In the dim and distant past (or ancient history as my ten year old would have it) otherwise known as my childhood, I grew up in the large village of Mullion on the very specially gorgeous Lizard Peninsula. The specially gorgeousness of this place is a state secret so I may now have to kill you all but I digress…
… The cold mornings we have been having with the wonderful sunny weather have brought to mind an early morning jaunt we took to the nearest town. I think I must have been about five and we must have got up very early for we went into to town on the bus while the morning was still cold and dewy. The nearest town was a place called Helston and at the beginning of May every year it holds a festival called Flora Day (see picture above and google to see more images and videos). The people of the town dance through streets and houses and businesses in a series of different dances all day. They all sport a sprig of Lily of the Valley on the lapels or shirts and I was entranced by the magic of this and it is tangled in my mind with fairy tales and images from the Pied Piper of Hamlyn. When I was my little it was one of my greatest wishes to dance at Flora Day but as I was neither born there, nor went to school there, or married to anyone from there it is never likely to happen.
Whether it is Flora Day or not, Helston is a beautiful little town and is having a hard time at the moment, so I urge you to go there and spend some money in their independent shops – we are off down again at the end of May for a few days.
In other news, I have been nominated for a Liebster Award by a lovely Canadian blogger Life on a Dirt Road and I will be responding to her challenge in my next post.
While I’m in the mood to urge, the Painter is just about to have a new studio delivered, so (more) normal service should shortly be resumed.
This one is called We Dream of Cornwall and can be found with lots of friends in his online gallery, here
Another quilt is finished, pictures next time!
So after all the gardening of last week we have had a week of Siberian winds to keep us all safely tucked in doors. Over on the Quiltsy Team discussion thread there was some talk about the way we all work. I have to admit to being a bit of a flitter. Perhaps I have ADHD; I do and have always become easily distracted.
This week I have finished (well almost) a quilt that has been on the go since last summer (it’s the one above). It has changed quite a lot during that time. It was originally intended for my MIL who wanted something with mexican type colours so I found some hand dyed charm squares that fit the bill and thought they would work well with white. She wanted it as a wall hanging that could double as a bed quilt. Anyway when she saw the part pieced quilt she didn’t like it and now I have free reign to go and do something else for her. She’s a bit of a fuss pot so I’ll probably do my own thing instead of trying to work out what I think she’ll like.
Anyway, it is, like I said, almost finished. It is called Prairie Charm and has a red woven gingham backing with a printed white daisy on it and a chambray border. It’s quite simply quilted. I love the colours and would be inclined to keep it for myself but my quilts have to work for their living.
I also pieced a little blue and white one with charms called Spa by Deb Strain; it is the baby brother to the star bed runner. I’m waiting on a delivery to finish it. I was going to quilt it with celtic motifs but might change my mind about this, hoping to get it done tomorrow or Friday.
Anyway, being at a loose end I decided to start the special quilt for Arty Daughter and her beau. Not sure what I’m doing wrong but perhaps someone will pop along and let me know.
I am using layer cake squares to make 2.5″ strips to make 4 patch blocks and then cutting other layer cake squares into 4 5 inch squares to make HSTs with. My HSTs are bigger than my 4 patch blocks: is this right?
I sewed them together and got this:
And most of you will recognise it as one block of a Jacob’s Ladder quilt – if I am doing it wrong or the HSTs should be smaller, please let me know as the Maths of it all slightly frightens me.
Anyway, I’m off to post this on the Quiltsy Team blog in their Work In Progress Wednesday bit; it’s my first time – I hope it’s okay to ask stupid questions.
Spring must be here or hereabouts as my hay fever has started. We went out yesterday to get herbs from our local garden centre, it was bitter and they had lots of mother’s day style things but nothing in the way of herbs not even the hardier shrubbier ones so we went further out of town to a large garden centre which is part of a national chain and we did find some.
On the way there I noticed what my mum always call the green smoke, that whispy hardly perceivable bud burst, was starting on the hawthorns which make up quite a large part of our hedgerows and field boundaries. Even if we get a cold snap now it will only stall the impending season; we have turned the corner, spring is within touching distance.
So i’m very pleased to say that the next lot of compost is on its way. Maybe not quite enough to fill both beds but certainly enough to fill the first and partially fill the second. My potatoes are going in the far end of the second bed and they haven’t even arrived yet so no panic there. I will be growing a variety called Red Duke of York which I’ve grown before. I don’t see the purpose in growing all purpose potatoes in my limited space so I’m going for a nice red skinned first early which we will use as a salad potato. It’s land cress, lettuce and rocket next and red onions, which again have not yet arrived. A red theme is emerging, n’est-ce pas? Not anything to do with me being a red head I can assure you but, I believe them to be a bit more slug and snail resistant. Don’t say that too loudly because I haven’t actually seen any in the new garden, shhhh! It may be an old wives tale; it’s certainly this old wife’s tale.
On that happy spring filled note I will wish you all a happy Saint David’s Day and be on my way.
So with a new house comes a new garden. When we got the keys it looked something like the Somme only wetter. Months of rain had made it fit only for hippopotomi; God only knows how they managed to build the houses.
But before we actually moved in they had laid exquisite, Wimbledon quality turf all we needed was an umpires chair and strawberries and cream and we would have been away.
In the last couple of weeks we have taken delivery of some dwarf fruit trees (plum, pear, apple and cherry) and the wood to make some large raised beds.
Stupidly, impatiently, I filled the pots for the fruit trees with some magic expanding compost which was light to carry. It didn’t look like it was expanding so I used a bag per pot – needless to say they now look something akin to the magic porridge pot.
Then our timber arrived for our raised beds. We have made two large raised beds (2’6″ x 13′) and it’s been much better value than even the best value kit form raised beds. (£40 for both).
I have planted Coriander (cilantro), broad (fava) beans and spring onions (scallions) so far. I am, as you can see, waiting for some more compost to be delivered.
Passionflowers and sweet peas are on the kitchen windowsill. Herbs have been purchased today (thyme, rosemary, sage, dill, chives and oregano). I have seeds ready to go and the compost will be here tomorrow.
Can you tell I’m excited. My mum sent me some money for these roses. Chickens next year
In the dim and distant days of my childhood, when readymeals were new-fangled Americanisms and you had to wait for the television to warm up before watching it, there was a song played by Terry Wogan with monotonous regularity that went something like this “Work your fingers to the bone, what do you get? Bony Fingers!”
I’ve woken up with this in my head this morning and I’m sure it has to do with the fact that I’m currently sewing a set of patio suite covers for a client which are going fine but I’m hating. It’s not really my bag.
I have a gorgeous bed runner I’m currently working on in Deb Strain’s Spa using a Missouri Star big star technique. My hands, my fingers, are itching to get back into it but I have to finish this set of covers by the weekend.
I also have 3 layer cakes in Harvest Moon sitting waiting to be turned into a “Hannah & Richard quilt” – this is to go with “Hannah’s quilt” that she already has but is for a single bed. Hannah is moving to Bristol tomorrow and I hope that they will both be very, very happy. He is a lovely man and makes her happy.
You would think that I would just get on with the blasted set of covers but it’s a bit like going back to the woven mat I had to do in needlework at school. I wasn’t allowed to move on to the next thing until I had finished it but I hated it – it took me 9 months to finish in the end, it was a double sided six inch circular mat of woven wool and it took me a whole school year to finish. I really can go slow with things when I don’t like them. Bleugh.
We have a wonderful history of traditional quilting in the United Kingdom wonderful Welsh quilts, wholecloth quilts and paper pieced quilts. Great information about these local traditions is held by the Guild of Quilters of the British Isles. When I have some spare money, I will be joining.
If, like me, the idea of of all those little bits of paper and fabric and those hand turned seams is a bit intimidating you might take a look at American style quilting instead.
I must admit to trying to do the little hexagons when I was a child, and it may be that I do have a lot more patience at this ripe old age but somehow I doubt it.
I started using precuts (mostly by Moda as these are the most affordable here) as I was not confident with scissors and cutting out, the fact that all that was done for me was a real boon.
The Moda Bakeshop gives some great inspiration and projects are graded on difficulty and I have been very inspired by the tutorials I have watched by the Missouri Star Quilt Company and their video tutorials. Jenny Doan has a wonderful way of making it seem simple and achievable. It’s a great starting point.
I have made things I would never have imagined I could achieve and Free Motion Quilting has become something of a favourite after intially terrifying me.
I now belong to a wonderful group of quilters on Etsy, mostly from North America, all different and inspirational. Please visit the team shop, not necessarily to buy but to be inspired by their talent and creativity