The morning after the day before

September 18, 2020

The start of term is always hard, apparently online doesn’t remove that feature. Today i have been exhausted, I wonder if the longer break actually made it worse. Like not exercising for too long. However, it was great to be back. It is differnt and we are all lewrning new skills, but it works. We have a solid proof of concept now. It is now opening up all manner of new possibilities too. A huge leap but I really think we can do great things. Unfortunately it is sounding more like this was the only way forward with the government agreeing cases are increasing again, but this time we are prepared. We will quilt whatever the world throws at us. I hope by next week I will have my teaching muscles more exercised, and won’t feel quite as wrecked on the Friday.

Half way round up

September 15, 2020

The Monday mystery solo quilt is now in it’s 26th week. So it seemed a good time to give a list of all the parts so far. Remember if you do want to play along you don’t have to do every week or do them in the order they appeared. They were random so anything goes. Just have fun and give your brain something to play with.

  1. Begin with a block of straight sides – one dimension at least 9”
  2. Add 6” to two sides using a sew-cut-sew technique
  3. Add a total of 6” to two adjacent sides with appliqué
  4. Add 5” to two opposite sides using foundation piecing
  5. Add 4” to at least two adjacent sides using pieced triangles
  6. Add 6” to one side by including squares and triangles
  7. Add 4” to two opposite sides by including rectangles
  8. Add 8” to one side incorporating bears paws
  9. Increase overall quilt size by 8” by including a pictorial method
  10. Add 4” to at least two sides incorporating stars
  11. Add a total of 10” to two opposite sides using tradition patchwork techniques
  12. Add a total of 12” to two opposite sides incorporating folded fabric
  13. Add 4” to two opposite sides using modern patchwork techniques
  14. Add 2” to each side by including squares
  15. Add 4” to 2 adjacent sides using curved piecing
  16. Add 5” to two opposite sides using scraps
  17. Add 8” to two opposite sides with no piecing
  18. Increase overall size of quilt by 8” using English Paper Piecing
  19. Add 6”to two opposite sides by including flowers and leaves
  20. Add a total of 12” to two opposite sides using log cabin techniques
  21. Add 4” to two opposite sides cave man style
  22. Add 3” to one side by including flying geese
  23. Add 4” to two opposite sides by including embellishments
  24. Add 4” to two adjacent sides by adding another dimension
  25. Add 6” to two adjacent sides using storm at sea
  26. Add 6” to at least three sides incorporating triangles

Monday mystery solo robin

September 14, 2020

Mondays appear faster and faster. Still we have something to look forward to. I nearly have a dog who can sit and be sociable while I write these now. It has taken six months, which actually isn’t bad. My little chap is now 10 months old, and I suspect will have a quiet first birthday when we get there. In our household he misses going out more than the rest of us. If he realised that is also why he has lunch with both of us each day he would be  more keen, although being young he would probably want both the outings and his people at home. This week I restart regular classes, online not in person. I wasn’t sure i had made the right decision, but with the government tightening restrictions I am now certain. For now this is how we have to be. It will be different but we will cope. The sessions we have done of Tuesdays have really helped me a lot. I am confident we can get back the feel of our classes. I am looking forward to seeing what people are working on.

Out technique for this week is,

Include triangles

I have been looking forward to this one, there are just so many possibilities. Now we need to know how much space we have to play in,

Add 6″ to at least 3 sides of your quilt.

Wow, that’s a fantastic playground. I think I might actually try several techniques in that much space. I love that this one can work with very simple things or get really complex. Half square triangles count, but then so do some mariners compasses. Yup I am really excited and will happily spend a lot of time this week planning things with triangles.

Best laid plans.

September 13, 2020


I really thought that i would finish the quilt on the frame today. I started early and it was going well. Then life and deliveries happened. Just after lunch I decided to admit defeat and not try rushing. Instead I did some work on the dining and games room. The first step was to sort and tidy my thread stocks. I then made a drawer insert to keep them sorted. I didn’t realise that the earlier numbers of masterpiece thread give you a lovely gradation. I currently have the perfect amount of stock, it all fits neatly. I am sure that won’t last once things settle and I will probably need to make another insert but for now this makes my life a bit simpler.


I also made a start on the bookshelves in the dinning room. The arrived Monday but this was the first chance to build them.


I have spent the day on the dinning room. It’s not perfect, and it still has boxes in. It is now usable though and no longer annoys me when I sit in the living room. Without the small technical issue, we could have eight friends over for dinner or games, or I suppose both. Who knows when that will actually be possible, but I am now readyish, should it become possible. I say ish because the chairs don’t match and I am tempted to make a set of chair covers. Not only will it mean I can appear to have 10 matched chairs when I want to, it will also give me a chance to learn how to make them efficiently for when I start teaching in person again. I am sure the cleaning rules will be in place quite some time and the easiest way to clean chairs in rented spaces is covers. I am wondering what I could do with quilting for the home set, sorry but the class ones are likely to be simple so they are easy to launder. I should add not only do I have two sets of chairs that don’t match, I also have a boat shaped conference table as my dining table, it could do with refinishing, but I like it and it keeps your plate off the floor so works just fine for a dining table. It does seem to have shrunk in transit, it filled the room it used to be in, now I have space around it.

For storage I am using IKEA Billy bookcases. Apparently there are more than 60 million Billy bookcases in the world, the BBC says approximate per 100 people. We have far more than our fair share, and will have more at some point. This time I have gone for half height doors and we have the top lights too. I wanted a small tes of the lights before we decide what to use in the library. Yes we have so many books we feel we can call them a library, we still love our dead tree knowledge store. Today I got the first run of storage finished and filled with our board games and jigsaws. I am pretty sure we have more that I haven’t found yet but for now this is a great start.


The boards on the top are stopping cats falling down the gaps by the corner unit. I just know they would without the covering. That won’t be the final solution. When we have time we will make a shaped board to put up there instead. One of the things I found was my jigsaw of my quilt Prometheus. I have been meaning to get more made, would anyone be interested in buying a quilt jigsaw if I did? If so which of my quilts would you like to have as a jigsaw?


September 8, 2020

I don’t go out much. I mean really really not much.  So I am not terribly aware of how things work anymore. I know we need masks, and I am making myself more at the moment, but that’s about it. I know that a lot of places had closed but I was under the impression that most stuff was now open again. Certainly post offices and postal depots I assumed were. Turns out that was a terrible assumption. I needed to post a quilt today so having bought postage online the website tells me the closest place that can accept it is the depot because I want it tracked. That was fine by me. I know the parking is free, no interacting with a ticket machine. They had social distancing last time i was there which was quite some time ago and they always had screen. It sounds a fairly safe drop off to me. What I didn’t allow for is the are barely open.  Today was 8am to 10 am, I arrived at 10.20. Tomorrow they are closed all day. I have my next chance Thursday morning. I am sure there are less people coming to collect packages, but I would think there are more people posting so is it really wise to put all your customers in such a small time slot. I guess I may be wrong and Thursday I can find out.

Monday mystery solo robin

September 7, 2020

A new week again and I am trying something new, blogging with canine assistance. I normally make sure he is away so I can concentrate, but he has made a lot of progress and might be able to sit with me while I work. This is about the same as expecting that of a 6 yr old teenager ( yup odd idea butbthat kinda how dogs work). So let’s see how he does. Can he make it to the end of a fairly short blog post. So far he is clearly loving being a professional dog, I am sure that won’t last. I finally got us some more technique cards written. With the expended scope when I finally publish the decks of cards I will rename them something like design start points, but for consistency I will stick to calling them technique here. Like I said these have evolved and suffered some mission creep, so you sort of have to expect some blips.


The key point is we now have another 20 cards. Some of the ones we haven’t used from the original set are similar to ones we have had but I think we should now make the end of the year with no repetition. Without further ado, today’s technique is,

Storm at sea

Oooh fun, this has been used for one of the old idea reimagined books, and is what prompted me to have it here.  It is an interesting, I would say block group and having grown up by the sea has always put me in mind of the real storm at sea. Ah, that’s the length of professional dog for today. A cat is far too exciting to ignore. Now we need to know how much space we have to play with. Today’s border size is,

Add 6″ to at least two adjacent sides of your quilt.

The cards seem to be on a roll with this adjacent thing atm. Which is fine, and 6″ should give some nice space to play. I am thinking diamonds in rectangles and some waves for this one, maybe a diamond in a diamond in a rectangle. Ooh or try to make the diamonds in rectangles look like waves, that should work and could be fun.

Where to start?

Wednesday was one of those bitty days. You know the ones where the doorbell rings, you go back to what you were doing and the phone rings, rinse and repeat. It’s not productive but some of the calls were great. It’s good to be getting back in touch with students. Some of them I have taught for years and they are rather like extended family. I didn’t get much quilting done but I did manage some paperwork.

Thursday was a bit more to plan. It was of course floors day, but I think I might be getting quicker at that, then on to quilting. I am still working on the one with lots of ruler work, but it is going well and I am really pretty happy with it. Despite losing some time to housework, it is likely to be finished sooner than I expected.

Friday had to be a domestic kinda day. We were out of bread and this seemed to be the last drying day for a while, so laundry had to happen. As I was going to need the oven I tried out apple cake 3. One of the nice things about making bread is it does a lot while you ignore it. By lunchtime we had bread and apple cake and clean clothes and a chicken casserole in the slow cooker.  That last was the important bit, because by lunch time I was all cooked out. So an after noon of sit down sewing preparing bindings finishing curtains and dog training.

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The Apple cake, much like the first two is more apple than cake. Its possibly the least sweet of the three and has a lovely lemon hint to it. The loaf was also an experiment. I managed to get some differnt flours, and thisnis one of them. Itis the best loaf i have made so far. Itis moist and soft and nicely malty. I am hoping i can get more of the flour as I  see me making this quite a lot.

It all gave me time to think about the Monday quilt. I have said before I never expected this system to run so long, but I am pretty happy with how it is doing, even though we may get a few duplicated towards the end. However, I think I will end it after 52 weeks. I have a plan for what comes next though. Something similar yet differnt, and that will make one large quilt over the following year. Oddly enough having time to actually plan something like this makes for a more ordered solution. No I don’t in any way regret starting the Monday mystery solo robin. I am very pleased with it and thrilled that it has done exactly what I hoped  for people. It has shown me that a design problem to think about is indeed helpful, even if people aren’t making it. So the next project will keep that element, but with a twist. That’s all the teasing for now, there will probably be more as we come closer to starting it.

ooops  just seen I failed to publish this, oh well better late than never I guess.

Bank holiday? Who knew?

September 1, 2020

I would love to claim Covid is to blame for me forgetting yesterday was a bank holiday, but I can manage to do that quite well without help. It is a bit more annoying when I has reminded the other half a couple of days before. However he then got to tell me which I am sure he enjoyed. Having worked out I wasn’t obliged to work I considered other things I could should be doing. The dining room curtains seemed to be a good starting point. Sadly the curtain we were gifted is just one about the size to cover a door. So no use at all for a 3m wide window. However I had seen a piece of fabric I thought might work when I had been clearing the room. It was almost 6m and the width I needed for the drop. So curtain making became the project for the day and I got both panels made. Unfortunately I didn’t have the right header tape so that is on order and I will attach it to the curtain panels next weekend. I am very pleased to have had the curtain fabric and the lining on hand. Of course it also means I don’t need to find a place to put away the fabric either. It is a medium weight patterned black velvet. It is a bit lighter than I would have picked for curtains, but I like very heavy curtains. For any normal person it is absolutely fine especially lined.

This morning has also been productive, I have harvested the first of my leeks and grabbed the last of my onions. they became leek and potato soup for lunch, and we have a large jar left for later in the week. I find it absurdly satisfying when I can clean up lots of odds and ends of food. The onions weren’t enough for a full batch, but neither was the cream, and I had the crust of the bread to dip in it. Very tasty and all tidy. Next will be our discussion class then paperwork and this evening early dinner (also leftovers :) and games night. Oh, and I got some quilting done while the soup was cooking this morning. So all in all pretty productive for a day with a lot of not work in.

Monday mystery solo robin

August 31, 2020

Monday has come early, the dog has complained, but I think I might be able to hang out my laundry which would be great. I can’t say I am up and excited for the week, but I am probably ready at least. I think it feels a bit warmer today, although with working heating that is less of an issue. Knowing I will not get cold hands while I quilt is a huge bonus. Cold fingers ansnruler work is a terrible combination.

I suppose we need a technique for the week, still wondering if I should call them design started or something similar as they really aren’t techniques. This year will give me a lot of time to consider the correct name before I start getting decks printed. I am also going to expand this part of the deck. It was designed to make a quilt, now we are using it for a whole year it needs to have some more cards. It does mean I can add this as a suggestion on how to use them though so that is a nice side win. Today’s card is,

Add another dimension

Now that’s an interesting one. It might play well with last week’s or we could go entirely different directions. I think that is very interesting timing. Of course the size or location may change how good I think this is. So our border size is,

Add 4″ to at least two adjacent sides of your quilt

I would have liked wider, I usually would but this will work. I have a few ideas already, I love how open this is and how many differnt approaches I can see. I think for me it won’t tie into last week’s,  but you never know. Don’t forget we do have a class tomorrow to discuss ideas for this part of the design. If you would like to join us please comment below and I will send you a link. The class is free.

That’s all folks

August 30, 2020

Until next weekend at least. I will still be cleaning and sorting next weekend, but I think I have broken the back of it. My stock and class supplies are now all tidy and accessible. They are taking up more of my dining room than is ideal, but it is what I have to work with, so I will cope. It has come out looking quite shop like, sorry to disappoint but no it isn’t a shop you can visit. I do offer video sales, and actually did a virtual shopping session today. We have found that a video call for shopping works much better than just havbijng a web site. I can take fabrics into the daylight. I can put several fabrics and threads together in the same place so you have a better idea how they will work together. It’s not perfect but while I can’t run in person classes it is better than anything else I think. It can also mean a chat and advice session too, just like real bricks and mortar shops. The most important things for me when I was sorting this area was tonnage everything accessible but very densly packed. I have to be able to get to things for customers but I want as much dining room as I can get. To active that I have been through nearly every box of patterns fabrics and samples and worked out how they can be grouped to save as much space as possible. It also let me see everything I have and get rid of any junk. Doing talks and workshops tends to get things muddled and an amazing amount of rubbish gets into my boxes. That is because I try to be compact when I travel, but still show people the range of items appropriate to the event. I would love to say everything is now perfectly organised and all the mixed boxes cleared, but they aren’t. It is considerably better, and I was out of energy after another six hours of cleaning. This is about a third of the room, more or less finished.

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I am thinking about a free standing screen to hide it when we are using the room, I don’t really want my work quite this in my face. The rest of the room is now mostly free of stuff that should live elsewhere. It is mostly still in boxes and will be until I get the storage. I need to measure the window and the curtains we have been given. I am hoping they might fit and if they do then I will look at dying them. They are currently pink, but that can be resolved if they will work. If not I did find a couple of fabrics today that might be nice and I think there was probably enough. I suppose if I get really stuck I will buy some. I would be much happier not to. I HATE buying curtains. It is even worse than buying shoes. Lol, yes I am a failed female, I don’t like buying shoes.

Now I need a nice long bath so I am ready to take on the next working week. Tomorrow we have the next step fp r the Monday quilt. I then want to get more quilting done. I also need to finished clearing boxes from the hallway. I am hoping someone local might like some moving boxes, as our council still hasn’t collectected the recycling from the week before last. I don’t have space for recycling right now and these boxes are pretty good. Once I do that I can get to my desk and catch up on my journal. I feel I have made good progress, but boy I am tired now.