Plum Jam or Monster Quilt Avoidance Tactics


I decided to get the massive quilt for one of Mo’s stately home customers out of the way so I can get back to “proper” quilts after FOQ. I kept putting it off but it just wouldn’t go away.

I did all sorts of things to avoid facing up to this project. I made jam, cherry liqueur, bread, cheesy biscuits, yogurt, did the ironing, spent hours on the computer answering every post on the APQS forum, looked up wireless headphones on Amazon, looked up decals to see if my machine would like “tattoos”, tidied out my wardrobe, watched quilting clips on U-tube, cleaned out the chickens, and even wondered whether to approach Channel 4 to see if they would like to do a Docu-Soap about my life but eventually I had to tackle it.

It is 126” square, made of heavy tapestry curtain fabric, with brown raw silk on the back. I had to measure and join carefully to make it so large. I would normally use poly wadding but this was extra large so I opted for extra wide Warm & Natural. I wish I had investigated wide wool or silk instead because this combination has meant that the back is speckled with cotton pokies. I expect some of them might steam or rub off but they look a bit fuzzy right now.

It was thrilling to open “Popular Patchwork” Magazine on Saturday to see my first project in print on p.40. “Silent Movie Star” will be published in 2 parts for September and October. Milton Studio has already had phone calls asking whether it is possible to buy a kit of the fabric! Barbara has not got all of the original fabrics but I’m going to help her pull out a range of close substitutes. My original article was very long so that the step-by-step instructions were idiot proof (myself being the most idiotic where instructions are concerned) so it has been edited. It looks very professional and even has colour photos!

Jenny, a friend/computer guru, came to show me how to do a PowerPoint presentation. I am giving my first ever talk to the Aberdeen P&Q Group on September 16th at 7.30pm in the Rubislaw Church Centre. I have 60 slides about “My Quilts & their Travels”. I had wondered how I could talk for more than 5 minutes but I may even have to shorten it. My husband showed me a PowerPoint presentation from work that was all flow diagrams and bullet points but mine is pretty basic – pictures and captions. After compiling all 60 slides I wanted to change the background and add my logo but I seemed to do it in the most long-winded and complicated way possible.

Despite all the cooking and baking that got done this week, I am quite possibly going to shelve the Aga  project for the time being. I really want to invest in a Quiltazoid and start saving for an overseas trip to get some advanced Longarming lessons. I have lots of ideas to think about. My studio renovation project is not going ahead at the moment because the quotes were over budget so I need to reconsider alternative plans. I would also like to seriously consider adding a Lenni to my studio to be able to offer DIY quilting, classes and take it along to do demos with the Yurt exhibition.

This week I would like to get the Monster quilt done, see what progress the dress-maker has made, get the children back to school, enter LSD for “Road 2 California” and draft out my proposal for a travel bursary and finally, pack my bag for FOQ!

For anyone who is avoiding doing what they should be doing, I have included a few recipes. They are quite flexible – feel free to substitute brown flour, chilli, different plums or whatever as appropriate…!


Plum Jam (makes about 6 jars)

4lb Victoria plums – cut in half and remove stones

3lb sugar

14 fl oz water

A few cloves

Put plums, cloves and water into large pan and cook gently for about 20 mins

Add sugar; boil rapidly for about 15 mins. Drop a little onto a cold saucer. If it wrinkles when pushed with your fingertip, it will set. Plum jam sets easily so it should be OK.

Pour into clean jars.

Cheesy Feet Biscuits (makes about 2 dozen)

8 oz plain flour

6 oz soft marg or butter

6 oz cheddar cheese

Big pinch mustard or chilli powder

Mix flour and marg with a fork in a bowl

Add mustard and grated cheese and squish into dough by hand

Sprinkle worktop and rolling pin with flour; roll dough out to ¼” thick; cut with foot shaped cutter; space out on flat tin covered with baking parchment; bake at around 160 dg Celsius for 12 mins

Cherry Syrup for Vodka

Use around 2lb wild black cherries or brambles

Juice of one lemon

Enough water to cover the fruit in the pan

2lb sugar

Boil up cherries, lemon juice and water for about 5 minutes. Mash up well and squash through a metal sieve. Add sugar to liquid and bring to a simmer for about 5 more minutes. Pour this into bottles. Add this to vodka for a lovely liqueur. (Give the squashed cherry mush to Pig in Garden!)


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