Thursday, 28 October 2010


This is not the greatest photo I have ever taken, in fact I will use the words of DS2 and say it's totally crap BUT it represents a huge breakthrough in my City & Guilds final quilt progress. Without giving too much away, the design inspiration is the fields and fens hence dyeing brown. I have tried immersion techniques but never got a grade of tone that was acceptable for the diploma work. The answer was so simple yet it took me along time to think of it, print dye the fabric which has worked on a small sample. The red spots you can just see are because I didn't mix up the dye fully as I was in too much of a rush.

I had a conversation with Sweetypie about dyeing fabric the other day. When you see my larger pieces so much work has gone into the dyeing/printing of the fabric which is mainly unnoticed. the piecing and quilting is there on display but not the processes of soaking, drying, washing, dyeing often done more than once. So much time, effort and emotion goes into this. I once put on a label that 12 hours of dying time had gone into the fabric before I even applied a needle to it. I'm not moaning as I do love this stage but it can be very time consuming.

Changing the subject totally, yesterday I placed two large orders with well known companies. I needed products ordered for a workshop on the 6th November so you could say urgent. One, Kemtex was fantastic, the parcel arrived this morning so less than 24 hours. They sell dyes and dye chemicals, I use them alot and would really recommend them. If you are a novice there is a man called Stuart who really knows the products and will give out advise. The other company (I'm not going to name and shame although I might if it doesn't arrive before the 6th), took my order and then told me that they were having a stock take and the order wouldn't go out until next week. Not only that but the orders will be sent out in order, no they were unable to tell me how many before mine. It's a shame I like their products but with customer service like that they basically don't deserve the custom!!

Have you heard about improvisational piecing? I had an e-mail from QuiltArts which had me reaching for my stack of Halloween fabric that I have promised DS2 for about three years that would turn into a quilt. I was going to show you some photos but Blogger isn't playing tonight. I'll leave it a few days and then try again.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Mud, mud glorious mud

I had a paperwork day at home today, well that is until a newly ploughed  field attracted my attention! I only have my C&G quilt to complete now. All the design work has been agreed but I still haven't dyed a close enough brown (think earth/mud) for the bottom part. It will have applique over the top but will still be visible. Since completing the bag I have been pondering this for a while and have come up with a cunning plan. I can't share this yet as I haven't run it past my tutor. This is why this, made me excited (sometimes I'm very easy to please)....
and this, it proves just how much texture there is in the soil. The photo's just don't show how it was glistening in the sunlight today.

I finished piecing the half square triangle Golden Wedding quilt two weeks ago so it's a priority to get it quilted and to it's new home. It's not a great photo but it shows progress at least. It will be going to a non-sewing home so I hope to be able to get away with minimal quilting.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Completed Bag

They say pictures speak a thousand words so I'll let mine do the talking. This is the bag I have made for  my 3D assessed item for my City & Guilds Diploma which is finally completed. All fabrics were printed using fabric paint before being pieced and embellished.
Back view

 I love this image with the contrast of the monoprinted, pieced cotton against the trees in the background.
You might have noticed a little update going on with my website and blog, let me know what you think...

Light at the end of the tunnel

Thank you for all your messages of support over this difficult few weeks. A very sensible man did a risk assessment on DS2 and the current journey he has to take to school. As a result of this DS2 now has his own taxi and escort again (after a year of fighting on our part), happy boy, happy mummy, happy everyone. Behaviour is settling down at school and at the end of our dark tunnel we have light!! 

More good news is that I have finished my C&G bag and pieced my half square triangles. I'll share photos in my next post.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Life and chocolate

Well, it has been a long, hard difficult week. Monday morning breakfast time we had no idea of just how the week would pan out nor how terrible things would get. I tend not to make much of DS2's needs on this blog but although ten he has an emotional age of 4. Basically (and I need to be careful how I phrase this) he has been let down by several professionals this week which led to an aggressive outburst resulting in the County Council banning him from home school transport until a meeting on the 11th October. We don't know what will happen after this. Obviously there are details and extremely strong feelings I can't share in case anyone from the Council Council or who is directly involved reads this blog. Because of all the extra pressures no sewing has been done at all, no City and Guilds, nothing. If I have cried on your shoulder this week I want to say thank you, this seems such a small word to say for your support and comfort.

The other word in the title was chocolate, this is essential in times of stress. Rather than eat my bar of chocolate I made it into this -

And the secret ingredient was beetroot, although neither DS's knew about this. This is the recipe I followed.

Chocolate Beetroot Brownies

250g/10oz good, dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), broken into pieces
250g/10oz unsalted butter, cut into cubes, plus more for greasing
250g/10oz caster sugar
3 free-range eggs
150g self-raising flour
250g beetroot, boiled until tender, peeled and grated
1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Grease a baking tin of approximately 20 x 30 x 3cm and line the bottom with baking parchment.
2. Break up the chocolate into pieces, cut the butter into cubes then mix them up a bit in a heatproof bowl. As the oven begins to warm up, put the bowl onto one of the shelves for a few minutes until the chocolate and butter starts to melt. Stir, and put back into the oven for a few more minutes to melt completely.
3. Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a bowl until combined, then beat in the melted chocolate and butter until smooth. Gently fold in the flour then the beetroot – be careful not to overmix or it will make the brownies tough.
4. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth over the top with a spatula. Bake for about 20 minutes. A knife or skewer pushed into the middle should come out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Don't be tempted to overcook them! Remove the tin from the oven and leave on wire rack to cool before cutting into squares.

This recipe was a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe which can be found here.

Off to do some C&G so there should be some proress to report soon.