Sunday, April 27, 2008

Family Tree Quilt

There are just some projects that you have such great hopes for - that end result is just a tad disappointing. I really wanted this to be something super special and while I know that the finished project will be much appreciated .... it just didn't make the 'A' grade for me. I'm trying to apologize less - so that is all I will say and I will talk about how this project came to be.

I was reading an old craft book that I borrowed from my mother last Christmas ... and in it I found a pattern for an embroidered family tree.
Not being that talented at embroidery and thinking that using Bernie would be far quicker and easier - I set about changing the design into a quilt pattern. Here is my sketch ...
... I stuck together lots of pieces of paper together to make the pattern for the applique design ...
... and what followed were some rather long days of feeling not very thrilled about the project.

I had chosen to recycle silk ties for the applique - silk ties (because of the pretty woven designs) fray like anything once you cut them into small fiddly pieces. I have vowed not to use a lot of silk ties for a large applique project again. I am also a total beginner at applique and machine quilting and making sure that all the layers were flat without any proper large flat area or table was near impossible. Regardless of my excuses about a large flat area - I need to practice machine quilting ... Bernie did his job ... but his handler was struggling with where to start and how to constantly move the huge amount of fabric through and around him.

So once all the applique was finished and I felt like I had wrecked the quilt further by my bad machine quilting ... I decided that the cream fabric I had selected was a tad dull ... and the family tree trunk was too wide ... and that this kind of project really needs a dry run first and then on your second attempt you can correct all the things you found out didn't work on the first. But isn't every new project like that? And what would I do with the first version of the quilt once the second perfected version was finished? I couldn't throw it away - way too much time, love and sweat went into this.
So lets say what I like about the quilt - because parts of it are quite pretty. Although the silk was hard to work with - the patterns in the fabric are really lovely and when I hung it in the garden to take photos the gold and silver threads really glistened in the sun ...
... I like that we will be able to add names to the tree as folk get married and or have kiddies ...
... there are cute little insects crawling around ...
... and it fits a queen bed perfectly.
So to Elke - who is bestowed this gift - I am sorry it isn't quite what I wanted it to be but it is filled with all the love, effort and thought I could muster. Wishing you a very Happy Birthday xx

Monday, April 21, 2008

Marriage Guidance

Having a bad day with the hubbie? This book has lots of wise advice on how to have a happy marriage. Advice for a Happy Marriage: From Miss Dietz's Third-Grade Class is probably one of my favorite books.
I like to give it to all my friends who are about to get married. Flick through the book and you will find advice such as "you need to kiss once in a while" and of course the most valuable lesson taught in this book ...
... yes you read right - to have a happy marriage you have to get bunnies.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I'm a lucky lady ....

... I have been feeling really fortunate recently ... a warm glow of happiness ... why? Well I just feel really lucky ... lucky for lots of things.

Lucky for being able to craft all day long in the cutest rambling house ever, lucky for having a husband who seems to be going for "husband of the year 2008", lucky for a wonderful puppy who is ever so cute and lucky for having a loving family - both back home in the UK and here in the states. But I got REALLY REALLY lucky when Auntie Chris gave me SO much yarn that I feel overwhelmed with happy knitting thoughts. The yarn is made from her own sheep too - so it makes it an extra special homemade gift! I wasn't sure how to show you all just how much yarn there is ... so I laid it out on our dining room table ...
I want to get knitting right away ... but Castro wants to know what I'm going to make?
His question was a good one - so I took this perfect opportunity to find some inspiration ... (love love love craft books) ... and found the following two books ... my purchasing excuse is that I only have one skein of certain colors in my great haul of fabulous yarn and I don't want to waste any. One Skein: 30 Quick Projects to Knit or Crochet by Leigh Radford and One-Skein Wonders by Judith Durant - these are both filled with great little projects - and I'm still justifying buying yet more craft books - but it is great to be able to use up that odd skein of yarn left over from other knitting projects too.

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