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!

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Cruelty To Plants

First of all - where did June go?  I can't believe it's nearly a month since my last post!  My only excuse is that I've been very, very busy - especially in the garden....and thank Goodness there isn't a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Plants.  Even if it is inadvertently.

About 8 years ago my cousin Jen, who is a genius at making and growing things, (she has a blog - freshwindsgarden.blogspot.com) came up for a workshop and, of course, brought me a plant.  She told me what it was but I forgot.  I popped it into a fairly small pot and over the years I've watered it but it's never been very spectacular.  Well, when we were in wonderful Wales I admired Liz's lovely garden

and in particular this plant

which, on closer inspection

I realised is exactly the same plant that I have kept trapped in a little pot for years.  I was appalled and the first thing I did when I got home was to plant it out ....

I can only hope that now it has a bit of freedom it will grow as beautiful as Liz's plant.

Anyway, it has been a busy month with lots going on in the workshop:  Lynn, Eileen and Julie finished their Japanese Patch bags,

Lots of quilt tops have been finished including Sue's Di Ford

and Sandra's Antique Wedding Sampler

and Carole's Baltimore (which was quilt as you go so once she's put the binding on that's good to go)
and we've managed to layer quite a few quilts ready for quilting, including Jane's beautiful quilt (she'd only made a hexagon quilt before so it's astounding how well she's done) which, like mine, is made out of fabric she already had.
The sun's out, and the garden is calling so that's all for now - although there are other bits of news I want to report so the next post will probably arrive tomorrow or Tuesday!

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

The Big Country

We are back from our wonderful week in New Quay, West Wales.  We knew it was going to be good when we drove into the turning for our stable cottage at Crogal and saw this:

and so every morning when we opened the curtains and perhaps sat out on the balcony with a cup of  tea, this was our beautiful view:

and in the evening we looked out on the twinkling lights across Cardigan Bay and the Strumble Head lighthouse flashing out its warning.

After a warm welcome from the lovely owner, Liz, we settled into our holiday home.  There were lots of things we wanted to do and see, and the first day we walked along the coastal path to our little private beach:
Of course we visited the Jen Jones Welsh Quilt Centre and there was Susan, from the Market Square Quilt Group, who moved to Wales a few years ago - she was more surprised than me because I knew she helps Jen Jones!  There was a lovely display of wholecloth quilts which I really enjoyed.
But what I was really on a quest for was Welsh blankets - so we visited two woollen mills.  The first was the Welsh Wool Museum and there were plenty of blankets for me to love!
and then we could watch the men weaving them

We also visited Rock Mill, which was built by the Great Grandfather of the current owner in 1890, and is the last of the mills powered by a waterwheel.  Sadly his sons don't seem too keen to take over and it looks like it won't be around much longer, but it was a joy to look around.

We walked up the old stone steps

and into the deserted mill where it was as if time had stood still!

The waterwheel was turning

                       and there were half-woven blankets on the old looms:

                                                       and great baskets of coloured bobbins:

All mod coms, really

What a treat!  And then, I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw a basket of this in the shop:

Our own Coastal Colours yarn!  I was away when they had a stand here on the farm a couple of years ago so I had to bring one home with me, of course.  And maybe a couple of Welsh blankets.......

We had such a lovely time, and saw so much - we visited Caldey Island

                                                       and beautiful beaches

and pretty churches.....

.......of course, when we went out in the boat at sunset and the dolphins were swimming around us I didn't have my camera with me...

and then on the last evening had an amazing meal at The Blue Bell Bistro in New Quay, and looking across to the cottage where Dylan Thomas lived, we watched the sunset over the bay.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Trying to Squeeze it all In

Some people I know go for month-long holidays four times a year, and are completely calm about it.

We go on holiday for one week a year and I'm absolutely frantic.  And it's only to Wales so we can drive home and back in a day if we want to!

I don't think it's just me who is at sixes and sevens though; I see this Barn Owl around our garden every morning and evening - maybe it's doing overtime to feed some chicks!

My main problem is the garden....everything is ready to be planted out and I'm trying to get it done before we go away on Saturday - mainly because I know George won't prioritise watering my flowers!

Today, yesterday, and last Sunday I was able to spend a good few hours at it, but otherwise there have been too many distractions.

last Thursday we had a brilliant day at the Malvern Quilt Show.  We saw lots of inspiring quilts, and here are some of my favourites:

Hand-pieced by Francis Meredith and Longarm quilted by her too.  A couple of my friends have sent their quilts to her at Fabadashery (www.fabadashery.co.uk) and I really loved the results - very different from the overall swirls that gets very samey.
I quite liked this one - Peony Ring (I think) by Sally Bramald
The baskets are so clever:


I thought Abigail Rose by Sue Watters was beautiful
and then this one: Knot Garden by Claire Scott

caught my eye - she used Canadian smocking for the knots and what she called a 'crashing' technique for the topiary.  No idea what that means!

Then Saturday we were dancing in the rain in Winchester.  Whilst sheltering under the trees Louise pointed out a Handkerchief tree (also known as a Ghost tree apparently) - it was really beautiful:

covered in all it's hankies

Tuesday morning Pitch and Stitch was busy and we were all very impressed by Lynn's cot quilt:

and floor mat made with Japanese Patches which she learnt with us:

Front and back below


Sunday, 14 May 2017

A walk in the Woods

This morning I woke up before 5.00am with such a stiff neck it felt more like cramp!  The only thing that gave slight relief was blowing the warm hair drier on it - agony.  By late morning it was feeling a bit better, but it rather put paid to my plans to work all day on the garden.

I have various theories as to what caused it.  It could be the result of sitting hunched up all day against the cold at work. Or it could have been trying to push a wheel barrow full of turf and which has a flat tyre.  Or it could be some sort of repetitive strain because I have to pull the light pull in my bathroom about twenty times each night before the light comes on.  Or it could have been because I went dancing yesterday.  Or it could be because I spend practically every waking minute scrolling through Facebook to see what George is up to on his four week whistle-stop trek around America.....

There have been a few pictures, of some pretty spectacular views, although not as many as I'd like.

Yesterday we had a message conversation which reminded me of letters home when I was abroad:

George (Saturday 1.25am): 
Hello I'm having a really great time but I've run into a problem with my spending. I have about £200 left to spend so I'm not sure if it will last me the rest of the trip.
Us (Saturday 8.27am):
You have overspent quite a lot. Will put some money in on Monday but you have to curb your spending a bit...
Us (Saturday 8.34am):
Remember that the money may not be available till Tuesday because I'll have to do the transfer after work on Monday.
Us (Saturday 11.22am):
Have put money in your account. Try not to spend it all but if it gets low again let us know.
Anyway, while he was enjoying spectacular views, the dogs and I decided to make the most of Bluebell time.  We have three little woods, Hashams, Roger's Wood and Lodge Wood.  The Bluebells are particularly good in Hashams
and it's lovely to see the bright green ferns unfurling.
One Young Oak had loads of Oak Apples on it
and then you turn a corner and see this beautiful blossom

From Roger's Wood you can see through to the golden Rape behind:
We are lucky to have such beautiful places to walk around here.

We are also really exhausted.  The last ewe lambed last weekend, and the last cow calved yesterday.  I have started feeding my lambs just twice a day now they are happily gobbling up their creep feed, and some of the sheep have decided they can't wait till shearing and are throwing off their coats already!

We are so looking forward to our holiday! - every morning the only way I can get out of bed is by telling myself I can get back in at the end of the day!

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Patches and Blocks

This week we have our Japanese Patches workshop - Japanese patches are great because each block is quilted as you sew it together, so very quick and easy.  Some of the ladies want to make bags with them, like mine

so it was lucky that Sheila came down from Nottingham last week to the Lynne Johnson day - using her Japanese patch bag to carry her quilt in!

And this is her lovely Antique Wedding Sampler quilt

Toni used the Quilt as you Go method for her Baltimore which is nearly finished now

And here is Jenny's stunning Di Ford quilt

The colours are so rich and it's so beautifully pieced - Jenny has a right to feel very proud of herself (and she is so grateful always to Lynne for all her help).

I also love the knitting bag Jacqui has made.  She realised that making the whole Yoko Saito Town quilt would be too much of a challenge for her, but completed the block she started in class and made it into this beautiful bag:

Everyone admires it.

I have started a new quilt.  Years ago I bought a lovely box of fabrics from the Petra Prins stand at the Malvern show,

and when I was buying another little kit the other day everyone kept going on about the Petra Prins that had never been made, so I thought I'd better make a start on it.

I have to say, it's not going to be easy - when I read the instructions I realised why it had been put away for so long:

That's it!  So I had to figure out how to actually make the nine blocks!!  Still, I've made a start and have nearly completed the first wheel - although it involved a lot of trial and particularly error.