Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Summer Meadow Quilt

It is done, finished, completely finished.
And my how it has grown.  I am glad that I decided on a quilt rather than place mats, it is much more substantial for a 75th birthday present for my Mum. 
 If you notice that the fabric surrounding the green squares is placed so that the different colours are on the diagonal. And there are flowers in the centre's of the fabric that surrounds the square (terribly English Mandy!). 
 It has taken 23 days of sewing or cutting out every day.  Most days I spent a minimum of 2 to 3 hours on it, some days I spent nearer 8.  If I had to guess I think the quilt has taken 80 to 100 hours. 
 A closer look. 
 I love the flowers in the middle, although I couldn't get them to sit right and they become quite blowsy, although I forgave them as they reminded me of poppies in full flower having been beaten by the wind and summer rain drops. 
 And in some ways this flaw gives the quilt character. 
 A closer look at the pattern. 
 I added this little strip of fabric, although fiddly I love adding it, I love the flash of a strong colour and how it adds texture to the quilt.  This is becoming my trademark. 
 Mainly the quilt is quilted with stitch in the ditch but in the centre squares I free motion stippled. I love the centre flowers, they are made with a fold of fabric and rather cleverly they then make tiny pockets which is great fun.  You could leave little messages in them, or the odd boiled sweet (wrapped of course) for later. The free motion stippling, which I am getting much better at, makes the flower pop out from the background. 
 The green border I free motion quilted with flowers, and again my technique improved as time went on. I quite enjoy free motion quilting now. 
 And I finished with a border of fabric that was in the flowers.  Stitched on the top, hand sewn on the back, which took four nights and more hours than I had imagined, I dragged myself to bed at 2 a.m. one night/morning. 
I made a label to tell of the name of the quilt, who it was for and why and who made it when and where. So if anyone should find it stuffed into the corner of an attic in a hundred years they will have something to start with.

And just in case they find this blog, well you never know!  All the fabrics are cotton, it was quilted with cotton, pieced with Egyption cotton and the batting is also 100 % cotton.  

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Malvern Quilts 2012

Hubby and I went to see the quilts at Malvern on Saturday.  Well, when I say We I mean he took me and then happily sat and waited for me to finish, he is deeply involved with the sock knitting machine at the moment and is determined to learn kitchener stitch with the sock inside out,  (working the purl bumps) and thought this would be an ideal opportunity.  Even though I could take over he has listened to and watched my instructions and will not let me anywhere near his little pile of socks that need sewing up.  So he sat happily in the car kitchenering and winding up sock yarn from previous sock knitting attempts which was lightly interspersed with coffee and cakes whilst I gallivanted around the show and enjoyed a couple of workshops.  He seemed quite happy when I got back, almost jubilant with success one might say, learning kitchener stitch will do that to you every time.

Firstly I did a little light shopping, this is some fabric that I saw at another show at the end of the day when I was all shopped out. The memory of it has haunted me ever since and in that time I had found the perfect project for it.  I have a large orange bag that I use for shopping at quilt shows now that rucksacks are banned and this bag was a freebie at another show and is slowly falling apart even though any holes are sewn up.  I've never found the right bag to replace it and I came to the conclusion that it was time to make my own.  And I think this will be the perfect print. It is printed on a canvass upholstery type weight.  

and then I had the greatest fun,

searching out suitable liner, handle and accessories for the bag.

I had hoped to find some more Christmas fabrics for my stash.  I was very lucky to find two packs,

and love how pretty they are. 
One of my workshops was with Maggie Davies who taught us how to make Kanzashi Flowers.  I am startled that I have made something so pretty, especially as it was the first attempt.  I may make more.
I've printed this out so that you can see, I am in love with this quilt, they had run out of patterns, I will be buying one.
It is the funniest thing to see all of these quilts together, I met other women who were as giggly as I was at seeing them all.  We came up with the idea that we should buy a hotel and have a different quilt on each bed, wouldn't that be wonderful!

All I can say is enjoy.  


 I had a thoroughly good day and am really looking forward to the quilts (and the shopping)  at the NEC.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

I spy with my little eye,

Something beginning with F

Florence!

You leave a quilt for five minutes and come back to find a pussy cat test driving it!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Tasters.

Son no.2 had a craving for Aubergine Harusame, Yo! Sushi style and promptly walked into town to buy the required aubergines to make the dish.  When he returned there was quiet contemplation in the kitchen and the delicate sound of careful slicing interspersed with loud yells asking me what the ingredients are for the sauce.  The ingredients are garlic, ginger, light soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar and sesame oil.  It can be put together in a trice, just a little light grating and then whisking with a fork.  The taste does not belie how little effort goes into it.  
Soon son no.2 presented me with this and his delicate use of the ingredients made it very delicious. I was most impressed that he was able to obtain such a good balance of flavours, having left the measures of the ingredients up to him.  It bodes well for his cookery capers in the future. 
 
I finished the piecing of the quilt for Mum this evening and have pinned the layers together, quilting starts tomorrow. Eeek!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Day 20 of Sewing for 30 days.

The challenge is going very well in the sense that I don't mind sewing every day.  I've missed two days so far both of which were because I was working out the quilt and cutting out.  My maths and organisational mind on geometric shapes are not my strongest of points so it probably takes me far longer than most to apply myself to the task in hand. Also I don't have a right angled triangle with a 45 degree side so I had to use the lines on my ruler, which is fine for the first few sections but occasionally you lose track of what your doing and you can feel your brain begging for time out. 
 As you can see I decided on a quilt for Mum's birthday rather than place mats, it seemed like a good idea at the time.  
 As did adding an addition detail of a flower in the fabric outlining the squares. 
 There are faults galore, and I am seriously thinking about ripping open one of the flowers as it is very baggy, and I am not sure why.  Some of these seams have been ripped open and re sewn four times. 
 You'd think with that sort of dedication I would be able to manage to get nice clean points on my flowers, nope not a chance.  Whats that?  You heard a comment from a blind man astride a galloping horse and he said it was fine. Well at least it will keep my Mum warm, it looks like she's going to need a summer quilt. 

I am just over half way on the piecing and then I am not sure how I am going to quilt it, ideas much appreciated.  I know I am going to leave the triangles in the centre of the squares as they are doubled over in fabric and each one is a pocket, I just like leaving them open. 
Fortunately there was sustenance, we happened to be in Wing Yip  in Birmingham, (who we have been going to for twenty four years) stocking up on our Chinese ingredients when we came upon a very large shoulder of pork with the bone in weighing over 6kg and costing only £12.99  If there is one thing the Chinese know about its pork, so we heaved it into the trolley.  Today hubby cooked it very slowly for six hours and then crisped it up at the end, the crackling was heavenly, the meat you could cut with a spoon and the flavour was rich and concentrated, it is the best pork I have ever had.   Son no.1 arrived, the four of us ate our fill, sent Mum and Dad a foil container full of meat and gravy and still have enough to feed us three for a good few meals yet.  Hubby and I are seriously tempted to have this again for Christmas dinner, it was that good.  

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Golden Fields of Rape.

I pass this farm every few weeks, it is not on my daily route anywhere and when I do I am always interested as to what they are growing mainly because my Father used to help work the land nearly 70 years ago.  In years gone by I've noticed that the farmer has grown Rape but this year he has really outdone himself.  I've never seen Rape on such a grand scale (it must be getting a good price) I came across it at its peak.  The brightness of the yellow hurt my eyes, even though it was cloudy. 

Both sides of the track to the farm, yellow as far as the eye can see. 
 And then we thought we would pretend to be Japanese tourists. 
They would love this farm. 

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Pikelets.

One of my earliest memories is having Pikelets for tea.  I remember Dad standing guard over the Pikelets as they toasted under the hiss and splutter of the eye level gas grill.  When they were nicely golden brown and as hot as molten rock he would flip them onto a plate that was on standby and flick another eight Pikelets under the grill as five pairs of eyes watched him hungrily.  Mum would be buttering as fast as she could and dished them out to the hungry crowd. I always remember his authoritative stance on calling them Pikelets.  I never knew what a crumpet was, I had no idea and it took me until well into my teens to work out that they were one and the same thing.  Well they were for us. I am sure there are numerous versions that are with yeast or without, cooked with the aid of a ring to make it stand proud or without to let it come to its own level. But to us, the crumpets that came out of the packet were mislabelled and were intact PIkelets.  Sometimes we would have extra treats such as a grating of cheese or a dollop of jam but often they were just served with butter and to me they were the finest of all treats.

Son no.2 has been bringing them home occasionally to have as a snack.  I'd completely forgotten about them, what with all the other treats available to us today and toasted one, buttered it and when I tasted it was instantly transported back in time to tea time taken in the kitchen in the 1970's complete with working coke stove and bright orange wallpaper identical (I think) to this one. (which may explain why my hand drawn daisies have such a hippy five petalled element to them) I know I loved the wallpaper and was very sad when it was changed.
Wallpaper aside, this morning started with torrential rain, and I am sorry to say the cat and I were very comfy as we pondered whether we were going to venture forth.   The cat decided to stay in bed, I started to get ready and then decided that it was just too wet and I would be better staying home.

I doubt my parents ever made Pikelets from scratch, Mum being more of a cake, pastry, fruit crumble and strawberry trifle kind of girl, whilst I don't mind dabbling with the art of yeast bakery.
My first two pikelets.  I soon learnt that you really need much less batter per pikelet than you may think. 
All pikelets cooked
It was time for my brunch, they were absolutely delicious.