Sunday, 18 September 2022

History being made

 It's like some unwanted drinking game - the number of times I have heard 'it's history in the making', 'it's part of history', 'history is unfolding' etc etc. as they interview countless people as to why they are queuing for the various events, or the presenters themselves making filler talk. The procession of the late Queen in Scotland, then to London, has been filling the main television channels all week.  The huge crowds paying their respects are almost mindboggling - the queue has reached 5km long to view the Queen lying in state.  I'm sure for some people it's FOMO rather than genuine grief but still. I've been watching it off and on - I think my mother in law has scarcely moved from her living room. I feel like I am getting used to the concept of 'king not queen' more now, but it's still very sad.

On a personal note, the funeral has been set for the day I am flying to Italy.  Obviously that rules out my original plan of trying to negotiate London by train to reach Gatwick airport since they are expecting literally millions of people to be flooding in for the funeral.  So far my flight hasn't been altered again, although Heathrow have announced changes to flights to minimise overflying at the time of the funeral in London.  As the day of the funeral has also been announced as a bank holiday, DH has kindly agreed to drive me down to Gatwick.  I've spent the week packing and repacking, trying to get my backpack weight down to a bearable level.  It's still heavier and fuller than I would like.  Also apparently the temperature is going to vary from 27 degrees to as low as 15 degrees in Italy which has made it difficult choosing clothes to take.  I spent a few hours trying on lots of things, wishing I was 20 years younger and 20 pounds lighter.  Hopefully the final result is what I will need, and not more than I will need.  Packing for two weeks is pretty much the same as packing for two months in the end.  It doesn't look very big in the picture but it weighs about 15 pounds.

I spent some time this week restoring a folding Victorian lap desk that I think I bought at the Lamport Easter antiques fair, although I don't appear to have blogged it at the time - probably because I was in the home stretch of getting ready for my Paducah trip then.  I'd been looking at folding desks for a few years now because I like them, but normally they are fairly expensive.  This one was quite reasonable, I think because there was some missing veneer, some previous veneer repairs, no key, and a number of minor faults including a bent hinge (probably caused when the box was jemmied open) and a split in the bottom panel.  Originally it was quite a smart box, with mother of pearl inlay in the centre and around the lock, and small MOP disks in the corners.  Connecting the mother of pearl inlay is a silver metal strip inlay (one is missing but the others are still there). The baize on the bottom had perished, but the original writing surface is still good.  After giving the box a good clean with wax remover, I started rectifying some of the damages: I glued in the loose partition, glued the split in the bottom, took off the bent hinge and straightened it, took off the keyless lock plates, replaced the missing veneer in two places on the side (fairly successful) and camouflaged the damaged area near the lock from when it was jemmied (better but not as good as the side repair). I colour matched the new veneer as best I could with stain, and also touched up various small damaged areas with stain.  Then I gave the whole box two coats of wax so it's nice and shiny now.  I ordered new baize for the bottom and attached that, glued down some loose writing surface and added the missing pull tab to open the hinged flap. For the key-less lock, I've just removed the locking pins, polished the brass and put the lock plates back into position.  Without a key, it wasn't going to be possible to lock the desk anyway, and this way it can't become locked by accident. I looked into finding or making a replacement key but it's a fairly random process of finding a new or antique skeleton key to fit the lock and it didn't seem worth buying loads of possible keys just for one desk. I don't write many letters by hand these days but I'll have to try it out now it's finished.

My veneer repairs are top left  corner and bottom  left corner

Both the flaps open to reveal storage

new baize on the bottom

We had a quick trip up to York this weekend for an organised event for owners of our same little caravan.  We have an Adria Action and there aren't too many in the UK - we've never seen another.  So it was quite strange to pull into a field where there were over 20 of them.  We were still doing double takes on the last day - particularly returning to our unit if we'd been out, we had to really check we were going back to the right one!  It was a fun weekend, with an organised BBQ Saturday afternoon.  DH and I went into York Friday afternoon for a walk around, with me reminiscing about my college days back in 1982.  And we did a couple of countryside walks around the campsite area.  Back this afternoon and now I am in full Italy-preparation mode.
I found a cute little ornament kit in Duttons for Buttons in York

Attack of the Clones

I sewed a little pouch for my UV water sterilising pen for the trip

I have returned to my unloved roombox that nobody wanted to buy, and have repainted
the outside in lavender to match the wallpaper which I think has improved it.

The shops are full of Halloween stuff, so I have purchased the Halloween
equivalent of an artificial xmas tree - no more pumpkin carving for me, I kept
it up for almost 60 years but even DS lost interest years ago.

So I'll be gone a couple of weeks.  I doubt I will be able to blog while I'm away, so I'll let you know how it all went in a few weeks.  I'll be home  a couple of days then I'm off again to Wales to a sewing retreat which I'm looking forward to. 

Wish me luck!

Saturday, 10 September 2022

God save our Queen

 I'm pretty sure the whole world has heard the tremendously sad news that we have lost our Queen. Somehow it has come as a huge shock, even though I knew she was 96 and you could see how frail she looked during her recent Jubilee appearances.  And yet somehow it seemed like she would always continue as a constant presence, a bedrock and touchstone for the country and for the Commonwealth, as she has done for my entire life. The unfolding historic events have dominated the media ever since the first announcement of concern by her doctors, with 24/7 coverage the first few days and possibly still today.  I haven't been watching very much of it, but the tributes I have seen have made me feel tremendously sad.  I have heard many people referring to this feeling that we have somehow lost a family member - she touched so many people's lives in so many ways.  I saw her in person at least once, at the Royal Windsor Horse Show back in 1982, just casually in her car at the show. And of course she has been a part of so many other times in my life, if only on television: every Christmas afternoon, every difficult time the nation has faced, during COVID, during the Olympics, and the various Jubilees and Royal Weddings.  It is just not going to be the same with a King on the throne, and without Queen Elizabeth's serene and stately presence holding the whole Royal circus together. And it's a hard wince every time I hear the 21st century's version of Mrs Fitzherbert referred to as 'Queen Consort' - just no, no with a capital N.  It all feels like one more huge unwelcome upheaval at a time when so much else is going to pieces.  And doesn't that make me sound like a stereotypical old woman.

I finished quilting the eight quilt on the frame, the Tilda Wreath quilt.  It's come out decently well - some of the flowers are a bit wobbly and an overall inspection would reveal that they aren't perhaps lined up exactly due the vagaries of my homemade rollers (and my piecing). But I'm happy with it.

I'm just in the process of loading the 9th quilt onto the frame, which is the Mennonite Axe Head top that I turned into a Christmas quilt by adding a 'tree' border.  I've had to abandon my infant plans to get  a proper longarm machine.  Detailed measurements and drawing out the attic room on graph paper have shown that there just isn't enough headroom to be able to work at either a Handiquilter or an Innova frame up there.  It's quite frustrating but that's how it is.  So the only solution would be to turn the former DS room/new guest room into a quilting room, and maybe set up a substitute (and far inferior) guest room in the attic room instead.  We rarely have guests, but I think when DS has only just moved out, that it might seem a step too far in terms of dispossessing him out of this house. Maybe in a few years, we'll see.

I also finished the Chinese kit house in a dome that I have been working on occasionally for several months.  I'm sort of pleased/not pleased with it.  For its size (about 6 inches  tall) there is a tremendous amount of detail and several battery lights add some realism and charm. It's an unusual 3D design of a cut-away house, that still manages to include architectural features such as stairs, balconies, shutters, an outdoor patio, a pergola etc.  It sits on a stand which incorporates a music box playing an unfamiliar classical tune as well as hiding the battery pack. Yet, as is the nature of these kits, the majority of it is made from paper, bits of ribbon and fabric, lengths of wire, faux foliage, cardboard etc. and the crudeness of many parts and the flexible notion of scale does not stand up well on closer inspection.  It was fairly fiddly to do. I was particularly disappointed when I unwrapped the plastic dome as a final step, to find that it was cracked up one side.  The crack can be located inconspicuously to the side of the house, but still.

Shown with a ballpoint pen for scale

With the lights on

I've been plugging away on Month 15 of the Austrlian BOM and worked on some of the elements during a brief visit with ChookyBlue and the Australian zoom call last night.  I also spent quite a bit of time prepping kits for a messenger bag I will be making on retreat in October, and a second folding wallet and the Japanese box bag pattern I bought at the Quilters' Guild AGM weekend. Because I will be heading off to the retreat pretty soon after I get back from Italy so I need to get it all ready ahead of time.

We picked our caravan up today after its warranty work - it now has a working grill and they've replaced the water pressure switch which will hopefully sort the issue of the water pump running on. However, they want to have it back again in a few weeks because they found that the oven switch that controls the gas flow to the grill and oven isn't functioning properly so they've raised another warranty claim.  It's good that they caught that, and that it will be fixed, but it means four more 40-mile round trips for us plus having to empty the caravan into the car/house and back again. I hope next season we don't have any problems at all and we can just enjoy the van.

I received a lovely surprise in the post from my former Japanese teacher - I had sent her some things for her baby and the Japanese custom is to reciprocate gifts.  She knows I like sumo, so arranged for me to receive the rankings poster from the last tournament in Nagoya, and a fan which apparently lists all the names of the holders of the top rank Yokozuna in sumo (I can't read the kanji characters but I looked it up).  The next tournament starts tomorrow, so I am excited for it. 

Saturday, 3 September 2022

In which I see many interesting things

 We went away in the caravan for two nights last weekend as it was a bank holiday weekend.  Just to a small site about 10 miles from our storage yard, on a working farm.  The site itself was fine (although we had noisy neighbours), and we had a nice walk around the village of Grandborough and a drink at the local pub on the first day.  The second day we went for a longer walk around part of Draycote Water (a large reservoir) and the nearby very attractive village of Dunchurch and neighbouring Thurlaston.  There were several adorable thatched cottages in Dunchurch.

On our way back along the dam towards the car park, we began to notice a huge ruckus that had started up behind the treeline.  We couldn't see what it was but it sounded like hundreds of engines.  DH started saying "it sounds like tanks" and I was like 'don't be silly, it's probably construction'.  We yielded to temptation and took a side path out of the reservoir park through the tree belt, only to emerge into a giant area of fields just as a convoy of actual military tanks went careening past on the dirt track. But the drivers and passengers obviously weren't soldiers.  We hailed the man guarding the crossing who told us that it was a big event called Tanks, Trucks and Firepower 'the Midlands premier living history and military show'.  Well this is right up DH's alley so we bought tickets and spent a few enjoyable (and hot)  hours wandering around the site taking it all in, and having lunch from the food stalls.  It's not my thing but it's still very engaging to see so many collectors and people passionate about their hobby, getting to literally play with the big guns and big trucks.

And very unexpectedly, on a trade stall selling mostly military paraphernalia plus a few antiques, there was a pile of fat quarters of fabric! and when I asked the price, it was 6 for £10 which is extremely cheap nowaday for the UK - FQs seem to be mostly £2.50 and upwards to £4.50 depending on the fabric.  And these feel like they are decent quality. So I was happy.  I also bought a vintage chintz sandwich plate.

And that night, from our campsite, we were able to watch the event's firework display which was quite impressive.  Apart from the noisy neighbours, it was quite a nice break and we felt very relaxed on the way home.  

On Wednesday I headed down to London for the afternoon, primarily to catch the '150 years of the Royal School of Needlework' exhibition at the Fashion & Textile Museum before it closed. I wasn't sure what to expect but ended up quite enjoying it.  There was a huge variety of items on display from throughout their history, everything from royal coronation robes through to 30s lingerie (apparently a best selling item for the RSN at the time) up to contemporary artworks.
This was a huge applique picture the RSN made in the 1980s for a corporate commission - it appears to be raw edge applique accentuated with embroidery stitches.

A stumpwork and applique picture made in 2014 by Deborah Wilding on the theme of the Princess and the Pea.

Alice in Wonderland themed cards made by Rachel Doyle in 2009,
completely stitched apart from the tiny key.

Lingerie pieces by current second year students, inspired
by some of the vintage 1930s lingerie collection.

I appear to have missed photographing the label but I think this was a throw
made for Queen Mary (known as 'May'). Interestingly, the text said that throws
such as this - which is about pram size - were used to cover up things, for
example underwear layed out on a bed ready for an outfit. I immediately
had visions of covering up all the untidyness in my bedroom with a few quilts :)
I'm not normally a contemporary textile person, but this 3D interpretation by
Hisae Abe in 2020 of her mother's wedding kimono was pretty cool. Basically
she is interpreting an elaborate Japanese 2D floral fabric as a 3D textured creation.

I bought a little kit for a sewing roll in the museum gift shop

After the Fashion museum, I travelled over by very hot and stuffy Tube to the V&A museum and went in to the 'Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature' exhibition where I was surprised to find this 1863 quilt which I'd never heard of - I guess the Quilter's Guild hasn't recreated it yet perhaps.  It was made for the wedding of Beatrix Potter's parents, possibly by her mother with sisters and friends.  It's in velvets, silks and cottons and decorated with embroidery.  I couldn't tell if it had wadding in it or not. It's in the collection of the National Trust.

It felt strange to be back in London.  I worked there for 25 years up until 2015, but already I could see so many changes.  It didn't feel familiar any longer.  I visited a few other exhibits and galleries in the V&A, then trucked along to High Street Kensington to visit Japan House to see what it was like (I get their emails but had never visited) - very Japanese as you might expect.  I was tired then so headed back to St Pancras to kill time in the shops there until my train left.

I finally got around to unpacking the dollshouse miniatures haul from a few weeks ago, I took some photos then put it all away in the dollshouse room. The porch kit has joined my long list of kits awaiting assembly. I think it might make a cute Christmas vignette.

I've been preparing for my Italy trip in a few weeks - researching sights and printing out maps etc. I'm very much old school about having hard copies rather than relying on a device I could lose, break or have die on me. With all the flight cancellations, I'm half expecting  my airline to change my flight again - they've already moved it from Luton to Gatwick airport.  Hopefully I will still be able to get there and back as planned.

My Japanese teacher, who is in her early 40s, told me this week how much she respects that someone "of my generation" is trying to learn a language and how it has inspired her to keep on with studying English - which made me feel older than the dinosaurs as well as doomed to failure due to incipient decrepitude. She meant it kindly and respectfully I know, but it still made me wince - smiling on the outside but crying a little on the inside!

Saturday, 27 August 2022

I'm cold?

 Suddenly it feels like Autumn is not that far off - it's getting quite cool in the evenings and I even had to put a cardi and slippers on last night - which felt really weird after weeks of being too hot.  In a way, we feel cheated out of summer, after having to hide indoors for several weeks because of the extreme heat.. And suddenly it's almost over. It's getting darker earlier as well. I think we only used our garden sofas once this summer, all the rest of the time it was either too hot or too windy or too wet...

Enough moaning about the weather.  After I finished the seventh frame quilt, I partially disassembled the broken roller and re-glued the end insert with Araldite. I also applied a lock-nut which should help hold the spindle in place.  I don't really remember how I built the roller ends in the first place - past-me should have kept better notes.  So now I'm on quilt 8 (Tilda Wreath quilt) and so far the repair seems to be holding, thank goodness.

In keeping with the flower theme, I chose a flower panto.  I haven't used this one before and it's more complex, so I had to have a few practice runs with no thread to get used to the rhythm of it. I want to do a good job because I am keeping this quilt for myself.

I've been measuring up and graphing out a drawing of the attic room to see if I can fit a Handiquilter into it.  It's not looking good.  A 10' frame would fit in fine lengthwise, with room to walk around the ends.  But width-wide, the limited headroom due to the slanting ceiling is a real issue. I think it would be really tight and I would only be able to work from one side at a time - but if the frame was on casters then I could move it when I want to work on the opposite side.  I need to do more measuring.

I'm busy sewing binding on to the Cottage scrap quilt because the Project Linus rep is coming to collect my four donation quilts next week. I've also made a start on month 15 of the Australian BOM but had barely scratched the surface when month 16 showed up in the post. I'm definitely not keeping up any more. Oh well.  It will become a winter project I guess.

I put up onto my design wall 36 of the 40 squares in the Tilda Chic Escape layer cake that I bought at FOQ.  Disappointingly, they don't look that good all together - I think I will need to reduce the collection to just a couple of colourways.  I love most of the fabrics, but the layercake has unfortunately separated several peacocks from their heads, leaving a not very useful square with an enormous tail on it.  I had a look online for patterns for big print fabric, and I'm thinking of something similar to Arcadia by Mountain Peek Creations.  I've ordered some border fabric and a contrast solid from Cotton Patch in preparation.  The same day, Doughty's announced a flash sale on their extra-wide quilt backing which brought it down to about £4.20 a metre so I ordered two backs-worth of those as well for some of the quilt tops that are waiting to go on the frame.

Just for something fun, or so I thought, I decided to put together a folding wallet from the ByAnnie 'Necessories' pattern I bought at FOQ. I'm sure it was partly (mostly) me, but I became confused several times by how the instructions were worded, and went wrong each time.  There are only a few diagrams, and no clear photos of the wallet in the pattern apart from the cover photo.  I had to look at their website to work out what was meant a couple of times.  One particular paragraph was so misleading that I actually emailed them and received a form letter thanking me (by the wrong first name) and stating they are correcting the wording for future printing and will publish a correction on their errata page (they haven't yet, I just checked).  Do they not beta-test these patterns? Anyway, I got there in the end.  I only used some cheap Aldi fabric for this sample, but I'm going to re-make it as a sewing wallet now that I understand how it goes together.

My decluttering effort this week was to go through my clothes and weed out a big bag of things that don't fit me any more, or work clothes that I just don't wear in retired life, and I took them all to the charity shop.

My online Japanese conversations continue.  I think I'm learning more about English than I am about Japanese, from the questions the learners are asking me.  Did you know that we change the pronunciation of  the word 'the' depending on whether it is followed by a vowel or not?  'Theee apple', but 'tha dog'.  I didn't know that until a Japanese lady asked me.  When I tried it out, I realised I always do that, and so does DH. And another lady asked me whether dinner is always the evening meal, or sometimes the lunch meal - which is a very complex question here in the UK.  I referred her to an online article which quotes a north/south and also a class divide, on whether the evening meal is 'dinner', 'tea', or (a minority) 'supper'.  I tend to call it supper more often, because I grew up in Canada.  But my working class m-i-l will also use 'dinner' to refer to the midday meal, especially on a Sunday.  It makes me glad I'm not having to learn English!

Saturday, 20 August 2022

Festival of Quilts

 I got back yesterday from my two days at the Festival of Quilts.  I quite enjoyed it this year.  And although the train strike was the only reason I went for two days, it was actually quite relaxing to have two whole days instead of trying to rush around and do everything in one day.  I didn't go last year because like a lot of people I thought it was too early when the pandemic was still raging and not everyone had had their jabs yet.  But apparently last year they introduced a lot more space between exhibits, wider vendor aisles, booked more hall space etc. for social distancing.  People liked that so much that they have repeated the roomier layout for this year.  It really felt much more like an American show this year, and I mean that as a compliment.  More spacious, better layout which was more intuitive to move around, good signage, the quilts were well hung and with sufficient room that passersby weren't brushing against them (which I have seen happening at past Festivals), the winners were pulled out and displayed in a separate photo-friendly exhibit area, there was a good assortment of vendors and you could easily access the vendor stalls due to the roomier aisles, the classrooms were all close together so easy to zip to your next class, more places to sit, etc. It just all felt like a much better customer experience.

I started out with a three-hour Handiquilter familiarisation workshop because I am still flirting with the idea of getting a longarm now that I am retired..  Basically the workshop was a classroom with two Moxie machines and seven Amaras, all set up differently so you could move around and try out, for example, ruler quilting, micro stippling, an echo foot, pantographs, Pro-stitcher computer, couching etc.  It was quite enjoyable and the trainers were both award winning quilters (one of whom took a first in Excellence in Machine Quilting at this year's Festival) so really knowledgeable and quite friendly.  I had a go on most of the machines.  I found the Amaras (a 20" machine) felt a bit ponderous to move around because I am used to a little domestic, but the stitch regulation was amazing, the frames seem really solidly built, and everything seemed to work well.  I was disappointed they don't have a thread cutter so you have to pull your threads up manually to cut them. Also the handles don't extend very far at all, so on the deeper frame for the Amara, you have to hold your arms awkwardly far out in front of you which I think would hurt my back after a while.  

One of the classroom Amara machines

The class goody bag contained Glide thread, a quilting stencil, a
ruler template for leaves, and a  spectacles cloth

Also at the show were dealers for Innova, Bernina, Grace/Q-nique, Gammill (who were so posh that you couldn't even try the machines out as they were auto-stitching patterns by themselves, and the stand wasn't manned some of the times I passed by) and Juki.  So I tried most of the machines out (not Gammill) to see how I liked them.  Bernina is out, not just because of the price, but because of the hot air vent at the rear of the machine blowing in your face while you do pantos.  And the Q-nique just felt a bit cheap and low-end after using the Handiquilters.  The Innova is built like a tank and seems great but I suspect will prove expensive - I'm still waiting for the price list to be emailed to me.  I quite liked the Juki but their website is impenetrable and I am unable to find much out about their machines, and for a service apparently you have to take the machine into their shop in Essex.  So it looks like Handiquilter are topping the ranks: they are easily available, there's a big user community both in the UK and abroad so lots of educational material and support, the service and support from the UK dealer Pinhole Quilting is widely praised, and everyone seems to love their HQ machine.  The overall price is hard to determine because there are so many add-on options, I guess you would have to have a long discussion with Pinhole as to what meets your needs.  I don't think I would want the computer add-on, it doubles the price and I wouldn't do enough with it to warrant the cost.  I'm not sure it would feel like my own work if the computer had guided the machine to stitch out the pattern anyway.  I'm also not sure where I would actually put a machine - obviously it can't live permanently in the dining room.  Maybe I could get rid of the knitting machines (which I haven't used for years) and use the attic room, but it has a sloping ceiling so I would have to do some measuring.  I'm sure the installers will be happy to trot up three flights of stairs with enormously heavy boxes....not.

I went straight into a one-hour quick class to sew a rope bowl on the machine.  I'm sure you've all seen these but I had never tried to make one before.  It is both easy and tricky at the same time. I found it hard to get a consistent slope on the sides, and I need to do some more stitching on my base.  But it was fun and I might make some more, maybe as Christmas presents.

I had a couple of hours until my final class so I toured around the various quilt exhibits.  There were a number of standalone exhibits by various artists or collections, and then of course the competition entries and prizewinners.  The entries can be viewed online here. Some thoughts:

- a healthy percentage of the entries and winners had been ruler-quilted within an inch of their lives.  It's not a look that I care for even though I recognise the technical difficulty. And I don't think it suits every style of quilt either.  The minority of entries that were more traditionally quilted, eg stitch in the ditch and loose fills in areas using cables or feathers etc., looked under-quilted in comparison. It makes me feel that I am now creating very oldfashioned quilts with quilting that is utilitarian to hold layers together decoratively.  I'm not turning the quilt into a version of corrugated cardboard with close geometric quilting lines which is what seems popular now.

- there were more entries in the Traditional category than I remember from previous years, and many entries in other categories which I would say were traditional as well.  I was pleased to see this swing, the Festival used to be heavily orientated towards City & Guilds-type textile art and contemporary experimental design which is not my thing.

- there were even a small handful of Hawaiian quilts so perhaps that is coming back into fashion again?

- I was puzzled by the choice of Best in Show, and I don't think there was any explanatory note as to why it had been singled out.  It was an attractive impressionistic pictorial quilt of a Venetian street scene, competently executed and quilted in horizontal lines.  It's a nice looking quilt but on the face of it comparatively simplistic in technique. I don't know. Perhaps there is some hidden excellence that I wasn't picking up on.

I liked this Miniature Quilt, with insanely tiny pieces.

And I thought this was a neat idea: someone cross-stitched a geisha, then blew up the pattern into large squares and turned it into a quilt.

I did take other photos but you are better off looking at the official website

At 4pm I had my final class which was a 1-hour quick introduction to indigo dyeing.  We were given three weights of fabric in squares to hastily apply thread ties or wraps before dipping in the dye vat.  None of mine are particularly impressive but it was fun to find out more about the process.

My second day was all about the shopping, it took me about three hours to make my way around all the vendors.  The only thing I was specifically looking for was cake-themed fabric for the pattern I bought in Paducah, and I didn't see any at all. Obviously that's out of fashion as well :)

But I did manage to acquire a number of other finds:

A dress length of drapey fabric

A subscription to an Australian magazine

A pack of fabric from Janet Clare from her Spindrift collection, and a 
layer cake of Tilda Chic Escape

Some custom-printed garden birds and seasonal fabric, from a woman who was 
an ornithologist in a previous career.  There were a few stands selling
custom-printed fabric this year.

A By Annie pattern for little pouches and a wallet

A sewing-themed panel which is surprisingly large.

So that was the Festival for this year and it was quite fun.  I got back yesterday and today had my final shop class making the sampler wallhanging.  I have got as far as putting my blocks together and adding some of the embellishments, although I did most of the assembly at home on the machine and not by hand in class as intended.  I don't see the point of sewing sashing on by hand and I wouldn't be happy with the resulting inaccuracies.  I'm fairly pleased with the Victorian feel of the quilt, and I made a fun little pull-out tag which is embroidered 'Remember Me' and tied with ribbon and lace. The class was a fair bit of work but also interesting to revisit techniques I haven't used for years such as EPP hexies (hate them), crazy quilting, yo-yos etc.

I finished quilting  the seventh quilt, the Cottage scrap quilt.  Frustratingly, about halfway through, one of my homemade roller ends broke and started spinning freely. This meant that I could only secure the takeup roller at one end, which resulted in the quilt rolling unevenly despite efforts to ameliorate the problem.  So the panto lines get more bowed as the quilt progresses, luckily the quilt was going to charity and wasn't something precious to me.  I had to wait until the quilt came off the frame then I could remove the roller and try re-glueing the end fitting with Araldite.  Hopefully it works.  The DIY roll ends lasted through probably about 35 or more quilts so I should be feeling lucky I guess. The Pfaff felt like a children's toy after working on the Handiquilters at the show.  But it does the job.

It's cooled right off and we are back to normal British summer weather, cloudy and about 22 degrees, thank goodness!