Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A lovely day out

The weather in Somerset today has definitely had more of a promise of summer than of late. My parents treated us to a visit to a National Trust property about half an hour from home that they've not had the chance to visit before.

The National Trust is a charity throughout the UK which takes on buildings of historical significance (usually old stately homes but not always as I believe they own the house where John Lennon grew up in Liverpool) and keeps them up to scratch thus saving them from falling to rack and ruin.

This costs a phenomenal amount of money every year and they are quite expensive to visit - my parents are members, as a family we can't justify that kind of expenditure, so it was a very generous gift of a day out today - especially as a 'cream tea' was also on the agenda - that's scones with jam and whipped cream with a pot of tea for those of you who haven't come across this delicious but sadly waist expanding experience :o(

Montacute House is an Elizabethan mansion dating back to the early 1600's and is quite simply just beautiful. Ten out of ten to the National Trust for providing kid friendly activities all round the place including a storyteller in costume and the opportunity to dress in some period costume, most particularly the starched ruff collars the earliest residents would have worn.

The hall also sports a lovely collection of very old needlework samplers with examples of some beautiful embroidery - some of the drawn-thread work was so tiny I'm not sure how they could see to pull out the correct threads - after all no daylight 150watt bulbs in those candle powered days. A real treat for me in particular

The journey back was convoluted to say the least as the driver (that's me) lost concentration at one vital roundabout and took a 20 minute detour of yet another unexplored part of Somerset because the three youngest occupants of the car were twittering in a very distracting manner in the back.

Still they were the ones who wanted to get home most urgently so I guess they got their just desserts! :o)

And here's one I made earlier

In the UK we have a children's tv programme called Blue Peter. My kids love it and it's been going in various guises for so long it's older than me - I remember watching it avidly as a child too. It's a magazine type programme with news, music, presenters doing lots of activites and often they show recipes and crafty things to make.

As they demonstrate making something at each stage they miraculously pull a version completed to the next stage from under the work surface with a flourish and the phrase "Here's one I made earlier" - hence the title of my post.

This little quilt is literally one I made earlier - over the christmas holidays of 2004 to be precise - we're a far flung family and so we seldom all get together for Christmas as my parents hate travelling in the winter, my siblings have other family commitments and I just can't bear the thought of extended time with my SIL who comes as part of the package at my DH's parents - so it tends to be a family nucleus type time (just DH, me and the kids) which is great and gives us all lots of spare time for all of us to indulge in a bit of R and R

This quilt measures about 24" x 18" and was made specifically with this little bit of wall as its destination. My favourite colours again in the dining room of the old house - which doubled up as the computer room and sewing room - we're really good at multi purpose rooms in this family :o)

I love the way the terracotta cornerstones seem to float in mid air

I might put this up on the wall near my sewing station in this house too as I still love it even though it won't really go with the finished decor in here.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A nice quiet day just pottering

After three days of wandering round three counties, Devon, Dorset and Somerset, it's really nice to have a quiet day at home.

DH has gone back to work and the whirlwind which inevitably follows in his wake has thankfully gone with him. Sometimes I do wonder why I married a man who is never happy unless he's doing something, but 99.999% of the time I'm grateful that I married a doer not a watcher as he does get things done - even if it means you have to run along with him :o) at breakneck speed.

The house is deliciously peaceful. DD1 has gone into the town centre with her friends to spend some of her hard-earned ironing money - not to mention some of mine with the appropriation of a £20 note as she went out of the front door because "Muuuuum, (coy smile) you know my outfit for the Regional Rugby Do? Well I've seen a very nice pair of gold pumps in Peacocks that would go with it (begging grin)"

Hence the dosh and the strict instructions to check with me on price by phone text before the purchase is made. That reminds me I've not had the text yet and of course you then don't get the loyalty points on your credit card because they were paid in cash - Kids!

DS has gone with a neighbour and his son to practice cricket at the cricket nets - lovely and quiet without him shouting and singing at the football game on the PS2 (don't ask!)

DD2 is mercifully out with another neighbour's daughter playing at building dens in the playing fields behind the house.

Peace glorious peace!

So having spent the best part of the morning batch cooking to fill the freezer I'm now taking out some 'me' time to do some stitching.

I only ever work term-time and so try very hard to make big batches of various recipes to put in the freezer for during the term so I don't have to cook from scratch when I come in from work.

Today was going to be a large batch of chilli-con-carne but as luck would have it DH had picked up more beef mince than was necessary at the supermarket (I'm sure some of you american ladies are going to tell me that real chilli-con-carne is made with chunks of beef at this point but in the UK we tend to use mince - or I do at any rate:o) )

So the huge stew pot is filled with chilli and my half size one has shepherds pie bottom which to the uninitiated is a mince in gravy mixture with carrots and other root veg (it's got butternut squash in today too - well you have to get the kids to eat up their veg somehow). We lay this in the bottom of a casserole dish and then put a layer of mashed potato (creamed potato?) on top, then sometimes sprinkle the top liberally with cheese and stick under the grill to brown.

True purists would tell you that Shepherds pie is made with lamb mince and Cottage Pie is done with beef mince - mine's beef and I call it whatever springs to mind. The kids call it something unmentionable as it's not their favourite, but hey they're getting fed so what's the problem - I can't stand whinging kids! They should be jolly grateful!

Back to the stitching - I spied some lovely friendship stars on an Australian Blog earlier and thought 'AHA!' a good excuse to try out my new 'Wondercut' ruler - don't usually do triangles - not good on points, so anything to make them easy has got to be good in my book. Liked the friendship stars, was going to make nine - got bored after four! Looks like the wallhanging might well be smaller than originally planned :o)

Still revelling in being able to indulge in the stitching time and my parents are enjoying being able to indulge in some quiet, peace time after being dragged all round the South West of England for the past 3 days.

Sadly the children will return towards the end of the afternoon and DH will be back from work probably about 6.30 to 7ish so the peace will be well and truly shattered.

Right back to the sewing machine - and yes the area is still tidy - not that it will last.

My Sewing Area - the before photo

I have to share what we colloquially call 'the play room' with the kids tv, the PS2 and the computer bench.

The room is about 17foot by 8ft6inches and has a full width deep bench at the opposite end to this photo with the house pc, my husbands lap top, the kids tv up on the wall and the ps2.

Basically it's sort of 'the den'.

My sewing area is the end of the room under the window for the best light and is currently a bit of a mish mash of cobbled together work surface, mini chests of drawers, book case etc.

However DH has plans afoot to turn this into a compact and workable space where I can stitch and create to my hearts content.

We acquired a long deep worktop (matching the one at the other end with all the computer gubbings on it) from Nigel's work when they stripped out one of the old buildings before demolition. He intends to run it the whole width of the room at stitching/machine height under the window.

Then to the right hand end behind the door he will 'persuade' one of the carpenters at work to construct a box arrangement the size of my A1 cutting board to bring up the height to a comfortable level for rotary cutting but with a large perspex window set into the top and a light underneath to make a light box - essential for all that celtic knotwork.

He's also been investigating in the mini-loft above the window ( we have a little dormer type arrangement on the front of that side of the house) and has discovered the joists run in the direction he'd hoped to enable him to change the lighting to give me better light to stitch at night as at present I have the 'Heath Robinson' discarded standing lamp arrangement you see in the photo - functional but not pretty!

The only stalling point is the only radiator in the room that sits under the window and is shielded by my workstation which makes the room quite chilly - good job I stitch so quickly to keep my hands from freezing up :o) Keeps my knees warm though!

The radiator will have to be moved round the corner to the left opposite the door as I neglected to tell you that the wall next to the door will have to house a small sofa-bed as this room also serves as our spare room for visitors

Definitely multi-purpose this room.

Not sure when all this will happen - particularly because of the heating changes but fortunately my DH is one of those guys who, once he's got the bit between his teeth, likes to run with ideas and get on with them - thank goodness.

I am particularly proud of this photo as I had just had a good tidy up (don't laugh) - most unusual, you generally can't see the machine for fabric piled all round it. Sadly due to lack of space all my stash is up in the loft in removal company extra strong cartons and not so easily accessible - have to smile sweetly at DH or DD1 to bring down the relevant coloured box when I want to start something new.

One can only dream - when we win the lottery and get that house with the enormous studio and the vast model train room :o)

A day out for DH

Thankfully Monday turned out to be a bright sunny day, if a little chilly, as the great north wind was still taking the edge off our late spring temperatures.

When my DH announced we should go out for the day again the kids groaned audibly. He countered this with "You might have a week off, but I only get one day's holiday" - so he won (quite rightly so)

His choice was a visit to a light railway about 45 minutes from here over the other side of Somerset almost on the Dorset border. It is a private concern basically in someone's (very large) back garden and is only open to the public about four times a year.

The trains are tiny on a 20" guage track and it's a bit like riding a toy-town train. My husband walked round all afternoon with a look on his face like the cat that got the cream. He's just about as nuts about trains (particularly steam) as I am about quilting.

The kids have been subjected to all this from a very early age and have probably been thoroughly put off by now - they all travelled on preserved lines 'in utero'.

There reaction now whenever we stop the car on a day out is "Oh not another train/quilt shop" Philistines!!!

The picture in the carriage shows the three of them with my mum and dad - a bit of nifty foot work there meant we got to ride on our own in a different carriage - well you've got to take some 'us - time' whenever you can get it - no matter how brief!

The weather spoilt itself once we got home - probably precipitated by DH getting out the barbecue. Still the lamb and mint burgers and gorgeous pork sausages from our neighbourhood farm shop tasted just as good done in the oven and without those little (or not so little) black bits - gotta be a bonus :o)

Monday, May 29, 2006


Just thought I'd show you a couple of little quilts that used to sit on the back of my sofa and armchair in the old house. They're redundant now as the colour scheme is different here and sadly wall space is also at a premium so I don't really have anywhere to hang them.

The left hand one is made of two colourways of the same checked fabric - I had the green for donkey's years and so couldn't resist the raspberry shade to go with it when I spotted it in the shop and I made this little chap in a nine patch and snowball pattern - don't look too closely at the points because there's no way they all match up. The hearts are hand appliqued afterwards

The centre of the other one was a sample from when I very first started that I dug out of the back of a drawer, added some borders and finished up for the sofa back.

Today looks like it will be a lovely sunny day here in Taunton if a little cool - but this is a minor miracle having sunshine in the UK on a bank holiday. Usually we get a lovely week or two in the run up and then rain for the holiday weekend. Guess we'll have to subject the kids to another day out with the grandparents exploring the area again - shame :o)

More clematis please!

It's probably quite difficult to see as this garden has so many plants in it but the owner has erected a line of tall posts probably about 10 - 12 feet apart and then looped a chain between them at hand reach height. The plant can then be trained up and round the post and eventually when it reaches the dizzy height of the top of the post it will 'branch out' along the chain. This of course gives the viewer the opportunity to see whatever is behind the line of posts at the same time.

I've planted climbers at regular intervals along my boundary fence and could put in these posts half way between them about 2 feet away from the fence - I can hear a groan from DH as I speak

Another baby for my garden

This is the new baby for my garden - a tradescantia with lovely three petalled pale purple flowers - mmm a germ of an idea for an applique design popping into mind there

Yesterday was a much better day weatherwise so we visited a couple of private gardens (hence the new plant) - much to the childrens distaste - but as I reminded DD1 we have spent far more Sunday afternoons freezing to death on a rugby touch line watching her play and it was her turn to do something we liked. A bribe of a cream tea (scone with jam and whipped cream to those of you uninitiated with a cup of tea) helped to ease their pain :o)

Here in the UK we have a scheme called the Yellow Book (because of the colour of the directory) whereby people all around the country open up their garden to the public on a day of their choosing and raise money for charity at the same time. The two gardens we visited yesterday just south of Taunton were lovely and gave me an idea of how to introduce even more clematis into my patch. After all in my opinion a girl can never have too many clematis! I can't get the blog to accept those pictures so I'll add it to another posting

Sunday, May 28, 2006

More Butterflies - definitely my favourite things

It's a holiday weekend here in the UK - 'Spring Bank Holiday' we call it - originally it was tied in with Whitsuntide or the Christian festival of Pentecost but as the majority of the UK are non-church goers it's now really just 'that long weekend at the end of May'. As is so often the case here with our changeable weather it can be glorious throughout the weeks leading up and then cool and damp over the holiday. This was definitely the case yesterday.

We have my parents staying with us for a couple of weeks which is lovely as they live over 2oo miles away so we don't get to see them very much. As we only moved to the area last September and haven't explored too far yet my DH decided yesterday afternoon he was going stir-crazy hanging about the house so we should all pile into our 7 seater and go out for a drive (much to the children's disgust as that is not their idea of fun). We did attempt this last time they were down in November with the same result - it drizzled all afternoon once we got out of the end of our road so all 'view-watching' was severely restricted because of the mizzle outside and the heavy breathing within the car - good to explore the area but a bit of a waste of valuable stitching time in my book!

Then in the evening I was baby-sitting for my friend close by so spent my time getting some more work done on my hexagon project - boy don't other people have uncomfortable sofas though - I can certainly feel my back this morning!

As I don't have anything to show of this project - I'm determined not to post a picture until the top is finished (what an incentive to get a move on), and I'm getting there fast - I've put in pictures of a quilt I made from a block swap from an internet group.

The remit was just a butterfly block of a standard size and I made nine in reverse applique so got nine different ones back.

The parcel landed on my doorstep just after we returned to the UK from our 6 months in France and I sat on them for over two years not knowing quite what to do with them.

Then the New Year before last we were having a quiet night in with the kids (you know the scenario, too young to take out but impossible to get a sitter) and I just took it into my head to put it all together.

I think the thing stopping me before was the decision on sashing as all the blocks are various colours but I just found a fabric in a colour that I really loved and went for it.

The scattered butterflies were my simple 'two hearts' pattern in some lemon space dyed fabric I'd done myself and this is the result - hope you like it

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Four French Quilts

When I put the title in for this posting it made me think of The Twelve Days of Christmas but there were only Three French Hens so I won't burst into song quite yet

We lived in Northern France for six months over the winter and Spring of 2001/2002 - gosh is it really that long ago

We went out there with the intention of staying for three or four years to give the three kids another valuable life skill becoming bilingual in French and English. We also thought it would be great to live in mainland Europe and be able to explore without having to cross the Channel everytime.

However this was not to be as two and a half months after moving the whole family out there lock stock and barrel my husband's emplyers kindly made him redundant.

As we had rented out our house in England we then had a three month wait until the tenants time was up

As you can imagine there was lots of spare time to kill as we waited to come home and the pictures above show you the quilts I made for the kids so they had something new to bring back to their old bedrooms and also a quilt top I'd previously made for my mum but quilted in France (the top picture is hers - she puts her quilt on her bed I obviously hang mine in the garden :o) )

All simple but effective patterns that helped to stop me from going stir crazy while waiting to be repatriated

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The first quilt I completed

Today has been a strange day - I'm still feeling more than a little sore about being passed over for the job yesterday and then at work today the Headteacher was out of school for the day and forgot to leave me keys to all the filing cabinets and cupboards so the things I was able to achieve were a strange mix and not really what she had left me to do - very jumbled and disjointed today!

Accordingly I've not really felt much like stitching apart from doing a little work on my ongoing hexagons which didn't need much brain capacity. Still each one I put together is one closer to finishing it and being able to drape it over the back of my sofa and show you all.

So I thought I'd post a picture of the first ever quilt I made which is a sampler quilt in my favourite colour combination of teal and terracotta.

I started it at the quilting group I used to go to in Gloucester and it was there that they awoke my greatest love by teaching me hand applique with freezer paper on top. It also taught me celtic knotwork with homemade bias, grandmother's fan and stained glass applique to name a few.

This is still one of my favourite quilts even though it lives in a bag in a cupboard as I've never really found a home for it. I just get it out now and again to stroke and stare at and enjoy :o)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

3 reasons to be less cheesed off

Having spent the evening harrumphing about like a bear with a sore head because I really wanted that job I've decided before I go to bed to add to my blog the three main reasons in my life to be more cheerful - well there are six really, my lovely husband, my ageing but terrific parents who are down here staying with us for a couple of weeks and last but not least these three monsters who keep me on my toes - bless! From left to right Nick aged 10, Louise 9 and Sarah almost 14 whilst driving me scatty a lot of the time are the greatest kids you could wish for and make me glad to be alive each day (when I'm not yelling at them to get ready for school that is :o) )

What a bummer!

I didn't get the job I went for the interview today - I'm very disappointed and disillusioned too. Apparently it was a close call but they picked the person they felt would fit in with their school the best. How can you counter that? I was hoping to get it as I'm sick and tired of temping and not being able to get in somewhere and get my teeth into something properly and always feeling like the new girl. Still something will turn up eventually. I just feel very aggrieved that I left a lovely job I liked to come down here for the benefit of the rest of the family - it's gotta be my turn now! Right that's my whinge over - going for my tea now


I thought this morning I'd share with you some photos of my beautiful baby clematis in my back garden.

We only moved here last September and as is often the case with virtually new estate houses in the UK we were faced with a small square of lawn with wooden fencing all round.

We'd lived in our old house in Gloucester for over 13 years so had put lots of plants into the garden over that time and I was very sad to leave them. The many varieties of clematis were my favourites.

So the first things we planted last autumn were these little darlings and much to my delight they've come up trumps and obviously like their home with us.

The cream one is most unusual - it has the strangest pom-pom flower which is almost like a dahlia in structure. I've seen lots of double flower clematis but never one with this type of flower structure before - a real treat because the label only showed the usual single flower type.

I took the photos yesterday tea-time when the light wasn't too good - I should have waited for this morning as after all the rain over the past few days it's now glorious sunshine. However quite how long it will last will remain to be seen.

This morning I have a job interview for a school finance officer at a primary school not too far from home - I'm keeping my fingers crossed but not raising my hopes too high. It would be great to get something permanent as temping is fine if you don't mind the uncertainty and can cope with being the new girl all the time. Wish me luck!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Hungarian Roof Tiles and fabric

I'm a great believer in fate and everything being meant to be - how's this for fortuitous

Because of work committments - as a temp I have to take work when it's offered as you never know when the next dry spell will crop up - I've had to miss my quilting 'sit and sew' group today.

At the weekend the lady who runs the group phoned to prewarn everyone she'd be bringing in some bolts of fabrics at a fiver a metre - a supplier near where she lives is having a sale at present. As I knew I wouldn't be there I just passed an envelope with £10 in it and asked a friend to surprise me with the resultant four half metres.

When she called round this evening with the fabric look what she brought - all I need is a conker brown and a cream to get cracking on my hungarian roof tile quilt I showed you the inspiration for the other day

Obviously meant to be!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Playing with alphabets

Yesterday afternoon the fancy took me to do something completely different - I've been stitching hexagons over paper for England for the past 5 months and lots of hand applique too.

Anyway whilst browsing through the blogs I usually drop into now and again I rediscovered Tonya's lovely free pieced letters and thought I'd give them a try.

The above is the result of a good 3 to 4 hours stitching throughout yesterday evening.

This morning I couldn't sleep so got up around 7.45 am and worked on putting them together - here is the result

Not sure how I'll quilt this but quilte fancy just free motion quilting, writing the alphabet all over in lower case.

Now I have the germ of an idea to stitch a 'Liverpool FA Cup Winners' quilt for my little boy who worships the ground Steven Gerrard walks on.

I can envisage it in Red and White with some yellow which are the club colours with the names of the whole squad on a single bed sized quilt.

I'd better not tell him I've had the idea or else he'll be nagging the pants of me to get on with it.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Hexagon Inspirations

I've been working since last Christmas on a hand stitched sofa throw for my lounge in sand and cream and turquoise in 2inch hexagons - it's a definite pattern and I'm probably 80 - 85% of the way there completing the top - I'm not going to post a picture until the top is completed.

However I'd not done any hexagon work before this since I made a charm top (still to be quilted) when I first got seriously into quilting about 9 years ago. Before that I made bits and bobs in my teens back in the 70's. Most of the time my patchwork and quilting is machine piecing and hand applique but it is lovely to have some hand work for sitting doing when watching the TV in the evening.

The photo I've posted here is the roof of a church I spied up near the castle during a kid free weekend to Budapest in Hungary last October (thanks mum and dad for kid sitting and allowing us to go) The tiles look as though they are ceramic glazed and the colours are very true to life in the photo

It just shouted english paper piecing to me and as my big project is drawing to a close the seed of an idea for a small wallhanging using this pattern is germinating. I think I shall use tiny hexagons possibly only 3/4 inch across and moderate the colours too

Watch this space!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Dressmaking instead

This is a picture of my first baby, Sarah - she's now almost 14 years old and pictured here just before her father and I took her to her presentation evening for - wait for it - RUGBY!

Believe me she doesn't look anything like as glamorous on a Sunday afternoon covered in mud and bruises.

We were so proud of her last night - she is retiring captain of the Under 14's ladies team at our local rugby club here in Taunton. In that capacity she had to make a speech and present a gift of flowers to their lady coach. In addition to this she was awarded the trophy for 'best back of the year'

She has had an awesome couple of years since she started the sport - last year at her old club in Gloucester she was selected to play for the South West North region and they won the inaugural national championships. This year in Somerset she represented the County where they won the South West Counties championship and she went onto represent the region again where they were runners up in the plate competition in the nationals. We have just found out that she has been one of only 10 girls selected from her regional squad to go onto a personal development academy on two separate Saturdays this summer.

The dressmaking title refers to her skirt which I sweated blood over as it was an awkward fit over the hips and my absence from dressmaking for over 15 years really challenged me with the side zip. She should have had a matching halter necked top in the orange satin but after spending all last weekend on the dratted thing I just couldn't get it to fit at all and ended up putting matching trimmings on the black top you see her wearing here.

As you can imagine the experience has put me right off dressmaking and it was a real pleasure to return to patchwork where the only worries are if it lies flat and do the points match!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Butterflies completed

There we go - butterflies all present and correct - can't think why I didn't do them in the first place - what was it with those stars and swirls?

I like to do these butterflies and have included something similar on several of my previous quilts - they're so easy. The first picture which my limited computer skills won't let me put in the middle of my text shows you a turquoise and lilac cot quilt I'm almost finished for the same raffle as the green and red stars - just needs a binding. The butterflies just take two identical hearts placed carefully so that I can draw a line of dots for the body between them with a pigma marker in a matching colour. A couple of antennae and there we go. Simple but effective.

Also excellent practice for anyone who's not too confident on hand applique as the heart motif has an inner and outer point to help you get really proficient - go for it girls!

The butterflies won!

Have just spent the past half hour after walking the two youngest to school unpicking those swirls and stars - amazing how looking at them on a photo shows them up for what they really are. Incompatible!
So I shall do some dinky little brown butterflies and maybe some cream ones at random near the flowers instead.
Just cutting out the freezer paper now.

Today's Work in Progress

Here in Taunton I belong to a small cosy sit and sew group who meet on a Monday morning which I attend as work allows, plus amonthly evening group called Somerset County Quilting which is a more formal 'speaker' type group.
On top of that I also belong to a yahoo internet group and this work in progress is for a challenge being set by them.
It's a sort of round robin that you do all the work so it doesn't leave your sticky little mitts.
We did the same last year and it was such fun that I am actually doing two separate ones for this year! - glutton for punishment or what?
The photos show you my 'sofa throw'. My other piece of work will eventually be a wall hanging made up of 4" blocks in long independant strips hung together on a pole - or that's the plan anyway.
This month's challenge is applique which for me is a breeze - I just love hand applique using freezer paper on top, but I really struggled with an idea for the motifs. Still unsure as to whether I'm really happy with what I'm doing and may change it yet, but didn't want to do flowers as they were my interpretation of last month's challenge of paper (see the english pieced hexagons on the previous round)
The more I look at this, the more I feel I should take them all off and do butterflies instead - they are my very favourite thing and the squiggles and stars just look so disjointed. Watch this space!
Decisions, decisions!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Celtic Jazz and I at Malvern 2005

Well this is a photo of yours truly along side my entry for Malvern 2005. This is the only time I've put a quilt into Malvern and although it didn't win anything it was really very exciting seeing it hanging up there with the great and the good so to speak. Another nice thing is loitering about incognito while others view it and listening to their comments. Fortunately those I heard were complimentary - maybe it wouldn't be quite so pleasant if you heard someone express their dislike, although I have to say quilters are generally very nice people and seldom pass derogatory remarks.

The quilt is a background of 9 patch in subtle shades of 'school uniform' grey with a really whizzy hoffmann print made into the knotwork bias.

The main reason I've posted this today is because I really wanted to use this photo as my picture on my profile but couldn't get it to work - hey ho! - computer whizz kid I'm not.

I'm not working today - we moved to Somerset last September and I've not found a suitable permanent job here yet that fits in with my three school aged children. However I've kept more or less gainfully employed doing temporary school secretarial work covering for illness. My next placement starts on Thursday at a school I've not visited before so another steep learning curve. I do hope that I'll find something permanent before long as I left a job I loved with ideal hours and conditions when we left Gloucester. Still as my beloved husband earns almost four times what I could pull in pro rata we had to go where the money is. Other than my work situation we've really settled in well down here so hopefully the last little piece of the jigsaw will slot into place eventually.

I shall try and spend my day productively - I have some work to do on an ongoing internet quilting challenge I'm taking part in which needs some serious hand applique doing before the end of the month, plus on a far less interesting front I ought to try and clear out some of my wardrobe contents as we've a lot less capacity in this house and valuable space is being taken up by the too large (I wish)/too small (that's more like it)/wrong season clothes.

I certainly know which of these two tasks I'd rather be getting on with!

Monday, May 15, 2006

My biggest quilt

These two pictures show the quilt I made for my brother and sister-in-law for their wedding present in October 2004. It measures 108" square and was machine pieced in space dyed cotton (some dyed by me and some bought in) with yards and yards of cream coloured home made bias celtic knotwork. It took three years to make in all and I worked on it in three different countries. In the middle of its construction I had a serious illness which kept me off work for over five months and working on the coloured square blocks around the edges kept me sane - not to mention that, without that gift of time to work on it when I was fit for nothing else, I probably wouldn't have completed it on time. The celtic knotwork is all hand appliqued and I wouldn't mind having a pound for each inch of it - I'd be one very rich girl! The photos are taken in our local church as I didn't have a large enough floor area to lay it out otherwise. Once I'd completed it I felt that strange feeling you have when your baby is born that you're not pregnant any more - a real anti-climax.

This is a raffle quilt I have just finished for our local quilting group - it started life as a sofa throw for the lounge in our last house, became a ufo once the house and hence the decor changed and then became the finished product you see here when I re-discovered it while unpacking and so completed it. All quick machine piecing and then copious quantities of freestyle machine quilting all over (I'm not very good at following lines!)

Gosh this is scary

Well - I've been meaning to try and do this for a while and never got off my bottom - but here goes
I'm a 45 year old english quilter living in Taunton, England
I love all aspects of patchwork and quilting but my favourite has to be hand applique - especially celtic knotwork
I have a brilliant husband and three great kids and work part time doing temporary cover in school offices
I'll try to put up some photos of my work and other things that give me inspiration as time goes on