Monday, 29 April 2013

Making a rod....

Obviously a jelly roll strip quilt is not enough and what it needs is a pieced back.....

So here's the design process (yes, that is an envelope from the recycling bin):

And this is what it ended up looking like:

And it's quite big (because I didn't want it to take too long/use too much fabric), so the outer star is 40'' across.  Hopefully I've got enough fabric left to finish the back!  The colours don't look quite right on the photo (artificial light again, because I'm impatient) and the big star is actually a lovely rich purple colour, with the background in a black fabric with teal/turquoise swirls.  Both came from the fabric bins at Abakhan, and some of the purple has already been used on the Granny quilt.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Buzzy Bee!

Inspired by the Great British Sewing Bee, I've been cracking on with making my Wiksten Tova top...

So far so good.  Not perfect, but OK.  Just need to do the other sleeve and the collar and then I'm done.

I did make some adjustments to the shoulder seem so that the front insert sat better on my chest.  I stitched an 1 1/4'' from the fabric edge at the neck down to 3/4'' from the edge at the sleeve and it seems to sit much better.  This didn't cause a problem with the sleeve as that's gathered anyway, but I will need to adjust the back and front inserts when I do the collar.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Spring time and storm damage

More crazy weather going on here. After the large quantity of snow a few weeks back, and the below average temperatures, this week we had a big storm.  Gale force winds were forecast so I was very careful to tighten the sides of the polytunnel, and I slept in the quiet room (around the corner, away from the prevailing wind!).  It was fully justified - several of the neighbours lost roof slates, one of the fences to nextdoor collapsed, but my polytunnel remained unharmed! The sides had pulled out of the clips, and a few things had fallen off the bench inside, but I was so relieved that there was no damage to the plastic.

Unfortunately the conifers didn't survive so well - both the ones at the top of the meadow and the big one in the back of the copse had branches broken off... We'll get around to clearing it up sometime!

It's finally started to warm up a bit in the garden and the daffs are out at the top of the meadow - the ones nearer the house always come out a few weeks later, maybe they're different varieties, who knows.... But it's still way to wet to clear out the veg beds near the tunnel/shed, the weeds took over in the monsoon of last year so there's a fair bit of work to do but every time you try it just turns into a quagmire.  One day we'll have a dry garden! Fortunately the beds nearer the house were better, so I finally cleared out the sprouts/broccoli and planted some potatoes. 

And in more potato news... The ones I planted in the tunnel a few weeks ago have finally started to come up! No sign of turnips or carrots that were planted at the same time, but maybe I was being a bit to ambitious with those. Some of the seedlings are going great guns so have been potted on - tomatoes, broccoli, beans, pumpkins.... I love the way that the big seeds just explode, you turn around and suddenly there's a massive pumpkin seedling that appeared from nowhere!  Garlic is coming on well in the pots in the tunnel so I've had to plant them on as well...  

I'm very excited about the Battenburg Quilt project..... all the blocks are now complete!! Hooray!!! Now I can play around with deciding where they'll all go (cue: clearing the lounge and going back to the state of fabric everywhere).... Soon I'll have my very own quilt - just need to tidy up the blocks, sew them all together, cut and sew on the plain border, cut and sew on the pattered border, pin, quilt, bind. I really don't know what to do about the quilting - do I just do some lines (ditch or offset), or do I practise free-motion quilting on scraps and then quilt this one?

Monday, 15 April 2013


Finally bought and planted the roses for the archway - Rambling Rector is a lovely white open single flower which the bees will absolutely love, and Crimson Glory is a bright red multi flower with (apparently) a fantastic fragrance...

 I've been saying for years that I should get back into baking bread as I did it quite a lot whilst at Uni. So this was the first attempt - inspired by Paul Hollywood.  All I can say is he's wrong. He might be a master baker, but he's wrong.  It took ages to rise, and then in the oven it expanded outwards rather than upwards.  Mal did say it was very tasty, even if it did look a bit ciabatta like.  So next time, activate the yeast first, and I think a little less water....
 Tidy up.  I've inherited my Grandmother's sewing box so it was about time to sort it out - threw out some random bits (tatty scraps of thread and wool, a pair of NHS 70's reading glasses, etc. etc.), cleaned it up, and stocked it with a load of my stuff.  Eventually it'll double as a coffee table with a nice quilted mat (something else for the Project list)....
 Is this cheating? Patchwork foot with a 1/4'' seam guide - best thing since artisan bread.  If I muck up my blocks now I really have no excuse....
Talking of blocks.  Hopefully that's a stack of 44 completed blocks of the Battenburg Quilt.  If it's not, I've lost some, as I've only got 4 more blocks to complete.  Next after that is square them all up and work out where they're all going to go.... Exciting stuff!
New project.  Wiksten Tova top. Started yesterday. Patchwork squares are much easier - the front insert was 'challenging'.  It's not perfect, but I'm happy with the first attempt.


I was going to write an update on all the things I've been doing in the last few weeks, but I can't now.  Just seeing the pictures from Boston, if this was deliberate (and it looks like it might have been).... Why? Why would you destroy the lives of people challenging themselves, bettering themselves, and celebrating the wonder of the human mind and body.  These destroyers do not deserve to be members of the human race.

Monday, 1 April 2013


It really did seem like a good idea at the time..... Rob had the idea of meeting up at Oulton Park to watch the supercars in the GT championship and the single-seater F3 cup, and I thought it would be great to cycle there and back as its only around (the 25 mile) corner.

It was a great idea.  For summer.  Unfortunately at this point, I'm struggling to imagine spring turning up let alone summer.  It was freezing and windy and we're not very fit.  There was a lot of complaining.  And when we got there and put all our spare clothes on (we went prepared), it still took 2 hours for my feet to defrost.  Luckily it had warmed up and the wind had slackened by the time we cycled home.

We didn't really do much over the Easter weekend - more chilling out and not trying to do stuff.  The garden is still covered in snow so all I did was plant my Alstroemeria tubers in pots in the polytunnel (they'd been sat on the kitchen window ledge in water for weeks and were sprouting nicely!), and extract a few other pots of things from under the snow to put in the tunnel as well.