A Quilt Block, a Quilt Dilemma and Some Random Thoughts
I bought these Anna Maria Horner Loominous fabrics last month and they're beautiful - they all have slightly different weights and textures and the feel of some of them surprised me by being perfect for dressmaking, as well as quilting. However, as I'd purchased them in fat quarters, I decided to use them for quilt making rather than a tiny bandeau top. I'd also somehow missed that they have shiny threads woven through them, so that was another revelation on seeing them with my very own eyes. The floral at the top is one of my favourite Kaffe Fassett prints, which happens to go well with them.
Not having had quite enough of English paper piecing curves with my Perpetual Spring pattern, I decided to draft something with a few more of them and found myself surprised anew (this is seemingly the post where I'm surprised by everything!) by how much easier they are to sew than I imagine them to be when I'm not actively sewing them.
Below is a photo of the block - mid-construction - reflected in my magic mirrors to give an idea of what it would look like if there were more of them. Although I've mentally moved onto my next EPP project, so I'm not sure that there will be more of them.
On other sewing matters, this quilt top (which I adore and very much want to get on with using!) has come to a sorry pause in production due to quiltification issues. Here is the sequence of events in reference to the photo below, which shows machine quilting in the upper half and hand stitching in the lower half:
2. I had a think about what to do and there were no helpful thoughts to be found in my head. Just a yearning for the feel of a hand-stitched quilt.
3. With no plan and pretending that the machine stitches weren't there, I began to do some hand quilting. I kept to the same density of stitch lines using small stitches. I did not consider that doing these two things in combination would mean that the quilt would take several years to complete. I only realised this a few days later when I had achieved just six lines of quilting and had only covered 2" with them.
4. On realising that the enormous quilt is now a hideous mishmash of hand quilting and machine quilting (I think those two things can look completely dreamy together, but my section of machine quilting is so large that there's no sense of the two intermingling) I put down my needle and have been background-thinking about this problem ever since February, without ever reaching a logical conclusion.
5. Here are the options that I think I have: do I finish this the easy way, by speedily unpicking the hand-stitches and machine quilting the whole thing and accepting that it's not quite as squashy as I'd like, but that it does look exactly the way that I wanted it to? Does dense machine quilting become softer with washing, I wonder? Do I unpick all the machine quilting, which will take forever and may leave holes in the fabric, unpick the hand-stitching and then hand quilt it with larger stitches in rows more widely spaced? Do I leave it under the bed for a few years festering while I think for a bit longer? I would love your input and Nell is now guarding the quilt for me (along with my trailing laptop cable), with her beautiful black button eyes, until I have been placed on a more sensible track.
In other random thoughts:
A few months ago, I decided to leave my less natural skincare products behind and have switched over to using Fushi products. I use their organic, cold-pressed Rosehip Oil in the morning as it's really quickly absorbed and has an oddly 'dry' feel to it that makes it perfect for using under make-up; and I use a mixture of Rosehip Oil & Evening Primrose Oil in the evening to treat my hormonal skin. The rosehip oil is also fantastic for treating scars, which is necessary after a freak (and slightly amusing) incident a few months ago when I was draining some ravioli rather too enthusiastically and a piece leapt up from the colander and slapped me on the forehead, leaving a large burn - although thankfully not in a square, with perfectly pinked edges! I also use Fushi's organic virgin shea butter on my skin and hair. It has a really hideous consistency that needs to be warmed in your palms to emulsify and it takes a lot of work to absorb it into the skin, but the results are miraculous. I really love that their products are so pure that with most of them you can choose to drink them, put them on your food, put them in your hair or put them on your skin.
I found Fushi's glass bottles slightly maddening though as they tended to drip, leaving little drops of oil about the place. I've now decanted them into little bottles and found them to be much more user-friendly. Plus, I've put gorgeous Rifle Paper stickers on them, which make me happy every time I use them.
Let's talk weird clocks. When I was a teenager, my father travelled a lot and was sometimes away for a few weeks at a time. As well as him arriving home, I would also always really look forward to the gifts he'd bring with him, which seemed deliciously foreign, such as a Japanese kimono or a little origami bookmark. From one trip, when I was about 12, he gave me a digital alarm clock. Several years later when I was away at university, one term I painted quite a lot of my furniture and I decided to spray my alarm clock silver (completely obscuring the settings in the process!). Since then, my husband and I have regularly agreed that the alarm clock is a hideous monstrosity with its flaking silver paint, but for some reason neither of us could bring ourselves to replace it...it had become this weird thing that we felt sentimentally attached to, even though neither of us knew why; almost like a talisman. However, this month we painted our bedroom, got a brand new bed and finally it felt like the right time to move on and have a grown-up alarm clock (I love the video which tells the story of the name behind this clock). I hope the adventure continues to be just as good with a new alarm clock in tow but if it falters even slightly, I shall buy a spray can and modify it! Do you have anything in your own home that is hideous but that you're too attached to to get rid of? I feel slightly ashamed to be sharing a photo of this, but it feels worthwhile to preserve the memory of it and also to properly convey what a curious thing it is that I've chosen to have this by my bedside for twenty-seven years. And just in case you're wondering, it's set ten minutes fast for tricking-ourselves-that-we're-late purposes that we find we no longer need, so our new clock is set to the right time.
Finally, a book. Last night, I read The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin - it's a simple, easy novel to read, but at the same time it draws complex and interesting characters that I quickly became attached to - I absolutely loved it and read it in one long sitting. Have you read anything good lately?