Saturday 21 August 2010

Festival favourites and shopping

On Friday I went to the Festival of Quilts held at the NEC in Birmingham. I believe it is now the biggest quilt show in Europe. It was extremely busy, a good sign for the show and the traders but for visitors and for myself it was a little too uncomfortable. There were, however,some fantastic quilts on display and this is a selection of my favourites. I gave up after a while as trying to take photo's became impossible. I wandered off and had a look at the Trade stands and met some very nice people, Petra Prins (NL), Lynette Anderson(Aus), Michelle Hill,(Aus)not to mention all the usual traders from the UK.

This was my absolute favourite. Apart from it being in a colour very pleasing for me it was exquisite. How big do you think this quilt is? Let me tell you it was only about 12 inches at the most and the sheer skill in the piecing and the quilting was just mind blowing. It well deserved it's first prize for miniature quilt. This is by Kumiko Frydl.

Delectable goodies and calorie free. Made by Greta Fitchett of Derby. Lots of ribbon, lace and yoyo's.

This exhibit was entitled Lavender Bag and it smelled as divine as it looked. It was just beautifully stitched. There was even a fabulous beaded stopper to keep the lavender in the bag. Made by Heather Allson of Woodstock.

Loved the interpretation of this square in square block and the fabulous border. Apologies for not knowing who made it.

Somehow, my camera just couldn't do this one justice. I tried several close ups and the view finder looked great but the actual photo just didn't match up but maybe if you click for a close up it shows it up better. Apologies again for not knowing who the maker is.

Again you are going to have to click on this one for a close up as the detail was really impressive. Made by Louise Jessup, Ashford.

I think I may have a bit of an obsession for our feathered friends. I wished I could have taken this one home. I hope someone can tell me who made this quilt.

Now then. Anyone who hails from Stoke on Trent will immediately identify with this next quilt. They are to the landscape as engine houses are to Cornwall. Once the centre of excellence for the world's most amazing pottery these bottle ovens sadly are in decline along with the pottery industry. Where there once was thousands of these, there are now only about 50. Are you taking note here Barbara Chainey? Ideas for our Heritage Quilt? Art lessons at school always consisted of drawing and painting bottle ovens and our art teacher Mr. Turner!!! could always be heard saying "yellow ochre and black". We all could also paint roses and rhododenrons.

If you click on the photo there is a map of streets of Stoke on Trent and embroidered on the edges are the 6 towns that make up Stoke on Trent. The worded fabric contains names of past and present pottery firms. Check your cupboards ladies, I bet you have something in there from my home place and you never know it could have been made by one of our relatives. Made by Maureen Poole of Wrexham and called Potscape. I love this quilt.

Petra Prins was charming and I got to see the Sarah Morrell quilt by Di Ford. It was every bit as amazing as the photograph I have and Petra kindly spent some time helping me sort out a few fabrics in readiness of starting this fantastic quilt. There is a lot of fussy cutting and broderie perse and the colours are darker and a departure from my norm but I am excited at the prospect of making my own version of this quilt. ( See I Sew Quilts for a pic of Petra's stand).

A few more bits to add to Hearts and Romance. Is anyone keeping count here how many projects I have?!!! Makes life interesting and I should never get bored, or is it that I get bored easily?!!!

A few patterns that will come out of hiding at a later date.

Frankie and Luey are trying to get acquainted. Luey follows Frankie around like a lapdog and does whatever Frankie does. Frankie doesn't like his space being invaded and I think is a little jealous of the attention this little visitor is getting. Had to take this photo though. Frankie has had a chew on one of his feathers hence the odd angle of the rogue feather sticking out. I think you can tell he isn't amused.

Happy stitching.

Love Shirley.

Thursday 19 August 2010

Chocolate background

I am so loving making these Pies and Tarts and with the glue stick they are ultra quick and easy to prepare. Wendy brought along her hand dyed fabrics and I think I cleaned her out of this shade of chocolate brown. I have all 100 background squares cut out ready and quite a few segments. I think now I can add some creams into the mix.

The block in the bottom right corner has been finished and cut to size. The others are yet to be stitched down

It has been some time since I started The Farmer's Wife Quilt but now there are 3 more prepped ready for the off.

I have made myself a list this week of things to do.

I always seem to add more than I can manage but at least it makes me try.
On the list are:-
3 Farmer's Wife blocks
3 Pies
12 klosjes
Sew Pies to background
Plod on with the hexagons for Kaleidoscope.

Last weekend I received a package from America courtesy of Rae Ann at Cutie Pinwheel and Stash Manicure. Rae Ann and I have shared some lovely emails in recent months and I was quite touched with her thoughtfulness and kindness. Thank you Rae Ann. I do hope we get to meet one day. My mum's auntie Gwen married a GI and went to live in Texas after the war and Rae Ann has done some research into that side of our family tree. The information was sent in a very pretty folder which you can see in the background. There was also a pretty little notebook, ideal for me as I promptly put it to good use and used the graph paper at the back of the notebook to jot down a block pattern I had seen in a book. The pen is great fun. There was a very pretty fat quarter in a rose fabric and also a delicate china spoon.

Love the pom pom. I think Rae Ann knows that I like pinks.

Meet Frank. He is 8 years old and is a real cute bird. He chatters away and keeps me amused although sometimes I wonder if I am the one amusing him. He has quite a repertoire of words and voices. Mostly it is my voice that I hear but occasionally he switches to deep voice and I hear Mick speaking, usually it is to say "stop biting" with a few swear words added on the end. He must be in crisis at times as he says " cheep, cheep, cheep" and "quack quack".

This is Luey and he is still a baby. He belongs to my daughter and her partner's family and we are looking after him whilst they are away on holiday. They have eyeballed each other but are not too keen on being nice yet. Mostly they sit staring at each other on the top of their cages. Luey doesn't talk. I hope that I can get him to do something this week.

Tomorrow I am off to The Festival Of Quilts armed with a long list. I hope I find what has so far been eluding me and that is suitable fabric to start the Sarah Morrell quilt. I am excited at seeing the quilts too. Watch this space.

Happy stitching

Love Shirley.

Tuesday 10 August 2010

Laura's wedding

Friday 6th August was a happy day. It was also the first wedding in the family of the next generation and we travelled to Leek, Staffordshire for the event. Our beautiful niece Laura married her lovely Chris and oh dear, here I am crying yet again just writing this. I did warn them that I would cry and I did, so did a few others, the bride included. Laura was just so happy, it was one of those joyful, teary days.

A little adjustment of the head dress.

Their two dogs came too, just to see their mum and dad. I did wonder that they might be on guard duty either side of the church door like a pair of Staffordshire pot dogs. They are rescue racing greyhounds and thoroughly pampered.

My Sister-in-Law Gail looked fabulous and she started me off crying the second she arrived in the church. Her outfit looked like Jane Austen had been updated to 21st Century and I am sure she would have loved it too. Proud dad Phil (Brother-in-Law) even had a tear or two, David (Nephew and brother of Laura), Laura and Chris. Chris's mum Fay too looked very elegant in Navy and white lace.( sorry, haven't got a photo of Fay).

This is me and mine. I wore a black and ivory silk spotty dress with pink accessories (what else), Sarah standing behind Mick and myself, Rachel stood with Olly and Rachel's other half Justin sat next to Mick.

The Reception was held in a Marquee and looked fantastic. Very pretty pink and green bunting and chandeliers.

The table plans were set out with jars of yummy sweeties and as I clicked the camera out shot this hand belonging to Neil, partner of Sister-in-Law Sandra.

The wedding cake with its cup cakes and doves.

The table centres had teapots filled with roses and teacups with the table number attached and filled with chocolates. We had a fantastic time and it was great to see everyone.

The sum total of my sewing for the weekend was one pie.

Enough prepped for 5 more pies. Lots more cut out ready and waiting.

I had a bit of a mishap too at the weekend for which I am suffering. I managed to fall down the stairs in the middle of the night and bruised all up my right arm and the small of my back. The stair didn't escape injury either as that came away. That was fixed much more easily. Managed a bit of stitching today but I did ache quite a bit.

Happy Stitching.

Love Shirley.

Wednesday 4 August 2010


Today we have been on a trip. Every year we hire a coach and go to Cornwall for the day. More to the point, we go to a tiny portion of Cornwall called Launceston. First we start at Cowslip Workshops at Newhouse Farm, St. Stephens.

Cowslip is the brainchild of the lovely Jo Colwill. It is set on a working dairy farm and is in the most idyllic setting. Not only do you get a fabulous exhibition,but there is the well stocked shop and a wonderful cafe. All the food is locally sourced, organic and cooked on the large Aga. On a good sunny day you can sit out in the garden and have refreshments. It was a little wet today but it didn't spoil a thing. Jo herself is a kind and gentle soul and so inspirational. Everywhere you look has her style stamped on the place - even the loo's.

This is the entrance to the shop. It is packed to the rafters with such pretty fabrics and everything you could possibly need. It is not very big but every inch of space is filled and with our party today it was busy.

This entry leads to the gallery on the left and the loo's on the right and up the garden path to the cafe.

The seat outside the shop has this amazing view of Launceston Castle and the town nestling below it. We have been there on a sunny day and seen the buzzards swooping around. With such wonderful views how can you not be inspired?

There are lots of little nooks and crannies filled with pots of pretty flowers. Jo must have done this one especially for me. Love the pink pot.

We had two exhibitions to look at today. The quilts in the barn were by Charlotte Yde and contemporary, with printed images and lots of machine quilting. I apologise but I didn't take any photo's.

The quilts in the gallery were by Jo's students and most of these quilts were made showcasing the fabulous Rouenneries fabrics. I am sure you will agree that this range by Moda has been very popular. I didn't take any names so cannot tell you who made which quilt. Apologies for this.

This Toile quilt was my favourite and I could have taken this one home with me. Sue Watters from I Sew Quilts is running a workshop at Cowslip on Toile Medallions which I believe is fully booked. Having seen what is on offer I am not surprised. I don't know who made this quilt. Sue may know and tell me.

Beautiful Log Cabin quilt, simply quilted with hearts in the centres and big stitch quilting.

This little cot quilt was adorable, again simply quilted with big stitches with a floral motif. Jo does Country Style so well.

Once we have had lunch we head back into Laubceston town where we visit Flowerpatch Quilters and The West Country Embroiderer's exhibitions. More photo's but maybe for another day.

On a final note, a few nights ago we had a lovely sunset. All the clouds turned a fluffy pink.

Of course today I had to buy a few things. You will understand that I am supporting the local economy. My bag was the smallest though. Honest.

For all you ladies planning a trip to the UK this HAS to be on your destination list. When you get there tell Jo that I sent you.

Happy Stitching.
Love Shirley.

Sunday 1 August 2010

Pies and Tarts

I have given up sewing for today. My fingers are sore and at times I cannot feel the needle and thought it time to give them a little rest.

Yesterday, being Saturday I thought I would spend the day catching up with the much neglected Klosjes but that was before the post arrived. I have shamelessly stalked Frances at Quilting Owl blog to ogle her beautiful Pies and Tarts blocks that she has started. Well, I found the starter pack available here in the UK at The Quilt Room who plan to do it as a Block of the Month and my itchy little fingers just wouldn't wait. They are English paper pieced and with my latest best product, the glue pen, preparation was simple. I have enough papers to make 10 large Pies and 10 smaller Tarts. I have decided on a colour scheme of Plum, beige and green, with any shade inbetween from my stash.

These are the first 4. Three from yesterday and one today that proved a little difficult. Maybe it will feel better later.

Can you see what Kate taunted me with on Wednesday? If she was my friend like she claims she would have given me that selvage!!! It is a lovely piece of fabric from the V&A and she is making a small wall hanging with clamshells. That selvage is going to be incorporated into the border. It will be lovely Kate. All joking aside she did give me a little piece of selvage with some wording on it, just waiting for that next project. I have one in mind.

We went to Barrington Court for Sunday Lunch again today and sat in exactly the same place as last time. Of course this time I had to take my camera out to snap this little section of the fireplace. You see, inspiration is all around and nothing under the sun is new, you just have to give it a new twist.

This week I prepped a few more clamshells and tried again with a little project that I have in mind. I will tell you about my idea, but not just yet. I have used some beautiful soft grey hand dyed fabric from Wendy and some of my Liberty prints which are a lovely soft Cotton Lawn.

After Lunch we had a nice wander around the gardens and found the yellow courgettes growing. We had them at lunch and they were delicious. They try to use as much veg and fruit from the walled garden as they can.

My favourite book as a girl was The Secret Garden and I imagine this door leads into another little garden. Didn't see a robin though.

Just had to take a photo of this sunflower. Loved its colours.

Wandering around the back of the gardens I spotted a sign that said Patchwork. Joy! Oh Joy! Ladies, anyone in my vicinity reading this can now visit Barrington Court and do patchwork shopping at the same time. Hopefully this will be a good venture for her. She is also going to be selling fabric at Somerset County Quilters on a Monday evening I believe. I am sorry to say that I didn't get her name. My husband was happy as he stood outside having borrowed a pair of binoculars and watched the owl nesting in the hollow of the tree outside. I came away with a few fat quarters which you can just see in the pies and tarts pic.

Klosjes total 121.

Happy Stitching.

Love Shirley.