Monthly Archives: November 2012

Christmas Shopping: Socks and a Tarpaulin


I spent almost two full days cutting fabric for “B’elzebub” and also a few simple fence border blocks for the wonky house quilt to do on Thursday evenings but I still have not sewn a stitch. The new quilt does not really have a plan as such – it will be a bit like a combination of yurt panels until it grows big enough. The wholecloth design that I drew out ages ago is for a very large quilt. The fabrics look rather inviting and I also ordered a batch of silk-mix fabric that I can dye. The modest sized package really did not look like it should have cost £200!

I was a bit disappointed but not altogether surprised that “The Ostrych” was rejected from a show that I entered it into on grounds of size and of being in several parts. However, the organiser of another large USA show has expressed an interest in it so perhaps it will go to America in the spring. I really must pluck up the courage to quilt “Oz Bewitched” or else it won’t be going anywhere next year either. The trouble is that I keep being tempted to start more exciting projects. Mo gave me a fabulous white goat hide that would normally have been used as a coffin liner. Sometimes you don’t need to know where stuff has come from…

I crammed a lot into my week as I was teaching for 3 days. My new class enjoyed making bread with fresh yeast and they really like my electric pencil sharpener. We had to put on a special assembly for the whole school and parents with very little time to rehearse and it went quite well. I am really enjoying knowing where everything is kept and leaving my coffee mug in the staffroom.

Several of my evenings were taken up with a Parent Council meeting, meeting at Freya’s school about the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and an evening spent at the relaunched Aberdeen Patchwork & Quilting Group. This was actually a very sociable event with several super mini demos and a wonderful selection of homebakes. Somehow, the new committee had even managed to muster a good turnout so things seem to be looking up for my local group.

I am determined not to be sucked into last minute panic buying mode this year so I forced myself to make a start on Christmas shopping in Aberdeen. I did surprisingly well and found lots of gifts in TK Maxx, mostly because I started there and had not yet got bored. I found all sorts of things including the ubiquitous socks, soap and my last purchase of the day was a large blue tarpaulin, not technically a Christmas present for anyone – just a treat for my garden Yurt to stop the rain soaking into the aging soggy, mossy canvas. I hope to complete the shopping online or find a few things in Banchory. Ideally, I would make all of my presents but I know that just won’t happen. Maybe I could at least make some bunting and a batch of dog biscuits and that may just inspire me to make some more handy zipped bags. I am relieved that I did not commit myself to doing any Christmas craft fairs. I went to two small local sales at the weekend but the sellers reported that trade was painfully slow. Either people are doing all of their shopping online or everyone is busy making their own gifts.

Going to School in PJ’s


I remember once having a vivid nightmare as a child in which I had to go to school in my pyjamas. This week I started my new temporary teaching job and on Day 2 I found myself teaching in PJ’s in aid of the Children in Need charity. I think it will be rather nice to know all of the children’s names and what I will be teaching in advance. I will teach in school 2 days in one week and three the following week. The other teacher and I will leave each notes, email and meet up sometimes to discuss progress. This will go on until February 2013, by which time I should know what quilting commitments I have.

My children had two days off school for teacher in-service training so I did not spend much time in my workshop. I wrote some Houston thank you postcards, caught up with emails and did some proper cooking.

I managed to complete two simple customer quilts. On one of them I tried out a simple feathery template that I had chosen for DIY quilters to use and I was really pleased with how it turned out. It was not exciting to do but I should think that most novice quilters would be thrilled with it. I intend not to do any more customer quilts before Christmas as I will be busy enough and want to spend all of my workshop time working on patterns or my new projects.

I did some initial research for one of my top-secret-for-now projects – I will only hint that it may involve trees and some Scottish folklore…

On Friday after school I drove down to Edinburgh to stay with a lovely hostess so that I could give a talk on Quilts & Travels to Thistle Quilters. They were enthusiastic, most welcoming and very impressed at the three cases full of quilts from the past 6 years. I had taken along the Scottish yurt panels, a selection of bed quilts and a few small projects. I was quite surprised at how much stuff there was myself, especially considering that some other yurt panels are in Wisconsin, other quilts are away at shows, some are in cupboards or on beds and yet more have been given away!

I felt obliged to make a detour to IKEA on the way home where I picked up a couple of Christmas presents, meatballs with lingon-berries, and impulsively bought a white leather swivel chair from the bargain department.

On Sunday I ruthlessly tidied out my thread drawers as they would not close after I tried to fit in the new reels from Houston. I was tempted to carry on and sort out the hidden horrors   of trimmings and paints in other drawers but that would have taken a very long time. Instead, I intend to cut some of my new fabric to make a small start on “B’elzebub”. Mind you, if I order some black wadding then I might be tempted to quilt on a piece of Scottish deer hide.

Moving Forward


Almost as soon as I arrived home from Houston, the phone rang with several requests for me to do supply teaching. I declined any for the first week back but was offered two regular days at two different schools until at least February. I decided to do 2.5 days locally temporarily. The advantages are that I will learn the children’s names, it will not cost a fortune in diesel and it will be nice to know what I am doing in advance. The intention is to spend the other 2.5 days purposefully working on quilt related projects.

There are basically three ideas buzzing around in my head at present and I can’t wait to get started. Two are wholecloths involving structures and the third is an Anti-Wholecloth, so I am tempted to nickname it “Damian” or “Be’elzebub”. As usual, the opening ideas are sketchy to say the least so I am going to keep them under wraps until they have evolved a bit. Let’s just say that I shall be ordering some more dye and some ready-to-dye yardage from Whaleys of Bradford. I bought a nice selection of plains in Houston and may add a little silk so there may be a bit of cutting and experimenting going on over the next few weeks.

Obviously, I still have “Oz Bewitched”, “Silent Movie Star2”, “Wonky Houses” and the usual stash of vintage horrors to complete but they will all get there in the end when their time is right.

My diary is rapidly filling up with talks and workshops. I really need to look ahead to see what I can fit in without dashing about all over the place. I have to do two lectures in Central Scotland in the next two weeks. Those dates that were organised months ago are suddenly here.

Apart from working on a small and simple customer quilt, I spent all week catching up with correspondence, doing a little research for my forthcoming projects and I even made a  long overdue birthday carrot cake for a friend.

Autumn made rapid progress this week. I meant to take photos of the deep orange-gold of the larch trees but before I remembered to, the wind had blown most of them off so that in just a couple of days the trees were almost bare. It is getting darker earlier every day and gritting lorries can be seen most days. At the weekend we enjoyed the latest James Bond film, “Skyfall”, particularly the Landrover car chase and the finale set in The Highlands and could not help noticing that the shops are full of Christmas gifts. I may not have begun to think about Christmas shopping yet but at least I have already finished my three Christmas Quilts!

IQA Houston International Quilt Festival 2012