Past the finishing post……

….. at least for The Managements quilt. You might remember that this was started an age ago, took way longer than I expected to cut and sew the topper, and I gained speed whilst hand quilting the layers together listening to audio books from the library. I finished this a little while ago but circumstances have been such that I didn’t get a photograph. So here it is. Ta dah!

He is happy with it – honest!

As you may recall this was inspired by the Bridget Riley picture ‘Nataraja’. Himself chose the fabric for the topper, and I was left to make something that looked a little like the original – but not a ‘faithful copy’. I’m pretty happy with this as my first attempt at quilting, and although I’m in no hurry to repeat the experience I’m no longer totally averse to the idea.

The circumstances I referred to earlier have been that my mum has been in hospital for about five to six weeks and was unable to go back to the circumstances she was living in before. Cue a mad rush to redecorate and carpet a little apartment in an extra care facility with five days to complete the work and have enough of her belongings moved in for her to get by. And then empty her bungalow.

Wow. She has always been very clean and tidy so it came as a complete shock to discover that every cupboard and drawer had been filled to busting. It turned out to be a much bigger job than my sister and I expected. Despite that I have enjoyed my time with my sister, and visits laden down like a pack horse to mum with extra stuff. I’m pleased to say she is in and fairly comfortable now – and has already tested out the care staff by falling off the bed! They responded admirably so I know we have made the right decision.

I had been getting on well with the EZKAL from Kates blog but that came to a total halt when I needed to go to Northumberland. It was, in fact, just after I had discovered that the raglan decreases were a bit too slow across the front for me and that I need to pull the bodice section out and start again once I have done some calculations. I realised that if I got to the width I wanted I would lose the opportunity to have a boat neckline rather than a jewel neckline. I did take a picture to check it so I will show my progress so far. I’m pretty happy with how it’s looking, and have already agreed to make another for my daughter in yarn from stash in a strawberry pink and off white.

Too much front width

I’m actually starting to itch to sew now – I keep looking at fabrics in the stash with a view to getting started. I also want to make some cushion covers for my front room (I already have the fillers). I wonder what will win?

Anyway, a word about stash – and all those other things we hoard. After my experience this last couple of weeks I will be clearing some of mine out and I suggest you look closely at yours – unless you want your kids to curse you when it comes for them to do it!

I promise a less rushed post next time. In the meantime enjoy your days – whatever you have planned.

Kim

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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 also nicked  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 care  😉

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.

Kim

 


I’m going to the dark side ladies!

Oh dear, we all knew it would happen one day. The Management had a significant birthday a little while back and I spent quite some time making suggestions for his gift. If you think back to the fairy tale of Rumplestiltskin with all the guesses at names you would be getting close to our house at that time. Anyway, almost as a joke I said I could make up the Bridget Riley ‘Nataraja’ picture he loved so much when we visited the Tate St Ives as the quilt I thought it could be way back then – and he said yes. Oh. My. Word. I haven’t done any quilting at all and he wants a quilt that would go on our bed. That’ll teach me.

The Managements quilt supplies

The Managements quilt supplies

Well, we went shopping and I allowed him to have a free hand in choosing the cottons. It was just as well I hadn’t chosen for him as I would have probably gone more true to the original picture  –  and I’m much happier with his choices despite them being very unexpected. Just look at the original!

It looks pretty straightforward at first – but look closely and you can see that not all of the colours are in single blocks, and not all of them stay in their own row. This could take a while.

In addition to that I would like some advice you quilting ladies out there. I would (where appropriate) pre wash my dressmaking fabrics but didn’t know if that was a good idea with quilting fabrics. The cotton stuff I got for the middle (the correct name escapes me entirely – you can tell I’m a quilting novice can’t you?) suggests that pre washing is optional but what is your experience?

As you can tell any help with this project is going to be very welcome. I can sew garments happily but this is entirely new to me. The only thing I know for certain is that this is a job for the old girls…..

Beautiful Molly

Beautiful Molly

Patience - Singer 27K circa 1900

Patience – Singer 27K circa 1900

and me!