Sunday, 20 January 2013

And still it snows

I hate this winter weather with a vengeance but I will grudgingly admit there are compensations for being snowed in again today. Suddenly the lure of a warm kitchen is even stronger than usual. I'm gradually working my way through 'Around my French Table' by Dorie Greenspan. This is her pear and almond tart and it comes highly recommended! Especially with a generous dollop of cream fraiche.

According to a doctor I saw on breakfast TV yesterday it's not as sinful as it may seem. Apparently it's a good idea to eat high fat foods when it's as cold as it is today. Good excuse to indulge if one were of the guilt ridden nature and an excuse was needed!

My workroom is normally my sanctuary (and that's probably a healthier option than the kitchen) but it doesn't have its usual appeal when it involves a dash through the snow. No matter how often we clear the path it's white over again within the hour.

I did manage to tear myself away from the smell of baking long enough to venture out there to pin the Attic Window quilt onto the longarm machine. I often quilt small pieces like this on a domestic sewing machine but I decided to put the basic quilting in on the longarm first of all then I shall add extra detail with the MegaQuilter.

I also finished the quilting on 'Blue Moon Rising' this week and enjoyed putting the binding and sleeve on last night. I know some people hate the finishing off but it's always my favourite bit. I love to see how the quilt is transformed when all the distracting excess wadding is trimmed off. Definitely one of life's small pleasures. So, now you know the extent of my non existent social life - my favourite way to spend a Saturday night is sewing down a binding!!

BTW, I took this picture quickly in poor light tonight but I'll have a better stab at it in daylight and let you see the whole thing soon.

Thanks for dropping by - I appreciate your company! Bye for now, Linda

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

I might hibernate until April

We woke on Monday to a wintry scene. I know it may not look like much to our Canadian friends but the temperature is so low nothing is thawing and a big dump of snow is forecast for Friday. It may look pretty but for me the novelty wears off after about 10 minutes.

I remember being in Vancouver a couple of winters ago when Britain had ground to its usual standstill after an inch of snow had fallen. The newscasters on Canadian TV could hardly keep straight faces and were visibly sniggering at our inability to deal with what they considered was a gentle sprinkling.

Nothing stops Edwina though and despite the icy conditions, she braved the weather to visit us today. It was the attraction of borrowing the longarm machine as much as it was a social call! Here she is concentrating on the job in hand as she quilts her latest sushi inspired piece for our upcoming SiX and Friends' Orientation exhibition at the Bramble Patch. Even if you saw the exhibition at the Needle Museum you might want to see it again as there will be quite a lot of new work.

I didn't get the chance to work on my Attic Window today as I was on baby minding duty while Laura was technical support for Edwina. I have made some progress though - at the weekend I added narrow sashing strips of rusted fabric.

The blocks for this quilt are all the same size but it has made me think that next time I might do something more like the compartments of the print tray I keep my treasures in. It's an interesting, less predictable grid structure and could be fun!

My posts are often quite a mixed bag but this is particularly peculiar. Laura said I shouldn't blog the picture because it looks for all the world as though we are growing prosthetic ears for transplant! He who gardens found the fungus encrusted log in the woodpile and thought I'd like it. After all what do you give the woman who has everything? Anyone out there in cyberworld know what this is?

Thanks for dropping by. Talk to you again soon - Linda

Friday, 11 January 2013

Black on black

It's not a great idea for someone with my eyesight to be quilting with black thread on black fabric in the dark days of January! Luckily, after the early morning mist had disappeared, today was clear and sunny - perfect for a couple of hours on the longarm machine.

I wanted to get at least the night sky bit finished so I could switch to a teal thread and be able to see what I'm doing!

I quilted the moon to look crater-like.

And used the same teal thread to outline the marks I made with discharge paste for mosaic-like quilting under the trees. There's a long way to go yet but my friend Edwina is coming to use the machine soon so I have a deadline.

I like to have several things on the go so that if I get tired of one I can turn to another. These Attic Window blocks are pinned to the wall beside me. You might spot I've added some colour despite my best intentions to keep it starkly achromatic. Laura prints her Old Oaks fabric in natural colour as well as black and white and it was photographed in a beautiful golden light that gives the quilt a lovely warmth.

There's other stuff going on too - in case you were wondering, Amelie did eventually get her New Year bolero.

It was such a hit I couldn't resist making another. This time I used a multi coloured sock yarn which I rather like although you might think it's strange how the collar is red and yellow on one side and blue and green on the other - that's variegated yarns for you!

Hope you're finding time to get fun stuff done. Thanks for dropping by - Linda

Saturday, 5 January 2013

It's the little things that count

When the news is full of doom and gloom and the daylight hours are in short supply, it's the little things that can lift the spirits. At least that's how it is with me and I don't expect I'm on my own. Today I spotted the first emerging Winter Aconite poking their golden heads above the cold damp earth.

The snowdrops have been in evidence for quite some time but they have buds now and it won't be long before there are masses of perfect white and green flowers. (Note to self - must tidy up the dead leaves and get rid of all that moss soon!)

I seem to remember I blogged our snowdrops this time last year but I don't apologise for feeling ridiculously happy to see them appear again. It's the promise of spring and longer brighter days that lifts my mood. I've been spending far too much time knitting in front of the fire lately. Re energised after a walk in the fresh air I headed into my workroom and put this small quilt top together this afternoon.

As you can see, it's a fairly literal interpretation of a photo I took many years ago. I've used a little of the fabric I rusted for DMTV recently and combined it with some hand dyes and one of Laura's latest digital fabric prints which is called aptly, Rust. I added a moth just because..... well why not?

DMTV members will have seen this decrepit greenhouse before with its broken glass and glorious rusty metal. It was a danger to life and limb and had to be demolished long ago but the photos live on. I think this is going to be the first of a series of rust inspired quilts as I have a number of sketchbook pages from about the same time.

The images really lend themselves to simple patchwork with lots of hand stitch to create some texture. I may even get carried away and add beads although as I write that I can hear Laura groan, please mother no!!

I told you I feel better when we turn the corner and the days begin to lengthen. I must be feeling quite lively today - while I was in the workroom I also started this Attic Window quilt. I loved the old oak tree prints Laura's just added to her Fingerprint shop and felt inspired to chop a fat quarter up as the 'view' through my windows. I can see from this photo that I need to rearrange the blocks so that the branches and twigs make a lot more sense but there's plenty of time for that. I might also add strips between the blocks to give the sills and reveals some depth. I have an idea to applique birds in the niches but we'll have to see if that works out. I like to leave work in progress alone for a while and go back to it with fresh eyes next day. I'm sure I'll know what to do for the best then!

Hope you're all starting the new year with positive and creative thoughts!
Thanks for dropping by - Linda