Sunday, May 23, 2010

Keeping busy.

Why is it that when I start one project, another comes along before I have finished the first one? At present I have quite a queue of projects in the process of being completed, started but not much completed yet and waiting to be started.

The first of these is Rosie's quilt.

I have got to the stage of having finished the first part of quilting seventeen of the twenty blocks. The first stage being the "flower".

This is what it looks like on the back.

The next bit will be quilting the blue "sashing". After that I shall be able to start sewing everything together.

Project number two is getting on with my page for the Traveling Pages project. The
ay theme for me is "Coastline". You do not need to remind me that I am fast running out of time to complete this during May.

As a tease, these pieces of felt I made some months ago will form the basis of the page.

Another project which has been started will have to remain secret for a while since it is something being made as a gift.

I still haven't got started on my mum's quilt........... I have quite a collection of ideas which will form part of the quilt when I start. I really do not have the time to begin just yet.

"Get on with it!" shouts Felix.

He is right, I must get on with the sewing.

Friday, May 07, 2010

What an exhibition!

I had a wonderful time yesterday, travelling down to London on the coach with members of Cranford Quilters. We were all heading down to the "Quilts 1700 - 2010" exhibition at the V and A (Victoria and Albert Museum).

It is a beautiful building. The following photos show the gardens at the back where we rested with a lovely cup of tea after viewing the exhibition. It was cool, but the sun shone and children played in the shallow water of the pond.

The exhibition itself? This was really impressive. As a quilt group, we had all listened to an interesting talk before venturing into the exhibition itself. A fascinating range of quilts followed the talk, lighting was needfully low. Barriers were sensitively placed so that keen quilters and sewers could lean forward near enough to look but not touch. Even the stewards were quietly present, almost invisible as they looked after their charges.

Can you spot the lemons growing on this tree? It is such an unusual sight here in the UK. Lemons growing outside. This garden is sheltered on all four sides by tall Victorian buildings.

I have no photos of the exhibition itself. Bright lights would damage the sensitive old fabric.

Following the interesting talk, I was driven to learn more. I bought the hefty book which was published to go alongside the exhibition.

The V&A website gives details of their own collection of quilted items. You can find it here.

Outside the museum was this delightful figure:

Apparently, throughout the city of London there is a series of these beautifully decorated elephants. Go to the website to see more of these wonderful characters.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The problem with ivy.

It all started quite simply. We had planned to sort out one of the flower beds beneath a wall. The shrubs there were elderly and needed replacing. My husband had bought some redcurrant and gooseberry bushes. Our supervisor of the day was in place, It was Felix's turn on watch.

However, behind the old vegetation we found ivy had climbed up the wall and had fixed itself into the mortar around the bricks. Oh dear. Probing a little further, we discovered that the top few rows of bricks were quite unstable. We were lucky to have found the problem before the wall had fallen.

Luckily, my dear husband is one of those people who can do useful things - bricklaying is one of them. I quickly became the bricklayers assistant. We took the wall down a few rows of bricks removing all the loosened bricks (and several bricks around them).

This is the mat of roots we found behind the pillar taken down in the top photo. You can see scraps of the offending ivy with the mass of roots.
It seemed odd, leaving my sewing behind for several hours, carrying bricks and clearing rubble. We were very fortunate in that one of our neighbours has been having work done on his house and had a skip. He was kind enough to let us unload our pile of rubble into the skip.
This was the pile of bricks taken down from the wall. Don't worry, we have not disposed of these bricks. We did not make the wall as high as it had been before. We had lived with the wall since moving in, but it had always seemed too high. We took advantage of the rebuilding work, and left it around a foot shorter than the original height. The remaining bricks have been stored, waiting for a future project.
Although I have had little time, the knitting has continued. These are the sleeves and the back of the jacket I have been working on.
Rosie's quilt has also been under way. This is the newly cut back, made of squares of fleece.

And now the completed squares, laid out on the floor on top of the fleece squares. I did remember to reverse the pattern of the fleece squares before laying the pieced squares over the top.

There are twenty squares in all. Each square is currently seventeen and a half inches square. Yes, I know that is a very strange size, but then that is what I could make out of the fabric I had to hand.

My last photo shows the pile of (labelled) squares each pinned to it's own backing square of fleece. These are now read for the most exciting stage - the quilting. For this quilt there will be a third layer of wadding between the fleece and the indian cotton layers. It is really an experiment to see how easy this is to quilt. I shall let you know how I get on.
I am planning to let this become as creep-and-go project, fitting it in around my work on my mum's quilt which I really am raring to get on with. Oh, and then theres the May element of the Traveling Pages project which I really must get on with. This time, the topic is "Coastline".
Sadly, work will have to wait since I am off to the V & A tomorrow to see the Quilting Exhibition there. So exciting.