Saturday, 23 February 2008

Quilts and Bears

Here are three of my little quilts, this one is called Candy Baskets, and inspired by the book called 'Celebrate with Little Quilts' published by That Patchwork Place.

The smallest of the three quilts is this little fan quilt, about 24" x 36"

I think this pattern is Roman Stripe, easy strip piecing, in Amish colours, the biggest of the three.
The border is not visible in the picture because I fixed it up with drawing pins to take the photo.

Because we have written to our grand-daughter every week since she was small we have lots of photos that we have turned into cards, things that she would recognise and enjoy. Here is Topsy with Alex - both bears were made by Marilyn Haupt.

Bruno with Tilly, both hand knitted by me. Tilly has her own clothes on in this picture. Bruno is still absent-without-leave.

Alex always has been a bit of a poser, almost always in his dressing gown, he was my Christmas present to my husband a few years ago. Two of my larger quilts can be seen behind him.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Hello I'm Sandra

Hello I'm Sandra

Since moving here from London ten years ago and retiring from full time teaching in a tough inner city school I have discovered the joys of country crafts. I really enjoy making quilts and working on other handicrafts.

By happy chance I've met up with a lot of people and eight of us meet regularly to sew,cook, eat,and gossip, we also have lots of trips and other activities .We laugh a lot and enjoy each others company. I hope to photograph some of my quilts and wallhangings to put on our blog

Sunday, 17 February 2008


I love knitting, it's so theraputic to see the fabric grow on your needles, but in spite of the growth of knitting as a fashionable hobby I've always thought it a little quaint, and rarely take knitted projects out of the house. It is a bit like hand quilting, which I always do, slow, but satisfying. Why would you knit a garment which you can pick up from a store for a quarter of the price that the yarn would cost you in the first place, with no guarantee that you will like the finished article, after all you can't try it on before you buy.
However, although most knitting patterns are basically the same, once you have mastered the technicalities you can make that pattern all yours, totally unique. The little cut off cardigan I knitted for our grand-daughter was adapted from an adult pattern, not without a few headaches, but it worked very well, I was really pleased with it. Since I knitted it I found a very interesting book, on Amazon of course, which would have helped tremendously with all those calculations. It's called 'The knitter's handy book of sweater patterns' by Ann Budd and explains how to change the sizes and yarn thickness, sizes 26" to 54" chest, of a variety of basic patterns.

But really I have to confess to a love of much more frivolous knitting. Teddy bears, and clothes for them, knitted bags to keep all manner of things in. Having knitted or bought the bears they will not mind how you dress them, they won't wear out their clothes, nor grow out of them. And because the biggest of them is not any bigger than a newborn baby you can use complicated patterns. Although they are allegedly inanimate when I wanted a teddy or two to photgraph I couldn't find my biggest, fierce looking hand-knitted bear. I expect he'll turn up in a cupboard sometime. The little girl bear in the photo was made by Marilyn Haupt, and is one of several of hers that I have. I have clothed each of them in turn, usually with a change of wardrobe, and children just love to dress them in different outfits.

The book with the teddy bear knitting patterns in is by Debbie Bliss, called 'Teddy Bears'
I would like to knit some cup-cakes, or slices of Battenburg, so if anyone has a pattern please let me know. Oh dear, I told you it was quaint!

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Recovering Addict

This is very hard for me to admit, but, I am addicted to the cult of All Things Martha.
I struggle each month NOT to buy her magazine, only to give in and make the purchase. Well, today is the 9th of February and I have NOT given in yet! Don't get me wrong - I HAVE been to the news agent, I HAVE flipped through a copy (more than once), I HAVE coveted this month's issue with the lovely Valentine themed cover, and so far I HAVE been strong!!! I must be strong, I can feel it calling out to me!
I began collecting Martha almost as soon as it became available in England - not easy at first due to the fact that my "local" had only two or so available copies. It became a competition to me - who would get there first? Me or my unknown rivals? I just had to win! The lady in the shop asked me if I would like to take out a subscription to ensure my monthly fix. Oh no, no easy ride for me - I needed to feel like a winner on a monthly basis! I nearly always succeeded - YES INDEED!
As my collection grew, I went out and bought Laura Ashley magazine holders so that my collection could be stored stylishly - grouped by months rather than in purchase order.
So, needless to say, I am having withdrawal symptoms - I haven't even looked at the website yet - well that's a lie, because how would the link have appeared here?!
I won't bore you with stories of how I watch hours of Martha videos from her web, or how I bring photos of her with me when I have my hair cut, or how my husband sarcastically refers to me as Martha when I'm baking or sewing - no! I must try and stop this now!
So wish me luck. I've got a new addiction now - collecting sewing blogs! I barely even read them, it's just that the pictures are so lovely - more on that another time!

Friday, 8 February 2008

The Blue and White Show

On Wednesday six of us went to an exhibition in Bath, called the Blue and White Show, an amazing collection of Blue and White china, the theme of which was taken up in some of the exhibits by Kaffe Fassett, Candace Bahouth and Carole Waller. Unfortunately cameras were not encouraged. The Exhibition continues until 30th March, so if you get the chance to go it's well worth it. The Victoria Art Gallery is at the end of Pulteney Bridge, there is no charge for entry but a donation is hoped for, and there are excellent greeting cards on sale in the shop.
From the front cover of the brochure.

Here some of us are waiting at the bus stop, five out of the eight of us are proud possessers of free bus passes! and it's actually quicker than driving in and using the park and ride.

The thing that draws the eye on entering the gallery is a huge display of Blue and White china on the end wall, mostly large platters but some jugs and plates. The theme is taken up by jugs and bowls arranged on plinths around the room which have inspired the quilts and needlepoint. Some of this pottery is quite modern in its design. We did not automatically love all the quilted exhibits, but a couple of them have inspired us, and later on in the day we went to our favourite Bath fabric and quilt supplies shop - Country Threads - and saw a good collection of the Kaffe Fassett fabrics which give his quilts their distinctive look.

I loved the ingenuity of Candace Bahouth in having used corrugated cardboard to make elaborate box frames for her collages, and although the mosaic shoes did not appeal to me on a personal level the little children's shoes similarly decorated were strangely touching.

The painted silk panels at the entrance are easily overlooked when ones eyes are drawn to the huge china display. I'm not sure how these were made, but are of banner like proportions and quite stunning - naturally they are blue.

Time for a quick lunch,
after which we went shopping, firstly to Hampstead Bazaar, where we tried hard to find something in the sale we wanted to buy, then we split into different directions for a while. Trish decided it was time for her to go home, Imogen dashed to Marks and Spencers and Caroline went on ahead to Country Threads, where we would all meet up later. Sandra, Sharon and I went to Waterstone's to look at Jane Brocket's book, The Gentle Art of Domesticity, all being fans of her blog We loved the book, so three more copies sold!
We were so long in Country Threads, all tempted to buy yet more fabric, even though it was only Caroline and Sharon who had genuine purpose, that we missed the next bus home and went to while away the time with tea and cakes.