There has been something wrong with my coffee this week. It seemed to lack flavour so I went on a quest to source some more interesting blends. I researched different types of coffee grinders, wondering if I should make a ritual out of preparing my own beans for elevenses. Ferret had made me a cup of Blue Mountain coffee at the Region 15E weekend that had strength without bitterness. I eventually ordered an extravagant tin direct from Jamaica to see if it really is worth it. I had coffee with Mo midweek and came home with two new hens. She is constantly downsizing her free range flock so we captured a couple using fishing nets and I put them in my empty pigsty. They have laid two eggs each every day while my other lazy four have produced one in total. I had to stock up on layers' pellets before my trip to Stirling so picked up several new pairs of dressage gloves which are perfect for domestic machine quilting.
As well as preparing for a lecture & workshop away from home, helping to make sets of wings for the school show, registering for North East Open Studios and typing away on Yurt related documents, I also began dyeing fabric for the USA Yurt roof. Disappointingly, I realised that I am short by almost 40 metres! This large miscalculation is because I had forgotten that the first roof was tweeds on the top side with dyed backing but the second one will have dyed fabrics on both sides. On a positive note, I experimented and found that one sachet of Hungarian dye will colour an impressive 6 metres at once.
I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Stirling Castle Quilters this week. It only took 2 ½ hours to drive to Stirling which is a compact city and I soon found my way around. The evening talk was held at the very well appointed Raploch Community Campus which had modern conference facilities. It was rather nice not to have to set up the entire yurt as I only took the panels. These were all laid out on tables - there are almost 36 now which is almost enough for two yurts but I aim to complete a minimum of 40 by the summer so that I have "spares" that can be swapped around. I managed to borrow a digital projector so the audience could see pictures of how the frame is constructed. They were really impressed by the scale of the project; they gave me a really very warm welcome and I felt that the talk went down really well. I was told that everyone was looking forward to seeing the fully dressed yurt at the Scottish Regional Day in Perth in September.
I took my Husqvarna sewing machine to Pemberton's in the centre of Stirling and was most impressed by the customer service. I looked at a couple of machines in case I decided to trade it in and tested them out on a piece of army canvas and quilted tweed. I felt that Andrew Pemberton imparted sound advice based on experience and knowledge. The technician looked at my machine straight away so that it could be diagnosed and discussed before I would head home the next day. I took some leaflets away to read overnight and I decided to trade in my embroidery machine for something better suited to quilting. An Elna Excellence 740 with an 11" throat is going to be delivered on Monday...
I pre-quilted a set of 9 Celtic kaleidoscopes for the Stirling workshop and wondered if it would be possible to draw them out instead to save some preparation time. I looked up spiro drawing applications on the computer but it was all a bit mathematical and I couldn't work out how to echo the lines. I ended up ordering a selection of books on circles, mandalas and vectors as I decided it would be far easier to photocopy, enlarge and trace the patterns. The books that have arrived so far seem to be written for people who have exceptional understanding of geometry and computer programming so I hope that the colouring books that have yet to be delivered will be easier for me to follow. The students in my workshop commented on how fun it was that the basic quilting had already been done so they could concentrate on the more intricate fillers and embellishments. They all worked very hard and produced super pieces which they all seemed to be pleased with!
I coerced Freya into helping me rearrange my workshop at the weekend as it seemed to be getting overcrowded and I was climbing around rolls of wadding. It looks much better and I have created enough space to accommodate Lenni, the smaller longarm that I will take to Festival of Quilts. Fenella helped me to clean out a 1950's kitchen cupboard which most sensible people would have taken to the dump. It is impossible to work out what its original colour may have been and it really could do with a total revamp but I can't spend days doing it up when I have so many other things to do, including considering repainting my bedroom for the first time in 10 years!