Most days I wake up and have no idea what day it actually is. I only knew it was Tuesday because I had to take Nessie for a rendezvous in the Vet carpark for her puppy booster so now she is all clear to go out in public whenever that might be.
I spent most of the week completing the sparkly stitching-in-the-ditch then simply wondered for a while whether the machine quilting was actually complete. The blue marking pen came out easily with a spray of water and none of the Indian fabrics bled any dye which was a relief.
I decided to crack straight on with attaching the prairie points which was not an easy task with Nessie around. I had to keep a large and heavy quilt off the floor as she kept trying to eat the wonder clips that were holding the PPs in place. My plan is to add the binding so the edges don’t get tatty and leave the blocking until much later. It seems fairly square. At least the two sides both measure 90” but admittedly the top and bottom are 1.5” different which is not a massive problem;)
I have reined back a bit on my plan to add a lot of kantha stitching on the quilt. I decided that the circular, glittery Warlis were a bit saggy so I am adding rustic seed stitching in their backgrounds. I don’t have all of the right colours of perle cotton so I am just using what I have and I think it will look OK in the grand scheme of things. I may add some sort of kantha onto the binding. I have decided to use plain blue and orange for the binding instead of the psychaledic backing fabric or black which does not appear anywhere else. Other than that I pottered away at somelog cabin blocks, made a couple of hairbands, one face mask, bread – some good loaves, some like bricks, and just taking each day as it comesThis despite my MacBook dying without having done a recent backup. Hey-ho, what can I do at present? I have an IPad and a very old IMac so all is not completely lost for now.
Another week has gone by in “Lockdown” where the days go quickly and I feel busy but am not actually busy at all. I actually did 2 customer quilts using the machine with the computer which felt productive. Mel delivered some jazzy prints that she had picked up from a bazaar in Myanmar so I decided to make a set of table napkins. I watched a long-winded YouTube tutorial on how to make perfectly mitred corners then figured out a much quicker, easier method myself. If I could work out how to make a good YouTube video single-handedly then I would upload it for others to try.
Most of the time that I spent in my workshop was just stitching-in-the-ditch with sparkly thread. I had to keep
dousing the cone with silicone and the hefty size 20 needle is not as accurate as I would like but once I step back a bit it looks pretty good. I still cannot decide if it needs or wants any hand sewing like I did on the red, black and white version.
Nessie went for a walk halfway around the field on her lead without complaining which is fantastic. I had a Westie years ago that would just refuse to budge on a lead and often had to be carried home!
I have sort of tried to be less busy at weekends but I never allow myself to simply read a book. I have been pottering away on the log cabin blocks because it is relaxing but also feels useful, getting annoyed learning German with the Duolingo app, and helping Nella make another very basic pair of PJ trousers. She was upset that the first set did not fit but I had stupidly cut out the small child size instead of small adult – not an ideal situation for a recovering Anorexic.
I anticipate the the coming week will be much the same – maybe the Rainbow Warlior SID will get finished, maybe not;)
A sure way to beat the Blues is to play with as many colours as possible. My friend, Mel brought me a selection of rich, shot cottons that she had brought back from Myanmar and left them in a bag at a safe distance. I wanted to start using them straight away but could not decide what sort of project, other than a nice, easy one. There is currently a virtual log cabin quilt online, curated by www.theafricanfabricshop.co.uk so I made a test block for that, followed by random selection of “ethnic” prints that I had stashed away combined with the shot cottons. I did not want a tricky project that involved fiddly bits, paper piecing or improvisation, so a plain and simple, old-school log cabin fits the bill perfectly. A couple of blocks can be made in a short time, in between other things, and they are a great stress reliever.
Nessie got her smart made to measure harness this week but it took 2 weeks to get here and she is growing so fast that it probably won’t last long. We decided on green since she is named after the Loch Ness Monster and I attached a couple of bells so I can hear her when she is hiding. One of the local vet practices agreed to administer her with puppy vaccinations. I handed her over in a pet-carrier in the car-park to avoid any human contact with the Vet. I decided go ahead with the vaccinations in case Lockdown is lifted by the summer so she can safely socialise with other dogs.
It was a shock when it was announced that UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, had been taken into intensive care and I think it made people realise that nobody is invincible from Coronavirus. Festival of Quilts sensibly announced that the 2020 show has been cancelled. Even if it had gone ahead later in the year I don’t think many people would have attended, particularly since the NEC is currently being used as a field hospital. Without being over pessimistic, I can’t see this crisis being over for a long time yet.
Bit by bit I finally reached the bottom of the Rainbow Warlior quilt! I could not quite believe it to be honest as it seemed to take forever. The next phase is to add a defined sparkly line of stitch-in-the-ditch to every single seam. I had a bit of a tussle with the Madeira Supertwist 12 thread to start with until I got the right tension/needle combination. The 120 needle is FAR bigger than is ideal but is the only one that I can use without the sparkly thread shredding every couple of inches. The SID is not quite as time consuming as I had expected so my next decision will be whether to commit to any kantha-style hand quilting in addition. To look authentic there would have to be a lot of it and it is a very large quilt. I also want to attach almost 200 tiny pompoms to each of the prairie-points in the binding and that is possibly already fiddly enough;)
I have been trying not to get a tiny bit frustrated at not feeling purposeful and I feel that I must make something every day and that is not so easy with a puppy to entertain. An old friend sent me some Scottie Dog fabric so I made Nessie a smart cover for the pillow that we keep in the kitchen. I thought she would look cute in a bandana and that led to make some elasticated hairbands. This in turn reminded me that I had a pattern for making knickers so I decided to have a go using the remains of the PJ fabric. I forgot that the outer gusset usually matches the main fabric of the knickers. The knickers looked generous enough to suit Bridget Jones but after I added the leg bands only someone with skinny legs and a big bum would be able to wear them. Oh well, at least I know I can make knickers if Marks and Spencer closes down;)
I have made slow but steady progress on the Rainbow Warriors quilt, just doing a couple of blocks a day. The ruler work is slow but I am pleased with the texture. I have now rolled it all the way down so I can actually see the bottom of the quilt which is quite exciting and will spur me on. Then I will start at the top all over again to do something about highlighting all of the seams. I will probably make a scrap sample to decide whether that will mean using a thicker metallic thread or a freehand “embroidery” stitch. The antique Indian tunic scraps that I used as inspiration have SO much stitching and it is not like I am working to any kind of deadline.
We have managed to teach Nessie a few simple commands which is important because she is a terrier and they like to be the Boss. She can SIT, COME and does understand NO but thinks it does not apply to cats, hens and people’s ankles. She is great fun, follows me around but we have to keep her occupied so she does not try to chew cables which is a challenge in the workshop. She has a ridiculous, new toy that might distract her – a squeaky rubber chicken. It is amazing how much she has grown in just a week. We can already see that her nose is stretching into the distinctive Scottie snout and her floppy ears are already perkier. I am so glad she has joined our household and stops me worrying about when I might be able to find the next bag of flour in the supermarket. The empty shelves actually remind me of news reports about life in Soviet Russia of the 1980s. Our lives are certainly very different these days but for now I can try to keep calm and carry on quilting.