Thursday, February 28, 2008

Help me choose a design

In Bath I bought a jelly roll of fabric. My first one ! I had been tempted for some time, with all these adds I receive everyday from shops in America. I succumbed.

For those who have not yet be confronted with this new temptation, jelly rolls are bands of fabric 2.5" large (6.5cm) by the width of the fabric, they are really easy to use and open up lots of possibilities, as they cut down the preparation time.

I started to make a log cabin quilt, and now wonder which arrangement to choose.

There are 24 blocks, about 10 1/2" unfinished.

I spread the blocks on the floor and took lots of photos, and would like you to vote on your favourite. You can do that easily in the column on the right.

I think this one is called "Sunshine and shadow" (l'ombre et la lumiere).

This display is called "Furrows "( les sillons), all the light and dark follow a diagonal.

I would mix the blocks and colors as in the photo.

I believe this one is called "Strike of lightning"(les eclairs du tonnerre), but of course the photo should be the other way to see it more easily.

This one is called "Barn raising" (construction de grange).

"Triangles", I suppose you could imagine many more names for this one.

"Windmill" (moulin a vent), the name provides a good description, but I wonder if my colors are strong enough to sustain this design.

This is the book I used, called "Log cabin", it is also translated in French. But I cannot seem to find it at the moment, no doubt it will reappear as soon as I have finished this post.

So go on, give me your opinion by voting on the right handside.

I shall make a quillow with my finished quilt, with my patchwork group.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The gentle art of domesticity

This is a book written by Jane Brocket. I quite enjoyed it, and to give you an idea I will copy a bit of her introduction :

"There is a world of difference between domesticity and domestication. This book is about domesticity and the pleasures and joys of the gentle domestic arts of knitting, crochet, baking, stitching, quilting, gardening and homemaking....Domesticity gives us the opportunity to express ourselves...".
She is so positive about all the good things we do in the house, and very relaxed about her techniques. It is quite a big book, not of patterns but more a reflection on the urge to be creating in a domestic environment. She talks about her inspiration, the joy of making things with her children, meeting like minded people from all around the world, the history of all these activities, and lots more.
I think I have read most of it, when I thought I would just have a look through.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The earth is red...

I have finally finished my block for the earth in the Atelier Rouge led by Pascale in France. I still have some more to do.

She has finished her project and presented the results from other participants, you can see them there.

She is also starting another project over the course of one year in embroidery and ribbon embroidery, the explanations will be in French.
She does some lovely designs, and offers some advice. She even managed to get us a discount to buy the silk ribbon necessary.
The project is called "Nature et petits points", nature and small stitches, literally.
I am hoping to do it in time for a change, we will see.

I have ordered the necessary ribbons, but they may take 2 weeks to arrive. Am I late already ?

Friday, February 22, 2008

My present from Ruth

As I sent a present for Ruth (the embroidery pouch), I also received one last week. I have been a bit busy with the school holidays, and not written much, but here is what it looks like. I am very lucky indeed.

There are some stamps, some very nice ribbons, and some fabric pumpkins or flowers. Ruth suggested that I sewed them on a pin to make a corsage (une broche).

In the background are two pillow cases with the words "Doux reves" and "Chut je dors" stamped on them. It was my husband who pointed to me that they were hand printed. Such a nice attention.

Look at the green color in the back, it comes from the last thing I mention in this blog, but i can't get the color on close up photos.

There were also some very nice postcards, that make you want to go and visit Jerusalem, where Ruth lives. It is such an important place in the history of humanity that I hope to be able to go and visit some time.

And some little treats, but I cannot tell you their names as they are written in hebrew.

She also made a butterfly in mosaic, and offered me a bracelet in shells with some home fragrance. She seems to be so talented.

And then there are some spices to use with fromage frais, salads or Houmous. I have to try them, the smell is quite strong from the packet.

But wait for the best of all, she embroidered a table top (une nappe). It is about 2metres square, the fabric is green and she painted and embroidered some lilac flowers and leaves.

The photo doesn't give it justice, the colors don't appear as nice as in reality. I have just been out in the garden to try to get a better light, but it doesn't work, nor does my daylight lamp bring the color out. I need some sun but it is not on for today.

This last photo is the best I can do. The petals are painted and the hearts of the flowers are made from french knots. The leaves are made with some stem stitches.

Ruth is hoping to have a blog soon, I'll tell you when this happens.

Thank you again for a very nice present.

In the meantime if somebody has some tips to get better photos, I would be very grateful for any help.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Cheltenham Craft Show

On Friday 15th February I went to the Stitch & Creative Craft Show – at Cheltenham Racecourse .

I had been 2 years ago with my girls, it was then half term holidays, and bought some nice fabric, threads and seen demonstrations of spinning and weaving.

This Friday my 2 eldest had a teacher training day, so no school and I thought it would be a nice girly day out, as there was a lot for cardmaking, which they enjoy. But it's never that simple.

First they had to decide if they'd rather come with me or go ice skating or shopping with their friends. There was a point when they agreed one of them would come with me, it felt like they were going to be sacrificed.

At the end they both came, and we all enjoyed ourselves.

But I realised they got more attention than me when men, and especially young men were working in some of the shops. They are 13 and 12, nearly as tall as me, and I'm not getting younger I suppose.

Anyway back to the show, there was no fabric at all, apart from one shop. there was only one place that sold a bit of silk embroidery thread. There was a few knitting shops, and I did buy some balls to make more fun scarfs. All the rest was for cardmaking, and there was a few odd shops that sold a brush for hairy pets!!, a broom!!.

We shared the car with 2 friends who were interested in specific items for cardmaking, and they didn't find what they were looking for. They were also a bit disappointed.

There was still the weavers guild, patchwork and quilting guilds, knitting guild, and that was nice.

The only discovery was that there was a dried flower guild, and my 2 daughters made some key rings with dried flowers inside. They adore them.

So the only nice shop was Five Valleys Design. The lady had fabric, books and patterns from Amy Butler ( so nice but I resisted so far, but might go back to her website), and she had, between other things, Rowan knitting yarns and patterns. I bought 2 balls and have started my first sock...and I need to do a pair.

I am not sure the top will be very tight around the leg. We will see. I enjoy doing this.
The thread changes colour randomly creating the stripes. No thinking on my part, that's a bonus, I can knit in front of the TV, up to the point when I will have to do my first heel.

I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Exchange NSP

I belong to a french Yahoo group called "Artextile", and we have an exchange NSP (Non secret partner). My partner is in Israel, and she has just received her present, and you can have a look too.

I found my inspiration from a blog called "Trousses de brodeuses" which you could translate as "cases for embroiderers". It is in french, again, but the photos talk by themselves. The lady who runs it is a bit overwhelmed by the number of photos she receives, and can't keep up.

I made my new friend an embroidery case or roll, which includes a pocket, a needle holder, scissor holder, a little bin for cut threads, and some rings to attach the embroidery threads.

Half open, and then fully opened.

Here is a photo when, the case is filled, and a shot of the thread bin while I was making it. It is very easy, only folded fabric like an origami.

The outside is decorated with some machine stitched cross stitch (I know I cheated but it was so easy and neat), and her name Ruth written in Boutis.
Here is a close up. It is difficult to take a photo of white on white !
The boutis is a technique originating from the south of France where you stitch 2 layers of a very fine fabric together, some batiste in France, following a design, and then fill the gaps between the layers with cotton (like the cotton used for crochet for example). You have to make 2 little holes at the back to insert your needle with the cotton, and then you push the weave back to close the holes. It is very time consuming, but beautiful at the end.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

My new japanese jewellery roll

In our patchwork group we started this jewellery roll, I must precise it was on my demand as a subject for one of the evenings.

The color is darker than on the photo.

I have used 2 long quarters of japanese fabrics. I think I bought them at Malvern last year.

I love the result. The outside is hand quilted with some silver metallic thread.

I'm going to keep it for myself.

New scarf

I have finished a new knitted scarf for daughter number 3, she loves it. The thread is very soft, and I used 3 balls.
I have worked on it mainly at the swimming pool, waiting during Daughter 4's lesson. No need to think while you do that.

Monday, February 04, 2008

British Quilters List (BQL) and my January bag

A week ago I joined a new online group called BQL, British Quilters List as a way to exchange with quilters more local to me than the french I follow on the net.

I really enjoy it so far, although I am not sure I will be able to read all the messages everyday.

Anyway they have a challenge for 2008 : to make a bag every month, and help reduce the number of plastic bags given out in shops.

I have made my January bag, and here are the photos. The idea is to copy a plastic supermarket bag in the shape and design. The method is protected in this case, but not the idea so you can always try it yourself.
There is a front pocket to fold the bag into. It does work but is a bit bulky as my bag in lined with good cotton fabric.
I haven't used it yet, I think I don't want to damage it, but I will.

Saturday, February 02, 2008


Like a lot of you out there, I love fabric, buying it and using it. Before starting a new project I always worry that I won't have enough, and sometimes I don't !

Dear Husband has brought back a lot of fabric, and I have been wondering if I should show them to you, or if that would be too much. I'll choose a half way and put some.

He brought back these plastic thimbles. I had never seen them before, they are really good, much softer on the fingers than the metallic ones.
I also asked him for a 12"x12" square ruler, I already had 2 smaller ones and this one was a much needed addition.

We both love japanese fabrics.
And I love reproductions of Toile de Jouy.

I saw these 2 on the website while he was still there, so was able to order them from him.
I think I will do a bag with the green fabric.
I shall now resist buying any more for a little while...that is until the 15th February when I am going with my 2 older girls to a craft show in Cheltenham. I'll keep you posted.