Ever since I first became a Quilter I have been active on social media – first it was for information or advice on quilting forums then Facebook and Instagram came along. I posted something or made comments almost every day and for a while I did my 30 seconds max daily vlog, either about a project, my travels or something daft that I had done. My laptop tells me I have written over 11 000 emails since I got it in 2012! My weekly blog is really just an electronic journal for myself which some people happen to see sometimes. Recently, I have posted very little and I have felt increasingly like a quilting recluse with very little to show off about and currently I feel like I am not actively involved in the quilting world.
This week I kept thinking I should at least be running up a batch of home-made Christmas presents as I was not busy quilting. As parcels arrived from the Postie and I kept track of my festive spending, I realised that my business has suffered. I may not be able to travel or teach at present but I can still undertake customer quilts so I will need to promote that service in the New Year.
Freya came home for a couple of days to celebrate Fergus 18th birthday. It was a bit of a low key affair as we did not go out to celebrate but he made up for it after his gig on Friday night, going out to a nightclub (legally!) with his pals. Of course he did not actually feel any different to being 17 but the very next day he cast his vote for the first time in a momentous UK general election.
I have had to hand over the reins of organising Bernina longarm quilting classes at FOQ 2020 but I hope to be able to take Nella with me to Birmingham for a couple of days instead of a whole week and teach one of the classes that I have offered previously. To be honest, nobody knows what life will be like by next summer but I hope it will at least be more predictable.
At least I managed to screen-print a few cushion covers and a couple of birthday T-shirts for Fergus, despite breaking the on-off switch on my workshop water heater. The worst part of screen-printing is actually cleaning off the equipment afterwards. I can temporarily use the tap with the aid of a screwdriver or hope the garden hose is not frozen. I can cope with up to A3 sized screens in my old Belfast sink but I would only be able to deal with the giant doily screen at the art school as they have a huge washing trough. I am really enjoying screen-printing and would like to see where it takes me, unless I get into another new hobby such as Macramé…!
Freya asked what I would like for Christmas and I could think of absolutely nothing that I “need” or even want – except that I would love to have my life back! I cannot make any bookings to teach quilting away from home or even schedule classes here, I have no foreign trips or holidays planned and some days that simply gets to me. (Don’t feel sorry for me – I just have to sulk occasionally) I am grateful that I have been able to support Nella in long battle with Anorexia and things have improved but there are really no days off for either of us. Something that I struggle with in life is not having a plan for the day. I hate waking up and not knowing what I will make or do!
I felt that I should be making hand-made gifts of some sort but could not decide on what or for whom so on a whim I rustled up a couple of sets of practical, padded microwave bowl cozies. They may sound naff but they are really handy and prevent scalds when serving individual portions of hot soup or porridge.
I decided that I need a ready-to-go project so I cut out some more hen blocks by “Cluck, Cluck Sew”. I hope I don’t run into trouble for not pre-washing the Indian indigo which left my hands blue after cutting;)
Nella and I had a go at a Regan sweatshirt top from “Sew Me Something”. We used an interlock jersey and striped, stretchy ribbing for cuffs and collar. The jersey was a bargain so we could have a go and not worry about messing up. However, I did not expect it to be peppered with little holes so I have had to make a complaint to the supplier. We did the whole project using the overlocker and coverlocker. The instructions are clear and easy to follow – we added a turtle neck instead of a t-shirt neck and when we make another, will add pockets. I was impressed that we coped with the stretchy fabric and actually made a wearable garment.
I received a lovely parcel from Germany this week – Regina sent me some vintage doilies that she came across when clearing her Mother-in-Law’s house, along with 2 big bags of Haribos (not part of the house clearance!) The doilies are great so I think I will have to draw them out on acetate in order to make screens – maybe these might replace one of those that I did before. I printed some of the screen-print doilies out onto IKEA cushions and they look like festive snowflakes on the pale blue or red cushions.
Nella and I went into Aberdeen for late-night shopping on Thursday evening. It was not a serious shopping trip and we only went to John Lewis. It was great because it was almost deserted which is just how I like it! The rest of my purchases will be made online and locally. Mind you, before the Christmas countdown totally takes over we have to celebrate Fergus’ 18th birthday so I have 2 lots of unique presents to source within 2 weeks;)
I can’t tell you how long it took me to browse images of clothes peg bag images before choosing the first one I found. I made my Mother a smart, new peg bag for Christmas since that is what she asked for. I could probably make more of those or cosmetics bags or some other complicated projects or actually nothing at all;)
I completed 3 blissfully straightforward customer quilts in short order, even though one had a back that was slightly too small. I simply advised the customer to apply extra wide binding. That left me the rest of my time to work on some of my remaining Rainbow Warli blocks.
Obviously I had to fiddle with the perfectly good settings that I had previously settled on for making eyelets. Once the eyelets were made they were sewn onto squares of silver lame so they look like shisha mirrors. I added a touch of silver glitter paint to each one just to seal the thread ends.
The organza Warli blocks were not as great as I had hoped because it would seem that not all organza is the same. Some did not burn right off with the soldering iron which was disappointing so I wondered whether to fill in the twin needle stripes with silver foil or glitter but it made the figures look they were in jail. Just to see what it would look like I tested out a sample of rustic Kantha stitching with razzle-dazzle thread in case I decide to add some insane stitching to the finished quilt. I am hoping that when Freya is home at Christmas I might get “free” time to lay the whole quilt out or at least work out what it could be – quilt, canopy or tent…
The thing I was most excited by this week was deciding to make a screen-print table top. I was lucky that a nice young man offered to help me get my MDF into the back of the Landy otherwise I would have had to go back into the shop to buy rope to strap it onto the roof. I stapled down 4 layers of quilt wadding plus a layer of heavyweight muslin and now have a padded printing surface the same size as my farmhouse table. I tested it out by printing some doilies onto plain cushions which I will give away as gifts.
I have now ordered an unmarked heavy duty cutting mat that can sit on top when I am not printing so there will be no excuse for Nella and I not to become good at dressmaking – or at the very least we might get good at cutting the patterns out;)