Sunday, 23 December 2012
Sunday, 16 December 2012
Monday, 10 December 2012
I had an impromptu and exciting visit from local willow weaver, Helen Jackson, who called in to discuss the design of my Coracle Project. We had both done some research on the construction of a simple Spey Currach, a very small, round fishing boat that would have been used by Ancient Celts. This is the structure that I want to cover in quilted chamois skins with bronze spandex on the reverse. We braved the icy wind and rain to see if I had any suitable long willow wands in the garden that could be woven in to the coracle then we sketched out rough ideas. It will be life sized but not intended for sea travel as I don't want to cover it in tar - instead, it can be hung on a wall for display. I want to sew on amber beads and shells and treat it more like some sort of a ceremonial Viking vessel. The concept is still evolving at this stage. Meanwhile I quilted a small owl fabric quilt for a customer to get bound and wrapped in good time for Christmas. I received my latest Welsh quilt from Ebay, soaked it in distilled vinegar and gave it a gentle wash. Although I like the idea of subtle, neutral throws, I love these huge, bright retro tapestries that don't match any decor and there simply is NO warmer blanket; essential when the temperatures plummet.Be'elzebub is also slowly unfolding organically. I am constructing large chunks of blocks that I hope will all fit together randomly when I have enough. The blocks that I like best are the rounded ones so I am thinking about making another bracken coloured version just using those blocks. If I make two earthy "non-wholecloths" then I can choose the one that appeals the most for the traditional-ish design and the other can be more modern and simple, like two companion quilts that are very similar in some ways but also very different to each other.The rest of my week was disrupted by snow. Durris School was cancelled on one of the days but the school where I was meant to be teaching remained open. On this occasion I stayed at home and achieved very little but I have been told that if this situation arises again then I should take my kids to school with me. They are not impressed with this idea as they had fun playing in the snow but if the winter is as bad as predicted then that is what will have to happen since the country roads that lead to their school can be icily treacherous, even for 4-wheel-drive vehicles.End of term activities are really gathering pace now. There will be a flurry of concerts, carol services, parties, secret santa gifts to find, cookies to make, presents to buy & wrap, tests to revise for, and colds to avoid. And in between all this, Fergus's birthday, some Christmas baking, school, and MAYBE even a little bit of sewing?
Sunday, 2 December 2012
Sunday, 25 November 2012
Sunday, 18 November 2012
Sunday, 11 November 2012
Tuesday, 6 November 2012
Sunday, 28 October 2012
Sunday, 14 October 2012
Sunday, 7 October 2012
Sunday, 30 September 2012
I made the most of time in the workshop to work on my 3 children's Christmas quilts. I impressed myself by making bias binding and kept the curved edges on the apple core quilt and the wedge shapes on the tumbler quilt. I added a fancy embroidery stitch all the way around the binding which really made it look festive. I used a simple template of ripples on Fergus's tumbler quilt but I could not resist filling in every other row with ribbon candy loops. I had intended to use the new feather template on Freya's giant hexagon quilt so that I could show how it looked to folk who may like to use them on DIY quilts but there were too many iffy inset seams that I wanted to stitch down firmly so it got swirled all over instead. The wool wadding and dyed flannelette sheeting on the back should make these quilts really cosy.
It was definitely a productive week here as I sewed wide borders around all of the house blocks so that they can later be cut wonkily and I worked steadily on a 36 page brochure on the USA Yurt that I would like to publish in time for Houston. It will be a stand-in until the real book is completed and it made me work on all sorts of sections that were previously half finished. The only sticking point will be finding a printer in the USA that can make a booklet cheaply enough so that I can sell them for a sensible amount. I spent some time trying to upload my PDF onto one or two online publishers but it was not as straightforward as I hoped and yet again I found myself switching between the new Macbook and the cranky old PC.
After much deliberation, I applied for one of the primary school teaching jobs. One minute I felt pleased by my decision then the next I felt sheer panic. Mo did a tarot card reading over coffee on Wednesday morning which was uncannily apt: it suggested that I should not worry about making a career change as everything would just work out how it was meant to be. Obviously, I don't intend to plan my life around a light-hearted tarot reading but it was a relief to be "told" to just relax and see what pans out.
My latest quest is to invent a recipe for crunchy, cheesy, seeded crackers. I have become fond of gourmet crispbreads that are delicious but expensive. My first attempt looked like overdone pitta-bread, tasting rather like dog biscuits so for my next batch I may just use a recipe that I have for canine treats and see if that works out better. If that fails then I will have to accept that the shop ones are perfect as they are and simply get on with the mass-production of bias binding to keep myself busy.
Sunday, 23 September 2012
Sunday, 16 September 2012
Sunday, 9 September 2012
My excitement about my new MacBook soon turned to frustration as I could not seem to make a smooth transfer of data from my old laptop to the new one. It took a few phone calls to Apple Support until I found a technician who was able to explain the "migration assistant" procedure clearly. Having copied everything over, I realised that I was not familiar enough with the Mac to do some of my everyday tasks quickly and easily. On the day that I set aside for emails and writing I had both laptops and the ipad running on my kitchen table. The plan had been to reformat the old laptop and give it to one of the children but it may be while until I am confident enough to use I-work instead of Microsoft Office.
I created a Powerpoint step by step photo slideshow to demonstrate how to assemble the USA Yurt. I won't arrive in Houston until Quilt Festival but the special exhibits also appear at Quilt Market so a team will have to put it up without me.
I had a diverse week in school as usual, teaching sex education, hockey, RE and finally being presented with a new Primary One class with no warning on Friday morning. I deliberately avoided teaching infants when I was a full time teacher but I managed to muddle through the day with the help of a patient classroom assistant who knew the words for the "Welcome Song" and password for the electronic Smartboard.
I did eventually manage to piece the Oz Bewitched blocks together: some seams lined up beautifully whereas others are decidedly offset, which is a little puzzling, but this often happens when using gold lame so I am not going to be doing any unpicking. I have to contribute to an online article about Feedsack quilts and the Willowbay Herb yurt panel will make an appearance in "Machine Quilting Unlimited" so I decided to take a couple of new pictures as it was so sunny on Saturday morning. I confess that I did not take advantage of the glimpse of summer and sit in a deckchair with a book as I felt that I would rather try to make progress on the condensed Yurt brochure that I hope to produce for Houston. However, I discovered that I had not actually written as much as I thought I had since the last time I worked on it so I have got rather a lot to crack on with...!
Sunday, 2 September 2012
Sunday, 26 August 2012
I arrived back from FOQ late on Monday evening glad that I had sorted out school uniforms and stationery before I went away. School started the next day and I had to unpack and return the van. My workshop looked like it had been ransacked and I had to find space for the extra longarm machine boxes until they are sold or go to another exhibition. Meanwhile, three schools phoned requesting supply teaching commitments from me. I had hoped to have a few days to sort out my correspondence and workspace but I found myself unable to turn them down. I have to remind myself that these wages can go towards Houston or a new laptop since my red Dell is being so temperamental but I also need to keep plenty of time to work on my projects.
I taught at my own children's school for the first time and they eventually managed to ignore the fact that I was related to them after a while. I laughed when I could not identify the owners of a couple of unnamed sweaters and the younger children suggested that I should smell them to work out who they belonged to. I actually enjoyed teaching such pleasant and well mannered children. The day passed very quickly; they really seemed to enjoy my maths, art and PE lessons.
I had a DIY quilter here for several hours day to complete a wedding quilt using a tricky stencil board. In the end most of the correspondence got done but the blogging was neglected for the week until I caught up with myself again. I still have a term's worth of PE, RE and sex education lessons to plan. Luckily, the schools have given me some guidelines...
I took Freya into town on Saturday; we had fun browsing at ukeleles and went for a lovely lunch. She has promised that she will help me to put the summerhouse back together now that it has all been freshly painted. I want to make curtains to go inside an old glass cupboard that has seen better days. Yet again, I wish that I could stop time or clone myself in order to get everything done that I want to do in as little time as possible so that I have plenty more time left for quilting!