekeeping.  I collected a few seed heads in the garden this morning.  The cover is hand stitched in cotton perlĂ© from where you can choose from a wonderful selection of hand dyed variegated threads.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Sewing in the Rain

Today it is raining.  It is DH's birthday but we will celebrate it when we are in Norfolk.  So, he has spent a lot of the day trying to sort out our account with Anglian Water (who seem to have increased our charges by 33%), and I have been sewing.

Firstly, chain piecing the final quarter of the blue and white quilt.  I have realised that I have made a very elementary mistake with this piecing, hangs head in shame...
I didn't cut each strip to the correct length but rather joined them by eye and trimmed off the ends!  
I know, I know...
I will have to quilt it to within an inch of its life to settle it down.

On the subject of mistakes and accidents - I was changing the foot on my machine recently when suddenly there was a pain and then blood pouring everywhere.  Is your thread cutter anything like this?
Well I now know that within the plastic hook is a tiny razor-like blade that is not fixed in any way, it just sits in place.  At some point, presumably when I was moving my machine, this little blade had jumped out of its slot and settled protruding from the machine and I cut my thumb on it!!

On a more positive note, I also started my journal quiltlet for June today.  It's on a sort of life's a beach/getting back to normal theme using my favourite Japanese and batik fabrics (and keeping to my rules).