Wednesday, 27 January 2010


I decided that my challenge quilt was a little bland (!) so, prompted by Tina, I thought I would add a few embellishments.  As you can see I got a bit carried away!  My photo is suffering a little from sun glare but I am really pleased with it now. 

I've had the results of my chest x-ray today and it's clear so the doctor is now telling me I have an allergy so I have to persevere with some therapies and see how it goes.  Who would believe, suddenly allergic, maybe to atmospheric changes, at my age?

I was going to post this photo a few days ago and chickened out but I was reminded of it tonight by Tom.  So, this one's for you Tom!  As you can see DH has his cupboard and spends most evenings there while I sit on the settee with my laptop! Ain't love grand?! lol

Saturday, 23 January 2010

The winners! and Felt

Thank you everyone for joining in with my blogversary draw and for all your lovely comments over the last week. Like everyone, I do like to get comments and feedback on my posts and you are all very generous and supportive. What else should we expect from such creative people? :o) Thank you!

Right, onto the draw! I have used this Random Number Generator to pick the numbers but, unfortunately I don’t know how to capture the screen so I hope you will trust me with the result. The winners are: (drumroll please!) :

1 Elizabeth

2 Kayla Coo

3 Linda

Elizabeth will receive the Journal Quilt, Kayla Coo will receive the cards and Linda will receive the heart so ladies, please email me with your snail mail addresses and I will get the giveaways in the post after the weekend. I’m just sorry that everyone couldn’t have won. Thank you all for taking the time to leave a comment and join in.

Yesterday I did manage to go to the felt workshop and had a really lovely day, although it was very hard work. The workshop was led by Alison Taylor who was a most generous teacher both with her knowledge and the materials she supplied us with. Unfortunately Alison doesn’t have a website yet although I believe she is thinking about starting one. There were 9 ladies taking part altogether and I have to thank them all for being such a welcoming group as I had not met any of them previously.

We were so busy that I didn’t have time for any photographs while we worked. The felt-making was energetic and at one point several of us lost the will to live (!) but eventually with some help from Alison we were all delighted with our results.

Felt Alison Taylor workshop

First of all we made a piece of flat felt. I know, I know! I’ve gone for my traditional favourite colours! Alison said we could make these pieces into an evening purse so I chose colours that I hoped would match a dress I have. I didn’t really intend it to be quite as solid in terms of colour but when you are working quickly some thoughts are not easy to hold onto and the design changes.

Felt Alison Taylor workshop1

This green side will be the inside of the purse and, once it’s dry I will square up the sides and make a 3-fold and stitch it together. I’m thinking of using any wavy edges I cut from the sides to decorate the flap closure and then I’ll add some stitch and beads in a similar way to the bag Alison showed us. It doesn’t show too well in the photo but I am pleased that some of the green has migrated through in glimpses to what will be the outside of the bag.

After a lovely lunch supplied by the ladies who organised the day (weren’t we spoilt?), Alison showed us how to make a bag,

Felt bag Alison Taylor workshop

The bag was made over/around a plastic template and involved more elbow grease but it did seem to felt quicker than the flat felt in the morning. Of course, the thicker the wool layers to start with, the longer it takes to felt. The bag is still drying and needs a handle but it may yet end up as a decorative pot, I can’t decide. The bag is about 10” x 9” and the flat felt is 15” x 10”.

An added bonus yesterday was discovering some toys to play with! Alison had 2 pieces of equipment that I could see a use for in other areas of textile work. One was a feltmakers bulb spray which gives a wonderful spray of liquid and I could see this giving some interesting effects with dye and the other is a knobbly/slatted rolling pin which I think would produce interesting marks in printing. Very naughtily I have ordered these 2 toys from Wingham Wools and I can’t wait to play some more! If the Spray Bulb works with dye I shall order more and keep one for each colour or group of colours. I don’t know whether the bulb can be taken apart to clean thoroughly. Watch this space! Again! Lol.

I was surprised and pleased at how I coped yesterday, partially due to stubbornness I think, but today I am feeling the strain. Don’t feel sorry for me though, all self inflicted and I thoroughly enjoyed the day!

Thursday, 21 January 2010


Thank you all for joining in with my blogversary giveaway, especially those who haven’t felt able to comment before.  It’s been lovely to get to know a few more people and discover some more blogs and to visit some blogs that I have been neglecting. :-D

I did say that I would draw the winner today but I am S T I L L suffering with this horrible cough and I just don’t have the energy to sort it out so I am now planning to do the draw at the weekend when I may have a bit more energy (god willing and a following wind!). 

As some compensation for you having to wait I have made a third gift to add to the pot.


I have to confess that I didn’t make this heart but I have embellished it so I hope whoever wins it likes it.

I’ve finally given in and gone back to the doctor’s and he sent me for an x-ray this morning so I now have to wait to get the results and to get in to see him again.  Would you believe, I couldn’t get an appointment before next Wednesday?!!  Yesterday he told me to come back in 3 or 4 days.  Some chance!  I’m going to see how I feel on Monday and ring in if I still feel ropey.  Of course, if there’s no evidence of a bacterial infection I will still have to wait for it to clear on its own.  My dear DH is looking after me but I really have had enough of all this coughing!

Having said all that and had a good moan, I am actually supposed to be going to a felt workshop tomorrow.  I have decided to go and if necessary come home early as I don’t want to let the tutor and my friend down.  Fingers crossed I don’t disturb everyone with my coughing.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010


Flutter like a butterfly, riding on the wind,
Dancing and skipping over the land,
Upon Copper Hill you will rest on my hand.
You can stay put as time moves on,
But remember the good times and be on your way.
So fly little butterfly, fly on the wind
And one day we'll meet again.

Love Laura

Monday, 18 January 2010

Not Snow Dyeing Part III & New Fabric Design (Not Mine)

I’ve reached the end of my dyeing escapade and have now overdyed the fabrics that weren’t quite so successful in my last post on the subject.

First of all, I had bought some cotton velvet from Barnyarns to have a play with and used some of the reds and oranges and then blues to dye 2 pieces.

dyed velvet

This gorgeous red above is wonderfully vibrant and the dye has taken really well. My only slip up was to wash the fabric in hot water before I dyed it and I managed to shrink it!

dyed velvet2

This wonderful blue has some beautiful turquoise tints which my computer cannot quite manage to show in its true colour but it is beautiful.


This piece above and the following pieces were all dyed in the layered tub and you need to picture a warmer, browner hue as I have not been successful in getting the right colour on the computer. The marks are wonderful though!



The piece on the right above is linen and I really love the way this has taken the dye. The slubs in the linen give some lovely highlights.


This is a piece of a shirt which I overdyed and the colour is really vibrant.

Finally I overdyed the 2 quilts I had made previously. The Journal Quilt for the Contemporary Quilt Group looks very different now and not much of the original colour remains. I have called it ‘Fiori’ after a glimpse of a t-shirt I used.

January Fiori

The second piece is the challenge quilt and more of the original colourway is visible here:


The light areas that show in the photograph are not so prominent in real life. They come from netting and a synthetic mix fabric that I used in the original weaving. I’ve shown the quilt horizontally because I am thinking of making it into a sketchbook cover after the challenge deadline. I am very tempted to add beads too but may not have time before Thursday the reveal day. Oops! I’ve revealed already! Sorry Tina!

I’ve enjoyed the dyeing and will be doing some more but I have to sort my workroom out and get it warmed up before I do anymore as I can’t keep using the conservatory.


I have to tell you about my best friend’s daughter who recently began working as a designer with Makower who make fabrics for patchworkers and quilters. A couple of days ago her Mum brought round a sample of her first design for the company and I have managed to track it down on the Makower website. As you can see from the photo above (which I borrowed from the website, oops!) it is all about farm animals and has some charming details to it. I already have a nightdress and some mugs that Michelle had designed previously and I would love to be able to make something for my new nephew/niece from some of these fabrics. If you click here you will be able to see the full range of fabrics Michelle has designed. They should be in the shops anytime. There are three pages of the different designs. I have been looking online but haven’t tracked them down yet but I shall keep looking.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Fame and 601!

Woo hoo! Wah hay! Happy dancing in the extreme here!!! I’m so excited I can hardly speak!!! Phew! Calm down! Calm down!

Let me explain. I had an email today from Angela down at Art and Stitch in Peterborough to say that she had seen a quilt of mine on some advertising literature! What? Who? Where? I hadn’t a clue. Anyway, Angela’s given me the link and it’s true! There is my Journal Quilt advertising the Northern Needlecraft Show later in the year. Click here and scroll down and you can see a fuzzy view of it. The actual quilt is this one (good job you can’t see the back, it was not tidy!)

May 2

I know it’s only a teensy bit of fame but I am overcome! Fancy choosing my quilt and it’s not even a traditional quilt. I’ve rung Grosvenor Exhibitions and they’re going to send me the leaflet. Yeah! I may never come down off the ceiling :-D

Right, now then, calm down. The next bit of celebration is that yesterday was my 600th post! I’ve also been blogging for 2 and a half years and missed my 2nd blogversary so I think it’s time I had one of those giveaway thingies. I have had a great time blogging and meeting so many wonderful people and this experience has taught me so much and taken me along a path I never really expected. It is lovely to get your comments and know that I am not just burbling away to myself (which is what I do all the time at home, in the garden, out shopping, in the street…..) and I appreciate the fact that people are adding themselves to my followers. Thank you all for your lovely support and messages and even if you don’t leave comments thank you for bothering to look in here and suffer my inane ramblings. I have learnt so much from all the blogs I look at and I hope in some small way I have inspired some of you to try new things too.

Right, I need to set a time limit. If you leave a comment here or any future posts between today and next Thursday 21 January your name will be entered in a draw and the first name drawn will receive this Journal Quilt which measures 12” x 6”


or these photo cards of my artwork that my DH has made


If I can manage it there might be a small third gift. (I don’t have a supply of ready made pieces so would have to make something). So leave me your name in a comment and make sure I can contact you if you are normally a no-reply blogger (email me separately if you prefer) and good luck! I will endeavour to post the result at the end of next week.

PS Talking of giveaways Kleinzonnetje is having a knitting and fabric giveaway on her blog. Pop across and have a look before 19 January.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Not Snow Dyeing Part II


Today I’ve ironed the fabrics I dyed on Monday and have overdyed the pieces I wasn’t happy with.  First of all here’s the fabrics that were dyed in the ice cream tub:


These pieces above are all cotton fabrics of various weights.  I was going to overdye them but having ironed them I quite like them!


This piece above is very slightly darker green than you can see but it was difficult to get the right colour on the computer.  It has some beautiful marks in it almost as if it had been snow dyed.


This piece above is calico that was dyed in a bag.  I am certain that I used jet black dye but it has a definite blue tinge.  I think I will do a graduated dye with the black dye to see what range of colours/shades I get.

Now to the 2 quilts:


This is the larger 24”x12” quilt and it has not come out as I would have hoped.  In some areas the dye didn’t take too well and I don’t like the colour distribution so I have overdyed it today.


This is the smaller Journal Quilt above.  I had a bit of a think about this one as the colours aren’t too bad but I have overdyed it today as well.   I’ve rinsed it through tonight so I should be able to show you tomorrow.


I was in a bit of a quandary as to how to go about overdyeing the quilts and decided to sponge the dyes on (Gina, I think you gave me that idea, thank you).  I placed the quilt on an opened black bin bag and cut up a washing up sponge to apply the dyes with.  The colours I used were Brilliant Orange, Magenta and a mix of the 2 colours.  I had to fold the quilt over and apply dye to the backing one half at a time.  Once the dye was applied I realised I needed to add salt solution and soda solution so I pleated the quilt into the cat litter tray and poured the solutions over.  I tilted the tray slightly so that it wasn’t all lying in the dye mix.


Also in the tray but in a bag is the Journal Quilt which had dye applied in the same manner but which I decided to bag up before I applied the salt and soda.

What I’m really excited about is some cotton velvet which I dyed at the start of the day.


I dyed these in freezer bags and also tried a piece of silk and a piece of shirting that I had also sponged.  Finally, I prepared another tub of various fabrics on a layered system to use up the left over dyes that I hadn’t got any storage for. 

I have to own up to forgetting to add any extra water to any of the dyes, especially the bagged dyeing, so my colours are probably going to be quite strong.

Before tea this evening I’ve rinsed all the samples except for the larger quilt and they’re all drying on the airer so I should have photos tomorrow. 

You may not be surprised to hear that I am now exhausted and my dear DH has taken pity on me and cooked tea! Bless!  He’s a treasure!

Monday, 11 January 2010

Not Snow Dyeing

I finally got round to playing with my dyes today although I have missed my chance with the snow dyeing.  I had prepared several fabrics by putting them into a soda soak and drying them on a rack and also a Journal Quilt and a quilt for a challenge.


This first quilt is 12” x 24” and is for the challenge being run on Expedition Quilt Art.  I have cut/torn various widths of different fabrics and then woven them and quilted them to a layer of wadding and a backing fabric.  With some difficulty I managed to do a wrap round binding which I stitched to the front.


This Journal Quilt is 10” x 7” and was made in the same way as the one above with the addition of some buttons. 

I wasn’t sure how to go about dyeing these quilts and in the end decided to tray dye them.


Starting with the lightest colours first I used pipettes to apply the dye to the quilts.


This was lemon yellow and golden yellow.


I then added turquoise, jet black and finally navy. 

First of all I have to say that these strong colours were a bit of a shock! I was expecting the black to blend with the yellows more than it did to give some greens but I soon realised that I should have dampened my fabric before I started so that the dyes would move around more.  Needless to say, as I have since rinsed the fabrics out, the colours are far less strident but I will have to wait until tomorrow to see what they look like when they are dry.  My first thought is that I will either overdye (maybe in a mix of magenta and orange as I do not have a warm red) or maybe do a little judicious discharging.

With some of the remaining dyes I set up a layered ‘bucket’ with various fabrics and, while there is a lot of green in these too (what did I expect?!) there are a couple of interesting pieces.  Once they’re dry I will photograph them and put them on the blog.


I still get very confused about procedures when dyeing, probably because I really haven’t done a lot of it.  Somehow (probably because I tend to use blues and yellow!) I always end up with a lot of green.  I am thinking now I should have dampened my fabrics, mixed the dyes with a salt solution and then added the soda solution later.  Maybe that would have worked better.  I think the pre-soaking in soda ash/washing soda and drying probably works best with printing with thickened dyes.  My colours tended to plop where I dropped them and not blend much whereas I would have liked them to have been a bit softer

Hopefully I’ll be able to photograph the results tomorrow.


HELP!!!! Lincolnshire Workshop

I had a comment from Ineke Berlyn today and she is in need of some help from anyone who lives in or is connected to Lincolnshire. Ineke should be teaching at a workshop this week in Lincolnshire but unfortunately she has mislaid the details. If anyone out there is expecting to see Ineke at a workshop somewhere in Lincolnshire on Thursday and Friday this week could you please contact Ineke at or see her website for contact details Many thanks.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Goodies to be won!

I've just popped in to point you in the direction of Lesley Riley's blog where she is asking for some help with a survey she is making in return for a chance to win some gorgeous goodies including one of her beautiful Travel Journals with her hand painted pages Caran d'Ache crayons and some of her TAP image transfer paper. Click here for your chance to help her out and maybe win a fabulous Journal for yourself! You have until 26 January to complete the survey. Go on, have a go, you know you want to :o)

I should say, thank you for all the lovely get well wishes you have been sending. I think I may need a few more as I think I am getting worse before I get better! I have high hopes for tomorrow as I will then be on day 3 of the meds.

By the way, I am getting very close to my 600th post and as I didn't celebrate my second blog-versary I can't let this milestone pass without some acknowledgement so, come back soon! (Just give me time to finish off a little bit of sewing first!)

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Antibiotics rule!


As you can see form the photo we have snow but not as much as some poor souls.  I was hoping for a bit more today and we did get some overnight but I didn’t manage to get any snow dyeing done today.  I shouldn’t say it but fingers crossed for just a bit more so I can get some while it’s fresh.  Our side road is a bit of a mess and will probably be very slippery by tomorrow as it’s freezing again but once you get down that little hill the main estate road is fine.  Not that that can be said for the surface in the supermarket!


This was our back garden this morning, the birds aren’t too happy with it all.  I’ve been putting food in various parts of the garden for them and quite a few of them have been coming in pairs, so maybe Spring isn’t soooooo far away?  Yesterday we had some bluetits inspecting the nest box so maybe we’ll be getting some babies again this year.  I watched one bird go in for a look followed after a few seconds by a second.  After a minute or so one bird left and the second popped his head out and then had to wriggle firmly to extricate himself!  Too much fat cake perhaps?

Well, I got to the doctor’s this afternoon and I have got a chest infection so no sherry for me for a week while I take a course of antibiotics.  Is it only me that feels really stupid when they go to the doctor’s?  My symptoms always seem to  disappear the second I walk through the surgery door and all the barking I’ve been doing for days comes out as a rather polite ‘uhkhuh’!  Anyway the doctor said she could hear some noise so antibiotics it is.   I’m hoping that a couple of days will see some improvement.

Despite the coughing I have actually managed something creative today.  I have been assembling fabrics for a challenge being run over at Expedition Quilt Art as Tina, whose blog it is has been goading me to join in.  I am hoping I will be able to meet the deadline of 23 January.  I’ve decided that what I am doing for this challenge will also work for my first Journal Quilt so I am in fact working on 2 quilts! 


Remember I said I was going to do some handsewing over Christmas?  This is as far as I’ve got!  I managed to crinkle a piece of fabric I’d previously painted and I’ve layered it onto a piece of wadding and some rusted fabric.  The next step is to get cracking with the sewing.  Watch this space – again!

I had a lovely phone call yesterday from my nephew and his wife to thank me for the quilt and bucket bag for their nearly here baby.  I am pleased to say they were delighted – yay!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Snowy New Year


Belatedly Happy New Year to everyone!  I hope you’re all keeping warm (or cool if you’re in the warmer areas of the world).  We have had some snow, enough to look pretty, but fortunately up to now we have not had the deluges that many have had.  However, I am not holding my breath as heavy snow is forecast for the weekend.  Up to now we have been living off the excesses of Christmas shopping but I will soon have to venture out to Sainsbury’s for a re-stock. 

Did you all have a good Christmas and New Year?  We spent time with my Mum here and then with her at my brother’s for New Year.  The photo above was taken off the telly hence it’s a bit blurry but I like the shapes of the London Eye pods, maybe there’s a quiltie in there somewhere?

I’ve finally got round to sorting my sewing space out a bit today and my sewing machine and embellisher are at least now in a position to be used.  My embellisher has been sadly neglected so I intend to put it to some use this year.  The Journal Quilt size for the Contemporary Quilt Group of the Quilter’s Guild has been announced this week and it’s 7” x 10” in a portrait format so I am thinking of working some of them with the embellisher.  I worked all of my quilts last year in portrait format out of choice so it will stretch me further now that I am obliged to work the same way this year. 

Lots of people have been talking about their ‘word’ for 2010 and the one thing that popped into my head was “Positive Mental Attitude” which I think will resonate through all areas of my life if I can only keep it up.  I am not very good at making and keeping resolutions but I did find it useful to remind myself of my ‘focus’ word last year.

Well, enough rambling.  My mojo is still on holiday and has left me with a grotty cough for company.  I have finally given in and booked to see the doctor tomorrow as I think it may have progressed to the realms of an infection.  We shall see.  I leave you with a glimpse of my DH exhausted by the New Year indulgences and telly watching! lol


Bless! (He said he knew my mum was taking this pic and was trying not to laugh!)