Sunday, May 27, 2012

Second Wind

So what's been happening in Touch And Sew land? .... not a lot to be honest, but I do have plans and news! First I made it to the Malvern quilt show and had a really nice day. Having been not so well for the previous month I ran out of energy after about 2 and a half hours of looking around the stalls and exhibits, but it was fun to see everything .... and I got a really nice craft lamp which will help not only my sewing but other things too ... It has a magnifying glass and I got excited when I could read the text on a fabric print and I wondered if I'd be able to read large print books with it .... however it's only a 2x magnifier and I normally use a x6 to have any chance of reading anything .... my optimism was misplaced, I found the fabric print must have been quite large anyway because I had no luck with a large print library book :( but all the same the excellent lighting will be a big help .... watch out for a review once I get stitching again! On which note, I had an email from Thearica from Pigtales And Quilts announcing that the second Men Quilt Too! competition will happen in October .... for my newer followers, my very first quilt took 3rd place last year .... so this year I want to win! lo .... with new changes to the rules I am forbidden from revealing which quilt I am entering, so I will have to write incognito about my progress, and certainly no photographs until voting has closed. But I know you'll all like what I have planned to work on this year! I'm actually going to follow a real pattern rather than just randomly sewing squares, so it should look like something recognisable if all goes smoothly! To do this I'm going to need a new sewing machine, since I decided to leave my old one in America when I moved back. Having seen the prices of new machines over here I admit I'm horrified! My $150 machine is the equivalent of machines costing over £450 (around $600) and £200 barely gets you much above a beginner machine. Now I don't need extensive features, except I do want the ones that make quilting a pleasure not a arduous chore! ... Luckily my friend Susan in Tennessee found a fantastic machine on Amazon with all the lovley quilty bits my old machine had and more! And it is on sale with $300 off the normal price of $450! .... with a simple voltage converter this could be my dream machine! lol .... it's the Brother CS6000i and even with postage costs it's going to be cheaper than anything above those entry-level machines over here! And something else I'm very excited about .... I may get my very own sewing room! At least while I'm still staying back with the parents .... mum said we might convert one of the spare rooms into a craft room! Now this may have something to do with the fact that she's always knitted and done some sewing, and is keen to learn some quilting with me .... so we will both get a lot of use from a nice craft room! Health wise things are good ... I'm feeling a lot better and ready to get out and do things again! Catching up with friends is top of the agenda! Talking of which, if you are one of my new followers and you notice I've not managed to follow you back yet, do give me a nudge! Sending me an email or leaving a comment with your blog address would be ideal! I've had some lovely comments of late and if I haven't replied to yours then it's been a slip of my mind because I try to reply to most comments! It's been a bit hectic trying to catch up with emails and blogs since I was offline .... my inbox is slowly reducing and I think I'm down to only 30-odd unread messages now! Gosh I've wittered on a bit here! I'll shut up now and let you get back to your sewing!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Quilts UK

Tomorrow I am going to go to my first UK quilt show! It's 30 minutes up the road in Malvern which is pretty handy@ I'll also get the chance to say hello to Lorraine from Monkey Buisness and Quilts! Having said that I've been battling with a cold that has be threatening to afflict me for the last week. it's made breathing a little harder and that's caused me anxiety at night with the result i have hardly slept a wink in 4 days! Today the cold hit with full force and I have not only been sneezing but have been sick too - that made me wory it was a return of the peritonitis infection, but i am glad to say my drained solution was clear so that's ok .... if it's cloudy that's when you end up back in hospital! here's the list of workshops at the show. I'm quite taken with the cordroy ones and the hand stitching, though i can imagine the silk flowers would be fun too! Time might limit how many I can do if I want to wander round and look at all the quilt entries too! WORKSHOP 1 11.30am - 1 hour - Free (registration essential) Thread Sense with Wonderfil Speciality Threads Are you confused by all these different threads out there? Why are there so many different threads and what do they do? Debbie from Wonderfil Threads will talk about their thread range and answer any questions you might have. We will clear up some of the nonsense and give you thread sense. 12.45pm - 1 hour - £6.50 Silk Ribbon Roses with Valeri Bennett A demonstration on the various ways to make silk ribbon roses. Handout sheet plus fabric and ribbons provided to try out the various stitches and techniques shown. 2.00pm - 1 hour - £6.50 Flower for Fool-Proof Foundation Piecing with Anja Townrow Be converted to the new Fool-Proof Frustration-Free Foundation Piecing! After a short demonstration, we will make a Flower block using the new method for Fool-Proof Frustration-Free Foundation Piecing. No waste, fits every time, sharp points! Beginners will be amazed at how quickly they get great results with this new way of Foundation Piecing, while anybody who didn’t ‘get on’ with this technique in the past, will now be totally converted! Your block can form the basis of a larger bed quilt. Pattern, freezer paper and fabric supplied for one block. WORKSHOP 2 11.00am - 1 hour - Free (registration essential) Creating Hand Look Needle-Turn Effect Appliqué by Machine with Eileen Blood Eileen will demonstrate her techniques to produce ‘hand look needle turn effect appliqué’ as featured in her original designs. The appliqué pieces can either be prepared ‘in the hoop’ using an embroidery machine or just a regular sewing machine. The demonstration will feature quick, accurate methods of construction using modern products and stabilisers. 12.15pm - 1 hour - £6.50 Rag Quilting with Jane Lodge Learn to make "a quilt as you go" rag quilt block in lovely soft flannel cottons. See how easy it is to create the ragged effect. You can then use the free pattern to make an extra warm quilt to snuggle under. 1.30pm - 1½ hours - £5.50 Hand Quilting - The Basics with Ann Jermey An introduction to hand quilting. Learn how to start, stitch and stop. For those hand quilters unsatisfied with their stitching, a chance to iron out problems. Quilting sample, needle and thread provided together with the use of hoops, thimbles and frames. WORKSHOP 3 11.30am - 1 hour - £5.00 Button Landscape Cards with Lesley Brankin Learn how to create fun little fabric landscapes using foundation (paper) techniques. No previous experience is necessary. Full materials will be provided to make two greetings cards. 12.45pm - 1 hour - £5.00 Kanzashi Flowers with Maggie Davies Learn how to make these elegant Japanese fabric flowers to embellish any project. Kit provided. 2.00pm - 1 hour - £5.00 Introducing Japanese Folded Patchwork with Lesley Brankin A brief introduction to the 'circle into a square' technique. Although simple in concept, this technique can open up a world of exciting design possibilities. No previous experience necessary (includes a number of tips which should interest even those have done this before). Full materials will be provided to make a stylish needlecase. WORKSHOP 4 11.30am - 1 hour - £5.00 Corded and Stuffed Work with Sylvia Critcher Come and try this very simple combination of techniques that I demonstrate at the shows. It looks complicated, but it really is very easy to do - all levels welcome. It is hand stitched so you must be able to do a running stitch. 12.45pm - 1 hour - £6.50 Felt Brooches & Key Rings with Roz Johnson Learn how to make a fun felt brooch or key ring. Roz will take you through the steps that will enable you to create and complete a charming, fun-to-wear brooch or key ring. A pack will be provided for each person, containing instructions, pattern sheet and materials to make up the brooch / key ring. 2.00pm - 1 hour - £6.50 Little Owl with Sadie Yeomans Spend a relaxing and fun hour creating a cute little owl beanie made from scraps of fabric and embellished with large Suffolk Puffs and buttons. Full kit and pattern included. WORKSHOP 5 11.30am - 1 hour - £6.00 Redwork, Beginner to Continuation with Marilyn Hornby Choose, depending on your skill level, between a card (beginners) or a needlecase project to be completed at home. Full instructions will be given and techniques and stitches demonstrated. A kit will be provided and loan of equipment. 12.45pm - 1 hour - £7.00 Italian Corded Quilting by Machine with Sarah Wellfair (Goose Chase Publishing) Learn Italian corded quilting by machine and decorate with the use of automatic machine embroidery stitches and decorative threads. Make the panel up into a cushion with instruction for button back. Husqvarna machine and fabric pack provided by Modern Sewing Centre Worcester. 2.00pm - 1 hour - £6.50 Summer Meadows with Claire Tinsley Make a picture of summer meadows. Very simple, using marbling and bonded appliqué. Easy to do, but very effective.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Missing Month

You may have noticed, it's been over a month since I last wrote anything on here! So here's a brief account of where I've been, what I've been up to, and where I am now! Exactly 1 month ago today I had been sick all night .... I called my dialysis nurse and she came by and took all of 30 seconds to realise I needed to be heading to the hospital! She called me an ambulance, and so I spent 3 hours in a chilly waiting room, at which point I got sick again and found myself at the front of the queue pretty rapidly! As soon as I got through preliminary tests I was then into Intensive Care for 4 days and then a dialysis ward for another 5 days. I'd picked up an infection connected to my dialysis, peritonitis, which can be pretty rough! So that accounts for the middle of April. My parents came over , arriving the day before I got discharged, and with their help I spent the next 10 days packing up my American life ready to head back to Wales. I was managing fine by myself over there, but episodes like the past 2 weeks made me decide I'd be better back closer to family! So now I'm back in Wales. I've spent the last week and a half in and out of morre hospitals, seeing different doctors and dialysis nurses to get set up with dialysis here. Initially they thought it'd take about a month to get me a machine so I could do dialysis at home overnight again .... but in an unprecidented turn of speed the good old National Helth Service got me a machine in 3 days! I was quite flabbergasted!! Very happy about that though! The new machine is easier in some ways than my old machine too, though with the minor drawback that I can't read the screen because the text is too small and the screen to dim! But it has icons I can see, and the procedure can just be done in routine order and the machine takes care of the majority of the steps! So that's my tale of why I've been offline for so long! I now have wi-fi at home so can use my own laptop which also helps enormously! One hard thing to deal with at the moment .... I'd made all the arrangements to bring Maggie cat back with me, but we all arrived at the airport and were told there is an embargo on pets entering the UK! At this point I interrupt the tale to say a huge huge thank you to an amazing person .... my dialysis nurse in Rochester not only came to visit me in hospital, she also took a key to feed Maggie twice while I was in. And if you think that's above the call of duty, there's more! She said if there was any trouble with Maggie at the airport to let her know .... I'm sure she didn't really expect me to be calling and interrupting her breakfast asking her to look after Maggie for possibly 30 days! But she agreed with no complaint and Maggie is now staying with her until she can fly back .... that's a big flight for a little kitty all on her own! But she seems to have settled ok with Janice for now and I'm sure she's being well looked after! Maybe I can make a nice quilt as a thank you present ..... I am also pleased to report that, despite initial doubts, I was able to find a box the right size to mail my picnic basket that I use to hold much of my fabric stash .... and yes, I brought a good 95 percent of that fabric back with me! The basket and my quilt have arrived safely in the mail so that's all the important things, except for the cat safely here! next step is to find a local quilt club .... I've seen an advert for one and I believe there may be a second one too, so that's my mission over the coming weeks! Glad to be back and on my feet again! Now I just have to catch up on what y'all have been writing in your blogs over the last month! hopefully they've been less eventful than my month!