Tuesday, 29 November 2011

A fledgling conquership & a request


As you may be surmising from my lack of posts this month: I am either sewing like a little dervish or have disappeared into a pit of despair that prevents me from even having the will to turn my laptop on. Luckily, it's the former. And despite all the busyness (or perhaps that should be because of) I am having so much fun and have found myself throwing in unnecessary challenges that could make things go very horribly wrong, but seem to be landing sunny side up.

I'm currently writing a quilt pattern - yes, the one that I started over a month ago that has seen me spending days drawing shapes for the applique element of it and more days learning to use Adobe Illustrator properly so that I can digitise all my pieces. It's a pattern for a quilt top, rather than the whole quilt, which means that I won't be instructing on how to quilt or bind it (if you're looking for help with that though, you can see my tutorial about how to make a patchwork quilt from beginning to end). So when I finished the quilt top last week it should have been a case of quilting it in my usual, safe way with lots of straight lines and then getting on with writing the pattern up. But for some reason I decided to potentially ruin the freshly made quilt top by giving free-motion quilting another try (in the past my brief attempts have left me feeling a little like I've been having a conversation with someone in Spanish; a language which I don't speak). I wonder if the need to try again came out of a sense that I had no right to be writing a quilt pattern if I was still shirking the free-motion issue after four years of making quilts. But either way, I know that I've felt constantly frustrated that it wasn't in my repertoire of sewing skills.


So I pre-wound several bobbins worth of thread, decamped to the dining room table where there's more space and began the adventure. To a seasoned free-motion quilter I have little doubt that there will be a hundred visible flaws in the curves and swirls that I've produced...but for me it was something of a fledgling success that I adored doing and can't wait to improve upon it. It made me feel slightly giddy when I stood back and looked at the entire quilt: I had finally conquered something that I'd thought impossible for me.


In between making this quilt and writing the pattern, I've also finally finished my mother's quilt which I'll hopefully show you soon. There has been an awful lot of hand-sewing as I've finished off the bindings for both quilts, which for me means that I get to watch television - something which I very rarely do. Last year, on my father's recommendation I started reading The Slap, but abandoned it half-way through as the characters didn't have enough redeeming features to make reading the rest of the book feel worthwhile. However, when Karen said that it had been serialised for television and that it was actually very good, I suggested this to my husband as the thing that we might watch while I did my sewing in the evenings. We have gobbled up all five episodes on iPlayer and now have a painful wait for each to be aired weekly in real time. The characters are only marginally more likable than those in the novel, but it's somehow very compelling viewing. So lovelies, especially the UK-based contingency...do you have any recommendations for what we can watch on iPlayer or 4od while we wait to keep us going? Every time we watch television we wonder at why we don't do it more often as it's so incredibly relaxing and provides some much-needed mindlessness (and I don't mean that in a derrogatory way or in a way that's a comment on the actual programme - I more mean that being passively entertained is a very good way of switching off). As my husband said to me last week after we'd been pondering over a problem: I'm coming to believe that thinking could be a very overrated thing.

Florence x

18 comments:

  1. Congratulations on the FMQ - it looks great! I'm afraid I have no iplayer, etc. recommendations but I'll be interested to see what other people suggest!

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  2. Your quilting looks lovely - FMQ is something I really, really want to try, and soon!

    In terms of programmes, I love Frozen Planet, Art of America, Romancing the Stone (sculpture series!) and Storyville on the iPlayer. On 4OD, I like Bettany Hughes History of the Ancient World and Time Team.

    Er. I've been ill alot lately, and online TV saved my sanity!

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  3. No tv recommendations I'm afraid, but congrats on the free motion quilting, you did a fab job! It's something I've been struggling to learn recently and unfortunately I just could not get to grips with it. (Thank goodness I enjoy hand quilting!)

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  4. Love your quilting, well done you.

    I want to watch The Manor Reborn, you could try that. When i was younger i used to love watching To the Manor Born (your [probably way to young to remember that though. It is only one nights viewing but the trailers looked good.

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  5. I'm working my way through The Killing at the moment. (apparently I'm the last person in the world to do so). It's nice to have the sheen of culture applied to trashy telly merely by it being in a foreign language. The American season on BBC Four looks good too.

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  6. Romney beat me to it. I can't recommend The Killing highly enough - probably the best thing I've seen on TV in years (the Danish version that is, not the American). x

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  7. Congrats on your free-motion success! I have been wanting to learn and my machine just won't do it. I'm hoping to get a new machine soon and seeing your results makes me eager to try again.

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  8. Hi Florence,
    This probably isn't very helpful, but I have come to love Youtube for some of the old tv series that are on there - Upstairs and Downstairs, Larkrise to Candleford - alot of the modern period dramas and the entire series of the American Survivor - very addictive once you start. I got hooked on it when I was bedridden with morning sickness and youtube saved my life! Some of them take some finding, but they are there! Midsomer murders are on there as well as some Agatha Christies. As long as you have fast internet, you're set.

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  9. The lovely tight swirls are great! Hopefully I'll get brave enough to try one day.

    TV-wise try to find some re-runs of House. The Killing has been suggested to me also, but you need to follow subtitles so it doesn't really work while you sew - for me anyway! Demand 5 has the new seasons of Grey's Anatomy and The Mentalist which I love.

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  10. For not having to concentrate too hard but great Mad Menesque tv (and I didn't actually watch Mad Men) is Pan Am. My mum still has a vintage Pan Am flight bag.

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  11. Romney and Jane are right: it's all about The Killing. I have to disagree with Romney that it's trashy, though - I'm pretty sure it would still seem like high-quality programming if I could understand Danish (which, having watched all 20 hours of the first series last winter, I feel I almost can). It makes me wonder how it took so long to get a female character like Sarah Lund on TV. Only trouble is it's very hard to sew and read subtitles at the same time. Simple knitting is almost manageable but knitters may be transfixed by the on-screen knitwear. There's at least one Wallander film on iPlayer at the moment too - the older Swedish version. Same sewing difficulties but excellent detective stuff.

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  12. So glad to find a fan of the Slap outside of Australia! It just finished here last week and I enjoyed it so much. The characters were all completely unlikable, but the story and the way it was made were so compelling. I haven't read the book and probably won't (because of the not very nice characters!) Not sure if it's been shown in the UK but another fabulous series is Rake, about a misfit barrister. Great stories and performances.

    Congrats on the FMQ - it looks great!!

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  13. That FMQ looks great, I dont thing my machine or I are up to it!
    No iplayer here as our internet speed is too sloooow, but out local library has some good box sets, we loved Justified and The Closer, only problem is the temptation to watch the next episode as well, which when you have a herd of cows to milk in the morning is not good!

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  14. Your free motion quilting is inspiring. I am also impressed that you didn't start small but went straight to the quilt top! I am sure that says something about your approach to life.

    I've been watching The Slap here too. It is amazing how good it is when so many of the characters are so unlikable. I've been watching the United States of Tara with Toni Colette and Big Love. They are both about disfunctional family set ups but I love all the character interactions.

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  15. Definitely watch Frozen planet! Amazing stuff!

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  16. I have to agree and say frozen planet, it's just incredible. Having said that I can't do anything crafty while watching it as my hands just fall down to my lap and I stare transfixed at the beautiful photography.

    For passive entertainment my guilty pleasure at the moment is actually Merlin! I know it's a kids show, but there's something nice about a good old-fashioned battle between good and evil and the costumes are lovely (the knights aren't bad either).

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  17. Got so caught up in that answer I forgot to say your quilting looks lovely! Can't wait to see the whole thing.

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  18. Thank you so much for all those wonderful recommendations. We are now on our fourth catch up episode of The Killing on iPlayer and are truly hooked - it's one downside is that the subtitles don't allow for multi-tasking with some handsewing, but sometimes it's nice to be forced into single-tasking (or single-relaxing!)

    Homebird - I do remember to the Manor Born - I think I watched it when I was about 5 with my older sister - I think it was on around the same time as another thing that we enjoyed called Ever-Decreasing Circles? Or am I imagining that name - it looks wrong written down.

    Danielle - we watched the fifth episode of The Slap too - it gets better and better! I'll try and source Rake in the UK.

    Thank you so much for your kind comments about the FMQ. x

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x