Monday 30 June 2014

Rest is not Idleness

I am not sure why I decided on 'Rest is not Idleness' for this post but it just seemed appropriate as I have been resting but I have not been idle! I decided to search for the origin of these words and had completely forgotten that this is the title of a quilting friend Pip's blog! And it was on her blog that I learnt that Sir John Lubbock MP (1834-1913) was responsible for the quote. 
And then with a little more searching I discovered that Lubbock was a committee member for the Society of Protection of Ancient Buildings that William Morris formed in 1877 - in fact it was Sir John Lubbock who passed the first heritage legislation in 1882. It never ceases to amaze me how Morris creeps into so many aspects of my life! It was fascinating to read an 1883 report from one of the meetings that Morris recorded with Lubbock present which you can read here. With the pending overseas trip it was suggested that I needed to slow down or the trip might not be in my best interest….so with stitching as my solace this is what I have been doing……….
Yes - it is a new wardrobe for the tours….well for the waist up anyway!!! Recently a friend attended a workshop to learn how to stitch custom made shirts. I was so impressed that I immediately put my name down for the next class but was sad to hear it would not be held until after the trip. So the teacher and friend got their heads together and we had our very own workshop at home!  (thank-you Kay and Kerryn xx). I will still do the workshop as I know there are many trims and finer details I can learn, but for now I managed some pintucks and piping on the first shirt and that very night I made another. Then I became addicted and made four more!! Three of them are from my own fabric designs and of course the others are either Morris prints or very close to it….. and all from my stash…..

 This past week I have been preparing kits for the William and May Morris Tours while revisiting the first four seasons of Downton Abbey…...I will share the secret projects during the tours…..
 I had forgotten to mention that my Rajah Award has been blessed with a special mat. This was a very special gift given to me Nydia from Thorngrove Manor when I delivered the King's Chamber room quilt. It is an exquisite piece of handwork made by Nydia's late mother and I was very touched at receiving such a treasure…….
I have only three and a bit weeks left before I head to the UK - sadly without Larry as he is working, and in just two and a bit weeks we will be welcoming a new little grand-baby - just five days of cuddles before I leave!  Winter is well and truly upon us with storms, rain and damaging winds….and very cold days too! I think the plants are a little confused as there seems to be evidence of Spring with some bulbs already blooming. But it is lovely to see what is lurking beneath the soil as this is our first change of season in our new home (thank you Jackie!)……
 So until next time take good care wherever you x

Monday 16 June 2014

I'm still here!

I cannot  believe it is over 2 weeks since my last entry.....but then maybe I can as I hit the wall running after completing that mammoth Thorngrove quilt! It is now safe with new owners but sadly no photo of it on the bed as the room is filled with scaffolding as repairs are made on some gold stencilling - but be sure I will post images as soon as I can.  Last week was a busy one 'on the road'. We drove almost 900kms over two days, then I taught for two days and then drove home the same distance in one day! Sitting in the car for 10 plus hours is not much fun but it is always nice to get back in your own bed! Our destination was Alexandra in Victoria. For those of you overseas you might like to see this image to give you an idea of how far us "Aussies" drive to get somewhere….we are one very big country!
On the way we dropped by to visit some friends who were on a weekend break at Jude's Sewing Sanctuary. As you can see there was a lot of work happening but we timed our visit with lunch while the machines were resting…... 

Winter has arrived and we have been having very chilly days but on this day the sun was shining as we sat around the camp fire. I love the view of Delma and Judy in deep discussion…….
 and a few minutes later they are still deep in conversation - but one wonders what on earth was being said with Judy's face in her hands!! I must have wandered away and come back as Faye had disappeared and Larry appeared in deep conversation with Jude! Thanks for the lovely lunch Vicki and your hospitality Jude!
 On route when I wasn't driving I was endeavouring to finish the embroidered project that I was about to teach!!
 We had many stops and saw some lovely sights - I love the iron lacework on the buildings…...

 Larry on a mission to find a coffee…...
 What a lovely entrance to a church…….

And here she is…Alexandra in her namesake town…..
The girls from Vickery Retreat had invited me over 12 months ago and our two days were spent stitching and nattering in the local RSL Hall. Girls came for miles and several travelled from Melbourne and I have to say they were a brave and kind bunch seeing as there was no sample to inspire them! Thanks so much girls for being such great company - lots of laughs and some amazing talent too. The HOT TIP for the two days came from Jeannie who came up with the great idea of using those cheap soft cover photo albums to store your traced appliqué pieces…….beats using clip lock bags! You can use any size album depending on the size of your pieces - thank Jeannie for your brilliance!
 Now I have to tell you these girls can embroider and I was a little disheartened with my own work so I went home on the first night and unpicked a big portion of mine! Thanks Sue, Judy, Alison and Pam for posing for the blog and for your inspiring stitching!

 I've been trying to replicate the work of May Morris and I know the girls were thrilled with their efforts - the burden stitch tree and the fly stitch leaves were a big hit and I think my new sample will just be using the burden stitch exclusively…..I must do those birds for you girls!!

 The other half of the class replicated the same Tree of Life design but in an enlarged version for appliqué. Here are just a few……..

 Thankyou so much to everyone who came….it was a very cold two days but warm company and lots of fun xx
 Before we left for the long drive home we stopped by the Alexandra Hospital to see the banner the Alexandra Quilters had made for the entrance area. So wonderful to see another fabulous piece of textile history hanging in a public place. Well done to the group - I loved it and thanks to the staff of the hospital for allowing me to take photos………...

 We saw many kangaroos and some of these on our way home…Larry was glad they were all behind an electric fence…...
 Then a quick lunch stop in Bendigo where sometimes I think we are back in the UK on tour!

Yesterday was a wonderful personal event where we shared drinks and nibbles with close friends and family to celebrate Larry's 60th birthday. Sadly the staff member who took the family photos did not cope with my camera and all the photos are blurred. None the less it was a very special time and always a good thing to be grateful and celebrate another birthday! These three chaps went to school together but the one who stole my heart 38 years ago is Larry on the left! Happy 60th birthday my dearest xx

Till next time keep warm if you are down south and stay cool up north!