Notes from ‘The Dark Side’

Fits the bed now!

Remember me? Yes, it’s been a while.

Much to my surprise I have been thoroughly enjoying the quilt. Yes. That quilt. And look – the topper is now big enough to fit the bed now – hurrah! I really didn’t think I was ever going to get to that point.

In fairness that did throw up a whole other set of dilemmas – the main one being how to actually ‘quilt’ the wretched thing. So many people had advised against hand quilting that I really shouldn’t have considered it – but I did and eventually decided that it was the way I wanted to go.

Those pieces have taken an age to put together, and I would love to say that all of the joins are perfect but they aren’t. Also, the nature of the design meant that there are areas where the stitching would go across blocks of darker colour and I decided that I really didn’t want the stitching to be very noticeable. So ……. hand quilting it is.

Comfortable work station

Hand quilting – for better or worse

I have moved my cutting table from the (darker) back room to a position in front of my work room window which is beautifully bright. I can work there until fairly late in the evening at the moment without any problem. I have alsoΒ nickedΒ  borrowed The Managements Pilates ball so I’m sitting better whilst working. These steps, and the discovery of Audio books from my local library, mean that I can quite happily spend a couple of hours (or more!) zenned out while I hand quilt. Who ever would have expected that to happen!

Anyway, as a result of that (and the fact that the Football World Cup is about to start) means that I am making good progress on the quilt, and expect to continue to do so. I’m not sewing anything else at the moment but I really feel that I about ready to consider sewing again from a much happier place.

EZ Alpaca sweater

You might remember the alpaca yarn I showed in my last post which is now a completed sweater. I followed the most basic of the Elizabeth Zimmerman designs and have been very happy with the results. I’m slightly surprised at just how warm and heavy this turned out to be – and I shouldn’t show any surprise that completion coincided with the change in the weather here in the UK so it is now way too warm to wear this! Never mind, I’m quite certain that it will be well worn in due course.

I enjoyed the whole Elizabeth Zimmerman method of knitting (Pattern – what pattern?) and when Kate publicised on her blog HERE that she was willing to arrange a KAL (knit – along) using the EZ methods for a raglan sweater I was very happy to join. I am just using as much of the scrap yarn (of the same type) that I have left from previous projects so it isn’t going to be a classy knit! Since I’m hardly a classy dame I really don’t careΒ  πŸ˜‰

Hoods on tour

Aluminium jewellery

We managed to slip a quick week away to Puglia in Italy a couple of weeks ago and had a very fine time. Those who follow me on instagram (@kimthemateriallady) will have already seen some pictures. We were very much in need of sunshine – which arrived in the UK just as we were packing the case. Thankfully it hung around and we are still enjoying it.

Italy, and particularly Puglia (since that was where we were) was fantastic. We generally ate and drank too much, and smiled a massive amount which has made our smile wrinkles even deeper which troubles me not one jot. I don’t often buy mementos of holidays as they are so frequently regretted on return but I was delighted to find these pieces of jewelry in Vieste. It looks quite heavy but is actually aluminium so it is fabulously light – and was hand made by the gentleman I bought them from. Better and better – and worn frequently since return.

Elderflower cordial – bottled sunshine!

The wonderful weather has meant that the wild flowers are looking wonderful – and I was particularly waiting for the elder flower so that I could make cordial. I was a little late making this for the first time last year from THIS RECIPE. It was delicious – and even freezes so you can save some for when winter all seems to be getting too miserable as it tastes like bottled sunshine. I managed to pick sufficient for a double batch on a fabulously sunny afternoon and now have it safely tucked away. I’m keeping note of the elder bushes I see as I also have a recipe (untried) for elderberry cordial which is supposed to be really beneficial to health in the winter.

Oh heavens, I appear to be turning into ‘The Wise Woman’. Take no notice of me.

The Management was all ready to go down to the museum a little while back and I took advantage of the moment to take a picture of him in full shelter regalia. Not meant to be actually 1940’s kit – just inspired by. The only new thing is the sweater I knitted. We have been fortunate enough to find everything else in Charity (Op) shops, or from the clothing he already had. Doesn’t he look cute?

Full shelter outfit

I will try not to leave it quite so long before I report in again – but as you can see I haven’t been (totally) slacking. And the garden aint looking too bad either.



21 Comments on “Notes from ‘The Dark Side’”

  1. Roxane says:

    Hand quilting! I bow down before you! And audiobooks go wonderfully with quilting, as long as you don’t cut the earbud cord with the rotary cutter just as the detective is about to reveal whodunit. Nice sweater, too!

  2. tialys says:

    Woohoo. You’re almost there. You are very brave, using a white, plain backing for your novice hand quilting – I try to use whatever will hide mine the most effectively πŸ˜‰
    I’m not sure how comfortable I’d feel sitting on the rubber ball for any length of time. I know it’s good for you and all that but I always feel as if I’m going to fall off sideways – I much prefer the exercises you do on them that involve draping yourself forward in a horizontal manner – I could stay like that for quite a while but probably wouldn’t be able to quilt at the same time πŸ˜‰
    I have elderflower cordial envy – I can’t find it anywhere here. A friend has some in her freezer though and has promised me some and I’ll try to remember to make my own next year if my neighbour doesn’t pinch all my blooms.

    • Kim says:

      Rookie error with regard to not being able to hide my stitching – it didn’t even occur to me!
      The elder flower cordial is lovely and has been shared with friends.

  3. itwasjudith says:

    Thanks for sharing your latest creations πŸ™‚
    The KAL seems very interesting.. I’d be tempted to join in…
    Have a lovely weekend!

  4. I love hand quilting, although I usually do this in the winter as it keeps you cosy at the same time! Tried to click on your photos (which are unusually small on the blog post today…something different? ) but they are just black. Don’t know if the problem is just my end though? Anyway, looks fantastic, even with my dodgy eyesight!

    • Kim says:

      Clicking is working ok on my kindle. Anyone else having trouble?
      I can see how hand quilting could keep you cosy but this project is too big to be loose on my lap! Maybe the next one – the one I said I would never consider πŸ˜‚

      • Sewniptuck says:

        Well, there you go, I’d never realised that one chooses hand or machine quilting because you can change colours of threaa. Thank you Kim for enlightening this quilting novice; though I’ still not going there yet!! The Management looks terrific in his outfit. I particularly love that jumper, lucky fella and do please tell him I said so!

        • Kim says:

          Thanks Lesley. I think maybe being a rookie quilter has actually helped me in some respects.
          Thanks for the opinion on The Managements outfit. I’ll let him know πŸ˜€

  5. Fadanista says:

    A fabulous catch up post Kim. I love the idea of hand quilting and am extremely impressed that you’ve made a whole quilt in this way.

  6. Your quilt is lovely. Enjoyed your post!

    • Kim says:

      Thank you Lori! I’ve been to check out your blog and WOW – I can learn a lot from you πŸ˜€.( I love your hedgehog)

  7. mrsmole says:

    You are living proof that ANY handwork works wonders for the mind and calms and soothes the spirit. So glad that the good weather waited for you to return home! Mr Hood looks quite the dapper guy in his new/old outfit and the sweater and hat just make him more authentic. Changing threads reminds me of the days when I used to make more custom clothes for folks and would put in all my zippers by hand and change colors when the bodice was a different color from the skirt…never thought of it for quilting. One day I want to revisit you and have a taste of your elderberry cordial, Kim!

    • Kim says:

      Thanks Mrs M πŸ˜€
      I’m enjoying this much more than I ever could have thought. Hand sewing/knitting are both so relaxing once you are in the rhythm.
      It would be wonderful to see you here again. I would not only make cordial – I’d bake a cake!

  8. You have been busy! Glad you’re having fun with it all x

  9. Hand quilting?!? Wow! And i love the diagonal pattern on the quilt. Glad it turned out to be a rewarding, relaxing experience. I’m terrified at the very thought of it.

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