Tuesday 31 October 2017

We've had a busy few days of things, with the local Fleamarket at the weekend and now I have a list of jobs to do as long as my arm.  It was fine here yesterday, so after doing the grocery shopping and banking, we set to on outside jobs.  First the guttering, as the strip down above the Old Dairy flat was blocked with leaves, and the front of house low guttering needed clearing too.  There is a piece of backboard behind the guttering on the corner of the bay window which needs replacing, so that is a job for the next dry day.

I had cooked a chicken at the weekend, so I got some Campbells Condensed Chicken Soup as the base for a pie, and topped it with cheese scones.  This is something I have cooked many times down the years.  However, a couple of years ago Campbells decided to have a "low fat" Cond. Chicken soup option - we tried it once and it was tasteless.  It disappeared from the market but now the only Cond. Chicken soup on offer appears to be made using that low fat and utterly tasteless recipe.  I am not a great one for complaining to companies about their products, but I have just sent them an e-mail to this effect.  On principal!  I bought two tins of it as well (price now £1 a can - I can remember when it cost half that, and not that long ago either).  I shall donate that to the food bank for charity in Tesco.

When we were at our patchwork class last week, our teacher had been given dozens of out-of-date material pattern books to use for projects.  They were very high end curtain fabrics (although most seem to have been made in India!)  We were given the chance of taking the ones which appealed to us, and there is going to be a bag-making session on the next wet day. 

I thought I would make a couple as gifts, and then start making shopping bags to sell on my stand in aid of the Pyramid Horses in Cairo charity I support, which is called Prince Fluffy Kareem.  If you have a moment, please go to their website and see what they do, although beware, some of the photos show animals that are bought to their premises are in a dreadful state with open wounds, gigantic abscesses, hugely overgrown and distorted hooves and sometimes broken limbs (although there is only one answer for these poor creatures, and the charity has to try and purchase the horse or donkey in order to give it a few hours of love and good food before the inevitable euthanasia).  If you could make a donation to them, I guarantee every penny would be wisely spent - these people work MIRACLES!  I have a standing order to make a monthly donation and send extra when I can.

Below: I have decided to "live for the day" bookwise, and these are two which have come my way in the last week.  The other sewing group I am a member of (organized by my friend Dawn) is making this wonderful Home Sweet Home sewing box (it has all sorts of home-made and embroidered little extras inside too).  We have a year to do it.

The Wild Dyer is a book that was mentioned in the Weekend Telegraph recently, and it is right up my street.  It is more practical for me to dye cloth than spin fleece to dye, as I am more likely to use the fabric.  This is a lovely book and I am reminded of my friend Kim, now in France, who will be doing the same with wool in her new life out there.

I still have a ton of apples here although I am giving them away as soon as I find victims!  I have several patchwork projects I'm working on, lace making, another Fair next weekend, and then I am off down to Southampton for a couple of days.  Yesterday, as it was dry, I carried on with the garden tidy up but there is SO much to do out there and I think I need cloning!  I definitely need a smaller easy to maintain garden when we do eventually move . . .

I need to get back to the redecorating, as my office is still awaiting the wallpaper, but since my sewing machine and a pile of material and cutting aids are all over the kitchen table, those will have to get moved first.

It has got colder - we changed the summer duvet to the winter one yesterday.  It is a feather and down duvet and SO snug.  It says 4 tog - HAH.  More like 40!!

Saturday 28 October 2017

Hay at Halloween

Yesterday we were in Hay.  Of course, I had my trusty camera with me, so here are a few of the photos taken on an amble round the town.  This creamy ginger cat was so friendly.

The short cut down behind the shop - originally an ironmongers - but now it stocks all sorts, including this selection of large wicker baskets for wood, and it has a fab kitchen shop inside too.

Our friend M's shop, The End.  It always has a wonderful collection of really unusual things inside.

Aren't those Nautilus shells lovely?  The window display had lots of Physalis (Chinese Lanterns) in it.

Upstairs, this taxidermy lion's head was wearing a pretty wreath of flowers.  M was telling me how she dares the children to put their hand in the lion's mouth!!

A stuffed Duck.  No home should be without one!

Pretty leaves in the pub wall, where most of the larger Virginia Creeper leaves had already blown away.

Above and below: at the shop which sells all sorts of wonderful crystals, were these little houses and duck pond, and there was a good selection of Green Man faces on the wall. I had a wonder round inside, but as always, got a bit overwhelmed by the room which is full of crystals - you are bombarded with energies!

Above and below:  the view across the car park to the beautiful hills beyond.

Coming back through the Backfold cut, and about to order lunch at the little Sandwich Cellar there, I stopped to take a photo of the display outside the Flower shop.

Above and below: Hay is still about Book Shops, and here is the window display in one of our favourite shops, opposite the Castle.

I just loved this Bookhouse!

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Craft Work in progress and soon to be

Yesterday morning I set off to my friend Dawn's for another lace-making lesson.  I was finishing off the bottom of my first piece of Torchon lace, and starting on lesson No. 2.  She also loaned me a staple gun to fasten the material she had kindly given me to the lace making pillow her mother-in-law had kindly given me.

Lesson No. 2 is much harder as I have to learn to read from a pattern and how to split the work at the sides to just work the central diamond (isn't it lovely?).  The white thin perle thread I already had and the green perle was the darker of the two spools I bought at the Quilt Festival last Friday.

My first-ever attempt at lace-making, FULL of mistakes, but never mind, I learned a lot, especially where I had gone wrong.

This is wall one of a long-term project that Dawn has set up for a small group of  us to do.  It is a 3D cottage with sewing compartments inside.  I can't wait to get started but need to trace the pattern for this first, once I have cut out the various sides and roof panels from the linen we are using.

I am working on daughter Gabby's quilt again.  I bought some more material - the wine red in the design on the pinwheel patches DOES tie in with the red on the floral print blocks (which Gabby chose in preference to another material I had bought).  I've run out of the floral print now so need to get another couple of yards this week.

Now for my indulgences at the Quilt Fair on Friday.  I allowed myself one book, but it was so difficult to chose.  Even choosing between this book and it's sister title Stitches from the Garden was hard, but this is the one I plumped for, and I want to make just about everything in it!

I tried to stick to my list of what I needed rather than what I would have liked, and I know this nesting set of hexagon templates will be useful as I do lots of little pieces or bigger quilts using hexagons.

I bought some plain reddish fabric which I was hoping would match a project but doesn't, and forgot to take a photo.  This collection of 8 x 1/8th is beautiful and I am looking forward to using them.

Overprinted felt, variegated perle cotton, and two small spools of perle cotton (the latter for lace making).  I was going to make the girls covers for their mobile phones, to protect the screens, but thought I ought to pass the idea past Tam and she said not to bother as they like to just grab their phone out to use and not have to take its jacket off first!!

Right, this won't do.  I didn't sleep well, and we have had a long day as we accompanied our friend to Wotton auction as she had some items to be entered for the next sale, and she had never done this before, and didn't know where the auction house was.  We had lunch in the town (The End, as usual) and drove back across country as the motorway Westbound had been shut for hours beforehand, due to a bad accident.  We didn't know when it would be opened again.  It rained all day, but hey ho, we're in autumn now.

Tomorrow I have my patchwork class, so hope to be able to show you some results from that soon.

Monday 23 October 2017

Visit to Malvern Autumn Quilt Festival

Above and below: some of the entries from the ladies of the WI, theme WW1 of course.  The one above was my favourite in this category.

This made me smile and the little quilt flapping on the line was 3-D.

Beautiful applique (there was plenty on show) and a nice combination with the traditional patchwork.

How pretty is this, and beautifully appliqued.

Points everywhere - very skilfully executed, though the border didn't do it for me.

Above and below: I particularly liked this little hanging, which was of the leaves of (Winter?) Heliotrope.  I liked the worded paper leaves, and the embroidered/embellished background material, and the leaves were hand-painted.   The words printed around the outside was also a clever idea.  My favourite piece in the show.  Cleverly planned and executed. 

LOVED the border on this quilt especially - how long did this take to make, as it was perfection . . .  Had a soft spot for the Pineapple Log Cabin block, since this is what I am working on at the moment.

A close up of the quilting on a whole-cloth quilt.  How perfectly even is THAT quilting?  I may as well give up now!!

LOVED this quilt too, especially for its floral bits.  Beautifully designed and worked.

Right, this won't do.  I am off to see my friend Dawn now, so back later . . .

Friday 20 October 2017

As Good As It Gets - Jen Jones' Welsh Wholecloth Quilt Exhibition and Update

Yesterday I had to get some material to match that which I had been using on my red and white quilt.  That meant a trip to Lampeter.  We went via Llandovery, so we could change some things round at the Unit.  Then across country past Dolaucothi Gold Mines, established by the Romans, who did a form of open-cast blasting with water to get at the most likely seams.  Anyway, before I went into the quilt shop, Calico Kate's, I decided I would see if Jen Jones' latest quilt exhibition was still running.  It was, and it focused on Wholecloth quilts, and some clothing, made between the wars by skilled quilt-makers from the Welsh valleys (an area of poverty) who were recruited by the Rural Industries Bureau, so that they could increment their meagre income through the making of quilts for retail in London.  The Royal Family, aristocracy and the big hotels (Claridges was one) put in orders for opulent quilts made using materials from shops such as Liberty  who supplied silks, taffeta, satin and velvet.  Each quilt was filled with lambs' wool. 

These are just a few photos to whet your appetite.  Photos are loading far too slowly tonight, and I am just off for a bath now.  The beautiful quilt, shown above and below, dated from 1825 and I believe is one that has benefitted from being restored using some of the money raised from one of the previous exhibitions.   It was made in Whitland, using linen and cotton materials.

Photo showing some of the original quilt makers.  (More details tomorrow).

A close up photo of the most amazing quilting.  Mind-blowingly good.

So much skill and a lovely design in this cushion.

A slightly blurry photo of one of the Art Deco room settings used to set off the quilts.

Words failed me when I looked at this yesterday.  I can't imagine how long it took to design and quilt, but oh my gosh, you couldn't have a more stunning design.  This was made by Emiah Jones, who was an expert quilter who took pupils to teach for the RIB scheme.  It was Emiah who was commissioned to make a quilt for the then Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

I wish I could enlarge this even more to show the superb quilting patterns used here.  Just amazing.  This lemon yellow quilt was made by Edith Thomas of Whitland in the late 1920s.

Some really unusual quilting combinations used in this pink quilt.  I love the little hearts.

Above and below: two more blurry photos.  My fault as the camera had to be set to "no flash" and for some reason the photo took longer to focus when I clicked to take it, so several photos nothing like as good as they should be and some unusable. 

Some more photos now (Saturday morning has arrived and we've not blown away).

This  Double Wedding Ring quilt has an amazing story.  It was made using offcuts of corsetry garments.  I will quote the entry in the guide book:

"My mother Myfanwy Morris wanted to enter a competition at the National Eisteddfod soon after the war and it was to do with using old to make new.  An extension to "mend and make do".   I am not sure whether it was a quilt competition.  She set to and was encouraged by an acquaintance who had an American quilt that had been made in South Wales and gone to America and returned back through a family connection.  My father Griffith Morris an architect in Portmadog was keen to help her and got down to making the metal templates for the quilting and also the frame to stretch it on for ease of working.  The material for the top layer was given to her from a local shop, material sample books for undergarments, ie corsets and such.  I think the whole process took around 18 months.  Remarkable really with a family of four and a busy household to run.  Mother was always keen to try competitions and was very successful on many occasions, but not with this quilt as the material was new. "

Grr - again slightly blurry.  This is a satin cotton wedding quilt from South Wales, again an RIB quilt.

Above and below: some of the entries made for a competition run alongside the Exhibition and based on people's interpretations.  The redwork hanging above was the Peoples' Choice (I agreed, it was stunning).  Below are some more entries.