Saturday, July 28, 2007

Being inspired!

I am being inspired which is a good thing! The only trouble is that there are only so many hours in the day and only so much that one can accomplish. However I have discovered Microsoft One Note which is an amazing note pad facility in Microsoft Office. Using One Note means I can write notes, add pictures, even make audio comments and One Note automatically saves it all ready for the next burst of inspiration. This way as I finish one project I can immediately look in One Note for the beginnings of another. I have so many ideas just waiting to get a hearing that this was just what I needed. And one of the features which I most like is that if I copy something into it from the web that takes my fancy it automatically inserts the web address so that I will know where I found that feature later on when I will no doubt have forgotten. How often does one save something from the web only months later to have absolutely no idea where it came from! I do this all the time and it is so frustrating. So I shall be singing the praises of this neat little program!

Caity of CaityQuilter Blog tells me that August 11th is National Moth night here in the UK which is something I didn't know! I shall have to find out more! Thank you Caity!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

So Grateful!

I am so grateful that I live on a hill and that Cornwall isn't suffering from the awful floods that they are experiencing in Gloucester and Tewkesbury and that vicinity. My heart goes out to those poor people especially as many of the flooded areas wouldn't have been so bad if governments had had their wits about them in the past. And they are still going to use flood plains to build houses! What is wrong with these people! We were in Tewkesbury a couple of years ago and it is a lovely town with glorious old buildings and full of history. My fingers are crossed that the worst is over!
It has been a week of the doldrums and I really haven't achieved an awful lot. However I have got the quilt top finished and am now in the middle of quilting it. This is a long winded affair as I am doing different patterns in different places and also it is quite bulky under the machine. But it's coming on. I did encounter a problem when I started as the free machining was very bitty and the cotton kept breaking. The front looked OK but the back is terrible. Just as well it's for me! I fiddled about and tried lots of things. It is working well now and I'm having no problems but the trouble is I don't know what I did or what the problem was in the first place. It could have been that I was using a thicker cotton and it didn't like it even though I was also using a thicker needle! The sample I did was fine. I have reverted to a normal cotton and that is working without problems so probably that was it. These things are sent to try us...and they do! Pictures when it's finished.

I rescued this moth when I opened the kitchen door tonight. It flew into the kitchen attracted by the light and then just fluttered about. When it lighted on the floor I trapped it in a cup and put it back outside. I then took some photos as it was of a variety I haven't seen before. We used to get loads of moths but they seem to have disappeared of late and now all we get on a regular basis are funny little brown ones. However I have noticed that we are getting more butterflies, even the little blue ones. This could be because the garden is awash with flowers and is making a really colourful picture at the moment in spite of all the rain. I have been taking pictures of the flowers for use later on when I want to do some applique work. They make such good inspirational subjects.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

At last!

Finally I am back in my workroom sewing, creating, having fun! I have started on my circles quilt and I can see immediately that it is going to be much more experimental than my diagrams as I ran out of the fabrics I had chosen. But not to worry I had more fabric albeit slightly different and I think that difference is going to be beneficial. Everything is cut out and the large circles are sewn. It is going to be fun putting it all together and planning the colour mix. I was surprised at how quickly and easily I was able to cut out the drunkard's path blocks using the one template only method. It took less than two hours and that included sewing the twelve large blocks. There will now have to be a pause as tomorrow I have to get ready for a silk ribbon workshop on Friday. And at the weekend I want to dye some more fabric though I should have time to whizz up a few more blocks. So it looks like Monday for finishing it off. Tuesday I'm going to teach my Mum how to make folders and what to do with them when she's made them, on her computer. And Friday I have a private lesson again on computers so a busy week. And I have my grandson's second birthday coming up and I want to make him a small quilt with horses on it. He is made about horses which he actually calls Adders but then a rose by any other name and all that! I think a quick nine patch background in greens and blues with applique horses. Shouldn't take too long....I hope! So busy, busy, busy! No pictures as Blogger wouldn't let me insert any!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Show Time!

Today I was one of the craft judges at Stithians Show. Stithians is a small village where I onced lived for five years. Immediately before I moved here in fact. The show has been going for decades and still has a country village, parochial feel about it which is lovely, even though it is the second biggest show in the county after the Royal Cornwall Show at Wadebridge.It is very much a farming show with livestock and machinery. Last year when I judged it was so hot I thought I would expire and there were so many thousands of people there that it was impossible to move. This year with lots of rain over the past week and more to come there weren't as many people and it was fresher and cooler and much more inviting. Sadly there just arn't the craft entries that there used to be and it is hard when there are only three or four entries in a class. In fact one class had only one entry but that one was so good that I wrote on the ticket that it deserved a first anyway! The quilt I gave a first to went on to become best in show which was pleasing.
I had a minor panic when I came to leave as I couldn't find my car amongst the many thousands that were there! In the end common sense prevailed and I retraced my steps and voila, there it was! Oh what a relief! My only excuse is that I had been up since 5.30 and was getting tired! I don't do early mornings very well!

I thought the colours of these plums and apples and other fruits were so exciting and that this picture might act as an inspiration for a piece of work later on.
Now that I have got that outing out of the way I can concentrate on other things. I am planning to do a drunkard's quilt block.

This is the design I have in mind. I used EQ5 to design it in and scanned in some of my own hand-dyed fabrics plus a piece of Liberty Lawn. I'm still not quite sure that this is going to be the final version. I'm actually enjoying playing with it and moving things around. It will be on these lines though. I want to do something fairly traditional but which isn't that traditional.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Finally, the project!

This is the project that I couldn't show you! It is a memory quilt that I made for my sister's 60th birthday and just in case she looked at the blog I had to keep it quiet. But her birthday was yesterday so I can reveal all. How cool is it that she was 60 on 07-07-07! What a lucky day if you're into numbers! I had great fun making this quilt even though the printing of the pictures had a few hiccups due to the printer playing up. This was annoying, especially as I'd bought a new Epsom especially to do this. However in the end my little HP came up trumps which is probably why I'm an HP fan. I even dusted off the embroidery attachment for my Bernina and made a label! Probably the first quilt label I have ever made. I'm almost ashamed to admit to that!

I have decided that to get me moving and not let that 'lazy gene' get control I'm going to start by finishing off some of the many things that are half finished. A lot of them started as class samples which is why they get left! Too busy rushing onto the next thing. So with this in mind I dug out the two pieces of faux chenille that I have and flung them into the washing machine with a pair of Martin's jeans. They are now in the tumble dryer. When they are finished I am going to turn them into a pair of cushions. I am organised! I can do this! At the same time I have been making a start on my class worksheet for next term. After all September will be here in next to no time. There will be a sampler lap quilt for beginners so I am choosing blocks (different ones to last year and the year before) and colour schemes. This is the part I like. Then I am going to design a machine applique quilt which can be made in blocks. I'm thinking gardens, flowers and cottages. I want the students to think about colour and using fabric to get special effects. We will also use fabric pens and crayons to add to the fabric colours. Again another bit that I especially like. But there is a sad note here. The meeting for tutors that I went to yesterday was bit disheartening as I found out that the funding council has stopped the concessionary rate for over 60's. The reason? Because it's ageist! Hellooooo? These people make up the back bone of the Ad Ed craft classes and they need every help they can get on the whole. The cost of the class has increased by over £20 a term which is a lot of money when you have to find a lump sum. So I won't be surprised if I don't get enough students to run the classes. Especially as the minimum number now needed to run the class is 8 and to get full pay 15! Private classes will have to be thought about. I already run several classes from home but I haven't got room to have many students at a time. If it isn't one thing it's another!

Friday, July 06, 2007


I have been trying to work out why I don't get as much done as I used to a few years back and then it came to me! I work for four hours every afternoon and that kills my day for me. Work is necessary to pay the mortgage so there is no going back but I am going to have to re-structure my days and my attitude to them. There is going to have to be a more positive attitude to actually doing! When I'm in teaching mode and I have one if not two classes coming up every week I can get really stuck in producing samples and writing hand outs and I get it all done on time and usually with enjoyment. So why is it that as soon as I have a couple of months or so away from the discipline of teaching do I fall apart? Where is all the work that I was going to do for me? Where are the experimental pieces and the trials of different techniques? I'll tell you my head! Because I have no deadline, no approaching performance, where I'll be in the spotlight and will have to succeed or fail by my earlier efforts, there is no feeling of urgency. In fact there is instead an insidious feeling of endless time with the summer stretching ahead of me, and in complete contrast to that a hidden thought that with not much immediate time at my disposal each day is it worth even starting! It's as if because I can't spend the whole day doing things my brain has a spoilt brat moment and refuses to do anything. So how can I overcome this? I know that once I get started routine will kick in and I'll be fine but its taking that one step to get started. So I'm going to start by writing down and thinking about some things I want to do. If it's in black and white I will have a beginning. And then I will map it out from there so that I have guide posts along the way. In this way when I get sidetracked and slip back into my un-productive ways I'll have a route to follow and I won't wallow in indecision. Because it's not that I don't have ideas nor that I'm not bursting with creativity..that's no problem...its the lazy gene in me that has to have the perfect setting to work in and short periods of time don't do it for me when there is no push from outside. So tomorrow after I've been to a meeting for Adult Education tutors in the morning and had coffee with a friend in the afternoon, I shall make plans. I will be organised while still leaving room for happy accidents! I'm going to start by printing some more pictures onto fabric and this time I'm going to make sure that the *%$"*^ Espsom printer works for me! I bought it to use for just this purpose and I'll make it work if I dye in the attempt! Well perhaps not so drastic but on those lines! And hopefully I'll
be able to crack it and make the time I have work for me rather than the other way around.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Is this summer?

I am now totally bored with the rain. To begin with lying in bed listening to the rain fall out of the sky was exciting but now it is old hat. I am grateful not to be one of those in different parts of the UK who are suffering from floods. The pictures of their flooded houses look terrible. It is a good thing to live on a hill several hundred feet above sea level!
I have finished my project and am feeling quite pleased with myself. It went quite well though I think next time I do something like this I will make a few modifications. Pictures later! At the moment I am trying to have a clear out so that I can see at a glance exactly what fabric I have to hand. Every time I go to find something I have to wade through several useless pieces of stuff before I come to anything good. Why do I hang on to these less than perfect pieces? It's fear! Fear that I won't have just that colour! Fear that I won't have enough long strips! Fear that I might someday run out of fabric! Hello? Run out of fabric? When I'm dyeing 100 metres every week or so? Do I need to see a shrink? Am I unique in this fear of lack with regard to fabric or do others also not want to bankrupt their fabric supply? And I never have the right colour regardless of how much fabric is in stock. In the same way that I don't have the right clothes for any given occasion regardless of the fact that my wardrobe is bursting at the seams. But this I think is partly due to 'once in a Blue Moon' occasions cropping up when one can't be expected to necessarily have the right stuff! Well that's what I tell myself. So with all this in mind I'm going to sort and clear this week. I'm looking forward to it. Well I think I'm looking forward to it!