Saturday, 26 July 2008

What a lovely day!

Today must have been the hottest day of the year here in Yorkshire. So how have we spent it? Securing our garden against chicken break out!

Maggie, the most cunning of the 3 chickens decided to introduce herself to the neighbours this morning. By the time they called me to catch her she had visited gardens three doors down from us!

So there was nothing for it - defences needed to be strengthened.

This is the naughty Maggie after capture!

Those of you who already have chickens will now be laughing as this was what we were using to keep them in the bottom part of the garden!
The next photo shows Chloe enjoying a dust bath she dug herself in the lawn.

Work was now underway on the new gate with the girls helping. The shed is the henhouse - it used to be the kids playshed.
Maggie and Chloe break off for another dust bath!
The third chicken has not been named yet but this photo shows how the feathers are regrowing on her neck. We wanted to call her after a famous persecuted woman but Joan (as in Joan of Arc) was all we came up with and Geoff doesn't like it. Any suggestions greatly received!
This photo shows the new gate in place with more netting to the side. The girls safely behind their new barricade - I decided to make it a bit more homely by painting on the gate!
The new view up the steps towards the house - just need to put more netting to the right hand side of the gate and that should then be chicken proof! Until Maggie works out another point of weakness!

Thursday, 24 July 2008


The City & Guilds resolved piece is a strange beast and causes much grief to students. As you may remember from previous modules it is artwork only - no sewing. I started off well - found this excellent photo on the internet which shows lots of texture. The artwork for this piece had to be in the form of collage. My first piece is an interpretation of the photo using painted hand made paper and ironed crisp packets to represent the different textures.
Now I do always have to find a quilt pattern in my resolved piece - it is my way of making the exercise relevant and worthwhile. So this next collage is a design for a strippy type of medallion quilt, loosely based on a Welsh Quilt where each element of the collage represents a different texture.
The final collage is a design for a quilt block that I found in a book - called chimneys and cornerstones which also uses different textures to represent different fabrics in the block.
As you can probably tell I don't really like doing the resolved piece - in fact I don't think anyone on the course does. But I can see how it is a good exercise in design and I do feel that I have learnt a lot about design in this first year. Even so it is always a great relief when you get your resolved piece done!


Trying to get up to date with the City & Guilds samples so here is the next one. There should only be 8 samples per module but there were 9 in this one because of the two different methods of cathedral windows.
This sample is based on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. San Francisco is one of my favourite places and I am lucky to have visited there twice. This photo is not my own but I thought it was a really interesting view of the cables on the bridge and the ridges in the cables looked like bias strip piecing!
The next photo shows my collage (how my tutor loved collages!). The bridge is made with corrugated cardboard and the cables are made of rolled tissue paper which is then pulled out to give the desired effect. This was then stuck onto bright blue hand made paper to match the brilliant blue Californian sky.
Then we have my sample - the strip piecing is done onto a foundation of calico and we were told to use different fabrics which would not otherwise be stable enough to use in a quilt. I put in the black cross with fusible tape to give the effect of the 4 cables merging. The blue squares are my own hand dyed cotton and the sample is quilted by tying with thick black cotton perle.
This was one of my favourite samples out of this module - along with the rag rugging.

Just a quick note - I was having problems with the links in my previous post but they are all fixed now if you tried to use them before.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

General update!

Can't believe that its almost two weeks since I last posted!
It seems to me that the more free time you have - the less you do!
My youngest finished school for the summer yesterday - so 6 weeks of hanging out with his friends begin for him! We are not going away as a family this summer as we have lots of weekend events going on. This weekend he is at the local music festival Bomfest and later in the summer he is hoping to go to Leeds Music Festival. This weekend Geoff and I are going to a car rally at Nostell Priory . We will be spending the night in the old VW camper!

Here at home the chickens are now free ranging in the bottom of our garden. They have only escaped into next doors garden once!
The first photo shows Patches after she has checked out the hen house! Cats and chickens are getting on fine - the cats love to sit and watch the chickens!

A couple of photos showing them in their new territory! They are getting very friendly - always come to see you when you go down the garden! They are also starting to sprout new feathers and laying one egg each per day! We have only named one so far - the largest chicken who can be a bit of a bully - she is named Maggie (after Maggie Thatcher!)

The last two photos are of our very small pond - we have two fish and loads of frogs!

Birthday Block Swap

I decided to sign up for this swap last month - hosted by Kate on The first birthday girl, Deb who lives in Ohio USA, requested pale stars on BOB (black on black) background. The pale blue star was my first attempt but I soon realised that I had problems - the middle square was cut on the bias not straight with the grain and some of the points were very near the edge. So I decided to start again and make the pale green and lavender star.
This one turned out well - if a little boring!
Anyway I decided I might as well finish the first one too - although it was a bit tight as I had only one FQ of the BOB! It turned out better than I expected although some of the seam allowances are not a quarter inch and the central square is stretchy. Anyhow I decided to send both to Deb and then she can choose which she likes best!
It has been much more difficult than I thought to make blocks for someone else - I always think mine are not good enough - hence why I ended up making two. Anyway as always this will be a good learning experience and hopefully I will make some more quilty friends along the way!!

Monday, 7 July 2008

Sashiko Weekend

This weekend I did a Sashiko Workshop with Susan Briscoe which was very enjoyable and has given me lots of ideas of how to use sashiko in my quilts. The photos show the fan which I have completed using the double sided method of sashiko which means that it can be viewed from both sides. I am now thinking about how I can continue this piece.

I can highly recommend taking a workshop with Susan if you get the chance - there are more details about what we did on Susan's blog.
Just a quick update on the girls - they are doing well - the photos show them enjoying the sunshine in their run. However we have decided that they need more space because after the rain over the weekend the run is now more like a mudbath. So we are looking to fence in a much larger area for them. They are laying already - we have had approx 12 eggs in the first week! If you click on the last photo to enlarge it you can see her poor bald neck. Looking forward to when I can show photos of a full feathered neck!

Sunday, 6 July 2008

The next 4 Dear Jane Blocks - Yes I am still in!

As some of you will know last month was very busy for me so progress on the DJ has been very slow. I am trying to now do 4 blocks per week rather than 2 and I have also decided not to do the triangles at the moment. I have been playing with my photo software and am not sure if these cropped photos are any better than usual but at least it gives you an idea of the blocks! B8 Waterlily
This is hand pieced which worked really well for me although I was not that pleased with the applique melons - I have had much better results with some of the previous blocks.

B5 Hot Cross Buns

Machine pieced with reverse applique - quite pleased with this one although it is difficult to get the points sharp on such small diamonds.

B7 World Series

Not that happy with this one especially the applique diamonds but have decided to live with it for now at least.

B6 Wild Goose Chase

My word - what an endurance test!! This took me hours! It was my first attempt at the freezer paper method of foundation piecing but I was really quite pleased with it.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008


Time for a City & Guilds update. The first year of my four year course was completed on Saturday - all 5 modules are done and assessed. Phew! It is a great sense of achievement to know that you have completed the first part of a goal you have set yourself. And I have learned so much from the course. City & Guilds also led me to blogging and that has also improved my patchwork and quilting skills by the groups and swaps I have joined.
Anyway the task now is to complete the posting of all the 5 module samples before the course starts again in September.
This sample is my take on the traditional nine patch block. I used this photo as my inspiration as it included texture and was also a familiar everyday pattern found on floors.
My collage is made from crisp packets which have been ironed under baking parchment to make them go all crinkly. I cut them into squares and the black lines were done with very thick fabric paint.
For the sample I did what DH is always accusing me of - taking perfectly good fabric, cutting it into pieces and sewing it together! Yes this is all the same fabric! The black lines were applied again using fabric paint. The whole thing was then free machine quilted with a meandering line.
It gave the effect I was looking for but again is rather drab for my tastes!