The dilettante crafter

This is possibly what I should have called this blog in the first place. I can’t seem to settle down and finish any project at the moment, just keep on starting new ones.
 

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For instance there’s this Liberated Wedding Ring quilt (still not keen on that name) two-thirds done I think. A few days push and this would be done but then I got distracted by…
 

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this quilt top, the one I couldn’t really ‘feel’ way back in the depths of January. It’s all run up and the backing bought, I would start basting and hand quilting if I hadn’t spent time on the Fat Quarterly blog and started running these up instead…
 

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only the best part of a year after every other FQ reader did this quilt-along, still better late than never, it’s not complicated and won’t take long, or wouldn’t do if I hadn’t been distracted by these…
 

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Loopy knitted scarves, which I started churning out because it’s impossible to keep a scarf on Miss Marmoset without practically throttling her with it. Which I’ve never done obviously, not even been tempted, no, not even the time she lost two brand new ones in a week. So these are just simple scarves knitted in chunky yarn and then the ends stitched together. They won’t fly off, or require throttle action to keep them on.
 

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So with all this going on quite why I’ve pulled all the fabric required to start another two quilts is something I can’t explain as I’d love to get cracking on these too. Enough! I’m off to give myself a stern talking to.

Thanks for reading,
Helenx

 

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Well hello Spring

Finally, FINALLY!! Spring is here!!! Sooo pleased to see it too. Today Miss Marmoset and I actually spent time outdoors sans coats. The fact that we both had, thermal vests, long Ts and thick cardies on is really neither here nor there. Coat-free for the first time since, oooh, 2008? Feels like it anyway.

I have had a bit of a hiatus from sewing, very tight tense shoulders were making sewing a bit tricky. I don’t know why all this upper back stuff happens to me, actually that’s a lie I know very well it’s down to flaking out with tiredness at 11pm to get up again at 2am, 4am and then finally at 7.30. Sleeping awkwardly, carrying overtired small people around and general wear and tear. So this week has seen a welcome return to the slicing, dicing, placing, planning and piecing to start a new quilt. I’m using this brilliant tutorial from Little Miss Shabby. Apparently it’s called a Liberated Wedding Ring design, which maybe just my mucky mind but does that have any ‘car keys in the bowl’ connotations to anyone else? I think I may have to call this something else. Anyway the colours are happy and spring-like and a whole lot more pink than I usually go, I can see this being ‘liberated’ by Miss M when it’s finally finished.
 

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Thanks for reading,
Helenx

 

The Drawer of Meh

 

This fabric diet is proving to be more interesting than I had originally thought it would be. I started it mainly out of feeling I have too much and partly out of economy. The rise in VAT is making fabric purchases much less a regular treat for many. I can’t say I felt all that positive about my fabric stash. Too much had been bought in sales because it was cheap, or for some long forgotten/abandoned project. I wanted to bash through it all so I could fill up with lots of lovely new lines.

However in the last few weeks some strange things have been happening. I have opened the Drawer of Meh. The Drawer of Meh is Room 101 for fabric in this house. It’s where fabric I don’t like any more goes to fade/compost/whichever comes first. And yet when I rummaged through it a couple of weeks ago, in a slightly desultory manner, I was amazed by how many possibilities were presenting themselves. It appears that in having written off a chunk of fabric I had stopped ‘seeing’ it. Certainly seeing combinations that might work together nicely began to make me look at the Drawer of Meh again a bit more objectively. Y’know there may be hope for some of this stuff yet. The cushion cover below is a prime example: the green is a khaki Moda Bella Solid that I bought for a quilt last year – it was the wrong shade by about a shade-and-a-bit. Close but no cigar. The print, well I can’t explain myself, I imagine a sale, a lot of caffeine and quite possibly Lucy in the Sky playing on the shop radio produced the impulse to buy this. This is the first use I’ve found for it yet.
 

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The funny thing is, as a teenage patchworker I never worried about putting fabrics together. I mish-mashed happily. I’m not sure where the confidence to do this went but I have noticed that designer based fabric lines are more and more prevalent, and that the talk on quilting blogs is often about new lines and quilts being created out of one collection. Dare I say that I’m starting to find this a bit frustrating? Putting together a quilt from the same design line is starting to seem a bit of a cop-out, all the judgement and colour choices have been done for you. Some of it is starting to seem a bit matchy-matchy in a handbag-and-shoes way.

The fabric diet started out as a means to an end – to use up old stuff and buy new, new, new!! In fact to buy fabric in lines as I’ve just castigated above. Instead it’s turning into a more thoughtful process, forcing me to identify my own tastes and what seems pleasing on the eye to me, the designer. It’s not always going to be pretty, but what started off as getting my head down and through the backlog ASAP is turning into a much more interesting meander through the country roads of my collection. And it’s a lot more fun too.

Thanks for reading,
Helenx

Christchurch earthquake

Apologies for the time between blog posts, it’s been half term which is usually a week that relies on total team co-operation for it to be a success. Alas this time one of the team let us down, yes I’m looking at you Mother Nature. We’ve been stuck with winter for far too long now, and although I know grey is a big colour this year, I’ve seen enough of it now. Bring on spring.

Of course half way through the holidays the dreadful news of the Christchurch earthquake appeared. As you can imagine the lovely Kiwi (who is from ChCh) spent a fairly frantic day tracking down loved ones. We’ve been fortunate all our friends and family were fine, although some have sustained serious damage to their homes and one has lost their house completely. All the same clearly they’re the lucky ones. I can’t imagine what it must be like to lose your home like that, also in many cases to lose your place of work or business.
Christchurch is a beautiful place, I’ve always thought of it as being a very graceful city. Not in the slightly old-fashioned way it’s often represented, but in the way its Victorian Gothic architechture has blended seamlessly with striking modern buildings. The juxtaposition of the Cathedral with the Modern Art Gallery was a perfect example of this, the old and new sitting so comfortably alongside each other in a way that so few cities have succesfully achieved. With that in mind, the loss of the Cathedral is a real shame.

However, I firmly believe that people are more important than things. It’s Christchurch’s people my heart really goes out to. Naturally the Red Cross have an appeal which you can donate to here. Anyone who is interested in buying beautiful hand made items to raise money can go to Handmade for Christchurch. This is a group auctioning off handmade items on TradeMe, NZ’s main auction site. There are some beautiful things available like these:
 

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Do have a look, could be a great way to get ahead for present buying and raise some money for a really worthwhile cause.

Thanks for reading,
Helenx