Saturday, 31 January 2009

Another Mixed Bag!

This hasn't been a very productive week sewing wise ! Most of it has been spent running around the countryside trying to choose a new bed as one of ours has really given up the ghost and has to go!!

This all started with a crack appearing in the ceiling! We live in an old (approx 250 years) house and like all us 'mature' beings, it does have a few wrinkles showing :-) Repairing the crack has led to redecorating the bedroom,which has led to a close examination of the bed... and so it goes on !It is now accelerating into a major 'spend'!! We all know that it won't end with just a new bed - oh no, there will have to be new bedding, curtains and carpets/rugs, after all, how can I possibly use the same old stuff with a new colour scheme ??

DH is not a happy bunny at the thought of all this money being spent (!) particularly at the moment when, like all British ex-pats in the Euro zone, we are suffering from the chronic exchange rate!! But then I wasn't the one worried about the little crack, I could have lived with it, but he insisted that it needed doing, so now he must live with the 'spending'!! (Didn't I do well !!!)

I haven't been wasting time though, I have been turning some of this mess

into this

which will eventually (I hope!!) turn into something like this but even more scrappy, but when that'll be is anyone's guess !

I've also made this

which can be found here - so you see, not totally unemployed! ( If you do feel tempted to try this I, and many others, have found that it works better if you put some kind of 'container' in the centre before trying to stuff it - this helps to keep the shape and stops it folding in on itself ! (in fact my yogurt pot is still in it !)

After this post, Jovita kindly offered to make another angel for my DGD, which was very kind of her ,but I only said yes after she'd agreed to do a swap for some fabric. Thursday she arrived

with a travelling companion !

Thank you, Jovi,they are both very lovely and I am now going to have one very spoilt grand-daughter!!! How did you know she loves purple & pink - or does that apply to all little girls of a certain age??

This is also finished (and has been for sometime but I keep forgetting to upload the photo !) so I am all clear and ready to start on the February blocks !

Shops in France are closed all day Sunday and many of them are also closed on Monday, so no bed "s-hopping" for a few days ,and who knows, I might be able to get into the sewing room for more than 10 minutes over the weekend !!!

Monday, 26 January 2009

Welsh Quilts

I came across an article in a quilting mag a couple of weeks ago about Welsh quilts, and after reading it, I just had to treat myself to this book

I am ashamed to admit that I have never thought of quilts as being a particularly 'Welsh' thing! Perhaps this is another result of the great North-South divide ( anyone who is Welsh will know what I mean!!) and as a 'Northerner' my idea of typical bedcoverings are the lovely woollen blankets still being made in a few traditional mills in Wales! This theory is actually supported in the book as , with the exception of 1 quilt from Wrexham , every other one featured is from the South !

These are a few pages from the book, some are photos of the originals plus a few others showing a 'modern' reproduction.

Most of the original quilts date back to the mid 19th century and some of them can be seen at the Welsh Museum of Life at St Fagans whilst others are in private collections.

The claim that Welsh quilts may have been an influence on Amish quilts will always be debatable I expect, but it's a historical fact that large numbers of Welsh families emigrated to Pennsylvania, and surrounding areas, to work in the iron/steel/mining industries, so who knows !! Whatever the answer, in my opinion, the quilts featured in this book can stand on their own merits!!

About 2 years ago I was lucky enough to become the owner of a Welsh quilt, which my son bought for me off E-Bay at a pittance ! It's a wholecloth quilt with the most intricate hand quilting I have ever seen ! A little mis-shapen with some damage and a few small blemishes , but these only show that it has been loved and well used over the years !

What I think is meant to be the front (!) is covered in delicated rosebuds, not quite pink and not quite pale orange, but very pretty! The back of the quilt is plain pink , but just look what else is there...

It's impossible to get a good photo of it this time of year, and these certainly don't do justice to the amount of workmanship involved - and what a shame that the quilting can only been clearly seen on the 'back' of the quilt ! Well, I know which side I prefer, what about you!!

The centre layer of the quilt is a mystery, and I haven't been able to decide what it is! It might be a very thick wool which is now disintergrating , but I am not at all sure! It's extremely thick (how anyone managed to quilt it I can't imagine!) , heavy and very, very spongey !! Any ideas ?? It's also in need of a clean of some sort as it is rather grubby, but without knowing what I am dealing with, I think it is best left as it is for the moment!!

PS - Thanks to Gina for writing to tell me that the 'front' is officially the ' back' !!

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Mixed Bag = Long Post !

The time has come, the walrus said ................but with apologies to Lewis Carroll, it's time to think of fewer things ! I seem to be trying to balance more than usual at the moment so - unfortunately a couple of items have been shelved and 'disappeared' from my side bar!

I am going to stick with 'Once Upon a Time' and 'Verandah Views' BoMs for the moment and keep 'Quilters Blessings' until the end of February, when there is a trip to the UK scheduled - it will be easier to cart about as I am using just the one colour thread ! Rapunzel is finished

though I still haven't finished the January 'Noah's Ark' block ,it is so tiny that I can barely see the markings even with the specs on (!!) in the kind of 'day'light that we're having at the moment so it'll have to wait for a bright sunny day! I need to limit my stitchery so's I can try and teach myself to needle turn applique before I get to the borders on the NYBs - Ahem !! any tips/hints would be very welcome !!!

Sunday was a 'play'day so I went to this link and made two Kidlets!

with William as usual keeping an eye on things !! The green one is slightly smaller than the pattern as I only had a FQ of the novelty fabric and check out my selvedge pocket!! Never let it be said that we are behind the fashion here in France!! This might count as my Gift of the Month for January and go to one of my quilting friends with a couple of fat quarters - what do you think ?

Finally, my first finish for 2009!

An almost photo of my first attempt at a raw edge applique quilt - could also be my last ! Rather rumpled I'm afraid as it had been packed away waiting for a fine day, then the sun came out momentarily a little earlier , so I grabbed it (complete with creases!!)threw it on the (wet) grass, a quick click then just made it back indoors before the next hail shower!!! It had been packed up in this bag

made from a spare block that 'appeared' because the background fabric was too light when compared to the other blocks - so waste not want not, which I guess is everyone's motto in these difficult times! The pattern is a slightly modified Chook Shed pattern from Australian Patchwork & Quilting ( thought I'd better mention the modification, don't want anyone thinking that they've changed to speaking French 'Down Under' :-) )

Saturday, 17 January 2009

I want to tell you a story.........

..............about good turns, and how they keep going around!

Some time back I joined a fibre postcard group on Yahoo and spent a number of very pleasant months swapping postcards with quilters all over the world including Jovita in Lithuania .(check out her photos, she does some amazing work !)Even though I haven't swapped FPCs for a very long time now, I met up with her again when I joined the Birthday Block Swap on last year.

A couple of weeks ago I got a mail from Jovi asking if I could help her to get hold of a particular copy of the French quilting magazine Magic Patch. After unsuccessfully trawling all the local 'Presse' (newsagents) for the copy, which was a little out of date, I eventually found it( the last one too !), at the LQS and sent it off.

Now Jovi is even more 'fabric starved' than I am, but this didn't stop her offering to send me something in return for the mag, but to me it just wasn't an issue as I' ve received so many acts of kindness myself from other quilters it was good to have a chance to be able help someone in return !

Today a surprise squishy arrived in the post box, and inside was this beautiful little pink angel from......

.......yes, that's right - Jovi!!

Thank you so very much Jovita , she's going to take pride of place in my workroom !! Just one little problem though - I will have to find a safe hiding place for her before any of the DGDs visit or she might up and move to the UK :-)

Isn't it lovely to belong to such a great 'family' !!

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Santa's Late Delivery !

Look what's arrived !

Well - not late really(!) just that I held back the order during the manic Christmas posting period! I think this might have been a good move , as I've had one gift parcel go AWOL en route to a dear friend in Miami and another going to my daughter in the UK !! Very annoying, but on the whole not a bad record when I think how many parcels have come and gone in the last 8 years, and listening to some sob stories, I seem to have done very well !
I have to say that one thing I would never complain about is a late delivery from the Fabric Shack , I've probably already told you that their service is amazing! I placed this particular order via their web site on 8 January, was notified of despatch 9 January and it arrived today - not bad at all in anyone's book, and this is quite normal! I think I would say that this is quicker (besides being a lot cheaper!!) than buying fabrics from the UK , as I've noticed a number of on line stores advising a couple of days delay before dealing with orders let alone posting them!

At least now I can get on with some more of these finished !
Not in any particular order and I am sure there will be a lot of shuffling of 'quarters' before they are put together - not trimmed or finally pressed either, so you get to see them warts and all!!The PP wasn't too bad in the end as there was a very easy to follow tutorial in the book , but the arcs - well, that was another matter !!! Some of them are reasonable but then some of them not so good !!
A couple of new links on the side bar for those who've not already found these lovely sites - there are just so many free BoMs at the moment it is getting very difficult to decide which to do and which you should turn your back on ............decisions, decisions.................!

Thursday, 8 January 2009

A New Start !

I was up to date with my Noah's Ark stitchery until a couple of days ago, then the January block appeared, but as it is such a tiny thing I am sure it'll get done before too long - then just one more to go and time to put it all together - which brings me to one of my new starts!

I (as well as lots of others!) have found a lovely stitchery BoM at Capricorn Quilts which is going to be based on fairy tales - how nice is that- and I've decided to sew along with these to replace Noah's Ark ! I never thought I would admit to having enjoyed ' hand sewing' as much as this :-)

This is the second series I have found by the talented and generous Bea, I also stumbled across her Quilters' Blessings blocks about half way through the year. Unfortunately, there was a time limit to their availabilty and I missed quite a few, but once again, a very generous quilter came to my rescue and sent me the missing ones - thank you Annelies !! Please go visit Annelies' blog , she does some amazing stichery!

I am well behind with Quilters' Blessings as I have only managed 5 ( 2 more since the photo!), but will keep going and use them to fill in any spare time , but my main priority is to keep up with the monthly postings if I can !!

Another new start is that I've joined in Kathy's Gift of the Month challenge. This sounded like a great idea as I was full of good intention last Christmas to make gifts for everyone and as I left it until the last minute (as one does!!) so very little got done because of my various health issues!! Go along and have a look - maybe it will help you too!!

My third new start is the Shipshewana Amish quilt by Sentimental Stiches - I've made 2 blocks , but am a bit worried that there have only been 4 so far! I know that Gayle has been having some computer issues and really hope that all is sorted for her soon - otherwise what am I going to do with these

and all of this !!!

WOW! Only one photo turned by Blogger today !!

Monday, 5 January 2009

One Degree Under!

No - that's not the weather, that's me & DH I'm afraid, as we've both been laid up with some kind of tummy bug/'flu thingie that's been invading this area of Brittany ! Thankfully, it is wearing off now and it will be a treat to be able to eat something other than soup, which has been our main diet for the last few days - what a way to see the New Year in !! Of course I am blaming the surprise visitors we had from the UK - I don't know why it is, but whenever we come in contact with our fellow countrymen, we end up 'suffering' from something or another, and it's not just me (!) it seems to be some strange phenomena that effects most of the ex-pats that I know !!

The weather, that's another topic ! It has been very cold over Christmas and New Year and yesterday the morning temperature was minus 8 degrees C ! Now I know that's not cold for lots of people but for us more 'delicate' mid European types, believe me that's cold !! It had been quite bright , sunny and rather pleasant in spite of the cold, until today that is and now we have sleet/freezing rain with roads and pathways that are positively dangerous and covered in black ice -so much for global warming as this is the coldest winter we've had in all our time in Brittany!!

On the quilting side of life, lots going on at the moment but nothing I can photograph as the light is so very bad , and I ain't going outside to do it :-) I did have a paper piecing session booked last Friday with Lucy , not a lesson as such but more of a ' help me' (!) so that I could make a start on the NYB blocks, but as that was wiped out by the tummy bug , I decided to make a start on my own -GULP!! Other than giving myself aching jaws from clenching my teeth whilst concentrating it wasn't as bad as I thought , and they've turned out quite well in my opinion - photos will follow when the sun comes back out !

I have also managed to turn this quiltie



into 9 of these large scrappy blocks (14" finished!)

thanks to Kate's generous Clearout Swap ! I am really looking forward to (trying!) to turn these into a lap quilt, so Thank You Kate !!