Tag Archive | quilting

Guilt-free quilting

Going through difficult times and wanting to stay at home rather than venture further afield makes it very easy for me to feel guilty that I’m not doing anything. Of course that is nonsensical as it is impossible for me to do nothing except when at my lowest nadir confined to bed and sleeping all day.

So when I look back at the last week or so, although I haven’t been out and about as much as the previous week, I have still achieved a lot and should take pride in that instead of beating myself up. We could all learn that lesson and be kinder to oneself more often.

I finished my mini-quilt swap for my swap partner in the US. I will now be able to put it in the post and wait for her reaction. I just hope she likes it. Likewise, I will be waiting for mine to drop through the letterbox and I am sure I will love mine! Just the thought that someone has spent their precious time and energy on a project for me is warming and I love this idea of quilt swapping.

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Mini-quilt swap Spring 2017[/caption

My quilt-swap partner lives in Texas and I therefore settled on a pattern which has one star at the centre as I understand that Texas is known as the “Lone Star State.” I also hand-quilted it with stars. I love how you can personalise even the smallest quilt either by pattern or colour, or both and all quilts are made with love. They are almost living things and each one gifted goes with a piece of me.

I have also started to hand-quilt one for me. It is divided into 4 large squares which I will sash together when quilted. I find it very relaxing to sit and stitch in the evenings whilst watching TV. Good chill-out time and, as I am being creative and making something tangible, it’s all guilt-free.

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I am also learning a lot about the history of quilting both in the UK and the US. I have to say that the US wins the “most interesting” award and I am now fascinated with the quilting stories, history and myths which abound. All this in addition to the Civil War quilts and fabrics mentioned previously.

[caption id="attachment_14798" width="2560"]IMG_5075 Easy 4-square mini-quilt

I may not be racing around like an ant, but I am still being productive and creative. This should not be underestimated!

Creative

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Weeks 4 and 5- Facing the world

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Anyone who has suffered with depression and/or anxiety knows how difficult it is to face the world. Since starting my annual break back in February I have been quite happy to remain indoors quilting, sewing and even organising my office in preference to venturing outdoors.

It’s a good job therefore that I have plenty of previous experience in dealing with these issues and know myself well enough to kick my own ass into gear. Challenging my negative thoughts I set myself some goals to try and recover some normality;

  1. I arranged to visit Will at University so he could drive me to IKEA for a mosey round the aisles then treat me to lunch. This was my agreed Birthday present carried forward from February and which I had been putting off.
  2. I agreed to go out with the girls for a pasta night-and thoroughly enjoyed myself!
  3. I arranged to go to the local Farm Shop to meet a friend for lunch-this was a big step and it had to be with someone who understands why I am not actively in touch for months but remains supportive and non-judgemental.
  4. I started to join in the Jasper/Feri walks-taking him to the fields for a good run and play in the muddy puddles and found that there is something incredibly uplifting watching a dog enjoy himself so much with total unbounded joy and
  5. Helping Will with distributing and collecting questionnaires in the town for his University dissertation. This involved talking to several strangers about his work and the flooding which affects our town regularly. I found it energising and interesting and it took the attention away from me and my thoughts to thinking about other problems and solutions.

All in all, my objectives were to become less focussed on remaining in my “craft-cave” and to be more interactive. It worked a treat and starting the process with people I trust led to me being more comfortable venturing outside those boundaries.

So over the last couple of weeks I have been busy out and about. A welcome change but, although it’s nice to go out, it’s nicer to come home.home

 

 

Week 3-“hiding”

It’s too easy to hide.

I need to make more of an effort to get out and meet people, communicate and take in some of the Spring sunshine. Sadly, I had enough to keep me busy indoors last week to provide my semi-guilty conscience with sufficient excuses to avoid people and continue my isolation indoors. Naughty.

Too peoply

So what did I do?

Quilting of course- I finished my scrappy mug-rugs. Another sign of a restless mind is focussing on smaller projects which can be completed quickly and without too much concentration involved. I enjoyed putting together these mats with scraps from previous projects and it gave me a chance to practice a new quilting pattern (braiding) and to use my freebie quilting templates which I’ve had for a few weeks-see, I’m pretty good at justifying my lack of socialising by making something 1) out of scraps which otherwise wouldn’t be used; music to my frugal husband’s ears and 2) something practical.

I spent two days during the week sorting out my sewing kit and stash and my office so that everything is now in its place ready to use without rummaging through countless plastic boxes for just the right piece of fabric. Now I am not the tidiest person around, preferring to keep moving and leaving a trail of destruction behind me instead of being organised and tidy. This again is a sign that sitting on my bed folding small pieces of fabric into colour-coded bags was far more appealing than venturing outdoors.

I may have had to speak to someone. Horrors!

Whilst scouring Pinterest for mini-quilt ideas however, I did stumble across a fantastic Yahoo Group called “Smallquilttalk.” This is a mini-quilting group run and moderated by the “Sentimental Quilter” Kath Tracy. I found some of her free patterns on Pinterest, loved them and followed the links so that I finally came to the group. Most members are based in the US, but there are international quilters too. Kath’s blog describes the group as somewhere where you can “meet new quilting friends from around the world, share tips and show off your quilts.” All without leaving home- Perfect!

Being very self-critical it’s an easy option and a bit of a cheat but it’s a start. I have only been a contributing and active member of this group for two days but I have already found a new “tribe” of like-minded fellow-quilters who all seem incredibly friendly and helpful. It all seems so easy online. Why can’t I feel this comfortable in the actual presence of people? Strange and as yet, unexplained for me.

I’m trying to be kind to myself and am sure that this low-mood will lift in due course. In the meantime, I am participating in the “Mystery Quilt” challenge and the “Small-quilt 2017 swap.”

For the Mystery challenge, Kath gives the group instructions for a patchwork quilt Block every few weeks. The finished quilt won’t be complete and the mystery revealed until the last Block is made. This is good fun and although the challenge has been running for a few weeks now, I have managed to catch up;

 

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Mystery Quilt 2017-Block 1

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Mystery Quilt challenge- “square-in-a-square” blocks for later on

The quilt swap hasn’t been sorted out yet but I have listed my interest and am waiting for my “swap partner” to be allocated to me. I understand that we then correspond with each other regarding the quilts in order to find out favourite colours and patterns in the hope that the quilt I make for my swap partner and the quilt I receive is, at least, something that will be treasured.

Interestingly this is when the differences between quilts produced in the US and my quilts come to the fore. I have had a good look through the photos on the group pages and the different preferences and fabrics used are a lot more muted (in general). I understand that, having done some research, many of the fabrics and quilt patterns used relate back to the American Civil War  which clearly doesn’t impact us in the UK in the same way as in the US. I find this very interesting and with a passion for social history, I am already interested in finding out more of the history behind quilting both in the US and the UK.

Am I a nerd? (rhetorical)

So the end of week 3 leaves me with a new tribe, some interesting quilting tasks and an intention to make more of an effort to get out and about.

Let’s hope I can force myself past the front door and into the big wide-world.

happiness outside

 

 

Week 2- “productive”

After last week’s hectic schedule, this week just gone was a lot more relaxed and productive.

One of my favourite 2016 projects was revived for 2017 and I spent a couple of days putting together a “fidget” or “dementia activity” quilt following a request from a friend of my Aunt who had seen previous examples of mine on Facebook.

This project is more personal in that I have some information about the person I am making it for; I understand that he is a retired priest, a poet, loves Christmas and has an allotment. My task therefore is to tailor-make an activity quilt designed to be interactive, stimulate memories and discussion and to keep a sometimes troubled mind occupied.

I’m pleased with the result.

I also included a card printed with one of my favourite poems by Gerard Manley-Hopkins;

Pied Beauty.

Glory be to God for dappled things –
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced –
fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

I hope he likes it.

 

114 Days of freedom-days 8-12 catch-up

I am hopeless.

All my good intentions of keeping my Blog/journal up to date thwarted by …….by….. Mmmmm. Not sure, except that I have neglected my duties for 5 days.

intentions

In my defense, Days 8 and 9 were spent celebrating my birthday 🙂 Whilst I am not a fan of Christmas, Easter and other Public holidays when I am celebrating something totally unconnected with me, my birthday is sacrosanct. I have never worked on my birthday. Ever. I have always loved my birthday and  the work thing came about in my penultimate year at school when I sent off for retail management opportunity information from our best-loved high-street stores. Strangely, it was the Woolworths scheme which caught my eye.

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In addition to the standard holiday allocation, they gave you a day off for your birthday! Wow! That really appealed to me, and I vowed then and there, never to work on my birthday. I never have and my well-trained secretary used to book my birthday off as her first job each New Year. I think that Woolworths were years ahead of their time with my employer ony following their blazed trail 35 years later by introducing “Birthday Leave” in 2014. It may not seem much, but it meant a lot to me; Better late than never.

My birthday this year fell on a Saturday. I went to my Slimming World class as usual and the class sang “Happy Birthday” when they found out I was in group on my day. I didn’t want to do anything special on my birthday except that I got to choose the dinner menu. Steak of course! Not only do my hubby and I enjoy a good steak, Jasper has developed a liking for it too. The good thing is that today, steak is not the expensive luxury it used to be, and Jasper gets his own slab of red meat to eat with his mummy and daddy. Yes, we spoil him but he deserves it. He gives us both so much pleasure that we cannot possibly deny him a bit of sirloin.

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Jasper also likes going to the pub. He likes it because he gets lots of adoring attention and he meets his doggy friends for a get-together!

Jasper and Tess

Birthday celebrations over, I have mostly been busy making the quilts I have “on order.”

If someone wants a quilt, I am happy to make one if they choose their colour scheme. It’s very interesting to see who chooses which colours. Everyone is so different.

I currently have 4 quilts in progress.

  1. Will’s housemate (a) yellow/green/spring-like colours
  2. Will’s housemate (b) teal/grey/silver
  3. Feri’s mum in Iran- Moda Modern Neutrals
  4. My Slimming World Leader- lap quilt in random FQs

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Whilst looking at quilts on Pinterest, I have also found details for “Fidget Quilts.”

I will explain these another day. 🙂

Streetlife:-

About 12 months ago, I discovered a great website called “Streetlife” Streetlife is a social network website which “makes it easy to connect with local people, ask questions about your area, share news, events and recommendations with neighbours”

So far I have found a great local tiler, who did our kitchen tiles before Christmas, found free horse manure for our garden and this week, found a group of ladies who are interested in walking. Today we met for the first time in the local park and went for a walk along the canal. It was a beautiful sunny spring day and we have a lovely time. It was so successful that we will meet again next week for a walk in the fresh air and sunshine (hopefully). People bemoan the internet but I love it. It has provided some great friends and wonderful inspiration and ideas apart from being able to keep in touch with family. How did we ever do without it?

So, a quick run-down of the last few days. I am trying to keep up with myself. Now I am beginning to understand how my mum felt-she always said she always felt like she was living in the middle of a whirl-wind. If I can’t keep up with myself, I can’t possibly expect anyone else to.

Stay with me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gesso grunge Saturday

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My latest crafty must-do is using Gesso and modelling paste on blank canvas to create backgrounds with tons of texture and interest. The effect is quite subtle and therefore you may not distinguish the relief work straightaway but it is distinctive if you look closely. What the additional texture does however is add depth to any 3-dimensional artwork and it’s also fun to use.

I do get a bit messy, but lots of newspaper to protect the work surface soon looks after that. The best thing about using the paste is that you can apply it through/over stencils and if you don’t like the effect, it wipes off very easily to leave a blank space for you to start over.

This picture started life as a 99p blank canvas, 8″ x 8″ and I transformed it by using lots of items I had lying around. Anything goes with this sort of craftiness and I am about to dismantle an old watch which no longer works so I can use the different-shaped clock works inside. I’m always on the look out for old keys, clocks and watches, and chains to include in pictures and I am so glad that the car boot sale season is almost upon us. I love rummaging around other people’s junk to find my treasures and it’s usually a very economical way of increasing my stash.

I have just prepared a larger canvas with Gesso and modelling paste and it is outside drying in the gorgeous sunshine. I am hoping it dries enough to start the artwork soon, but if not it will have to wait until next weekend.

In the meantime, I need to finish off my baby quilt that I made last Saturday whilst I wait for the sun to do it’s work.

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