Thursday, July 26, 2007

Brixton fabrics

Here's the Brixton fabric. The pictures show a folded section about 15 inches in length except for the red and green one. That was an off-cut of only three yards - although I paid the same as for 6 yards of the others because it is my favourite! It was hanging on a skirt hanger outside a very sad little fabric shop tucked into a back alley and very close to a butchers selling bits of animal I didn't really recognise. It was hanging there singing 'Buy me, buy me, I am the only pretty thing in this alleyway.' The picture of it shows a span of about one and a half yards. It was draped badly over my sofa so I'm sorry about the distortion. I only have one yard of the maroon ( which I pulled out of a plastic sack of tat in the same sorry little shop.) I am thinking that all this stuff is so cheap it will just be fun to chop it all up and play with how many different ways you can cut the mock Kente cloth to get different looking pieces. Obviously much of it lends itself to fussy cutting ready made rectangle blocks but narrow and wide verticle /horizonal strips will all look very different. What would you do with it?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

African fabrics

I can't upload photos to this computer at work in London but I can tell you that I bought 27 yards of fabric yesterday in Brixton. It hadn't occurred to me whn I googled for African textile shops that what I would get was dutch wax print sold only in 6 yard pieces i.e dress size. But at £12 - £15 for those six yards it still had to be done. (For those who can do maths and work out that 27 does not divide by 6 - I did find some off cuts on the market as well!). I have some textured polycotton in black, three cotton wax prints and two mock Kente cloths. Either I use them as backings or I will be using this fabric in my quilts for a very long time to come!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Longarm v domestic machine

You may remember that a fortnight ago I went to use Chris Marriage's long arm machine. It turns out I was lucky because I am the very last 'lady' she is going to take on as someone who can rent her machine like that - and even then it is only if she has a space in her diary. She did it when she first got the machine to make some extra money but now, the good news is that she is busy enough with quilts coming in for her to quilt.

She did my maple leaf quilt and a very good job it was too - I will definately send stuff to her I don't want to quilt myself for time reasons. But do I now crave a long arm machine of my own?
As it happens I spent some of this week quilting a quilt I thought I had already quilted - this African Ladies 1 quilt. I had stitched in some of the ditches but it just wasn't enough and the lady blocks were puffing up. So I echo quilted them. Then the background seemed to want to be stippled. And of course you have to quilt with similar density all over so I decided to treat it as a free motion learning party, assigning certain patterns to certain blocks and changing the color of threads. Then I was left with the black borders which I had intended to bead. But that looked lame so I decided to just 'thread scribble' on them and see what I could come up with. The whole point of this quilt is that it was naive and imprecise so I just had fun.... see the photos throughout ths post. ( Sorry about the fuzzy ones but my battery has just gone!)

It gave me plenty of time to consider whether I preferred longarm or domestic quilting. Here are my thoughts:

Longarm advantages as they appeared to me:

1. No basting - it gets stretched taut on the frame

2. Using a pantogram ( which I did not do) seems to be the best way to get a regular overall pattern without tedious marking. ( I say tedious - I've never marked a whole quilt becuase the very thought of it makes me go to sleep but perhaps its restful and soothing rather than tedious?!)

3. The stitches are perfectly regular.

4. The quilt did not lose its shape in the quilting so there was no need for major blocking session.

Long arm disadvantages:

1. You stand up to do it - for six hours! Achey knees and feet.

2. I was suprised that it didn't go faster. I was only doing stippling and assumed I could wizz right along but I was told that the thread would break If I didn't keep it at slower speed.

3. I was also warned that it didn't like to quilt 'backwards' (by which she meant right to left) very well. In fact it was fine for me but I was told that on occasions it can be tempremental and break the thread.

4. The hardest thing you can do is straight lines which on a domestic is easy peasy. So stitch in the ditch is a major job by all accounts.

5. The machine cost £10,000 and needs a room all of its own.

6 (A minor one this). You don't touch the quilt as you do it so you lose the tactile quality of the quilting process.

All in all my longing for a longarm has waned. My longing for a stitch regulator has increased - for a novice I think my free motion is OK but its not perfect. Of course at present that means the Bernina Aurora 440QE. But for me the disadvantage of that is that it does not have the extra throat space of the Janome Memory craft which ( combined with a large table) has made quilting large quilts no problem at all. I hope to test the Aurora sometime - the School of Stitched Textiles has one on loan- but unless I find it worth its £1000 plus just for the stitch regulator I'm going to stick with practising even free motion and giving Chris business when I want to focus on piecing not quilting or when I want to say I have done the whole quilt myself but need perfectly regular stitches.

No blog tomorrow becuase I am off to Brixton in London to hunt out shops selling African and sari fabrcis. Some are on Electric Avenue as in the Eddie Grant song.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Alice Walker and her Color Purple quilt

This blog started off as a 'column' about writing and swiftly morphed into a quilting site as I found a new passion. I still write but for me quilting is a much less judgmental forum for my creativity. The writing groups I went to inevitabely focused on how to get published and what was wrong with what we had written. Whether your work was 'completed' really depended on its acceptance by an editor.

Of course, I am keen to improve my quilting skills, and will take any class I can get to. However I felt from the very beginning that my quilts were completed when I put the binding on and snuggled on down under them. They have all been admired as they are. I was particularly pleased that I have had nothing but positive comment on the improvsational quilt top I 'threw togther', which conformed to no accepted patterns or formulas ( 'genres' in the writing lexicon) at all. Few shows here are juried and the quilting community offers a supportive, sharing,excited - just- to -be -with -fabric atmosphere in which I feel enabled to produce what I feel beautiful without fear of censorship.

Even with a Masters Degree in Creative Writing, I could never really get a feel for whether my fiction'worked' or not and what that meant anyway. My quilts work if I can hold them up and go 'Look what I made!' and the three layers stay together.

So, the blog may have gone that way, but I am still interested in writing and writers. Which is why I was fascinated by an extract from a book I was reading while I was travelling this week called Communion of the Spirits by Roland Freeman. It was an interview with Alice Walker who, in part, said this about the time when she was writing The Colour Purple.

"... I knew that in order for me to have the kind of meditative depth to the book that I needed, I had to do work with my hands and I asked my mother to suggest a pattern that would be easy and she said that there was nothing easier than the Nine-Patch. You know, you just get some fabric and cut up the pieces into nine blocks and you sew them together and that's it. So I followed her advice and ... in the evenings I worked on the quilt. And as I worked on it the novel formed.

.....This kind of redish or, green and maroon stripes - these are colours that just struck me as colors I needed to give me strength to go on in the work I was doing, so that it felt cheerful and strong and interesting working with those colors. I couldn't have written the Colour Purple working on a brown quilt."

The interviewer told her that Maya Angelou had mentioned that when she was having difficulty writing a book her mother told her,'Take this quilt and go and sit on it and you won't have those problems, it will be all right'. He told Alice that in his family there was a lot of folklore about powers and quilts and asked her what she thought of that. She replied:

" Well... other than to say that I feel just really good and protected and blessed, especially when I am under quilts made by my mother. But my feeling of power... comes from the making. The making of myself. ... The powers partly about grounding yourself in somthing that's humble, something that is- that you can actually see take form through your own effort, and its like seeing that you can change things and create through your own effort and in a way that you can see. This makes you realise that you constantly do that in an unseen way.That is also the way that the world is created.....

.......I feel really connected through the work that I do. Its such a great experience to do this while writing a book, because you know on days when you cannot move in the narrative you can work on your quilt! There are days when the characters don't want to come anyway. They are off doing something else in another world. You have your quilt and you can keep going, and so one faith leads the other - the faith you can continue making this pattern in the quilt restores the faith that you may start moving, that you can continue in the uneseen -which is to draw these characters out of nothing and make them real for someone."

I read that and just had to go and get a copy of the Colour Purple to re-read! There is a picture of Alice with her quilts in the book and I will read imagining her making that quilt. I also cannot remember the significance of the title The Colour Purple but whatever it turns out to be in the text it will now have an added shade ( sorry!) of meaning for me - and now I hope you too.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Advice needed

One of the great things about blogging is the abilty to tap into worldwide knowledge. After reading the comments on my last post I now know how many days are in each month! So can I ask you all two specific questions this month?

First - specialist lighting
As part of my continuing room makeover I am thinking about lighting. My ironing space is in a room with no windows - there was originally one but it was on a wall which was knocked out to create the extension where I now quilt, so the remaining 'library' area is quite gloomy. My sewing space has patio doors behind me and a window to the right but of course at night (and at the moment depsite it being summer, because of rain clouds, frequently during the day) that doesn't help.
I am thinking about specialist lamps. In particular the one above from Ott light and maybe a portable one for hotel rooms. So my questions are:
Is there any difference in quality between The Daylight Company and Ott Lights.
Or indeed is there another company I have missed looking at?
In the case of Ott Lights their bulbs only fit into their lamps which are expensive. Are they worth it?
Does anyone have these long thin ones as shown above ( or similar) and do they shed light over a wider area than just the spotlight type desk lamps?
Which portable ones shed enough light to be worth toting around?
Do you have any other advice?
Secondly - quilt university
I have never done a course with them but I have noticed ( OK yeah, I was surfing when I should have been working again!) that they have a cousre on machine feet which would be very useful to me. However, it kicks off in August when I am barely here. I know some of you have used them - Erica, I know you in particular!
Would I get my monies worth if I downloaded the lessons then did them in my own time or do you really need to be following along at the speed of the lessons to benefit?
I am off now to Stafford and Lancaster for one night each - a trip which involves 4 hotels ( 2 to sleep in 2 to teach in!). So I look forward to your advice on my return.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

8 random things

I have been tagged twice to tell you 8 random things about me so here goes:

1. My underwear has to match. I don't just mean colour. It has to be from the same lace.

2. I would like to be Jewish. (in theory at least). I love that it is such a thinking religion. Today I found a blog post that just summed up for me why I love Jewish people and thought so much. It is here at the post for 14th and is basically 36 people (last time I looked) seriously debating the religious and moral consequences of a 7/11 slurpee promotion. How wonderful to have such a structure to live live by... and what a challenge I suspect it would be.

3. I am very bad at wearing socks and shoes in the house, or even at work for that matter. they tend to get kicked off. At home if it is cold I favour the slippers you get at the souk in Marrakech because they don't make my feet all hot and constrained.

4. I have been known to hang around at stage doors waiting for a glimpse of Maureen Lipman. I think she is just wonderful.

5. I should never be left in a room with a bag of Thorntons Butter Tablet. ( A kind of fudge type concoction made of both sugar and condensed milk and not a lot else). I will eat the whole lot until I am sick. It is addictive and I cannot resist it. I come close to the same recation with yoghurt rasins and yoghurt pineapples. Once I had a bag in the car I knew that I shouldn't eat it so I tossed it on to the backseat out of reach. Then spent the whole journey home trying to judge my speed to hit red lights so I could twist round and grope for it.

6. I carry a photo of my maternal grandfather in my purse. He was a career officer in the army at World War Two and lost his leg in Italy when he stood on a land mine. He returned with no money and worked his way up to being Director of Social Services for Cumbria. He died when I was twelve.

7. I don't know how many days there are in every month (I know February but those 30 and 31 day months ... I have no idea.) I know that there is a little rhyme to help you remember but I never learned it and although I always mean to, I never have.

8. I hate to blow up balloons. I am afraid that they will burst in my face.

And as for books, to answer the question on my comments, I bought five all from the AQS series - the books of the winners of the annual competition to use a traditional block in an invovative design. I got a compliation of Ohio Star, Double Wedding Ring and Log cabin, then the single books of Seven Sisters, Bears Paw, Dresden Plate and Rose of Sharon. Five for £47.50 including postage. Not bad.

Friday, July 13, 2007

How to spend without guilt

Ok. Thanks for your comments about, my book buying dilemma. It does seem that some of you have sewn little perforation holes in the part of your brains that house good financial sense. But that's OK because I have found a similar solution.

When I was a kid (I'd guess about 10) my Aunty Andrea said that she had always wanted to give a kid a big box of presents for Christmas and my sister and I were the lucky recipients. Jen's box included a toy box made out of a dustbin covered with fur with a big teddy bear head on the lid. (This was the era of Dusty Bin If you recall that TV programme?) That bear is in my parents house, a bit lop headed and manky of fur, but so loved no-one will throw it out.

He is kept company by a blue and white pot bellied bear called Smug LLoyd ( after a physics teacher at our school also pot bellied and also called Smug Lloyd - at least behind his back). I saw Smug Lloyd ( the bear) in the window of the Sailors Home charity shop in Hull when I was a first year University student. It is a very large bear. I bought it for 50p, rode it home pillion on my bike and, because it was it was filthy, gave it a bath. Of course it soaked up all the water and had to sit on a washing up bowl 'potty' in the corner of my student room 'weeing' water for a fortnight before I could gift it to Jen who loved it becuase it was a bear and because it was the colours of Everton Football Club. Mum loves it because it proves that her 'girls' love each other. (Yes, go ahead and stick your fingers down your throat, if that is your instinct).

But I digress. Since I was older, I got more sophisticated gifts. The ones which lasted were both from a Norfolk Pottery - a cylindrical container I use to keep tubes of handcream and hair straightener in and a brown glazed money box in the shape of a half timbered house. Recently I have taken to putting loose change in the money box to lighten my purse..... you can see where this is going now can't you?!

I raided the piggy bank last night and piled up piles of up copper and silver. I filled money bags worth £45. Yeah!! Totally free, gratis, practically found-in-the-gutter, quilting books! And there is cash left in there for later sprees! Off I go to Amazon....

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

How to shop without spending...

... or ' How to waste an evening'.

The gift quilt was inspired by a design in a book called 'Feathered Stars: New Quilts from Old favorites' [sic] ( sorry - couldn't resist that dig!) which is a book of winners from the AQS competition. I bought the book very cheap at a closing down discount book store in Lancaster.

I have been thinking about buying the whole series as this is a yearly competition and I have still horded some money I was gifted for Christmas which I like to eke out year round so I get 'free' books!. So I look on AQS to see what they have and convert $ to £ then I have to work out if it is worth joining to get a members discount. But I can't find postage on ther site.

So I check on They have a wider collection of the older books. So I compare the new price with the marketplace price and convert $ to £.

But why am I buying from the US? Yes sometimes you get a wider choice (and more have the search inside facility on Amazon) but many can be traced here. I look on Then Then

I now have far too many prices so I have to make a little chart and work out the cheapest source for each book available.

That done the total comes to £197. Even I know that is bad. I seek counsel from my husband. He says.' That's a lot of quilting money.' That confuses me further because I am spending the money on quilting things so what does that have to do with the price of fish?

Some of the books are very expensive because they are out of print. If I knock out those four, I can get seven for £69 which is £1 less than I have horded and in fact less than cover price. And if my mother-in-law is true to form there will be more book money coming soon. But then, do I need seven at once? I know that I ought to ask that question but in our house we refuse to look at books as something you need. It is a fundamental human right to own books. But it is my birthday on 3rd August which I know will bring books so perhaps I shouldn't get them now especially as I have unread quilting books stashed up.....

I seek further counsel. He says. ' When I want a big spend like that I buy them over a few months so it doesn't feel so bad. But then those ones on marketplace might not be available. And now is the time to buy from the US because of the exchange rate.' Helpful guy my husband.

I decide to sleep on it and consult my comments tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Thank you for all your very kind comments about the gift quilt. ( I still need a name for it - suggestions please!) As requested in my comments - more close up pictures now showing the quilting. Chris took one look at my overambitious learn-to-longarm-quilt and sad 'Echo quilting and stippling?"! We graduated to using a ruler for straigh lines which counts as custom quiting if you pay her to do it and I mastered that reasonably well. I then got over confident and attempted feathers which was extremely stupid as I was struggling to draw them on paper never mind by the machine. They are adequate if I am being kind to myself and 'well ropey' if I am not. However, on that basis that it was not that long ago that Mum threw out the Christmas decorations I made at playschool with glitter and egg boxes, I think she will accept it in the spirit it is made without too much criticism. You and I could see all the errors and rough bits but the overall impression is good enough for someone who has been at this quilting lark for a year and a half!

This is Chris and unfortunately a bit of her gardening bag! It was quite windy and the quilt kept swaying about which given that it was cream and trailing on the wet lawn was a bit alarming so I didn't spend time composing the shot!

Here are some details. ( although I think it looks better from a distance!)

I am not sure if you can pick them out but there are some freemotion daisies hidden in this fabric And finally, I could not resist coming home from York today and finishing the 'sister' quilt top, which is going to be tied in due course as it is going to lie anything but flat! Oh, and has loads of shiny polyester in it for good measure. Dennis said he 'liked it, sort of'. Which turned out to mean he was not sure about the blue bars. Looking at the photo now he nmight have a point, but they are in and staying in!

And finallya photoof the two of them together for my records.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


At 7.19 tonight I finished this! ( I have given up on the coyness as I am now certain my married for-40-years parents do not read my blog)

Tomorrow I take it to Bradford to learn how to Long arm quilt it. Phew!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Are you sitting comfortably....

.... because this is one consumer story to beat all others.

Remember this?

Well I went to collect it from Carcraft yesterday. I handed over the key to my old car with the log book and paid for the new one. I got the log book, it was taxed and insured for me, the V5 registration documents had already been sent off for me. All very smooth. I went to the area where they drive the car round for me to be shown the controls and the salesgirl was away for ages. She returned looking nervous with a sheepish looking guy who proceeded to tell me that there was a problem because they had put my old car on the hoist and realised that it had been in an accident and that they had to reduce the trade in price they had agreeed by £1000.
I pointed out that they were actually too late becuase they'd sold the new car and in any event they had actually inspected the car once (besides which as consumer whilst I may not actively misrepresent the condition of the car, they failed to ask me the rather crucial question about past damage and a consumer I have no obligation to inform a business seller!) He jumped up with alacrity to get the manager, looking rather grateful to get out of the conversation! When the manager arrived he was treated to a little lecture about contract law but he didn't seem tobe a good student as his instransigent position was that either I could pay the extra £1000 and take the car or pay the whole price and sell my car privately. I suggested an alternative, namely that they hand over the keys to the new car I owned.
This went on for some time and reached an incredibly ridiclous impass where he was unable to explain how he thought he had a right to to retain the car but was doing so anyway. So, with a great deal of reluctance after well over an hour I called the Police.
Now the Police will not come out to a civil dispute so I told then my car keys were being stolen. I also ran my husband to come over for company and my colleague in chambers to come and collect the papers I was taking home for him for his trial the next day. He is a criminal practitioner and pointed out that the offence of taking a car without the owners consent was more apt. So when the Police called back forty five minutes to say they weren't coming I altered my complaint, insisted very calmly and they came within 10 minutes!
They looked at all the documents and couldn't beleve what was happening. For well over another hour they were talking to the manager. We had fun watching them blocking him in with his back to a corner of the office. However, they failed to persuade him to hand over the keys, and he claimed that a director in Rochdale was telling him to keep the car so the Police were - rightly - of the view that it was the director who should be arrested if anyone. As arresting someone was was not the point anyway, they agreed to try again but still no keys even though he was told very firmly that he was risking big heampum litigation and car hire costs! So at 9.20, twenty minutes after the garage closed I left with neither set of keys and no means of gettng to work in Macclesfield the next day.
I could not believe this was happening. What do you do to get a car back in those circumstances? Well you issue a claim for conversion in tort, breach of contract, and injunctive relief under Part 25 of the Civil Procedure Rules. Which creates lots of paperwork. So I went home and prepared that, then prepared my two lever arch file brief for court today and went to bed at 2.15. At 5.25 I awoke with a sudden concern about the law on conditions/ warranties in contracts and had to get up to look it up and prove myself right by which time it was time to get up anyway. Fortunately my sister had volunteered to help out so I took Dennis' car and she took him to work. On her way home she personally served a letter before action for me.
The 3 page letter in essence said that whatever their case was they couldn't possibly own both cars. They could either give me the Primera and sue me for £1000 or they could repudiate the contract without my consent and return the Vectra and I would sue them for breach of contract. They had until 12 noon to pick one or the other or I would issue the injunction proceedings to get the car back for the weekend or at least early next week.
At 12 noon, no response faxed to my chambers. So I rang, got a different, slightly more junior member of managment who had not seen the letter but provided a text book example of how to deal with complaints, acing swiftly and ringing frequently to keep me up to date. As I paced up and down in Macclesfield with papers in my hand and Judge on alert that I would be coming in before his 2pm list, he looked into it. Forty minutes after he first heard about it I happily agreed to pay an extra £253 which meant that they just broke even on the deal and I got the new car.
Dennis took me later to collect it and they had filled it with petrol for me. There was one small part I knew was missing that was ordered that I was going to collect later and they promised that they would send a fitter out to me to do it, rather than me having to go to them. All the staff who had served me told they thought it was great that I had called the Police to their manager ( who was not in so they could speak freely) We got the distinct impression that he was not a well loved man! I would say a rather ignorant little bully who picked on the wrong person! The stupidity was that had the car been £1000 dearer in the showroom to start with it would not have been the excellent deal it was but it would still have been a little cheaper than an equivalent car at the Nissan dealers and I probably would still have bought it. But it was the principle of it -their bare faced cheek and insitance despite being utterly in the wrong. Even my sister said, 'if he tries that with you, imagine how many other people have just given in.'
All the other staff were great and when my sister was there they were coming up to her asking her to tell me that they hoped it all worked out for me. The second mangaer ( who was not in the day before) actually said he was sorry the bad one hadn't been arrested as it would have been great at the Christmas party! I am also told that the internal procedure on when they inspect trade in cars for a vaulation changed today.
So I have the car. Oh and for reason I missed out to keep this from taking you all week to read, they refunded the whole of the original payment and started again, but forgot that I had payed for car tax first time round so they got the figures wrong and only charged me £163!!
Plus that pacing up and down I was doing was outside the court as I was afraid I would fall asleep if I didn't get fresh air. I found a wool/ cross stitch shop and when the salewoman asked if she could help me, I explained that I didn't knit, but that I was a sad and exceedingly tired quilter and wanted to be with pretty colours and soft fluffy things for a while. She let me stroke some sari ribbon and gossemer like wool, then sent me down the road to a fabric off cut shop in an old mill and there I found perhaps 40 or so quilting cottons ( bought 1/2 metres of 2!) some polyester silk looking stuff to experiment with on my afro-american quilt and six cute buttons!
So now I am happy but knackered and behind on the gift quilt, so you may have to excuse a missing blog tomorrow but I really really hope that I show you a finished top by Sunday evening. Keep fingers crossed for me!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Mid year tidy resolution

Once again. I got a bit distracted tonight from the quiting that is now URGENT. Only this time it wasn't with quilts . Instead. on the way home, I bought this!

It is either an impulse but or it is an example of my skills in quick and conentrated research because the time span from the' You know, I really think I ought to think about replacing my car' stage to 'Where do I sign' spanned Tuesday evening to about 6.30 tonight! But a bit of ringing around, internet and local paper research has left me convinced that I got a very good deal and I love the car so that's what matters. Plus I don't have to waste evenings that could be spent quilting on schlepping around car dealers

It is a 6 months old, I previous owner, metallic silver Nissan Primera 1.8 SX hatchback ( for anyone who cares) and its main attraction was its comfort and large boot - essential for carting around suitcases, craft boxes and large quilting model sewing machine! The built in sat nav, 6 CD changer and little camera in the boot that projects film on to a screen on the dash when you reverse so you can see what you are about to hit were just happy extras! My vague plans to move down to a smaller car were very serious ones until I sat in this one tonight!

However, I have decided that my tidying up mode that applies to the quilting studio has to, in the future, extend to my car. I am taking the new one home tomorrow and so tonight have emptied my current Vectra. This bag ( together with a sports bag full of several gym outfits) now contains the contents of the car. The sack is what my quilt was returned in from Malvern and has been in the boot ever since. For anusement value I list below the contents of my car and challenge anyone to be worse! In the order in which things are now comng back out of the bag, I have:

1 eyebrow brush

1 packet soft mints

I copy Insolvency Law Corporate and Personal

1 empty crisp packet

4 water bottles

18 CDs

3 pens and 2 pencils

1 icecream wrapper

1 milage log

2007 cataloge of quilt books

A vistors guide to Stoke on Trent ( Venue for Trentham Quilt show!)

1 Cumbria parkng disc and ditto from Harrogate

numerous pay and display stickers

4 postal photgraph printing order forms

1 road map

1 lemon and ginger tea bag

1 AA route finder print out

1 pair sunglasses

1 bottle eye make up remover

1 empty packet of yogurt coated pinapple pieces (and two such pieces under the drivers seat)

1 other pair sunglasses

1 calculator

1 hotel bathroom bottle moisturiser

2 umberellas

1 free 2007 diary from Just Sew in penrith

1 copy Julian Grave's healthfood shop magazine

1 Ikea store guide (ARRGH!!!)

1 pad airmail paper

1 file of notes from Law Society Children Law Conference

1 sheet of of template plastic

1 pin

1 packet lemsip

1 bottle deicer

1 take away pizza box ( not from having pizza - picked up in Bath as possible material for City and Guilds activities!)

1 1021 page copy of the Civil Procedure Rules

1 box of saftey pins

1 plastic folder containing quilt show entry forms

1 leaflet about Maccelsfield Silk museums

1 bottle screen wash

1 sheet bubble wrap

1 plastic thing ( looks like it has fallen off something - no idea what it is)

1 hair scrunchie

1 plastic thing that goes on the thread stand on my sewing machine

See why I need a big car?

Monday, July 02, 2007

Fabric mystery

I got a response from Jinny Beyer's shop today:

Hi Helen,
After some inquiries, we are unaware of RJR Fabrics having seconds. We would be very curious to see a swatch of the fabric if you would not mind sending a piece of this to our post office box. There is a chance that the fabric has English Garden printed on the selvage, but that some of this was also in a smaller collection called Patagonia. We realize at this point you probably do not need the exact match, but the swatch of fabric would allow us to make an exact match. If we cannot match it exactly, then perhaps it was not a genuine as the sales man lead on!
I will copy RJR Fabrics on this email as well, in case they are aware of "seconds" ?
Thank you for your inquiry,

Fair enough!! I replied saying I'd send the swatch then went to their site, where the fabric is listed under collection title, and looked under Patagonia. Lo and behold... what looks like the right fabric!! Of course I had no reason to look under that category because it was labelled English Garden by the manufacturers.

I went back on the site of the quilt shop I bought from and yeah - they have it there too under Patagonia not English Garden!! I have e-mailed them to ask if they knew about it being labelled English Garden.

So, it looks like my suspicions of seconds in terms of print runs might be wrong but I think there is a definate question about the quality of selvedge labelling.

Grrrr. My quilt is not what it should be and I don't have time to start again with the UK fabric not least because I have chopped up the half done blocks! (Mind you, I suspect the recipients might like it better the redesigned way!) and it has cost me a lot in international postage and fabric I didn't want to get to this stage. The US shop is copying the fabric manufacturers in on correspondence so I'll let you know what the answer to the mystery turns out to be, because I am determined to find it! (Perhaps I need to get out more?!)

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Fabric disaster solution(s)

Thank you for all your kind wishes re my fabric problems. I have indeed resolved them, with an added bonus thrown in. As far as the gift quilt is concerned, I have replaced the four planned foundation blocks with two made with the brighter version of the fabric. I used bias binding from it to make hearts and put the initals of the recipients in a heart each. The other two blocks have appliqued figures on showing dates relevant to the reason the gift is being given. ( sorry - still being coy just in case the recipents happen to read this, even though I'm pretty sure I am safe. I will show you in due course). In fact it kind of personalises the quilt so I don't mind too much that it doesn't look like it is supposed to!
I was supposed to be working on the borders today but I got kind of distracted. Ok, majorly distracted! I was frustrated by all the half pieced foundation blocks that were now unusable - what a waste of fabric. I was also reading this book over breakfast
and feeling kind of frustrated that I was not African -American and thus not part of the tradition of improvised quilts. Then I put the two togther and thought - well who says you have to be black to quilt like that. I took a rotary cutter to my blocks and scissors to scraps and this is where I am at the moment
I plan more blocks down the sides and to keep going until it is single bed size. I kind of like the idea that the rather formal gift quilt and this one could one day be shown side by side. Having said that this one doesn't exactly lie flat so the quilting might ruin it yet! Usually I struggle for quilt names but this one just has to be White women can quilt !
The final photo is for all those who wondered if my room would stay tidy when I actually worked in it....

..... I did clean up afterwards though!