Saturday, November 27, 2010

Darn and other words

There is something in the air and my computer has caught it. My main desktop machine has developed an interesting and very annoying fault, probably hardware but it's going to take us a while to find it and get it fixed. I haven't lost any data as that is all on the server, but I am stuck with trying to use the laptop for everything. I will be very slow with email and everything computer related until we have my machine up and running so if you have an urgent request please please call me. My number is on my pencils and my website.

I guess this gives me a good excuse to work on my next speed 5 quilt though. I made the first one on Thursday and I am really very pleased with it. I had been wondering when I could get to it's big brother and it seems the answer is now.

I am aware I have a few people waiting for things via email and I will get to them as soon as I can.

UPDATE - looks like a dead machine. I was hoping it was just the memory, but no such luck. Also internet access is being quite variable too. Yay, watch my universe fall apart.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

What year is it?

I'll admit I've been busy, and yes keeping track of the day of the week can be a challenge to me. I will even admit to getting the year confused when it first changes, but right now I am fairly sure it is 2010. This was part of my change this evening. It is one of the new olympic coins. I always look at my coins to see if I've got an interesting one, or a really new one. This is the first time I've ever had next years though. Anyone know if the Royal Mint have actually released next years coins already?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Speed quilts

Here are some of today's motley bunch. We had a day workshop at Patchwork Corner of speed quilts. The students can choose any of the speed quilts to work on and today we had someone working on each of the four patterns I have made so far. Unfortunately we had several students who couldn't make the class and one who had to leave early, but as you can see a good amount of work got done. Hopefully all these quilts will be done soon, as many of them will be heading to know homes very soon.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I'm now on the train heading for London so I've had time to look through my pictures. These are the ones I think will come out OK withouit editing. Bear in mind they were taken and viewed on my phone so they may be out of focus. I arrived in Jersey 7.10pm on Friday and landed in the dark. It was a very cool approach. We came in over a sandy beach and suddenly found a runway. One moment you are a long way off the ground then the runway suddenly comes up to meet you, it's on a cliff. It was fun to be met by someone with one of those boards with my name on it but being dark I didn't get to see much as I was driven to my hotel.

Next morning it was an early start to get to the hall for the first workshop, Speed Quilts. The class went well but by the time it was over the sun was setting. Undetered we took a very scenic route back to me hotel. Wow! Lots of little lanes, bays, cliffs and a great sunset. When I get to go back I will have to take a proper camera there is so much quilt potential. For the evening I was taken to dinner at a good and generous Italian restaurant then on to a little country pub. I wonder what the regulars made of our impromptu quilting lesson on the scores blackboard.

Tonight on the way to the airport tonight after class I got another quick tour of a different part of the island. I'm sorry I will have to rely on the natives to comment and tell me what I have pictures of the names were coming too thick and fast for me. We did drive around to the bay under the runway, and it really is magnificent. I had dinner next to a light house and a radio tower which you can stay in. Despite the restaurant being shut we had a good dinner, huge portions of scampi and chips. The island seems to be a very generous place and in general places want you to feel welcome. The hotel staff were very much that way and worked hard to make the guests as happy as possible. I feel very lucky to have a job that takes me to places like this and lets me work with such keen and friendly people. The only problem is I have laughed so much this weekend my throat is sore.

I hope you all get your quilts finished. Don't forget to send me the pictures.

Art quilts by numbers - Jersey

I am now sitting in Jersey airport waiting for my flight home. I'm looking forward to getting home, but I'm sad to be leaving it's been a great weekend, and I would love to spend some time exploring the island. I just wanted to share some of the quilts made in todays workshop. I think they are all coming along well. Hopefully I will get to share pictures of them finished before too long. I'll share some pictures of the island when I get home as I need to go to my gate now.

Friday, November 19, 2010

So far the magic is working

It confuses people when you say you don't know where you are staying or working, but it seems to be working out OK. I met a cool young couple on the plane. She has just got interested in patchwork so we got talking. I hope she will have a lot of fun with patchwork. While I was collecting my bag I got talking to another lady. I guess it's to be expected in the Phoenix coat. Turned out her friend was talking to my lift ;) I suppose that happens a lot with a smaller population.

The service here is exceptional. The staff just can't do enough for you. I've been really impressed with the lass in the bar. The receptionist told me there was a cocktail bar so after dinner I headed in to try it. Unfortunately they are out of stock of many drinks, and there was already another pair in there asking for cocktails. The poor Iolanda is working her socks off, and actually doing a great job. She has just supplied me with peanuts, and I don't want salt in my keyboard so I am going to stop typing.

Gatwick - a cunning plan

It never fails to amaze me how long travel takes, but that is how it is. I've learned that I not only don't like to be late I don't like to be rushed, so I work out how long I need and add some. Today that meant no lunch, but I figured I would have lots of time to eat at the airport. Mostly that worked. Security did take longer than I expected but I still had time to eat. I al;so know that cheap or good food is not an option but I can usually find something. By the time I was looking for crisps in WHSmiths I knew it was bad. Then I spotted their sandwiches, could I finally get lucky? What could go wrong with tuna and cucumber? Opening the pack and finding an odd smell, which I couldn't place till I took a bite, onion. I think the sandwich would be more accurately described and cucumber and onion, there is very little evidence of tuna. I hope the hotel is still serving food when I arrive.

I'd better get to the gate and find my plane. It seems nearly every flight is struggling to board because of late passengers. I don't want to be the next one.

She's home!

Just a quicky as I am trying to get ready to fly to Jersey. Nude with Rope made it home this morning. I had to share the news as I know a lot of you have been sending me good luck to get her back. She also had my judging sheets for both quilts. In brief, my design and colours are good, but my stitches, tension, accuracy and bindings need work.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Quilting retreat in France

I have been booked to teach in the South West of France next September. It is the 11-17th September and we will be making wholecloth quilts. I think it will be a lot of fun as I already know some of the students who will be there. There are only 8 places so if you are interested you probably want to book sooner rather than later. It is run by Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I'm worried, I think I have things prepared for tomorrow. That can only mean I've forgotten something. Probably something really big and important. Oh well, maybe it will come to me soon.

Yesterday was a fun day. I was giving a private lesson to a lady who has just got a frame quilting system. She has a Husqvarna megaquilter on an inspira frame. They are a giggle. The men who put it up for her decided they might as well put it up full length to save effort later so she has 10' to play with too. We spent the whole day playing, I mean working very very hard, oh yes. I think I managed to pass on lots of my bad habits and teach her some of the tricks I have picked up. I also think she is hooked. I can't tell you how great it feels to help someone else find the joy of stand up quilting. It's just magic.

Today I finally managed to get hold of customs, and I hope sort out the last of the issues with my quilts coming home. If all goes well Nude with Rope should be released soon and back with me. I can't wait. I'm getting used to having Bad Rain as my backdrop when I do a talk but so many people want to see Nude with Rope I hate not having her with me.

After another trip to the dentist, it's what I do these days if I haven't got a booking to be elsewhwere, I came in and got some more writing and typesetting done. There are a few ladies working through what will be my fourth book, another sampler quilt and I've got their next sections printed ready for tomorrow and Thursday. I also have the next section of my first mystery quilt ready to go. I am amazed at how much more work a mystery quilt takes compared to any other pattern. It is fun though. Especially as tet has already done it to test it out so we can debate which pieces to give the students at each stage. I hope that all the testing will produce better patterns or at least ones with non critical errors.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sprat and Winkle

Today I can share some pictures with you from yesterdays workshop for Sprat and Winkle quilt group. You know those days when before lunch you wonder if anyone should have got up? Well it was one of those. Fortunately the group, regulars and visitors alike had a great sense of humour.

I feel that any day that starts with getting up early is already going wrong and yes for me 7am is early, too early. It wasn't good to be greeted by rain and very poor visibility for a long motorway drive, but a booking is a book so you do your best. I remembered to by fuel and headed off.
The first stage of the journey took a lot longer than I expected so I decided to skip my coffee stop and just head on. Of course from there on I made great time so I arrived at the hall about an hour early. It was lucky I had been there before as the sat nav was quite a distance out. Oh well, time to have a nap and read a bit.

The class was due to start at 10, but by 9.30 no one had arrived. I guess I am just used to groups who like to be early, there was still plenty of time to get set up. 9.40 I did start to wonder and phoned a frined. Just as well, I was at the wrong hall. While she didn't have the address of where I needed to be she did give me great directions and 10 minutes later I was at the right hall.

I like to be early I get flustered when I am tight on time, but very quickly I realised I wasn't the only one having one of those days. People kept heading back out of the hall looking for things. Legs, feet, leads, leaves and whole sewing kits had gone walk about. Very strange. On the birght side the kitchen was fully functional and tea, coffee, hot chocolate! and cake were very quickly suppled.

In the housekeeping section I thought I would mention what to do in the event of fire or sewing through your finger, and I did ask people to be extra careful as we seemed to be having one of those days. Initially the workshop went well. We manged to find enough equipment to get everyone started at the same place and the same time amd nearly everyone gave free motion quilting a go. Unfortunately I turned out to be right, it was that sort of a day and a lady did manage to sew through her finger. Of course that isn't normally a big problem, but as you might expect for this tale, the needle broke. Still not a huge problem with a calm patient and several practical and medical people aroud. Until we noticed it had managed to go right the way through. One for the professionals, but the closest A&E was closed so off she went to the next closest, thanks to her husband who came and picked her up leaving the reast of the class to carry on.

The number of strange incidents we had was just crazy, I'm used to broken needles and grubby irons but the sewing the machine foot to the work was a new on me. Machines did random things and had all manner of tantrums. Somehow everyone managed to laugh at their problems and the quilts came on well. The student who had the day trip to hospital did make it back for the rest of the class and the one who threatened to die trying something didn't.

To round off the day I managed to over charge one student twice. Once is pretty poor, but twice? Fortunately she told me and we did eventually get it all sorted out. However, my next stop after the class was to return another customers money, I overcharged her last time I was in the area. I think I will have to claim it is somthing in the land there that makes everything a little strange, but while this might sound like a bit of a disaster, it was actually quite fun and a lot of work was achieved. Next time I am there I will make sure I go well prepared for any eventuality.

Tomorrow is a private frame quitling lesson. I'm hoping it will be somewhat less eventful.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Art Quilts by Numbers

If you are now regretting missing the class this week at Patchwork Corner, you're in luck. As well as the class in Jersey in a couple of weeks I am also teaching it at the Nimble Thimble. I've just cheacked and there are still a couple of places. I even have a few kits on hand for those who haven't got time to find the fabrics. So stop regretting and come and play. Contact the shop, or group directly for bookings.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Rhapsody update

It's been a while since I last showed you this quilt. I didn't work on it over summer thinking that I would get back to it in class. However this term my classes have been full and quite demanding so I wasn't able to work on the quilt. When I was looking after the shop last Thursday I decided it was time to get it out again. As you can see it's getting quit large. I am finding it easier and quicker as I go along. I am already thinking about the next one.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Saturdays class

I managed to catch pictures of several of my students work on Saturday, and I just had to share. I was teaching Art Quilts by Numbers at Patchwork Corner, to one of my most geographically diverse groups yet. It was fun having some new faces and watching them explore the techniques, shop, and cakes. The pictures are all of unfinished pieces, but you can see they were all coming along well. One of the roses is showing the quilting really well. Once it has been rinsed the quilting will sink in so it's nice to be able to appreciate the work that has been done.

As you may have gathered I've been busy recently but not on anything really blogable. I am trying to do some work on my projects, but I have a lot of customer work I need to finish for Christmas. Hopefully I will get that done sooner rather than later.