Water Witching

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Aberdeenshire has had an incredible amount of rain. Water just runs off the fields. Our garden usually drains away pretty well but it is so waterlogged that a vast puddle is lapping up to the door of the yurt. I think sandbags might be a good idea. Despite the rain, I had a go at dowsing for the lost stopcock. I can’t plumb in the sink in my workshop or move the door until we find the tap to turn off the water and it is hidden somewhere deep in the shrubbery. I was delighted that Mo and I both managed to pinpoint the same area with our divining rods. One set even spun around wildly. We have followed a line from the outside tap to an area where I need to persuade my husband to dig to see if we have dowsed correctly.

The other magic involving water has been dyeing with the Columbus powder from Hungary. I want to dye larger pieces than is actually recommended so I decided to compare boiling in a large pot on the cooker and using the washing machine. The colours are fantastic. I have used white cotton prepared for dyeing from Whaleys just to see how true the colours are. They are very close to the colour card. In future I may use unbleached cotton for an even subtler effect. The dyeing can also be done in a jug in the microwave but obviously only with smaller pieces. My first attempt on the cooker was a little patchy but only because my piece of fabric was far too big to mix properly. I decided that I love using the washing machine. It was all rinsed properly and no dye residue was left behind in the machine. I bought 15 colours but there are actually 58 altogether. I think I will definitely invest in this product to resell in the UK.

I spent a whole day doing admin; emails, phone calls, filing and accounts. I began to get withdrawal symptoms from my workshop but I did get a lot done. I have persuaded Aurifil to allow me to order wholesale direct from Italy, The Edgerider Wheels company is keen for me to become a UK agent and I completed my first order form as the UK Sales Rep for APQS. I have been asked to do a talk and workshop in October next year by a quilting group and I will feature in a book on contemporary Scottish quilters published by Loch Lomond Quilt Show! I still don’t know where I will be going for Advanced Longarming classes next year. The QGBI has not yet announced who will be awarded the travel bursary – it would be fantastic to receive it. I spent an afternoon at Durris School launching a sewing project for Festival of Quilts 2010. I decided that they should enter the School Competition on the theme of “Cityscapes”. I actually offered to do a project last year when I was slightly less busy but my offer was only taken up recently by the school staff and I could hardly refuse…

I put up a super sturdy shelf unit from Costco. Once I finally worked out what the instructions were getting at it was really easy. My piles of tweed and other stuff look really professional now so feeling all organised, I finally felt ready to do some quilting. It took me a while to get started. I really felt rusty and lacking in imagination at first. I did a simple Christmas tree log cabin mini quilt then got started on a funky cat quilt with 3D parts. I was torn between doing simple quilting and doing my usual of “less is not more.” Now that I have decided, it is going well and Aurifil Mako 50 cotton is my new favourite thread. The tension has been absolutely perfect (sshh!)

HM Customs received £118 from me so that I could redeem my new Quiltazoid from their care. When I unpacked and saw all the bits involved I wondered if I would be able to understand how it all works. The instructional DVD is so clear that it looks like it will be a great tool. It is one of those gadgets that needs me to spend time to familiarising and practising all the functions – and some imagination to make the designs look really unusual. I want to make up some Celtic designs but I will want to fill in all the spaces, no doubt. It will be interesting to see if I can use thicker thread for the motifs and maybe paint…

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