Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Labour of love

A long time ago (about 6 years) I pieced a quilt top using a pattern in American Patchwork and Quilting. It's unusual for me to slavishly follow a design, but I loved this quilt so much that I used exactly the same colour scheme as the magazine and ended up with this gorgeous and very traditional quilt top.

It was about this time that I decided that it would make the perfect wedding quilt for Mr Q and I. It was pieced, pressed and ready to quilt when Mr Q told me that he didn't like it very much. As you can imagine, I was pretty upset by this news, because you can't really have a wedding quilt that one half of the marriage doesn't like very much. And so the quilt top was put away, languishing in a box waiting for Mr Q to have a change of heart.

I'm not sure that the change of heart has happened just yet, but earlier this year, Mr Q suggested that I start finishing some of my unfinished projects. He thought it would be a good idea if I quilted some of the tops that have been cluttering up my sewing room for some time. And so I dug out the quilt and started thinking about how I could quilt it. I spent lots of time in meetings at work doodling possible quilting designs. In my mind, such a traditional quilt needed a traditional quilting design like feathers, and all my design ideas were pretty feather heavy. I kept putting off the quilting, nervous that I couldn't do my vision justice, worried that I wouldn't be able to pull off feathers in each of the 2-inch half square triangles. And then, last week, I just bit the bullet and went for it.

first feather

first block

I am so pleased with how this is turning out so far. It is nerve wracking and time consuming, but I am confident that this labour of love will be worth it.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

A very good vintage

It was my birthday on Friday, but I've been celebrating for about a week. The fun started last weekend when Mr Q and I ventured into Manchester for the Vintage Home Show at the Victoria Baths. The building itself is truly spectacular and is currently undergoing restoration to return it to its former glory. Highlights include scores of stained glass windows...

...beautifully tiled walls and floors...

wall tiles in the 1st class male entrance hall

floor mosaic in the 1st class male entrance hall

...and plenty of original fixtures and fittings...

changing cubicles in the 1st class male pool

1st class male (or gala) pool

There are three pools (1st class males, 2nd class males, and females) each with their own entrance hallways so that the clientele would not need to mix. The most opulent is definitely the 1st class males pool and entrance hall, with my favourite decorative feature the fishy mosaic floor.

The vintage fair was held in the 2nd class male pool and there were plenty of stalls to peruse.

Mr Q's favourite was a stall offering restored old-style telephones is full working order. I was pretty restrained - we have reached the point in our house renovation where we need to change carpets and paint walls so buying extra pieces of furniture, lights, crockery and the rest will probably have to wait a little while. I contented myself with a handful of vintage buttons and a cute tin.

However, the real highlight of the day came when we visited the cafe for a warming cuppa and shared our table with a couple in their eighties. The lady told us how she had swum at the pool as a teenager, and described what Manchester had been like when she was growing up. The gentleman made us laugh with his sharp sense of humour. After about an hour of chatting, we got up to leave and the gentleman took me to one side. Nodding towards a somewhat stubbled Mr Q, he said "I know he's a foreigner, but if you get a quiet moment, tell him it is possible to buy razors here!"

As for my actual birthday, I was at work on the day itself. By mid morning, a student had been sick on my feet (nerves at having to give a talk, apparently), but thankfully the day improved after that. The students sang happy birthday in my lab class and I received a couple of fantastic presents from my sister and mum. I feel very loved.