Welcome to my ramblings. I intend to update it just to tell you what is happening craftwise in my life.
In all the years I have been doing the diary, which has now turned into the Ramblings, I have always kept it about what I am creating and making, I don’t tend to go off into other areas or more personal stuff.
But I think know is a good time for me to be a bit more personal, I am an introvert and I am not a confident person, I am a huge worrier, small things can easily turn into a huge mountain of worry for me. I am terrible before holidays or going out for the day. Luckily, Tony understands and is a massive support and over the years I have found ways of coping and lowing my anxiety levels, craft and creating are a huge part of this. I will always take something to do, be it a bag of hexagons to be tacked or at the moment crochet!
I have always found the winter months (November through to March) and especially Christmas a really hard time, I just want to curl up and ignore the world, if the days are grey and miserable then I find it hard to get motivated, no matter what is on my planners.
I do love planners and lists, I have a household planner with all the weekly, monthly, three monthly etc jobs, there is the meal planner and then on my work desk is the creative and teaching planner. Plus I have lists for everything….
I have been better over the winter months since I have worked from home, on brighter days I go out for walks, get light and just exercise, walking has always a great way to get my brain in gear, make plans, sort through things time.
But my biggest stress relief is being creative, from designing and creating quilts and Quilted Postcards, to weaving and crochet. But at the end of last year and the beginning of this, I got creative block – I just found that I was really struggling to create new ideas or designs, to work out how to create things. Which wasn’t good!
I know a lot has happened in my life, over the last few years and I guess I needed to have a break, step back, let myself process all that had been happening. I possibly wouldn’t have given myself the break I needed if we hadn’t ended up in Lockdown.
Through January and February, I mostly found I was working on weaving and my Granny square blanket as I really didn’t need to think about doing them, my hands where busy. When I had the energy then I was making the final few postcards, no designing needed as they had been done ages ago. Then we went into Lockdown, working on the book was a big focus and fulfilment of a dream. But since I have just not pushed myself, there is no goals, time limits and I have been working on either finishing quilts started in classes as demonstration pieces or other pieces, cross stitch, weaving, crochet, bowl fillers and the odd postcard, if I don’t want to do them, then I will read, do some housework (I really like cleaning!!! But not ironing), gardening or cooking – there’s no pressure to do things. I am slowly feeling more positive and getting my creative side back, I am starting to think of ideas and what I want to create next.
Sometimes you just have to give yourself time and space……
As I promised in my first ramblings, here is more about the two quilts that I finished in April.
The first was my Tulip Fields quilt. I really wasn’t going to start any more quilts… really! I have loads in the process of being finished and I had teaching work to think about but………Lewis & Irene, the fabric designers regularly post about new ranges and when they are coming out and a few months ago I saw the Tulip Fields range of fabric being showcased. As many of you might know, I love tulips and so, you can imagine that I was interested to see the patterns and colours. Tulips, windmills and little mice (no clogs!)
A big stockist of Lewis & Irene fabrics is Wool Warehouse, I have used them for wool, fabric and haberdashery supplies and they are very good. I went and had a look at the Tulip Fields range – fifteen fabrics and five coordinating Bumbleberries – I do like that the coordinating fabrics are on the same page, they weren’t out at the time I looked and so I made a note in my planner to order when they were out.
Fifteen is a lot of fabrics to use in a quilt, I had been thinking about the pattern I used for my ‘Conversation Quilt’ and then for Faded Glory Quilt, but neither felt right. I kept coming back to a very bad picture I had taken of floor tiles in the Royal Delft pottery in Holland, with a bit of reworking of the layout I finally came up with the design I used, which would work with the fifteen fabrics and then two coordinating bumbleberries – I could have gone for the bright colours but I thought the neutral ones are more me and they would show off the fabrics better.
It was a very quick and easy design to cut and piece together. Then I had to design the quilting, the fabric was the inspiration – it had to be a tulip!! I wanted it to look like I had scattered tulip flowers all over the top!!! I quilted them in four variegated threads that matched in with the colours of the tulips in the fabric.
Once all the nine squares were finished, making up was simple as it is a quilt-as-you-go system of making. And my quilt was finished, it hasn’t been used on our bed yet, it is still folded over the back of my workroom chair, so I can see and stroke it!!!
(Laura says I use far too many !!!! and so I am trying not to use as many!!!)
The second quilt I finished was Nowhere Near a Thousand Pyramids. One of my afternoon class had seen a picture of a Thousand Pyramids quilt in a book and she wanted to now how to make it, as she was thinking about it for her next project and asked me to demonstrate it. The only ‘set’ of fabrics I had that all worked together was a pack of fat quarters in Andover Trinkets range that I had got as a magazine subscription and had been sitting in the cupboard for a while. I made up a couple of rows and did the demonstration in class (the lady decided it wasn’t a design for her – she decided to do a Trip Round the World quilt!!), then it got put in a project bag to be finished when I had time. I had time in April.
I finished the centre, creating a panel of pyramids. I had a crisis with the quilting, I had imagined doing a fairly complicated continuous line square quilting pattern in the middle and then a ‘frame’ in a matching design round the square, all quilted in a variegated green thread. Because of the colours it was impossible to mark the design straight onto the fabric. I draw the square onto stitch n’ tear, tacked in the centre and started stitching, I did a quarter and thought I would tear away a bit of the paper and see what it was like – horrible!!! I totally disliked the design and the green thread didn’t work. At this point the panel was still on the machine, needle in the fabric, but it quickly got taken out and the stitch n’ tear removed and carefully unpicked all the quilting. I quick press and ……. I left it for that day to allow me time to think.
In the end I quilted in black thread and along the edges of the pyramids.
The borders were easy, I knew I wanted to do a floral design and Accuquilt Go! Round flower was the ideal flower to work for the design, quick cutting and sticking and then machine applique/quilting and the borders were ready.
The corners I had already decided to do in squares, they just worked with the whole design and I had just enough fabric to do them. It was just a matter of putting all the finished pieces together and another quilt finished.
It has gone off to its new home…
And onto the next quilt to be finished for me….
My first "Ramble"
Welcome to the new website, with it we are going to have a change on me posting stuff, waffle, blurb, ramblings… Gone is the monthly diary instead will be this ramblings. Because of the new design and complicated technical stuff (Tony’s area) it is easier to add posts and pages. So, I will be rambling when I have things to ramble about!!!
As you have, hopefully seen, we have self-published The Book! This has been a project that was started over five years ago, every time I started to work on the designs and making the postcards, life got in the way!! At the end of last year, I decided I had to really work on it, or give up, which Tony and Laura wouldn’t let me.
I finished all the postcards, designs and instructions just before Easter and handed all of it to Tony and he spent his weeks holiday, photographing and creating the book, with Laura and I holding spot lights, writing out information and reading through numerous proofs!
Even though its my name on the front of the book, I couldn’t have done it without Tony or Laura, this is a family creation.
On other things I finished the Tulip Field Quilt and also Nowhere Near Thousand Pyramids Quilt in April, more of them on another ramble, I think. Plus some Quilted postcards, hoop art embroideries, bowl fillers and a wired leaves wreath!