Tuesday, 21 February 2017

More snaps

We didn't buy anything at the weaving coop in Peru, but I couldn't leave without a fabric souvenir of some kind.  When we stopped for lunch at a restaurant, this lady was sitting outside, keeping busy in the shade.

I love the way she's using her foot as the other end of her loom!  I decided to buy one of her braids, and then I'll use it to decorate a bag. 

This is the one I chose, a lovely Bargello in red, orange, pink, purple and yellow!  No green, but I love it anyway! 

Monday, 13 February 2017

Holiday snaps

'I don't usually put my holiday photos on this blog, but I think these will be of interest to some people.  We are on holiday in Peru, and today went to a weaving coop to see a dyeing and weaving demonstration.  They use baby alpaca (very soft and silky), alpaca (soft) and wool. 

Here you can see weaving looms and in the background, baskets of dye plants and the wool which has been dyed by using it. 

Here is the speaker, Nellie, all ready to go.  Can you see her 18 month old daughter on her back?  She's eating Guinea pig, which is a delicious local delicacy.  

Here she is washing the wool using a natural soap made from a grated root.  They only need to wash it once for it to be ready to use. 

Once the wool had dried, it is spun using wooden spindles. Then comes the fun part, the dyeing.  There were various plants used to get yellow, green, a good blue and various browns, but the biggest surprise was cochineal. 

The cochineal beetles live on cactus leaves.  They are the dusty patches on these leaves. 

Nellie put some of the live beetles on her hand, although this photo isn't very clear.  Then she 'sacrificed' them, and hey presto! cochineal! 

The dark red colour from the beetles is at the bottom right.  By adding lemon juice, the gorgeous orange on the right appears.  Then above the red is a purple colour and above that a black, both made by adding other ingredients.  This is how they are able to make their wonderful bright colours. 

Then for the dyeing. 

And here are the results.  Fabulous. 

Then, of course, the weaving. 

And here is the final product.  Everyone in our party enjoyed the presentation, and then came the opportunity to buy! 

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Up to date!

We are going on holiday soon, and I like to be ahead of the game, so I've been beavering away at my to do list recently.  I don't cope well under pressure, and want to have various March commitments ready to go once we return.  First is my Rocheberie BOM. 

I decided not to border.  I don't need (or want) any more big quilts, plus, I didn't want to quilt another big quilt, when it looks perfectly fine as it is.  So, I quilted in the ditch round the blocks and then I machine quilted hearts in the setting triangles and round the appliqué.  I'm binding it in white, which isn't showing up much in the photo, but really finishes it off well.

Then yesterday I went to the Piecemakers Sit and Sew.  Apart from great company and a lot of laughter, I managed to put the last two borders on my En Provence.  Those neutral fourpatches are quite tedious, but worth it in the end, as I love the way the design floats on them.  This is roughly half the size of Bonnie's, and perfectly big enough for me!  I'll probably quilt it in a meander, as in the ditch would be a killer!  

So now, I should start on this month's UFO challenge, number 8.  Here are my Barbara Brackman 'Strars in a Timewarp' which I made for a one block quilt.  They need bigging up, but at the moment I'm not sure where to do with them.  A neutral frame first, I think, then some more head scratching!  

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

To border or not to border, that is the question

I have put the edge triangles on my Rocheberie BOM quilt, and I think it looks fabulous! 

But where do I go from here?  Half of me thinks that it's great like that, the size is fine and it would be much easy to quilt.  The other half of me thinks that it would look even better with a nice border, so get on and bite the bullet!  Any opinions? 

Meanwhile, now panto is over and I've had a couple of nights in front of the tele, I've quilted and bound this UFO, which is the first one on my UFO challenge.  The striped binding pulls it all together nicely.  One down and eleven to go! 

Monday, 23 January 2017

A finish and a half

I wanted to get on with the Linus 'En Provence' top, so people who had contributed could see it.  

Here it is.  It should really have a couple more neutral four-patch borders, but I think that's fine for a Linus quilt.  I'll take it to the next meeting to see if anyone feels like quilting it.  

And so, back to my 'En Provence'!  I'm planning on a nine patch, which should be a reasonable size once all the borders are added on.  Onward and upward! 

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Not much progress

I haven't had much chance to do much patchwork this week, as its panto week!  This means being out every night except Tuesday (phew!), spending time going back to the costume hire and finding alternative costumes, altering costumes, repairing costumes and making a new outfit for one character - due to no fault of my own, and just what I could have done without on dress rehearsal day!  Oh well, at least I'm pretty much done now.  Except for helping the principal girl and dame get their walk down costumes on, and more repairs, things have calmed down.  

Here is a cast photo with the director and producer in the middle.  There were 37 costumes in all, which is a lot to source.  I haven't made many of them, but the coordination has been a headache at times! 

But of course I've managed to squeeze in a little patchwork.  I have put my Rocheberie BOM blocks together.  I need to finish off the hearts for the corners, then I'll decide whether it needs a border or not. 

Plus, I've been putting this Linus En Provence together.  The individual components were made by various people, but I think it'll look great when it's completed. 
Two more panto shows today, then it's back to normal, whatever that may be! 

Monday, 16 January 2017

For the love of Ivy

Things have been busy here as our annual panto is looming.  (It's 'Aladdin' and will be very good, so make sure you have your tickets!)  I've been sewing sparkly stuff, taking in, letting out, lengthening and shortening, as well as driving all over to collect cow costumes and dame costumes etc.  Fun times!  
But of course I've still been doing some other sewing - it keeps me sane! 

This beauty is finished and once I've sewn the label on, will be winging its way to Ivy in Stoke on Trent.
Hope she likes it.  I'm very satisfied with it, especially since I only needed to buy half a metre of fabric for the border, and that has been just about used up!  
I know we all say it, but I am on a mission this year to buy less fabric and use what I have.  I've decided to put it in writing, so will be confessing every time I purchase, and will try hard to buy what I need, rather than what I want!  Having said that, I did buy some gorgeous fabric with bees on it at the weekend. 

My excuse is that I'm always on the look out for novelty neutrals, they're such fun.  Plus we had Jeannie from Quilteez as our trader on Saturday at Rocheberie Schoolhouse Quilters, and I wanted to support her, as a small trader.  I only bought a fat quarter, so that brings my total fabric purchases this year to 0.75 metres.  Not bad so far. 
I didn't have to look outside my stash for fabric for these two blocks. 

My challenge group are looking at historical fabrics this year and using some examples in Pat Sloan's BOM for 2016 Botanical Garden.  Since we're away in February, I thought I'd get my two blocks done so I'm ahead of the game.  In the left hand block I've used stripes and toile from the early 19th century, and in the right hand block stripes and seaweed designs from the same era.  Check out Pat Sloan's blog as she has several BOMs still available plus a new one for this year, Children's Library.  All free, so what's not to like?