01/03/2013 § 5 Comments
Well, not exactly!
I can’t believe that we’ve been home for a whole week. Aaaargh – I need another holiday! Working life is hectic and stressful. I’ve been finding it difficult to wind down at the end of the days; my creative energies have been slow. I’d like to be quilting from dawn till dusk!
Last week, I was like a thing possessed – quilt ideas were flying through my head faster than I could jot them down in my little book; let alone cut them out! I did work on one totally awesome quilt though – it’s all pieced together now, but the quilting is a challenge all of its own! I think it will be called my Snow on the Roof quilt! The contrasting colours are quite dramatic.
I simply had to complete this strippy-scrappy cushion. I sewed and quilted till the wee small hours, like a thing possessed. It HAD to be made! I’m really pleased with it although I think it will be for sale very soon as it will clash terribly with the dog hair in our house!
Last week I also completed some quilted blocks to show how different FMQ patterns look and feel. I think these are my 2 favourites – my own design Waves & Pebbles and Leah Day’s Lollipop Flower block.
I’ve been invited to an ‘audition’ for speakers for a Hampshire group and I’m SOooo excited. I’m working on my presentation and the sample blocks will be handed around – there will be full size quilts on show too!
And finally, as a result of all my research on Scandinavian design and style, the greys above are destined for a very special quilt to be named Gustav!
They’re stacking up aren’t they? All these works in progress are now in the studio, awaiting some stitching action.
But we’ll round off the post with a perfect sunset. Taken in Cornwall at the end of last week – see the couple standing at the end of the breakwater? Now, all sigh together, please!
Enjoy your weekend. If you’re out and about in Winchester, I’ve been persuaded to join in with the Retro & Vintage market on Sunday. Actually, I’m excited – do come and say Hello – you won’t miss us, we’re everywhere in the middle of town.
03/02/2013 § 18 Comments
a strange combination?
Oranges first then …
Very satisfying indeed. 10 Seville oranges, turned into 10 bottles of Dark Ginger Marmalade. I love making marmalade and have a method that’s evolved over many years …
1 wash the fruit then cut in half and roughly into segments
2 barely cover with water in a deep baking dish, add a sprinkle of cloves, a couple of cinnamon sticks, some root ginger cut into slices and a couple of bay leaves. (I adore the flavour and smell of bay).
3 stick it in the oven for a couple of hours on a medium heat and then allow to cool down a bit so it doesn’t burn your fingers
4 get stuck in – with your fingers – remove the juicy bits from the orange skin. Put the skin to one side. Put the liquid and juicy mush through a sieve. Pick out the bay leaves, a couple of slices of ginger and the cinnamon and pop them into the preserving pan with the liquid.
5 slide a sharp knife along the underside of the skin segments, to remove any remaining pith, then slice orange skin into slivers. Add to liquid.
6 measure (or guess, in my case), how many pints of liquid you now have and add 1 lb sugar to every pint. Dissolve the sugar slowly over a medium heat, stirring gently
7 add some glace ginger if you like it and my secret ingredient, to make the marmalade good and dark – 2 tsp black treacle
8 boil it up until it reaches ‘jam’ on the sugar thermometer, remove bay leaves, cinnamon sticks and large pieces of root ginger
9 sterilise jars & lids in the oven, on 100 degrees, then using a wide necked funnel and jug, bottle it up – fill jars right up to the top
10 place a waxed circle on top and seal tightly while still hot
11 write your labels and pop them into the cupboard to set
Voila – Dark Ginger Marmalade – that’s the oranges done!
Now for the Songbird …
Songbird is the name of a new quilt. Inspired by Scandinavian colours and style – simple, modern & functional …
This isn’t a ta’dah moment as there’s a long way to go with this massive king-sized quilt. I bought just a scant half metre of the patterned fabric in Sherborne a couple of weeks ago. I could hardly wait to get started. It’s such an unusual and subtle pattern despite the strong colours. It needed vibrance and contrast but I didn’t want to detract from it, so settled for a narrow palette of reds & white and there’s a touch of sage at the sides, but you’ll have to wait to see the full reveal.
I’ve been busy practising free-motion quilting too and have progressed from my happy stippling pattern to a simple heart and pebbles. I bought my first fabric pen yesterday in Bath, and have tested it – it sponges off easily, leaving no trace.
Bath was marvellous in the winter sun – lunch with our lovely boys and the quickest buzz around my favourite shops. A new cloche hat from the antiques market too!
Have a lovely week – I’ll be wanting to quilt, in every moment that I’m doing everything else!
What’s everyone been up to over at Handmade Monday? Do pop over to see.
21/04/2012 § 14 Comments
We’ll make a start, down on the farm …
Buttercup the cow lives happily on a magical quilted farm with all her friends. There’s Percy the Pony, Petal the Piggy, dancing lambs and lots of ducks and chickens, too numerous to name. Fields of bright folky sunflowers bloom all around the pastures and cheerful gingham farm tracks divide up the land! The back is vintage striped flannelette, bordered with patchwork, a name label & date, to boot!
What a pretty quilt, for a cot or chair in the nursery!
Then, there’s the Wildflower Meadow – a double-bed sized quilt that I have Soooooooo loved making …
(These photos are in a gallery, so click and they’ll open up much larger, so you can see all the stitch & pattern details).
I’m totally into free motion quilting and the difference in texture between the quilted vintage, pure white cotton and the bright florals really make this quilt sing – not too loudly, just a gentle lullaby! It’s so soft and drapey too- if that makes sense.
I’m working on another one as we speak (well not at this precise moment, cos I’m typing away whilst waiting for one of Flora’s eggs to hard-boil for a lunchtime sandwich)! I’ve just treated myself to one of those wire egg cutter contraptions so I can have perfect, slim eggy slices – yum. Have visions of a slippery egg flying across the kitchen – will let you know how I get on!
Winchester was lovely this morning – just for an hour, I wandered about the little streets, mainly avoiding the bustle of the High Street and weekend market. The Cathedral was magnificent in the Spring sunshine and I simply enjoyed mooching around knowing that I live here. Although sometimes I think my heart is still in Wales, I’m beginning to accept that after over 30 years, Winchester is feeling more and more like home!
Enjoy your weekend.
End Note: The egg slicer worked a treat. Toothache is soul-destroying and I’ve been in agony for what seems like eternity, over most of the weekend. I’m waiting to hear back from a local dental practice to see if they can fit me in and put an end to my toe-curling agony.
Have a good week everyone.
20/01/2012 § Leave a comment
I’ve been making lap/cot quilts …
There are 3 of them here ..
I love making quilts of this size – snuggly over your lap and knees or perfect for a tiddler’s cot.
There’s a quilted cushion hiding in amongst the quilts too. There are a couple more cushions to finish and then it’s on to some freehand embroidery I think. We’ll have to see what patterns emerge!
Have a lovely weekend.