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Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Scandinavian Rose 1

              Cold and dull outside, but clear and bright in,
          I have finished the first stitchery for Scandinavian Rose quilt,

and have started stitching the next one.

I am very happy with my choice of the red thread. Although you can't really see it very well from the picture, it is a lovely shade. I have washed the first stitchery since and not a hint of a red dye.

© 2013

Saturday, 23 February 2013

sweet cumin

The cold weather is with us again, although very dry, it is trying to snow just a little.
But I want to tell your about a very "warm" day I had yesterday.

I like Indian food, providing it is not too hot, but when ever I looked at recipes in my cookery books, I changed my mind, when confronted with a long list of spices needed.
Not long before Christmas I was reading an article in the Mendip Times about "Sweet Cumin", a cookery school specialising in Indian, namely Gujarati food. Sweet Cumin happens to be based here in Somerset, not very far from where I live. Both my DD and my DS's partner were also interested, so I contacted Bini at Sweet Cumin and booked a day for our course.
Yesterday the 3 of us arrived in Bini's lovely kitchen for our "Weekend Family Meal" course.

In her introduction Bini told us little about her family's Gujarati background, then we talked about and tasted spices we were going to use in our cooking.

The menu:
roast chicken curry
aubergine and potatoe curry
savoury rice and yogurt sauce

After that it was hands on, Bini demonstarted and we followed,

and this is our roast chicken curry finished

a close up of my dish.

When the rest of the food was finished, it was time to sit down and taste.

We enjoyed our time with Bini very much.
The course was well prepared, relaxed and friendly, just like cooking in a friend's kitchen.
And we all took a complete meal home, to eat in the evening!

From my point - I am no longer affraid to blend spices, and I am now in a process of reorganising my spices and re-discovering my Indian cookery books.

Thank you, Bini, for a wonderful morning!

Interestingly, from the point of this blog, Bini studied textile design and after that was teaching textiles, until she changed direction, to share with us her food heritage and the cooking skills her mother was teaching her. 
Of course, as you and I know, textiles and cooking go together very well!

Sweet Cumin was born (if you click on the highlited name, you will be taken to Bini's website).

By the way, Bini is taking a part in the ITV's new food programme Food Glorious Food, which starts next week, and its aim is to find Britain's best loved recipe. I believe you will be able to see Bini on the 5th March, when the programme visits South West. A book to acompany the programme has already been published.

© 2013

Friday, 15 February 2013

Stourhead in February

I know that we are only half way through February and anything can still happen, but today, walking around 
Stourhead lake, it felt like spring.

snowdrops and primroses are coming up everywhere

winter and early spring flowering rhododendrons 

in the tree trunk - last year's nest, a treecreeper perhaps?

A new tunnel, made out of willow, for children to play in.
As the willow will grow, it will be a good place to hide.

a friendly robin came to say hallo

and at home in the garden, first signs of spring

Still undecided, which thread to use for "Scandinavian Rose", I have been playing with some of the reds I have at home.

In the end I chose Anchor stranded cotton no 13 and I made a start.

I have really enjoyed this tiny chain stitch.

I wish you all a very good weekend!

© 2013

Monday, 11 February 2013

shades of red

Again, thank you so much for all your good wishes. I have missed a week of stitching and blogging, but I will come and see you all very soon, I promise!

I have at last got to the point when I can put my glasses on and see the world as it should look, and of course, do some stitching. I have nothing new to show you yet, so I will just share with you some postal arrivals, one of them being the latest issue of the Magic Patch magazine.

During the Christmas time I was admiring some of the redwork quilts on your blogs and in the hope that I will  also make one, I bought this little book, which has some sweet redwork designs.

But then on Helen's blog I came across "Scandinavian Rose", a quilt designed by Rosalie Quinlan, and I was hooked.
However, I could not find an UK supplier selling it. Eventually I turned to The Fat Quarters, who sell other Rosalie's designs, and although they did not stock it at the time, they very kindly agreed to order it for me, and in fact are now running it as BOM themselves.
The first pack, which contains blocks one and two, arrived during the past week. Besides instructions it includes the design pre-printed on white linen.

In her introduction to the pattern, Rosalie says that she has been influenced by her European heritage when designing the quilt. You can see it instantly, and although called Scandinavian Rose, similar patterns can be found all over Europe, including the part so close to my heart, Central Europe.
As  you know, I like to do embroideries and make quilts. A combination of both always appeals to me.

I can't wait to get started, but there comes the dilemma, which shade of red, or indeed which thread to use?
Not until you start looking, you realise how many shades of red there are.
The pattern suggests Cosmo 346. This not a thread easily found over here, the equivalent is DMC 347, which looks OK.
The redwork book at the top suggests Anchor 1005 or DMC 498, both of which are quite dark shades, and I think far too dark for this project.
Helen is using Cottage Garden Threads, which look just gorgeous, but again, not available over here, and the cost of having them sent would probably be too much, considering the amount of thread needed. As they hand dyed threads, I would have to buy the whole lot at the same time.
Another thing to consider is how colourfast the thread is. I like the idea of using space dyed threads (or overdyed, hand dyed by other names). I like Stef Francis threads very much, but I need to find out how colourfast they are. As we all probably know, and some to out cost, red shades can be unreliable.
At least I know where I am with DMC, and the total cost has to be considered.
I would be interested to hear your thoughts on this.

I had a small parcel from "New-Threads", just some bits and bobs, a couple of fat qtrs of red fabric to add to my stash, but also one of the Iron-off-pens. Have you tried them?

You can remove the pen marks from the fabric by just ironing over, it does work, I have tried it.
 Apparently, if you don't want to use an iron, you can use a hairdryer.

© 2013

Saturday, 2 February 2013

eye, eye!

Firstly, BIG THANK YOU to all who left a comment on my last post, and to those who came to have a look. I usually try to answer to all individually, but if you don't mind, I will excuse myself  from that pleasure just this time.

Yesterday I had a small operation to remove a skin cancer from my face (hopefully not malignant - the jury is still out on that). Because of the very close proximity to the inner corner of my right eye, this procedure had to be done under a general anaesthetic (thankfully - I would not fancy watching someone rummaging this close to my eye with a scalpel). Of  course that eye is not up to its usual standard at the moment (looking like after a few rounds in a boxing ring), so no stitching for a few days. And limited time in front of the computer screen :-)
A period of "taking it easy", with light exercise has been prescribed, which has more to do with my age and the danger of blood clots following general anaesthetic. 

But of course, there is no excuse for you not to be busy with your needles!
I will come and check☺

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