Sunday, 14 April 2013

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Well my bags are packed and I'm ready to go......sing along if you are old enough to know this song.

Sewing machine is packed away - out of the dust - some things you just have to look after - and though I have cleaned sufficiently for the house carer I have promised that I'll do a super clean on my return.........

I may not have the opportunity to blog for a while - if not, I'll be back in mid May....(I'll have to resort to a diary as long as I can remember how to write.)

We have some time in Seoul on the way home - anyone know where I might find a patchwork and quilting shop (or shops) there - just in case I have any money left.......

Take care and I'll see you when I can,
Sue xxxx

PS: Prepare to be inundated with photos on my return......

Friday, 12 April 2013


I'm hoping you'll indulge me for a few moments while I talk about rhubarb...........It's up to you, of course.
Not recipes, gardening tips or 'rhubarb, rhubarb' and absolutely nothing to do with quilting.....though there is a connection to my upcoming trip to 'The Stans'. (see  post 5th April.)

I've long been told that rhubarb is 'good for the blood' and the GOTH (gardener of the house) has just stewed up some fresh stalks of rhubarb with granny smith apples and a dash of honey which we have been enjoying for our breakfasts, but that's not the reason my interest has been piqued............ 

As I was reading 'Journeys on the Silk Road' yesterday, I came across a sentence that stopped me in my tracks..... 'The name (Silk Road) is far more romantic than if it had been named after another desirable commodity traded along the way, which might have seen it dubbed the Rhubarb Road.' (Seriously - page 85)

A quick bit of googling brought up an article in Wikipedia where I found this... 
'A measure of the value set upon rhubarb can be gotten from Ruy Gonzáles de Clavijo's report of his embassy in 1403-05 to Timur in Samarkand: "The best of all merchandise coming to Samarkand was from China: especially silks, satins, musk, rubies, diamonds, pearls, and rhubarb...".'
 (You can read it for yourself...)

Who knew?

The name 'Silk Road' is apparently quite a recent appellation (coined in 1877 by a German Baron) for this vast network of trade routes stretching from China to Europe. Perhaps it could also have been called the Paper Road. For a thousand years or so before paper was known in Europe it was one of the most significant items traded along the Silk Road allowing momentous exchanges of  information in the sciences, the spread of religious teachings and for details of trade and the minutiae of daily life to be recorded easily. The original information superhighway - the Internet of its time.

So when I get to the markets in Tashkent and Samarkand next week I'll see if I can spot some rhubarb - along with silk and other textiles, of course....

I'll let you know,
Sue xxxx

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Size Apparently Matters

Hmm! When does size matter? Apparently when a quilt challenge says 'entries MUST BE 15" x30" it means exactly that, so a smidge of trimming is required off the width and a little more length is required which in turn means that 'the little grey cells' have been stretched - not Hercule Poirot's, of course, mine - ALL NIGHT!! I'm not sure why this little project has played on my mind as much as it has......

After combing my bookshelf for fanciful ideas - and I found plenty - the most obvious, practical, realistic and, above all, appropriate solution presented itself sometime during the night......... a narrow QAYG (Quilt -as-you-go) border on the bottom.

So now it should be within a gnat's whisker of the correct size and I just need to stitch down the binding and embellish. (The backing visible at the top of the pic felt like a good match for the theme of the quilt.)

If you are new to QAYG there are some fabulous tutorials on the net. I would particularly point you to Melody who blogs at Fibermania. I have been following this blog for about four years now and visit almost everyday. Melody has shared a wealth of information on quilting, fabric dyeing, knitting - just to name a few areas of interest- and has two adorable, slightly portly, dogs as well (if you are a doggy person) to boot.

Melody learned about QAYG from Marianne at The Quilting Edge who makes the most stunning, graphic quilts. I'd suggest dropping in on both of these blogs to brush up on some skills or simply to feed your imagination.

Til next time,
Sue xxxx

Friday, 5 April 2013

The Silk Road and other bits......

Finally, they're here......

Tickets in the mail - departure rapidly approaching. (Our full itinerary for anyone interested can be found on the 'Blue Dot Travel' website under this link to 'The Stans' . (There should be updates posted on their Facebook, Internet access permitting.)

In addition - some 'research' material.....(yes ABB X 2).

A quick question - do you suppose it might be impolitic to suggest that a larger bookcase would be a useful thing? (Or might that draw too much attention to what is already there?)

In other bits.....

                           Some prairie points.......

          ....and some FMQ which hopefully looks like woodgrained fence palings...

(I should have watched Angela Walter's Craftsy class again but being a bit pressed for time I made do with just referring to her book.) But I can't show you how these are coming together because it's my entry into the 'Quilts in May' quilt challenge....

And I finally found a use for some of the fabric paper I'd made following instructions in Beryl Taylor's book - 'Mixed Media Explorations'.....still a joy to browse through.

I'd better get back to work on my quilt.

Til next time,
Sue xxxx

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

A Question

Ask a question and the universe (or the Internet) sends the answer.......or at least a way forward.......

Recently at our Monday quilt group, chat turned to developing a folder either to store completed blocks or to carry them to class in an organised manner. This morning when I started the rounds of blogs that I like to follow what do you suppose I found?

On Leanne's blog (She Can Quilt - see post for 1st April) a possible solution appeared in a tutorial prepared by Jennie  (a UK quilter who blogs at Jennie's Threads). The post is titled 'Jennie's Block Keeper'. Well worth a look....

Our question took this idea a little further. 'If we create pages with, for example, squares of batting, what can we use between the 'pages' so they don't stick to each other and create chaos when we open them?' It's still an idea in development but any thoughts or suggestions would be welcome....

I have been saving this collage sample from one of our Monday Group experiments  as part of a cover for just such a project (it's even on my list of projects waiting....). It just needs some QAYG borders added to bring it up to size to make it suitable for a front cover. (I have another experimental plan for the back cover....)

But it will have to wait a little while as I'll be a bit busy for the next few weeks............a good winter project when I return perhaps.
Sue xxxx
PS: If you like the idea and plan to make one, please check out the licensing conditions on the sidebar of Leanne's blog.