Thursday, 9 October 2014

The more old school, the better!

Autumn has most definitely arrived. I've been picking the very last of the tomatoes, and although there is plenty of fruit left on the raspberry canes, there are no flowers left to be pollinated. That's almost it for another year.

I can't say that I mind, I love this time of year most of all, the colours and smells, foggy mornings that smell like woodland, sharp star glittery evenings, and the food!  Salad takes more of a backseat and is replaced with soups and casseroles, cooking with thyme, rosemary and all those gloriously earthy and resinous herbs. Spiced fruit breads proving every week along with the normal loaves, comfort foods. I came across a recipe for Amish baked oatmeal which sounds like the most amazing winter breakfast now that the fresh berries are on the way out, have a look here. I'm going to have a go tomorrow and will report the results!!

I finished this quilt top last weekend, it felt like an amazing feat for me to cut and stitch in two and a half days - then I realised that I did not have any wadding left. I ordered some immediately but felt deflated that my on a roll had come to such an abrupt halt. Rather than give in to the slump, I decided to start a project that I could pick up and put down in between others, so that I would always have some mindless sewing to do. Looking through my stash recently I had realised that I had a lot of green fabrics that I had held on to for a long time, often because they just didn't fit in with the modern projects I had been doing. So, I decided to make a log cabin quilt in Christmas reds and greens - the more old school the better!

But what really happened, was that as soon as I started using these fabrics, I fell for them all over again, and could suddenly see why I'd had the urge to buy them in the first place.

I'm really glad that I didn't destash these prints, and I'm quite excited about seeing how these blocks turn out. I need to push for a log burner before winter properly sets in, so I can sit in front of it wrapped up in my old school quilt.

Blocks in progress - each has three strips at each side of the centre block.

I'm even contemplating tying this quilt rather than quilting, with perhaps a wooden button in the centre of each block? I've never tied a quilt before so it would be interesting to see how it turns out.

I had to add this last shot - one of our gerbils, Benny. He's a boy after my own heart - while eating chocolate, always keep your second chocolate drop very safe and very close until you're ready for it. From now on, I'm going to keep all my best chocolate on my head.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Around the World blog hop!

A massive Yorkshire thank you to Kat at Made With Love and Ladybugs for inviting me to take part in the Round the World blog hop - I'm late with my post so also major apologies!! However I'm not going to be the one to break the chain - it's amazing just how many crafty people around the world have linked up to talk about the things they love. So here goes!
 (Pop back and see Kat - her quilts are amazing)

I met Kat a few years ago through  the blogging world - it feels like yesterday but it was before our holiday to Florida in 2012 - where Kat lives in seemingly constant  and glorious sunshine! (I am very jealous, does it show?) Unfortunately we were like literal ships that passed in the night that October fortnight and didn't manage to meet up -  but some day soon (children and their continuing education allowing), we are going to go back to sunny Florida, and then I'm going to see exactly just how much wine Kat can actually drink, after a five mile run. Or before. Or both!
You know, she probably won't speak to me again after this.
 I clicked with Kat straight away, she's me on the other side of the Atlantic - a crafter, an amazing runner, with two very talented children, and a husband in the same business as my husband. A complete, all round nutter, just like me. Oh, and she's partial to a glass of wine or two!!

Now to the questions..

What am I working on?

I have just opened a shop on Folksy, which is a website like Etsy that supports crafters to sell their hand made items. I love making things and don't ever want to feel like I have to churn projects out, so I have adopted a very relaxed approach - make it with care and love, and then (if I can stand to let it go) sell it on Folksy for a fair price. I've been donating items to charity auctions for a while now and they have always done very well, people had started asking me why on earth I wasn't selling what I was making, and I just didn't have an answer. So I'm having a go! Currently I'm making a bag, with a  detailed embroidery of an owl. It should be ready to go in to my shop next week. Although it would look great with my new coat.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I don't know the answer to that one, other than to say that I don't feel I adhere to a particular genre! I love to sew, to create, and although I have made rather a lot of bags over the years, and quilts, I have also been inspired to make fabric art, and lately zentangle sketches. This sewn picture, for example, was inspired by a photograph my friend had taken out on a walk - the sunset was amazing. When I am sewing, my inspiration comes from the fabric - and the form quite often comes after.

Why do I create what I do?

You may as well ask me why I breathe!! I always, always have the urge to be creative. It's just who I am, I can't stop it or control it. I love pattern, colour and texture - and working with fabrics allows me to explore all of those.

How does my creative process work?

Sometimes it starts with an idea - an image - for instance the owl above. I had doodled the owl, and then thought how fun it would be to translate it in to fabrics.
 Sometimes though it is just a new fabric, that I have to form a  project round. If I truly break it down, then I guess it starts with an itch - got to get back in to my sewing room and make something new!!

Next week I'm going to invite two lovely ladies from the UK, whose blogs I've haunted for quite a while now-

Lisa blogs at It's Just Peri - she also sells the most gorgeous knitted animals on etsy - I'd so love to be able to knit like her! I've known Lisa for several years now, and her photography always, always blows me away. The way she sees the world is both inspirational and humbling. Go see!!

I'm also inviting Elsy at Filling the Space, just because her quilts and the most beautiful I've ever seen! She often uses Kaffe Fassett fabrics and her work is saturated with the most glorious colour. I am always, always envious of the quilts she makes. Don't get me started on her embroidery!!

Thank you Kat for the nomination!!

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Chinese blocks quilt, tick.

The Chinese Block quilt is finally finished! I feel like I've symbolically cleansed the curse with this one - next quilt I may go for an economy block, or something even less dramatic :)

I really, really enjoyed the process with this one, and it  has shown me that although it is nice to have fabrics from the same line to construct a quilt, the outcome can be as good, or even better, if you use whatever you have in your stash and stick to a single, bold block or design.
*Hate* that carpet. Don't look!!
I went to my quilting bible for this one, Judy Hopkins' book 501 Rotary-cut quilt blocks.
My husband always laughs at me when he finds me pouring feverishly through this book, only a quilter could get excited about a book with that title!! Someday, I will have tried EVERY SINGLE BLOCK. Sigh.

When all the blocks were finished and I started playing with the layout, I realised that rather than having the blocks square, I really liked them on point. Although with hindsight, that caused all sorts of stretchy nightmares when it came to quilting, which I will definitely  keep in mind in future. At least the take-away swear box is full again!

The backing is brushed cotton again, I am SUCH a convert. It adds wonderful weight and will be so much warmer in winter - it feels snuggly. Like a quilt should be!!

Next quilt, I'm playing with Christmas fabrics.. *ducks* I'll get on with the layout now. At least I'm not listening to Christmas songs. I can't stop listening to this, though. It's very Yorkshire :) Jamie T – Zombie.
What are you guys listening to?

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

I took these photos of the cliff the last time we left Skipsea Withow beach, and forgot to post them until I had a conversation a few days ago with a friend who is a conservationist. This part of the East Yorkshire coastline was badly damaged by the tidal surge last winter, and the coastal path   was closed until DEFRA could ensure access to the beach was safe. We've always been able to see wood layered in the peat and clay at  the base of the cliff, but nowhere near as clearly as we can now. The amazing thing is that these ancient logs in post glacial peat are between 7 and 10 thousand years old. My friend also told me that the larger pieces, like in this first picture are oak, the smaller are probably birch. I can't tell you how strange it was to lay my hands on a tree that last saw light of day ten thousand years ago.

Amazing, huh? On a less educational note - I completely finished my stars jelly roll quilt as well. I backed this one in brushed cotton, and as well as making it so much easier to quilt (the brushed cotton held on to the wadding and stopped the layers from shifting) it also gave the quilt more weight and warmth. I'm going to use brushed cotton where I can from now on, lets face it, it's a sad fact that quilts in the UK need to be warm!
Quilting finished and layers trimmed.

Binding complete, quilt modeled by Wilma.

This quilt started a new journey yesterday, off to my cousin in Peterborough. I'm very tempted to do another jelly roll quilt, it's not the most economic way to buy fabric, but they're fun to put together!

Quilt blocks for my Chinese block quilt are finished - I've turned them on point in the final design as I liked their shape better. I really wanted to get it quilted straight away while I have the momentum, but then discovered I was out of twin wadding. Argh!!

Wow, I can't believe I have blogged twice in the same month! All bets are off for September :)

Friday, 22 August 2014

Just like a chinese curse, apparently.

 Someone once said that there was a Chinese curse that went something like: 'may you live in interesting times.' I loved the idea of it, googled it and found out that it isn't a Chinese curse at all - but it's stuck in my head. Which was why, a few weeks ago when I woke up at 5am with a really sore throat after being fine the day before, and ended up in hospital on a drip by 9am, that the saying popped into my head. And stayed there, for the full week I was in. Ever heard of supraglottitis before? Me neither, but apparently it's serious, and can kill you, and I was EXTREMELY lucky (think six sets of green traffic lights in a row lucky) that my husband took one look at me and took me to A&E, that it was early Friday morning and not Friday night and was seen very quickly, that I saw a really good doctor who didn't just tell me to go see my GP. Don't google it, I did after I was admitted and it scared the bejesus out of me.
Anyway, I didn't have a sewing machine in hospital and there's only so much quilt planning you can do, so I started doodling. This is for my daughter, it turned out so well she wants it framed for her room. I don't know why I've stopped drawing as I've got older, I really enjoyed the process.

 Last weekend, a week and a half after I got out of hospital, we went to the coast because I desperately needed to get out of the house. I sat and watched while everyone else did busy seaside stuff, it was just lovely to be out and by the sea.

 I also felt like I deserved a fabric-y treat for my trauma. Yes?
Why is Xmas fabric my go - to when I'm fed up? I don't know either. Although...I also bought some Kona cotton solids and some Robert Kaufman Essex in black. It's not the way I'd like to earn a treat, I'll admit, but fabric is fabric!!

I needed some no thinking quick sew projects when I started to feel more human, and started with a mini project to hang in my sewing room. I love this Tula Pink fabric, the finished article may end up in the bathroom now I've seem it. I love triangles, but made a total mess of the binding. Poorly brain is not yet firing on all cylinders. In the meantime, I'm planning a scrappy quilt using a block called The Chinese block. Hmm. Wonder where the inspiration for that choice came from? These HST's are the start of said blocks.

May you all live in very, very normal and uneventful times.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Whistle stop tour

We went to the beach on the windiest day ever

See? Windy.

I just loved the Union Jacks on this boat. Hence the photo.

We walked for two hours and couldn't hear a word  anyone said because of the wind. Then we sat in our car while the windows steamed up, and ate fish and chips. What a truly English day out!!
I was so moved by Stephen Sutton's bravery. I did some fundraising for Teenage Cancer Trust at work and raised £351. Donated one of my quilts as a prize.
We went to see Nine Inch Nails in Nottingham. Amazing. *Rock Fingers*

Trent Reznor...yum. That boy has MOVES.

I went on a nature walk with Anna. She's so purdy! Of course I'm biased, duh.

Started a quilt...
Actually got as far as basting..

Grew some salad. Totally yum.

Actually bloody finished a quilt!!

 We went to an open farm day and got stalked by a lamb that thinks it is a dog.

The farm gates. *wowzers*

Lund Village square. Except it is a triangle..
Very pretty pub - retirement village perhaps?!
Sat in the cool churchyard for a bit

Until Anna decided it was time to move on.

Bought locally milled bread flour at the open farm day. Amazing stuff, very consistent results.

*GASP* Started another quilt!

Even got as far as quilting it!!

Summer arrived, and brought stunning sunsets.

I love the Yorkshire Wolds.
*Unable to stop taking pictures*
I'm constantly gobsmacked that this is at the end of my road.

If you live in our village, yes, I'm the nutter running with a huge camera to shoot yet another sunset. So get out of the way!!

Seed heads. Stunning, no?

Hot diggety dogs!
To be continued...