Monday, 19 November 2012

A quilt for No2...

I made my twentieth quilt! Yes, a score of quilts now under my belt in the last four years, something that when I actually counted up, I couldn't quite believe.

So it seems rather apt, that after all that amount of practice, I have finally made one for No2. Fortunately, he's not the nagging type or the sort that begs for my handmade creations, so I'm trying not to feel any guilt at all that he has only just got his very own heirloom.

It began life back at the beginning of July with the intention of making it his 16th birthday present (which was at the end of August) but the crafting disaster of 2012 put it on the back burner and I had to confess that it wouldn't be ready and wrapped for the big day. The design is something that I had seen somewhere ages ago but stupidly not pinned and so unfortunately I cannot link back to. I used this tutorial for making the half square triangles from a layer cake (10" squares) and some deliciously dark charcoal cotton. Needing more fabric, I then picked some goodies from The Village Haberdashery to make up the final amount needed. 

I whiled away the afternoons more recently, hand-quilting and had forgotten how much I love doing this as the last few quilts I have made have been machine-quilted. {Confession: I did start machine-quilting this but it went horribly wrong due to some of the seams being on the bias because of the construction method ... cue some swearing and another playdate with the seam ripper}

On the back, I used one of the extra wide quilt backing fabrics from M is for Make. I'm not overly keen on it as I think the quality of the fabric isn't up to much and seemed a little slippery which made for plenty of puckers and other minor unsightly bits.

Yesterday's sunshine meant that I had to remove it from the shoulders of its new owner and take some quick pics of it in the garden. You can see from the creases that within just 24 hours it has been well used! 

As ever, there are plans afoot for the next quilt. One that I have been itching to make a start on for a-g-e-s but will have to wait a while before I dare master the curved seam.  I have the pattern, the fabric, the special foot for my machine and the perspex template but am lacking the nerve to give it a go. A New Year's resolution, perhaps?

Wednesday, 14 November 2012


Back in the summer when I was in the throes of the daily delights of bringing flowers into the house that I had successfully grown myself, I got to thinking about bigger and better things. It seemed that the three raised beds that I had reutilised to feed this new-found passion were simply not enough. I found myself looking over the back fence at the allotment plot that I once worked until the sheer scale of it became too daunting for me to fit into what was, back then, a busier time in life.

One afternoon a few months ago, I could hear the solitary allotmenteer busy trying to cut the grass that surrounds the five plots and decided to bite the bullet and ask about taking on a plot again. The view that confronted me over the fence was pretty scary but then I knew that the four remaining plots hadn't been worked since I gave up back in 2008. I'm not sure how that little patch of bare earth in the photo below has survived the onslaught of weeds but it gave me a taste of how things could be.

After giving it a little bit more thought, I took action. I knew that I wouldn't be able to even contemplate clearing the plot on my own and so with the help of the lovely Sara, who I met on Twitter, I employed some muscle and now look!

My masterplan is to keep the majority of it covered overwinter so that I have a glorious blank canvas to work with next year. Who knew that I'd get so excited to order tarpaulins? Or manure?! But excited I am and my head is buzzing with plans about what to grow.

First up and in the ground are raspberries.  I did a bit of research (again, on Twitter) and got loads of responses back about the best and most reliable varieties. I've also got some golden ones on order.

I'm hoping that this weekend I can get a couple of other things in the ground just to get the ball rolling and then I can dream and list and plan and pin to my heart's content over the coming months.

I'm really hoping that I can have some fun with this space and that it reflects the things that are important to me. I'm thinking of a patchwork of growing space: one that is practical and pleasing to look at.

What are you plotting?

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Miscellany ...

It's funny, I've been itching to write a blog post but there seem to be too many thoughts in my head to focus on any one subject at the moment. It's not that I've been idle either. I now have to structure my day by taking regular breaks from doing anything for too long that requires me to adopt a 'head down' position, in order to keep my neck healthy and to continue healing. So that includes all forms of making and creating. Even doing the ironing is all about looking down, for goodness sake!

Also, I find that my posts are usually so clearly defined by the photos I take but in these days of Twitter and Instagram, my pictures somehow feel a little second-hand.

I just looked through my Photostream and realised that, actually, there are some photos that I'd like to share and the story behind them, so here goes:

  • No2 went to Iceland over half term last week. I offered to go as a parent helper but was told that I wouldn't be needed, which I thought was rather unfair. By all accounts, he had a great time but the food was terrible! I was a good mother and filled his suitcase with suitable rubbish (read Pringles and Haribo) to tide him over, which I was reliably informed that he was rationing to last the week. Oh dear...

  • As if one rainbow isn't enough by the waterfall ...

  • The highlight of his trip was to The Blue Lagoon. He didn't get any photos but we were excited to watch on the live webcam while he was actually in there! I do love this little video he made of a geyser doing its thing too.

  • Meanwhile, back at home, I have enjoyed the morning sun finding its way onto my table.

  • And then, in the evening, sitting with the twinkle of candlelight in an effort to embrace the dark evenings.