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Sunday, 30 May 2010

sunday, sunday

There is so much more to do in the garden now, we have been watering not only pots, but the whole garden, that is how warm and dry it has been throughout May. Cooler last few days, even some rain, but enough to make much difference.

Some presents for my birthday, a quilt book from the American Museum in Bath, which I wanted, and a bag for some projects to take on holiday.

We plan to go to Scandinavia again this year. We had been there many times before, we started going camping there when our children were small. Sweden is a great country for camping, with very good camp sites and very child friendly.
When our children grew up, we carried on. Our camping days are over, we like a bit more comfort now, so we rent a cottage. We have explored various parts of Sweden and Norway over the years.
For various reasons we still like to take a car, in the past it was easy to get a direct 24 hour ferry from England to Sweden or Norway, but those routes no longer exist, probably with the coming of fly-drive packages. So now we have to take a longer route, 18 hour ferry to Denmark, drive to the north of the country and take a shorter ferry to Sweden, which means an extra time and cost.
I always find a lot of inspiration in those countries, specially their fabrics, colours and home furnishings and decorations. One of the reasons why we need the car, there is always something we just "have to have".

I will have to decide which books and project to take with me, nothing too complicated, something easy to pick up and put down. I will probably get some blocks ready for my Tail Feathers quilt, ready to be embroidered. Or something from my UFO's? I know I will change my mind a few times yet!

Few years ago we planted some large irises in our garden, but they did not do very well, so we have moved them to various places around the garden and in the end have given up. There are lots of thing we can't grow because our garden is very exposed to the strong west winds. But this year we have a surprise! This beautiful iris has made it!

Sunday, 23 May 2010

summer at last

The summer has arrived in England, the last few days and nights were very warm and dry. We got up very early on Sunday morning and drove to the forest on top of the hill.
Leaving the car on the main road, we walked through the forest, in the morning sunshine, heading for the "settlement", the Parkhill Camp.

The Parkhill Camp is an interesting area. Is is believed that during an iron age there was a large settlement here.

The contours of land in front of us certainly suggest that this site is man made, but by whom?

But the main reason we come here in the spring is the very English sight, the carpet of bluebells.

On the way home we picked some hedge parsley and pink campion.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

hardanger cushion

This is work in progress, an UFO I have just rediscovered. When finnished, I plan to use it as an applique for a cushion. I have now bought a piece of silk for the cushion, so I have no more excuse!

Also, some new threads arrived this week for a couple of projects I am hoping to do in the near future.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

"Quilts 1700 - 2010"

The V&A Museum in London has this year put on a major exhibition "Quilts 1700-2010", to celebrate 300 years of British quilt making. As soon as I found out about it in early March, I booked the tickets for the exhibition and our coach tickets. We are lucky to have wonderful coach service, which runs twice a day, every day, and it takes us in just under two and half hours to central London.
I was looking forward very much to this exhibition and I wasn't disappointed. The quilts very were well displayed, be it in dimmed light, because of the age of some of the exhibits. Some were from V&A own collection, some from other public and private collections. It was quite amazing to see, how quiltmaking recorded events of the time they were made in. I will not write an extensive review here, others are and will be doing it so much better. I spent much longer walking around the exhibition then I expected, trying to remember what I saw. Which, of course, was impossible. And as the cameras were not allowed due to the age of the quilts, I just had to buy the book. I am pleased I did, it gives so much more details and background of the quilts.
There were at least a couple of times when I could feel my throat getting tight and the tears were not far away. The first was a seeing and reading the story of the "Rajah Quilt" from the National Gallery of Australia. This was made in 1841 by 180 women prisoners on board of the "Rajah", which sailed from England for Van Diemen's Land.
The other was a patchwork coverlet made in 1943 in Changi Prison in Singapore. It was made in secret, from small scraps of fabric, by 20 Girl Guides, aged between 8 and 16, as a surprise present for their Girl Guide leader. It has the 20 names embroidered on it.
And there was a quilt made by the Canadian Red Cross Society, which made quilts for the victims of the Second World War. This one was donated to a little girl, who lived in London in 1944. The family home was demolished during an air raid and they lost most of their possessions. The "little girl" owns the quilt to this day.
And I could go on ...

Which leaves me with one thought - who, if anyone, will be looking at my quilts in 300 years?

Sunday, 9 May 2010

morning in the woods

We had a lovely walk in the woods this morning. I think the spring is the loveliest time here. (In the autumn I will tell you that that autumn is the best time..)
When we got back, we made pancakes for breakfast.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

more spring pictures

what am I stitching now?

I have had this book for a long time and every time I looked at it, I just wanted to get stitching, but then I looked at the details... and I put it back on the shelf.
But last night I actually started. It is going to be a slow work, because quite a bit of it is new to me.
Schwalm embroidery is of a German origin, very similar to Hedebo from Denmark.
It incorporates various surface stitches, pulled fabric, drawn thread, needlelace and needleweaving. Traditional design is based on 'tree of life', which include hearts, tulips, the sun, pine cones, flowers, fruit, leaves, dove...
To practice as many stitches as possible, I have decided to make a sampler.

And there is the Fabric book cover, which I have been collecting bits for, but at the moment I just don't seem to have any inspiration as to the design. It would a shame to spoil the lovely piece of silk I have chosen for it.

I am also working on Tail Feathers quilt, see post 9th April.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

hapazome stitchery becomes project5-embellished fabric book

My embroidery on the hapazome sample has become a stitch sampler, so I have decided to treat it as another project for my fabric book (when I eventually put it together). Also, the size is just right. I have enjoyed this little embroidery and I look forward to do something like this again later in summer, when plants with stronger colours will be around.
While I was taking pictures around the garden, I managed to catch this lovely bee on the phlox.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

hapazome stitchery

Last night I started doing some embroidery on one of the hapazome samples. This is my favourite one, young Japanese maple leaves and flowers. But I don't think I will be doing any more this weekend, as our son will be home first time since his holiday in Australia and unfortunate delay in Hong Kong, so lots to talk about!

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