There are Bigger Things in Life

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I have to keep telling myself that there are bigger things in Life than worrying that I may not have a useful “plan” of what I should be doing each day. The horrific explosion in Beirut and the ongoing Pandemic are sharp reminders that it does not matter one jot to humanity if I decide to spend hours knotting string or make a quilt just because I feel like it. I should stop feeling guilty about how I fill my days. I do not mean that to sound like I am belittling world events – it is just that in the grand scheme of things, my minor stresses are simply irrelevant. 

This week I had coffee at home with friends whom I had not seen in weeks, walked the dog, kept up with Nella’sroutine, worked obsessively through Duolingo German quizzes and simply kept going with daily life.

I am still not an expert at using a narrow Hemmer foot, have not made any Youtube tutorials, have not shaved my legs and, have not picked every single cherry from the trees in the garden.

However, I did print out a free pattern from Tessuti to make the Athina top which was easy. I used a piece of African cotton which is a bit stiff, even after a hot wash but it is still a wearable garment. 

 

I tied many, many knots to make a short curtain for Nella’s cupboard. I am very good at some of the basic knots and just made it up as I went along.

My Postcards from Sweden kit arrived and I have made the first row. It is an easy quilt except you do have to keep track of the colours, some of which are very similar to each other. 

 

I keep saying I will take a few days holiday but that is easier said than done. Therefore, I must allow myself time to slow down. Perhaps I should carry on with a few low key projects for now and hope to have a re-boot in the autumn.

Added Extras

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Throwing caution to the wind, I “allowed” myself time to complete the Virtual log cabin quilt at the start of the week. I decided to do it all using the quilt computer so started with some tight spirals then quilted a large Warli pattern over the top of that with bold, yellow cotton thread. I bound it and put it straight onto our scruffy, family sofa, upon which pets are welcome to perch. I have not liked a quilt quite so much for ages. Firstly, it is getting seen every day and I love all of the random fabrics surrounding the cheerful yellow centres. I really like how a truly scrappy quilt which uses many different pieces is a surprise and how an “anything goes” approach makes it so much more interesting. 

I did actually do a couple of customer quilts and apart from expecting one or two to arrive by post, have caught up again for now.

This left me time to mess about with other projects. I actually made a lightweight tunic-dress using the Wiksten pattern. I applied my measurements to the size chart and made a very generous version. I am not sure whether it is actually too big – the danger of down-sizing would have been that it may have been too fitted. At any rate – it was easy! I added some top-stitching, learned what “under-stitching” means and went on to make a matching hair-band and face mask. Maybe I do look like a fancy surgeon;)

 

Because I don’t have any particular projects or deadlines I treated myself to a summer holiday book on macrame. It is jam packed with over ambitious items. I started with a covered jam jar, could not follow the secret code on how to end it so made it up until it looked finished. I really want to make the fabulous indoor tent but dread to think how much the frame and over 6000 feet of rope might cost.

 

The other dead-end alley that I took myself up was trying to use special narrow hem feet to make a tiny napkin hem. Nella questioned why I was actually bothering because how many napkins and bandanas do I realistically need to make? However, it became a matter of principle. The long and the short of it is that there are many different variations of hem feet and several YouTube videos but I have still not sussed it. I already had one foot which must be for chiffon and I bought another one that seems to be for zigzagging but I think I want one in between, just in case I decide to srcreenprint and sell napkins at a Farmer’s Market… and who is to say that I might not?!

A Few Stitches

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I consider it a successful week if I manage to get 3 basic customer quilts done in one week. I know a longarm quilter who can turn out 3 a day using 3 machines and an assistant, which I think is an incredible rate. I downloaded a new digital pattern called “Folkart Flowers” by Natalia Majors of Sunstone Quilting because I plan to quilt my Swedish Postcards quilt with it (although the kit has not yet arrived). I had to convert the digital file into the Bernina format using ArtnStitch but after that it worked well and was not too slow for such a busy design. 

 

I treated myself to a couple of days off and made enough “ethnic” log cabin blocks for a quilt that will fit a single bed or the sofa – 70 blocks of roughly 7.5” square. I simply had a stack of yellow centre squares and a box full of 1.5” wide strips. The fabrics were Indian, African, Aboriginal and Indonesian, mixed in with shot cottons. Some of them frayed very badly but I just lined up the outer threads with the edge of the patchwork piece underneath my sewing machine and sewed with small stitches. The log cabin strip arrangement varied because it was intended as a scrappy quilt and I did not want it to look planned.

Most evenings I have watched YouTube demos on how Vloggers make quality “content”. Nella says I am over-thinking the process and just need to crack on with making some simple videos. Admittedly, I have got carried away by the technology. The original intention was to offer individual Zoom lessons with good audio and possibly 2 cameras so I need to stop thinking about it and just get on with it. I could have a practice with showing someone how to make hair scrunchies, as requested by Nella. I found so many demos on the internet but some of them are unnecessarily fiddly. The best method on YouTube, involving no hand sewing was by SewVeryEasy. We used organza – I am sure this can be done entirely on the overlocker with a rolled hem but I have not quite worked out what happens when the tube gets joined to make it as simple as possible. Obviously, to make life easier we could just buy scrunchies but there would be no challenge there;)

Nessie finally got a professional haircut this week. Bumble’s groomer had reopened after Lockdown. I warned her that Nessie thinks brushing is a naughty game. Let’s just say, I don’t think Nessie was very co-operative so it is a wonder that she came home looking so nicely trimmed. 

Whether she was in a grumpy mood after that or whether she she just got carried away I don’t really know but I went to pick up her ball that evening for one last throw and she bit my finger. Her puppy teeth were sharp enough but her adult teeth are fearsome. I got a deeply gashed puncture wound. Freya insisted that I should have it checked at A&E because I did not know if I had a lifetime dose of anti-tetanus.  I was examined by a triage nurse on arrival then I was sent to wait in a different area for the tetanus shot and sutures. There was nobody about and yet I waited… and waited. I became increasingly annoyed that half a dozen receptionists and security guards or porters seemed to be hanging around chatting, not making any efforts to maintain a social distance and not wearing face masks, despite multiple notices ordering all staff to do just that. I enquired how much longer I would have to wait for such a simple procedure but was told that the medical staff were really busy since each patient had to have their own examination room due to the risks of Covid-19. After 3 hours I left without treatment, absolutely fuming. If that is the situation on a quiet Tuesday night what happens on a boozy weekend night where there might also be a major traffic incident? I felt that some of the surplus and frankly, arsey admin staff could be swapped for First-Aiders. The next day I got patched up and dosed against tetanus by a nurse at the doctor’s surgery in under 3 minutes! It’s a good job I don’t need to do any hand sewing as it will be a while before it heals. I believe I will be watching dog training videos on Youtube this week…

I Should be on Holiday

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 (2019 Hols)

Under normal circumstances I would probably be on holiday at this time of year – usually visiting family in Norfolk, possibly a music festival, maybe a trip to the seaside, or rummaging in junk shops. A Pandemic and caring for a severely anorexic child has put the khybosh on all that this year. It is not that I need to be away somewhere, necessarily. I just want a mental break – from meal preparation, supervision, and carrying out the same routine every single day. In my head I want to have someone deliver snacks and drinks and I want to read a book all day. That is not actually what I would normally do on holiday – it is all a fantasy. I find it difficult to switch off and suffer from guilt if I am not constantly on the go or creating something. I have always had a project underway or an adventure planned. I have not even been bothering to post much on Facebook as everything seems  so mundane, even though I never used to post anything of national importance anyway.

 (Customer Quilt)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the meantime, apart from working on customer quilts I have occupied myself by… re-covering my 2 disgusting ironing boards, made an elasticated fruit bowl cover, completed rewriting my lost spreadsheets, obsessively done Duolingo German and EVEN washed the glass lampshades in the kitchen which I can only face doing once in a blue moon! 

 (Revamped ironing boards)

I got a bit carried away with the idea of teaching online so I have ordered all sorts of amateur videography gear that will allow me to deliver good quality sound and audio. I am having a bit of a funk about what I can actually teach as it seems that the internet is awash with expert tutorials so what could I possibly add that might be of interest?

I have ordered a “Postcards from Sweden” quilt kit – I don’t have to come up with a plan, just sew together some pre-selected fabric and simply enjoy the process. Hopefully, that will give me a boost to come up with some new ideas.

(Postcards from Sweden Quilt Kit from Tartan Reel)

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;)