Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Teeny Tiny Patchwork Block

I wanted to make a single nine-patch block.

As I cut the squares, I wondered whether it was worth getting out the sewing machine.
square of fabric slightly larger then a bobbin
There were four half square triangles, so I used 'quick piecing' methods.
two lines of orange stitches
The finished square: it will measure just about 2.5 inches when it is in situ.

friendship star patchwork block

(Why so small? The orange was already cut into a 1.5 inch strip, and I wanted to find out if I could use it for a very small star. It's doable - just!)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Darning Mushroom - hand torch

We went to the science museum yesterday.

darning mushroom hand torchThere is loads of good stuff there - the space gallary (with a genuine
x-ray space telescope
), but I thought my readers would be equally interested in a small domestic object in the making the modern world display. It is a "darning mushroom hand torch", according to the display label.

I have been unable to find any information about it on the science museum website, or elsewhere on the 'web, just those four words. I don't know whether it was sold as a torch which was shaped like a darning mushroom, or was intended for use as a darning mushroom. It made me think of the Knit Lite knitting needles and crochet hooks, with lighted tips. But not as much fun.

Also in this display was a Singer sewing machine in that rather pastel green that was popualar in the fifties. It seemed greener in real life.
green singer sewing machine

(FWIW, the hairdryer is extremely similar to the hairdryer I grew up using.)

Another place we visited was Albemarle Street, where the Royal Institution has its' headquarters.

In Albemarle Street is Brown's Hotel, where the first British phone call was made. Brown's Hotel was set up by Lord Byron's butler and his wife. Lord Byron was the father of Ada Lovelace, who is well-known for her writings about Babbage's Difference Engine. There is a working model of the Difference Engine in the Science Museum, where I saw it yesterday. Also in the science museum is a darning mushroom hand torch...

Friday, January 25, 2008

What I am not finishing

This time last year, I was blogging about my finishes at a tremendous rate - four by the end of January. I never got round to putting up a list of what I'd done.

This year, as you may have noticed, I got the list all ready to go, so as soon as I'd finished something I could add it. However, I haven't been finishing things. I have been doing stuff - quilting leaves, designing my next quilt, knitting a jacket which I'm having second thoughts about, and crocheting my learn to crochet blanket. I just haven't finished anything.

Until last night when I sewed the name-tape into Kiddo's new school jumper. Now my list is no longer empty.

blurry pile of fabricSome of the material in this picture will be used in my new quilt, but not all of it. I felt we needed a picture though...

Oh, the leaf quilt progress bar is programmed in css: I used a combination of Man bytes Hollywood and ubercherry to program it, with a few modifications. I feel I should be able to learn enough css to do this sort of thing, but I actually I'm too busy reading about Renaissance views of the world to learn about modern day programming.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Memo to self - boring post

The original idea of a web log was to keep track of which web sites the blogger had visited (in the days before 'blogging' had been invented).

In that spirit, I note this post of Kate's.

She has made two patchwork blocks: one with high contrast and the other with less contrast. (Note these are her pictures.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


My next quilt has been semi-planned for ages. I can't say too much about it, but it will use two colours, one as a foreground, and the other as a background. The foreground will be certain stylised shapes, the background might be scrappy.

The design has been in my mind for long enough that I have got some of the fabrics needed. Looking at what I have got, I have huge quantities of foreground colour, far more then I need for this one quilt. However, I have a very limited quantity of the background. Although I am fairly certain I can easily get more of one type of the background, it also needs a special type of fabric: my quantities of this really are limited, and I don't know whether it is replaceable.

I need to make some experimental blocks before I can get the design more specific. A scrappy background might not work, but I definitely don't have enough of the special fabric to experiment with.

The concept for the quilt is not difficult to explain, but also most people who work in fabric shops would probably mis-interpret the idea, so I can't ring up and ask if they have anything suitable. (I know not everyone who works in a fabric shop would misinterpret it.) I'm not sure when I can get out to any to have a look. Not this week, probably not the next either.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Quilting the Leaves

I'd like to show you how I'm quilting the leaves on my leaf quilt. Unfortunately, I've discovered - like so many other people - that it is very difficult to get good photos of quilting. This is about the best one I've got, and it's taken from the back (click on the photo for a larger picture).
quilting like the veins on a leaf

The effect I'm trying for is veins on a real leaf, and I think it is working. In the picture, the stem of the leaf is on the right, between some of the machine quilting, and the 'body' of the leaf is on the left. I'm using pins for guidelines, rather then having a definite quilting line.

It is quite a reasnable photo of the machine-quilted leaves that Ferret did. In fact, it's probably a better picture of Ferret's quilting then of mine!

For some strange reason the big leaves seem to take much longer then the little leaves. The ratio of the areas of small:big is 4:9 so I think that the big leaves should take a little bit more then twice the time of the little ones. I can nearly do an entire little leaf in one evening of not too concentrated work. But the big ones seem to take a lot longer then two evenings.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Peace and Quiet at last!

That's what Kiddo said I'd have to call today's post. Because today the children went back to school.

For the last two weeks, we've been completely on holiday. The children have had no school, and DH took a break from work as well. So we've all been at home, just chillin' and hangin' out, as they say. We haven't been rushing round. We've haven't been crossing the country to see all the relatives. We've just been At Home.

I haven't got much done, just quilting some of the leaves on my quilt and a bit of knitting. We've played lots of computer games of various types.

It's been lovely.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy new Year

Happy New Year!!!

2007 was a difficult year, I'm glad I have a new year to look forward to.

I don't do resolutions: for me and my life, the time between Christmas and New Year is family time, and does not allow me the concentrated introspection needed to make worthwhile resolutions.

Instead, later this month I will use the Best Year Yet book to derive a limited set of goals for the year. I've done it before, and it seems to work for me. This ties in with David Seah's idea of using Groundhog Day as the start point for resolutions.

2008 should be good.