Thursday, 14 September 2017

Huge change to our little house.

From when we bought the house 15 years ago we planned to change the windows. We thought we'd do it soon after moving in 5 years ago but we got quotes either for silly money or for reasonable money but with companies who insisted we didn't need planning consent. After the kitchen was done, and both the bathrooms, I couldn't delay it any longer. Although double glazed, the patio doors let in a draft and the wood was in definite need of resealing. This time I got quotes from east of the house rather than the west. One was for silly money, one was for half way between the cheapest and the highest and they would get planning consent.  The windows were ugly and it turned out not what planning consent had been in the first place........ This is the before shot.

Are the after photo.  I feel these windows are far more in keeping with the style of house.
Sash windows are my new love.

Round the back of the house, the mahogany sliding patio doors have been replaced with French doors.


It all looks so much better from the inside as well. 

Today it feels wonderful not to have any workmen here.  They were all fine, but it exhausts me. 

Hence the only bit of stitching done was hand appliqueing the centre to a background fabric. Some stitching is better than none :-)

On my next post I hope to have started my Jane Austen quilt...... hope, not promise.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Jane Austen and Karen Styles.

I have finally got my Jane Austen quilt planned out. I am pleased with it but not pleased my intention not to make quilts over 65 inches square has gone out the window.......

And I played with changing the look completely. I have named this version  'Jane goes to Bali' 

Karen Styles came to the UK for the Festival of Quilts and whilst she was here did a Workshop at Cowslip and at Sue Watters house. As Sue lives 30 miles away I wanted to go. A lovely couple of days of soothing hand work, except I hadn't allowed for the roadworks outside Gloucester on the way home. It took nearly 2 hours to do those 30 miles...... It used up a lot of my precious spoons. (Google spoon theory if you think I am talking gobbledegook) 
This is my centre of the Okehampton quilt. I shall use it, but in a quilt of my own. I don't have a good track record of finishing quilts designed by others.  I love how the fussy cutting of the outside border worked. 
This is the glorious fabric. I don't know if there is still some out there.

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And now some very sad news. George was killed on the road last weekend. My beautiful boy, my quilting buddy, my morning wake up call has gone. 



He died exactly eight years to the day from when we got him as a kitten. We have done much soul searching about whether we were/ are right to let them out. We think we are. He has chased rabbits, butterflies, shrews and squirrels. He has been drenched by the rain, waded in deep snow, had the odd cat fight, got stuck up a tree and many many adventures he would not have had as an indoor cat. Our feelings are, better eight years of adventures than sixteen of none. My heart aches again for my four legged friend. George was mine by his choice, Rosie loves my husband more. For those of you new to my blog, Rosie and George are British Shorthair cats.  George's pedigree name was Porteous Bounty Hunter.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Starting Jane Austen coverlet/quilt

Do you remember some time ago, I rescued a pair of 1980s curtains made of Warner fabric in the same design as the centre of the Jane Austen coverlet? The time has come to start it.
I have measured the angle of the diamonds on the original, it seems to vary between 70° and 75°. To fit the smaller diamonds around it, whatever size I use, needs to be divisible by 11.

I cut out diamonds in multiples of 1¼", 1 1/8" and 1".  And with both, I cut it at 70°and 75°. I tried to align the flowers and the birds the same as the original. In the original the base of the basket is not quite on the horizontal.... I wasn't aware of being OCD but this annoys me. I know they did it to accommodate both the birds at the top but it is like a painting hanging askew.

It seems the colour varies according to the camera.....

Lis kindly gave permission for me to use her image from the Bowes museum where you can see the complete panel.  Click on her name to see her other photos.

You can see my fabric, back at the top, has a different treatment framing the basket of flowers.

This is based on 1¼" x 11 and 75°
 The same but twisted a little.

 1" X 11 at 70°

1" X 11 at 75°

 1 1/8" x 11 at 70°

1 1/8" x 11 at 75°

I am going with the 70° with a 1 1/8th base.

Then came designing the layout. It seems the Austen sisters (if it were them who made it) Joined the sashing in many different ways.


I quite fancied doing it like this until I realised how many partial seams would be involved.


I am fairly sure this will be the way I shall piece mine. You can see how those little diamonds at the bottom and the sides have to be a third the edge and vertical length of the bigger diamonds and why the bigger central square has to be divisible by eleven to fit the sashing which also has to fit the tiny diamonds at the edges.

Had you realised that the larger and tiny diamonds are mirrors imaged both side to side and top to bottom? I think I will go the extra mile to mirror image in the centre section, but the outer border, probably not. 

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

I forgot to say

Peony Ring won runner up for Best in Show at Quilts UK back in May. Happy Dancing.


 I went through another episode of having workmen in the house when we had our en suite shower room remodelled. You know how magazines show bathrooms, with no shampoo, body wash or conditioner in the shower? In real life no bathroom is like that, so here it is in all its normal use.

I have managed to get rid of most of the clutter since this photo was taken but not all of it.

Next month all the windows and doors will be replaced except for the front door. I am looking forward to having a draft free home come the winter but not perhaps another episode of workmen......

Then there is the saga of the sitting room.  After living here five years we thought back in April it was time to decorate and actually use the room.... It had an exceptionally ugly fireplace which would not be too big a deal to replace, were it not for the fact the hearth went right round the chimney breast and that would mean replacing the oak floor..... So we thought we would try painting the bricks whilst we got the rest of the room painted. That involved having someone in our space too.....  These guys are all OK but they're in my space.....  Anyway, it was done and painting the fireplace worked and the room looked fresher for a coat of paint. There was just a slight smell of paint so I opened all the windows and did the same the following day.

Wouldn't you know it? A tom cat got in and sprayed. The room stank. Really stank. We removed everything except the sofa frames from the room and placed it all in the hallway. None of the stuff in the hall smelt so that meant it had either sprayed the sofa frames or the walls. I bought a UV torch and went slowly round the room. The only things which showed up on it were a few tiny spots on the backs and the sides of the sofas and the white polyester thread used to hem the curtains (drapes). At this point, I got some kids in who could crawl around and find the smell offering sweets to whoever located the source. They got some sweets anyway.

 I had left the very small windows open to let some air in hoping the smell would fade. It didn't. My only chance now was to get a professional upholstery cleaner in to try and remove the smell from those tiny dots on the backs of the sofas. For 24 hours or so the smell disappeared. And then came back again....  There was nothing for it but to get rid of the sofas. I offered one to my handyman as he has a barn. I thought if he left it in there until Christmas the smell would surely have gone by then. He said if his wife liked it, they would try that, but if she didn't he would burn it. Another month went by and the room still smelt of tom cat.

So I offered our beautiful antique sofa to anyone on the village Facebook Group with a barn to store it in until the smell disappeared. One person took it and very delighted. We had spent a fortune getting it reupholstered. But what could we do?

Then a few weeks ago I saw an article saying the brand of paint we used had a preservative removed and thousands of people had been affected. It was the paint!!!!! I had searched online for paint smelling and the brand we used was recommended as the go to paint for its low smell...... People had ripped out carpets, moved children out of rooms, lost rent on rental properties.... so many people affected. They have offered to replace the paint, supply some primer which will seal in the layer with the smelly paint and pay someone to repaint it. That really doesn't cover it at all. As I write, I still have a smelly sitting room with two replacement sofas in it...... grrrr

Millie and Rupert are doing well. Rupert is just starting to calm down a little, not a lot but a little. Having two is definitely a good thing. 


And they adore Fliss.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Post 5 today, my own news.

 Frank's Quilt got a Judge's Choice at the National Quilt Show back in June.

It was designed by Di Ford Hall and released as a block every other month by Quiltmania. It kept me sane making a quilt whilst Frank lay at my feet slowly fading away over 7 months. I didn't have to make any decisions about it, most was done by hand. I made a few changes but not many and nothing which changed the overall impression of the original.

Back at the Festival of quilts over the weekend, I added to my stash. Of course, I did.

I bought this glazed one from Sallieed who sells on Instagram and in Bristol.  She said it was 1930s. How different our 1930s fabrics are from American feedsacks.
 I have been looking for fabrics to put into a Jane Austen quilt, they don't have to be exact reproductions of the era, but should vaguely represent the colours and hopefully the styles. The colours are more important.



 These ones below are not for the Jane Austin but I thought they would do well in some future quilt and they were a bargain.....
 Back to possible candidates for the Austen quilt.
 This last one is a fabric I had been searching for. I was told only 2 bolts made it into the UK, there were just over 6 metres left and I grabbed them.

Yet again, Blogger is not letting me add any more photos so I'll just let you know the dogs and cats are very happy. 

Post Four of the day.

 This little quilt knocked me out. Unfortunately, you cannot enter an antique work as your Viewer's Choice vote.  This quilt measures 24 inches across.
 I'll post the photos in order of distance away from it.







 It was hard to get photos as it is behind glass. That 1½" is amazing. Looking close up, I thought it was pieced from ribbons but I don't know.

It makes the modern one in my previous post seem enormous.


The following photos are all the same quilt. I am not normally a fan of bling on quilts, but in this case it really did add to the effect. For some reason, the close ups beached out the gold background colour.
 Just noticed, I got Fliss in this photo :-)