Thursday, August 28, 2008

Too busy to post

I am quilting everything in sight. I have my quilt for Hever to finish, and several urgent customer quilts. Of course I still need to get everything ready for Scotland too. Yes I am looking forward to it but I have a lot to do before I go. I have to get my new quilt at least drafted and the first section written, ideally I would like the quilt finished. What do you think? Will it happen?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Out first round

We lost in the first round to a previous champion. In a very close race, he crossed the line first by 0.004 seconds, and won by virtue of having the smaller breakout. Still, the 13.82 at over 101mph (albeit on a 13.88 dialin) set new bests for both ET and speed.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


For a while there it did look like we would get a second qualifier. However, it's now pouring with rain and there is a 5pm curfew. I think it is safe to say we have finished for the day now.

We had entertainment in the pit today. A balloon modeler. I did try to be grown up, but he taunted me for long enough and I had to have a penguin. It's very cool isn't it. I've included a picture of his URL so you can go and have a look at his work. Apparently he does a lot of more complex sculpture when he can sit and work. The things I've seen are just the quick bits. I found it interesting how much he manipulated the balloons. Some of them seem to yank and twist and hope. Billy doesn't he seems to persuade the balloons to do what he wants. It was really fascinating how many ways he could shape the balloons.


That run was our first over 100mph run. Woot.

Run 1

Well we made it. We have a run on the board. A touch red, but still we will be racing tomorrow. We dialed in 13.75 we didn't want to break out, and we ran 13.87 so that much worked. 0.127 break out though. I am hoping he has that out of his system now and we will get a ood run later.


We made it to the track late yesterday evening after rewiring most of the front of the race car. Front in this case is defined as everything in front of the battery, -which lives over the rear axle. There wasn't a fault, but several, some were not actually implicated but were fixed anyway.

Hopefully we will get two qualifying runs today, the whole field will go through to eliminations so any run will do. Realistically we are in the hands of the weather. We woke up to torrential rain, but now we have clear sunny skies. Hopefully this will last. Now I had better get signed on and we will be ready for our first run arround midday.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Progress. Slow

Well, the race car doesn't have a faulty starter motor, and we are about to get the alternator tested. Apparently it is a likely suspect given our symptoms. If it isn't that we are back to tracing wires. Not our favourite sport.

On the other hand I did find and fix Joker. Her coolent expandion tank had developed a crack. Quick theft from our other 2.8i and we should be good to go. Now fingers crossed on fixing Trogdor.

Friday, August 22, 2008

poop, poop, poop

No that doesn't cover how I am feeling but I do try to keep the language clean here. So what am I doing blogging when I really should be at least half way to the track. Well, as you may know, our race car is street legal. Not only does it drive to the track but we can also use it as transport. In the last week I think it may have done more miles than my street car. It's been running great, better in fact than any of our other cars. So tonight we prepare to set off, it turns over once and dies. Dead deadity dead. Auto electrics are not our favourite subject at the best of times, and this isn't the moment. So we are now planning an early morning to try and fix it in the light, and hopefully only miss one round of qualifiers.

Of course, never a household to have only one sick vehicle, the bike broke down earlier (which is why we are so late leaving) and my car has become incontinent again. I swear they talk. How else could the all manage to get sick at the same time every time? I suppose I may at least have a chance to tape up my hose before we go now.

Lots of progress

I think I mentioned I have a rush of wedding quilts to do for customers. As I am trying to take it a bit easy after the festival I am doing an hour of longarming then an hour of something sitting down. I am loving the drawing board. Not only does it make drawing my designs a whole lot easier I can use it to support the applique block as I make it. I didn't quite finish it yesterday so no picture yet. I guess I did about half of it and a test of of the stitching as well. I also made about half the blocks for a quilt that is now stuck in my head. I want to finish the top before I share that one, sorry. It is inspired by Ricky Tims, which is kinda why it is impatient and quick to make. I am pleased with it so far.

Today has also been productive. I have the top for my Hever quilt made, I just need to quilt and bind it now. It will be quilted on a domestic machine so I can do it along side the customer work. I might have got further but I had to unblock a drain. Never the most glamorous job, but not usually a big deal. Take the ubend off, clean it out job done right? No, take off the next joint, clean that too, still no good. Eventually after two hours work with poky things and acid I have a clear drain. Great but I would have rather been quilting.

Still I have a few days away from the studio now. I am putting on my crew hat for the weekend. We are off to Shakespere County Raceway to play with car. Hopefully the weather forecast will be right and we will have dry days with the rain restricted to the middle of the night. I can't honestly call it time off as I do intend to do some more work on my second book while I am way, and maybe find time to try drawing again.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Proud to be sticky!

I know at least one reader will understand. I have been playing with glue stick and I am actually sticky. To me this is amazing. I went and bought a brand new glue stick earlier and it is working great. I was really good. They had a great deal on 6 sticks but I only bought two. Given we think my problems in the past have been down to old sticks I am determined to only try to use fresh. Oh and it is working for what I am trying to do as well. Maybe later I will show you.

I wonder what strange searches will lead here today :)

Back in the real world

I've almost recovered from my five days at the Festival of Quilts. It was great to meet so many of you there, and welcome to all the new friends I met. I had a lot of fun at the show, and surprisingly spent very little. I did get a lot of hand dyed fabric, from both Ricky Tims and Heide Stoll Weber. I want to have some more interesting backgrounds for my wholecloths, although it is going to make it trickier selecting threads.

I can finally show you some better pictures of my quilts, and the awards you get from the Festival. I know a lot of people have very strong views on ribbons. Love them or hate them, personally I don't mind what form the award takes. I can display certificates just as easily as ribbons, and they all have their own character. I guess if pushed I would most like trophies, but there are plenty of those I don't like the look of, so I'll just enjoy anything I get. I am, probably excessively, pleased to have the little plaque with the judges comment on. I think it is a really nice touch to give them their say actually on the winners plinth. Even if you don't agree with the judges you can now see some of their reasoning. The other thing I thought was really good was that the judges are named on that plaque too. I was very lucky, the first show I ever entered I met one of the judges, who told me she had judged my quilt. She was happy to tell me what I could have done better, it made sense and I haven't forgotten her advice. That was so helpful. I don't know if I am thrilled or petrified that Sandy Lush judged my wholecloth, but I am glad I know.

I've mentioned that I am working on a couple of projects with people from the comics industry. Well some of you net them over the weekend, and if you would like to have a look at Cancertown there are some sneak previews here. You might also like to take a look Raggedman in the links section to the right.

Finally, if you haven't already had a look there is an article on my web site from Canadian author Lorina Stephens. I met her many years ago when I was looking for costuming patterns. She used to run an amazing web store with everything you might want for period costuming. I was very disappointed when she gave it up to write. However she turns out to be a very good writer, so I guess I have to forgive her. I also love her art work, so when you've read her article do go and take a look at her site.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Virtual Book Tour

I am the third stop on Lorina Stephens Virtual book tour. Take a look at the article on my web site. She is a very creative lady who has self published several books. If you would like to check out the second stop on the tour you will find it here.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

He get's it.

Wow. If you ever get the chance to see Ricky Tims do. He is very entertaining. However, never offer him salmon, and especially not salmon sandwiches. He finds they like to get cozy in his sleeve, and they really don't flush well.

My favourite quote of the evening is "however bad things are they could always be worse". It's so true, and when people forget it, it often makes itself felt. He also reminded us that freelance is a fancy way of saying unemployed. It's something I have often felt so it was good to hear someone agree with me.

I enjoyed hearing where he has come from, and where he wants to go. It was great to see his dogs, hogs and buildings. I would love to be able to go on retreat with him, if nothing else the landscape there is so inspiring.

Finally, I have to mention his music. His first couple of pieces were not to my taste, but I could see why he chose them. As he went on he played a lot more of his own compositions, and those I loved, especially when he played the flute, it seems to push so much more emotion than the piano. Sorry Ricky, the piano was great, but for me the flute was better. Sorry the picture isn't better, but there is a limit to what I can do as a small image on a phone.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Workshop at the FoQ

So, when I wasn't wandering about like a stunned fish yesterday I was in a workshop. It was a lot of fun marbling fabrics. I know I can't spell the tutors name without it in front of me, so rather than butcher it I will leave it for now. She is a very bubbly german lady, who had brought over everything we needed, all we hhad to do was turn up. It made it a ver relaxing experience, something of a holiday before the main event. We mostly worked in small A3 ish trays. I think I did about 13 small pieces of fabric, some of which I think are lovely. In the afternoon she showed us how to work on larger pieces, which is even more fun, and I suspeect highly addictive. The pictuure shows her removing one of these larg pieces from the tray. i would highly recommend her classes.

Today I have been out and about in the show and helping on the Patchwork Corner stand. It's been busy and we seem to be selling out of things fast. i hope this means packing up will be easier, but I am not holding my breath for it. i suspect however much you sell it always feels like you have more to take home than you brought with you.

I am now on my way to an evening with Ricky Tims, who's name I have spelled wrong forever, sorry Ricky. I finally managed to meet him today nad he is a lovely guy. I thought he would be from his DVD's but you can never be sure. It's good to know I was right. I might let you know later how it wen't, depending on how late it is and how tired I am.


There is a disadvantage to going around the show early the first morning. The awards aren't all up. So my last report wasn't entirely accurate. If I've got this right (and it is late) my final tally is,
Judges choice - Herd Mentality
Highly commended - Radience
Third place - Contemporary Small - Heat
First place - Pictorial - Herd Mentality
First place - Longarm - Flying Feathers

Yes I am thrilled, and somewhat stunned. I did decide I had to go to the gala dinner, and actually the food was very good this year. I don't know what has happened but I am impressed. Strangely I found it far more nerve wracking to go and collect prizes that to give talks. I guess it is a control issue, but it was interestinmg enough to slightly distract me from how scared I was.

When I got back to my hotel I ran into some guys here for another conference, Magic the Gathering. Yes, yes, I know I shouldn't like it, but I do, and I think they have learned something about quilting too. Hopefully I can catch up with them tomorrow night. I am going to be exhausted at the end of this.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Festival update

I thought I could skip the gala dinner this year. It's expensive and I don't enjoy it, so last night when I got a call suggesting I go I told them I had other plans. I did too. Fortunately quilters understand that when you win awards you might have to stand them up. I think the pictures tell the rest of the story. Heat is wearing 3rd in contemporary small in case you can't read it. Sorry the white quilt isn't clearer, it is hard to photograph with a phone.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Excited - I think

I've just had a phone call suggesting I might like to change my plans for tomorrow night. Perhaps I would like to go to the Gala dinner, it might be to my advantage. Hmmm, I really don't enjoy the dinner, but maybe I should be there. I will look at the list tomorrow morning and make a decision I think.

Wow, a stand and a good hotel.

I am stunned, I've got an amazing room and it was the penultimate room on site. It's not a cheap room, although it's full price is less than the other hotels full price rooms. I wish I had had room to bring some of my quilts with me. They would look great on the huge high bed and in front of a purple faux leather headboard.

I arrived at the NEC before 11 this morning. The van had already been unloaded and the shelves assembled. We have been working pretty solidly since and we still have a few small things to do. Well actually Jenny has a few tweaks to do. I am on a workshop tomorrow. I think the stand is looking pretty good. It is I20 near the back of the hall. It's also close to the longarm gallery. Do come and say hello.

I had a little time to walk around this afternoon. There are some wonderful small galleries, I can't wait to have a better look at them. I don't know why but I was very surprised to see a Ricky Timms quilt. Thinking about it, it isn't surprising given he is speaking and teaching here, but I hadn't thought about it.

Hopefully I will have some time to look around tomorrow, but if not I will on Friday.

and off we go

I am about to head off to the Festival of Quilts at the NEC Birmingham. Today is set up day for the traders and I will be helping Jenny get the Patchwork Corner stand ready. It's an odd day at the show. You'll just have to take my word for it that it will look very different by tomorrow. Today is also judging day, but no the results don't go up until Thursday morning. I guess someone has the job of typing and printing results sheets tonight. It can't be much fun and they must have to do a pretty big print run overnight to give a copy to everyone tomorrow. So bear a thought for the huge team who will be putting your show together until pretty late tonight, and indeed for the teams doing all the shows around the world, it's a big job. Hope to see you over the next few days. I will try to keep you updated.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Progress report - Block of the Month

I managed to get a reasonable amount done yesterday on the block of the month. I think it is starting to look like the picture on the pattern now. Always a good sign. As you can see I finished the feathered star at the centre of the quilt, which makes a huge difference.I already had a lot of the border pieces finished, or close to finished which meant getting to here was pretty quick.

This morning I have added two more stars already, and I have all the pieces cut to fill in the area at the bottom between the centre and the pinwheel border. The pinwheel border to the right needs extending by a couple of blocks then that will be ready to go on as well.

To the left I think the next border is flying geese, so I should be able to get those on as well today. I do have all day Tuesday to work on it so you never know I might get it all together. I certainly think I will have a good amount of it done. I guess I had better stop gossiping and get back to work.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

A third Woo Hoo!

Yesterday should have been a three woo hoo, kind of day. Well it was but I needed to take overnight for the last one to sink in. Herd Mentality has been selected for the Houston "Quilts: A World of Beauty" exhibit. I am so excited. I've been trying to get into this show for a while without success, and I really didn't expect to do any better this year, so when I got the email I had to read it several times to be sure. It was lovely to be able to tell the group I was speaking to last night too. I was feeling a bit guilty as so many of my quilts are off doing their thing at shows and galleries. I've realised this is the hardest time of the year to do talks, although I do now have enough work to be able to do it. I guess this will get easier every year too, but still I felt bad about it. Somehow being able to give them the news first helped a bit.

Honebee Quilters are a lovely little group, surprisingly close to where I live. They also have a nice range of quilters from absolute beginners to really experienced. It was nice to see so many people actively sharing their skill and knowledge, this is what we need if quilting is to have a long and exciting future. They are also a very open minded group. They loved the idea of punk quilting, drag racing and collaborative projects with other areas. I've now got the source artwork for my first cross over piece, and after the shows I will be getting started on it. I think it is safe to say my first foray into this new area will be large and eye catching. Possibly also rather challenging, what a traditional artist can do fairly easily with a pencil will be very tricky to replicate with a longarm, but I do like a challenge.

On the subject of challenges, I am trying to complete a quilt top before I go to the Festival Of Quilts. I am going up Wednesday, and I will be out all day Monday. It is the block of the month that Patchwork Corner are running. I fell in love with it because I think it will be great to quilt. Oh boy! It has a lot of pieces and I am finding working form someone else's instructions, and in their way quite a change. Still I think I am over half way, and accelerating. I have month one finished. This is the corner triangles that go around the center block. The center block is about 3/4 done, I needed a change last night so I did month one to get a breather. I've also made several pieces of border, only some of them have made it up to the design wall though. I've decided that rather than make the pieces in month order I will work from the center of the quilt outward. This is partly because I know I am motivated by seeing progress and I think it will look more like I am getting somewhere if I have a large piece of top together rather than lots of smaller pieces. Also if I don't quite finish on time I will have something that can be displayed, where lots of disjointed parts can't. My final reason is it will give me a chance to adjust things if I find my sewing isn't as accurate as I hope, and I will be spacing the adjustments in between other sewing. I don't find the adjusting and fiddling terribly exciting so this will also make things easier for me. Now wish me luck I have a lot of piecing to do and not a lot of time to do it in.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Woo Hoo

It seems to be time for me to find my work out and about. I've just had a call from a friend telling me two of my quilts are in Fabrications this month. Perttu and Lilly were photographed at Sandown and have made it into the show report.

A couple of days ago I was talking to another friend who told me one one of the prop sewing jobs I've done appears in the films trailer which I could find online. Yay, I love to know the work actually gets used. The film is Doomsday and indeed if you search you will find trailers for it. I helped make the armoured environment suits. If you watch really closely there is also a suit of armour that he made. It's odd, although we both worked on the same film we were at the workshop at completely different times, and it was a while before we twigged we had been working on the same film. The film is out on DVD soon, and I was planning on getting it to see my work on film, but having watched the trailer it looks like I might well enjoy the film too.

Thursday, August 07, 2008


I know this is always going to be a busy time of year. It's nice when the NEC deadline is done with, and yes all four quilts made it, just. However, this year that hasn't lead to any slow down here. It seems everyone is getting married, all at once. I have a stack of wedding quilts and an alarming number of them are urgent. I like to be busy, but this is starting to get silly. On the other hand they are all for lovely people who I very much want to make happy by providing them a great quilt on time. Ho hum.

I also have a top I really want to have finished by the Festival of Quilts. I know Jenny would like it for the stand but, boy is it time consuming. I've been making some progress on it (I will have to take some pictures) but I've only got until Wednesday next week and I have to work on one of the cars this weekend. I am really looking forward to quilting it, even though it will have to wait until after all the weddings, so I do have quite an incentive to get on with it.

Yesterday I was teaching Speed Quilt again. This time I offered the choice of either Speed 1 or Speed 2, as I had several people who specifically wanted to do the one they hadn't already made. It went really well. One quilt had the binding on when it left, another was ready to bind. Several others were very close to finishing, with the borders still needed. I hope everyone had a good time and will finish their quilts, I know I did, they were a good bunch who worked well as a group.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Quilting - full contact sport

Now stop giggling, it's true I tell you. I've realised today that I've had more injuries from quilting than hockey and lacross put together. I think skating and cycling still have it beat, I don't want to know how you break ribs quilting, but othere than those quilting is my most dangerous occupation. Now why have I been thinking about this. Well, um, would you believe I have a black eye from quilting? It's true I hit myself in the face with a bottle while packing a quilt. Fortunately I am not going to any cocerts soon, explaining to rock fans that my injuries are quilt related is always embarassing, and they never believe me. On the other hand I do have a class to teach on Wednesday and a talk to give Friday. Maybe quilters will find it easier to believe, this a risky hobby.