Monday, 28 January 2013

Emerging Slowly

For the past few days I've been in bed or curled up in a cocoon on the sofa while life has gone on without me, such is the joy of having M.E.  But I am surfacing.  Today I am dressed, well, almost, my woolly poddy trousers are not something I would wear beyond the confines of the house but they are so warm and comfortable.  Like a newsreader behind her desk I look presentable from the waist upwards!
The snow has been washed or blown away by the heavy rain and strong winds we are now experiencing and so I thought I would take a gentle stroll in the garden to see whether there were any signs of life surfacing there.  I was pleased to find a lot has been happening.
Such a collection of exciting promises of things to come, especially the rhubarb crumbles :-)

Friday, 25 January 2013


This image recently appeared on Facebook and after I'd shared it for the delight of my friends I thought I'd try and find out a little more.
When I was in Japan last year I saw quite a variety of ceramics but nothing like this gorgeous bowl.  I found this detailed exhibition catalogue, with illustrations of various kintsukuroi and several essays on techniques and aesthetics:  The Aesthetics of Mended Japanese Ceramics which is well worth reading.
This all set me wondering about mending things.  Patchwork and quilting was originally about giving old fabric a new life but now we buy new fabric for our craft.  Things are rarely repaired, instead they are replaced.  But I wonder whether the quality of what we have in the first place dictates whether it is worth repairing.  I've thrown away two coffee mugs this week that were cracked, they weren't fantastically crafted items and so would the effort of repairing them have been advisable?  A treasured piece of jewellery, however, would be repaired and DH has repaired his tools so that they are no longer the original at all, with several new handles and new blades, but their life has evolved.  I'm rambling on,  time for some more pictures.

wabi   -   aesthetic ideal involving qualities of poverty, simplicity, modesty and undemandingness

sabi    -   aesthetic ideal involving qualities of seclusion, ageing, patina and/or decay

These images from:

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Blue Sky

This morning we have a little patch of pale blue sky over Lincolnshire.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Quilting in Front of the Fire - Days 3,4 &5

The wintery weather continues and so does the quilting.  This is how the Wedding Quilt looks this evening as I'm sitting by the fire and listening to the wind blowing a hoolie outside.  It measures 44" square at the moment.  (The colours are more accurate in the bottom pictures, this one was taken with the electric light on).
We bravely ventured out last night through the deep and crisp and even to see Les Miserables at the Kinema in Woodhall Spa.  I'd been looking forward to this film since I saw a trailer last Autumn and it did not disappoint.  I actually felt exhausted with emotion by the end, was sobbing, of course, and felt as if I'd seen a stage show rather than a film.  In fact there was applause at the end of the film and I think some people were seriously hoping for an encore of "Do You Hear the People Sing?"  Highly recommended and I have to admit I was impressed with Russell Crowe, not previously being a fan.
Back to the quilt.  We all know that golden rule of quilting, in fact the golden rule of anything to do with cutting:
Measure twice, cut once.

Well, this is how the lefthand border of the quilt looked yesterday,
and this is how the righthandside looked, spot the difference.  I trimmed to the seam below the one I needed to match - rushing it of course as it was time for lunch.  Yep, we all know better.
If the quilt was for me I would probably have tried matching an extra piece and fitting it in.  As it is a very special quilt I felt this wasn't an option and so I re-made and re-quilted the paisley section of the border.  It's fine now but boy do I feel silly, what an elementary error :-(
Regarding the blocks for the next border, I've found there is a State series and there's one for Florida, there's also a block called Florida Star so now I'm spoiled for choice and won't have to go down the flamingo line (thanks Nat!!).  So blocks are the next step.  Thanks to you all for looking over my shoulder while I'm making this quilt - I just wish one of you had shouted before I cut that border LOL

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Quilting in Front of the Fire - Day 2

I forgot to include a picture in my last post of the corner blocks for the Wedding Quilt that I completed on Tuesday so here are two:
Today I have been forced by the wintery weather outside to stay by the fire again and sew.  The temperature was minus 10 first thing this morning, rose to the dizzy heights of minus 4 and is now dropping again.  What fun to have no choice but to stay in and indulge in my favourite hobby. I have added sashing and another border to the Wedding Quilt today and you can see in this picture where those red blocks are going to be positioned.
I've been looking through my books of block designs for some appropriate for a wedding quilt.  I'm thinking Steps to the Altar,  Log Cabin, English Wedding Ring etc.  I would like to find a block related to the State of Florida as that is where David and Jessica got engaged but have had no luck so far.  Any ideas would be gratefully received.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Quilting in Front of the Fire

Today was indeed a quilting day.  A couple of ladies were working on Drunkard's Path blocks for their sampler quilts at Country Roads Quilters on Tuesday.  This reminded me that I enjoy doing these blocks with curved seams and so today I made a Corner to Corner Curve block (from Lynne Edwards' Sampler Quilt book) for one of the Global Piecers for their birthday.  I stitched the curved seams by hand and then pieced the completed squares by machine.  I hope she likes it.
I had some quilting "admin" to do.  Minutes for the CRQ Open Day meeting and a draft constitution to be written.  If we have more members we will have more monies in and out and need to be more official - so more paperwork and not of the English paper piecing type either!
I managed to do some quilting while speaking with visitors on Tuesday and now have four finished corner blocks for the next round of the wedding quilt.
The temperature never got above freezing today and is forecast to be about minus 10 tonight.  Fortunately we had a load of logs delivered this morning so quilting in front of the fire is the order of the day.

Minus 7

Brrrrrrr!  It's a quilting day.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Snow Can't Stop Quilters

In spite of a heavy snowfall last night we had a successful Open Day at Country Roads Quilters today with many visitors, potential new members and several apologies and requests to attend our February meeting.  We had a small display of completed work, Wendy of our local quilt shop, Camelot Crafts, traded for us and we were all stitching and sharing our work with our visitors.  There was a good supply of biscuits and delicious marmalade cake available to enjoy with a warming drink for all those who had braved the snowy weather.
I took these photographs during the day but I wasn't able to ask everyone whether they minded them being included on my blog.
If I have shown a picture of you or your work and you would prefer that I remove it from this post please let me know and I will do so immediately.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Not the Wedding Quilt!

I made a short diversion from the wedding quilt today to sew a block for the Global Piecers' birthday swap.  I won't show the whole block as I don't want to spoil the surprise for Sandy but it is now en route to Florida where I hope it is a bit warmer than it is here today.  The winter temperatures have returned, with frost and freezing fog, after a few Spring-like days.  For the birthday block swap we have all given our preferred colours or style and on our birthday should receive a block from each of the GPers in the swap, such fun.  It would be lovely if they go together well enough to make a lap quilt or small wall hanging.  I have a long wait for mine!

On Tuesday my quilt group, Country Roads Quilters, are having an Open Day.  This is a photograph I took at our last meeting of L-R:  Fenella, Di, Diane, Sabine, Trish and June and it has been published in the local papers with a small press release so I hope it attracts a few new members.  We are now meeting in the village hall at Sibsey and so have room for some new quilters to join us.  I don't think any of you are close enough to join the group but, in case you know anyone who is, the press release follows below with the details.
Come and Quilt in Sibsey

A small group of patchwork and quilters have been meeting in Sibsey since September 2011.  Country Roads Quilters are now inviting new members to join them and will be holding an Open Day in Sibsey Village Hall on Tuesday 15th January.

Lis Harwood, a founder member of Country Roads Quilters, told us,
"We are a friendly group of patchworkers and quilters now meeting at Sibsey Village Hall on the third Tuesday of each month. In these larger premises we are able to invite prospective new members to bring their current stitching project or they are welcome to just come and meet us. We will be working on our own projects and will have some finished items for visitors to see."

Country Roads Quilters are also delighted to say that Wendy Strode of Camelot Crafts in Friskney will be at the Open Day with a wide selection of fabrics and craft items for sale.  Tina McEwen, also a founder member of Country Roads Quilters, said,
"We all love Wendy's shop as she has such a wonderful selection of fabrics, threads and other interesting items and she is always so willing to share her ideas and expertise with us.  We are delighted that she will be at our Open Day."

Visitors are welcome between 10.00 a.m. and 3.00 p.m. and are invited to bring their current quilting project with them and a packed lunch if they are able to stay for the whole day.  Tea, coffee and biscuits will be included in the £2 admission to the Open Day and full membership details will be available on the day.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

A Day of Two Halves

I only managed a very short stroll this morning before heading to the visitors' centre coffee shop as the mist closed in around me and my legs said enough was enough.  I took a couple of pictures while the sun was shining though.
This afternoon I have made good progress on THE wedding quilt.  I've hand-quilted a feather design in each border section around the central panel.  Now to decide on the next border, some piecing to be done so it'll be back to the sewing machine.  I have to admit I enjoy hand stitching more and more and machine work less and less these days.
I hope you've had a good weekend and that my friends in Australia and keeping safe and not too hot.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

New Year's Day Walk

2013 dawned bright and sunny (just like my lovely friends in Australia and New Zealand told me it did there!) and so it was definitely a day for a walk.  DH and I walked at Ostler's Plantation near Woodhall Spa with DSiL and big GS.  It was fairly muddy underfoot but an interesting walk.

"Ostler's Plantation is named after the agent of Mr John Parkinson, whose abortive attempts to discover coal led to the founding of the Spa. Early in the 19th century, Mr Ostler planted a fir and oak forest in the area, which he purchased from Parkinson when his employer became bankrupt. Most of that original forest was burnt or cut down. 
The walks in the plantation today include parts of the old airfield. The airfield, constructed in 1942, is one of more than 50 that were operational in Lincolnshire during the last war. The taxiways, and many of the bunkers and standings are still intact, though overgrown by bracken, elderberry and bramble."
After all that fresh air and exercise a gentle afternoon was called for.  Reading in front of the fire, cold meat, cheese and pickles for supper.  2013 is good so far.