Things have been rather busy over the last week, so this blog post comes to you in bullet-pointed form to streamline my thinking and because linking up all the fragments into a cohesive post may be too arduous a task for the time in which I have to write this.
Over the last week, in no particular order, I have been:
- Spending the evenings teaching myself how to piece hexagons and diamonds by machine, something I've always feared but now feel I've conquered, whilst my husband has read to us from Lauren St John's brilliant The One Dollar Horse - one of my daughter's birthday gifts. I'd initially started using the English paper piecing method to assemble the rows of hexagons and diamonds, but I quickly realised that I don't enjoy piecing larger shapes by hand and it would have taken forever to finish the quilt that I'm already desperate to begin using.
- Ripping up the carpet in our bedroom with the help of my rotary cutter (I'm not sure it's intended for materials quite that heavy-duty, but it did a super job!) after all your suggestions that it would help with my allergies. I'm happy to report that I think it has made something of a difference. After some friends helped us pick a rug one evening, we decided that I should not accessorise the entire house in shades of red and chose to lay something neutral over the boards and plan on getting them properly sanded and stained when funds permit. In the meantime, I've filled in some of the holes beneath my desk with foil as I feel distressed by the idea of losing one of my sewing machine feet or the bobbin case down there. My husband says this makes it look like a rather blingy sort of floor: the equivalent of a golden tooth in a mouth full of natural white.
- We also unearthed this very sweet scrawl in the hearth which had been filled in with concrete - we were so disappointed she hadn't marked down the year though. We have long term plans to remove the concrete, lay something lovely and reinstall a mantle piece from a salvage yard but, for now, I'm quite happy seeing this bit of childish irreverence each morning.
- We have been replacing the broken chests from Ikea which I stored much of my sewing paraphernalia in and which made me sneeze every time I opened the drawers (apparently the exposed chipboard where they'd broken would have contained formaldehyde which is meant to be super-allergenic). I am quite in love with the flame mahogany drawers which we found in a local antiques shop - they smell delicious, don't make me sneeze and will hopefully last longer than three years.
- I have been writing up the bag pattern for the messenger bag mentioned in the last post - thanks to your feedback it will include an option for making it with the Dresden plates. My first sample is being made with Denyse Schmidt's Chicopee corduroy - my daughter adores this and has already claimed it as a weekend bag.
- I have been helping my husband sort through the wonderful entries for the Design a Squeeble competition and picking the winners who will have their Squeeble brought to life in digital form to feature in future apps. We've run this competition twice now and it's always a really happy process to look through them all and to see what the children have written and imagined for their character - neither of us are natural judges though - we both become completely pained by having to reject some of the wonderful drawings to pick out a winner.
- I have been pondering whether to go to the Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace that's running the week after next. Last year I made a bee-line for The Silk Route to gather fabrics for my mother's quilt and I'm tempted by visiting them again. Other draws are the presence of The Village Haberdashery, Sunflower fabrics and Fabrics Galore with their double-stand loveliness, both of whom stock an abundance of Liberty prints. I had been desperately hoping Quilt Mania might make an appearance, but sadly their name is not on the list of exhibitors.
In brief I have been:
- Getting rained on
- Wondering if it's possible to successfully dye leather - I've seen my dream boots, but the colour is less dreamy.
- Enjoying watching my daughter take charge of birthday cakes for both grandmothers' birthdays.
- Admiring my little boy's sudden desire to perfect his handwriting and working through this simple book together.
- Finishing Parade's End on iPlayer - it wasn't the best of series, but was worth watching just because it was so beautifully shot.
- Putting away my summer clothes and enjoying reacquainting myself with old winter favourites.
- Generally getting things done. The shiny-new-pencil-case feeling which eluded me in September has made a welcome guest appearance for October.
- Finally, I am swooning over the range of boiled wools which Dorte has recently got in at Dragonfly Fabrics. There's a stunning range of colours (including many shades of blue!). They would be perfect for a winter jacket, perhaps something like this one which I made a few years ago.