Friday 18 August 2023

What a difference time makes.

Yesterday was a funny day, one of those day where you try to get a lot done but other things keep getting in the way. My list of things I needed to get done was lengthy but what I managed to achieve was very little. I did make bread, do some laundry and a general tidy up but I still have an ironing mountain to tackle. Also I didn't make it to my sewing machine but I did sort out a few 'on hold' projects.

I love starting new projects and if all goes well they get finished quickly. Sometimes they get tucked away in my storage cupboard and end up pushed to the back. At other times I decide I don't like the project and tuck it away for later. I know from past experience that when I work on something for quite a while I may decide I don't love it or even like it. If I squirrel it away and come back to it some time later I often find I like the project again and can then get it finished quickly. Yesterday was one of those days of becoming reacquainted with works in progress and finding I like them again. the first one was blocks I had made for the RSC a few years ago. I decided I didn't like the top and put it away for later. Yesterday when I pulled it out and pressed it I couldn't remember what I thought was wrong with it. The project in question was this one.

Having decided I like the top I measured it so I could add a border. Unfortunately I don't have enough fabric to make the border or anything suitable for the back and so I started my quilting shopping list. I can either go shopping locally or wait until September when I will be visiting my favourite quilting shop 'Midsomer Quilting'.

My purpose in going through my work in progress projects was two fold. One I need a accurate list of what I'm working on and two I wanted to find the Red House Mansion project. I saw a completed top made using the pattern at the Festival of Quilts and decided I needed to work on this again. The reason it got put away was because of the paper piecing, it really isn't my favourite way of making a block but it is extremely accurate if you do it correctly. Here's how far I got.

and here's the quilt I saw  at the NEC made by Brenda Otter and Lynda Edmunton from Abergele UK.

Unlike Brenda and Lynda, I am making my version from my stash and so yesterday evening I went searching for fabrics for the next round. To make the next round I need to print out the patterns for the paper piecing and then do some fabric cutting. In preparation for using my machine I gave it a thorough clean. It is amazing just how much fluff etc gets caught up during use. 

Talking of the Festival of Quilts, several people have asked how big it is. The information I have tells me it is the biggest quilting show in Europe and that approximately 22,000+ people will have visited it this year. As you can see it is a much smaller show than Houston International Quilt show but the population sizes are very different. US population is 333.1 million and the UK 67.3 million according to Mr Google so potentially a lot more quilters in the United States. The biggest quilt show in the world, Tokyo International Quilt Festival has been permanently cancelled.

The Festival of Quilts have now released the gallery of all the quilts in the show. Here is the link if you want to go and look.  

Today is a busy day. I have some paperwork to complete and I need to run to the shops for some curtain hooks. One curtain got caught up and when it was pulled to close it the hooks came out. Dear Missy decided they were meant for her to chew! We have a new dishwasher being delivered this afternoon and later in the afternoon we are heading into London to visit the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. Sewing today will have to be fitted in between jobs.

Take Care


Thursday 17 August 2023

Hand stitching and a visit.

John and I decided to have a two day, one night mini trip. Back in May we had visited Portsmouth because we wanted to visit the historic dockyard. There is so much to see, that when I bought the tickets I opted for the Ultimate Explorer ticket which means we can visit as often as we want for a year. This trip was to explore the next bit of the dockyard. Since we were going to be away overnight I needed a hand stitching project to take along, but I decided cross stitch wasn't appropriate since you can never be sure if the hotel room lighting will be good enough to see the holes in the fabric! Because of that I picked this pretty countryside scene that John bought me as a kit, a couple of years ago. It's a small piece, about 10cm /4inches square.

The threads are colourful and of different types, with strand embroidery floss, and wools. It comes with full instructions which are very clearly written and it tells you the order to sew in.

The background trees and bushes are done first, using French knots and then the trees nearer the front. I still have to finish the bush on the right hand side but I was tired of French knots by this point so I started on the straight stitch on the field. I'll finish the bush later this evening.

Whilst I stitched on Tuesday evening John was reading his book. A peaceful evening after our day. We left London early- well early for us and drove to Hinton Ampner, an elegant country manor in Hampshire that is owned by the National Trust. The grounds of the house are very beautiful and tranquil.

We started our visit by looking round the house. This is a very elegant house, not overstuffed with 'things'. I only took a couple of photos inside the house and these were in the dinning room. This room felt very calm and welcoming. We were told by the guide that guests used to ask to sit on the right side of the table because they would be able to look out over the gardens. Ralph Dutton, the owner had a large mirror installed on the wall on the right of the photo so guests facing that way could see the garden reflected in the mirror. This would be a fabulous room for a family party.

The ceiling of the dining room was beautiful with various paintings . This ceiling was partially destroyed in a fire but was restored and where needed new painting made in the original style.


We spent quite a lot of time walking in the garden. The views across the countryside were fabulous.

There were a lot of Dahlias in different colours. The obviously like the soil here

We took a walk along the Long Walk.

The flower beds were alive with colour and bees.

This is the view of the back of the house from the garden

We also looked at the little church 

Inside we found these beautiful stained glass windows.

Here is the information about the windows.

There were a lot of artichoke plants in full flower.

and this espalier apple tree was old but heavily laden with apples.

The garden felt quite intimate because it was dived into zones or areas by plants or hedges. This meant you weren't aware of the large numbers of people who were there.

We had a very enjoyable visit, including a tasty lunch. We then travelled to a nature reserve on Hayling Island that John wanted to check out. He wasn't expected to see many birds but in the event he was pleased we stopped. It also gave us the chance to get some more walking into the day. I don't get a lot of exercise when I'm working so I try and compensate when I'm off. We finished the bird watching and continued to our hotel in Portsmouth and dinner. We enjoyed our day and had our trip to the dockyard to look forward to.

Today I have some work to do and my flowers have just been delivered so I need to get them in water. I am also planning on making bread and getting to my sewing machine. I'll let you know how that goes in my next post.

Take care


Monday 14 August 2023

Final photos from the quilt show.

Today I'm sharing the final photos I took at the Festival of Quilts. I really wish I'd taken more photos but there was so much to see, and at times I got so involved with what was going on that I forgot to take pictures. I am also very pleased I bought a show guide and competition catalogue. It meant I didn't have any problems identifying who has made the quilts.

This quilt titled 'The flux of time' was made by Tina Sommer Paaske from Fuglebjerg, Denmark. This is a glimpse of history in a tiny village in rural Denmark, which is Tina's new home town. I love the little cats.

I stood looking at this quilt for some time as I loved the stonework and it felt that if I touched it (which you were not allowed to do), it would actually feel like stone. The view is also intriguing. This quilt is titled 'Aoife's View' and was made by Ethelda Ellis Erasmus from County Laois, Ireland. It is collaged raw-edge applique and free motion quilted and embroidered. 

In the heart of Ireland, is a less well known site, Rock of Dunamase, with stunning views over the landscape, a castle that was built in 1170 for Aoife, the future wife of Strongbow. Ethelda took a picture of a view through the ruins, imagining what it looked like when Aoife stood there. This is one of my favourite quilts from the show.

Danuta Owczarek, from Wroclaw, Poland made this quilt titled 'My haven' using elements of raw edge applique. She wanted to show her eternal longing for places where sun is warm, sky is blue and people smile. The quilt certainly made me smile and forget the wet week we were having in London.

This quilt called 'Carnival Flower' was made by Cordula Ermler from Molln, Germany. The quilt is a Judy Niemeyer pattern and it was sewn from a kit from her. Cordula has been sewing patchwork since 2009.

'Summer Garden' was made by Hilary Jane Cheshire from Leigh-on-sea, Essex UK. Her inspiration was a summers afternoon in the garden. The quilt illustrates various handstitched patchwork techniques, using natural and tea dyed fabrics, combined with various stitches.

This quilt was made by Sheena J Norquay from Inverness UK and is titled 'Sixteen Pots and Jugs of Flowers 11'. It was made using fabric printing and painting, machine piecing, free motion embroidered trapunto and quilting. Reminiscent of Baltimore but Sheena's own original designs which she enlarged from a smaller hand embroidered piece.

I like the various flowers in this quilt and it gave me an idea for some embroidered hexies to go into my grandmother's garden quilt.

This quilt 'Hollyhock spires' by Tamzin Phillips from Nailsworth, Gloucestershire UK is another favourite of mine. I love hollyhocks and they always remind me of our garden when I was a child. I really must plant some for next year. Tamzin has used Suffolk puffs, applique, painted fabrics, hand stitching and free motion quilting, when creating this piece. It was inspired by the hollyhocks that grow in front of upright railway sleepers in Tamzin's garden. There are wild strawberries trailing over the top, 3 shield beetles hidden in the leaves and a snail at the top of the quilt.

This quilt made by Youn Kyung Song from Seoul, South Korea, is titled 'Time to loss' Everyone is given a fair amount of time but everyone has a different way of using it. The emptiness of time is expressed in broken clocks and watch gears.

This quilt is called 'A sower went forth to sew' and was made by Margaret Woodside from Larne, co Antrim UK.  Margaret said "After 30 years of quilting, squares and triangles are still exciting as the first ones I ever made. I live on a sheep farm and this is my interpretation of the parable of the sower. The seed is in the quilting and the harvest is of lambs".

A close up of the lambs and the grass.

This quilt was made by the Village residents of Rowhedge and is titled 'A walk through the village of Rowhedge'. Each square was made by a village resident to honour the past and present Rowhedge. It hangs permanently in the village hall, an heirloom for future generations.

This quilt was made for the sustainable Quilts challenge. To enter this challenge the quilt had to be made with minimal impact on the environment. At least 75% of fabric used in the piece must be repurposed from materials including functional textiles e.g. curtains. The remaining 25% of fabric would ideally be organic fabrics or taken from stash rather than buying new. Wadding and threads wherever possible should be made from sustainable and natural sources. 90% of the fabrics were donated by villagers.

This quilt is called Happy flowers' by the maker Sijke Banga, from Kollumersweach, Netherlands. It certainly made me feel happy while enjoying the embroidery and colours.

The following quilts were retrospectives of previous winners. I have included a photo of the information after the photo of the quilt. I loved this jigsaw quilt.


I spent quite a lot of time enjoying this longcase clock. There was a lot to see on it.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing these quilts. There was so much to see at the show and lots of ideas and techniques that I want to try at some point.  I have already booked my ticket for the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in London in October. I'm looking forward to seeing the quilts and other stitcheries they have on display. The Festival of Quilts has re-energised me and since I have completed my big work project I will now have time to get sewing. I won't be starting sewing tomorrow however since John and I are taking a trip to Portsmouth for a couple of days. We went earlier this year but I didn't get round to posting about it. We visited the historic dockyard and this trip is to further explore the dockyard and the city. I am taking some hand stitching with me to do in the evening.

Take care


Friday 11 August 2023

Sewing, a visit and more quilts.

Life is pottering along here in London. Although I am on holiday I still have to finish up all the paperwork for my course reapproval and that is taking time. However I am timesharing and as a result I have almost finished a dress, and accomplished a little hand sewing. The one thing I have finally finished is sewing the binding onto my tulip table centre. In fact I had left it so long I'd forgotten it still needed finishing. I need to give it some love as it had been folded and had things piled ontop of it.

At the end of July John and I joined Katy, Olly and Aubrey for a visit to the wetlands centre at Barnes. We had planned to have lunch together and then take a walk so that Aubrey could see some ducks. He is currently obsessed with ducks. We started our visit with lunch. It helps to keep both small child and the adults happy. We had been told they would be feeding the otters at 2 so after lunch we wandered around a little before making our way to the otter enclosure. There were two otters and they were happily playing in the water.

The otters are European otters and they weren't the easiest creatures to get pictures of as they do swim very fast. They moved even quicker when their food appeared. Aubrey was fascinated by the otters and it was interesting to listen to the information about them. Otters were close to extinction in the UK in the 1950's and 60's due to pesticides affecting their breeding. Thanks to breeding programmes they are now found in every county in England and Wales, although they are still rare. They are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

After seeing the otters we went in search of more ducks. As far as Aubrey is concerned anything swimming on water is a duck. He was very excited to see so many.

As we were walking back to the main centre later in the afternoon John spotted this little creature.

This is a Common Lizard and they can grow to 10 - 15cm and live 5 to 6 years. It is the UK's most common reptile and can be found in most areas of the country but it is unusual to see them.

On Tuesday Katy, Olly and Aubrey visited Polsden Lacy, a National Trust property and Aubrey decided this was the right time to start walking. All my three children took their first steps at Polsden, It has a beautiful lawn that is perfect for first steps.

So now I expect you'd like to see some more quilts. I didn't take photos of all the quilts, just the ones that took my fancy (and prize winners)

This pictorial quilt was made by Yemima Lavan from Modin, Israel and is titled 'Carried by the wind'. 

The bees caught my attention in this quilt. This is a group quilt made by The Forget me not Sewing Bee from Bromsgrove in Worcestershire UK. The quilt was created by a group of ladies, inspired by the loss of loved ones. They came together to sew, eat cake and enjoy each others company. They raise money for the Alzheimer's Society by making items from predominately recycled denim.

This pictorial quilt was made by Fiona Wollaston from Bridgewater Somerset UK and is titled Beautiful Kernow (Beautiful Cornwall). This was created using Photoshop, commercial printer, inkjet printer, stencilling, precision piecing, machine embroidery and machine quilting. I really loved this quilt and the information about how it was made.

This quilt by Kathleen Matthews from Lydney UK is titled 'Read the signs, Heart attack? Dial 999'. The people were painted with acrylic and were drawn and painted by Kathleen. A humorous quilt with a strong message.

I love these Toucans. This quilt is by Barbora Bartosova from Zamberk, Czech Republic and is titled 'Rain Forest' The Amazon forest was the inspiration for the different plants and the colours were beautiful. Here is a close up of the stitching on one of the birds.

Another quilt from Fiona Wollaston from Bridgwater, Somerset UK. '70 years a Queen' This quilt uses the newspaper clippings reporting on the important events that happened during her reign. I wasn't born when the queen was crowned but I remember all the other important events.

I had to include this quilt. It is titled 'Comfort, The Breast Quilt' and was created by Lois Blackburn from Birch Vale, High Peak, Derbyshire UK and 180 collaborators. The quilt incorporates applique, hand and machine embroidery, raised work, knitting and crochet, beadwork and sequin work. It explores our hopes and dreams, embarrassments, pleasure, pain and joy. The 180 collaborators were women and teens from across the UK.

This beauty was created by Leah Walker/Patchwork Picnic from Plymouth, Devon UK and is called The turning of the Season (The Fox and the Hare) Leah was aiming to create a beautiful and whimsical celebration of the British countryside. I think she succeeded.

I still have more quilt photos to share with you and some more sewing, but now I need to go and collect my care which has been having its annual service.

Take care