As You Like It – Done!

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As You Like It – Done!

I finally committed to getting the FOQ sampler, “as You Like It”, done from start to finish. I did nothing else in my workshop all week, just working for a maximum of a couple of hours at a time. Obviously, a teaching workshop is only 2-3 hours long but I think a finished sample should show what the piece can evolve into, hopefully inspiring the student to add more to the basics at home. 

I had a vague plan in my head that the sample should include twin needle, echo quilting, rulers and couching but I was not working from a pattern. I just plonked down some main motifs and elaborated from there. I jotted down thread and tension settings so I can write up a handout later. 

Honestly, there is a far more in that one class than would normally be covered in a half day class but the piece is small and it is really just a taster of what the machine can be used for. When I run classes I show students how to use the tools, run a few techniques by them then set an exercise in working on the quilting. I have always believed in pupils learning and becoming more confident from doing and experimenting.

I used a vintage linen pillowcase on top of an old practice piece so the reverse is a hilarious mess. I tried to incorporate some of the original vintage crocheted lace but it must have been made to fit then sewn on by hand.  By the time I had quilted the old pillowcase and trimmed it the old lace was too big so I had to fiddle about at the corners to get it to fit. I wish I had stuffed it with a feather pillow form for the photos as it looks a bit lumpy and although the afternoon shadows look arty, they are not great for a class catalogue. 

At any rate, it is done – I am relieved and found that I enjoyed it once I got going. The next thing to do after catching up with customer quilts is to be brave and have a go at the Wiksten Haori jacket…

Note – WordPress has done an annoying update to a Block Editor and I can’t yet work out how to attach more than one photo…!

Little by Little

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Little by Little

I am still working on the “Christmas Friends” customer quilt… just doing an hour here and there. My quilting stamina is not what it once was and I just can’t stand for hours, mindlessly filling in backgrounds. Hopefully, it should be completed in another 2 or 3 hours  as it is not even that big.

Nella has continued to be committed to Recovery but that does not mean it has been easy. One of the features of her anorexia has always been orthorexia – an obsession with “healthy” food. I blame the zealous “Health and Well-Being” aspect of the school curriculum for that, demonising foods such as fats and carbs. She has tackled some of her fear foods this week, including banana, avocado and sourdough bread. We have even been on short trips to the supermarket to look at foods she might like. We are both aware that anorexia could hijack her again at any time but for now she is looking forward to the summer and beyond. We have even booked a holiday cottage in Norfolk in June so we can visit family but not have the stress of eating every meal with them. 

I am excited that I have finally decided to replace my old laptop and desktop computers for a new Mac-Mini. I had both of those old computers reconfigured but they both ran so slowly and I could never find anything. The last straw was when I was searching for a PDF pattern for the Wiksten Haori jacket. After quite some time wasted searching my archived files, I decided that I would reorder it. Unfortunately, Wiksten has discontinued it so I ended up ordering a paper pattern from Simplicity that is similar-ish. I should note that if I am ordering a PDF pattern in future, I ought to print it off immediately. What I have learned is that it would be sensible to save everything to Icloud as my files were originally very well organised but since the laptop died they seem to have got scattered all over the place. The cool thing about the Mac-Mini is that the monitor and other peripherals are all separate so I should not have to replace the entire system all at once in the future.

The 11th Hour

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The 11th Hour

At the start of this week Nella was seriously ill, not eating, dizzy and fainting. Her doctor was phoning hospitals, looking for a bed. She had an appointment on Wednesday afternoon to discuss a blood-test and find out whether she would be admitted to an adult medical ward until a place was available at a Young Person’s psychiatric unit. It was as is she had a sudden revelation that she did not want to spend yet more time in an institution, wasting Life on being ill so she ate lunch! We are now on Day 5 of “Recovery” and trying to keep up momentum. Already she has more energy and positivity – it is incredibly hard for her to give up a 2 year relationship with anorexia but she is currently giving it her all. Hopefully, Nella can gradually rejoin Life during the summer months and I will eventually get my Creativity back.

I did 2 simple customer quilts this week then began my second Lynette Anderson “Christmas Friends”. This time round the customer provided “Warm and Natural” wadding and I have added a layer of wool. It is definitely better at filling out the large appliqués. I will work away at this over the next week. The intense background quilting is what really takes the time. 

Nessie got a very smart haircut this week from a groomer who stood no nonsense and knew what she as doing. She actually looks like a proper Scottie at last. She is delighted that Nella is eating more since it means she can have 2 walks a day. 

We watched the last episode of Grayson Perry’s Artclub on Channel 4. It has been a really enjoyable series, making Art seem truly accessible. It did make me feel slightly guilty that instead of working on some hand-stitched masterpiece, I have been engrossed in my “Animal Crossing” game. If I ever have grandchildren who ask how I spent my time during lockdown I will tell them I created a weed-free world, complete with dinosaur park, diving school and funfair…

At the start of this week Nella was seriously ill, not eating, dizzy and fainting. Her doctor was phoning hospitals, looking for a bed. She had an appointment on Wednesday afternoon to discuss a blood-test and find out whether she would be admitted to an adult medical ward until a place was available at a Young Person’s psychiatric unit. It was as is she had a sudden revelation that she did not want to spend yet more time in an institution, wasting Life on being ill so she ate lunch! We are now on Day 5 of “Recovery” and trying to keep up momentum. Already she has more energy and positivity – it is incredibly hard for her to give up a 2 year relationship with anorexia but she is currently giving it her all. Hopefully, Nella can gradually rejoin Life during the summer months and I will eventually get my Creativity back.

I did 2 simple customer quilts this week then began my second Lynette Anderson “Christmas Friends”. This time round the customer provided “Warm and Natural” wadding and I have added a layer of wool. It is definitely better at filling out the large appliqués. I will work away at this over the next week. The intense background quilting is what really takes the time. 

Nessie got a very smart haircut this week from a groomer who stood no nonsense and knew what she as doing. She actually looks like a proper Scottie at last. She is delighted that Nella is eating more since it means she can have 2 walks a day. 

We watched the last episode of Grayson Perry’s Artclub on Channel 4. It has been a really enjoyable series, making Art seem truly accessible. It did make me feel slightly guilty that instead of working on some hand-stitched masterpiece, I have been engrossed in my “Animal Crossing” game. If I ever have grandchildren who ask how I spent my time during lockdown I will tell them I created a weed-free world, complete with dinosaur park, diving school and funfair…

Routine

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Routine

I need a schedule in Life otherwise I would probably feel as though I never got anything done. I write lists for the joy of crossing things off them.  My day is currently very regimented around Nella’s meal times, even though she is refusing just about all food again. I think a hospital admission for medical stability will be inevitable and probably soon. I have to think positively and hope this could be helpful – maybe it will be shorter term rather than months of nothing really improving in the Young Person’s Unit…

My day starts with taking Nessie for a pee, letting the hens out, making a cup of tea and taking it back to bed to check the News. After breakfast I try to spend a little time in my workshop. We take Nessie for her daily walk and I try to “study” some German. I have decided that language learning apps are all well and good but I need to write things down and also do some revision. The trouble with Duolingo was that it was very centred around racing through the lessons in order to be at the top of a league table. 

I have become unhealthily obsessed with the Nintendo “Animal Crossing” Switch game. My island now has a 4-star rating but the animated residents have apparently complained that there are too many trees. I need all the fruit-bearing trees to pay for the exorbitant charges for infrastructure. I cannot believe I can lose so much time planting virtual flowers, building a Zen garden and creating a museum complex. The truth is that Nella cannot really do much in her malnourished, hypothermic state apart from reading and crochet. I could do some sort of hand-sewing exercise, I suppose, but in my computer world it feels like I am interacting with other “people”. We humans are far too obsessed with Productivity and the guilt associated with a lack of being Useful.

At any rate, I got a big quilt and 2 mini ones done for a customer. She always provides Quilter’s Dream wool batting / wadding which is light and lofty. 

This week I invested in 2 new sofas! I had one that was second-hand, derelict and uncomfortable and the other was slightly less derelict and not much more comfortable. I did not want expensive new sofas that the pets might ruin and I hate to buy new furniture where vintage is an alternative so I sourced 2 red leather Chesterfields. I suppose you could say they have a zero-carbon footprint since they were local, delivered almost immediately and made in 1972. Unfortunately, they are completely covered up by quilts and blankets to protect them from Nessie and the cats but at least all users are impressed that they are far comfier and have nice wide arms and backs for perching!

Dem Bones

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Two snowflake quilts were my commissions for the week. I can only really be in the workshop for a short bursts so it was quite satisfying to get those done. I finally forced myself to work on the FOQ sampler. It is a bit of a mish-mash as I have been making it up as I go along. The idea is that it can allow students to try out different techniques including, twin needle, echo feet, rulers and couching. The problem is that this is a lot to cover in a 3 hour class and I realised that the piece should not be too big to allow time for it to be almost completed. I chose a vintage linen pillowcase as the size but this does not allow much working room. I am at the stage where I hate the project. Hopefully, it will grow on me by the time I start filling in the gaps – I will have to get on with it now that I have started;) 

The language learning app, Busuu, allows me to take certified tests every now and again. I did quite well the first time but failed the advanced beginner test because I had no idea of the correct use of the different ways of using words for “because”. I felt it was a bit unfair because the grammar book and dictionary did not explain any of the app’s variations. I also struggle with correct word endings and the endless versions of “the” – der, die, das, den, dem… I will just have to do some serious revision before I try to retake it!

Nella was officially discharged from hospital on Tuesday, and she was also offered a place at Nescol to do HND Fashion/Textiles. This should have been a time of celebration but instead, it was a moment for self-destructive anorexia to step in and cause her to start restricting food again. There have been tears and warnings but despite knowing that refusing to eat will lead her straight back to hospital, she just cannot make herself eat enough to stay on track. I dread the impact that a second admission might have on her mental state and have tried every reasoned argument but she says that I come across as angry and scary. I just want her to be able to be home for as long as it is safe for her to do so.

Bluecat Pepper, is showing her age at 17 – she has lost a lot of weight, is constantly hungry despite being wormed and often pukes after eating. She has always done that, being a cat who bolts her food and she is also incredibly neurotic. I have set up a feeding station near her basket on the windowsill so she does not have to dash past Nessie.

As Nella’s carer, I received my first dose of the Covid vaccine! It was all very straightforward and I cannot comprehend why some healthy people would choose to refuse it. She is actually the only member of the family who won’t be vaccinated by the summer as she is under 18. Bizarrely, despite having a suppressed immune system due to anorexia, she is not consider to be particularly vulnerable to Covid since she is not obese – I see that as yet another example of The Establishment being obsessed by the wrong sort of health message.

Everyday the Same

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Like most people must be finding in early 2021, I have got used to every day being pretty much the same. I have a rigid routine based around Nella’s meal-times and appointments. I also fit in a short dogwalk, a maximum of 2 hours in my workshop, some German practice, basic chores, looking forward to whatever arrives in the Post, working on a jigsaw, and now – Animal Crossing. The biggest excitement of the week was receiving my Covid vaccination appointment. This is a little ahead of schedule for my age group since I am in the category of unpaid Carer. 

The little quilt that was just meant to be “a quick bit of stitch-in-the-ditch” also received some ruler work and background radiating lines. I wish I had a gadget for accurate line placement but I just worked out it out semi roughly by marking out evenly spaced points. 

It was great to finally get to a small baby quilt that Q-matic could do without much brain-power on my part, except for working out how small to stitch the hexagon pattern so it would look like honeycomb. I have a handful of all-over quilts to do next but STILL have not got cracking with my FOQ sampler which probably won’t actually take that long once I get started;) 

Nella is due to have a meeting this week to consider releasing her from hospital since she has now been at home for a few weeks. It is quite a scary prospect – she is not eating anywhere near enough but at least she is eating a bit. Under her ongoing mental health act detention she could be readmitted at any time, if it is deemed necessary but if there is no longer a bed available in Dundee then she would have to go to Edinburgh or Glasgow. Maybe that could be a spur to keep managing at home, but knowing the fickle nature of this illness, when some days she struggles with food so badly that she is prepared to stop eating altogether, we will just have to wait and see.

Signs of Spring

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A few days of calm sunshine make it look like Spring is on its way. Most of the snow has melted, the swollen river has receded and crocuses are poking through. The hens are laying productively and I have not needed a winter coat. I am even thinking about starting some early potatoes off in Freya’s poly-tunnel.

 

I completed the Christmas appliqué quilt, getting rather carried away with intense background quilting that the customer did not specify. I hope she does not hate it! Since she did not ask for the whole-nine-yards, I will charge her the basic price that we discussed originally when I thought she wanted an all-over design. No wonder I never turn a profit;) 

 

The next quilt was also meant to be simple stitch-in-the-ditch but I decided to add extra lines and then quilt chevrons in the printed blocks. It is a wedding quilt and the customer intends to free-motion some song lyrics in the white silk. Both of those jobs made me realise how little creative quilting I have been doing lately. 

Time in my workshop is limited to a couple of hours a day with Nella at home. This week we have been playing Animal Crossing which has been fun. She is still very much struggling with food and terrified that she will have to be readmitted to the hospital. She is aware of her propensity to self-sabotage her recovery yet is unable to stop herself. We just have to take one day at a time and hope that each of those days will be sunny.

Fantasy Life

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I got a Nintendo Switch… my kids have always had Nintendos and they have always loved playing Animal Crossing which is a cute game where the player builds a fantasy island and does a bit of weeding. I am pretty hopeless at the action-packed Mario games but I enjoy wandering around my island picking up bits of wood and catching fish. I can even visit with Freya and Nella by taking a flight to their islands. It has been a welcome distraction during a difficult week in which Nella quibbles every mouthful of food. She is being allowed to stay home for the time being as long we check into Aberdeen CAHMS twice a week.

It took me a while but I completed the Hexie quilt. I stitched around all of the outer hexagons with invisible thread to hold them all down. Some of them had very scant seams and had started to unravel. The customer opted to have me attach the binding by machine as it was such a big quilt at 101” x 110”. I sewed it down with a machine blanket stitch and got it almost completely in the ditch on the reverse:)

 

The next quilt for a customer that I have started is a Lynette Anderson Christmas appliqué. I was asked just to do some simple meandering in the background. However, the first thing that needed to be done was to stitch around all of the appliqués very carefully with invisible thread since the appliqués would end up looking baggy if I did not. The outer border is a type of “homespun” check which frays and stretches so I think I will cross-hatch it. I decided to beak up some of the background with stars and snowballs then will freehand in what space is left. 

Other than that, I have no inclination for any other projects, including the quilted coat that I plan to make. For a start, I have very little time available and can only just keep on track with the few customer quilts that I have. I have hardly posted anything on social media and am trying not to feel that everyone else in the quilting world is forging ahead. I should look for some virtual quilt shows and enter the Rainbow Warliors into a competition. 

I really should heed my own advice to my anorexic daughter – take one day at a time and forget about reality by immersing myself in the alternative world of Animal Crossing.

Frozen!

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There can’t be many people who have never seen the Disney film, “Frozen” – my children are too old to have watched it on repeat as youngsters. It is one of the activities that Nella and I did whilst snowed in this week. Admittedly, I fell asleep halfway through as I am not used to getting up just after 6.00am every day. We also struggled through a 1000 piece jigsaw, went for sub-Arctic dog walks, binge-watched a couple of teen-dramas on Netflix and I kept up with my German language learning apps. 

 

Nella was due to have returned to hospital last Sunday evening and we did set out but soon realised that the driving conditions were dangerous. Even the main road was white, there were blizzards and I turned back before I reached Stonehaven. Snow kept falling during the week and travel remained a foolish idea. It was decided that Nella could stay on at home for the time being. Our days are rigidly timetabled around meals and those meagre meals are slow going. I have to prompt her to pick up her fork for every mouthful. She simply does not want to eat at all but knows she has to comply if she is to be allowed to stay on.

I had a Zoom lesson on designing lettering with the computerised Qmatic longarm system. It is something I really want to experiment with but since I have no CAD expertise, I find it tricky. The idea is to get the words to stitch out with as few stops and jump stitches as possible. After a two hour lesson I was not much more proficient! It would still be quicker for me to freehand a monogram than to work out how to do it by computer;)

 

We had one of the coldest nights for years this week, probably around -12C here. My workshop is not heated overnight as it only has free-standing electric heaters. I had a bit of a panic when the quilt computer would not open up. The manual stated that it should not be used below +5C. Fortunately, after some scanning and chuntering, it did come back to life and I was able to get started on a gargantuan hexie quilt. The customer wanted to keep the outer hexagons complete but had not appliquéd them onto a border so I basted them down onto an additional sheet on top of the usual wadding and backing and intend to sew them down with invisible thread. I would like to sew around them all by blanket stitch on my domestic machine but it will be a mammoth task. The quilt is 101” wide and the backing is only 104” so it is all rather close for comfort. The customer has opted to get me to do the binding so it will be a while before this one is ready to return. My week ahead will involve that, keeping Nella going and practising my German, so pretty much exactly the same as the one we just had, except hopefully without snow and ice.

Let me tell you – this is hard!

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I’m glad that I have set myself the challenge of learning German. It keeps my brain occupied and gives me a daily focus. I have barely progressed beyond the beginner stages in a year but I want to keep on learning. I FaceTimed my German friend, Regina and used a few phrases that I had jotted down but mostly lacked confidence, worrying about all of the grammatical cases. I could really do with a trip to Germany to try and put some of my vocabulary to the test.

Nella had a 3-night pass home which she enjoyed. The eating is a totally different issue. She will not eat everything from her hospital meal plan at home. Every bite she takes, her hands shake, she looks like she is being poisoned and she wants to refuse to finish the small portions that she has argued about with me. It is so frustrating keeping my cool and not yelling in frustration. At the hospital there is a team of people who go home at the end of the day. Here, I am the ONE person who cooks, cleans, gives moral support, supervision, deals with pets, laundry, trying to keep my business open, yet must seem calm and happy to play board games or watch TV during the day.

Somehow, I managed to get 2 simple customer quilts done and made a drawstring bag that will be a birthday present. I still have not completed my FOQ sample but I fully intend to do it …soon;)

Nessie is a Year Old!

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I had no idea on January 31st 2020 that a litter of Scottie puppies would be born and we would end up getting one in what feels like the longest year ever! The decision was made to encourage Nella to get better but Covid Times and Anorexia hijacked her recovery. It was still a good decision since Nessie brought fun and structure to our lives. She is very good, despite not attending puppy classes or doing any socialising and I have to keep her on the lead all the time in case she decides to do laps of the field or wander down to the road. She barks at deliveries and chases cats but she is the best companion and loves to snuggle up on my lap at all times. I took her to visit Nella this week and she behaved herself in one of the visitor rooms, thankfully being very polite and not peeing on the carpet.

Nella earned a 2 night pass home this weekend but she finds eating so difficult. She refuses quite a lot of her meal plan and what she does manage is done in slow motion, tiny bites at a time, followed by guilt and self-loathing. I find it incredibly difficult not to get frustrated with her and have to remember that she has made some progress. She is still a long way from engaging with the recovery process. Her sole motivation is to get released from hospital, partly to escape from the other patients who scream but also to be able to restrict food more easily at home. I just have to hope that she is not released with this mindset because it is all too common for anorexics to be released from hospital then get readmitted soon afterwards.

I have not stitched much this week… I had a useful Zoom revision lesson on Qmatic this week on importing digital quilt designs, some of which I had found needed to be reconfigured. I also “discovered” that I can do lettering which I think could be very interesting. I did actually stitch out some rough ideas for my FOQ project class but I need to knuckle down and get the sample done. Despite not having to go anywhere and having no specific deadlines, I feel as though I have less time to get things done. My excuses include dark mornings, a cold workshop, hospital visiting, cooking for the freezer, practising German, dog walking… In the grand scheme of things nothing is really that important so if I feel like sitting down with a book, so be it:)

There’s Always Carrot Cake

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It was my birthday this week, definitely different to last year’s. The world news about the Coronavirus Pandemic remains grim. In the UK the plan is to vaccinate the elderly and clinically vulnerable before the rest of the population but the latest hoo-ha is that in order to reach as many people as possible, the boosters will not be administered within the recommended time so the fear is that people will still get infected and that the virus could mutate. Honestly, this is like a real-life Apocalypse TV drama! I should stop reading the news except that it was refreshing to see a new leadership sworn into the USA. 

Fergus used a recipe that I found for a Passion Carrot cake which I thought looked close to the John Lewis cafe cake that I would always order years ago on shopping trips for school uniform in Norwich. The recipe includes crushed pineapple for extra moisture. It came up very close to the cake that I remembered but the cream cheese icing is not quite right – I like it quite tart. With a little tweaking it might be written (in my best handwriting) into my spotty-notebook of classic recipes!


I only managed to get 2 customer quilts done this week. I seem to be working very slowly and it is rather cold in my workshop. I had hoped to work on my FOQ class project but have still not got much beyond the planning stage. The trouble with a saturation of social media in the quilting/textiles world is that I just can’t see classes offered by me being any more attractive than all of the many others on offer. I need to get over this and remember how excited I used to get when I had the opportunity to take classes with my quilting heroes in person.

 

Nella had a challenging week – having tried very hard to manage her reduced meal plan in order to earn a pass home for a night, the medics increased it without warning so that she immediately started refusing food again. I phoned to rail against this short sighted decision and was relieved when it was cut back slightly. They do not understand why she will continue to refuse hot puddings and custard after lunch and thought it was weird that as a family we eat very few desserts. The next day, her weight was typed onto a report that she saw even though I had specified that it was critical that she should not be told. Obviously, this freaked her out and I felt obliged to point out the incompetency of sending out an unchecked report. Although, some of the nursing staff work incredibly hard, I find that further up the chain of command, any criticisms or suggestions are met defensively and that drives me mad. Despite these setbacks, she did get a pass over the weekend to remind herself how peaceful and comfortable home-life can be. She did not manage to eat everything and every bite was a struggle but she proved to herself that she can eat here and must continue trying so she can earn longer passes home in the future.

Butter Definitely Would Not Melt

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It was a freezing cold week here and our central heating was on the blink. This meant that my workshop heaters got commandeered for the house so the workshop was probably colder than the temperature outside! 

I quilted Nella’s floral quilt with a traditional orange peel design and the computer was doing such a great job that I went off to get a hot Ribena. When I returned the foot had shattered, the belts of the automated system released themselves and stitched a solid, dense horizontal line of stitches. These were impossible to pick out and I considered hiding them with rickrack or lace but Nella declared it was not a problem so I just left it. I sewed the binding on by machine and tarted it up a bit by using the blanket stitch in a variegated thread. Nella and Freya have both decided that this very old-fashioned, simple quilt is one of their favourites out of all of my many creations. 

My other job for the week was to complete 3 more memory cushions using pieces of a man’s T-shirt’s and fleece jackets as requested by his widow. The T-shirt material was very stretchy and there were only a few fabrics to choose from in a similar colour range so it was quite a challenge. Fortunately, quilting stabilised everything and the customer was delighted.

One particularly cold afternoon, despite having various tasks to do, I found myself rather bored and started looking at second-hand pianos online for Freya in Glasgow. It is easy to acquire an old piano – free to a good home, but then you have to figure out how to transport it and heft it up 4 storeys, after which it will need to be tuned in a student flat, not known for ambient temperatures. A couple of hours later, I had read many reviews for digital pianos, similar to the one we have at home so I decided to buy one and get it delivered to Glasgow as an early birthday present for Freya. I figured that she might as well make use of one in the depths of winter during lockdown while she has very little else to do rather than wait until Spring.

Nella has realised that she hates being in hospital – she can’t bear the screaming and emergency alarms. Although she still does not want to let go of Anorexia, she has been prepared to eat and try to earn an overnight pass home. She has admitted that once home she might not be able to eat and could be readmitted but for now it is at least a shift in her thoughts so we will just have to see what happens.

The other day I left Nessie alone while I went into the shower and when I came downstairs I found her innocently sitting on the back of the sofa not bothering the cats. It was incredible that both cats let her sit there with them as she relishes in tormenting them. After breakfast she was back to normal, chasing them until they took refuge on the window sill,  upon which she does not dare cross.

2021 Not so Great So Far

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It has been very cold here this week with ice, snow showers, melting ice re-freezing! It has made walking or driving down our track treacherous. Freya has returned to Glasgow as she does not want to be paying rent on a flat that she is not living in. We both enjoyed each other’s company for 3 weeks over Christmas but she has her Masters degree and life as a grown-up to get on with. Nessie will just have get used to a more boring life with me again. At least she is getting used to going in the car and can come with me when I visit Nella. 

The News during the second week of the year has been gloomy. The Capitol building in he USA was stormed by protesters who did not accept the results of the presidential election. The rest of the world observed what appeared to be a breakdown of democracy. Depolarising the nation will be a huge challenge for the new regime.

Covid deaths in the UK have now reached 80 000 with infections still rising. Schools have closed at least until mid February and we are back into lockdown. Nella has been in hospital with anorexia for 4 months and shows no signs of improvement. I had to write another letter of suggestions to try and move her treatment plan forward. 

All in all, so far 2021 is not going terribly well…

   

I immersed myself in piecing Nella’s new quilt, trying not to muddle up the patches in the long, diagonal rows. I ordered a floral duvet cover from La Redoute to use as the backing and decided to keep things traditional with an orange peel-ish quilting design. 

In the week ahead I will ease myself back into customer quilting and deal with some admin that I have been postponing. I need to get back to my self-taught German lessons. I should also come up with a new quilting project to turn to when real life gets too much!

2021 is Underway

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We are now 3 days into 2021 and still at the height of a global pandemic, Nella is still not making any progress and I have not been struck by any exciting, creative ideas. The World has high hopes for this new year but I could have said the same in January 2020 before Covid took over all of our lives. When the big picture is too gloomy and overwhelming it is a good idea to be glad about the more everyday stuff.

Freya revealed her clever, secret surprise Christmas present to me which was a brazier made from a defunct washing machine drum. At night the fire shines through the holes and the BBQ grill / lid can sit on top if I want to cook baked potatoes. I have always wanted a street brazier, like protestors or strikers. I can now make placards and stage my own sit-in protests any time I like. 

We have had some wintry showers and bright sun so Freya and I have taken advantage of this to take Nessie on walks in our beautiful, local area. We went to Clune Wood in Durris where my kids all did Forest School years ago and visited the standing stones, not meeting anyone along the way. 

I am not ready to start customer quilts yet but I wanted to work on a mindless sewing project so I started a new quilt for Nella’s hospital room using the Rose & Hubble prints that I ordered from Doughtys. She wanted something traditional that the girls in “Little Women” might have had so I opted for 4-patches and squares on point. It is actually really nice to work on something easy and it is turning out even prettier than I had thought. The most complicated step will be not muddling up the pieces as they get joined together in diagonal rows!