Dressmaking is Like Pregnancy!

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I had one of those weeks that felt really busy and quite stressful but I can hardly remember what I actually did. There were 3 customer quilts and I ran up a few more face-masks. It rained a lot, I practised my German and I did not catch up with any paperwork. I spent far more time than was necessary researching microphones for teaching over Zoom – apparently people can put up with a dodgy camera but not poor quality sound. 

On Saturday I tackled sewing up the Collins Top. I swear that every time I attempt dressmaking I vow never to do it again. Like being pregnant, the mind forgets the agonies and persuades you that this time round everything will be easy. There really was nothing wrong with the pattern. On the whole I understood it except when it explained how to attach the sleeves. The problems were entirely of my own making. I was not sure if I had lengthened the pattern pieces correctly and soon discovered that some bits needed to be chopped off. I cut a notch right in the middle of the front panel so had to make a kantha stitched repair patch. I used the overlocker to construct the whole thing, deciding that if it went wrong I would just chuck it and I attached the neck binding as if it was a quilt. Nella reminded me that I always get totally stressed out by dressmaking and I really should not waste my time but by then I was already looking at kimono style jacket patterns and admiring the French seams inside a tunic top that a street tailor made for me in India. 

Much to my surprise, it is actually a wearable garment. The 16 pieces went together well, although none of my pattern notches matched or they got sliced off by the overlocker. I might make it again under supervision or I could simply give the pattern to a friend so I don’t feel so guilty!

Why did I buy…?

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I spent almost all week continuing to sort through my workshop. It often seems to happen when I have finished a major project. It is not as if it was very untidy – it just felt a bit crammed and there were quite a few cobwebs. I was ruthless with scraps, particularly small, plain pieces. I have plenty of larger, plain pieces and could not face fiddling about with a huge box of little bits. I got rid of dried up leather that came off old armchairs and discovered over 10 metres of brassy, gold stretch spandex. Why did I buy all that? I know I used bronze spandex for the coracle and some gold lame for my totems but I cannot think what I intended to do with so much stretchy gold!

The more I tidied, the more obsessive I became about getting everything look neat. It is not exactly a working environment having an immaculate space but psychologically it clears the decks to think about what the next project might become. Since the dump had opened I was able to get rid of a cardboard mountain that had taken over the garage. I offered the defunct Scanncut machine free for spares/repairs on Facebook and it got collected the same day.

In between the house-keeping I attached the binding to a customer quilt and had my first online Zoom session with Bernina colleagues. The sound and camera was better than any Skype call I have ever had. It was good to know that virtual teaching is entirely possible, although not absolutely perfect.

The last time we had decent weather I ordered a pattern from The Fold Line for a “Collins Top”. There are something like 16 pieces and then I realised that it was a fairly short top so I would prefer to lengthen it. Contrary to what I thought, garments are lengthened somewhere in the middle, rather than at the bottom. I followed the instructions on The Fold Line blog but so far I have not plucked up the courage to sew it together in case it is yet another home-made garment that does not fit. Face masks will be mandatory in Scotland so I feel obliged to make some more, even though I have not really been anywhere since March. Maybe I should not have been so hasty to get rid of my scraps!

A Jolly Good Sort Out

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I caught up with all of my customer quilts this week! My customer’s cheetah quilt looked amazing, just simply quilted with an all-over pattern called “Heatwave”. The pattern is by Violet Crafts and involves very intense paper foundation piecing. I was secretly relieved that I did not have to do custom quilting since it would have taken FOREVER to do stitch-in-the-ditch. 

 

I spent an evening searching my computer’s external hard drive for files. Instead of the well organised files that used to be on my laptop there is just a random dump of files. Some go back years but I have lost all of my family photos, all of my blog back-ups, many projects and some accounts. It seems that there is absolutely nothing to be done. I will keep the faulty hard drive just in case but I am not hopeful. I spent a lot of time searching through notebooks and bank statements in order to re-enter all of last year’s accounts onto a fresh spreadsheet. 

The new dehydrator was used several times to dry out mushrooms, rose petals and rather more stinkily – pieces of liver for Nessie. She knows perfectly well that she should “come” when called but if she fancies doing a bit of cat or hen chasing she goes into terrier mode. I decided that something more tempting than basic dog treats would be necessary. The dried liver is like billtong and she thinks it is amazing. 

 

The dehydrator is bigger than a microwave and could not take up space on my work table forever so I ordered a meccano type of shelf for it and its accoutrements. This meant that I would have to shift my tea & coffee dresser which is too tall to fit in the yurt. All in all, it led to a major game of workshop tetris trying to make space where there is no more available. 

This snowballed into a full-on “sort-out” where I realised that I had a ridiculous amount of wadding scraps that would take ages to sew into useful pieces. The mess that I made was quite stressful and it took two more days to get it back under control. I decided that I might as well go all-in and sort through everything. I have been ruthless with fabric, getting rid of project leftovers that I have not used in the past 10+ years so am unlikely to use in the future. I even ditched the dried up leather scraps that I once had in mind for a project. I am not sure what I will do with a very large amount of gold spandex but I will be hanging onto that for now. 

I am determined that I will not deviate until everything is completely sorted. It is certainly a chore but so satisfying when everything looks neat and tidy. I cannot say the same for Nessie who somehow rubbed herself all over the wet white paint where I covered up a damp patch behind the dresser.

 

Becoming a Prepper?!

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Nella and I watched several YouTube videos by “Preppers” in their Doom Rooms in a quest on how to use our new food dehydrator. I do not actually intend to lay down stores for the End of Time – I just want to dry some berries, dog treats and make crisps. The machine is bigger than I anticipated and I could do with some major Feng-Shui to create space in my workshop for this new “hobby” and the produce it creates. We practised on raspberries and thin slices of sweet potato and got good results. It can even help to rise bread which is a bonus because some on some wintry days we just don’t have enough warmth to get it going.

A strange childhood food favourite of mine is Sweetcorn Relish. We used to get a jar of Bick’s but I hardly ever see it in shops. Sainsbury have their own version but I have only found it once. I tried making it a couple of years ago but was not impressed by any of the recipes I found online. The kind I like is quite sweet and gloopy without additional unnecessary vegetables like cauliflower or cucumber. I found one recipe that looked basic, read the label of my empty jar, added more sugar, turmeric and used a small amount of arrowroot as a thickener. Success! – I have recreated my favourite pickle without making the whole house smell like boiled vinegar.

 

I had 3 customer quilts this week and after clearing off my table entirely I laid out the foam boards to block Rainbow Warriors, having attached the last few crystals. It was not the most thorough process, just enough to flatten it out for a photo so I could pack it away for a while. I have not even inspected it for loose threads and it needs a label but it is more or less there. Amazingly, for a quilt that was not that accurately measured or pressed, there was only 1.5” extra width down one side. None of the colours ran after a good spray with water – there was no way that I was going to attempt soaking it in the washing machine or bath. It is a bit odd that there was no feeling of triumph once the job was one. There are no shows to enter and no deadlines to meet this year. I suppose 2021 should be a good year for quilts as everyone shows off what they produced during Lockdown. I usually write about the process of making my grand projects so I ought to get on with that before I forget what I did;)

I dropped off my broken laptop to be fixed locally and was told that the hard drive was dead. The guy fitted a new one but was unable to retrieve any data. Because it was not working properly, it seems that even though I used an external back-up drive nothing was saved for over a year. I am trying not to get upset about the files that I have lost and I now have the crappiest chore of manually re-entering all of my accounts using notebooks and bank statements. I had planned to chill out at the weekend by making log cabin blocks but I need to get the boring stuff over with first.

Filling My Time

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I made great progress on some customer quilts this week and have them all trimmed, ready for collection. I have had an enquiry about custom quilting a great quilt – I would love to do it but I know that it would take me well over 10 hours which puts it well above the customer’s budget. It will look perfectly nice with a suitable all-over pattern so I guess it comes down to whether it is to be used as an every day bed quilt or a pride-of-place wall hanging.

I have finally sewn on all of the tiny bells onto the Rainbow Warliors quilt! I applied all 600 more hot-fix crystals into the tiny squares but I was about 25 short so had to order yet more. That will make almost 1000 little sparkles. I also managed to attach a few mini hot-fix mirrors onto some 2” squares using an appliqué iron on a low heat setting. I have the label to do, threads to tidy, later on it will be blocked but for now it has been shelved until I get around to hanging it up for a photo. 

During the week ECT Travel published a Zoom interview that Kristell did with memory Instagram. It came across better than I expected despite my dodgy lighting and scruffy, long hair. I have decided to sign up for some online classes and typically, instead of just seeing how it goes it has got me into researching equipment that might be useful for streaming future lessons. I have been watching YouTube demos on how piano teachers set up overhead cameras. I drove Freya mad asking her to practise Zoom with me. I wanted to sign in on a laptop and a phone to see how using different cameras might work but I got weird echoes, even when the device was meant to be muted. Apparently, using headphones might help. 

I am quite “Techie” up to a point but wish I really knew what I was doing. I dropped my laptop off to be looked at and was told the hard-drive is dead.  I have decided to get it fixed and use it if I venture into filming and recording. Otherwise, I have found that I can get by using my IPad and the old, family IMac.

I expect that when Freya comes home with her first car-load of stuff from her student flat she will think Nessie looks bigger. Nessie thinks she is pals with Thistle, who is amazingly tolerant but her idea of playing nicely is not really cat-friendly. She is now developing the Scottie characteristic of ignoring me calling her if she is having fun cat chasing. I need to work on that… maybe I can make some jerky using the food dehydrator that I have ordered. Nella and I thought that if Freya ever manages to grow excess cherry tomatoes in her long-awaited poly tunnel we can preserve them. Perhaps it will be a novelty item but if it can dry soft fruit that is in season locally now for winter then I think it is worth trying.

The Bells, The Bells

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Freya went back to St Andrews this week to start packing up her student flat, having come home for a few days in March and staying with us throughout Lockdown. That is the longest we have seen her since before she started Uni and even then, she never spent 24 hours at home every single day. The house seems subdued without her. I miss discussing news and politics over breakfast, Nessie misses her extra morning walk and Nella misses her company. At least she managed to slap some red paint on the old yurt doors so now we don’t have to worry about gusty winds catching the tatty canvas and tarpaulin. 

I have been working my way through half a dozen customer quilts. It is beginning to look like people are feeling braver about venturing out and have been asking me to quilt the projects that they have been working on at home. We do a weird exchange of bags and have a chat at a 2m distance outside my workshop. 

It has been taking ages to sew all of the tiny bells onto my prairie points with ridiculously fine invisible thread. I have sewn in the thread ends as best as I can but I reckon they would all slither off if given a gentle tug. I am officially OVER sewing tiny bells on now – at least I am now half way through the 4th side:) There is still a bit to do before the Rainbow Warliors quilt is complete and I really don’t know what projects will come next. My screen-printing came to a grinding halt after the Grays Student Exhibition was suspended. In theory I could be printing tote bags or something useful for sale but really I have no idea. 

I have been putting off worrying about what the future will bring because I think it is too early to decide. I might like to experiment with offering some patchwork and quilting tuition over Zoom. I intend to take some Advanced Qmatic classes with a tutor from Bernina of America so I will see how well that goes.

Moving a Yurt!

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Since we have been enjoying great weather it was decided that we would move the old garden yurt to a new spot. Genghis Khan may have had the resources to move the whole thing on a specially adapted horse-drawn chariot but we had to take ours apart.  It had been in a rather damp dip in the main garden, under trees for 11 years and was looking very much worse for wear. We have moved it into a sunnier spot behind my workshop which used to be a chicken run. We decided that since we won’t be going to any festivals this year it could be the site of our own mini version. The old chicken shed looks like a ticket office but it will eventually get shifted. Because it is a smaller area and has walls all around, this garden is much more sheltered. It is a scruffy area, rather overgrown so we are tarting it up by planting wild flowers, hanging dangly things from a chain strung from the building to a sturdy fence post.  I had to climb over barbed wire to tie off some rope as quickly as I could without the cows in the neighbouring field spotting what I was up to. I bought a cheapo swing-seat online that made me resort to “Man-Help” as the crappy screw holes did not line up properly.  

 

I could not afford to shell out £1500 for a new yurt cover so we had to be very careful to salvage the original, brittle canvas. We spent a day dismantling the frame and evicting giant spiders. We got everything back together except the door (which needs some fixing) the next day. Obviously, all of the experience I have had putting up my exhibition yurts was irrelevant as my advice on marking out a circle and tensioning the frame was initially ignored. I don’t usually ask for “Man-Help” with jobs like this but sometimes extra strength is useful;) 

I spent a few days working on 4 customer quilts and 6 more arrived this week so that should keep me ticking over for a wee while. 

I have sewn all of my Warli Quilt pom-poms on at last! I hope the ridiculously fine invisible thread won’t come undone. That is what I intend to use to sew on the miniature bells but it is tricky to finish the thread ends without knots.

I used up 300 sparkly crystals on the centres of the tiny filler squares and realised that I would need to order at least 600 more. At least they are hot-fix crystals and not sequins or beads.

Perky Pompoms

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I actually had two customer quilts to do this week, all dropped off and collected at a respectable social distance, of course! One was a large hexagon shaped Hexie quilt, all sewn by hand with edges that went off in all directions. I used a Honeycomb all-over pattern which I knew would incorporate all of the pieces and I think it set the piecing off nicely, without being busy. 

The other quilt was for a young couple, made from a jelly roll so I used a spiral-ish design called Dizzy-Izzy which I have to say is another of my favourites on many different types of quilt.

In between supervising the computer stitching the customer quilts, I have sewn a few pom-poms onto the RainbowWarliors. It is a fiddly job using invisible thread doubled up, making sure they are secure. This is really not enjoyable with the rough, calloused fingers that I now have from hand-sewing without a thimble and seemingly, rather a lot of washing up. I have run out of decent hand cream so the thread keeps catching on my rough fingers – shiver!

The pom-poms look jolly so I wondered if the tiny prairie-points might also need some extra bling. For that reason I have ordered 200 tiny silver bells and if I later decide against them I will simply make Nessie a very annoying reindeer suit for Christmas!

I made myself sit and do some filing, a rather depressing task when I have virtually no income. I can’t add to my existing spreadsheets which are stuck inside my dead laptop but the figures have all been recorded on paper so that boring chore has been semi dealt-with.

While my girls have been fixed to Animal Crossing I have been addicted to Duolingo, trying to soak up as many German phrases as possible. I am not entirely sure that I will ever need to say “The boys eats 30 beetles” or “I want a horse for my birthday” but still, I am getting better at remembering some more useful vocabulary.

More of the Same I Guess

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Another week has gone by and I have finally finished the seed stitching on the Warli quilt. According to Facebook, I started the quilt a year ago! I have to admit that I was actually getting a bit bored with the seed stitching so I am glad that part is done. I am at the stage when I am not sure whether it is a quilt that I love or just want to be done. I have made a hanging sleeve for it so I will get that done next as that is a stage that I don’t really enjoy. After that I think I will start on the Pom-poms. 

I made some more French sticks and bagels but the drawback to making bread is that it gets consumed almost immediately. 

Nessie now has two perky Scottie dog ears:)

I was asked if I could recommend a face-mask making pattern so I made a few more and took photos. I made a slideshow of the process, as my tech-savvy kids suggested that was a good way of presenting the information. It is still rough around the edges but I think it is quite a good way to lay things out with a photo and a caption for the instructions. I feel a bit handicapped because I have not got used to working without my laptop, which I still hope can be rescued when the Apple Store re-opens.

Freya sat her final exam online so she has now officially completed her studies at St Andrews after 4 years. She is hoping that Lockdown restrictions will ease enough for her to go back down for June so she can sort out her flat.

I have had one or two enquiries about customer quilts but nobody has felt brave enough to drop any off yet.Hopefully I will have time to get my quilt finished before starting what may be a busy summer. If it is not then I guess life will just go on much the same. Some good weather would be nice so I can put together the swing seat that I ordered. Freya’s birthday present of a poly tunnel still has not been delivered so she may not even be here when it is time to plant it up with all of the veg plants that she has been nurturing. At least we could set up a table inside for cups of tea until she comes back;)

Sunday Again!

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Honestly, all of the days are exactly the same these days. There are no appointments or commitments to distinguish between them but I do have a bit of a routine. All meals and snacks are scheduled, of course and I make bread most days, particularly now that I have half a kilo of yeast that I ordered online. I have to do some Duolingo German quizzes since I now have a 102 day streak, even though it can be extremely frustrating as nothing is ever really explained in depth. 

I have to sew something every day – sometimes I can make it more exciting by allowing myself to work on 3 or 4 log cabin blocks. 

I finished the triple line of rustic kantha stitching all the way around the Warli Quilt binding so now I am back to the random seed stitching inside the glitter warli circles. Each one takes me around two hours as involves a lot more stitches than is immediately obvious.

I made a few fabric face masks to send by post for my folks and threaded them with cording made from a T-shirt, which are adjustable with a toggle. 

After months of research, Freya completed her Uni dissertation and so she is finally able to enjoy some down time, apart from one final exam. She and Nella have since been engrossed setting up idyllic world on the Nintendo Switch “Animal Crossing New Horizons” game. I can see why so many people have become addicted to their lovely virtual lives, building cute houses and growing trees. At least they don’t have all of the seasons in one day of May in Scotland where today we have seen snow, sunshine, hail and wind!

 

Life in the Slow Lane

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I decided to put the seed stitching around the glittery warli figures on hold in order to get the binding onto the Warli quilt as I was bothered about the multiple layers at the edges fraying as I move the quilt around. I used foot 20D and the 9mm stitch plate on the Bernina 710 which meant that I could add a narrow flange of silver lame then a half-inch double- fold binding by moving the needle position.

The binding was constructed from lengths of 3 of the quilt’s colours – turquoise, orange and bright pink. Since I intend to show the Rainbow Warliors in the future the binding had to be stitched down by hand on the reverse – a job I never really relish on a large quilt.
I wondered whether I could add decorative hand embroidery to the binding but my hand- sewing skills are not very advanced, there were far too many layers of fabric to penetrate and it is not easily to keep shifting the whole quilt around. In the end I came up with the idea of a triple line of rustic kantha/running stitch in a contrasting thread just on the surface of the binding. It is a bit mindless but what else am I in a hurry to do these days?!

Because I managed to order a sack of flour online from a ship’s chandler, I have been making lots of bread. I tried the surprisingly good no-knead method of letting the bread dough ferment over 18 hours then baking it in a cast iron pot. It is really good fresh then goes a bit rubbery the next day but it makes good toast. I also made French bread in my new French bread rack and we slathered it with wild garlic butter.


We took Nessie for evening walks at the river and she has been very good on her lead. It seems odd to walk at a reasonably brisk speed since Bumble was so slow. She has grown so much that she already needs a new harness. She thinks she is being very helpful, climbing into the dishwasher to lick the dishes. Almost as helpful as trying to clear up discarded mouse entrails from those cats that she feels obliged to chase;)

 

What Day Is It Anyway?

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Most days I wake up and have no idea what day it actually is. I only knew it was Tuesday because I had to take Nessie for a rendezvous in the Vet carpark for her puppy booster so now she is all clear to go out in public whenever that might be. 

I spent most of the week completing the sparkly stitching-in-the-ditch then simply wondered for a while whether the machine quilting was actually complete. The blue marking pen came out easily with a spray of water and none of the Indian fabrics bled any dye which was a relief. 

I decided to crack straight on with attaching the prairie points which was not an easy task with Nessie around. I had to keep a large and heavy quilt off the floor as she kept trying to eat the wonder clips that were holding the PPs in place. My plan is to add the binding so the edges don’t get tatty and leave the blocking until much later. It seems fairly square. At least the two sides both measure 90” but admittedly the top and bottom are 1.5” different which is not a massive problem;)

 

 

I have reined back a bit on my plan to add a lot of kantha stitching on the quilt. I decided that the circular, glittery Warlis were a bit saggy so I am adding rustic seed stitching in their backgrounds. I don’t have all of the right colours of perle cotton so I am just using what I have and I think it will look OK in the grand scheme of things. I may add some sort of kantha onto the binding. I have decided to use plain blue and orange for the binding instead of the psychaledic backing fabric or black which does not appear anywhere else. Other than that I pottered away at somelog cabin blocks, made a couple of hairbands, one face mask, bread – some good loaves, some like bricks, and just taking each day as it comesThis despite my MacBook dying without having done a recent backup. Hey-ho, what can I do at present? I have an IPad and a very old IMac so all is not completely lost for now.

Another Busy not Busy Week

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Another week has gone by in “Lockdown” where the days go quickly and I feel busy but am not actually busy at all. I actually did 2 customer quilts using the machine with the computer which felt productive. Mel delivered some jazzy prints that she had picked up from a bazaar in Myanmar so I decided to make a set of table napkins. I watched a long-winded YouTube tutorial on how to make perfectly mitred corners then figured out a much quicker, easier method myself. If I could work out how to make a good YouTube video single-handedly then I would upload it for others to try.

Most of the time that I spent in my workshop was just stitching-in-the-ditch with sparkly thread. I had to keep

dousing the cone with silicone and the hefty size 20 needle is not as accurate as I would like but once I step back a bit it looks pretty good. I still cannot decide if it needs or wants any hand sewing like I did on the red, black and white version. 

Nessie went for a walk halfway around the field on her lead without complaining which is fantastic. I had a Westie years ago that would just refuse to budge on a lead and often had to be carried home!

 I have sort of tried to be less busy at weekends but I never allow myself to simply read a book. I have been pottering away on the log cabin blocks because it is relaxing but also feels useful, getting annoyed learning German with the Duolingo app, and helping Nella make another very basic pair of PJ trousers. She was upset that the first set did not fit but I had stupidly cut out the small child size instead of small adult – not an ideal situation for a recovering Anorexic.

I anticipate the the coming week will be much the same – maybe the Rainbow Warlior SID will get finished, maybe not;)

Colourful Vibes

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A sure way to beat the Blues is to play with as many colours as possible. My friend, Mel brought me a selection of rich, shot cottons that she had brought back from Myanmar and left them in a bag at a safe distance. I wanted to start using them straight away but could not decide what sort of project, other than a nice, easy one. There is currently a virtual log cabin quilt online, curated by www.theafricanfabricshop.co.uk so I made a test block for that, followed by random selection of “ethnic” prints that I had stashed away combined with the shot cottons. I did not want a tricky project that involved fiddly bits, paper piecing or improvisation, so a plain and simple, old-school log cabin fits the bill perfectly. A couple of blocks can be made in a short time, in between other things, and they are a great stress reliever.

Nessie got her smart made to measure harness this week but it took 2 weeks to get here and she is growing so fast that it probably won’t last long. We decided on green since she is named after the Loch Ness Monster and I attached a couple of bells so I can hear her when she is hiding. One of the local vet practices agreed to administer her with puppy vaccinations. I handed her over in a pet-carrier in the car-park to avoid any human contact with the Vet. I decided go ahead with the vaccinations in case Lockdown is lifted by the summer so she can safely socialise with other dogs. 

It was a shock when it was announced that UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, had been taken into intensive care and I think it made people realise that nobody is invincible from Coronavirus. Festival of Quilts sensibly announced that the 2020 show has been cancelled. Even if it had gone ahead later in the year I don’t think many people would have attended, particularly since the NEC is currently being used as a field hospital. Without being over pessimistic, I can’t see this crisis being over for a long time yet.

 

Bit by bit I finally reached the bottom of the Rainbow Warlior quilt! I could not quite believe it to be honest as it seemed to take forever. The next phase is to add a defined sparkly line of stitch-in-the-ditch to every single seam. I had a bit of a tussle with the Madeira Supertwist 12 thread to start with until I got the right tension/needle combination. The 120 needle is FAR bigger than is ideal but is the only one that I can use without the sparkly thread shredding every couple of inches. The SID is not quite as time consuming as I had expected so my next decision will be whether to commit to any kantha-style hand quilting in addition. To look authentic there would have to be a lot of it and it is a very large quilt. I also want to attach almost 200 tiny pompoms to each of the prairie-points in the binding and that is possibly already fiddly enough;)

 

Big Girl Pants

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I have been trying not to get a tiny bit frustrated at not feeling purposeful and I feel that I must make something every day and that is not so easy with a puppy to entertain. An old friend sent me some Scottie Dog fabric so I made Nessie a smart cover for the pillow that we keep in the kitchen. I thought she would look cute in a bandana and that led to make some elasticated hairbands. This in turn reminded me that I had a pattern for making knickers so I decided to have a go using the remains of the PJ fabric. I forgot that the outer gusset usually matches the main fabric of the knickers. The knickers looked generous enough to suit Bridget Jones but after I added the leg bands only someone with skinny legs and a big bum would be able to wear them. Oh well, at least I know I can make knickers if Marks and Spencer closes down;) 

I have made slow but steady progress on the Rainbow Warriors quilt, just doing a couple of blocks a day. The ruler work is slow but I am pleased with the texture. I have now rolled it all the way down so I can actually see the bottom of the quilt which is quite exciting and will spur me on. Then I will start at the top all over again to do something about highlighting all of the seams. I will probably make a scrap sample to decide whether that will mean using a thicker metallic thread or a freehand “embroidery” stitch. The antique Indian tunic scraps that I used as inspiration have SO much stitching and it is not like I am working to any kind of deadline. 

 

We have managed to teach Nessie a few simple commands which is important because she is a terrier and they like to be the Boss. She can SIT, COME and does understand NO but thinks it does not apply to cats, hens and people’s ankles. She is great fun, follows me around but we have to keep her occupied so she does not try to chew cables which is a challenge in the workshop. She has a ridiculous, new toy that might distract her – a squeaky rubber chicken. It is amazing how much she has grown in just a week. We can already see that her nose is stretching into the distinctive Scottie snout and her floppy ears are already perkier. I am so glad she has joined our household and stops me worrying about when I might be able to find the next bag of flour in the supermarket. The empty shelves actually remind me of news reports about life in Soviet Russia of the 1980s. Our lives are certainly very different these days but for now I can try to keep calm and carry on quilting.