Wavering

Standard

15170866_1527544820596030_3222712206834408085_n

For months I had planned to quilt the Civil War tumbler quilt with close wavy lines but at the last minute I wavered and chose a pantograph pattern called “Turkish Tiles”. I worried that I should have chosen the version where the tiles change direction and got frustrated when Quilt Path randomly crashed twice. I had to restart the quilting and there was some unintended crossing over of lines BUT it is finished and it is for me so it does the job perfectly well. It is a pretty large quilt with over 1100 tumblers but I used a wool wadding so it is as light as a feather.

15284800_1527320303951815_3681430864379723752_n

I had a bee in my bonnet about perfecting the measurements and method for making lined tartan zip-up purses. The reason for this project is that I seem to have a large quantity of annoyingly short zips and before I can justify ordering some more longer ones I “need” to use those up! After faffing around with zips that are positioned part of the way down one side, I decided that going back to Plan A of a top opening zip was the most practical as it does not matter which side the zip head is inserted. I have made copious notes that suggest cutting the lining bigger so there is plenty of room to turn the zip opening then everything gets trimmed to match later;) I have sent Freya the prototypes to give to her Foreign Friends as stocking fillers. The wool tartan is really nice but I might rustle up a few more purses from brightly coloured African fabrics.

img_3942

I did use the wavy line quilting on a customer quilt that will raffled in aid of polio research. The customer requested something different in the borders to the body of the quilt but I did not trust QP to be accurate enough so the wavy lines went all of the way across then I added some freehand small spirals in the outer borders for interest.

img_3944

The rest of my week was taken up with teaching and trawling the internet for quirky Christmas presents and how to apply for a Russian visa – just in case;)

Bloody Quilt!

Standard

img_3920 img_3916

Monday morning was bitterly cold and I wished I had fingerless gloves because my hands were so cold I could not feel them. After a hot, strong cup of coffee, I plucked up the courage to stitch words written in Viking runes onto Shield Maiden. Runes are just an alphabet system, not an actual language, so I just had to write out the words that I wanted on the quilt into their runic form. They are quite hidden and you really have to look for them!

The next adventure was to use a test piece of linen to see if the “blood” spattered effect would work. I used watered down fabric paint in a spray bottle, toothbrush and pastry brush to apply my Jackson Pollock style artistry. Because it was raining heavily outside, I had to fling the paint onto the quilt while it was on my workshop table. Afterwards it looked like I had been butchering something – there was red-brown paint on my sewing machine, carpet and table which took some time to scrub off. It just shows how difficult it must be to get away with murder;)

bloodysm

I co-opted Tania into helping me block the probably finished quilt then hang it outside for photos. I had a choice of full sun or very dark shade because I don’t have any blank walls where I can take uncluttered photos inside. I have been warned by my friends to step away from the quilt now and not be tempted to add any further embellishment, not even pieces of antler…

As usual, after an intense project, I was a bit lost so I decided to finish piecing my tumbler quilt which I may give to myself for Christmas.

img_3930 img_3929

I did not do any significant Black Friday shopping apart from a vintage wool tartan dressing gown from Ebay. I have visions of me wearing it to quilt with my wellies and thick socks in the depths of winter!

wooldg

I Can’t Seem To Do Subtle

Standard

 

fraz7

Now that it is on Freya’s bed in Uni Halls, I can post photos of her “away” Christmas quilt. It is a Betty Quilt pattern that I downloaded from Erica Jackman on Craftsy. It was quick and easy to piece and I used a computer panto called “ Let it Snow” by Natalia Majors at http://www.sunstonequilting.com The fabrics have a fun Scandi look but I will have to warn her to use a load of colour catchers if she ever washes it since red dye was obviously coming out while I ironed the binding!

fraz7 fraz1  fraz4 15129995_1349780398397158_1160057184_n

I have got Shield Maiden to a point where it could be hung (on a sturdy batten as it is so heavy!) Hand sewing linen is seriously heavy duty, especially when the edges have been overlocked to stop them unravelling. The deadline for Quilt Con is in 10 days so it at least needs to be finished looking for photos. I can add some stitched runes if I think they will work. I want to paint the trickles gold then experiment on a piece of sacrificial linen to see if a radical idea might work… The quilt is subtle but in my opinion it currently lacks “Oomph”.

img_3914 img_3913 img_3911

Purdah was rejected from the SAQA Layered Voices exhibition with a very professional let-down informing me that only 23 out of 535 made the cut. Those were high odds but I had hoped that Purdah was relevant to that sort of exhibition. I don’t know where Purdah can be exhibited. It clearly is more of a statement than a competition piece, like so many other things I have made. I wonder whether some quilters win consistently in competitions because they aim to perfect a particular style of quilt. I am obviously still busy experimenting, trying to find “my” style;)

Failed Rescue Attempt with Tennis Balls

Standard

 

fadedblue

I gave Shield Maiden my full attention for 2 whole days and completed the basic quilting. I have decided that I will face its edges and add the hanging sleeve then decide whether to add more quilting or embroidered runes IF there is still time to meet the QuiltCon competition deadline.

crinkly  crinkly2

I had hoped that the felt-pen guidelines that I drew on with a so-called washable marker would just wipe off but they did not! Next I tried rubbing them quite vigorously with a bar of soap and wet sponge to no avail. Feeling slightly panicky, I purchased an armoury of stain removers. Shield Maiden is already a heavy quilt as it has a layer of cotton and a layer of wool wadding, a wool scarf and front and back of coarse linen. By the time it got plunged into a bath of cold water with a splash of Fairy liquid and vinegar, it weighed a ton! I transported it back to my workshop in a large bucket for a spin in the washing machine.

pouffy

The pen marks had all gone but the quilt looked worrying “antiqued”. This can be a good look for a quilt but I had rather liked the smooth finish on the coarse linen before washing. I laid it out to dry on the table, hoping that would recover.

48 hours later it was still damp and still looked decidedly crinkly so I threw it into the tumble dryer with tennis balls for a rumble, not daring to give it any heat. When it emerged it was dry but not flat and still wrinkled…

The next remedy was to block it by dampening it and pinning it out. At least it is now flat enough to add the few lines of stitching that I want to highlight around the motif. After that I may coerce Tania into helping me to give it a bit of a stretch since two people pulling might help. The stitching has held up remarkably well considering its harsh treatment.

The photos don’t actually look too bad and I am probably over-reacting but I am already drafting a blurb that includes the words “weather-beaten” when describing Shield Maiden. Meanwhile I have wondered how to incorporate a subtle length of leather thong somewhere and have decided to buy lookalike Dremel drill-bits to bore holes into antler pieces. I should probably just take up LARPing as a hobby – it would be a good excuse to create quilted costumes out of fur and other unusual found objects.

(Over the weekend I finished off a project for Freya but I will not post any spoiler pics until she has seen it;))

Bragging About Bamber Sewing Machine Centre!

Standard

featherweight

My 1951 100th anniversary Singer Featherweight arrived back from its holiday at Bamber Sewing Machine Centre, Manchester www.bambersew.com

I tried to flag down the courier’s van as it drove off without checking that I was in my workshop so it had to be re-delivered the next day.

It came in a box packed out with polystyrene blocks and the machine itself had lots of wadding around it inside its wee case so it had an extra smooth journey. I was amazed at the technician’s checklist which actually had 46 points that should be investigated. The machine was certainly very clean and shiny and I am quite sure the knobs and levers did not look as pristine as that before.

shinyknobs servicelist

The great thing with Bambers is that they are such a long established family business that they are bound to have lots of long-forgotten spare parts in their archives. Alan Bamber writes great posts on Facebook about the many interesting characters he has met, including some formidable Home Economics teachers. AND he drives a Landy;)

Bamber Sewing Machine Centre supplies and services school sewing machines and they give honest advice to their prospective clients. I was really impressed that they sent away a lady who had received a small legacy for a sewing machine away until she had time to have a good think about what she really wanted from a machine before making a snap purchase. I am sure she will go back to them when she has done her research on the brands and models.

bambers

The shop is in a busy part of Eccles, Greater Manchester. When I visited earlier this year there was a constant stream of visitors looking at new machines, picking up machines that had been serviced, people buying fabric or machine accessories, and also attending classes.  The Bambers team have phenomenal knowledge and experience of everything to do with sewing machines – my latest purchase, the tiny 1970’s Elna Lotus will be next in line to be sent down for a spa treatment – in fact, I bet they could even fix the seized antique hand cranks!

The Start of Something

Standard

smtips

I finally made a start on quilting Shield Maiden! As it is saggy, crumpled mess of linen when not stretched out tight, I decided that it would be impossible to pre-mark any lines so I blithely relied on using a quilting ruler with registration lines. It worked reasonably well but there was a bit of unpicking as a couple of lines in the middle seemed to be wandering off course. I used a Friction pen and a Crayola felt-tip to mark the rest of the lines. Obviously, I did not bother to test whether these would be easily removable so I will need to soak it later and hope for the best.

smstart

The diagonal lines at each side are too long to do in one pass on the Q24 longarm so each line stops then restarts after the quilt is rolled on. It is entirely possible that I may quilt it all again using metallic thread on the domestic machine if I can see where those joins are. My fingers and wrist ached after negotiating all of the small curves with a 2.5” circle template and I still have not decided what will happen around the triskeles but various crossings-out in my notebook may be considered.

I hope to complete the basic long arming this week then try to reign myself in from adding too much more to what is currently a minimalist project…

I expect that I broke health and safety guidelines when I made Bonfire Night toffee apples at school but they were absolutely perfect – so perfect that I had to take the pan home to give it a really good, hot soak to get rid of the “hard crack” toffee that set instantly.

unknown

I made two trips to Stirling over the weekend to deliver and collect Fenella from a Girl Guiding event that focuses on community projects, leading to an international trip. She had a great time with Guides from all over Scotland whom she had never met before. She enjoyed watching Guy Fawkes fireworks over the city from her room at the Youth Hostel near the castle. The drive home on Sunday was glorious as there are still gorgeous autumn colours and now fresh snow on the hills.

snowcloud

blurry on the move pic that is meant to show a cloud snowing on top of a hill!

What a Hoot!

Standard

petowl

I had a house full of visitors this week and I entertained them with hot soup at a waterfall, visits to my local junkshops and a trip to the Bird of Prey Centre near Huntly. We were the only visitors right at the end of the tourist season so we had a great time pretending to be owl and eagle handlers. The birds are all hand-reared and some have even gone on to starring roles in Harry Potter films. I really think I should get a pet owl…;)

My 2 days in school had a Hallowe’en theme which involved some research, artwork and maths with a seasonal theme. The children scooped out pumpkins then made soup and roasted the seeds in the oven. They had a go at carving jack o’lantern faces or decorating them with glitter and feathers in a homage to “Day of the Dead” masks.

folkgals

http://www.mairearadandanna.com

saltfish40

http://www.saltfishforty.co.uk

The weekend got off to a cracking start when Tania and I went to a tiny, wooden village hall to see 3 modern Scottish folk bands jam with each other. The next time they are on tour up here I will be the first to book tickets! Not only was the music fantastic but they were all great story-tellers – some funny, others tragic – explaining the inspiration for their tunes and songs.

weekswork

It was time to do some serious catching up with customer quilts at the weekend, while Nell’s 13th birthday/Hallowe’en sleepover was going on. She had a delightful group of girls here in fancy dress and they organised all of their own entertainment. All I had to do was cook for them – I think they enjoyed their breakfast waffles:)

ewq lornabaste treeq

I managed to do a quilt binding, baste a shot-cottons quilt for a hand quilter (pity the stitches are half an inch long because it looks fantastic), and fit in a rush job using a digital pantograph and deal with/fix an unscheduled Windows restart right in the middle of the quilt. Theoretically I should have cleared the decks enough to start quilting “Shield Maiden” at last…

Been Busy – Honest;)

Standard

poshnewcooker

I have absolutely no photos to prove that I have actually had a pretty busy week. Lots of things were ticked off on my list and I finished almost 3 out of 4 customer quilts then promptly received 3 more! I started and finished a quilt top that should have waited until everything else got done but once I got started I just wanted to finish it. There are deliberately no photos of it as it is a Christmas quilt for Freya at Uni;)

After 16 years of working with a progressively dysfunctional cooker, a new one arrived on Monday and we have watched in amazement as cakes rose without burning in a pristine oven that even lit up. As it has a shiny ceramic top I felt that it needed a quilted tartan cover, at least while it is new!

I printed out plenty of worksheets to keep my school class going until Christmas but my children were not impressed when they had to print their homework on green paper because I had used up all of the white.

In fact, all sorts of admin got done and after some dithering over routes and prices, Ellen and I have now booked flights to Savannah for QuiltCon in February 2017. I am also excited at the prospect of teaching on a Bernina Q24 in Bavaria in April – I just need to work out which classes to offer:))

I will have family staying for a few days this week and sadly, the school holidays are over so I daresay another week will flash by in the relentless rush towards (sshh!!) … Christmas!

Keeping Busy During Wet School Holidays

Standard

img_0573

It has rained almost constantly during the first week of the Tattie Holidays but my kids have kept themselves reasonable busy. There has been some baking, making, music and an unenthusiastic trip into town. Fergus even helped me to fix the spooky bathroom ceiling. He scraped off the loose bits, sanded off the flaky stuff, swept it up and helped me to paint, splashing even less than I did myself. It is not a very professional job but the bathroom no longer looks haunted. I paid Fergus for his efforts with a new crash cymbal so now he is actively seeking out jobs to do!

cymbal

I got 2 customer quilts done using Quilt Path and have set up a custom job. My plan is to get all caught up so I can crack on with Shield Maiden after the holidays…

img_3827 img_3830 img_3831

I decided to give Nell the Drunkard’s Path quilt for her birthday which is on the 24th. As she loves Hallowe’en, I used sugar skull fabric for the backing and used the QP to quilt the “Charlotte’s Web” panto by Anne Bright. I could not decide which colour to go for with the binding – cactus green or magenta – so I used them both by inserting a skinny flange! Nell has only glimpsed the quilt in passing so I have warned her not to read my blog until after her birthday;)

Dealing with a Flawed Plan

Standard

fullsizerender

I had the luxury of 2 whole days without any commitments in my studio so I managed to reverse applique the raw linen onto the woad wool shawl by using lots of pins, going very slowly, turning the piece gradually at the curves and using the walking foot. I am relieved now that all of the easily frayed linen is tucked under with no lumps. My “only” problem now will be how I should proceed with the quilting.

img_3801 img_3799 img_3800

 

The Tuesday night quilters were visited by Mel’s friend, Lesley, who showed us how she creates bowls and baskets from cotton clothes line. It is incredible how much rope gets used up in one small bowl but they are so pleasing to look at and hold. I made one straight away the next morning then dyed it blue so it could act as a bread basket in my kitchen. It was quite an addictive process so I can see myself aimlessly sewing round in circles more often.

img_3805

 

On Saturday Nell and I took the train to Edinburgh. She got off at the station in Leuchars to spend the day with Freya in St Andrews. They had a fun day wandering around meeting Freya’s new friends and having beans on toast in her student flat.

14625366_1299058810135984_870654134_n

I met up with a fellow SAQA member, textile artist Michele Lasker. Michele had already spent a few days exploring Glasgow and London before group a tour of weavers on an Outlander inspired tour of Scotland. We had a lovely lunch at Brown’s Brasserie, discussing what we got up to in our studios then went for a wee mooch around the city. Michele creates multi-layered pieces from freeform knitting, felting and stitch – her website is vibrant and fascinating…

www.michelelasker.com

While I was in Edinburgh I dashed into John Lewis to buy yet another piece of black fabric to finish off the Drunkard’s Path quilt that begged to be finished off because it was so easy and pleasing to put together. It was not until I laid the blocks out to make the “snake-in-the-grass” border arrangement that I had planned that I realised there was a large FLAW in my plan. When I cut out another 64 units I continued to use half pink and half black blocks just like all of the others except that I should have made sure that all of the Pacman shapes should have been pink and all of the bite shaped pieces should have been black – oops! I wondered whether to have a pink snake down 2 sides and a black snake around the other 2 but eventually decided on quarter circles. I had to be really careful when I picked up the pieces to take them to the sewing machine in case I accidentally got them muddled up. The finished quilt top looks pretty cool and Fenella will be its recipient. I will probably just do utility quilting on this one but I wonder whether I will manage to make do with backing fabric in my stash or will I “need” to buy something that matches better?

I used a random number generator to choose which blog commenter would win a copy of John Kubiniec’s “A New Spin on Drunkard’s Path” book. I have emailed the winner so when she replies I can announce who that was;)

Book Review – A New Spin on Drunkard’s Path by John Kubiniec

Standard

dpbanner

I have always loved the look of Drunkard’s Path quilt blocks and their infinitely varied layouts but over the years some of my attempts at making them have been frustrating. I have cheated and used interfacing or bondaweb appliqué blocks covered with embroidery stitches and thrown away many blocks where the two pieces just would not meet, even using a special designed-for-curved-piecing foot.

drunkards-path-on-line-copy

Long, long ago…

Thanks to lots of practice and a certain amount of time watching YouTube demos, I have now conquered most of my demons about curved piecing but freely admit that there are times when a certain amount of fudging goes on!

ccnx-copy Celtic Connections – yurt panel pieced and quilted by Linzi Upton

coreyandlinzislinky-copy-2

Slinky – yurt panel (pieced by Corey Starkey, quilted by Linzi Upton)

samq-copy

Sam’s Quilt – pieced and quilted by Linzi Upton

 

booktitle

 

When fellow Bernina longarm ambassador, John Kubiniec asked me to review his book, A NEW SPIN ON DRUNKARD’S PATH I was intrigued to see what his method would be to crack the devilishly difficult Drunkard’s Path blocks. The layout and explanations in the book are very clear and as an Instruction-Phobe like me that is high praise;) Most importantly, the templates are a SENSIBLE size. This means that the curve is not too sharp or short so you stand a far better chance of easing in that curve! John writes, “ If you detest curved piecing, I hope these patterns will entice you to give it a try and that my techniques will help you conquer your fears. If you already love curved piecing, the variations and patterns will help you explore new design possibilities.”

John very sensibly recommends using at least 3 pins but I chose to ignore that sage advice and still managed to make well behaved DP units.

I was only going to make one or two units to test the instructions but I very quickly found myself making 16 units to make a giant DP block and because my mental arithmetic failed me, I accidentally cut out enough for 2 giant blocks so I found myself making a trip to the fabric shop for more black in order to make an entire, impromptu quilt.

img_3785

Giant DP block made in less than one hour!

If I had had enough black at home I reckon I could easily have run up a quilt top in a day. I seem to have become slightly addicted to making John’s quick and easy DP units as I have now have plans to add a “snake in the grass” style border!

snakeingrass

A NEW SPIN ON DRUNKARD’S PATH by John Kubiniec is available from

www.ctpub.com

www.amazon.co.uk or http://www.amazon.com

www.bigrigquilting.com

Enter the Giveaway
Win a free copy of John Kubiniec’s new book, “A New Spin on Drunkard’s Path” – just leave a comment and check back on October 9th for the randomly-drawn winner (UK blog readers will receive an Ebook)

 The blog tour 
September 26, 2016 Jenifer Dick www.42quilts.com

C&T Publishing http://www.ctpub.com/blog/
September 27, 2016 Sara Lawson www.sewsweetness.com/blog

Heather Kojan http://www.heatherkojan.com
September 28, 2016 Bill Volckening http://willywonkyquilts.blogspot.com

McCall’s Quilting http://www.mccallsquilting.com/blogs/

 

September 29, 2016 Teri Lucas https://terificreations.com

Bonnie Hunter http://quiltville.blogspot.com
September 30, 2016 made by ChrissieD http://madebychrissied.blogspot.com

LoveBug Studios https://lovebugstudios.com/blog/
October 1, 2016
Kathy Patterson http://hillstreetquilts.blogspot.com

Teresa Coates http://www.crinkledreams.com
October 2, 2016 Carl Hentsch http://3dogdesignco.blogspot.com
October 3, 2016 Generation Q Magazine http://generationqmagazine.com

Lisa Calle https://lisacalle.wordpress.com
October 4, 2016 Linzi Upton https://thequiltquine.wordpress.com

Nicole Daksiewicz www.modernhandcraft.com/blog
October 5, 2016 Marti Michell http://frommartimichell.blogspot.com

Debby Brown http://higheredhands.blogspot.com
October 6, 2016 Melody Crust http://melodycrust.blogspot.com/

Kim Niedzwiecki http://www.gogokim.com
October 7, 2016 Patrick Lose http://www.patricklose.com
John Kubiniec https://bigrigquilting.com/blog/

Little by Little

Standard

14484836_1460448203972359_4078123235723076557_n

It is not often that a customer gets muddled and does not turn up for a quilting session but when they do I am secretly delighted as it is like having an unexpected day off. I caught up with my paperwork then decided to make a giant Drunkard’s Path sample block that I would use for John Kubiniec’s Blog Hop to publicise his new book, “A New Spin on Drunkard’s Path”. My blog-hop post will appear on Tuesday 4th October www.bigrigquilting.com My sample block appears to have led to an entirely new, unanticipated quilt for which I have had to purchase additional fabric to make the groovy “snake in the grass” borders!

fullsizerender

This quilt will have to wait in a queue as I also worked on my Civil War tumblers quilt in between DIY customer bobbin changes then found myself ordering a batch of Scandi-Style Christmas fabrics in case I have time to run up a festive quilt for Freya at Uni!

img_3789 img_3787 img_3788

I attached the freezer-paper template for Shield Maiden and sewed a heavy duty straight stitch all the way around. The linen looks like a crumpled mess when it is not actually on the ironing board and as you can see in the photos, there is not much to look at so far. The next challenge on a day without interruptions is to cut out the openings and hope it is actually possible to iron the raw edge of the stiff linen under to form a reverse appliqué edge.

I ran up some cute bags for the computer mice at school to stop them all getting tangled up together then decided to do the same in tartan for the iPad chargers. I have also reduced the size of the hanging pod pattern that I decided would look better as a small gourd than a melon but I have not made it as a prototype yet, reasoning that I had other more urgent things to do. However, I am looking forward to attending a mini workshop on washing-line baskets which I can imagine might become quite addictive…

RandR with TT and Friends

Standard

14433149_10205372458309596_6755527444750213201_n

After yet another hectic week working on customer quilts and being at school it was great to stay with Ellen overnight then meet Kay for brunch in IKEA near Edinburgh before visiting the Scottish Quilt Championships. Kay had several customer quilts in the show as well as a super new kaleidoscope quilt, “Brewster’s Reflections”. For some daft reason my camera battery was dead so I have posted Facebook photos of the quilts but I’m sure Kay will have some good ones on her blog www.borderlinequilter.blogspot

14441155_1317311451620092_5585168082857933087_n

Tartan Tattoo came 2nd in large wall quilts and was awarded a judge’s choice certificate by Susan Briscoe! It seemed to be a popular quilt with the visitors which is hardy surprising at a Scottish show;)

14469700_10205372458149592_5242886433230588958_n 14358899_10205372458189593_5335922741077740817_n 14355100_10205372458869610_5546097794099820196_n

I finally found a day in which to iron Vilene onto my piece of linen and the woad dyed shawl. Drawing out the shield maiden motif onto freezer paper and cutting it out neatly was tricky but it is now ready to attempt the reverse appliqué which I hope to do in a few spare hours before my first classroom observation in 20+ years. I am telling myself not to get in a pickle over the latest teacherish jargon and just carry on regardless. If it all goes pear-shaped I will just have to carve out a career as a quilt artist:P

img_3776

img_3771 img_3772 customer quilts by Valerie and Annie

Washing Away the Blues

Standard

palewoad dkwoad bloowool

I am finding teaching part-time in school regularly for 2 days a week challenging. I am now beholden to write lengthy plans and learn the latest, pointless jargon, both of which sap my time and enthusiasm. I guess I just not quite plucked up the courage to declare myself a bona-fide textile artist who can actually earn a living. Currently in my over-crowded week, I can have 2-3 days of DIY quilters, 2 days in school, some customer quilts and very little time to experiment.

pwcrack

However, I was determined to dye the wool for “Shield Maiden” this weekend. I had a buff coloured Indian wool shawl and a couple of old wool blankets. Dyeing with woad was fascinating but long-winded. The process is similar to dealing with indigo dye but was further complicated with preparing the wool for dyeing. It took a whole day of dipping and exposing the woad dye to the air to get a deep enough hue. I wish my Chemistry A Level had been half as exciting as the mixing and measuring I had to do with all of my powders and potions. I even had to test the pH of my solution with litmus paper! The wool blanket was just wishy-washy in the woad dye bath so I decided to run it through the machine with Hungarian dyes. Even though it had been mordanted, the colour all washed away until I remembered that I had some acid dye for wool stashed away and finally achieved the royal blue that I had been looking for. I am not sure whether the now felted blue wool is too thick so I also have the fine wool shawl as an alternative.

woadbucket woolgrunge washmachgunk

Mind you, what was meant to be a fun afternoon became very stressful as the washing machine broke down before I had done any of the weekend’s laundry. It had to be taken apart to cough up some trash (ahem – wool gunge amongst other random objects) that had  clogged up the pump. While dealing with a non-draining machine, dip-dyeing with woad and doing a customer quilt, Fergus got me to act as his roadie to change the strings on his guitar after he had taken off the old set and forgotten how to wind on the new ones – in about 10 minutes before he was due to debut with his school’s Soul Band!

exp2 exp1

I have tried to make samples to decide which method of appliqué to use on “Shield Maiden”. I like the edges folded under but can’t get super-sharp points with the coarse linen so I may have to add curves to my original design so the linen can bend where it has to change direction. I have already ruled out piecing as the materials are too thick. I had a go at rune-like designs using satin-stitch but it is not “right” so I will have another think about that element.

pwhottie

I made a prototype hot water bottle cover to work out whether to add binding on the outside or not and learned that my overlocker could not deal with the tight curves of the hottie’s shoulders. Freya was delighted to receive a “hottie” to match her quilt in a parcel from home. I expect she will tell me to stop sending her stuff after a while. This week I had a go at making a prototype pair of PJ shorts which may get posted off to Uni. Funny how quite a few projects don’t ever make it past the prototype phase;)

Preparing to Create

Standard

buchanans

I have been frustrated that I have not yet started on Shield Maiden but at least now I have all of the materials ready. There is an inviting piece of natural linen, a wool shawl, woad powder, alum all waiting patiently on my worktable. I am still tempted to ferment a bucket of urine for two weeks to dye the wool “authentically”.

pee

I have been kept busy with my 2 days per week at school but more annoying and time sappingly, doing paperwork for school.  At least I unwound for a while by returning to a long abandoned “in the background” quilt…

img_3753

A customer was here DIY quilting two of four large Harris Tweed quilts which will look fantastic in her Highland holiday cottage and most certainly keep the draughts out in winter.

As the weather gradually turns more autumnal I decided to make Freya a hot water bottle cover using the scraps from her “Goosey Guddle” quilt. I have pieced and quilted it now need to decide whether to make it hot water bottle shaped and whether to add bias binding around the outside. Obviously, I am incapable of making the simplest option!

img_3751

I had a great meeting over coffee at Buchanans Bistro with a small Craft Collective from  my local area. We already had a Facebook Page @CreativeCrathes as a means of advertising our small businesses but other than that we did not exactly have a purpose. In fact, we don’t really need any justification. It is quite simply nice to meet up for coffee without an agenda which can lead to sharing ideas or mentioning other contacts or organisations which could prove useful. Since then I have signed up to an online network called Craft Scotland, www.craftscotland.org added new posts to the Creative Creathes FB page and agreed to meet again in 6 weeks. And it is is nice to know that other Makers suffer the same self-doubts and pressures of time;)