Thursday, 10 February 2011

Barbara Pym

I picked this book up in a charity shop ages ago and after hearing an excellent adaptation of another Pym novel on the radio a few months ago, finally picked it up:

What a charming novel! Her first book, written in 1939 and very much a window into Oxford society of another time but a light and easy read and her wit made me chuckle all the way through. I don't understand why she's not better known, so I'm spreading the word.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Quilt news at last

Thanks to the encouragement of my friend and former colleague Victoria Plum, I'm back into blog mode with updates on the quilt and more. I finished the quilt in time for my friend's baby shower at the beginning of December. I was very happy with the outcome and she loved it, although I admit I felt slightly bereft once I'd finished it and had to hand it over...

The quilting part was quite straightforward as it was easy to follow the imaginary line that runs through hexagons on my sewing machine. I was glad of the advice from my little book that told me to sew from the middle out, as that stops the material from puckering (apparently!).

I also embroidered the names of my friend, her husband and the word 'baby', along the bottom edge along with my name and the due month - January 2011. Unfortunately I hadn't realised she was due on 30th January and being her first baby, it would inevitably be late. And indeed, still no news. A bit of re-stitching might be required, or I could just leave it as an anecdote for Junior in the future.


For the back of the quilt I used the rest of a cotton sheet that some of the hexagons were cut from. It was probably one of the many my Mum picked up in various markets during summers in France. I thought I could either leave it in a cupboard with the millions of other beautiful linen sheets she acquired, or I could cut it up and use it so that others could appreciate the pretty pattern. I think I made the right choice.

I haven't got another project planned although I like the idea of continuing to make quilts for old friends as they start to have babies so in order to be prepared, I believe you really can't have too many fat quarters. Mrs. Plum was a particularly bad influence at the recent Stitching and Craft Show at Sandown when she 'made' me buy all of the the material below:

Of course I have no regrets and I also splashed out on three blue shiny buttons for a bargainous 30p and a rather nice old ebony crochet hook (also in photo), more because I like picking up antiques than because I'm any good at crochet. Good to be prepared though.

And now for something completely different. 

Because I haven't written for so long, I thought I'd also include a brief note about some stunning things I saw on a recent trip to Holland. One afternoon, I took myself off to Delft which is about an hour away from Amsterdam. It was windy and rainy, but still a beautiful, historic town complete with canals, almshouses and Dutch-style cobbles. I visited a museum that used to be the house of an art collector and which he'd filled with woodcarvings, paintings and traditional Delft blue ceramic tiles that he recovered from other houses being demolished. A couple of my favourite examples:

 And despite the weather, I loved the view out into the garden as you could see the ornate carving on the woodwork around the covered terrace. I took a photo so that when I have my dream house, I can do something similar.

Thank you to my new followers for your comments and support. Onwards and upwards...

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

That patchwork quilt

I mentioned last week I had assigned myself a creative project: patchwork quilt baby blanket for my friend's baby due in January. She has reluctantly agreed to take part in a joint baby shower at the beginning of December so that's my deadline.

She doesn't want to know the sex of the baby so I've gone for a mixture of blues, purples and reds which I think has a universal appeal. I particularly love the hexagon material I found on sale at John Lewis.

I'm pleased with the progress, and quite surprised how addictive it is, stitching hexagons together! I'm doing it the lazy way, using a cardboard template to cut out the pieces, and sewing them together without papers. Eventually, I'll need to iron it as flat as possible and work out how to do the quilting bit. Cross that bridge...

Friday, 15 October 2010

Here goes! My first post.

What better way to start my return to creativity than by visiting the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace last week. A stunning location with equally stunning views over London.

Canary Wharf in the distance.

I've always wanted to try my hand at making a patchwork quilt and as an old friend of mine is having a baby in January, I thought a baby blanket would be a good starter project. I picked up these scraps plus some pretty sequins which I hope to put to good use on another project. I also got some wadding to make the quilt.

The day was one of the last sunny ones we'll have for a while, but helped to show off one of the best bits of Ally Pally. HUGE windows.

I've got a bit of a thing for buildings too. Particularly, old and beautiful ones. I've been told in the past to take more photos of people!