Sunday, 15 April 2012

Merrily we quilt along

Earlier in the year, I told you about a couple of quiltalongs that I was taking part in. Since I haven't mentioned those quilts in a little while, I thought a quick progress report might be in order.

First up, the "Made in Cherry" quilt. When I last showed you this, I had just completed piecing the top. That top is now gracing the quilt frame, and I have started quilting it with Patricia Ritter's Whole Lotta Love pantograph. I love how the quilting looks on the linen background.

Secondly, the "Swoon" quilt. You should see some of the Swoon quilts in the Flickr group - they are absolutely stunning. I was persuaded to take part in this quilt along by my good friend Ruth. On Friday, we spent the day together sewing. She was working on her Swoon blocks, while I was cutting sashing strips and putting my top together. Here is the result of my industrious afternoon...

Wednesday, 11 April 2012


Or perhaps that should be Four! That's right - I am managing to keep up with my target of finishing 12 quilts in 12 months. Number four is complete and we're not even halfway through April. Woohoo!

I started this quilt a long, long time ago. It was a sample for a class I taught at a quilt shop, based on Ricky Tims' Convergence Quilts. I finished the top in an afternoon, but then it sat unquilted for nine years! I just couldn't decide what to do - embellish it with appliqué? with sparkly threads? with beads? - I just couldn't decide.

In the end, I used a thickish Sulky cotton thread is variegated shades of blue and green that I had on hand. The quilt top had always looked like light filtering through water to me, and I finally decided on the Oodles of Doodles pantograph by Patricia Ritter which reminds me of diving among kelp forests.

And as always, as soon as it was finished, it was requisitioned by Bonnie (aka The Barnacle). Here she is trying to catch fish on one of the prints!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Brighton Rock

After my week of fieldwork, I was ready for a little R & R, so Mr Q and I packed our bags and headed down to Brighton for a few days. My sister had been working down there and wanted to share it with us whilst she still had the keys to a fabulous flat in a modernist block on the sea front. We had a great time...

We walked along the front and admired the stark beauty of an architectural gem - the burnt out West Pier.

We visited the Palace Pier and played silly games like Air Hockey and Dolphin Derby. And we admired Brighton Pavilion from the outside.

For a little culture, we visited the National Trust property, Standen - an Arts & Crafts treasure designed by Philip Webb and decorated by Morris & Co. I loved it! And I am now inspired to use some William Morris wallpapers in a couple of the rooms in our house. I wonder if I can get Mr Q to agree.

the conservatory at Standen

the gardener's cottage at Standen

And then there were retail opportunities, at Quilty Pleasures... Purl...

...and at Utility and Inhouse Space (where the Aussie owners knew Mr Q's hometown). Finally, there was plenty to eat and drink, including a fabulous seafood Italian restaurant in Hove, a North African restaurant, also in Hove, and lots of stops for tea, coffee and a chat.

latte from Small Batch Coffee Company

waiting for brunch at Ethel's Kitchen

Monday, 9 April 2012

Having a "Wales" of a time!

If you've been wondering where I've been, perhaps even worrying about the radio silence a little, fret no more. Normal service is now resumed. I spent the last week of March in Pembrokeshire, West Wales, teaching first year undergraduates about the joys of geology.

We had glorious weather for most of the week - the perfect conditions to think about sedimentology and structural geology.

Amroth - it used to be a delta during the Carboniferous

West Angle Bay - the sediments were deformed when continents collided

We stayed in little wooden cabins near to Broadhaven. Set on a hillside, they were warmer and more substantial than the static caravans we've used before. I really appreciated not being able to hear my colleagues snoring through the walls! And Broadhaven boasts an excellent chippie.

I enjoyed the field class, but it was hard work. As well as longish days in the field, we also had meetings in the evenings to help the students with their work. I've also realised that I have a different approach to teaching to some of my colleagues - I think a university education should be about teaching people to think and do, not just filling their heads with facts, so I found it very frustrating when the students just wanted to be told "the answers" and some of the lecturers were determined to give hour-long lectures in the field.

Conditions were a little more challenging on the last couple of days, but thankfully a couple of my colleagues were well prepared for protecting us from the elements as we had lunch on a headland in a stiff breeze.

I got home a little windswept, a little freckled, and very glad to sleep in my own bed again.