Sunday, 22 February 2009

Petticoats and Kites

The petticoat to go under Jenny's prom dress was becoming a bit of a UFO so on Saturday I made a concerted effort to finish it. With the proper petticoat from the company where we bought the dress costing £49.00, and the net costing us only £4.95 for 5 metres from Dainty Supplies we had a go. With an original 1950s petticoat belonging my mum to copy from and a picture on a website we set off and saved £44.00.

With the dress making theme in mind we also had a long browse in the haberdashery dept of John Lewis on Saturday. Rosie saw this monkey fabric from Creatures and Critters and decided she wanted a skirt made with it. Now there's a challenge. Patterns were on special offer so we splashed out. I haven't got any further on the star quilt for jenny, so the monkeys will have to wait a while.

Today was another mild sunny day so off we went for a walk in Chopwell Woods. Lesson 1 - if you take a map take your reading glasses too, Lesson 2- take someone with you who knows how to read the map.

We set off on the blue route 1 1/2 miles, never saw a blue sign post yet but managed half of the red trail and half of the green trail. We did see these strange sculptures in the woods which weren't even on the map.

Eventually we asked someone for directions and they pointed us on the Red Kite Route and asked if we had seen a pair of red kites flying around. Birds of prey, Red kites have been reintroduced into the area of the Derwent Valley and are now breeding successfully. We couldn't see anything but trees.

Desperate for a cup of tea (and of course a cake ) we drove off to the local garden centre and the first thing we saw gliding majestically above the gardens were the pair of red kites! We sat at a table by the window and watched them for about half an hour in warmth and comfort. Here is a distant picture of one of them, not bad for the view from a cafe window, if I ever master photoshop I will be able to enlarge it.

Happy quilting x

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Snowdrops and a walk in the Woods

At last the ice and snow have thawed, just in time for the school half term so we are able to get out and about. Today we set off for a picnic and a good long walk. We went to Allen Banks which is a National Trust owned walk amongst ancient woodland. The steep sided gorge where the River Allen flows down to meet the River South Tyne was once part of a large estate which was landscaped in Victorian times to make pleasure grounds for the nearby Ridley Hall.

It was good to see these snow drops had sprung up under the snow and there was quite a drift of them down by the river. After a picnic lunch we set off up the valley towards the first bridge

This is just the sort of bridge the Three Billy Goats Gruff had to cross but Jenny wasn't taking any chances and jumped up and down to scare the troll and to wobble the bridge and scare me too.

Leaving the main track and the other walkers behind we started uphill towards Morrallee Tarn. The climb was heavy going but worth it as it was so quiet and peaceful up there, only the sound of the birds and me gasping for breath. We have seen deer up there before but today there was only a large Heron sitting on the Tarn looking for fish. He flew off as we crashed out of the woods disturbing his peace.

I have eventually finished my piece of Durham quilting from the Sandie Lush class. Once I got the hang of it , I found it quite relaxing to do. My stitches are about 4 times bigger than Sandie's were but I think she has had a bit more practice than I have.

Margaret finished hers in a couple of days , it has taken me a couple of weeks. How I have to make them into a pair of cushions.

Last week I also made a quick bag from the Tilda Sew Pretty Homestyle book. This was quick and easy to make and using up fabric from my stash , there were only the handles to pay for.

Oh well, back to work tomorrow.

Happy Quilting xx

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

North Country Quilting

Great weekend, Saturday was a whole day of quilting with a class in North Country Quilting by Sandie Lush organised by The Fat Quarters
"This day will give you opportunity to explore quilting patterns traditional to the North East of England, learn how they were made and use them to make your very own heirloom or stitch a cushion from one of the patterns Sandie has already designed for you." This was Kim's flier for the day and it certainly lived up to expectation.

The Friday afternoon girls were out in force, Helen, Margaret and myself seen here heads down and working hard.

We started off by tracing the pattern with Derwent watercolour pencils, (no more fancy blue water soluble markers) and quickly learnt that with traditional quilting , anything goes, alsorts of fabric and thread.

I struggled getting the rocking motion using two thimbles and the hoop but when I got home and the pressure was off I got along much better.

This is Sandie's example of the pattern I am doing Durham Quilting #2. The stitches were tiny and so even.

I eventually got a photo of Sandie and Kim holding up the examples of her work. She is very modest about her beautiful designs and her wonderful stitching.

While I would not intend to design my own quilt, it was interesting to learn how it was done in days gone by and the differences between the North county quilting and the Welsh quilting.

And I got home in time for Jenny's birthday party. Here she is blowing out the candles. I retired to my bed with my quilting and left them all to it.

Hope you can see this , I am having trouble opening pictures on blogger

Happy Quilting xx