Monday, 30 May 2011

Whirlwind (with text this time!)

The week started off with damaging gale force winds. The Yurt tried to take off, the henhouse blew over, branches broke off and at least half of the cherry crop was lost. It was not until the next day when I was in the full swing of multi-tasking in my workshop that I had a powercut that lasted for several hours. This curtailed Fergus' electric guitar lesson and Fenella's internet based homework. Of course, this was nothing compared to the devastating tornado that killed so many people in Joplin, Missouri USA.

Somehow I was "in the creative zone" this week and flitted between several projects. I added some shot cotton bits to an African fabric panel which I may treat like a wholecloth. I appliqu├ęd a Celtic knotwork twin for one of the Stunt Quilter's Yurt panels. Adding the black bias was really fiddly so I don't think it is a technique that I would rush to repeat. I intend to mark on some fancy trapunto like the original and see if Lenni will enable me to quilt bravely and smoothly around a drawn design. I worked on Ellen's diamonds quilt. She had been given a Spanish fabric kit that contained linen, velvet and damask and since the diamonds were all cut on the bias, the resulting quilt top was very stretchy. It would have been very challenging to quilt this on a domestic machine so I insisted that I would longarm it instead. I used wool for warmth and also to take up a bit of the fullness. Ellen commented that this lifted a feeling of guilt that she had kept putting off finishing that particular project. I also worked on the Celtic Drunkards Path panel and was pleased with my first attempts at curved cross hatching using boomerang shaped rulers. As a reward for all of this industry, I "allowed" myself to piece the African Fabric Shop wall hanging kit that I bought at LLQS. I even spent some time trying to finish drafting the remaining Yurt Book projects. I want to produce a very rough draft so that potential publishers can see exactly what I have in mind.

It was a busier than usual week for the children; Fergus passed his cycling proficiency test and Freya packed for her school trip to France. I spent a fraught Saturday with Fenella "assisting" with her homework to produce a realistic model pirate ship. I think it is really tricky using junk to make a boat so that it does not look like a shoebox covered in paint and sellotape. We both lost our tempers but the final result looks shipshape; at least, my linen sails hand sewn onto the lollystick masts look pretty authentic.

The biggest fun that I have had this week was making bread on a daily basis. Now that my sourdough mix is doing what it is meant to do, I make up a "sponge" the night before, add the rest of the flour in the morning, then get the Kitchenaid mixer to do a couple of kneadings before baking in the oven. I have varied the type of flour each time and made genuinely wholesome bread. I ordered a selection of unusual flours and seeds from a mill in Gloucestershire, although the children would probably prefer less robust combinations and look unimpressed when offered bread and homemade lemon curd as an after school snack AGAIN! There is a danger that I will have to eat most of the loaves myself so I decided that if there were spare slices then I would freeze them as the bread makes extra crunchy toast. I read the River Cottage Bread handbook from cover to cover and I now have aspirations to become an artisan baker...


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