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Chasing my tail and swearing at my Bernina

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

I can’t believe how long it is since I last blogged…the time has run away with me again. I’ve had lots of good intentions, but somehow they have come to nothing or at best not very much at all…..

Of course ten days in bed will throw the best organized of us out of the window. When I went back for a check up a week after I had staggered back to work, the part-time doctor (who lives down the road) and who I would classify as a very sound young woman informed me that what I had actually experienced was asthmatic bronchitis, no doubt precipitated by the beta blockers that I take to (very effectively) control my migraines. Had my GP given me an inhaler I would have been a whole lot better off. This is somewhat concerning because a) it’s likely to happen again and b) I actually asked my GP if there could be a link and he pooh-poohed the suggestion. One more reason to look for a new doctor (he’s a very nice man but is definitely past his use by date and should retire…..)

Anyway, since then I have been rushing around like a scalded cat trying to catch up at work and at home. This wasn’t made easier by a business trip to the UK, which was combined with a trip to visit my mother. The latter made me realize that it is really time to sort out some form of assisted living (she’s almost 88 and lives alone, no relatives in the country and more worryingly, no friends popping in and out. Actually no friends at all). The current situation just will not do. Next problem: how to convince her…although I think some progress has been made. This is helped by the fact that the facility I am looking at has flats which are both nicer than the house she is living in now, and are also in a better area.

So I guess more trips to England are on the cards…not to mention a huge house clearance logistical exercise. My mother hasn’t thrown anything away in the last 40 years….we were actually fighting over catalogues from the 80′s and 90′s which she didn’t want to throw away because she keeps them for reference….

Enough…onwards and upwards….that is a project for 2015. I’m not getting in a tizzy about it quite yet.

Which brings me on to my next point (and all the bad language).

You remember that a couple of years ago I lashed out in a moment of madness and extravagance (and to put it mildly, extreme stupidity) and bought myself a Bernina 820 – the machine to fulfill every quilters dreams…

Except that it is the most dreadful load of scrap iron in the history of the universe. This machine should be able to do anything. In fact if it has a good day it is really very nice and with its favorite threads it is a dream to do machine quilting with.

Today however I am spitting blood (and using rude words). I’m quilting my second Stitch Tease quilt. Well, actually I will rephrase that and say that I’m unpicking, re-threading, reading the (useless) manual, searching the (useless) help sites…and getting nowhere fast.

How is it possible to half quilt a quilt with no problems and then the machine decides it doesn’t like the thread, the needle, the tension? It is SO infuriating – I can’t possible change the quilting thread when I’m two thirds done and the dratted thing WILL NOT CO-OPERATE. I have cleaned it, cajoled it, stroked it, rethreaded…you name it…and the dratted thing won’t work. I can sew for 3 inches and then the thread breaks…..

And the wretched machine is attached to it’s special table, weighs the same as half an elephant and I can’t get it looked at before Christmas…..AAAARRRRGGGHHHHH!

And I so wanted to get this quilt done this year so that for once my fabric use would have been more than what I’ve bought this year.

It seems it was not to be.

Send positive vibes.

I may throw this machine out of the window.

WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T BUY YOURSELF ONE FOR CHRISTMAS!

Helen

There’s always a silver lining……

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

This week has been a bit grim. I’ve basically been in bed feeling lousy and battling bronchitis – that was a new one on me and it rather knocked me for six. To those of you who suffer regularly, or even occasionally with bronchitis, my condolences – it’s really not a nice experience. Anyway this week was one of this weeks where there was nothing for it but to take to my bed and stay there and let myself be driven to the doctor’s by my husband (who must have been concerned to have taken the morning off work), sleep, drink tea, try hard to breathe….

It was also the perfect time to prop myself up and watch small doses of the boxed sets that I never had time to watch before. So this week was ‘The Killing’ in Danish (please don’t tell me who did it, I still have a good long way to go!) accompanied by a little sporadic sock knitting, but of a very plain vanilla nature because I had to be able to knit without looking so I could read the sub-titles (my Danish not being up to much – although I can pick out the odd word or phrase that is closely related to German). That was the nicest part of being sick and just being quiet and cosy at home with Pablo the cat curled up at the bottom of the bed.

I had rather forgotten how nice just being at home is. Since I went back to work my life has been at fever pitch and my days off are generally pretty planned out with appointments, jobs and seeing friends, so doing nothing has been very nice indeed. It would have been nicer if I hadn’t felt lousy of course, but then you never get everything in life, do you?

I had also been meaning to show you this for a while…… (apologies for the darkness of the photo – we have descended into the foggy November gloom where sunshine and good daylight are hard to find)….

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This is my the finished quilt from my first ever bee – Stitch Tease. I put the final stitches into the binding at the weekend. It’s taken years to finish. I really don’t know why – dithering over a border is up there, but finished it now is and I’m really happy with it. It’s so full of memories and friendships. Stitch Tease is a wonderful bee – still going, but sadly without me – and I made some lovely friendships and have met almost everybody who was involved in it from the start – Di and Di and Annabella and Susan and Katy and Hadley. I never did meet Danny, but maybe one day our paths will cross!

So that’s it then, back to the socks…or perhaps I’ll just have a little nap.

Life is good between the coughing!

Helen

 

 

 

 

Spinning Card Trick Star (batik haters close your eyes)

Saturday, November 1st, 2014


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My trip To Morzine at the beginning of the month really got me back on track – in lots of ways – sewing, sorting out some health issues, putting my head back in the right place…in short, I think my priorities have been shaken out and are much more where they should be again. Life is good. There are never enough hours in the day, but those that there are are good hours and I’m on the right path again.

Last weekend I finished up the Spinning Card Trick Star runner that I started in France. Not a big project – infact much smaller than I usually make – but it was fun to get it done and put to use. This was a tricky project in some ways. Elita started us off making the stars with Y seams to insert the hexagons. Either I’m just rubbish at them or there was too little flexibility in the batiks I was using to turn the corner on those little horrors and I couldn’t get them to work and sit properly. I rebelled and changed the construction method so that I could avoid the Y seams altogether and made strips that I could then sew together in straight lines (Sorry Elita).

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I’m very happy with the end effect (and that it’s FINISHED!)

Next I’m tackling the other 4 unfinished quilts that have been sitting by my desk since forever. I put a border on my first Stitch Tease top yesterday and hope to get that basted today if the gods are with me (and the family leave me alone to get on with it). Maybe by tomorrow I’ll have something to show.

Aaaaah. Feels good….

Helen

Perfect Peaks

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

How about spending the weekend looking at this view…

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or this one…

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Even better, how about spending a weekend looking at those views, with a group of wonderful ladies, quilting, eating fabulous food, sitting in a hot tub and getting probably the best massage ever….

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The classes offered were great – thank you Elita, Gina and Karen. Quite often at retreats I end up a little disappointed with the classes – but not this time – they were interesting, quirky and challenging enough but not too much (we won’t talk about the ‘y’ seams!).

There was also time to work on some of my old projects at my own pace and just to chat and relax and get away from oh too hectic normal life.

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Sounds like heaven? Well it certainly got pretty close.

Peaks 6 in the French ski resort of Morzine run by the lovely Elita from Geneva (aka busy needle.ch).

It’s only now I’m home again that I realize how much I needed that weekend. It gave me my sewing mojo back and I haven’t blogged all week because I’ve been busy sewing in the evenings!

Thank you ladies!

You did me the world of good and I’ll certainly be back in the spring!

Helen

 

Sewing

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

Sewing has been done. It is heavenly.

So here’s a little Liberty bliss.

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I’m really starting to feel like the old me again…

I might even get to blog a bit more often!

Helen