Thursday, 24 December 2020

Ending and Begining

The 'winter snuggly sofa quilt' as it is now known is finished. The binding went on really well and it is lovely to have the quilt completed so quickly.  Maybe this "quilt it as soon as you finish piecing it" plan might work out?

With that done I could get straight on with the next quilt. Do you remember a mad weekend in October 2019 when I made foundation paper strips of a huge collection of soft homespun-type fabric? (link at bottom because Blogger is being a pain in the rear!)

Those strips have been in and out of their box numerous times over the last year, but finally I knew what they wanted to become and have made much progress from this:

to this:

With the bulk of the piecing (the strip sections) already done, this little top is growing extremely fast. I had thought about another wander at Whinlatter today but changed my mind - when I went out to bring in the just emptied dustbin I realised how much ice there is this morning and to be honest, I do not fancy negotiating the Whinlatter pass road in slippery conditions and I am not in the mood to get thoroughly freezing cold if I do not have to. 

Back to the sewing machine . . . all the while realising how incredibly fortunate I am to be able to hunker down and sew when all over the country we seem to be sliding into a train wreck of previously unimaginable proportions.

Wherever you are, stay safe, stay warm, and stay in touch. πŸ’š πŸ€— πŸ’š 


This might be a link to the homespun strips, it might also be the last post I ever make if I cannot work my way through how Blogger have set up the HTML in their new optimised world 🀬 ☢️ 😫 🀯.  

I had thought over the past months that maybe so many of my favourite bloggers had stopped posting because they were up-to-their-eyeballs in coping with the pandemic, I now wonder if - like me - they are just as frustrated as heck at the difficulty in getting our posts to look how we want, rather than how Blogger want them to be.


Monday, 21 December 2020

Happy New Year

Tentatively . . . toe dipping back into blog world.  Whilst not in line with the Gregorian calendar, for those of a more Pagan persuasian:  Happy New Year.  I marked the occasion by a soggy walk around Whinlatter, my first visit since Daisy's death.

I have kept away from my blog for the past few months for many reasons, a couple of which include the inability to open my mouth at present without getting into a rant about how the pandemic is being handled and lack of desire to fight my way through Blogger's latest design changes. I confess the last 30 minutes dealing with the HTML to get the photos where I want them has not been the best half hour of my day and the refusal of Safari to accept my Blogger sign-in does not help either.  So we shall see, no guarantees expressed or implied, but I am here today.

Life at Bag End has been quiet in the extreme since I tossed my teddy out of the pram back in August.  I have had the occasional day trip in Bill which has been lovely, and spent a good amount of time playing with fabric.  For the first time in eons everything pieced is also quilted and I am aiming to make that my new "rule": as soon as a top is pieced it goes onto the longarm machine before I allow myself to dive into the next flurry of fabric love.  The most recent was something of a bear to wrangle - I used 'proper' old-fashioned brushed cotton which has made the most cuddly, soft and incredibly warm quilt, but the extra bulk from the thickness of the material is not something I am going to repeat in a hurry.  I am looking forward to washing this one because it will improve from being wrinkled up.

Absolutely nothing has happened in the garden, in equal parts because my mood has not been great and I just "can't be ***ed",  and because it started raining in early October and I am not sure it has finished yet - whilst my walk this morning was dry the rain started when I got home and has not stopped since. Experience tells me that this is a normal state of affairs and that come February/March I will be able to garden again.  


We are in Tier 2 as far as pandemic precautions are concerned, and with no family to visit life is relatively unaffected by the newest restrictions.  I took the precaution a couple of weeks of buying all the non-perishable food we might want over the holiday, and am very fortunate to have a full freezer.  Tomorrow I plan go to Sainsbury's first thing for fresh vegetables but with tonight's media already touting the prospect of shortages of fresh items and thereby whipping people up into even more worry than already exists, heaven knows what it will be like.

Decorations are up: our nearest town has a big Christmas Light Switch On each year with lots of charity fund-raising and with that cancelled it was suggested in our village that as many people as possible put decorations outside so that families could have socially distanced "walk arounds".  Apparently more than 130 houses signed up and one or two have put on displays which would rival Blackpool πŸ˜πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸ˜, but these two were particularly nice.

Our own contribution is considerably more restrained and inside looks very much as it usually does.

Aside from that our Christmas is quiet, unassuming, and I will be glad when it is all over.  I hope whatever shape yours takes gives you some joy even though it has to be different from how you might normally spend it.

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Comments are closed

The current generation of pornographic spam has gone far above my tolerance level - during the process of deletion it's impossible not to take in a few of the disgusting words and I refuse to engage with it any more.

This filth serves no purpose therefore as I am not publishing new posts at present comments are closed.  That should stop the miserable little s*ds.

If any real readers want to get in touch I am always delighted to receive messages via the "gadget" on the right-hand side, which still works.

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Summer Holiday

All is well . . .   as well as it can be in a world full of a pandemic whose viral spread is not slowing down anytime soon and whose economic stability is in question.

But in my little world all is well because there is absolutely nothing I can change by worrying, so I am not worrying and if I am not worrying then all is well 😊.

At present we are both robustly healthy, have enough food, and a warm & safe home to shelter us.   If the pandemic does any good it might be to show millions of consumers that enough is just that: enough and more is not necessarily going to make them any happier or safer.

I am busy sewing, and gardening, and reading.  Yes I would like to be away in the campervan but in truth I normally avoid campsites in August and wait until the kids go back to school.  Which is what I am hoping to do this year - assuming come September we're not in lockdown again?  That eventuality is out of my hands so it's one more thing I am not going to worry about.

The other thing I am not going to worry about for a while is updating the blog.  I need a Summer Holiday from sorting photos, processing, publishing and all that blog maintenance entails.

So Au Revior, Addio,  Mar sin leat,  AdiΓ³s,  Hwyl fawr . 
Take care of yourselves and I will see you sometime in the futureπŸ€—

Thursday, 30 July 2020

Another sewing day

I know all this rain keeps the garden lush and growing strongly but bluuuuueeergh.  It feels as if it has rained for nearly all of July and I am cold - even if it's only 2 or 3 logs I should not be lighting the woodburner at suppertime, but I am.  When it is finally dry enough to cut the grass the job will be a hard-work nightmare and Management has already been warned he's going to be involved in helping me.

Another day of simple sewing yesterday.  With a few tweaks I now have my preferred face-mask pattern*  adjusted to fit.  Having already lost the first one I made I know these are going to become like gloves, hats and scarves:  I have "speshul skills" when it comes to misplacing all three, might as well add masks to the list of disappearing accessories.

Back to the scraps now, that is quite enough Grown Up Sewing for one week.

*other patterns are available (thousands of them!).  This works for me:  Dhurata Davies

Wednesday, 29 July 2020


All around there is Covid, or cancer, or economic catastrophe.  Which rather puts a cut finger into perspective, yes?

It is frustrating that I cannot get on with tidying the garden because it's definitely too soon to do anything with my left hand that might risk splitting my little wound, and the weather is wet more than dry so I would find it difficult to do much anyway.  A couple of days ago I saw a blackbird extracting worms from the compost heap and bobbing off to a thick mass of unpruned foliage - whilst there are definitely still babies around hedge-trimming is off the agenda.

Therefore since the weekend my world has been, and continues to be fabric-centred.

Saturday:  I thought I'd play with an idle idea - I love the Trip Around the World quilts but sometimes you can have a little too much of squares.  I wondered how it would turn out if I sewed the strips as usual but cut the sections to make rectangles.  It seemed promising on paper.

Dug around in the 2½" strips box and pulled a few that sort of went together.  Trouble is, I ~always~ forget that these strips are old and I did not cut many of them, so they are not all exactly the same width, makes for some very wonky seams . . .

A bit of cutting up, unpicking and resewing (typical Trip Around the World then!) and I had the beginning of a possibility.  What I did not have, sadly, was any more than one strip of each fabric so the design was unceremoniously truncated.

Rather than waste everything I had done to that point, I added some quick borders with lovely (cheap) old-fashioned calico and the piece ended up a very strangely proportioned 22 x 65";  it is destined to be a practice piece on the longarm and who knows what will happen to it after that?

Unfortunately that did not make any dent in the scrap fabric collection, so I pulled out two boxes from the massive cutting up session last November.  I am pretty certain I sorted all these scraps in order to use them up, not to have them live for years in tubs 🀣   No plan, just the aim of keeping things in colour families and wasting as little as possible.  I sort of have a vague-likely-to-change-18-times idea of where this might go, but for now that does not matter.  It is relaxing and strangely therapeutic to sew without any plan and to know I was finally using some very old bits of the stash.

At present I am done with all of the smallest "crumb" pieces and working through the "strings".  I've also been able to rummage in the 2" strip box when I have needed more of a particular colour, so that's another small dent in the scraps.

Saturday, 25 July 2020

Pesky blackbirds

Those dratted birds - now they have found the Rowan berries there will be nothing left in a couple of weeks.

I deliberately planted a self-seeded Rowan sapling near the sewing room window  because it is my favourite tree and I wanted one as close as possible (sorry about the water on the glass, and it's a dull, damp day so the light is awful).  Proximity to the house does not seem to bother this blackbird:

As he flew away I realised, sadly, that Autumn really is not that far off:

Friday, 24 July 2020

Sick note?

A quiet week - because I did not have any choice in the matter.  Thankfully I seem to be healing fairly well although my finger is still incredibly tender and I cannot put even the slightest (accidental) pressure on the wound.  Hence the very large dressing which might make the injury look far worse than it is, but is really there for protection.  I know 'opposable thumbs' are all the rage when it comes to discussing evolution and the ability of homo sapiens to do things which other creatures cannot but do not ever (ever, ever, ever, ever, ever) under-estimate the importance of an index finger!

So it has been a week of bimbling around, no gardening except for watering the greenhouse and much reading,  But today two of my babies are back from their "spa-week" so today I resolved to do things fabric-related.  It should have been simple:  I would like to use less kitchen paper towel when I am in the campervan so I cut up an old 'dog towel' and wanted to overlock all the edges to make a set of wipe cloths for Bill.

That was not as easy as it should have been - I had "thread issues" which is something [nearly] everyone with an overlocker dreads.  Despite owning the serger for some years I confess to finding the machine something of an unknown quantity.  If I could get my head around exactly how the stitch is made, and what each of the four threads are doing I would find it a whole lot easier to troubleshoot when there are problems.  Much of the day vanished into YouTube land and there was considerable irritation at not finding what I was looking for.  But I fixed it, although that was not particularly satisfying - if I do not know what caused the Lower Looper to go bat-cr*p crazy in the first place I have not learnt how to prevent it happening in future,

At one point I knew exactly how a miserable toddler felt - I was so frustrated with the dratted thing that all I wanted to do was have a hissy fit and some tears, but I resisted the temptation because it would not have solved anything.  A job which should not have taken all day did, and made an unholy mess at the same time.  But now I have a lovely pile of cloths to use in the van, which was always the aim.

The chances of there being gin after supper?


Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Not all doom and gloom

Despite the preponderance of steri-strips and sterile dressings at Bag End, it is not all doom and gloom this week.

Does the accidental arrival of these beautiful poppies in the vegetable patch make it a Potager?

The clematis are fabulous:

Not sure what sort of bee this is, but together with a lovely Small Tortoiseshell butterfly, the buddleia was a busy place.

Monday, 20 July 2020

Autumn 🍁 πŸ˜‰ πŸ‚

My suggestion that the more unruly parts of the garden get an early Autumn sort-out was no idle threat, and one I made a start on yesterday.  The staggered beds near the house were a mess, and nothing more was going to flower or be interesting for the rest of the year, so that's where I started.

The tulips were over months ago, and the self-sown aquilega had finished flowering and was at the tatty stage, so out it all came.  I was rather pleased with myself (which is always a dangerous place to be  . . . . as you will see shortly) and broke the job up differently to how I usually work.  As this area is three individual sections I weeded one part, then added compost, then mulched and had a glorious TA DA of something - however small - being completely finished before I moved onto the next bit.

So one section done, break for a late coffee.  Section two done, oh this is going so well, let's weed section three and stop for a late lunch.

Which is where the wheels did not come completely off but the axle got rather buckled.  A second of inattention whilst slicing some vegetables and my very best knife demonstrated just how well it cuts and nearly removed the top of my left index finger.

I am pretty good at first aid and blood does not bother me.  In the past I have calmly dealt with such injuries as a Stanley knife through someone's hand and a scaffolding pole almost removing a builders' forehead and displaying how pretty the skull is.  But with a tea towel wrapped around my elevated hand and as much pressure as I could apply to try and stop the bleeding it was a little while before I wanted to look at the damage I had done.  Let's just say it is bad enough that in a pre-Covid world I may just have suggested Management take me to A&E for stitches, but I don't fancy that these days so we made do with the nice, sterile contents of a well-stocked first aid kit.  It took six bits of Steri-strip to close the cut whose depth makes it borderline for this treatment - ouch!

When everything had calmed down we went back outside and he helped me finish the last bed.  So happy day - a WHOLE TASK STARTED AND FINISHED IN ONE DAY.  Not often I can say that πŸ˜‰.

The rest of the day was more relaxing, apart from finding all the things which are tricky /painful /impossible without an index finger - try eating your supper and holding a fork properly without your left index . . .

Typing is pretty rubbish as well - you should have seen this before the spellcheck!  There will be no gardening today, I have scheduled a few hours alternating between my book and the pile of photos to be scanned.  I also need to have a think about what to put in these beds long-term . . .