Friday, 18 November 2011

The Last Post

Over the last couple of years illness, house moves and personal traumas have changed the dynamics of our group, and only firm friendships within it have stood the test of time.  During the time we spent together our little group had collectively made a series of small quilts for children, with no firm destination for them in mind.

 Not long after the tsunami struck Japan earlier this year Midsomer Quilting responded to an appeal for quilts to help people who had lost everything in this disaster, and Sharon, Angela and Imogen decided to take our finished stash to them at Chilcompton to be shipped (with no charge to us) to Japan. On the morning the three of us took them over there I think the shop was being overwhelmed by the numbers of people donating the most beautiful quilts, we were pleased to have been part of this practical way of showing our sympathy to a beleaguered nation.

So with this last post we are saying goodbye and thank you to those people who have been interested in our little group.  Like all craftspersons we continue to work on but in our separate ways!

These two photos are taken from an article 'Quilts to Japan' written by Chris Howell from Midsomer Quilting for the December issue 2011 of British Patchwork & Quilting. 

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Secret Pocket Lady

I had lots of fun last week making this "Secret Pocket Lady" skirt! 
My job share Karen borrowed one of these skirts, also called "The Walking Lucky Dip," a few years ago. We took turns wearing it at our school's annual Summer BBQ.
Karen had to return the skirt and I never quite got around to making one, as promised.
That is until this year!  
The skirt  was made using fabric up-cycled from some classroom drapes and a few new quarter metres of  "brights" for pockets with some flowers bonded on top. The finishing touch - lime green ribbon! There was also a bright patchwork bandanna to add to the overall "look."

How it works: 
The skirt has 20 pockets, each containing a prize. For the price of 20p, the child chooses any pocket and receives a surprise!

Karen and I had lots of fun taking turns wearing the skirt, raising a bit of money for our school and seeing the children's faces when they realised that the lady wearing a funny outfit that day was a teacher! 

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Red and White Yo-Yo Quilt

A couple of years ago I saw a picture of a quilt similar to this at  Gooseberry Patch and fell in love with it! I simply felt I had to have one and then, typical me, put it to the back of my mind.

The Clover yo-yo maker craze was becoming big news here in England and so I gave it a try - it was so much quicker and easier than the "old fashioned" way which I found tedious.

I love red and white fabric - I "just"  happen to have a huge stash of it that gets replenished at every opportunity.  And so began my days of yo-yo making.

I decided my quilt would need 400 of theses round beauties  and divided my quilt into quarters - 100 yo-yo's in each.
It took quit some time and 800 pins to get the balance of colour and pattern right - but I have to say it was such a pleasure to see it spread out on the table!

Then came the hours of happily watching Poirot and appliqueing the yo-yo's by hand onto the white fabric.

For the backing, I knew I wanted red and white ticking. I was fortunate enough to find the "real thing" at my local fabric shop - and, as luck would have it, it was soft rather than stiff!

Next, I tie quilted alternate yo-yo's into place with red pearl cotton, the ties showing on the back.

My biggest worry in making the quilt was marking the white fabric ready for quilting!
I used a Hera Marker, another fab product from Clover. "Easy to handle tracing spatula allows you to place pressure when marking on fabric. Perfect for quilting and sewing". Truer words have never been written!
Again, using pearl cotton, I quilted the border in simple straight lines and got the "look" that I wanted!
Rather than traditional binding, I used my favourite method of folding in the edges to finish the quilt .

My labour of love took 400 yo-yo's and two years to complete! I enjoyed EVERY minute of it - it was so much fun that I even made several cushions!

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Tour of Britain Cycle Race

Today's leg of the Tour of Britain Cycle Race started in Frome, Somerset. A nice bright morning, the town centre and roads along the route were crowded with spectators. Here are a couple of the photos I took.

Monday, 14 September 2009

The Throckmorton Coat

We paid a visit to Coughton, (pronounced Coat-un) Court (owned by the National Trust) , while we were on holiday in Shropshire last week.

This is the home of the Throckmorton Coat, made (as the result of a wager) from wool shorn, spun, dyed, woven and sewn all between sunrise and sunset on 25th June 1811.

Coughton Court has been in the Throckmorton family since 1409 when John de Throckmorton married into the de Spiney family. Home to one of the UK's oldest Catholic families, this house has witnessed defining moments in British history, from the court of Henry VIII to the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Bank Holiday in the Lake District

Striding Edge, Helvellyn (photo from Wikipedia)

We went up to the Lake District over the Bank Holiday weekend because our son and 12 year-old granddaughter were going on a camping and walking trip from Glenridding to the top of Helvellyn. Our granddaughter had never been camping before, nor done a walk longer than a couple of hours or so, so it was all a great adventure.

I am very glad that I did no research into their route, because in the photo above, along the ridge, is the path to the top!!

Rather than camping, our daughter-in-law, Chris and I found a comfortable B & B in Keswick, and the three of us spent a pleasant Sunday ambling round the lakes and visiting Windermere while they were walking.
The day started off quite well weather-wise, but by mid-day the mist was coming in and the rain started to fall again. We all met up in the Inn-by-the-Lake in Glenridding at the end of their walk. Unfortunately there was no hot food available late on a Sunday afternoon, so we made do with lots of hot coffee and sandwiches. Simon was pretty tired, but Kay was quite keen to go for a walk with her Grandad in the evening!! She told me that she didn't know that she was scared of heights until she was doing that path accross the ridge. We think she did amazingly well.

On Bank Holiday Monday we had said we would take a Boat Trip around Ullswater. This was the view from the window of the boat. It had been blowing a gale and pouring with rain all night. Kay slept through it, but Simon got soaked packing up the tent and spent the first hour of the boat trip hanging over the heater trying to warm up.

We were all dressed for the weather and spent an exhilarating time on deck towards the end of the two and a half hour trip with tourists from all over the world.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Pilling the Cat

Mitzi, about seven years ago

We have just been cat sitting for our daughter-in-law, which as well as feeding the two cats and keeping them company meant pilling the older cat, Mitzi, twice a day.

I have to admit being a trifle nervous about this to start with, and had looked up opinion via Google. Definitely not encouraging, although there were some humourous anecdotes to jolly us along.

In her youth Mitzi had not been the calmest of cats, and a tickling session could suddenly result in a scratch or nip so she surprised me by taking her pills, for a thyroid problem, in a resigned and laid back manner. I suppose she has become used to it, and knows that to get food this indignity has to be borne, although on the next to last morning she clamped her teeth together like a small child refusing his breakfast and a little more persuasion had to be used, twice, as she spat it out the first time. has some lovely little clips about life with a cat.