Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Santas coming !!

Santa's coming but this giant Santa wouldn't get down the chimney and just to give you some scale here he is with Jenny.

He is on the hill behind Dobbies Garden centre beside Newcastle airport and must be seen by all the passengers taking off and landing there. I hope the reindeer steer well clear of the runway when they come to collect him on Christmas Eve.

The Christmas tree is up - quite traditional with red and gold baubles but this year they are hung in clusters of 3 - ( an idea we stole from a tree at Slaley Hall but quite effective )Jenny has had a busy week. Here she is at the school awards ceremony being presented with an award for food technology by the Headmaster.

And I have been sewing gift bags - to save the planet from wrapping paper I have made a few of these reuasable shopping bags to put gifts in.
And finally that Tilda apple I made ages ago found its place as a Christmas table decoration.

Happy quilting and a Happy Christmas too xx

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Too Busy for Blogging

Now is the time of year when all women are tearing out their hair in preparation for Christmas - never mind in 12 days time it will all be over and we can look forward to the summer and holidays!!

Happy wrappings xx

Sunday, 29 November 2009

A Grand Day Out

A sneak preview of Christmas. I have at last settled down to getting something completed for a Christmas gift - I can't let you in on the bigger picture in case it spoils the surprise - just to say this was very much " I saw this and thought of you "
And here's another little corner. Lots of applique, a little bit of embroidery , some hand quilting, machine stitching and even some stuffing -- can you guess what it is yet?

Last week the Friday afternoon class had an outing to a quilt show by The Durham Quilters at Durham County Hall. The work was very good and inspired us all to go back to class in the afternoon and get down to work . Some of it was so good we did think about just giving up as we could never reach those standards.
This was my favourite quilt because of the story behind it. The quilt was made by a lady for her 16 year old grand daughter's birthday. It was made from her baby dresses. It had a lovely soft look of vintage fabrics and there were also some photos of the lucky girl printed onto fabric and incorporated into the quilt. A beautiful heirloom.

This Japanese style quilt was very eye catching and something that I felt I could attempt - From a book by Susan Briscoe - I'll have to look out for that.

However this was the quilt that made us think we should just go home - give up quilting now and perhaps take up model aircraft building. We could never attain these standards. A beautiful quilt made to commemorate the quilters 40th wedding anniversary - perhaps if I start now and worked for the next 14 years I might have a chance.

Thanks to all the talented quilters, whom I haven't been able to name here, for your inspiration.

A Grand Day Out !

Happy Quilting x

Friday, 13 November 2009

Prizes in the Post

I am a winner!! A couple of weeks ago a large brown envelope arrived - a very long letter from the bank manager ? No ! A prize from the giveaway in the September issue of the British Patchwork and Quilting magazine. Ideal for Jenny to take to school for her textiles A'level class.

This inspired me to get on with the pinwheels quilt which is now finished. This is not a very good picture - it would have shown off better on a sunny day in the garden but I didn't like to hang a white quilt in a tree!I have also finished the cardigan for baby too. This pattern is from the Womens Weekly magazine . It is knit in one piece starting at the back rib, cast on for the arms then off again for the neck opening and so on down the front to the front rib. The yarn is Rowan Classic Baby Alpaca DK, soft but warm.This time of year it is always good to look out for a holly bush to go back with the secateurs on Christmas eve to snip bits for Christmas decoration. There are loads of berries about at the moment - hope there are some left for Christmas.Today we have been out walking and the low winter sunshine showed up Prudhoe castle against the autumn leaves.
On a recent trip to Durham again the clear skies and sunshine show the autumn colours off to their best on the banks of the River Wear.
And finally, not for those who don't like heights , I wouldn't like to clean the windows of the Sage building on the Newcastle Gateshead Quayside.

Happy Quilting xx
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Thursday, 22 October 2009

Apple Muffins and Petite Fours

By special request , here is the recipe for the apple muffins featured in the last blog.

Apple Muffins
3-4 apples, peeled cored and diced.
12oz self raising flour
7oz sugar
4oz butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
cup of milk 9 fl oz

Heat oven to 180C Mix flour, sugar and apples together in a bowl, stir in melted butter then stir in beaten egg. Then add the milk Don't mix too much. Dollop mixture into about 12-15 muffin cases in a muffin tin. ( using an ice cream scoop, 2 scoops per muffin case keeps the muffins the same size and the cases nice and clean. I did not have a scoop hence the more rustic look). Bake in the middle of the oven until mixture is set and they have turned golden on top. Eat the first day for a fresh baked taste but the second day they are sticky and yummy.

And these are the Petite Fours. New in the Moda bake shop range , they are pre cut fabric squares 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" 160 squares in all. I found them last week on the Moda bake shop website here and then when I was shopping and sewing at The Fat Quarters on Friday, there they were just waiting for me to buy them. Delicious and entirely free of calories.

I got stuck in on the pin wheels and got the quilt top sewn together, with some reduced fabric from Hobbycraft, its all layered up and ready to quilt.

I have decided to quilt by hand quite simply with perle cotton. This has been made much easier with the purchase of a new pair of reading specs, I can see what I'm doing - although I still can't thread a needle without a needle threader. I wanted a soft feel to the quilt rather than the stiffer feel that machine quilting gives.
And finally I didn't have to go far for this weeks scenic shot. The view from my bedroom window is of the lovely Autumn colours of the cherry tree in the front garden.

Happy Quilting. xx

Monday, 12 October 2009

What a way to spend an afternoon!!

Really - what more could a girl want? This months new patchwork and quilting mag, a cup of tea and an apple muffin.

In an unaccustomed moment of domesticity yesterday I made these apple muffins. With plenty more apples on the tree still to be used they made a change from apple crumble and apple pie and they are much more easily transported in lunch boxes (or down the garden with a cup of tea and a magazine)

I did deserve the break though as I had just had a long walk down the river to Wylam. Instead of the short walk 20 minutes along the riverside path and back to the car , I packed my sandwiches and walked to Wylam intending to get the train back.

Unfortunately the train pulled out of the station just as I got there but it did give me time to go back and photograph this heron and cormorant sitting on a rock in the river. Believe me that's what these 2 dots in the middle of the river are. Earlier I saw a kingfisher - the first time I have ever seen one in the wild in this country- but it didn't stay still long enough for a photo opportunity.
I just love the autumn colours of the berries
and these teasels growing wild by the river were quite autumnal too. Apparently their seeds are food for finches.

Oh and I have done some sewing too. More pin wheels and more lavender bags. With the plaid ones I was going for a masculine effect but my dear son informs me there is no such thing as a manly lavender bag!!

Happy quilting xx

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Lavender sachets

With a good crop of lavender this year I have made some lavender sachets to hang in the wardrobe. There was an underlying reason for this - I went to the class at the Fat Quarters on Friday with my sewing machine and a bag of scraps instead of the fabric I needed to work on the pin wheel baby quilt.

A quick trip into Oxfam on Saturday to buy some cards and I found they now do a range of craft materials. These Zari patchwork pieces come from Varanesi. The India shop works to provide sustainable employment for disadvantaged producers in India. I used two of the patchwork squares to make a pretty little coin purse - lined with calico and a short zip ( 20% off all haberdashery at Robbs of Hexham).

I did eventually get around to doing some more of the pin wheels - they are a bit tedious. I have decided to modify the pattern and only use 30 blocks not 36, making the quilt rectangular rather than square. 27 done - only 3 more to go!!

This weeks scenic shot is of the Tyne Valley looking North towards the Roman Wall.

In the distance we saw these ....

and followed the sign...

Well who could resist??

Happy quilting xx

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Durham Quilting in Weardale

What better place to see some Durham Quilting than Weardale in County Durham itself.
The good weather enticed us out of the house ;- first to picnic on the moors
and then to visit the Weardale museum at Ireshopeburn.
I had pleasant memories of a holiday there as a teenager with my friend Judy. We swam in the river every day- and that was before it was called wild swimming and was the trendy thing to do.
The Weardale museum is also the home of the Weardale tapestry. The 16 foot tapestry in five large panels was sewn in freestyle embroidery by Friends in Stitches. It depicts the history of Weardale from prehistoric times to the present day.
There were 3 quilts in the museum too. A whole cloth quilt dated 1875 in the downstairs "kitchen" and this one hanging in the stairwell.

And then there was this fabulous whole cloth quilt by Amy Emms on display too. It was good to be able to get right up close to look at the intricate stitching.

Here is more of a close up.

I am still working on the pin wheels - they are quite slow to do. I am trying to keep them quite precise, I do each one exactly the same however some come out perfect and others don't!!

I made a pin cushion and needle case for my DD who has just started an A level textile course. I made her this starter kit with scissors, pins and tape measure to stop my kit disappearing off to school.

I have done a bit knitting too, finishing off a beanie hat in the left over baby cashmerino to match the little cardigan. I just hope the baby is a boy - I don't think this teal colour is unisex- I thought it more of a green when I bought it.
I've also bought a couple of magazines - I don't actually knit or sew in bed but I can always read these for inspiration.

Happy Quilting xx

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Autumn Harvest

There's not a lot to harvest in my garden but the apple tree is always reliable. This year again there is a good crop, big apples- for cooking when they are first picked but by October they should be sweet enough to eat. We have had the first of many apple crumbles.

Lavender is the other crop in the garden - a good bunch hanging up to dry.

The summer bedding plants in the hanging baskets are finished and its time for pansies.

But I did come in from the garden and do a little bit of knitting - for a friends winter baby. This Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino pattern I have knitted before.

Happy Quilting xx