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Saturday, 29 January 2011

Crafts4Crafters

It was another a very cold day yesterday, with temperatures not getting above zero, so what better place to be then a craft show! My friend and I drove down to the Westpoint Arena in Exeter for Craft4Crafters show. It is not mainly a stitching show, there are many various crafts stalls which I wasn't interested in, but you never know what you find and new ideas you see.
I forgot to take my camera this time, so sorry, no pictures from the show itself.

It was the first time I met in person the "sashiko lady" Susan Briscoe, who also has a blog, and we chatted for a while about her workshop in Prague.
I bought from her a pattern for a quilt called "99 Treasures", which involves 99 applique circles, and a pack of 99 fabric squares of lovely Japanese fabric.


I also came across this lovely stand, where Melisa Choroszewska is selling her had dyed silks and hand made porcelain buttons.


The real "sweet shop" for me was the stand with Pearsalls silk threads, with their choice of over 300 beautiful shades of silk threads. This very old company is now owned by a friendly team Carol and John, who bought the company from the previous owners who didn't want it any more. If it wasn't for Carol and John, the company would had disappeared. They are doing all the dyeing themselves.
I was very tempted to buy one of their beautiful kits, but I did controlled myself and bought "only" threads.This is my selection from yesterday. What am I going to use them for? Well, I don't know yet, but I just......need them! LOL!


I was also pleased that the Really Useful Box company had a stand there, because I like their storage boxes and I could buy some more.


I have also taken details for Snazzys. Not something I thought I would be interested in, but while my friend was buying a couple of their products and I was just looking around, the idea of stamping on fabric started developing in my head. This needs some more thought, but I have their card...

The one thing which lets the show down is the lack of seating areas for refreshments, with visitors having to sit on the floor to have their sandwiches, the shortage of tables and chairs in the restaurant, with people hovering with their trays with food, nowhere to sit. This always annoys me, it is a sort of meanness on the part of the organisers (you don't buy our food, you will not sit on our chairs), opening only one of the two restaurants.... Best not to get started on this. And yes, we will be back for more.
But leaving this aside, it was a very enjoyable day, in the warm!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

spring quilt







I am in my "patchwork & quilting mode" at the moment, so I have decided to take out fabrics I bought in Sweden last year and make a start on a new quilt. I found some greens to match at Midsomer Quilting last Saturday.

The design comes from a Magic Patch magazine and it has a different name, but I am calling it my "Spring Quilt", because I think the fabrics have that "spring" feeling I am so hungry for at the moment.






I have bee trying to find more signs of spring in the garden today.

There is more colour indoor, the cimbidium orchid which started to flower before Christmas, is now in its full beauty, and there are more blossoms to come.


A couple of new arrivals for my bookshelf came from Amazon today, both at £0.01 each!
I should make clear that both books are second hand and well used.



For anyone in the West Country of England, there is Craft4Crafters show at the Westpoint Arena near Exeter, from tomorrow for 3 days. Not only stitching, but I am sure it will be worth a visit. 

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Midsomer Quilting and Chew Valley

We are back to minus temperatures and the sun can't make up its mind if to come out or not. Some action was needed and we decided to have a day out, to lift the spirits. The excuse was that I needed some more fabric (as if I need an excuse!) for my new project, to compliment the fabric I bought in Sweden last summer.
This time we decided to drive north, to Midsomer Quilting.


The shop might not look very big from the outside, but that is deceiving. It is like the tardis, it opens up in front of you, with shelves cramped with lovely fabrics. The choice is not easy, but nice people are there to help and I came away happy. They even have a "creche for men", with comfortable chairs and as much coffee and tea, as they want.
Even DH came away with something for himself, a book "No Thankful Village", written by Chris Howell, a co-founder of Midsomer Quilting. It is about the community in the area around Midsomer Norton and Radstock, which he obviously feels very strongly about, and how it was affected by the Great War 1914 - 1918. This area is a part of an ancient coal fields in Mendip Hills.
Thank you De, Birgitta and Chris!


After we drove to Chew Magna and had a very nice lunch at a local pub. From there it is not very far to Chew Valley Lake, a place we have not been before. It is a reservoir created to supply drinking water to Bristol and surrounding area, but it is also a very interesting place for birdwatchers, if you happen to be one.




It is a lovey area, with the Mendip hills in the background, a nice place for a walk or a summer picnic. But not today, it is cold and it feels even colder near the water. Time to head for home.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

my first quilt ever, finished at last

 It was about 9 years ago when I got seriously interested in patchwork & quilting, but I didn't know how to start. By a coincidence a new, one year, evening patchwork & quilting course was just about to start at a local school. So, for next 10 months, one evening a week I was learning all about the quilt, from planning, measuring, choice of fabrics, construction....We could choose how large our quilt was going to be. Most ladies went for a baby size or a lap quilt, possibly a single size one. I went for a full size double! (You can tell I was new to this, no idea!!) We all were learning the same blocks, adjusted to the size of our quilt.
We started stitching by hand, but later could also use a sewing machine.
For a reason I can no longer remember, I decided that my first quilt was going to be all hand stitched!
Needless to say, that when the course was finished, my quilt wasn't. It was all hand pieced and all blocks were hand quilted. The course finished, something new and more exiting came along (don't ask what) and my quilt was forgotten, or rather, it has been pushed from corner to corner since. Just under 2 x 2m, my largest UFO. Until last week.
Now, I don't do new year resolutions, by now I know I can't keep them. I don't make stitching plans, I pick up and put down various stitching as the mood takes me and that works for me. But I realised that if I don't finish this quilt now, I never will. Time to introduce it to the machine. So I quilted in the ditch around the blocks, hand quilted around the hearts on the borders and stitched on the binding. May be at some point in the future I could do more quilting on the borders, but that will do for now.


Yes, I can see quite a few faults and the colours and the fabrics would not be my choice today. But despite that, this is not a bad addition to our guest room.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

january

I dislike January, I feel it is a wasted month. After a very busy December, it all goes very quiet. There are no family birthdays and anniversaries. And I feel tired, it happens every year. It is a lack of sunlight and daylight in general. In the autumn, when the days are getting noticeably shorter and the weather gets colder, I look forward to my stitching by the fire. By mid January this picture has lost its romantic appeal and I miss my garden. The days have been getting a little longer every day for a month now, but it is only noticeable only on a bright day and we have had a very few of those. Some people say that they find February a long month, but by the end of February, if we are lucky, we can see the first signs of spring. But before that anything can still happen.
Today has been one of those rare sunny winter days, so I ventured into the garden. After a very harsh December and heavy rains last week it is sad looking and muddy. But there are some little signs of colour.


the hellebores are slowly recovering














snowdrops are pushing through









and surprisingly, pulmonarias are looking very pretty






                                                      little pieces of hope

Saturday, 15 January 2011

books

I am little bit in a stitching limbo at the moment. I haven't anything new to show, although I have decided to resurrect my largest UFO, but I will show that later.

So, in the meantime I will show you a couple of books.




The first one only just arrived, "Quilt Artistry" by Yoshiko Jinzenji. I saw it on Deborah's blog (thank you, Deborah, for sharing this). I want to find some time this weekend to read it, but just browsing through I am taken by the beauty of Yoshiko's quilts and the subtle colours she works with.


















The second book, "Croatian National Costumes", has been on my bookshelf for some years now. I bought it during one of my visits to Croatia. Written in both Croatian and English, it is a beautiful book, a real treasure. It is a visual feast and an inspiration for anyone interested in embroidery and folk art. Croatian culture is very diverse, with many influences, from surrounding countries of the former Austro-Hungarian  Empire, the old Venetian Republic and the Ottoman Turkish Empire, and over the centuries all this has been reflected in their national costumes.
I will show just a few pictures, but you can find more pictures here.
















I have yet to find a similar book from a country of my origin. So, any Czech bloggers out there, if you'll come across one, please let me know.  We also have a very rich history and I would love to own a similar book about Czech national costumes.


The art in which there is life does not depict the past, but continues it.
(Auguste Rodin)

weather - forever changing

Only a week ago the nature made its own design on my car windscreen. It is a lot warmer now, temperatures up around 10C, but it is wet and very windy, the nature has its own ideas. This is the English winter we are more used to.

Our thoughts are constantly with the people of Queensland. Our son has been trying to contact his friend who lives in Brisbane, but so far no reply. As far as I know, all my blogging friends are safe.
We are also thinking about the people of Brazil and Sri Lanka, who too are battling with floods in their countries. We are all so helpless when it comes to such forces of nature.

Friday, 7 January 2011

baking cover

Christmas seems to be a distant memory, despite the fact that it was only two weeks ago. The first week of the new year is behind us and we are back to our routine. I am now working a couple of days a week, partly to support my stitching addiction and partly to help to keep my brain in the right gear. With the school holidays over, for three afternoons a week we are again helping with our two grandchildren, ages 3 and 5. By the end of those days there is not much energy left over, on both sides! But we constantly see it as a great privilege to be part of their lives.

So, it was nice to start a new stitching year with a quick and easy project. In December I wrote about a pattern for baking cover from Northern Quilts, which I won on May Britt's and Hanne's giveaway.
It did not turn out to be as easy as I thought. After I traced the stitchery pattern onto my fabric and done some of my own freehand wording, I then ironed over it! Which of course meant that after I did all the stitchery, the tracing pencil would not rinse out! I did not want to try to wash it, thinking this would set it even more.
At this point I really thought that I would have to re-do the whole thing again. In the end, realizing that I can't do any more harm, I soaked it in Vanish and put it through the wash. And hurrah, it worked!

             Why is it, that the simplest things in our life sometimes turn out to be not simple at all!

                   So, this is my baking cover, being used for the first time today.


Thank you, May Britt, for helping me with the translation from Norwegian!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

sharing


Last month I posted this picture on my blog. Lorenza asked me if she could use my picture, and of course I agreed. I was very curious what she was going to do with it. Please visit her blog and have a look.
Isn't she clever? I am so pleased that my picture was an inspiration for her project!
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