Tuesday, 22 March 2011


Mr Q thinks that I start far too many projects and finish far too few. He's probably right, although whenever he challenges me, I tell him that it is all about "the process". "I craft to clear my mind and cleanse my soul." "The finished items are just a bonus." And while all of these things are true, he still has a point. It would do my mind and soul good to see a job well done, to enjoy crossing something off the list. Last weekend, Mr Q suggested that now was the time to turn over a new leaf; that in the spirit of spring cleaning I should consider purging all of my unfinished projects. I smiled at him weakly, and suggested a compromise - a look at what is lurking in the box of unfinished objects and an embargo on starting any new projects until a certain proportion of the others could be completed.

And that is where we were until I bought this fabulous Noro Silk Garden yarn from the equally fabulous Fibre and Clay yarn shop in Knutsford, Cheshire.

I managed to resist its charms all afternoon as I "purged" my crafting space. But as evening fell, I admit that I succumbed and started knitting a present for a friend. Since that friend may be watching, I can't show you what it is yet, but believe me when I tell you that the Noro yarn is working its magic.

So, one new project started. Until, that is, Mr Q mentioned that every time he turned the fire off he risked burning himself on the handle of the ash pan cover. A couple of hours later, and the burn threat is no more.

Some might call it a potholder, but I think I've made a cute little 8 inch square quilt that protects fingers from harm! Here it is in pride of place by the fire.

Two projects started. One finished.

But then, as I browsed through flickr early last week I discovered a whole world of crochet that I never knew existed. Wow! Wow! Wow! Inspired by riotous colours and intricate shapes, I spent some of Tuesday evening following this African Flower crochet tutorial to make this.

I can't tell you how happy this makes me. I have never done much crochet - I remember making a cushion cover out of dishcloth cotton when I was about 11 under the tutelage of my cousin. But until I retaught myself last year I hadn't picked up a crochet hook since. But since seeing the amazing colours and shapes that are being created all around the world, I can see how easy it would be to get hooked(!) As if I need a new hobby.

So, three projects started. Two finished. Quite a successful and productive embargo, don't you think? Time to get back to the knitting.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Red letter day

Inspired by the progress being made by members of the "Single Girl Support Group"I have decided to start a single girl quilt of my own. I don't plan to formally join the group, since the warning that it is for "serious single girl quilters only" made me feel a little unwelcome. Work is likely to get in the way of me keeping up, and I am already a long way behind schedule. Anyhow, I am planning to make a queen sized quilt for our bed out of red and white fabrics leftover from another quilt I made a few years ago, along with some other cute red and white prints that I haven't been able to resist buying. The background will be natural linen which I have ordered from the US, and hope will arrive this week.

The pattern involves cutting lots of individual pieces using templates and scissors. So far, I have cut somewhere about one third of the pieces that I'll need. As you can see, the different pieces are all subtly different from one another.

One flick of a cat paw could spell disaster, so the pegs and vintage cutlery tray are my way of trying to keep it all cat-proofed!

After all that marking and cutting, and a walk through a sunny (if somewhat chilly) Wigan, Mr Q and I settled down to scones, jam, cream and tea/cappuccino in front of the fire. Pure bliss.

Wake up and smell the coffee

A couple of years ago after my mum had been to a workshop on circular bargello quilts, she offered to show me how to make one. In one afternoon, I cut all the strips of fabric I needed, sewed them together into panels, and under her supervision, cut segments and completed one quarter of my small circular quilt. Then I stalled. Other potential projects teased and tantalised me, and my quarter circle languished in a box on my sewing room shelf. Until a few months ago, when I pulled it out and finished the piecing. A short hiatus followed as I puzzled over how to quilt it. Finally, inspiration struck and I can now present my finished "Cappuccino" quilt, complete with free-motion quilted steamy swirls.

 the finished quilt, measuring about one metre across

steaming cappuccino quilting

I'm not much of a coffee drinker - much more of a tea or hot chocolate girl myself, but somehow "cappuccino" seems like a much more appropriate name. Maybe that's because most weekend mornings I get up and make Mr Q a cappuccino to drink in bed, to aid in the horizontal to vertical transition, or because the word cappuccino is pronounced so differently in the town where we live (Wigan) and the town where Mr Q works (Hull). We know this through prolonged exposure to coffee shop culture in both towns.