Category Archives: Adventures with Animals

Fear, Guilt, Distraction

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It has been a very draining week. There is no doubt that distraction always helps in mentally challenging situations. I completed two customer quilts and took far longer than necessary to piece 2 customer quilt backs. 

 

I made an apron based on a large, ugly one that I bought on Ebay. Considering it was just one main piece, it was actually a pain to put together and I have decided that making aprons to sell is not viable. It takes far too much fabric and time. If I really want to sell screen printed aprons I would be better off buying ready made canvas ones and adding printed pockets.

Since I am not feeling at all inspired to start any new projects, I decided that the best thing to do would be to buy a quilt kit so I have something to sew that I don’t have to think much about. I ordered a Modern Snowflake kit from Purple Stitches and I look forward to doing something colourful and easy.

I asked on Facebook if anyone would like to send Nella postcards to brighten up her hospital room. There was an amazing response of good wishes from friends all over the world. Nella is actually feeling overwhelmed because she genuinely believes she does not deserve their concern. It is also tricky when people tell her she is being brave or doing well because instead of offering encouragement it triggers the anorexia even more.

Because she was continuing her hunger strike and getting weaker, she was detained under the mental health act and given a nasal-gastric tube, essentially being force fed. It is a brutal procedure and she cannot talk about how awful it was. For now she is so terrified of that process being repeated that she is eating again. She feels incredibly guilty at eating, not protesting, giving up on veganism, being in hospital and even not being the worst patient. There is a full team of experts at the hospital but she often needs to talk to me on the phone to calm her strong feelings of guilt and fear.

The plan is to discharge her as soon as possible. She will be nowhere near cured or better, just medically stable. We are both feeling terrified that at home there is only me to get her to eat and keep her under constant supervision so she cannot exercise. 

The best I can do for now is visit twice a week, be on the end of the phone for her and just stay sane by pottering about with Nessie before dealing with what will happen when she is ready to come home.

The Point of No Return

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Not a stitch was sewn this week for very valid reasons! Nella’s health was checked on Monday and it was decided by her medics in Aberdeen that she would have to be hospitalised into a specialist eating disorders unit in Dundee. She could not go that day since they were short staffed so I had to keep a close eye on her at home until Wednesday. 

There were moments when she had the insight to wonder how things had got this bad, yet also believing that it simply would not happen. We sent a lot of time just being with each other, watching Freya pack up for her move to Glasgow. 

Wednesday was pretty grim. The admin at check-in was unbelievable. Although they were expecting Nella, they seemed to have no information about her from Aberdeen. The form filling took over an hour before she even saw a doctor. I was told that due to Covid restrictions, I would not be allowed to settle her into her room. I almost lost the plot at that point and said that simply would NOT be happening to a girl who hated being away from home for Guide Camps and School Trips.

It was heartbreaking to leave her there but we were both resigned to the fact that it was the only option. Her hospital meal plan is based on cows milk and cheese which is impossible for a strict vegan. She has continued to refuse food so a nasal-gastric feeding tube looks increasingly likely.

Fortunately, she is allowed to use her mobile phone during the day so we can keep in touch and I plan to visit her twice a week unless new quarantine restrictions are put in place.

Freya tried to get on with her packing with Nessie getting in her way and the next day she set off to start the next phase of her life as a student in Glasgow. The house is very quiet without my girls and I have not got used to it yet. Nessie has no clue what has happened except that now she only has me to entertain her. I mended the trampoline net for her to play on with her football but she ripped it to shreds within minutes. 

I will crack on with a couple of customer quilts next week, make a few new face masks and scrunchies but have no creative projects lined up. Otherwise, I will keep practising German, enjoy the last days of good weather, make bread and just hope that Nella can inch her way back to health.

 

The Unknown

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I had 2 customer big quilts this week that each required 2 days of automated quilting. One was a quilt that I have done before, UK part-work magazine quilt that takes 2 years,  almost £400.00 in subscription fees, without backing, wadding and finishing costs! It just goes to show how much money and time could be saved by joint a group or guild that could offer friendly advice to novice quilters.

The other project that I undertook was sewing up a boiled wool coat – I have had the fabric and pattern for a few years but always put it off out of fear of messing up. Inevitably, I did manage to get the pockets and collar inside out but I fixed it and am pleased with it.

 

Freya is excitedly preparing to move to Glasgow to start a 2 year Masters program at the University since taking a year out in 2020 to work and travel has proved to be a fruitless exercise. We have enjoyed taking time together to make sourdough bread, preserves and digging out quilts for her new flat.

Nella had a difficult online appointment with her doctors on Friday. They insisted that she should be told about her recent weight loss and her irrational anorexic logic has made her more determined to lose more weight, instead of being alarmed at her the damage to her health. She has now gone on hunger strike and it looks likely that she will be admitted to hospital. Despite my efforts to care for her at home for the past year to support her strong vegan views, the gradual improvements of the first six months were wiped out by a lack of appointments during lockdown. Hospitalisation looks like the only possible route now, which fills us both with dread for different reasons. What the future holds is simply unknown and will definitely not be simple.

 

Some Productivity

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Another week has gone by and I wonder what I did to faff my way through it! There was one big, colourful customer quilt. I tried to quilt rainbows onto it but the pattern kept crashing the system so I used a substitute pattern called “Dizzy Izzy”.

Nessie tried out her new, fleece rain suit. She was not altogether pleased at putting it on and taking it off but once it was on she did not mind at all and it kept her clean on a muddy walk.

Freya and I both made new sourdough starters for bread making.  I was excited when my KitchenAid pasta press finally arrived after months of back order and I made some vegan macaroni, substituting egg for a paste of ground flaxseed. This dried successfully in the dehydrator which is more than I can say for my semi-dried tomatoes and blueberries which obviously should have been vacuum packed since both went horribly mouldy in their soft state. 

I made 2 wearable pyjama tops using the simple and voluminous Athina pattern. My overlocker decided that it did not want to sew properly so I spent most of a day servicing it, panicking that it might have to be sent away for weeks

or be replaced. I tipped it upside down to clear out fluff, changed needles and the blade, before finally realising that

a tiny spring had jumped out of place. That was enormously satisfying. My next challenge was remembering how to thread the cover-lock machine to finish the hems. It is not actually complicated, just fiddly and would not have taken so long if I had consulted the instruction manual sooner rather than later.

After months of procrastinating, I got Freya to film an off-the-cuff workshop/studio tour that I have uploaded to YouTube. It was really just to check that I could make a half decent video and see if it would spur me on to having a go at some instructional videos. I had forgotten how much I enjoy making informal, short clips so despite the dark clouds of Covid and Nella’s illness, I hope to go ahead and make some more. It is quite surprising what people watch on YouTube – this week (for research) we have watched videos on garden tours, grinding flour at home, macrame bags, spice jar organisation and even stationery shopping. 

There has been a nip of autumn in the air so I guess summer is “officially” over. I need to do what I have not done in months and make some To-Do lists. Apart from getting brave enough to make more videos I need a proper project of some sort as I have not quilted in earnest for ages.

Cutting Some Slack

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For some time on my blog there has been the theme of feeling of guilt at not being busy or creative enough. I keep telling myself that I will move forward when the summer is “officially” over. Well, schools in Scotland have gone back after a much longer than usual break. The nights are drawing in, the rowan berries are on the trees and there is a nip in the air but as far as I am concerned, it is still officially summer! I managed to quash most of my guilt and spend most of the week just pottering, getting some useful things done on the way.

I had to quilt the Postcard from Sweden quilt over 2 days because the pattern was intense but I saved the project and opened it up without any bother on day 2. I love the “Folk Flowers” pattern by Sunstone Quilting and I think it looks fab on the rainbow triangles. I made a scrappy binding and sewed the topside down by machine with a blanket stitch. The quilt has gone on my bed, even though it does not co-ordinate at all with anything else in the room. I don’t care – it is joyful:)

Having used a decorative stitch on my binding, I decided to use an obvious zigzag stitch on two customer bindings. It is actually much easier than keeping a straight line dead straight, especially if a customer happens to have provided one that varies in width throughout. 

Nessie was given a clean bill of health at her post-op checkup and is totally back to her usual naughty self:)

I made two macrame projects using green cord which was thinner than I had expected. It is a nice colour but not as chunky as I would have liked. That is the trouble with placing an online order. I have now cut a lot of pink cord for a bag but I can’t seem to understand step 1!

 

Over the course of the last week or so I have posted 10 days of quilt photos on social media. This was a really good exercise in reminding myself about how many interesting things I have made over the years. I was really hunting around for photos because my laptop had crashed and seemingly lost everything. I decided to try once more to see if anything useful had been stored on my external hard drive. After some serious rummaging, I was delighted to find files that were hiding deep inside other files and I now have all of my old stuff back, including my kids’ photos! Just that should go down as a major achievement of the week. 

My next mission is to make decent lasagne pasta using the KitchenAid. I have rolled out extremely rustic flat bits of dough that look nothing like the ones in the instruction book. I think mine may be a bit chewy. 

I still have not come up with a next major project but my kids suggested that I do a YouTube studio tour so maybe I will look into that. In the meantime, I have ordered some unicorn and hedgehog stretch jersey for PJ’s so that should keep me busy for now…

Avoidance Tactics

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I am a great one for finding alternative things to do when I am putting things off. I am not entirely sure what that might be – probably expenses, plucking up the courage to teach online, tackling the airing cupboard, planning a new show quilt…

I turned down 2 large commissions this week. One was a quilt to be made from scratch involving traditional appliqué, which is not my forte and the other was a rush custom quilting job. The customer had very specific design requests on a massive quilt to be completed in less than 2 weeks. I decided that I just did not need the stress of that demanding deadline and I felt relieved to have decided not to take it on.

I worked on the Postcard from Sweden quilt, telling myself that it is still technically the summer holidays so I can do what I like. I suppose at some point I will have to something that feels like actual work again. 

The quilt had to be sorted into piles so the colours stayed where they were meant to be according to the pattern. I may have muddled a few but it is pretty close to the original. I decided to press all of the seams open. Since I did not use pins or trim every block to an exact size, not every single point is perfect but that was not really what this project was about for me. It was simply to give myself some quilting “downtime”. I even quilted it using the Qmatic because I wanted to use the “Funky Flower” digital pattern by Natalia Majors. 

My time was also taken up with trying to decide what macrame project to tackle next. The instructions in my new books are all Greek to me or I have the wrong size of cord. Rather than master simple plant hangers I want to tackle the most complicated item, obviously! I am still obsessively ploughing my way through Duolingo, even some of its obscure phrases – “At this height agriculture is not possible”, not seeming like the handiest sentence I would ever need to know. Despite 6 months of learning this way I am still far from fluent, clueless in grammar or able to hold a conversation but I have a wider German vocabulary on the days that I can actually remember the new words.

I called the vet to enquire when I should book Nessie in to be spayed because I do not want her to end up with the same health issues that Bumble had later in life. Two days later she had the major operation. She was groggy and wobbly afterwards but amazingly, soon back to her usual self, chasing the cats and jumping onto the sofa. 

The weather forecast is for rain all of next week so maybe that would be a good time to do some forward planning – or alternatively, some macrame;)

A Few Stitches

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I consider it a successful week if I manage to get 3 basic customer quilts done in one week. I know a longarm quilter who can turn out 3 a day using 3 machines and an assistant, which I think is an incredible rate. I downloaded a new digital pattern called “Folkart Flowers” by Natalia Majors of Sunstone Quilting because I plan to quilt my Swedish Postcards quilt with it (although the kit has not yet arrived). I had to convert the digital file into the Bernina format using ArtnStitch but after that it worked well and was not too slow for such a busy design. 

 

I treated myself to a couple of days off and made enough “ethnic” log cabin blocks for a quilt that will fit a single bed or the sofa – 70 blocks of roughly 7.5” square. I simply had a stack of yellow centre squares and a box full of 1.5” wide strips. The fabrics were Indian, African, Aboriginal and Indonesian, mixed in with shot cottons. Some of them frayed very badly but I just lined up the outer threads with the edge of the patchwork piece underneath my sewing machine and sewed with small stitches. The log cabin strip arrangement varied because it was intended as a scrappy quilt and I did not want it to look planned.

Most evenings I have watched YouTube demos on how Vloggers make quality “content”. Nella says I am over-thinking the process and just need to crack on with making some simple videos. Admittedly, I have got carried away by the technology. The original intention was to offer individual Zoom lessons with good audio and possibly 2 cameras so I need to stop thinking about it and just get on with it. I could have a practice with showing someone how to make hair scrunchies, as requested by Nella. I found so many demos on the internet but some of them are unnecessarily fiddly. The best method on YouTube, involving no hand sewing was by SewVeryEasy. We used organza – I am sure this can be done entirely on the overlocker with a rolled hem but I have not quite worked out what happens when the tube gets joined to make it as simple as possible. Obviously, to make life easier we could just buy scrunchies but there would be no challenge there;)

Nessie finally got a professional haircut this week. Bumble’s groomer had reopened after Lockdown. I warned her that Nessie thinks brushing is a naughty game. Let’s just say, I don’t think Nessie was very co-operative so it is a wonder that she came home looking so nicely trimmed. 

Whether she was in a grumpy mood after that or whether she she just got carried away I don’t really know but I went to pick up her ball that evening for one last throw and she bit my finger. Her puppy teeth were sharp enough but her adult teeth are fearsome. I got a deeply gashed puncture wound. Freya insisted that I should have it checked at A&E because I did not know if I had a lifetime dose of anti-tetanus.  I was examined by a triage nurse on arrival then I was sent to wait in a different area for the tetanus shot and sutures. There was nobody about and yet I waited… and waited. I became increasingly annoyed that half a dozen receptionists and security guards or porters seemed to be hanging around chatting, not making any efforts to maintain a social distance and not wearing face masks, despite multiple notices ordering all staff to do just that. I enquired how much longer I would have to wait for such a simple procedure but was told that the medical staff were really busy since each patient had to have their own examination room due to the risks of Covid-19. After 3 hours I left without treatment, absolutely fuming. If that is the situation on a quiet Tuesday night what happens on a boozy weekend night where there might also be a major traffic incident? I felt that some of the surplus and frankly, arsey admin staff could be swapped for First-Aiders. The next day I got patched up and dosed against tetanus by a nurse at the doctor’s surgery in under 3 minutes! It’s a good job I don’t need to do any hand sewing as it will be a while before it heals. I believe I will be watching dog training videos on Youtube this week…

A Jolly Good Sort Out

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I caught up with all of my customer quilts this week! My customer’s cheetah quilt looked amazing, just simply quilted with an all-over pattern called “Heatwave”. The pattern is by Violet Crafts and involves very intense paper foundation piecing. I was secretly relieved that I did not have to do custom quilting since it would have taken FOREVER to do stitch-in-the-ditch. 

 

I spent an evening searching my computer’s external hard drive for files. Instead of the well organised files that used to be on my laptop there is just a random dump of files. Some go back years but I have lost all of my family photos, all of my blog back-ups, many projects and some accounts. It seems that there is absolutely nothing to be done. I will keep the faulty hard drive just in case but I am not hopeful. I spent a lot of time searching through notebooks and bank statements in order to re-enter all of last year’s accounts onto a fresh spreadsheet. 

The new dehydrator was used several times to dry out mushrooms, rose petals and rather more stinkily – pieces of liver for Nessie. She knows perfectly well that she should “come” when called but if she fancies doing a bit of cat or hen chasing she goes into terrier mode. I decided that something more tempting than basic dog treats would be necessary. The dried liver is like billtong and she thinks it is amazing. 

 

The dehydrator is bigger than a microwave and could not take up space on my work table forever so I ordered a meccano type of shelf for it and its accoutrements. This meant that I would have to shift my tea & coffee dresser which is too tall to fit in the yurt. All in all, it led to a major game of workshop tetris trying to make space where there is no more available. 

This snowballed into a full-on “sort-out” where I realised that I had a ridiculous amount of wadding scraps that would take ages to sew into useful pieces. The mess that I made was quite stressful and it took two more days to get it back under control. I decided that I might as well go all-in and sort through everything. I have been ruthless with fabric, getting rid of project leftovers that I have not used in the past 10+ years so am unlikely to use in the future. I even ditched the dried up leather scraps that I once had in mind for a project. I am not sure what I will do with a very large amount of gold spandex but I will be hanging onto that for now. 

I am determined that I will not deviate until everything is completely sorted. It is certainly a chore but so satisfying when everything looks neat and tidy. I cannot say the same for Nessie who somehow rubbed herself all over the wet white paint where I covered up a damp patch behind the dresser.

 

Filling My Time

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I made great progress on some customer quilts this week and have them all trimmed, ready for collection. I have had an enquiry about custom quilting a great quilt – I would love to do it but I know that it would take me well over 10 hours which puts it well above the customer’s budget. It will look perfectly nice with a suitable all-over pattern so I guess it comes down to whether it is to be used as an every day bed quilt or a pride-of-place wall hanging.

I have finally sewn on all of the tiny bells onto the Rainbow Warliors quilt! I applied all 600 more hot-fix crystals into the tiny squares but I was about 25 short so had to order yet more. That will make almost 1000 little sparkles. I also managed to attach a few mini hot-fix mirrors onto some 2” squares using an appliqué iron on a low heat setting. I have the label to do, threads to tidy, later on it will be blocked but for now it has been shelved until I get around to hanging it up for a photo. 

During the week ECT Travel published a Zoom interview that Kristell did with memory Instagram. It came across better than I expected despite my dodgy lighting and scruffy, long hair. I have decided to sign up for some online classes and typically, instead of just seeing how it goes it has got me into researching equipment that might be useful for streaming future lessons. I have been watching YouTube demos on how piano teachers set up overhead cameras. I drove Freya mad asking her to practise Zoom with me. I wanted to sign in on a laptop and a phone to see how using different cameras might work but I got weird echoes, even when the device was meant to be muted. Apparently, using headphones might help. 

I am quite “Techie” up to a point but wish I really knew what I was doing. I dropped my laptop off to be looked at and was told the hard-drive is dead.  I have decided to get it fixed and use it if I venture into filming and recording. Otherwise, I have found that I can get by using my IPad and the old, family IMac.

I expect that when Freya comes home with her first car-load of stuff from her student flat she will think Nessie looks bigger. Nessie thinks she is pals with Thistle, who is amazingly tolerant but her idea of playing nicely is not really cat-friendly. She is now developing the Scottie characteristic of ignoring me calling her if she is having fun cat chasing. I need to work on that… maybe I can make some jerky using the food dehydrator that I have ordered. Nella and I thought that if Freya ever manages to grow excess cherry tomatoes in her long-awaited poly tunnel we can preserve them. Perhaps it will be a novelty item but if it can dry soft fruit that is in season locally now for winter then I think it is worth trying.

The Bells, The Bells

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Freya went back to St Andrews this week to start packing up her student flat, having come home for a few days in March and staying with us throughout Lockdown. That is the longest we have seen her since before she started Uni and even then, she never spent 24 hours at home every single day. The house seems subdued without her. I miss discussing news and politics over breakfast, Nessie misses her extra morning walk and Nella misses her company. At least she managed to slap some red paint on the old yurt doors so now we don’t have to worry about gusty winds catching the tatty canvas and tarpaulin. 

I have been working my way through half a dozen customer quilts. It is beginning to look like people are feeling braver about venturing out and have been asking me to quilt the projects that they have been working on at home. We do a weird exchange of bags and have a chat at a 2m distance outside my workshop. 

It has been taking ages to sew all of the tiny bells onto my prairie points with ridiculously fine invisible thread. I have sewn in the thread ends as best as I can but I reckon they would all slither off if given a gentle tug. I am officially OVER sewing tiny bells on now – at least I am now half way through the 4th side:) There is still a bit to do before the Rainbow Warliors quilt is complete and I really don’t know what projects will come next. My screen-printing came to a grinding halt after the Grays Student Exhibition was suspended. In theory I could be printing tote bags or something useful for sale but really I have no idea. 

I have been putting off worrying about what the future will bring because I think it is too early to decide. I might like to experiment with offering some patchwork and quilting tuition over Zoom. I intend to take some Advanced Qmatic classes with a tutor from Bernina of America so I will see how well that goes.

More of the Same I Guess

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Another week has gone by and I have finally finished the seed stitching on the Warli quilt. According to Facebook, I started the quilt a year ago! I have to admit that I was actually getting a bit bored with the seed stitching so I am glad that part is done. I am at the stage when I am not sure whether it is a quilt that I love or just want to be done. I have made a hanging sleeve for it so I will get that done next as that is a stage that I don’t really enjoy. After that I think I will start on the Pom-poms. 

I made some more French sticks and bagels but the drawback to making bread is that it gets consumed almost immediately. 

Nessie now has two perky Scottie dog ears:)

I was asked if I could recommend a face-mask making pattern so I made a few more and took photos. I made a slideshow of the process, as my tech-savvy kids suggested that was a good way of presenting the information. It is still rough around the edges but I think it is quite a good way to lay things out with a photo and a caption for the instructions. I feel a bit handicapped because I have not got used to working without my laptop, which I still hope can be rescued when the Apple Store re-opens.

Freya sat her final exam online so she has now officially completed her studies at St Andrews after 4 years. She is hoping that Lockdown restrictions will ease enough for her to go back down for June so she can sort out her flat.

I have had one or two enquiries about customer quilts but nobody has felt brave enough to drop any off yet.Hopefully I will have time to get my quilt finished before starting what may be a busy summer. If it is not then I guess life will just go on much the same. Some good weather would be nice so I can put together the swing seat that I ordered. Freya’s birthday present of a poly tunnel still has not been delivered so she may not even be here when it is time to plant it up with all of the veg plants that she has been nurturing. At least we could set up a table inside for cups of tea until she comes back;)

Life in the Slow Lane

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I decided to put the seed stitching around the glittery warli figures on hold in order to get the binding onto the Warli quilt as I was bothered about the multiple layers at the edges fraying as I move the quilt around. I used foot 20D and the 9mm stitch plate on the Bernina 710 which meant that I could add a narrow flange of silver lame then a half-inch double- fold binding by moving the needle position.

The binding was constructed from lengths of 3 of the quilt’s colours – turquoise, orange and bright pink. Since I intend to show the Rainbow Warliors in the future the binding had to be stitched down by hand on the reverse – a job I never really relish on a large quilt.
I wondered whether I could add decorative hand embroidery to the binding but my hand- sewing skills are not very advanced, there were far too many layers of fabric to penetrate and it is not easily to keep shifting the whole quilt around. In the end I came up with the idea of a triple line of rustic kantha/running stitch in a contrasting thread just on the surface of the binding. It is a bit mindless but what else am I in a hurry to do these days?!

Because I managed to order a sack of flour online from a ship’s chandler, I have been making lots of bread. I tried the surprisingly good no-knead method of letting the bread dough ferment over 18 hours then baking it in a cast iron pot. It is really good fresh then goes a bit rubbery the next day but it makes good toast. I also made French bread in my new French bread rack and we slathered it with wild garlic butter.


We took Nessie for evening walks at the river and she has been very good on her lead. It seems odd to walk at a reasonably brisk speed since Bumble was so slow. She has grown so much that she already needs a new harness. She thinks she is being very helpful, climbing into the dishwasher to lick the dishes. Almost as helpful as trying to clear up discarded mouse entrails from those cats that she feels obliged to chase;)

 

What Day Is It Anyway?

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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 Busy not Busy Week

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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;)

Colourful Vibes

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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;)