2018 – A Slow Start

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I always find the first week of January a bit of a drag – I feel that I should be zooming around productively yet it is still the Christmas holidays. It would probably be better if I was away from home so the guilt could not set in and I would not have to contend with a fridge full of uneaten cheese.

I did manage to get some boring admin out of the way such as my tax return for the previous year but I was peeved to find that the school teaching that I had done to prop up my quilting business took me over the tax threshold so that was a bit of a nasty sting.

I occupied myself by completing next year’s diary with dates on my phone, 2 paper calendars and a planner so there will be no excuse for being disorganised;)

I received great news that BzB has been accepted into the AQS Lancaster Show but there was a minor panic when I realised how tight the shipping deadlines were following Road to California. Both shows were very helpful at changes to my shipping preferences meaning the quilt will not be going back and forth to Bonnie in Oklahoma for TLC so I hope it does not start to look crumpled!

We had fun at an open-mike night to end the holidays when Freya and Fergus both performed on guitar and piano with a super group of their friends.

I may have met my match with my denim quilt. I had it all ready to longarm in neat lines but the seams were so hopelessly thick that the foot could not get over the bumps. In the end I stitched in the ditch, missing out the worst seams then had to resort to using the Bernina 710 with a walking foot. It is doing a great job but the quilt is really big and heavy so it is an incredibly slow job, with needles dulling quickly. There are a few wrinkles here and there but I hope to disguise those later with some couching and long-arming. I still plan to freehand around the letters with the longarm since there won’t be any lumpy seams to contend with in the centre of the blocks.

As usual, it is a more complicated job than planned and I had hoped to make a start on some sort of Russian inspired project during January. I expect that will also become something I regret. So much for telling myself after every major quilt that the next one will be simpler. Who am I kidding?!

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Looking Back on 2017

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I’m glad that what goes on during the Christmas-New Year week is not a reflection on life as a whole. Otherwise nothing would ever get done, we would be constantly ill and not know what to eat, despite a fridge full of food. I had planned to make myself some kit blocks for the Fancy Forest quilt but did not get around to it.

  

To be fair, I have not been lazing around the whole time. There was a 2-day stovie-making frenzy for Freya’s fund raising ceilidh. Peeling, chopping and cooking 30 kg of spuds was no mean feat. Pulled beef, onions and black pepper were added and neatly ladled into 12 large foil trays. These had to be unceremoniously dumped back into whatever pots and pans we could find at the Scout Hut which did not in fact have an industrial-style oven. The ceilidh was a great success and the stovies were declared excellent, although we do have a few leftover portions in the freezer.

I spent one of my lethargic days putting dates into next year’s calendar/diary. It looks like there are not enough trips planned in 2018, unlike 2017, a very good year for quilty travels to St Petersburg, Savannah, Steckborn, Coburg and Ste Marie aux Mines.

 

I don’t feel that I actually sewed that much in 2017 apart from a major push to complete BzB in May/June. All of those insane hours paid off and it won Contemporary Quilts at FOQ, the premier quilt festival in Europe. It has now gone for an extended stay in the USA to see how it gets on over there. I do have a sort-of-plan for a new show quilt in 2018 but whether it works out or whether it gets shelved remains to be seen.

 

I made 2 new friends in Ste Marie aux Mines with whom I hope to collaborate in some form. I have sent some quilted faux leather to Christine Escanes to cut up and experiment on and I have made a denim word search quilt inspired by the work of denim artist, Ian Berry.

I met many new friends in the Quilt World and happily reconnected with old friends this year. One of the more unexpected non-quilting friends that I made was a hairy one – my new best friend, a 10 year old Scottie Dog called Bumble. We have become inseparable and miss each other when I am away. My cats were decidedly unimpressed by this new member of the family but if I light a fire they decide they can be pals.

I had 2 lovely holidays with my kids, getting away from it all in Achilitbuie then camping at the Latitude Festival. My old Landcover took us to all of those places, despite being long overdue for an overhaul. It was a little nerve-racking, hoping that it would not rain on the way home from the NW Highlands because the wipers had conked out.

 

In 2018 it will be 10 years since I won the Loch Lomond Quilt Show, became The Quilt Quine and started blogging. I have made a lot of quilts and travelled to many places since then. I wonder what will happen in the next 10 years?!

A Fairly Festive Week

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All things considered, it was a fairly festive week, apart from my last DIY Quilt customer of the year. There was the superb Banchory Academy Christmas concert, then I collected Freya from her Uni digs in St Andrews going via a posh farm shop on the way home. We stocked up on chicken feed for the holidays and bought red cabbage from a farmers’ market then spent most of a day perfecting Maria’s white chocolate cookies and a batch of glittery dog biscuits.

    

In between celebrating Christmas with Mo and Tania and preparing food for Christmas feasting, I enlisted Freya’s help to lay out my denim letters in their correct word search order. I was determined to at least join it all together this side of Christmas, even though I forgot that I had told myself to make ½” seam allowances because some of the denim was so thick!

I don’t hold out much hope of festive sewing as I will be be busy preparing stovies for a charity ceilidh on 27th December for a yet to be confirmed number of people. At some stage I plan to tidy my desk and do some pre 2018 planning. Apart from that, I hope to spend some time eating, drinking, reading and doing very little – well for a day at least;)

 

Technowizard or Semi Domestic Goddess?

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I have been flitting about all over the place this week and forgetting to take photos. On Monday I did an allover linear pattern on a customer quilt – it had multiple seams because it was pieced with dozens of small equilateral triangles so I had to watch it like a hawk. I made a good old-skool chocolate cake for Fergus’ 16th birthday and it was even shaped like a completely normal cake.

On Tuesday I oversaw 3 DIY customer quilts (with no photographic evidence!).

On Wednesday I took Fergus into Aberdeen for his Grade 8 guitar exam. We are hopeful of a high grade after the examiner escorted back to the waiting room and said he had been “outstanding”! Slightly daunted by the countdown to Christmas I had a frenzy of online ordering, hoping that it would all arrive on time.

On Thursday morning I completed the festive shopping for my family in England then wrapped and dispatched their parcel. I even bought stamps and posted Christmas cards, despite swearing every year that this will be the last time.

I had to hurriedly put together proposals for longarm classes at FOQ 2018 to meet the December submissions deadline even though it is still 8 months away.

It was lethally icy outside and I could not even get the Landy back into my driveway after skating up the track. Amazingly, Farmer Raymond appeared as if by magic and spread some sand to make life easier.

Before I knew it, Friday came along and I had to make video demos for the new Bernina longarm echo clips. I did this solo with the GoPro camera attached to the machine. It took 4 hours to upload them so I hope they are useful enough that I can get away without major edits. My next challenge was to update the software/firmware for a major improvement of the Qmatic system. It all went swimmingly so I now need to carve out time to explore the new features.

I achieved my major objectives of the weekend – wrapping the parcels so that job is done in the vain hope that I might get some piecing or cutting done at some point during the coming week;) I had a practice run at baking Maria’s white chocolate cookies. I would not win points for their appearance in a baking competition as they were not dainty but they tasted great. I plan to make Bumble the Scottie some dog biscuits for Christmas because she has not asked Santa for anything else. She gave me permission to buy myself some gin-filled Christmas baubles in case the shop ran out!

Auf Wiedersehen Coburg and Fitlike Crathes

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I spent my last full day in Coburg with Regina trying to learn all of the commands for Qmatic. We made good progress but did not conquer it completely, hoping that the forthcoming update will make it even more user friendly. We ventured into the city of Coburg to do some Christmas shopping which will have to remain a mystery for now;) And bought the most delicious Lebkuchen from the bakery, not at all like packaged gingerbread cookies. I only just managed to zip my purchases into my suitcase but decided that it would be safest to transport my glass “kugels” as hand luggage.

We made a detour to a Gudrun Sjoden clothing outlet but it was difficult to choose from so many lovely colours and sadly, after that it was time to head to the airport after an absolutely super trip.

I spent most of the next day unpacking, catching up on emails and attempting to add some  machine embroidery to the pleather piece. I abandoned that after a while as the piece was too big and too stiff to scrunch up under the domestic Bernina 710 so my collaborative friend, Christine, can chop it up and play with it when it arrives in Florida.

  

Light snow and ice cause a bit of disruption to the school bus and I was frustrated by a conference call to Switzerland when the wifi dropped out so I got on with an allover customer quilt then swiftly prepared the next one as I have 3 to finish before Christmas. In addition, I thought it was a good idea to cut out a little side project in case I run out of things to do…

  

Things are becoming festive here – On Friday evening I went to a very nice Christingle supper with friends then on Saturday morning Nella had her choir Christmas concert. Later we headed into Aberdeen to attempt some Christmas shopping. The so-called Christmas market was NOT at all like a German one:P We only bought a couple of things as it was too busy to bother but we did at least get Fergus a couple of birthday gifts. I am hoping that I will get the rest of my shopping online or locally.

Sunday was chilly and chilled out and Bumble seemed to enjoy her first outing in a smart, new fleece sweater. I even managed to write some Christmas cards which I must remember to post on time. I can forecast some multi-tasking in the week ahead!

Winter Wonderland in Coburg

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I worked on a piece of blank, cream pleather for almost 3 days and finished quilting it before I packed my bags for my German trip. There is still a little stitching to add before I send it off to my collaboration partner, Christine Escanes.

I did not anticipate the blizzard conditions on the way to the airport, early on Thursday,  before any other cars were on the road. The road was white with ice and snow and it took twice as long as normal with some scary junction approaches. Amazingly, the airport was clear and the journey to Nuremberg via Schipol went smoothly.

 

  

It was great to meet Regina and head straight to a lovely supermarket in Coburg. Not only is there is vast choice of everything but the choice of fresh veg and deli items is amazing. The next stop was a beer shop which only sold beer!

For the next 2 days I had 3 lovely students who worked hard on two projects. It was challenging to complete both of them but they worked as fast as they could and all had great results. In between the quilting there was delicious food, some wine and chocolate and much chat. The students and machines coped admirably with a range of materials, threads and needles.

  

  

  

On Saturday evening we headed into the centre of Coburg to experience the Christmas market and enjoy a well deserved mug of gluhwein. It was crowded with a great atmosphere but far too busy for shopping. The sights and smells were enough! This was followed by a late supper of traditional Bavarian food at a local brewery.

  

  

The students all headed home on Sunday despite the snow that had fallen overnight. Regina decided that it was still safe to travel to the village of Lauscha in her reliable, old Volvo with snow tyres. The last part of the journey was uphill on snow covered roads but the Swedish car did not find this a problem.

  

This rural town has been a centre of glass making for many years and there is even a series of novels in which it features. There were demos and sales at the glass blowing college then several shops, factories and stalls selling beautifully decorated artisan-blown ornaments (kugels). They were not nearly as expensive as one might imagine and the only thing stopping me from buying more was the challenge of getting them home in one piece.

  

It was very festive but cold up there with a jolly Santa and some stalls selling local produce. We drove carefully back down to the main road later in the evening and enjoyed another simple but delicious German supper of rye bread, wurst, cheese and assorted accompaniments while the snow continued to fall gently outside.

Denim Countdown

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It felt like I was playing a giant version of “Countdown” when I laid out all of my denim wordsearch letters to check that they were all there. I realised that I had completely forgotten about 13 letter I’s, and had a surplus of O’s. It took a while to sort, cut and stitch the missing letters by which time the whole lot was all in a muddle again. All I know is that there are some more than the required 121 or 11 x 11 squares. I masked off a slot ruler and cut them all into very neat 8” squares. I will probably have to use a larger than ¼” seam allowance because some of the denim is very thick.

   

I was not ready to start sewing all of the denim blocks together so I loaded a piece of cream fake leather onto the Bernina Q24 and randomly placed some of the my own Qmatic designs. I will add some more circles and freehand stuff later then post it to my collaborator, Christine Escanes in Florida to see what she wants to throw at it next. I even whizzed up a Fancy Forest Fox because he is so much simpler than the other creatures.

I checked that I had all of my supplies ready for my Coburg teaching trip in case I had to order any more pleather or felt. I am very excited to be going back and to visit a German Christmas market although I am not looking forward to my 3 am start on Thursday morning!

I offered to help Fergus do some research for his art history essay on The Impressionists but I was far more enthusiastic than him and got quite carried away, finding out obscure facts about Manet and gangrene, before launching into a second bout of research on “The Raft of the Medusa” to help fill in the many gaps in a previous assignment. I rather enjoyed my foray into homework – it’s a pity that Nell won’t get the same level of help from me with her algebra. I have often wondered whether I would enjoy being a mature student, studying something like Classics – maybe when I retire and have some spare time;) In the meantime, I have enough to do to keep up with a book group that I joined recently. I  mostly read in bed but sometimes don’t get very far before I fall asleep unless it is a thriller that keeps me awake past midnight.

Sadly, Welly the Mad Spaniel, died this week. I always said he was so bonkers that he would just drop dead one day. It was almost like that: at 13+ he just became doddery and lost his appetite as if he knew his time was up, curled up in his bed and faded away. He certainly had quite a few adventures, including swimming across the river in full flood and pig herding. I will actually have to make an effort to go for a brisk walk every morning because Bumble does not exactly hurry and my cats are just not interested.

 

(Wellington 2004-2017)


Marmalade and Jeans

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The kids had two days off school for teacher training days so I took Nell to see “Paddington2” at the cinema. We laughed and cried at the small bear’s antics and wished we had taken marmalade sandwiches as our movie snack.

I chopped up a pile of old jeans into squares and raided my stash for any additional fabric that could pass as denim. My arithmetic skills failed me when trying to work out how many blocks would be needed if cutting out a positive and negative letter for the giant wordsearch quilt that I have in mind. Despite making a list and crossing off letters as I went along. I seem to have a few extra that might end up in another reincarnation. On the whole the Scanncut made a good job apart from spitting out the cutting mat when the dodgy roller became dislodged. The biggest problem was that denim backed with Bondaweb would stick well but not cut nicely, whereas the fabric backed with HeatnBond cut nicely but hardly stuck at all, even when ironed. The tedious solution was to stitch all of the letters in place using a small zigzag and invisible thread, otherwise the letters will just fall off when it comes to sewing the blocks together!

In the middle of the week I wrote down a Plan of the Day in big writing and managed to whizz through several jobs without getting distracted. This included 2 customer quilts, both of which also had to be bound.

  

One evening I sewed the second half of the Fancy Forest bunny block and had to concentrate not to muddle up the many pieces. It is cute when finished but I will definitely cheat and enlarge the sizes of any future blocks as I don’t want it to be a 5 year project. In fact, I reckon I could rattle off a DWR quilt more speedily.

It was great to receive an acceptance email from the Road to California show for BzB – my friend, Bonnie in Oklahoma has kindly agreed to look after all of its deliveries while in the USA. I have entered it into a couple of AQS shows so I will just have to wait and see if it gets juried in. I think I have now settled on an idea for a new show quilt from my wacky list of potential ideas so I hope to have a crack at at test block in January and see how it develops…

Sticking With It

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My plan was to work on customer quilts for 4 days then leave Friday to experiment with the ScannCut machine. I managed to stick to that plan fairly impressively, working on 3 different customer quilts. There was a lovely leafy appliqué quilt then a large blue and white quilt where the back was the same size as the front and had the additional challenge of bulky intersections, followed by a baby quilt that also needed piecing as it was actually a box of 40 hand stitched squares.

   

   

The free day on Friday was scuppered by having to get the Landy’s dodgy headlamps fixed which only left me with an afternoon to play. I was not pleased to discover that the ScannCut machine was loading the cutting mats lopsidedly. After a frustrating amount of time spent cleaning and huffing I even contemplated blowing almost £500 to buy a brand new one before noticing that one of the little black rubber rollers had gone out of alignment.

I wanted to find out if it could speed up the process of cutting out DWR pieces which on balance, it just about does. It cannot cut out the large pinched square piece because that is just a smidge too big but it can mass produce little bits although they have slightly sticky backs where I used spray glue to get them to stick to the cutting surface.

   

My main challenge with the cutting machine was to cut out a stack of large denim letters for a quilt that I am planning. The trouble with that was that denim backed with Bondaweb did not seem to cut cleanly whereas denim backed with the HeatnBond cut well but was not sufficiently sticky. I was hoping not to have to stitch around the letters before longarming but if they keep peeling off I may have to – goodness knows how tricky that will be with all that stickiness under the needle!

Jobs like paperwork, tidying up and cleaning my printer seem to have been forwarded to next week’s To Do list – again;)

On Track and Side Tracked

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I stayed on track fairly well this week, only sidetracking a couple of times! I was determined to finish the remaining samples for my upcoming class in Coburg so put in a couple of long quilting days to finish a wool folk-art piece and the pleather rendition of a St Moritz drain cover in fake leather.

 

 

I even got a customer quilt done which was tricky with absolutely no wriggle room on the backing.

The sidetracks were an experiment to see if I could make little pouches using foam interfacing – I decided that they were too bulky, a fabric strip covered bowl – not sure I liked all the fraying/wrapping, and some more giant double-wedding-ring blocks using clashing Nigerian fabrics.

   

It is alarming that the clocks have gone back and we are now into November – I simply don’t know where all my time goes;)

Baked Alaska and Other Adventures

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The second week of the school holidays was certainly action packed with visiting family,  a 14th birthday and various outings. She loved the secret project – a camera bag and did not seem to mind that the lid does not fit as flush as I would have liked;) Nell got her braces off after 3 years, dyed her her neon pink and got a helix piercing expertly done by Maree at Rebel Ink in Aberdeen. We visited the Cat Cafe which was not teeming with cats as I expected. One feline did show up at our table but only because it wanted to steal the cream off the top of the milkshakes.

This year’s birthday cake request was a purple baked Alaska. I watched some Youtube recipes for inspiration but most of them used a blow torch which I don’t have among my many kitchen gadgets. I added parma violet syrup and purple colouring to white ice cream and dolloped meringue on top. It is essential to work at speed so I quickly put the cake back into the freezer so it would be nice and set for a blasting in the oven. I forgot that an oven tray would have been a good plan because my fancy plate exploded with the drastic temperature change so we had a bit of slippage on one side. Sparklers and edible glitter saved the day and I now know how not to oven-bake ice cream.

I had no phone for 2 days while the screen was being repaired but I did not really miss it as we were so busy out and about, although I should have taken more photos with a real camera! Bumble enjoyed her visit to Crathes Castle and kept up with the little-boy cousins on an expedition to Dunnottar, an almost impregnable ruined fortress near Stonehaven. Pumpkins were carved and the sludge collected for a pie but eventually the house emptied and things settled back to normal.

  

Over the weekend I managed to cut out and fuse wool felt pieces for a folk-art piece that I will be teaching in Germany. It was inspired by a painted panel in Coburg Castle but I don’t think I possess the geometry skills required to arrange six motifs around a central point, 8 would have been far more sensible. Since it is “folk-art”, I reckon it is fine to arrange by-eye.

  

I am hoping that the temporary supply-teaching job that I was offered will have been snapped up by someone else because I have so much that I want to create, although I have to be realistic and appreciate that some extra cash would come in handy…

 

Making Lots of Mess

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During the school holidays it feels like there must be some kind of formula such as h = 2t – p otherwise known as “holidays mean more time but less productivity”. For example, the more I remind a certain teenage boy about homework, the less he is inclined to do it!

There was a severe weather warning at the beginning of the week but in the end it missed us. I think that was because I stocked up on baking potatoes and charged all of my gadgets in case of a power cut.

I completed 2 faux eiderdowns for Mo’ customer using very fat poly wadding, updating the tatty brushed nylon for pink silk. I ended up with silk threads everywhere and had made quite a mess working on my secret project so it was time to get the hoover out. It did not take long for me to mess it up again as fallen leaves kept getting dragged in and I cut out about a million small pieces of pleather. And I had to scrub spray glue off my table. I must remember to stash away some old newspapers in future!

  

I had hoped to cut out a tricky pattern from faux-leather using the San-n-Cut machine but the pattern was too intricate and it was not really big enough at a maximum size of 12” square. I had to resort to the old-school technology of an overhead-projector. The results were a bit sketchy as I traced the projected acetate image using a Sharpie pen onto paper taped to a board that was propped up on the table with a chair behind it. I realised afterwards that I did not have to draw around every single detail and my second attempt was an improvement. I had to abandon the attempt to cut out the pattern using a craft knife as only tiny scissors would do the job.

The pleather project will be offered to my German students as an extra challenge if they get the mini wholecloth and the other one (which I still need to make up as a kit) finished in 2 days. I think that one will involve wool felt because my plan is to explore a wide variety of materials, threads and techniques with the Bernina longarm machine.

Knowing that the week ahead brings visitors, a birthday and various outings, I cracked on with a customer quilt. The pattern requested was umbrellas which was very appropriate in weather so wet that my workshop carpet now needs drying out. I want to keep on top of customer quilts because it is inevitable that there will soon be a pre-Christmas rush;)

Remind Me Not To Do This Again!

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I finished the first sample for my classes in Germany – a small whole cloth loosely based on BzB. I actually got a bit carried away and did more quilting than I intended so by the time I quilted the background with a twin needle it was quite stitchy;) The project took a fair while so I will have to make my pupils sew FAST! I have a couple of other samples to run up by the end of October so the students have some idea of what they will be working on.

  

Bumble was not speaking to me after her proper Scottie Dog haircut, she looks very smart, although quite hilarious so Mo and I may just take a little bit more off her legs so she looks less comical. She was mightily offended when the kids laughed at her!

Socially, I judged Battenberg cake at a WRI meeting where I was the speaker and attended an alcoholic Book Group, which I enjoyed so much that I offered to choose the next book and host the Readers.

My Sunday night blog feels rushed after spending 2 whole days in the workshop, working on a semi secret project for Nell’s birthday. I followed the instructions as carefully as I could but forgot to include the pocket that I had made, seemed to end up with a slight lining fit problem and resorted to hand sewing some binding because the item could not squash under my sewing machine. I am a little disappointed by the finish but looking at the original photo of how the finished article is meant to look, concede that mine comes pretty close. If I make a thing like this in future I think a zip should be involved.

The midterm break has started so I will need a Plan of Action to keep everyone fed, get on with some quilting and catch up on the mountain of laundry that I did not do while making the above said “thing”…

Perseverance Pays Off

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I had 2 ladies in doing DIY quilts for 3 days in a row and quilting like crazy, 10 quilts were completed! I would love to have more weeks like that and would be able to turn down supply teaching offers guilt-free.

With some trepidation I tackled a wedding quilt that was a montage of black and white photos and written messages. I was a bit worried about some of the fabrics which included dress linen, sheeting, interfacing and T-shirt transfer vinyl but the machine just took it all in its stride with silvery Glide on top and Madeira cotton in the bobbin.

On Thursday I took the day off, caught up with friends for coffee and went on a jolly with Mo to a Christmas Fayre where we ended up buying ourselves treats, rather than Christmas presents for others. I keep telling myself that I will have an opportunity to do that when I visit the Christmas market in Coburg when I return to teach at Regina Klaus’ studio at the beginning of December.

After sulking a little about BzB’s lacklustre performance at MQX, I was delighted that Linda Hrcka (The Quilted Pineapple) awarded it her faculty ribbon. She is one of my most favourite, awesome quilters so that really gave me a boost. BzB has now gone to stay with my friend, Bonnie Botts, until it gets sent off to other USA show in 2018.

I persevered with the Dreaded Scanncut machine and successfully cut out samples of denim letters for one of my potential projects. I used Steam-a-Seam instead of Bondaweb and starched the fabric thoroughly, writing down everything that worked so hopefully it will co-operate another time. It was still rubbish at cutting paper and labels until I got a new blade except that it wanted to cut out everything dark coloured, including text. I have figured a simple way around this by just plonking a shape on top of a sticker and cutting out the shape. I have watched some helpful and other not so helpful tutorials on simple stuff that I want to do on Youtube but other than that, it’s still all Greek to me! It is a machine that can be extremely complicated if you want it to but I just want it to cut out fiddly shapes without having a hissy fit.

I achieved a lot of stuff on my ToDo list for the week then promptly jotted down a new one which seems even longer. Never mind, I seem to get more done when there is more to do.

I must apologise to anyone who has left comments on Blogger – sometimes they don’t show up for ages and then it won’t let me reply so I must fix that. I appreciate everyone who reads my blog, particularly if they go to the effort of leaving a comment:)

Is this my Comeuppance?

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It’s been a funny old week where I have felt rather busy but not entirely sure what I have actually done. I had a go at filming a couple of demos on couching and using a twin needle on the Q24 using a machine mounted GoPro and a tripod mounted camera but I have not got sufficient editing skills to tie the 2 different views together. Much time can be wasted in this way, just like figuring out how to get sketchy diagrams to look more professional without any actual graphics design capabilities at all.

My Scan n Cut machine arrived but my initial efforts did not go well. After watching several Youtube video demos, I ordered a replacement sticky mat, a spare blade and a whole gamut of potentially handy items. I wonder if a machine like that should be bought from a shop like a sewing machine dealer where you get after sales training;)

I confess that I was disappointed that BzB did not win any accolades at MQX. I began to doubt myself and wonder if it is not up to scratch for shows in the USA. According to the judging sheet my quilting needs some improvement, as does my colouring in… I have entered it into Road to California so we will have to see if it fares any better there.

I also did what I call a lot of faffing around, deciding what to teach in Germany at the beginning of December, ordered thread cards from Madeira, gathered materials for a possible arty series, looked up the Chinese meaning of “Wu”, and had a go at a couple of blocks for the Fancy Forest quilt.

This quilt has been on my quilt bucket list for a while. I thought it would make a nice, therapeutic background project. Some of the animals have rather a lot of pieces, in fact, rather a lot of tiny pieces. Despite cutting and sewing carefully, I had some issues with accuracy. IF I decide to stick with this rather fiddly project I am going to double the size of the pieces so the animals are twice their normal size and I won’t have to make so many!

  

I wondered if I would like a background project with bigger pieces so I had a crack at a Victoria Findlay Wolfe DWR. Apart from working out exactly where ¼” from each end is, this was far more satisfying to construct. I wonder whether I should buy some fabric to make myself a whole quilt or whether I should just throw every ugly offcut that I have into the mix.

My Mother asked if I might be able to run up a baby quilt some time in October but I decided to just strike while the iron was hot, grab some stash fabric and run up some 5” squares on a rainy afternoon. A computer pattern called “Candyland” finished it off and a binding was quickly applied. A finished quilt always gives a greater sense of achievement than any amount of admin, research or general faffing about!