I started the week by attempting to take my own photo one-handed wearing my tartan tam-o'shanter hat. After around 25 shots I selected a couple that looked OK apart from the double chin. It took far too long to affix my new avatar to all of the forums and I ended up getting side-tracked on the internet as usual by browsing dehumidifiers for the workshop, Volvo estates, pens that can upload your handwriting onto pen casts and choosing heritage paint online for the Purposeless Room. I used to have lots of paint colour charts but they seem to have been filed somewhere. The colours on the monitor are not the same as in the tin but I could not be bothered to drive 20 miles to look at paint charts so I phoned and asked the Farrow & Ball sales girl to pick me a warm pinkish-creamy old fashioned neutral. I expect it will be fine – nothing else in the Purposeless Room matches after all. It is really a small sitting room that has been a bedroom, playroom, sewing room, junk room and now houses a spare bed and guitars. I want it to be more purposeful so that I can type in there during winter nights and keep a closer eye on children doing their homework. Mo has given me the most amazing old armchair that was hanging from some rafters. Its horsehair stuffing is bursting out and it smells very mousy but it will look fantastic after she has worked her magic and we have used a lot of fabric freshener.
One of the Stunt Quilters told me that she thought my new avatar would be a good back cover author photo and reminded me that I should be pressing on with the Yurt book. I decided that I had lost the flow so will need to reorganise the bits that I have drafted so far and schedule designated writing time into each week. It was a kind of relief to postpone Des Moines in the end. I could not realistically have gone without enough sponsorship. I will recruit a PA whom I will pay with a quilt; she can crack the whip and make sure that I get sufficient sponsors and bookings in the Spring for the Yurt to start its USA tour properly. I am going to construct an entirely new roof for the USA Yurt that can be shipped permanently to avoid complicated Customs issues. That is possibly what I should aim to do with the wall panels too if I can get enough made over the winter to cover 2 Yurts. I actually quilted one this week with a linen back. The back looks great but using linen as binding is challenging.
I will try to do a simple customer quilt this week as I have to fit in a day of tuition and possibly leave room in my schedule for a large project with a ridiculously tight deadline. I have a conference call with a PR company on Monday that will decide if the next 3 weeks get devoted to a slightly unusual commission.
I was asked by P&Q Magazine if I would like to design a simple project. I made several sizes of "Gussetless Pouches" for slim gadgets such as laptops, ipads, cameras and phones. Fatter gadgets make the pouches bulge so strictly speaking those ought to have gussets... I took photos of each stage and I wrote some Linzi proof instructions, imagining that I was going to make it myself. I also managed to complete the class sample "Pimp My Quilt" (aka "Wild Wholecloth" in more circumspect parts of the country.) It is essentially a machine quilting tutorial that is enhanced with fabric paints and crystals.
I was invited to judge a Women's Rural Institute competition as a neutral outsider. I had to pick the most interesting and clearly presented schedule of events from each group for the forthcoming session. The programmes varied enormously with talks from the Air Ambulance Service to Head Gardeners and Sugar Craft Experts. I felt slightly under qualified for judging the efforts of ladies with more life experience than myself but they gave me a bottle of strawberry wine and sent me on my way. I made a mental note that if I want to fulfil my ambition of being in charge of a tea urn I should just buy one rather than join the ranks of the WRI, at least for another 30 years or so.
I had the Postie worried again one morning this week as Bloody Mabel shot past me out of the dog run before I managed to clip her lead on. She made a dash straight for Sooty the Rabbit with me sprinting after her in my wellies swearing profusely. Mabel doesn't respond to any commands given in a pleasant voice and after I had done several circuits of the rabbit run trying to out-dodge a determined terrier, I sounded deranged. The Postie waved politely, looking slightly perplexed and signalled that he had left me a parcel.
We had a rare and unusual live creature on the doorstep where Bitzi usually leaves her disembodied mice. There was a little Common Lizard just sitting there. They are extremely unusual in this part of Scotland and I don't know why it was there on such a chilly evening. Stunt Quilter, Terri from Wisconsin informed me that they are lucky! I decided that it meant that I should create another Yurt panel with a brownish tartan lizard to celebrate his appearance. A friend of mine spotted an adder when she walked her dog this week, another very rare occurrence. In fact, she sees lots of unusual things on her walks in the remote countryside. Last week it was a man jogging in the nude!
David and Fergus were away for the weekend spectating at a motor-racing event. The girls and I lit a camp fire, pulled up some old armchairs from the summer house, burnt some sausages and ate beans straight out of the pan with a wooden spoon. It was lovely watching the sun go down with a last of the summer Gin & Tonic until clouds of midges arrived. We went inside, sang along to DVD's of "Mamma Mia" & "Hairspray" and shared a big bag of M&M's - it was a fun evening!