Sunday, 31 August 2014

Making pinwheels

I've been home just over a week but it actually feels like months! Sadly I have succumbed once again with the razor knife throat and unmentionable sinuses. (the joys of travel I suspect). I was supposed to be on a quilting retreat this weekend with exhibition committee friends but decided that I might not be popular with the sniffling, coughing and general moaning! But despite feeling 'crap'  the weather has been lovely at home. Beautiful Spring days but today the wind has returned and the temperatures are about to plummet once again. But as always I haven't been idle so decided to do that pinwheel tutorial as promised.This all started with a lovely friend Dot who over the years has sent me these gorgeous pinwheels all hand-made by her. The one on the far left was made from a piece of embroidered antique silk, the middle one was cross-stitched by Dot and the other made from an old doyley…..
 I have become obsessed with them and have made some with a William Morris theme and all thanks to the lovely Dot (thanks Dot xx). 

So lets begin. These instructions make an approx 3 1/2" finished pinwheel with pins. You need two 4 1/2" circles of fabric (and if required mark the centre with an x for positioning your design)…...

Next you need two circles of template plastic cut 3", two small circles of batting/wadding cut 3" and two more larger circles of batting/wadding cut 3 1/2"……..

 I have also found these plastic circles in my local large craft store. I think they are for canvas work but they are just the right size and worked well too……..
 With this pinwheel I am hand appliquéing some Morris birds so here they are ironed on and ready to appliqué and embroider………..
 When this is complete cut out the circles and gather with a strong thread and using a running stitch. I've used three strands of one of the embroidery threads I was using so that you can see it (and I also did the gathering before I cut out the circle as it is a little easier to handle)……..
 Now it is time to place the batting/wadding and plastic inside the appliquéd circles. First place the larger 3 1/2" circle of batting, then the 3" piece and then finally the 3" template plastic circle. Gently pull the running thread and anchor…….. 

 Do ensure your design is centred on the other side as well…….
 Finally join the two sides together using a glove stitch. Again I've used a contrast thread for better viewing but I quite like the contrast (I would generally use the same colour as the pinwheel as it is less likely to show mistakes!). Anchor the knot inside and then do one stitch from side to side…….
 Repeat this to secure and then move forward about 2mm and repeat. I hope the photos explain it easily…..

 Finally add pins in your choice of colour…….
 Voila…one pinwheel!
Do send me photos if you too become obsessed. On a final note I have meant to make some twisted threads and attach them inside so the pinwheels can be hung - so I went looking on the internet and found a fabulous tutorial which is coincidentally called Pinwheel ponders so I must go and explore this blog more! Till next time take care wherever you are x 

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Good to be home

It is so good to be home again but I just need the body clock to stop waking up at 3am each morning!! It is also hard to believe that I was away for just over  a month but looking through all the photos reminds me I was! Over the next few days I will be organising the photos to send to all the tour participants on a DVD… watch the letterbox folks! I am sure Helen will also send you all a group photo…sadly the May Morris close-up of mine was blurred because of the settings our young photographer adjusted on my camera but I know Helen has a good one! They will all be on the DVD but for now here is a reminder……..
William Morris Tour 2014 at Oxford University Union Hall

May Morris Tour 2014 at Cliveden House

Once again my heartfelt thanks to each and everyone of you who came so far to share in these Morris tours. As you would have read in the last blog post this is the end of my participation but I am sure Helen will continue so watch her website. So what I am up to? Well for the past few days I've cleaned the house (you know….the girl clean!!) and done loads of washing. Today I have been preparing class notes for AQC 2015 which was due while I was away and also typing up all the information for the 10 quilts of mine that will be on display as a part of my obligation winning the recent Rajah award! I've managed far too many nanna naps (hence the 3am alerts), but of course some of the highlights of being home is this………

 Precious little Maisie is simply gorgeous and her big brother Beau just adores her. She is going to need our extra special care because under the other side of that dear little face is a wee ear that didn't quite develop. (medical term is unilateral microtia). She is scheduled for an MRI under anaesthetic in the next few weeks to see if there is in fact any hearing structure inside. Emily and Brett are the most incredible of parents and I am so proud of how they have adjusted to it all. I know intimately what it is like to give birth to a baby that has a little challenge. Sophie our youngest (who is now 30 years old), was born with a very rare aortic defect resulting in heart surgery when she was only a week old. As a mother we feel totally responsible and for this to happen again to our family leaves unanswered questions. Emily and I were both nursing in high risk areas at the time of pregnancy so who knows? But for now we are all blessed and we know for Maisie it could have been so much worse. She is indeed a little treasure and I am glad I am home to support her and the family…….

 Beau is the dearest and after lots of cuddles he has made himself quite at home once again. I am sure he thought I was flying around in an aeroplane for 4 weeks but no more of that now dearest Beau!
As I sit at the computer I can see through the window that Spring is almost upon us. The birds have been singing and a pair of wattle birds and finches have been nesting nearby……..actually I think this might be a honeyeater!

In the coming months I will be doing some more step by step tutorials on the blog with the first one being how to make one of these…………
But for now family wins… is so very good to be home amongst those that are so precious…..

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

A final day in 'old blighty'

Today is my last full day in the UK so I decided to spend it in London. I did have an ulterior motive as I needed to chase up my quilt which was being sent to the Society of Antiquaries from Australia. The quilt arrived in the UK 8 days ago and sadly it still hasn't shown up but I am hopeful it will soon. This is one of my William Morris quilts which I am hoping will reach a nice sum of money towards the restorations that are needed at Kelmscott Manor when the Society has their silent auction in September - I will keep you posted! So here is a record of my farewell journey today….(and I must have walked about 10kms!!)……
 From Windsor to Waterloo…..
 and then the long walk began………..

 Our regular lunch Larry!…..

 And here is the society right next to the Royal Academy…very appropriate…….

 A last visit to Liberty…...

 Captain Cook…...

 a final glimpse of Buckingham Palace…...

 The crowds of people in London this visit have been astronomical and the queues for the London eye went for miles. I heard today that just this year there have been 19 million visitors to the UK - and I guess I am one of them!

 My other purpose to visit London today was to record the incredible poppy display at the Tower and I wasn't disappointed. You can read more about this WW1 commemorative installation HERE…….

 So it has been a day to remember and for more reasons than one. While I have been over here I have made a very big decision and I am glad I could do it with Helen 'face to face'. As many of you know I have had a few health issues these past few years and this trip has certainly been a challenge for me. So it is with this in mind that I have decided that this will be my last trip to the UK. It is not only for my health but it is time to spend more moments at home with those special little ones and of course the whole family. Life is short and we need to make the most of precious times with those we love. But do stay tuned to Helen's website in particular for her future tours…...Whitecroft tours. The experience has been incredible and I have been blessed and so lucky to do things that many can't. So thanks for sharing in my journeys and see you at home!