Saturday, February 14, 2009

Austrailian bush fires - what we quilters can do

I have just read Jenny Bowker's blog about what we as quilters can do to help quilters in Australia after the devastating fires in Victoria. Please read Jenny's post and see if there is something you could send.

Thanks to Freida Oxenholme for posting the link on the cqgb yahoo group, I now feel I can help in a very small way, so I'm off to rummage through my stash!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Re-organising the house

Today we had the dining room chimney swept, and have had a fire going all day to warm the chimney and the room. Why am I telling you this? Well I finally bit the bullet and decided to rearrange the house. What was the dining room has now become the sitting room, the sitting room has become the dining room and (this is the best bit for me) I shall be able to use it as an extension of my sewing studio.

Some time ago I blogged about how my studio was too small or maybe my stash is too big, but lets not go there. After lots of thought, discussion, and procrastination we decided to have the chimney swept to see if the fire was viable, the house is old and cold the central heating does little other than take the chill off so a viable fire is a necessity.

As the fire seems to work just fine I have spent the day cleaning and moving furniture, the sitting room is now organised so I can go and flop later. The dining room is getting organised
and if I can rearrange the furniture some more tomorrow I will hopefully finally get a dedicated design wall. Ooooh I'm soo excited!

Why we have not done this before is a mystery as the new sitting room is much cosier and will be much easier to keep warm. Oh the wisdom of hind sight!

The dining room/studio is usually reasonably warm during the day as it gets plenty of sunshine but will be quite cool in the evenings, so I will have to organise my time accordingly.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Two steps forward one step back

Look what my little piles have morphed into, long piles of fabric.

Oh how I have cursed my original P&Q teacher today as I sat unpicking yet another seam. When she taught me to quilt we weren't allowed to proceed until every point matched as it should, and so we learnt the delicate art of unpicking, something in which I now consider myself something of an expert! As I removed each piece from the machine I held my breath as I checked the points did they match? Well most did but some were not quite there. All I could hear was Babs saying "would you like me to help you unpick that bit" grrrr, of course then I had to unpick and redo the offending bits!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The progress of the quilt

As you can see I'm a messy worker (I thought I'd tidied up before taking these pix!) I just shuv things out of the way as I go. I am always impressed by the tidy way most people seem to work when I am doing workshops, unfortunately it seems I'm just not made that way!

The tree outside the gate.

Welcome Signs of Spring

There are lots of snowdrops flowering in the orchard and the hedge bottom.

The daffodils are pushing through too, does this mean spring is on the way? It doesn't feel like it!

There's snow on them there hills!

Snow on Caldbeck
We had a good covering of snow on Monday, which it is mostly gone now but as you can see its still covering Caldbeck.




The puppies are now 11 months old and still as excitable as ever especially when out for a walk. Cathcing them on camera is not easy, we have a lot of pictures of their bottoms!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Cerise quilt - update

Tonight I've been playing 'cut a few, pin a few, sew a few, and press a few'! I find it takes the tedium out of cutting out my fabrics.
Apologies for the colour of the cerise it is much more palatable in the flesh as it were.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Marmalade - update

Cooked and resting before bottling.

Toast and marmalade for tomorrow's breakfast me thinks yum yum!

A yield of almost 7lb of scrummy marmalade, I know its scrummy coz I cleaned out the pan!

As you can see I recycle any and every jam/honey jar that crosses the threshold! I know you are supposed to use those waxed disks and cellophane on the top but I don't, I used to until one year I made some jam then discovered I had non in so I just put the lids on, all was well so I haven't bought any since. I do discard any lids which are going rusty though.

I will freeze all bar a couple of jars, as I find it keeps longer and tastes like it was just made, I freeze my homemade jams too.

More quilt progress

Cut and ready for stitching.

Strips stitched together, pressed and ready for cutting.

Progress of the quilt

It began quite well and I cut out fabric strips, then looked at the fabric I had left - I was going to run out, but when I planned it out I had (shamefully?) enough fabric in my stash to make it.
Back to the drawing/working out board.

I use Quilt Pro to draft up most of my quilt ideas. Initially I had designed an 88" square quilt, however, once I started to manipulate the design I thought it would be fun to make it up in several different ways, so perhaps a smaller quilt would be a better bet. But did I inform Quilt Pro that was what I was going to do when I got it to print out the rotary cutting charts? Don't be silly, that would be the sane and sensible thing to do. Fortunately I hadn't got too carried away before it dawned on me something was wrong!

Making Marmalade

Delia's marmalade

By chance I spotted Seville oranges in the local green grocers so am now making marmalade (its in the simmer for 2hrs stage).

I usually remember that Seville oranges are only available for a very short time in February and consequently find when I enquire about them that I have just missed them!

This morning I was out with the food processor, it has a juice extractor thing which takes some of the hard work our of the process, unfortunately the bit that collects the pips and other gunk doesn't hold 2lb of oranges worth. Which meant some of the juice didn't go into the bowl for collection, instead it went all over the kitchen worktop! Hope it doesn't affect the marmalade too much I scraped what I could catch into the pan, and wrote a note in Delia so I shouldn't be making that mistake next time.
I never used to write in books I was brought up to think of them as in some way sacred, but of late it has occurred to me as they are my books and are available in such vast quantities that it really doesn't matter if I write helpful notes that save me some hassle, work, and my sanity!

I also decided to save more work by throwing the skins in the processor for chopping up, Delia is of the opinion that they should be quartered and then cut into thin strips, we are having chunks in ours this year!