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, 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........

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Well - June went quickly and now July's going the same way! - And at the end of my last post I said I'd be posting over the next couple of days: three and a half weeks later and here it is!  I'd like to say it was worth waiting for but it probably won't be that interesting.

The farming year has moved on as ever.  Haymaking flew by back in June

and I spent many evenings trying to get the best Glow worm picture (not very successfully)

and now harvest is underway.   The sunshine was great for haymaking and an early start to harvest, but with no rain the grass started to disappear and the cattle were very restless and had to be moved everyday - we were so relieved when the rain came.

Last weekend I had a brilliant time at the the Hollain Artefois, near Tornai in Belgium, with the Garston Gallopers - I had thought we were going to a place called Artefois - but then realised that was the name of the festival.  In fact, we were lucky to get there at all because as well as not knowing where we were going, when I booked the ferry I had us departing at 10am and arriving in Dunkirk at 2pm on the Saturday, and then returning home at the 3.00pm ferry on the same day - luckily I spotted it and managed to change the date to the Monday.

The town was beautiful with it's ancient Bell Tower and cathedral, and the festival was great fun.

And even though there were lots of heavy showers,

when everyone would run for cover in the marquees, when the sun shone it was wonderful.

We were in a lovely hotel, with large rooms and a balcony.  I was so pleased when I arrived and saw the lovely view over the countryside to the town away in the distance,

but then thought I was going mad when I got back in the evening and all the lights made it seem like we were looking straight down on the town:

I realised in the morning that it was because every single road has street lighting.

Anyway, from today I am officially on holiday (yippee) with no more school or workshops for a month (although the Tuesday morning pitch and stitch will still be running) and I intend to fill my days with gardening, sewing, walking the dogs and just doing what I want, when I want!


Back in March I mentioned a cat/sheep that had appeared in my house.  Well - everyone denied any knowledge of it so I was really stumped, banished it to my workshop and stopped thinking about it.

Around came the Yoko Saito workshop which we hold once a term, and at the end of the day I think we were all moaning about the heat.  Just as Frankie (very gentle, friendly and quiet lady) was leaving she said, with a bit of a mischievous look in her eye,  "Look, even the sheep looks hot".  It was her!!  I couldn't believe it!  And of everyone I'd interrogated I'd never expected the culprit to be one of the genteel YS ladies!

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.