Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Photos of Workshops and a BIG Birthday

Wow, what a busy time I've had recently.  No time to blog, no time to breathe but a great time had by all.  This catch-up post is photo-heavy (and you may have seen some of these if you are on Facebook with me) and, for some strange reason, features lots of pictures of Sam!!  Enjoy.

The poppies are blooming in all the fields around here, 
they are a glorious sight as well as a poignant reminder.
 Trudi Wood visited us at Country Roads Quilters last week to teach a workshop on Free Motion Quilting.  It was great fun and everybody learned something.  People who had done some FMQ before learned some complex-looking designs and people who were new to FMQ made excellent progress under Trudi's gentle and fun tuition.  Below is a sample piece of what we were working towards.  You can see Trudi's amazing quilting on her well named blog:  Quilting Prolifically
I had time to visit Sam who had just been surprised with a pirate ship for the garden.  Here we are aboard and I am, apparently a tour guide, Captain Sam is instructing me in my duties!
This weekend my beloved celebrated a big birthday (whisper it, 70).  Cue lots of food, family and friends and we were blessed with sunshine.
 Sam had his first taste of Prosecco!
Sam and I did some gardening while Al relaxed and chatted with guests, and then...
 Sam sang "Happy Birthday" to his Grandad!
 There was chocolate birthday cake,
 lots of presents and cards,
 and I made Al his own prayer flag in his favourite colour.
 Yesterday I joined friends for a workshop on needle felting at the Beach Hut Studio in Freiston.  We had a wonderful day, again in the sunshine, with good tuition from Debbie Mitchell (in the purple), wonderful food and fun and laughter all the way.
I got back yesterday afternoon to find my glorious "Niobe" clematis was flowering, a perfect end to a great few days.  Time to sleep now I think.  I'll share what I achieved in the workshop later.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Perfect Day

What a fabulous day I had yesterday.  With quilting friends I travelled to York, primarily for an evening with author, Tracy Chevalier, but there were many other highlights.  Being with friends was wonderful, the sun was shining, the car roof was open.  We drove over the Humber Bridge and the river and riversides looked beautiful.  If you don't know the region, this is saying something as the water is often muddy and brown, the area is often draped in grey cloud.  Yesterday it was bright, green, sparkling blue, amazing.  We had a relaxed journey to York, chatting, stopping for coffee, for lunch… and the arrived in York and our first stop was at the Quilt Museum.  Three current exhibitions were all interesting and all different.  Details can be found here:  http://www.quiltmuseum.org.uk  no photography is permitted in the museum.  Then a little shopping in the museum shop (rude not to) and a sit and chat in the beautiful garden in front of St Anthony's Hall.

We then went in search of something to eat and a tapas bar nearby was recommended.  What a great meal and great service.  It turned out we were all "tapas virgins" but we are now "tapas addicts".  The waitress and then the chef even managed to cope with my dietary needs and still produce delicious food.  After our relaxed meal, and a lot more chatting, we took the short walk to Merchant Taylors' Hall and enjoyed canapés and sparkling wine in the sunshine, perfect.

The interior of the hall was also splendid and we looked at the quilts on display and settled into good seats for the lecture.

Tracy Chevalier, spoke to us about her life as an author and as a quilter.  Her recent book, The Last Runaway, lead to her involvement with the quilting world and she has curated an exhibition of quilts, Things We Do In Bed, which is currently on show in Danson House.  She was an interesting and enthusiastic speaker and we learned the similarities between the quilting and writing processes as well as enjoying a slide presentation of various historic quilts, comparing English Paper Piecing style, with Gees Bend and American red and white (and sometimes green) appliqué quilts.

After the lecture we decided a coffee would be a good idea before heading home and went into the Royal Oak, a 17th century inn nearby.  More chat, the coffee was good and then live music started.  A small group, Irish, or at least Irish-style, played in the adjoining bar, lulling us into staying for nearly an hour before deciding we really had to get home!

The final delight of the day, a full, bright moon guided us home.  As we crossed back over the Humber again the moon was reflected in the water, rippling out across the river.  Who would have thought the Humber could look romantic?

Thank you to my lovely friends, to the Quilters' Guild for organising a wonderful evening and to the sunshine.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Pretty in Pink

I love this:

 "One small flower in a room changes the atmosphere. It sits there looking pretty and peaceful and creates beauty for people. Imagine the difference a person can make."

Julie quoted this from a newspaper article on her blog, isn't it perfect?

Look at the difference my flowers have made to these fabrics, the cottons bright pink, the silks a softer, dusky rose colour.  I am delighted.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

NHK Partnership Quilt 2015

One of my friends in Japan, Carin, has shared the details of the NHK Partnership Quilt for next year.  One block is made, according to the theme and instructions, and sent to NHK in Japan where it is joined with many others into bed-sized quilts and quilted.  The finished quilts are displayed at the Tokyo Great International Quilt Show and then raffled off.  Carin has written several posts about this project and shared images of blocks she has made, all featuring the Swedish flag in honour of her homeland.


Maybe as I am dyeing with rose petals, the theme triggered thoughts of "pink" for me….

For 2015 the theme is SWEET.

In Japanese 'sweet' could mean: cake, dessert, ice cream, candy... or something charming, pretty and cute ('kawaii'), like a teddy bear, kitten, pink ribbon... anything that a 'girl' would like. 

Should you wish to join Carin, me and many others, in taking part, then these are the rules:

  • one block per person
  • 22cm x 22cm with a seam allowance of 1.5cm included
  • flimsy block, i.e. no wadding, no quilting
  • your name should be written with pen in the seam allowance of the lower right hand corner
  • your block should have reached NHK by 31st August, 2014
  • enclose a note with your name, address, tel no, email address
  • send to:
Partnership Quilt
NHK Sutekini Handmade
2-2-1 Jinnan
Tokyo 150-8001

Monday, 9 June 2014

What Does the Fox Say?

Gosh! Three posts in one day! 

While I was at Daddy's last week a fox visited his garden to take the food he'd put out for the birds to her cubs. I managed to get a few pictures through the kitchen window. 

Roses To Dye For

I have a lot of beautiful roses in the garden and so thought I would try dyeing with them.  I collected the fully open blooms, I wish you could smell them.

I'm trying a selection of textiles, cotton, silk, cotton threads, some lace of unknown content.  I washed them all and then soaked them in a bowl of three parts cold water, one part white vinegar for an hour.

Meanwhile I separated the petals from the flower heads and cut them into small pieces.  I was reminded of making rose petal perfume as a small child!  The petals were covered with cold water, about twice the amount of water as petals, and brought to the boil.  I then left them to simmer on a low heat for an hour.

I gave the fabrics a good rinse and squeezed out as much water as I could.  One piece I tied up with elastic bands to see if I could get some pink and white fabric, the other pieces I left as they were.  The colour had come out of the petals, I strained the mixture into a glass bowl, squashed the petal pulp to remove any extra dye, and was delighted to see the depth of colour in the bowl.

I put all the fabric into the bowl of dye, looks pretty doesn't it?  With fingers crossed I added a plate to hold all the fabric under the dye and set the bowl aside.  I'm going to leave it overnight….
Sweet dreams.

Getting Prepared

Next month we are having an embroidery workshop with Liz Hands at Country Roads Quilters.  We need to prepare the work ready for a day of hand stitching.  

The title of the workshop is "Mini Delft" and the sample piece from Liz is a lovely blue and white mini quilt with four different styles of flower in blue appliquéd and then embroidered on a white background with blue and variegated threads.  Now, I love blue and white but had to make my piece more Japanese-looking!  I pieced three pieces of Japanese fabric and then used almost plain fabrics for the appliqué.  I chose the lotus flower from Liz's pattern, and drew my own maple leaf.  Using Liz's instructions and help from Wendy at Camelot Crafts I faced my fears and used invisible thread!!!

The flowers were attached using Bondaweb and then zigzagged around the edges using the invisible thread.  The embroidery will hide this, and any wobbles!  But what will hide the wobbles in my embroidery?  I can't say I enjoyed machining with the invisible thread but I am happy with the results.

These are the number 12 cotton perle threads I will use for the embroidery in July.  Please come back then and see the results.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Sam Rocks Wychwood!

I've not given you a Sam post for a while so here we go…

Sam went to the Wychwood music festival last weekend and had a fabulous time. 

 The car was loaded with the essentials

Entertaining the crowd

Sam got the tail that was on his Christmas list last year!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar quilt is wearing well :-)

Justin Fletcher aka Mr Tumble finally got to meet Sam

Sunday, 1 June 2014

As Promised...

... here are pictures of what was in my parcel from Japan. Three silk haori, all with shibori dyeing. The turquoise one was listed as being "mis-dyed" and I suppose that's what the odd coloured patches are. I bought it thinking I could at least use most of the fabric but I love it as it is, the blotches are part of its story, and will keep it whole and wear it. 

I must get some better hangers for showing off my Japanese garments. Secondly, a lovely summery shade but with a chrysanthemum design.

Finally, a lovely black haori with shibori and a little goldwork embroidery. 

Several blogs I follow are showing off red at the moment, here are my contributions: