Welcome to my blog. I hope you enjoy reading about my adventures - in stitch and otherwise! And I hope that you will leave a comment so that I know you have visited.

Friday 21 December 2012

From one harbour to another...

From picturesque, clean and friendly Roscoff to scruffy and down at heel Ilfracombe! What a contrast.
It is so sad to see what was once a smart and elegant seaside town so run down and unloved.
So why did we go there?
We had heard that Damien Hirst's 'Verity' had recently been errected there, so being in the vicinity we decided to have a look.
Not everyones cup of tea as a piece of art, but evidently drawing plenty of visitors.

At 20m high and placed at the entrance to the harbour, she must be a stunning sight from sea.
Hopefully she will herald a change in fortunes for Ilfracombe.

Lin xx

Monday 17 December 2012

A stopover in Roscoff

Just for a change, we decided to travel from Roscoff to Plymouth for our trip to UK and spent a night in Roscoff before catching the ferry.
Roscoff is in Finistere, part of Brittany - the top left hand corner of France. Finistere is one of those wonderful, magical sounding names I have heard for years on the BBC's shipping forecast and it was lovely to actually be there.
Roscoff is a very pretty little town on the end of a small peninsular with the ferry port on one side and a fishing harbour on the other.
I was also fascinated by an island called Ile de Batz just off to the left of the peninsular. The Vedette - a regular boat/bus service to the island runs either from the harbour or the end of a long pier depending on the tide!
The small town is very pretty and we enjoyed a morning visiting the harbour, church and small shops.

 The'bus' heading for the pier with the Ile de Batz in the background.

Have a lovely Christmas.


Saturday 8 December 2012

Odds and Ends

In 1979 I started making my first quilt - Grandmothers Flower Garden - and the following year the top was ready to layer and quilt. Having very little knowledge of patchwork and even less of quilting, from somewhere I found out that I needed to use a hoop when I was quilting. So I ordered one from
 Strawberry Fayre and have been using it ever since. However, last year there was an ominous creak and I noticed a crack on the inner ring so I made an effective repair with brown tape and bias binding.
However last week there was an even more ominous creak and whoops, after 30+ years, my hoop finally gave up!

So I emailed the wonderful Strawberry Fayre and they are sending a new hoop to me in UK where I shall be next week. If you do not know Strawberry Fayre they sell traditional patchwork fabrics, but most useful, is that they have always sent out packs of fabric swatches which means that you can spread them out on the table, play around with them, come back tomorrow and play around with them again and make your selection. Much more relaxed than buying in a shop and more accurate than buying on line. Also the personal service is brilliant. In the 80's when I lived in Italy they were brilliant and the only place I could buy patchwork fabrics and have them sent out to me. They still offer superb service and orders from here in France are turned around in a week.

A couple of years ago Stitch Magazine gave a rough pattern for 'Bushkiri' bags and I made a lot for presents. Sadly the one that I made for my neice who was living in Senegal never arrived and so this summer I made another for her.

These are made from a 6" embroidered squares with the corners turned in, envelope style. I used cotton fabric and threads that I dyed myself using procion dyes. I love chain stitch - it is vey soothing, like hand quilting. I am sending this one to her in UK this time, where she will be spending Christmas.

I spent an afternoon this week clearing leaves in the garden - they were wet and looked so gorgeous!

And finally
This African Marigold does not seem to be affected by the frost!

I made 4 doz mince pies this afternoon for our Carol Service tomorrow in Chancelade Abbey but otherwise have been busy packing, planning and organising for our trip away. My next post will be from the UK!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Lin xx

Tuesday 4 December 2012

Geese ready to migrate - north!!

Well, I have finally completed my flying geese quilt and it is all ready to take to the UK with us next week. I do hope that Emily will like it!

The original design is by Sharyn Craig and pictured in The Art of Classic Quiltmaking. I emailed Sharyn this evening with a picture of the quilt and she replied immediately saying how much she liked it and thanking me for contacting her. How special is that!
I was outside this afternoon cleaning the inside of the car ready for our trip when 50 cranes flew over - going south, the right way for migration! What a coincidence.
Am planning a hexagon project for our trip away......

Thank you for coming to take a look.
Until next time

Monday 3 December 2012

I've been tagged!

Just clicked on to made by ChrissieD and read all about the 11-11-11-11 game that she has been tagged in whereby she has to answer 11 questions asked by the person who tagged her, tell 11 things about herself and tag 11 people asking them 11 questions. To my surprise, when I got to the bottom I discovered that she had tagged me!

So here are 11 things about me -
I was born in North London, England
I am a Christian
I live in France but have also lived in Rome, Italy, otherwise in UK.
I have always loved sewing
but I trained as a window dresser
most of my working life was spent in retail with some accounts work along the way
I have a niece who lives in Ghana and another in New Zealand
We have a large garden and a small house
I enjoy cooking and entertaining
I love walking
I have been following 'The Archers' for 26 years

Here are the 11 questions that she asked-
1. Are you in a Quiltd Guild and if so tell us about it.
I am a member of the Quilters Guild of the British Isles, I joined in 1979 and am a Founder Member. The quarterly magazine 'The Quilter' is a lifeline to P&Q in the UK and especially was during the 80's when I lived in Rome.
2.What's the longest you have lived somewhere and where was it?
I have been living here in the Dordogne for 17 years
3. What's your favourite item that you have ever made and why?
This has to be the quilt that I made in 1985, a white wholecloth using Sashiko designs. All hand quilted. It is on my bed every night!

4. What books do you have by your bed?
A bible and the book I am reading which at the moment is 'Every Vow You Break' by Julia Crouch.
5. What do your friends and family think about your quilting?
Very appreciative of things that come their way.
6. Where are you spending Christmas Day this year and who with?
I shall be in Taunton with my husbands family, most especially his delightful three year old grand daughter Emily!
7. When did you buy your first sewing machine?
It was a gift from my parents on my 18th birthday.
8. Why did you start blogging?
There was an article this summer in 'The Quilter' by Alison at Little Island Quilting about blogging and I thought it sounded like a good way to meet other quilters and textile artists
9. Who is your favourite actor/actress and what's the best role you have seen them in?
This is a close run thing between Maggie Smith and Katherine Hepburn but 'The African Queen' has to win!
10. How/where do you store your fabric?
With space here at a premium, any cupboard or wardrobe where I can squeeze it in.
11. What's the best hairstyle you have ever had and why?
When I was in my teens I had a Mary Quant - very short at the back and long at the front. I felt very grown up!

Now, the people that I am tagging are as follows - I will not be emailing you as I do not want this to be like a chain letter, and nothing dire will happen if you do not take part!

A Legacy of Stitches
Living the Dream
Hibiscus Stitches
Maisie and the Boys
Teaching Myself Patchwork
Sew Susan
Batik Quilt
Journey of a Quilter
Art Textile
Gloria's Blog

And my questions for you are -
1. What was your first patchwork project?
2. What is your favourite technique?
3. Why do you live where you live now?
4. What is your favourite passtime after sewing (if there is such a thing)?
5. What is your favourite novel?
6. Who is your favourite artist?
7. If you could have a holiday anywhere in the worldwhere where would you choose to go?
8. Have you learnt something new recently?
9.What do you most enjoy cooking?
10.What was your first job?
11.Who would you most like to invite to supper?

I look forward to reading your answers and hope you will all take part.
Have a great week.

Lin xx

Monday 26 November 2012

Christmas is coming!

Having cooked my puddings ( and finished quilting my geese, but more about that later) it was time to get on with my Christmas cards.
The French are not really into Christmas cards! You can buy a postcard type of card - not double fold like ours - but they are not very exciting and are more likely to be sent for New Year, well at least in this neck of the woods!
So, unless we have been in the UK for Christmas when it is possible to buy cards for the following year in the sales, I make my own. Printing is quick and (I think) stylish but I have, in the past, also made small machine embroidered panels to stick onto the cards.
This year I am using a Thermofax print of holly, printed in black and gold with a 'Joyeaux Noel' stamp.

Here they all are drying out before they get their JN stamp. A good afternoons work!


Sunday 25 November 2012

Stir up Sunday

I have just mixed my Christmas pudding and am now enjoying the rest of the Guinness - a bit early in the day but it would be a shame to waste it!
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

Friday 23 November 2012

Stunning sunrise

Up early this morning (after a late night at the annual bowls club do) for our weekly visit to the market. I must admit that we do not spend much money there - usually mushrooms, veg plants when in season and maybe some English sausages! No, we go to meet friends in the bar at 8am for coffee and lots of chat. The weekly ritual. The good thing is that having indulged ourselves we are usually home by 10, fit and ready for what the rest of the day has in store.
This morning as we left the house the most amazing sunrise was appearing and we enjoyed the incredible colour all the way in to Riberac.
Here are a couple of pictures I took as we left the house.

Christmas market tomorrow morning at la Pouge then it's head down on the sewing machine for the last stage of quilting on my flying geese quilt. I just wish my walking foot would stop squeaking!

Have a great weekend and thank you for reading this.


Saturday 17 November 2012

FNSI - November

Got lots of quilting done yesterday evening. Decided to try out the Clover 'Black Gold' quilting needles that I bought at the K&S. I used the No10 which is the size I had been using on my quilt ( a betweens). The tips of my fingers on my left hand can vouch for the fact that this is a very sharp needle! However, the body of the needle felt chunkier and not so easy to pull through the fabric. When I put the two needles side by side it is obvious that the black one is much thicker - also the eye is smaller and more difficult to thread.
The blurb on the packaging says that they will not bend easily which, being much thicker, is probably true. Also that they have 'enhanced rust resistance'. I shall persevere and we shall see.
After an evening and a half of use I am finding it easier to use but I am still to be convinced that they are worth the extra cost.

Friday 16 November 2012

Friday Night Sew In for November!

I am joining this for the first time and plan to spend the evening cracking on with some hand quilting on a very  old UFO!
Have a good weekend all

Thursday 15 November 2012

Jack of Hearts MQ - top complete!

Seven weeks on and here it is! and much bigger than I had anticipated, although the outer border is wider than that in the pattern as I had plenty of fabric and I like wide outer borders. I am very pleased with it although if I was going again I would make some changes. I followed the 'advanced' instructions which gives this very solid centre with the chequerboard border. The 'beginners' instructions put sashing between the 16 blocks which gives it a more patchworky and pretty look but with a plain border. My favourite so far has been the combination of the two (everyone is sharing pictures of their completed quilt on the facebook page) which makes a stunning quilt.
It has been a fun couple of months with lots of facebook interaction and support. Heather Spence has done an amazing job co-ordinating all this and with 330 participants has raised 3,300dollars which are going to Jacks parents to help with his medical bills.
I have already signed up for the Spring Mystery Quilt which starts on April 6th.
 Heather is also running a New Years Day MQ with clues going out every hour for 6 hours. This time she is raising money to send sewing machines to women in Asia to help them become self supporting.
Here is a link to Heathers website
if you are interested in the New Years Day Quilt. I shall be away unfortunately.

Beautiful, sunny, mild day here in the Dordogne.

The view this morning inspired me to take a walk around the garden with my camera in search of any remaining autumn colour and here is some that I found

 The result of some over exuberant digging!

And this little beauty was once a fig!

Thank you for visiting - please leave a comment so I know you came by.


Sunday 11 November 2012

Jack of Hearts MQ clue 5

The blocks were sewn into rows for clue 5, complete, but a week late. Clue no 6 arrived before I had made a start on 5! Have now sewn the rows together - in the correct order and not as shown - now for the borders!
Lots to do though and I am still busy quilting my flying geese which has to be completed for Christmas, so a priority.
It's looking very autumnal here now - lots of colour in the trees and was hoping to get out with my camera but time has just disappeared again.
Have a good week.

Friday 2 November 2012

Another Mystery!

Earlier this year I made this mystery quilt from the Quilters Guild magazine 2000/2001. The reason I am sharing this with you now is that finally, today! the quilt was hung on the wall behind our bed, the place it was intended for.
At the time I had a large collection of grey, black and white fabrics which I needed to use and this seemed like the perfect project.
 The clues for this quilt were given over 9 months - three issues of the magazine and at the time I was busy with other projects and so it got forgotten about. There was another MQ in 2004 and again in 2009.
In 2009 I thought, why not have a go? I encouraged a friend to join in and over the next year we independently made our quilts giving each other no clues about colours or how we were getting on. At the end we were both very pleased with the results -
this is mine.
We soon followed up with the quilt from 2004 -
again, this is my version.
So of course, the original MQ from 2000 had to follow.

The Jack of Hearts MQ is very different.
Organised by Heather Spence Designs, the aim was to raise funds to help with the medical bills of a little boy called Jack who has a brain tumour. Amazingly 330 people have signed up and Heather has raised 3,300 dollars.
The clues have been coming one a week - today was clue no 5 - next week is the last one.
Everyone was invited to join a MQ facebook page and it has been great following every ones choices of fabrics, their results after each clue and lots of chat and fun along the way.
 I have really enjoyed following all the MQ's  - it is interesting to see how your choices of fabric woks out and also making something that you may not have considered doing.
Thank you for reading this - until next time


Thursday 18 October 2012

Jack of Hearts MQ, clue no 2 completed

So now I have some hearts!

Going back to the K&S, another exhibition that I enjoyed was Cas Holmes - Urban Nature
http://www.casholmestextiles.co.uk/ I loved her delicate patched and pieced wall hangings using found fabrics, flower outlines and subtle colouring.

The last exhibition that I want to talk about is Color Improvisations, curated by Nancy Crow.
This was an interesting collection of quilts in wonderful colours - I have in my notes that they were aprox. 6'x6'. They were very heavily quilted - some used large swathes of coloured fabric, others were intricately pieced. Have a look at the pictures via their web site.

Enjoyed my day out and came home with plenty of shopping to keep me going over the next few months!

Thank you for reading this


Wednesday 17 October 2012

The Knitting & Stitching Show 2012

Had a great day out at the K&S last Friday - my annual treat of all things stitch. As always the best time to visit to avoid log jams in the aisles is the first hour and after about 3pm! I spent the morning wandering round the various exhibitions - collections of very different techniques and styles.
Here are a few notes of things that particularly appealed to me. No photographs - I don't take may camera as so many people do not allow photographs.
Reveal: unfolding stories
A lovely collection of work but I especially loved Jennie Merriman's mobile made from perspex and clear plastic clips.

Ann Small and Sue Walton - Jaberwocky
A very surreal exhibition based on the works of Lewis Carroll. Ann's Queen of Hearts costume was magnificent but close up you see her use of bones as 'beads' which I find disturbing and also her small figures using bones.
Sue's tea party where cutlery is decorated to form dolls was more to my taste and I loved her chandelier made from decorated upturned small wine glasses hanging from a wrought iron frame.

4 x 4
Margaret Talbot http://www.easttextile.co.uk/Margaretpage1.html exhibited a peice of work aprox 2' x 3'. Very heavily stitched and then appeared to have been painted with pearlescent pigments in greens purples blue rust and deep pink.
A very large Gilda Barron - typically Gilda - but with a very heavy, dark sky.http://www.gildabaron.com/
Some beautiful pieces by Delia Pusey http://www.easttextile.co.uk/Deliapage1.html
But I particularly loved a piece by Christine Rollitt called Threads of Time which consisted of 4 small panels in neutral fabrics incorporating snippets of childrens hair, cards, notes, tickets etc which were trapped behind sheer fabrics. http://www.christine-rollitt.com/image.php?id=74

Anglia Textile Works: Theme and Variations  http://www.angliatextileworks.co.uk/
A super collection of work - I especially liked Annette Morgans pieces based on seed and flower heads, Sara Impeys words and Janice Gunners piece 'Kumo' - indigo and deep red dyed fabric with quilted cobwebs.

02 Textiles: Curiouser and Curiouser .... and Curiouser
I loved Zoe Cox's work based on butterfly wings

These pieces of embroidery are aproximately 1 1/2" square and amazingly detailed.
http://www.02textiles.co.uk/Images/KnitStitch2012/index.htm Elizabeth Taylor's - Was it the Mushrooms we ate for Dinner was another favourite piece.

More tomorrow as I am running out of battery!

Thank you for visiting


Sunday 7 October 2012

Jack of Hearts Mystery - clue No 1

When I signed up for this online Mystery Quilt I had no idea what to expect. My experience of MQ's was limited to the ones I had followed in the Quilter.
So I paid my dollars and within minutes I had a personal email of welcome from the organiser with a list of fabric requirements. I also received a link to a facebook page which I joined.
There are some very dedicated facebook posters out there! Lots of posts of fabric choices and a few people asking questions.
The first 'clue' was sent out on Friday - evening for me - mid day Pacific Standard Time. There were a lot of eager ladies waiting for the clue and when I switched on the computer on Saturday morning there was a stream of posts from MQers who had completed clue no 1 and were showing photographs of their work.
So here is my photograph of Clue No ! - completed!
The next clue arrives next Friday - but I will be in UK enjoying the Knitting & Stitching show! So will have to catch up on my return.

The last I heard 297 people had signed up for the MQ which is wonderful for the little boy and his family who we are supporting. Also MQers from 12 different countries.

Have a good week and happy stitching


Thursday 4 October 2012

Jack of Hearts Mystery Quilt

Went out this afternoon and bought my fabric for the quilt - the first 'clues' arrive tomorrow so I am looking forward to getting started!
These are the fabrics I chose - not my usual colours but I loved the turquoise and the other two just seemed to be naturals to go with it.

Thanks for visiting


Wednesday 3 October 2012

Lampshades & Hockney!

Covering a lampshade is not something that I had ever thought that I would tackle but there I was this afternoon with the rest of my textile group doing just that. Our excellent teacher Faith guided us patiently through the different steps and hey presto! a lampshade was made.
Here it is in place and ready for use when I go to bed! The fabric I bought years ago for a Quilters Guild challenge, but I never felt inspired to use it,  so it has languished in the cupboard. However, the design seemed to echo the geometric print on the lampbase and it proved to be just perfect.

When the group last met in the summer we set ourselves the challenge of producing a piece of work in the style of David Hockney and today we revealed our pieces of work.
I decided that I would make a journal quilt and this is the result.
Obviously it is A4 in size. I collaged together various photographs of sunsets taken from our terrace 
'a la Hockney' and then printed the result on to Evolon. At the time I was thinking about using a fleece to back my Rainbow Log Cabin and so to trial the fleece I used it to back the Evolon. I then free machine quilted the sky with a variegated thread and the trees and hedge with a black thread.
 The fleece works well and gives a lovely soft backing but it did not glide through the machine quite as well as I had expected. However, I am very pleased with the result.
Next challenge - Monet!

Thank you for visiting and happy stitching.