‘Curiouser and curiouser’ as Alice said when her feet disappeared from sight as her head shot into the stratosphere. Apart from a near miss, with a skillful skid, on a patch of whey, in my shiny bottomed crocs, my feet have not exactly disappeared. However we are now the proud owners of a fish tank heater. No we do not have any fish, we have cheese. Yes, I said cheese, the blessed stuff is taking over our lives. Daughter number two and I spent a portion of this afternoon searching for the fish heater. We found a very impressive pet shop. Not having any pets I haven’t been in a pet shop for donkey’s years. I seem to remember they didn’t smell very nice. I suppose the correct word if we are to believe Dr Johnson is actually stink as, not having noses pet shops can’t smell but boy did they stink. Anyway, this one was a bit like a pharmacy. I was very impressed. I presume there must be ventilation in the cages as there was only a vague aroma of mouse flavoured straw wafting through the air.
I think one of the problems is that up to the age of ten I lived in a house which regularly housed field mice. I seem to remember that on at least one occasion they took up residence behind the stove. (I often felt like that myself in the Winter). Mice behind the stove are not very nice. If memory serves they were fairly permanent but a combination of childhood memories and the fact my brain doesn’t work as well as it used to probably means it only happened once. They probably left in a hurry when my navy blue school knickers, put in the gas stove to warm in the winter, spontaneously combusted. It’s enough to make anybody leave home.
Enough of that, back to the fish tank heater. Apparently when you make gruyere in particlar you have to keep it in a humid atmosphere. Having spent years and money finding solutions to keep the cellars dry I did not take kindly to the suggestion that we bring in a humidifier and heater and make the corridor between the cheese cellar and the fabric cellar resemble a turkish bath. Compromise prevailed and we now have the cheese storage shelves surrounded in black sacks and a bowl of water with a fish tank heater. Who said your brain goes as you get older. Go on like this and we will slow down patent office business big time. I would post a picture but one black sack is much the same as another.
On an entirely different subject and back to applique. I expect that many of those who have looked at my blog and appliques such as the cowboys will think that it must be difficult to do machine satin stitch on small pieces. Bear in mind that the ones on my patterns are usually done on individual blocks. My friend bought one of the kits from Gollyville in Australia. (You really must click this link. It is amazing.) She took one look at it and realised it was a lifetime’s task. I thought the same but eventually I offered to do it (probably thought it would help me live for ever) and I must say it was one of the most enjoyable appliques I have done. Unfortunately I refuse to hand applique, life is too short and my head too full of ideas- although I admire those who do. The quilt had to be done on a single bed sized piece of fabric. Trying to manoeuvre that on a machine round small pieces is no picnic but actually I was surprised – it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. The biggest problem with it was that, as I had done so much applique over the years the zig zag mechanism was on its way out so some of the satin stitch was a pretty scalloped edge rather than the smooth finish it should have been. When I took the machine to be serviced the engineer wanted to know what an earth I had been doing to wear it out. He wouldn’t understand so I didn’t go into details. I was sad to lose the machine though as it had been a friend over many years. The point I am making is that you shouldn’t just look at complicated looking appliques. Have a go, you might be surprised.
To summarise from the blogs posted so far if you are thinking of applique perhaps you could start with something like the cot quilt featured in an earlier blog followed by something more complicated such as the farm wallhangings or quilt. Then go on to something more complicated as the pieces are smaller such as the cowboys and when you have mastered that the Gollyville should be a doddle and after that the sky’s the limit. As I keep repeating, the pace is the secret – only do what you are confident of being able to do but also do not do something you are going to get bored with and therefore not finish. Then we are into the realms of U.F.Os and there lie years of guilt and wasted opportunity. You really don’t want to start down that track.
I have just realised that I haven’t included any photographs which, this far down the blog is a bit remiss of me. If you want a challenge but not too big a one and with a stunning result try the Kookaburra cottage Noah’s Ark quilt. As you can see the photos were taken when it was still a U.F.O. – actually it still is but I will get round to finishing it soon. It’s just that the quilting isn’t my favourite bit.
and the pièce de résistance —
If you are thinking of making this quilt you need to sit down before you look at the pattern price. It started as a BOM (Block of the Month see side bar) so each animal is a separate pattern and priced as such . I think it’s worth it but then I’m an addict. If you look carefully you can see it is not difficult although it has the pieces overlapping the edges as in the my other post and also .
Happy quilting. I would appreciate some comment if you can spare the time. I have had a couple but I don’t know whether anybody enjoys the blogs or just thinks they are the rantings of a demented mind and steer clear after the first view. Please comment, even rude ones though I hope there aren’t too many of those.