Tuesday morning Pitch and Stitch - 10.00am to 1.00pm

Tuesday morning Pitch and Stitch - 10.00am to 1.00pm
This hanging from Annie Downs' Hatched and Patched book should be in every caravan as a cushion or decoration!

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Autumn Workshops

So, the Autumn term started today and we had a lot of fun in the workshop.  I've also sent out the new schedule, so for those who aren't on the mailing list, here's a few of the things we are offering.

Besides Lynne Johnson's quilt days, which are courses that stretch over months, she is also doing a 'Scrappy Quilt Day on Wednesday 18th October.  Some people are doing these on the course, but this is a 'one off' day when you can come, be shown how to do it, and then go off and do it on your own!  There are three quilts, with three different methods to choose from:  machine piecing, hand piecing or paper piecing:

and then on the 15th November it's the Yoko Saito day.
On the 20th September I'll be showing how to make these sweet little coin purses

On Wednesday 4th October Sandra will be making a 'quilt in a day' Picnic quilt - very quick and easy and a great introduction to quilt-making

It's 48" square!

I'm really looking forward to Ros Harwood's knitting workshop on the 1st November - Ros' work is so exquisite - she uses the best yarns, lovely colours, so inspiring.  We will be making this lovely scarf - the pattern's called Marin by Ysolda Teague and has been really popular on Ravelry.

Then a fun little workshop on the 22nd November with Sandra, making drink coasters in little fabric holders - great stocking fillers!

On Wednesday 6th December Anne Hellyer is coming to the workshop for the first time.  She is a textile artist who makes lovely little townscapes out of fabric she has painted herself.  Her website is www.paintingthetown.org.uk and we will be making winter townscapes that will be lit from behind - a really lovely Christmas decoration.

And then finally, of course, we have the wreath making mornings and afternoons with Linda, on Saturday 9th December and Saturday 16th December: which means making beautiful wreaths out of all the greenery she has collected, and drinking lots of hot chocolate and eating mince pies!

So, that's quite a list, I think

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Indian Summer

Well, today isn't much like an Indian Summer but I'm sure summer hasn't gasped it's last yet - certainly I'm not ready to let go and September can be such a lovely, soft month after the rigours of harvest.  I am still picking a bunch of Sweet Peas every other day

The best Sweet Peas I've had in years!  The dried flowers have also been quite a success this year:

Today we are having roast pork - the last time we had it was April (I like to not have it when there isn't an R in the month, like the old saying, but only because it always tastes better after a break) with apple and blackberry crumble for puds.  Not very summery, in fact distinctly Autumnal but perfect for a wet day.

It has been quite a busy week - just last weekend I nipped over to Jersey to see Victoria's new house: I fell in love with her patio

I really hope she puts a mirror up somewhere - it's the perfect place for one.  Mine is a bit pointless but I do like it

The high point was seeing a pair of red squirrels - I don't think I've seen one before.

Then it was my birthday so we had a lot of fun at Pitch and Stitch.  Sandra made me a cake and we also celebrated Louise finishing her first quilt, all made from old fabrics she had around the house.


and beautifully quilted.

There was also an interesting take on Japanese Patches

On Friday I went to the West of England quilt show, and there was lots to see.  I loved
Susie Corkes' quilt, Overleaf, which was hand-pieced and hand-quilted - beautiful!

As a by the way, when I put up that picture at the top, I was reminded of the fossil I found by the chicken hut.  It looked like a little brown meringue but my sister suggested I wash it, and I was amazed to see that once cleaned it looked like this:

and the underside like this:

Very exciting.

Anyway, back to work tomorrow so no more garden days!


Monday, 28 August 2017

It's Finished!

No - not a quilt, but harvest is over for another year!

Here's the last trailer being pulled in (with George in his new Kubota tractor, which caused great excitement on it's arrival the other week)

and reversed into the barn

and then the last load of oats being tipped in

to a now very full barn

What a relief - and I don't have to do anymore tea and cake runs at 5pm - at least not for 10 months

So that's that - well, not quite because a lot of the grain still has to go through the cleaner so someone will still be busy

but at least the feeling of panic has subsided, and all has gone well. 

Thursday, 24 August 2017


If you haven't been out yet - you'd better get a move on!  There are so many blackberries this year

Of course the best ones are always in the hardest to reach places

but there are so many about that it's easy-pickings this year.  Every time I go for a walk, I take a little bag with me and fill it up - I now have a freezer full of lovely blackberries which should take us through to next year.

Of course, it would be nice to have more helpful blackberrying companions -  It's a real struggle to keep hold of Millie and pick, but then I've never had much luck with that.  My mother used to hate it and would pick about four and then give up.  Jonathan would pull a strop about having to go, and then insist on taking the truck and stop at each bramble so I could get out and pick.  My children would moan and come along very reluctantly, and I'm sure that when I used to go with my little sister she'd just eat them all.  So it's never been a pleasant stroll in the sunshine,  picking berries and putting them in my basket!

Anyway, we have been enjoying our long walks, deciding which direction to take,


and then just loving the wide, open spaces.

And of course, I can usually see the men harvesting in the distance

and sometimes a bit closer!

Saturday, 19 August 2017

A Boat Full of Wool

Harvest is still on - and it's such a stressful time.  Most of the time I'm pottering around on my own, but in the background there is a constant feeling of tension.  Everyday there are discussions about the weather, and there is a lot of staring up at the sky and wondering will it rain or not?  If they aren't harvesting, they are ploughing and cultivating for the new planting. 

And the animals still have to be dealt with - last week the ewe lambs went off to Winchcombe, and the week before our spring lambs, so at least there are plenty of empty fields for dog-walking.

Anyway, amidst all this madness I saw a post;  "Mandala's and Mocktails: a Cro-social on a Boat Full of Wool".  Two hours on a barge crocheting Mandalas and drinking Mocktails.  I decided to sign up....

So yesterday evening I set off with my two crochet hooks to a Narrow boat which was moored on the Kennet and Avon canal.  I wasn't sure what to expect but knew it would be fun and different.

Sophie met me and Jo, Jo and Nancy at the little car park and walked us to her boat.  Inside it was an Aladdin's cave of creativity - every surface was covered with beautiful crocheted throws, rugs and blankets and it was like walking into a cosy crafting den.

The mandala we were going to make was hanging from the ceiling - and I had a sinking feeling that in the two hours I would get no further than making a chain!  However, Sophie's pattern started with "make a magic circle"  which I'd never even heard of but is instead of making a chain so I did do more than I expected. 

Mocktails and snacks were put out on little tables so we could eat and drink whilst crocheting and chatting.

Sophie's Cro-socials are such a good idea and she is so young and enthusiastic that it was great to spend the evening with her.  I know lots of young people who love crafts and would love to visit her Boat Full of Wool, so I hope word gets around.

And my Mandala?  Well, I was much slower than the others, and mine was much loopier than theirs, but at least I had something to show for my evening messing about on the river!

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Strolling through Summer

We are about two thirds of the way through the harvest and even George stated yesterday that he'd had the busiest day ever!  Before breakfast he had filled the combine with diesel, cleaned and power-hosed his tractor and then unloaded a lorry of fertilizer.  He then cultivated until lunch time and then was on corn cart till 8.00pm!

I, too have been keeping busy.....I have knitted a fish bath mit for starters - so grateful to Sandra for the yarn and pattern - don't know how I've lived without one till now.

I have also, as I planned, been taking the dogs for long walks every day.  I have always wondered just how far I walk with them, so have been using my phone to measure my usual routes.  It always seems to be about three miles.  It's fun to do but every time the lady shrieks out that I have walked another mile I nearly have a heart attack and spin round to see who's crept up on me! 

Last weekend I went on our annual pilgrimage to the Festival of Quilts.  My visit was  cut a bit short by the arrival of Victoria for a surprise visit, but I still managed to see a lot. 

The supper on the Friday night was followed by a talk by Textile Artist Cherilyn Martin - her work was very interesting and I loved her descriptions of where she works in the Netherlands.  I met her in the breakfast queue the next day and what a surprise to learn that she lived in Bologna first - the Italian city next to Modena, where I used to live.  And, stranger still, out of the blue that very morning a friend had sent me a picture from all those years ago!

Anyway, to the quilts....there were so many, and as usual I wasn't necessarily in agreement with Judges, but here are some that caught my eye:

This clearly should have won

Because it was by

It's probably as close to perfection as you can get.

I also recognised this Medallion by Jenny Otto

And loved this Okehampton Quilt also by Jenny and quilted by Francis Meredith

I liked the way Floral Dance by Stephanie Short was quilted

and of course was drawn to Carmen Maria Cambronero's little hexagons in Veton

I also liked this one by Helen Burnham, and called Four Seasons in Roman Britain.


 Marianne Mohandes' quilt looked lovely

  and I loved Dancing with Daisies by Cowslip Workshops which came second in the Group Quilts

But I have to say that what I enjoyed most at the exhibition was looking at Martine Apaolaza's beautiful stiched pictures - I even bought the book (well, actually I walked off with it without paying and had to be called back) - Flaneries dans Paris et alilleurs (meaning Strolls through Paris and Elsewhere).  Will I ever make any?

Just beautiful!

Sunday, 30 July 2017

The Quilt that will Never Be....

Everyone who makes quilts knows that some are just never meant to be.

Some of my quilts, some even that I finish, really shouldn't ever have been made, but I usually persevere.

But some quilters really are from another world.  Lynne Johnson, for example, who teaches for us, will think things through very, very carefully before making a quilt, and will make samples, so that when the actual quilt is made, it will be perfection.

Another of those people is Pippa.  Pippa is a legend in her own time in east Garston.  Her son is a pest controller, and regularly gets called out to East Garston to destroy real (and sometimes possibly imagined) pests which have invaded various homes throughout the village.  Whilst getting on with his work, his clients will say something like "I'm sorry you've had to come so far out of your way"  and he will answer something like "Oh, no problem, my Mum comes here quilting with Mrs Rabbitts".  The client will then say something like "Oh, is she local, then?" to which he responds, "No, she lives in Wales".  Then the next time I see the neighbour, they will look at me with renewed interest and say "I hear people come all the way from Wales to your workshop!".

Of course, we get people from all over the country at our workshops, and they stay on our caravan site, but they don't have sons who control pests.

Anyway, I digress.

Pippa has been working on a quilt for a few months now, and because she is a 'statement quilter' who thinks aloud when auditioning fabrics and working out what goes where, I know a lot of thought has gone into it.  Last quilt day she announced that she was starting a new quilt.  When we asked after the other one, she told us it was no good, and she was starting again.

This is the quilt:


At least she promised not to burn it, which is what can happen to blocks that aren't right.

I forgot to say that I went strawberry and cherry picking last month, at Q Gardens near Didcot.  Ros told me about it and I thought I'd go because she said there were acres of strawberries and lovely cherry trees - there were three-legged ladders dotted about which you could use to reach the best cherries.  She was absolutely right, and I picked lots of delicious fruit, and wasn't that surprised to see Ros there too!

Lastly, here is a quilt that definitely went right - Toni's lovely Baltimore

Toni does the tiniest blanket stitch I've ever seen - and all by hand!

Now I'm off to either sew more of the scalloped edging for my Medallion, or sew some more blocks for my Petra Prins quilt, or I could knit a bit more of my beautiful scarf, or, and I think this is more likely, try and finish the knitted 'Fish Wash Mitt' Sandra gave me.  She saw it in a shop in Cornwall and decided there was only one person she knew that would want to knit a wash mit........