Category Archives: Projects

2021 is Underway

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We are now 3 days into 2021 and still at the height of a global pandemic, Nella is still not making any progress and I have not been struck by any exciting, creative ideas. The World has high hopes for this new year but I could have said the same in January 2020 before Covid took over all of our lives. When the big picture is too gloomy and overwhelming it is a good idea to be glad about the more everyday stuff.

Freya revealed her clever, secret surprise Christmas present to me which was a brazier made from a defunct washing machine drum. At night the fire shines through the holes and the BBQ grill / lid can sit on top if I want to cook baked potatoes. I have always wanted a street brazier, like protestors or strikers. I can now make placards and stage my own sit-in protests any time I like. 

We have had some wintry showers and bright sun so Freya and I have taken advantage of this to take Nessie on walks in our beautiful, local area. We went to Clune Wood in Durris where my kids all did Forest School years ago and visited the standing stones, not meeting anyone along the way. 

I am not ready to start customer quilts yet but I wanted to work on a mindless sewing project so I started a new quilt for Nella’s hospital room using the Rose & Hubble prints that I ordered from Doughtys. She wanted something traditional that the girls in “Little Women” might have had so I opted for 4-patches and squares on point. It is actually really nice to work on something easy and it is turning out even prettier than I had thought. The most complicated step will be not muddling up the pieces as they get joined together in diagonal rows!

Rather Chilly

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It has been a woolly scarf and vintage Norwegian cardigan week, totally the wrong weather for Nessie to have a close shave. I took her to the dog groomer for a festive bath and trim but she came back almost bald. She was so cold and miserable that she had to wear a jumper! The Christmas elf jumper is cute but not warm and Bumble’s old fleeces are too big so I made her put on her pink dog onesie. We actually had wet snow overnight on Thursday which melted quickly. I was relieved because I would rather not have snow until Freya comes home for Christmas and even then, preferably not on the days when I need to visit Nella in Dundee. 

 

I took on a commission that I was not particularly enthused about – making patchwork cushions for a widow out of her husband’s polo shirts and fleece jackets. The fabrics were not easy to deal with as they were so stretchy but I managed to get two out of six cushions completed. She will get those 2 cushions before Christmas and the others afterwards as I have several other quilts to fit in before I finish for the holidays. 

I wanted to make Fergus’ girlfriend a patchwork Christmas stocking from my scrap stash. I have made 2 L-shaped quilted pieces that I have to cut into stocking outlines. I have found all sorts of things to trim it with including bells, pom-poms and prairie points. My own children may be jealous as theirs are nothing as elaborate but they are attached to them out of nostalgia.

 

Chicken Quilt – Check!

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While the Q24 quilted 2 large customer quilts, I completed the blue and white chicken quilt, adding a lot of random blue and white squares as sashing and borders. It was pleasantly mindless but took a surprisingly long time. I dyed a cotton sheet blue for the backing and selected an all over hexagon quilt pattern that looks like chicken wire. It is now on one of my house sofas next to the Cornish-ware dresser but I have no doubt that it will stay pristine for long if cats and Scottie dogs sit on it. That does not bother me – it can be washed!

I visited Nella on a still, bright Saturday and we took a drive out to Broughty Ferry where she was allowed a short walk. The water was flat calm, it was not that cold and people were actually swimming in the sea. I drove home over the Cairn O’Mount road and stopped to take photos as the weather was so unusually perfect. 

 

I have had a few messages this week from friends asking how Nella is doing. Frustratingly, she is not making much progress. The hospital food she is presented with is grim and some members of staff seem to have been impatient with her. Some jobsworths at the hospital have decided that a Christmas tree is not hygienic so the festive season will be rather drab there. She is hoping to be granted some time at home during the holidays so we all just have to hope that can happen.

Poof – Another Week Gone!

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Here we are again – another week has gone by! I got a few customer quilts done, mostly small ones and one very large one. Just when it seems I have caught up, a few more come in which keep me occupied.

I have been putting my hen blocks together, sort of inspired by an 1980s checkered plate from Habitat. I could not figure out the maths required to get a certain number of squares to go onto two different sized blocks. Illogically and randomly I came up with squares cut out at 2.25”. After quite some time it dawned on me to trim some hen blocks and extend others so they all all ended up at roughly 12.5” square. Somehow, 7 of the 2.25” squares fitted along the 12.5” block edge. I don’t know about the accuracy of the maths for this, I just made it all fit;) Despite the plan to only use up blue and white fabrics from my stash, I had to buy more blue and white fabrics because I did not have enough. The local fabric shop told me they are having a difficult time getting hold of fabric and they have no black or white in stock. I bought some white-on-white, which I hate, and used the “wrong” side.

 

I upgraded my phone to get a better camera and faffed around transferring things over. It does take good pictures, particularly in low light but it is still hard to photograph a black dog. Mind you, you would probably be able to see her eyes if she got a haircut!

 

There is no improvement in Nella’s anorexia as she is still very much struggling to eat many of the foods on her meal plan. At this point I have no idea how much longer she will remain in hospital or even what will happen for Christmas if she is unable to eat anything at home. The biggest problem is that her illness has such a strong hold over her that she does not want to recover from it and so she has no motivation. I think a good start would be to get into the habit of regularly eating less scary foods and then build on that success but I am not a medical “expert” so my ideas are generally dismissed.

I have decided to have a go at making a reversible Wixsten Haori jacket but can’t make up my mind whether to quilt the outer layer and line it or whether to quilt all of the layers and leave it unlined with exposed seams. I am also debating whether to buy thin, cheap fabric from India or whether to spend more in the UK and then be scared to mess it up!

Give Yourself Permission

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It has taken a long time for me to realise that I can give myself permission to take time out on occasion. I doubt that I will ever give up my obsession with lists or even just jottings but since Nella has been in hospital, I realise that I don’t always have to be productive. Obviously, when she is eventually discharged our days will be rigidly timetabled according to scheduled meals and snacks. In the meantime, before that happens, I should appreciate that I am not obliged to fulfil a certain amount of tasks each day. I was brought up to be busy, which is no bad thing but as an adult, I have seldom allowed myself to read a book during the day or watch TV before 9pm. Recently, I have had my nose in a book for an entire evening or mindlessly watched YouTube. 

I must have passed on my Productivity Guilt gene to Nella because she laments not filling her time with meaningful activities and has to be reminded that she is in hospital and is not actually expected to do anything purposeful. It is also interesting to note that she is giving herself permission to eat some of her meals because she is in hospital – she feels that she would not yet allow herself that same freedom at home. 

I have not exactly been slacking as I have completed 5 quilts for a customer in Wales and cracked on with a small batch of charity quilts. A friend gave me a small, double-sided Christmas quilt with Scottie fabric to finish for Nella so I quilted and bound it for her to remind her of Nessie. Nella has decided that she might as well declare that the festive season has started so she is watching schmaltzy Christmas films and enjoying her 2020 Christmas PJs. 

 

I have almost pieced 9 blue and white hen blocks so I need to work out how to join them up. What I had not taken into account is that the two blocks are different sizes so anything other than simple sashing will involve maths.

I have had a few ideas rattling around in my head for another quilt that might involve shisha-style circles but I am not ready to start on that yet. I might have a crack at the Purdy Bird pattern first or even a kimono type of jacket. I am conscious that I have done very little freehand quilting for some time so I could definitely do with some practice. I just have to remind myself that this does not all have to happen this week and if I feel like downing tools to read a book then I can give myself permission to do just that;)

Counting My Chickens

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I suppose I could say that this has been a week of fits and starts where I feel that I have either been very busy or very indolent but I was actually more productive than I first thought. I have produced two alternative advent calendars which I have to keep secret from my girls and I ordered Fergus a Lego Starwars calendar from Ebay, the only place that does not already appear to have sold out. 

I rustled up the hedgehog cushion in time to take to Nella midweek, quilted a customer’s dragonfly quilt to look like ripples on a pond, sewed together 3 chicken blocks, each with 33 pieces, and started on my second box of customer quilts from Wales. 

A kantha dressing gown arrived from India that I planned to wear as an indoors coat but I have also worn it out in public because it makes me look “arty-farty”. 

I have “rewarded” myself for completing my daily tasks, including my obsessive Duolingo habit, by binge reading the latest Cormorant Strike novel, torn between making it last and by finding out Whoreallydunnit. 

Nessie could not care less about the results of the USA presidential election. The dramatic, close count seemed to take forever, from Tuesday right through into Saturday and I wondered how India, the largest democracy in the world managed to gather votes from a possible 900 million voters over six weeks in 2019, count them electronically and have the results ready within two hours. Now that is over, hopefully the dust will soon settle, the world will grind on and quilters will keep on quilting.

Sewing for Sanity

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I became totally engrossed in finishing the Snowflake quilt piecing. There is something very cheery about working with rainbow brights. There were 24 squares per block for 20 blocks so it went together relatively fast. I ordered a jazzy, wide backing fabric from Quilt Sandwich so the quilting could begin at the weekend. I decided to use the Bernina Qmatic to do an automated pattern called “Late Night” from urbanelementz.com and made it denser so it looks a bit like a modern snowflake design. It is a good job I have figured out how to stitch off the machine and realign between quilting sessions because it is quite a slow process.

Because I gave Freya some face masks to take with her to Glasgow, I decided I could do with a few more so I cut a few out using scraps. There are 3 layers and I use T-shirt jersey to make the ties. 

For the first time in a year I went for a proper haircut. I was told off for leaving it so long but I think I have a pretty good excuse. It was a weird experience going into a socially distanced salon with everyone in masks, separated by plastic screens. I had to lose 2 inches of length but at least my hair now does not feel quite so much like candy floss.

 

Nessie and Fizz declared a temporary truce the other night and sat near each other without starting a chase. I have no idea why my cats have never put Nessie in her place so she thinks she can torment them at every opportunity. Bumble was intimidated by the cats by Nessie thinks it is all a great game. 

It is a good thing I can lose myself in my workshop sometimes because it has been another stressful week with Nella in hospital. The medical team just will not listen to me. Nella is so gripped by anorexia that she says she does not want to recover. They are insisting on big portions of hospital food which if she does not finish within a strict time limit , she is topped up by a traumatic NG tube feed. She says she is only eating some of the time to avoid having to endure this procedure 6 times a day. I have suggested that they reduce the portions so she might experience some successful meals and also that they should re-examine her medication but they are refusing to try that. All I can do is read / record chapters of an anorexia recovery book and email them to Nella. I feel that if I do plenty of research then maybe one day I can come up with something that may help. She has been given a 24 hour pass home this week to see if she will eat here instead but she is already insisting that she will not try. It is hard not to have a bleak outlook and lecture her on every visit. I am investigating all sorts of alternative therapies to break the pattern of not eating. The only cure is food  but the key is getting her to eat it!

Losing My Rag

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Somehow I managed to get two simple customer quilts done this week. I also kept going with Duolingo German, walking Nessie, and have been ploughing through the snowflake piecing. I also made a couple of decent loaves of bread. 

Somehow I managed to get two simple customer quilts done this week. I also kept going with Duolingo German, walking Nessie, and have been ploughing through the snowflake piecing. I also made a couple of decent loaves of bread. 

The rest of the time has been spent on the phone trying to tell the hospital that nella genuinely HATES cheese. OK, so that is not all that has been discussed. I have been complaining – a lot. I have tried to contact members of her team who never call me back. I have got very angry, while remaining calm, with officious nurses who try to talk over me. 

Nella, who is severely anorexic and was recently on a food-phobic hunger strike is being expected to have her meals increased every two days, whilst already not managing. Despite being a strict vegan and accepting that she will have to just be vegetarian for now, every single sub-standard hospital meal is covered in cheese. Every meal must be completed within a strict 30 minutes. If she does not manage to clear her plate on time she is given a nasal-gastric feed under duress. It is barbaric and a whole lot of other things that I have eloquently expressed to the hospital, miraculously without using any expletives. 

I keep telling her that she has to try her very hardest to get back home as soon as possible. Some of the nurses are great, some are not. It is lovely that we have been receiving so many cards from friends and family who keep sending their good wishes for  recovery. 

Since she has been detained under the Mental Health Act, there is not a damn thing I can do about it. She is scared, confused, exhausted and totally lacking in motivation. I am simmering with fury at such a lack of compassion. I wonder who will be the first receive my wrath on Monday morning…

The rest of the time has been spent on the phone trying to tell the hospital that nella genuinely HATES cheese. OK, so that is not all that has been discussed. I have been complaining – a lot. I have tried to contact members of her team who never call me back. I have got very angry, while remaining calm, with officious nurses who try to talk over me. 

Nella, who is severely anorexic and was recently on a food-phobic hunger strike is being expected to have her meals increased every two days, whilst already not managing. Despite being a strict vegan and accepting that she will have to just be vegetarian for now, every single sub-standard hospital meal is covered in cheese. Every meal must be completed within a strict 30 minutes. If she does not manage to clear her plate on time she is given a nasal-gastric feed under duress. It is barbaric and a whole lot of other things that I have eloquently expressed to the hospital, miraculously without using any expletives. 

I keep telling her that she has to try her very hardest to get back home as soon as possible. Some of the nurses are great, some are not. It is lovely that we have been receiving so many cards from friends and family who keep sending their good wishes for  recovery. 

Somehow I managed to get two simple customer quilts done this week. I also kept going with Duolingo German, walking Nessie, and have been ploughing through the snowflake piecing. I also made a couple of decent loaves of bread. 

The rest of the time has been spent on the phone trying to tell the hospital that nella genuinely HATES cheese. OK, so that is not all that has been discussed. I have been complaining – a lot. I have tried to contact members of her team who never call me back. I have got very angry, while remaining calm, with officious nurses who try to talk over me. 

Nella, who is severely anorexic and was recently on a food-phobic hunger strike is being expected to have her meals increased every two days, whilst already not managing. Despite being a strict vegan and accepting that she will have to just be vegetarian for now, every single sub-standard hospital meal is covered in cheese. Every meal must be completed within a strict 30 minutes. If she does not manage to clear her plate on time she is given a nasal-gastric feed under duress. It is barbaric and a whole lot of other things that I have eloquently expressed to the hospital, miraculously without using any expletives. 

I keep telling her that she has to try her very hardest to get back home as soon as possible. Some of the nurses are great, some are not. It is lovely that we have been receiving so many cards from friends and family who keep sending their good wishes for  recovery. 

Since she has been detained under the Mental Health Act, there is not a damn thing I can do about it. She is scared, confused, exhausted and totally lacking in motivation. I am simmering with fury at such a lack of compassion. I wonder who will be the first receive my wrath on Monday morning…

Since she has been detained under the Mental Health Act, there is not a damn thing I can do about it. She is scared, confused, exhausted and totally lacking in motivation. I am simmering with fury at such a lack of compassion. I wonder who will be the first receive my wrath on Monday morning…

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;)

There are Bigger Things in Life

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I have to keep telling myself that there are bigger things in Life than worrying that I may not have a useful “plan” of what I should be doing each day. The horrific explosion in Beirut and the ongoing Pandemic are sharp reminders that it does not matter one jot to humanity if I decide to spend hours knotting string or make a quilt just because I feel like it. I should stop feeling guilty about how I fill my days. I do not mean that to sound like I am belittling world events – it is just that in the grand scheme of things, my minor stresses are simply irrelevant. 

This week I had coffee at home with friends whom I had not seen in weeks, walked the dog, kept up with Nella’sroutine, worked obsessively through Duolingo German quizzes and simply kept going with daily life.

I am still not an expert at using a narrow Hemmer foot, have not made any Youtube tutorials, have not shaved my legs and, have not picked every single cherry from the trees in the garden.

However, I did print out a free pattern from Tessuti to make the Athina top which was easy. I used a piece of African cotton which is a bit stiff, even after a hot wash but it is still a wearable garment. 

 

I tied many, many knots to make a short curtain for Nella’s cupboard. I am very good at some of the basic knots and just made it up as I went along.

My Postcards from Sweden kit arrived and I have made the first row. It is an easy quilt except you do have to keep track of the colours, some of which are very similar to each other. 

 

I keep saying I will take a few days holiday but that is easier said than done. Therefore, I must allow myself time to slow down. Perhaps I should carry on with a few low key projects for now and hope to have a re-boot in the autumn.

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…

I Should be on Holiday

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 (2019 Hols)

Under normal circumstances I would probably be on holiday at this time of year – usually visiting family in Norfolk, possibly a music festival, maybe a trip to the seaside, or rummaging in junk shops. A Pandemic and caring for a severely anorexic child has put the khybosh on all that this year. It is not that I need to be away somewhere, necessarily. I just want a mental break – from meal preparation, supervision, and carrying out the same routine every single day. In my head I want to have someone deliver snacks and drinks and I want to read a book all day. That is not actually what I would normally do on holiday – it is all a fantasy. I find it difficult to switch off and suffer from guilt if I am not constantly on the go or creating something. I have always had a project underway or an adventure planned. I have not even been bothering to post much on Facebook as everything seems  so mundane, even though I never used to post anything of national importance anyway.

 (Customer Quilt)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the meantime, apart from working on customer quilts I have occupied myself by… re-covering my 2 disgusting ironing boards, made an elasticated fruit bowl cover, completed rewriting my lost spreadsheets, obsessively done Duolingo German and EVEN washed the glass lampshades in the kitchen which I can only face doing once in a blue moon! 

 (Revamped ironing boards)

I got a bit carried away with the idea of teaching online so I have ordered all sorts of amateur videography gear that will allow me to deliver good quality sound and audio. I am having a bit of a funk about what I can actually teach as it seems that the internet is awash with expert tutorials so what could I possibly add that might be of interest?

I have ordered a “Postcards from Sweden” quilt kit – I don’t have to come up with a plan, just sew together some pre-selected fabric and simply enjoy the process. Hopefully, that will give me a boost to come up with some new ideas.

(Postcards from Sweden Quilt Kit from Tartan Reel)

Dressmaking is Like Pregnancy!

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I had one of those weeks that felt really busy and quite stressful but I can hardly remember what I actually did. There were 3 customer quilts and I ran up a few more face-masks. It rained a lot, I practised my German and I did not catch up with any paperwork. I spent far more time than was necessary researching microphones for teaching over Zoom – apparently people can put up with a dodgy camera but not poor quality sound. 

On Saturday I tackled sewing up the Collins Top. I swear that every time I attempt dressmaking I vow never to do it again. Like being pregnant, the mind forgets the agonies and persuades you that this time round everything will be easy. There really was nothing wrong with the pattern. On the whole I understood it except when it explained how to attach the sleeves. The problems were entirely of my own making. I was not sure if I had lengthened the pattern pieces correctly and soon discovered that some bits needed to be chopped off. I cut a notch right in the middle of the front panel so had to make a kantha stitched repair patch. I used the overlocker to construct the whole thing, deciding that if it went wrong I would just chuck it and I attached the neck binding as if it was a quilt. Nella reminded me that I always get totally stressed out by dressmaking and I really should not waste my time but by then I was already looking at kimono style jacket patterns and admiring the French seams inside a tunic top that a street tailor made for me in India. 

Much to my surprise, it is actually a wearable garment. The 16 pieces went together well, although none of my pattern notches matched or they got sliced off by the overlocker. I might make it again under supervision or I could simply give the pattern to a friend so I don’t feel so guilty!