Saturday, 26 September 2009

Mystery quilt

Recently, things have been very busy on the Project Linus front - I have had several visitors bringing quilts and generally helping out, and have made visits to collect quilts etc. This has resulted in me spending time sorting, labelling, sewing bindings etc, and if you would like to see some of the results, look here.

Meanwhile, I have been getting on with the mystery quilt blocks in 'Quiltmaker' magazine. Here they are, all ready for the grand reveal.
How will Bonnie Hunter put them together? I can see how the star blocks might go,

and how the red blocks might go,
but can't begin to see how they will go together to make a top! Luckily, I don't have to worry about this, as I think I'm in very safe hands!

Monday, 21 September 2009

Clever Mum!

My Mum, who is no patchworker but an experienced needlewoman, belongs to the Townswomen's Guild. This organisation (amongst other things) have craft competitions at local, county and country levels. A group gets points for the number of entries - in the first instance - and then for numbers of successes in the later stages.
This year's theme was Depict a Decade (of the 20th century), and each guild chose a decade for themselves. My Mum's guild chose the 1950s, and each entry, whether it was a cushion, card, photograph, dressed doll, piece of jewellery, covered box or patchwork bag, had to depict that decade in some way. Mum decided to make a patchwork bag, and borrowed several of my patchwork magazines to help her.

This is her entry, complete with photos of the era. This is Queen Elizabeth's coronation,

and here is Sir Edmund Hilary at the top of Mount Everest. Those with sharp eyes will be able to see that not only did she win the local and county levels, but came second in the whole country! Not bad for a non-patchworking, very short-sighted 82 year old! Go Mum!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Finished (and started!)

Hooray! I have finished quilting the Baltimore 9-patch! Tonight I am seeing the lovely friends who advised me that I needed an appliqued border, so I hope they approve of me completely ignoring their opinions!

I must admit, I'm pleased with it, and I think the plain borders throw the eye into the central busy part quite successfully. In any event, it's finished! (What a lovely word that is!)

Here are a couple of close-ups of the feathers round the border. Maybe it was a mistake to make them curve round the corner and meet in the middle (the other option was to go all along each side) but it's too late to worry about that now!

Naturally, I've started another project. After the success of the mystery quilt I completed at Rocheberie Quilters earlier this year, I decided to try another. This time it is a pattern of Bonnie Hunter, which is being published in 'Quiltmaker' magazine. The first instructions were in the July/August edition, and I've not yet completed them despite the fact that the current instructions are now out! This is my progress so far.

Black print and neutral half square triangles.

Gold and neutral half square triangles.
Black, green and neutral triangles waiting to be assembled. I still have a million four-patches to make too. I need to get a move on, as it's a Christmas quilt, and Bonnie suggests that it can be finished by Christmas. Well, I suppose it can if you keep up with the instructions!

Friday, 4 September 2009

Edinburgh Fringe Festival

The Edinburgh Festival started in 1947 as a post war initiative to reunite Europe through culture. A number of distinguished musicians were invited to perform in Edinburgh that summer. Some enterprising theatre companies (six Scottish and two English), thinking that there would be a good crowd, decided to turn up uninvited, hoping for an audience. They were not part of the festival, but hanging onto the edge of it, and the fringe was born. Now, although the Festival still happens every August, it is the Fringe which overshadows it, with 1,000 shows every day in the last three weeks of August. Every possible space which could be performed in from church halls and shop store rooms, to toilets (really!) cars and lifts are pressed into service. The whole city is buzzing with entertainment, with the Festival, the Fringe, the Tattoo, the Book Festival, Jazz Festival, the Mela and the Art Festival all happening at the same time. (The Film Festival couldn't stand the heat and is now in June!) If you want to find out more about it, click here It's fabulous!

This year our local drama group (coyly renamed WDG Productions) took part in the proceedings taking the wonderful drama, 'Our Country's Good' by Timberlake Wertenbaker. The play is about the first convicts in Australia, and is a funny, harrowing and heartwarming story of redemption through drama. Here we are in costume, ready to set off to Edinburgh. (Sorry, Jacob,you aren't in this picture - aged 15, people to see, parties to go to - but director Richard and producer Dawn, who took all these photos, were available instead!) I am on the right of the group, dressed as convict Meg Long (nicknamed Shitty Meg!)

We had a great time in Edinburgh, and here we are outside the entrance to our venue in our sponsored t-shirts. The red was a master-stroke, as it made it really easy to identify people in our group at any time in the day. (Other groups had gone for sophisticated black tops - very hard to see, especially after dark!) The venue (a church hall during the rest of the year) was run by a company which had several acting areas in four buildings. Our venue was 'The Space @Venue 45' and was just down an alleyway off the Royal Mile (the High Street) and thus very convenient for actors and audience. There were 23 people involved in the production aged from 15-70, (14 actors plus director, producer, stage manager and 2 technicians, then assorted spouses and friends who helped give out flyers and persuade people that they wanted to come to see our show, rather than any of the other 999 taking place on that day!)

Most of the Royal Mile is closed to traffic for the Festival, and is full of people trying to generate a bigger audience for their shows by giving out flyers, performing extracts from their shows, singing, dancing, posing, in fact doing anything to create a bit of interest. Since our show was full of unruly convicts, we decided to stage a cat fight.

Here we are squaring up to each other. We already have a bit of interest from the man on the left taking a photo! You can only just se me in this one - I'm taking on Hazel! This tactic certainly worked as a crowd-puller, and while I never thought I'd be seen fighting on the Royal Mile, I can recommend it as aerobic exercise! It really gets the heart pounding!
Here I am in costume posing with DH, the director of the show. It took a lot of hairspray to get my hair to stick out like that, I can tell you. Before we went on stage we had to use lots of black eyeshadow to make our faces, arms and feet look dirty. Lovely!

This is me nearly ready to go on stage, with special stuff on my teeth to add to the character. Mary was lucky, as she played an officer's wife and could look nice and clean!

Once the performance was over and we had cleaned up a bit, it was relaxation time, and time to see other shows. We were lucky enough to get tickets for the singers Fascinating Aida, the comedian Mark Watson, 'The Real Inspector Hound', 'A-Team the Musical', 'The Mikado', 'Lady Windermere's Fan' a masked play and lots of other stuff which was interesting and new.

There was also a lot of socialising (and drinking of alcohol!) This is us celebrity-spotting in the Pleasance Courtyard with Jacob finally making it into the shot - he's the rude one at the back!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Reality check

I am always hopeful that I will complete all the UFOs in my box, and this summer decided to finish at least one. I decided the Baltimore 9-patch was the one, and asked advice about the best way to proceed from friends. All agreed that it needed applique on the border to show off the desigh to its best advantage. What kind of friends are these?! I really wanted friends who said that it was all good, just whack a border on it and go! But, I designed a small vine and flower motif for each corner and started to sew.

Here is a close-up of the vine, in case you've missed it. Impressive, eh?

However, since I am not the Master of Patience, after sewing this small amount, I decided a quilt finished was the aim of the game, unpicked the little I'd done, layered and tacked, and have started to quilt it.

I have quilted the main body of the quilt in diamonds, and will then do a feather design round the borders. A red binding will finish it off nicely, and then it'll be out of the UFO box and all finished!

(Incidentally, I have been missing for a week as I've been performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I have lots of photos of me dressed like a tramp, looking like I've had my fingers in an electrical socket down a coal mine, me fighting on the Royal Mile, me drinking, chatting, flyering, queueing, standing around and generally having a great time. Watch this space for the evidence!)