This time last year Mr M and I were having a glorious time touring Tennessee, tasting whiskey in a dry county, listening to great music and generally having a fabulous time. And fabric, yes fabric was bought from the lovely Anna Maria Horner who lives in Nashville and dropped my parcel off to the hotel where we were staying.
(Incidentally I hadn't heard of Nashville the TV program then and, sadly I didn't buy any boots either. Sigh)
Anyway, Nashville + fabric = quilt.
All fabric is Anna Maria Horner fabric, and while the centre star was carefully constructed and the different pattern carefully placed the border is kind of random. I cut strips and started sewing them around and around the big centre block. I did keep them in the same sequence and I'd like to think that made a little difference.
It's about 70" by 70". Odd size but it'll make a very warm sofa quilt.
I booked a doctor appt at the wrong address so had to drive across town and walk... which lead me past a new to me charity shop... which lead me to this:
A complete 6 seating set!
6 dinner plates, 6 bowls (bit small, but hey, too many carbs are bad for you), 6 side plates and 6 mugs
with saucers. Because we are posh like that, dahhhling!
Aren't just perfect for Autumn.? Yes, of course I always match my crockery to the season... ahem... not...
According to the Arabia's website this pattern 'OTSO' was manufactured between 1971 and 1985. I'm very relieved it's not old (I'm older, therefore it's definitively not old), I can use the lot without holding my breath everytime I pick something up.
Well, that's it really, another pair of socks to add to a drawer full of other socks.
For me. Because the men in my life have feet that are way too long and it gets kind of boring. (A part from No 3, but if I did knit him a pair it would be considerate favouritism and that must be avoided at all cost - especially after the "you gave him an egg yellower than mine" incident.... oh noooo, mustn't go there).
Also, I treat my handknitted socks with love and care. I don't go out in the garden without shoes to play football. Or rugby.
Therefore I have a lot of handknitted socks.
Usual pattern, short row heels, I matched the pattern more or less...
Regia Yarn 'BlitzColor' 02526. 2.5mm needles.
Boring as they may be... it was a very satisfying little project.
Oh, also, I've made the first soup of Autumn. Carrots, squash and leeks because that is what was left at the bottome of the fridge. Very tasty.
I am not going to to do a tutorial for this. Seriously, there are soooo many out there that it would be ridiculous and then you'd hate me and never come here again and then I'll be sad and lonely and it's not worth doing that over a door wreath. Right?
I've been wanting one for years but a) they're normally very expensive and b) my hydrangea produces about 1 1/2 flower heads per season so that's not the route to go either. When I saw big bunches for sale in the local supermarket I knew it was now or never. I bought three and they were not terribly cheap but were still much less than a ready made one from the posh garden centre. Much. (I promise, Mr M!)
Then I bought a cheap 'twiney' (technical word, stay with me if you can) ring and some 'bendy' (see previous brackets) wire sticks from Hobbycraft.
And then I improvised, cutting the heads and leaving a short stem only and arranging them all around the ring....and it all worked out in the end, because let's face it... it usually does.
Especially when you work with such pretty things like hydrangeas!
(I have high hopes that it will last a while... our front door is sheltered both from sun and rain so fingers crossed).
Imagine my surprise when I arrive at my sister's house and spot, hanging neatly from her AGA, this tea towel
I first learned to crochet when in primary school, it was a convent school, all girls... the nuns were kin on this sort of things; I have a feeling that my first project was a very crooked grey scarf my grandad never wore... then there was the never finished black mohair shawl for mum... and then there were two tea-towels.
Mum swore she would never use and that she'd keep them for me 'when I got older', she said. 'For when you have a house of your own', she promised.
Pants on fire.
How on earth did this appear in my sister's kitchen? MY SISTER'S. It's mine. MINE!
I distinctly remember making them, choosing the purple cotton and learning the stitches... ok it's not perfect but give me a break, I was ten. We had school in the afternoon and after doing our homework we could read or crochet. I think. It was a long time ago. Ahem.
But now I'm worried about the other one - the purple was darker and the lace taller. Is it gone too? Is my dad using it when it changes oil to the car? Actually I don't think my dad ever changed oil to a car. I don't even know how to check the oil? Do you know how to check the oil? Hey, I don't even know how to put water in my windscreen squirters and am currently relying on rain to clean my car windows. Yeah, ok, let's keep that between us.
Tea towel, yes, the second one. Where is it? Why isn't it with me?
Note to self: ask mum about the whereabouts of the second tea towel.
First a rainy half, an indoor half, a half with a little crochet and two back to back episodes of 'Nashville" because if we all need an addiction, let country music and cheesy story lines be mine. (Hangs her head in shame) (Are you still me friends?) (And what if I get myself a pair of cowboy boots? a step too far?)
Then a sunny half, a half where No 3 and I walked the dog and collected early conkers, a half where he cycled and climbed trees and I cleaned after the dog (how can a dog so small.... do so much...).
You can see his foot in this last picture, top right hand corner. It's as much as I'm allowed to show of him. Copyright infringment apparently... I have tried to explain to him that I made him therefore I own his copyright but he wont' have any of it.
I'm not going to moan about the weather because if you're in England... you know exactly what I'm talking about and if you're not... you probably won't care, so let's skip the subject.
Busy. We've been busy in a non-definable way. E. our Spanish friend is with us for a couple of weeks so we've been trying to entertain him, a little walk here, a day skateboarding down a mountain, an afternoon climbing up a wall (and I'm not talking me doing that metaphorically), a rugby match, a day in London.
(No 1 holds the world land speed record for that exhibition... I think it took him 45 seconds from entrance to exit. Mr M and I absolutely loved it, I'm so glad we went. Monsieur Matisse was a genius)
And then there's the endless washing/drying cycle, the eating (do you have any idea of the amount of food that four boys can ingest? not for the fain hearted), the school uniform, the sewing of a thousand labels.
Right now I'm sitting at the kitchen table with an almost empty cup of coffee and the list of the day; it's not pretty, not everything will get done but you know... I'm ok with that. The boys are still asleep, the dog is grumbling at a squirrel on the lawn. I think it's ok to try to keep it slow for at least another week, before the early starts, before the homework, before the driving here and there, the rugby/hockey/tennis/football training saps us all.
I have a half-finished quilt on the wall, a pair of socks 1 1/2" short of being finished and a broken dishwasher; ok this last one is not such a great event, but a part of from it... life is good.
Ok, one more thing about the Festival of Quilts... the exhibitions are always fantastic. A couple of years ago I discovered and fell in love with Yoshiko Jinzenji's quilts, this year I fell for Ann Johnston's work instead.
This collection is called: Quilts from the Sierra Nevada.
I would have loved any of them... so impactful, so deceptively simple.
Ann dyed the fabric herself using low-water immersion dyeing... which is a tecnique I wasn't familiar at all with but sounds... very intriguing. (As if I need something else on my list of things to do/try/finish/start/etc.etc.)
And the quilting is just perfect. Not a stitch out of place.
You have no idea how relieved I am because it was full of my favourite clothes and for a while I was told it was lost... yup... lost, vanished, gone, disappeared, nobody knew where it was... scary I tell you.
I cried. Which made me feel double upset, first because my stuff was lost and second because seriously... crying over clothes it's not exactly... edifying or morally outstanding behaviour.
Anyway, it was in the end found labeless in the lost property depo at Charles de Gaulle and shipped to me ten days later.
And now I have downloaded all the photos taken at the Festival of Quilts and can bore you to death!
Actually, you'll be greatly relieved to know that I didn't take many photos, just what caught my eye... and as usual I'm hopeless at noting down names so if you spot something you know, or some inaccuracies please let me know, I'll be grateful not offended!
I walked the floor with Ali and in all honesty we were rather busy putting the world to right...
Here goesa smidgen of traditional quilts:
and a more modern take...
(Helen Howes, "homeless")
and some more abstract...
(Cherry Vermon-Harcourt, "Coastal Study 1")
(Judith Mundwiler, "tea time in the morning mist")
This is normally the time during the British quilting season when I show you pictures of the Festival of Quilt.
I did go AND I took some photos (not many... I will explain in due course) but... the cable for my camera is in my suitcase.
And my suitcase is not here.
You see... the day I left my parents' I was very organised, I walked around the house checking under beds and under sofas for stray socks and ipad chargers, and then totally omitted to count how many suitcases got loaded into the car.
Very weird state of affairs. An extremely limited selection of underwear, no sandals and very little summer clothes - which is largely irrelevant given the metereological condition the tail end of hurrican Bertha has given us recently.
Oh and no camera cable.
So instead of beautiful quilts I give you a rare picture of No 3 apparently turning 9; something I'm not prepare to discuss or even acknowledge for that matter. I'll move swiftly on. Seriously, how can he be nine when I just brought him home from hospital? Geesh...
And because I feel in a generous mood I'll also share the latest collection of lost items
Ah... children... (yeah, because of course 44yr old women NEVER leave anything behind... ahem ahem.. on this note... good night!)
Tuscany was lovely as usual even if the weather didn't cooperate this time.
(the rain did bring mushrooms though... oh soooo nice)
Whilst I was away Tess (from Driftwood) started a conversation about writing and now that I'm back I can finally answer some of her questions...
What am I working on?
Right now my aim is to de-clutter. I have this vision of beginning September and the new school year with a tidy house and streamlined studio... use it or lose it kind of thing. It'll never totally happen... but if I don't start..
What do I write what I do?
I write to remember. To stop time. When I was 8 I started my first diary. It was rubbish and pedestrian and full of self-important thoughts... like all the diaries that came after.... I wish I still had them, but the thing that i like is 'the writing down'. Not re-reading them. Waaaaay to awkward. I leave that to my biographers (ha ha ha)
And it's the same with the blog. It's nice to know that even if the days fly by in a fuzzy blur if I stop and write... it means I have stopped... and I have noticed. And I have proof that something has happened!
How does my writing differ from others in my genre?
...groan... English is not my first language so...bad grammar? the odd spelling mistake? abuse of exclamation marks and full stops? I don't know, I like trying to write like I speak (but with less swearing)... and I'd like to think we're having a conversation (I try not to think I might be talking to myself most of the times. Is there anybody out there?)
How does my writing process work?
...urgh... pro-what? I'd like to say I plan, but I don't really. If I have something to say I try remembering it till I have the time to sit down and write about it. Does that count? Generally I let the photos take the lead, words just hitch a ride with them.
I'm not going to nominate anybody, BUT I'd love to read all about you... so let me know if you feel like answering
I went out anyway... I get cabin feverish very easily, you see...
I strolled through a very wet San Sepolcro and popped into the museo Civico. I can't believe I had never checked it out before! San Sepolcro is the birth place of Piero sella Francesca e some his most famous paintings are here ( like this first one here).
Ok, too many photos... Just one more for the quilters out there...
There's nothing new under the sun, this paintings is almost 500 years old...
My brother hurt his leg. His left one is in plaster from the toes to mid thigh, so mum and I drove to Rome to pick him up from his convent and brought him home. (He's a Franciscan monk).
Convent of San Francesco a Ripa.
( this last statue was made by the sculptur Bernini, the one who did the huge altar in St Peter's church. It's quit unbelievable to grasp it's been carved from one piece of marble. It looks incredibly real... The pose, the expression, the folds of the fabric... Amazing).