Friday, 29 January 2010

Managed to get some sewing done

Yesterday my hand was less painful and I could again hold the fabric to embroider.  I wanted to make some hearts to go on a valentine card for Keith this is the result.
I sewed them on silk that I had dyed some time back and forgotten about.  I put felt underneath then just let my needle to the wandering.  I'm not sure whether I'll put it on a valentine card, I might just make it into a brooch as I like them.

Lorna sent her last card  as a member of the private group based on the Doodles theme.  She has decided to drop in order to concentrate of the projects she is doing this year.   Lorna has again created a background of fibres covered in a sheer  which she then randomly quilted and 'doodled' hand and machine embroidery in the spaces.

Yesterday we crossed the North York Moors again to look at wood lathes.  This time Keith actually bought one and all the way back he kept saying that he wanted to get home and play but I was mean to him and kept making him stop so I could take photos.
I took this one while they were loading the lathe into the car I just love the colours of the wood.
We stopped at Thornton-le-Dale for lunch  and I took these photos of a cottage near the beck.   I love thatched cottages but I'm think the harsh winter has taken its toll on this one.  Up close it looks in need of a bit of tlc as the thatch had a green moss tinge to it and is looking a bit weatherbeaten.

The moors are really damp and brown looking at the moment and the odd spot of snow is still hanging around.   Another photo stop, this time at the Hole of Hocum, supposedly made when a giant picked up a lump of earth to throw at another giant, Finn I believe of the Giant's Causeway in Ireland fame but it was probably something much more mundane.  It's about 7.5 miles all the way round it and quite a hard climb down and back up again.  I know we've done it a couple of times but not yesterday.  The photo isn't very good it doesn't do the 'hole' justice.

Keith and I are feeling our age tonight, we got up at 2:00am to take Sy and Julie to the airport, they are off to Rome for a few days.   Naturally we didn't go to sleep for fear of sleeping in nor could we get back to sleep when we got home as by that time we were wide awake.   Oh for the time when we could stay up dancing all night and still get up feeling fresh for work the next day.   Today we could hardly drum up the energy to take the dog out.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Metal Fences Hurt!!

I decided to take a break from quilting the front of this cushion cover made from my scrap bag.

Buster needed a walk and I needed a break as my neck and shoulders were aching.  I've not done so much quilting for a while.  I'd been testing out some of the patterns on Leah Day's site that I've blogged about before.

Buster was very well behaved but my feet weren't so co-operative.  I slipped on a patch of wet mud and slammed my hand against a metal fence.

Nothing was broken but my hand was painful and very swollen for a few days, now its just colourful but I can put a little pressure on my thumb now without too much difficulty.   The incident though also brought on my asthma and is the reason for my non-blogging over the past few days.  

I am almost back to normal now and will be sewing again later tonight.  

We're off to Snaiton tomorrow (just outside of Scarborough) to look at wood lathes.  I love the ride over the moors and hope to get a couple of photos on the way.   We were there on Monday but it was a damp drizzly day when everything looked wet brown and dull.

Since Bogods (Bernina UK) replaced my new 830 sewing machine just before Christmas everything seems fine but I thought I'd go on the proffered two day training course.  So I'm off next week to London and have booked myself into a hotel near the Barbican.   I'm looking forward to a couple of days just for me.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Talking of courses

Keith signed up for a two day workshop on woodturning, something he's been wanting to try for a long time. Now that he has his big shed and time he thought it was time give it a go. The workshop was due to start shortly after we arrived back from Austria but snow put paid to that. Finally on Thursday the big day arrived. Here are a couple of photos his tutor took while Keith was engrossed in practising what he'd been taught. He rang me a lunchtime to say he'd enjoyed himself but so far the only thing he'd made was a large pile of wood chippings. Good job the tutor has a woodburner in the workshop.

At the end of the day he was the proud owner of two pieces of wood with different curves and grooves and a candlestick. Tomorrow (Sunday) is the second day of the course and he's planning to make a pen and a bowl. He's really enjoying himself and I get some time to play too.
I keep looking at the big box of scraps I have and am determined to do something with them, what I haven't decided but tomorrow while Keith is at his woodturning course would be a good day for me to make a mess too.

We thought we'd go out for the day today and take photos for our homework but its raining hard with some snow in the rain. Not sure you are supposed to take cameras out in the rain. Buster came with us but solidly refused to get out preferring to stay in the warmth of the car. Not a stupid dog after all.

Friday, 15 January 2010

I've not been entirely idle

I thought I'd start the year with a new cushion cover and having got Carol Taylor's "Art Quilt Design" dvd for Christmas it seemed a good idea to have a go at Carol's technique. She creates the background cloth by bonding fabrics (different weights of fabric) onto a calico/muslin ground. That's okay I thought, I have lots of bits of sheers, velvets, silks, furnishing fabrics etc I'll have a go. Nope... I had lots of fabrics but not enough of anything to create a piece big enough for the cushion I had in mind. What I did find lurking though was a pack of dupion silks in various shades. Carol cuts out the squares and rectangles and throws them effortlessly into a homogenous whole - me, well it looked like the dogs dinner. In the end I did end up with something fairly useful. Next step is to couch yarn round the shapes the couch more yarn on top of the whole thing in circles. Time to try out my new number 43 foot for the Bernina. It worked a treat on the outlining but circles I found more difficult. This is a bit of the larger 26" square I made. By the time I'd got this far (it takes far more time than you realise) I'd had second thoughts about the circles. In fact about the whole cushion thing. What was I doing even contemplating putting couched yarn on something that would get pawed by the dog and thrown on the floor by the men of the house. I must be nuts. Now what was I going to do with it?

Not a problem, I turned some of into my January 'Doodle' theme postcards. I call them "Not Quite Crazy Doodles"

Don't know about you but when I doodle on paper I have a tendancy to create shapes, squares, circles, triangles etc and fill them and their edges with pattern. I rarely doodle faces or houses mine tend to be floral or geometric patterns. I really enjoyed doodling with threads to create these cards. So much so that I shall make my January Journal Page for the Contemporary Quilt 2010 challenge this way and use up a bit more of my 'cushion cover'.

My postman brought me cards with the same 'doodle' theme from Doreen, Jennifer, Chris and Cindy.

These are Cindy and Jennifers cards, they have created zendoodles.

Whilst Jennifer and Doreen have doodled with machine embroidery.

Last month's theme was 'Poem" and I was unable to show Lorna's card as it arriving after I'dleft for Austria. The Owl is a wonderful bright pink and her background is of threads under a layer of sheer then quilted. It looks much nicer in the flesh.

I'm sure many of you will have made resolutions but this year I've not done so. I only last a few weeks anyway before I break them. What I have done though is challenge myself to get to know some of the software I have on my pc better. I've had Electric Quilt for quite some time and upgraded last year to version 6 but have done very little with it. To this end I've enrolled on two courses with the Quilt University. My second challenge is to get to grips with Photoshop. I'm not too bad with Paintshop Pro and its a good jumping off point for Photoshop. However I'm slower with it and instead of working my way through the difficulties I go back to Paintshop. Last, but not least, Keith and I have enrolled in a digital photography course at the local Art Centre. We have to do our homework before Monday night - take 20 to 30 photos changing the f (focal length), make a note of the changes then take them in to show the tutor. So far I've taken 3. Tomorrow we're going out for the day to do our homework.

Over on Julie's blog she's having a give away for her 600th post. I love the work she is doing at the moment and one of her quilts has been used in the advertisement for the Northern Needlework show later this yhear. Head over to her blog and have a look.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

New Year in the Alps

We set off for Austria on the 29th in full sun and thick snow expecting to find Austria looking similar. Wrong it was very green although it was sunny. There was snow on the mountain peaks but everywhere else was green although the mist rising from the valley below obscured a lot of the mountains.

On New Years Eve just as the festivities began, it started to snow. We all went outside to watch it come down, as though we'd not seen snow for a decade. At the stroke of midnight the Austrians in the valley set of fireworks and the sound reverberated and echoed round the valley. New Years Day we awoke to a white world and our drivers were a bit concerned that our coach would need snow shoes to take us down the mountainside to Salzburg. However the roads had been cleared and we managed to get to Salzburg without trouble.

In the Mozart Plaza there was a small ice rink where the children were really enjoying themselves. I would have loved to have had a go with the penquin but think I might have needed several to keep me upright.

Just round the corner from the Mozart Plaza you can see the HohenSalzburg Fortress standing on top of the hillside overlooking the town. Its the largest fortress in Europe and houses a small town inside its walls.
It is quite a climb to the top of the Fortress ramparts and by the time I got there my poor old lungs were protesting loudly. But the view over Salzburg was spectacular.
Back in the town we had hot chocolate and very rich cream cakes in one of the many small cafes in the lanes leading off the main square. Under one of the arches in the square were a quartet of blind musicians. I did take a small video so you could hear them but when I played it back I have a small child wandering backwards and forwards in front of the camera, very annoying so maybe I'll do better next time. (the man standing is hiding the 4th player)
We spent half a day in Mayrhofen in the Ziller valley and thought we'd take a ride in a gondola to the top of the ski run. We weren't sure where the cable car started from but several skiiers seemed to be going in the same direction so we thought we'd follow them. Instead of getting to the cable car we found oursellves in back street where we realised too late that they were taking their skis back. to the rental shop!! By the time we did find the lift it was too late to make the trip.
We've not been to Innsbruck before so we were looking forward to the visit but it was freezing cold and snowy a bit uncomfortable to be outside for long. We couldn't go to the Olympic Ski Jump either (although it dominated the town) because a competition was being held and all the roads had been closed to traffic. Incidentally when you stand at the top of the ski jump ready for the off directly below you is a cemetry!!
Because it was so cold we spent a lot of time indoors. This ceiling on the Dom is actually flat but is so skillfully painted that it gives the impression of being domed. I haven't done the colours justice they were quite vibrant even if there was alot of brown.In the old quarter of Innsbruck there are several 13th and 15th century houses that had survived the WWII bombing. This one was once the main the residence of Maximillian and the panelling shows him with both his wives (not married to them at the same time just shown at the same time). And with his councellors.

This house on the corner is known locally as the "Wedding Cake" house and you can see why, especially with the pink and white decorations. We spent quite a lot in Swarovski's 15th Century shop where I drooled over the crystal and marvelled at the prices.
They had a small exhibition in the basement this is the Swarovski "Wedding Cake" It was a
bit over the top for my liking and as the basement was quite dark rather difficult to photograph but I think you get a feel of what it was like.

Our journey home started off well with sun on the mountains making them sparkle, very pretty. However by the time we got down out of the mountains we hit blizzards, road works and traffic jams. All in all it took over 15 hours to get to Leige where we stopped overnight. When we got back to the UK we had more snow than Austria!!

I have done some sewing since I got back which I haven't yet photographed so I'll keep them until next blog.