Tag Archives: millamac

Of ‘andles and Fings Wot ‘old the Candles

26 Nov

I  have been helping Daughter Number Two to move house. They say it is one of the most stressful things we do – moving house not helping other people to do same.  Mind you there can’t be much in it.

I started the week at The Cotton Patch in Birmingham trying to get to grips with my quilting frame.  I bought it years ago and have hardly used it. I have to say that the course was very useful. The Cotton patch has a dedicated studio for teaching and familiarising so that if you decide to buy a machine or a frame you can ‘try before you buy’ as they say. (In my case ‘have a go before you throw’).  It was a very small group, there were five of us but I think normally it would have been four.  This means that everybody can have a hands on experience. This is the only way to go if you really want to learn something practical. I managed to spend rather a lot extra because I saw the value of a stitch regulator. This is a device that regulates the length of stitch. Having already used the frame I found that this was one of the problems; keeping stitches the same length throughout. The normal method of working the sewing machine on the frame is by way of a handle connected to a lever that presses down on the presser foot. I always found this quite stiff and as too many years of sewing obsessively have affected the hand I use to operate the lever the idea of something to help was very attractive. When I receive it and use it I will report on what hopefully are its benefits. I can certainly recommend the course if you are in UK.

Back to the moving – We felt the first sense of forboding as the van came round the corner. It was going to be too small. This wouldn’t have been a problem, except monetarily, if they had said so at the beginning. However they swore they could get it all in and they were the experts so we believed them. At least we did until the axels were practically on the ground and then we questioned the wisdom of travelling 400 yards never mind 400 miles in that state. ( Daughter Number Two has a bit of a background in Health and Safety) The long and the short of it is that Daughter Number Two and I left The Big Cheese supervising (thank goodness for Sudoku) and set off to reach the unit that was going to absorb the overflow, before they closed. The need for the overflow had something to do with trying to get a quart into a pint pot. In this case the quart was a large three bedroomed house and the pint pot a small two bedroomed flat Thank goodness for cousins buying a new house and being able to look after the excess. They had to repack the van and use a second one. They blamed it on the solid construction of the furniture but I am not sure how that would have affected the quantity. Mind you I am not an expert so what would I know.

Having  paid extra to transport the  furniture and boxes we then had to make up quantities for the charity shop. Yes I know but when it all went into store it might have been going back into the same house eventually. The removal men talked fondly of the day when everyone will have a Kindle and two bookcases had to be purchased to take the books. Yes I know but the furniture being looked after by the cousin is bedroom furniture and if you saw the size of these ‘double’ bedrooms you would understand.

I stayed on a while to unpack boxes and take deliveries which is why I have been offline for a while. Being without the internet was not as bad as I thought but it did mean I came back to hundreds of emails, most of which I didn’t want.

On the plus side I found  a quilt in one of the boxes. It was part of the tradition we have of making something christmassy for whoever is hosting Christmas. This was from Christmas three years ago. It is another Millamac pattern.

What a lot of eyes.

The frog family photo. Notice big brother on the right making gesticulations over small Brother’s head.

Possums ( I always want to write  possa – must be the classical education) fixing the Christmas lights. See the ‘thumbs up’ from the foreman.

Peering into the manger.

Dressing the Tree. Where is the safety officer when you need him.

The Choir.

Kangaroos with Presents.


When the Clock Strikes Three, Everything Stops for Tea.

18 Aug

Personally any time the clock strikes and in between time suits me. That is a little strange as my Anglo-Saxon roots are well diluted with potatoes and stout. There must have been an ancestral  teabody  who passed down the  gene undiluted. I suppose I’m lucky it wasn’t the one with a penchant for moonshine. Having this predeliction and also a stash with some flowery fabrics bought in a fit of something I cannot quite remember, the Millamac ‘Tea Party’ quilt was a bit of a must. I made it for Daughter Number One who could really do with an intravenous drip where tea is concerned. I don’t think she would go for the moonshine but you never know till you try. You certainly wouldn’t be wanting to take that intravenously.

This quilt  is called ‘Tea or Coffee’. I saw it advertised as a block of the month as ‘The Great Aussie Tea Party’ which I think has a bit more ‘Zing’ as a title. It shows various animals, birds etc taking tea – as they do.

The complete Quilt

The comment from the Australians that I showed it to was that the fabric made the teapot very ‘English’. I think they were thinking more ‘English Stereotype’. Personally you wouldn’t catch me with a pink flowery teapot but that is called interpretation.  There are times when I think I live on a different planet from other people.

I just broke off then to look out of the window as I heard a car. This may not be something that you would necessarily do but then you may not live on a street that is too narrow for cars. That does not stop people trying to drive down it though. They think if their holiday cottage has parking it must be outside the front door. This is a grievous error. There are railings outside my house By the time they realise they can’t get through and try to reverse, their wing mirrors perform like a child’s ears when he has stuck his head through the railings – they won’t go backwards. Still we don’t get a lot happening here so it all adds to the entertainment. It doesn’t do the paintwork a lot of good though, the railings or the car. If you go to the Polperro website you will see a couple of pictures of unlikely vehicles using the roads but in fact the road past my house is even narrower and they would not even have tried it. At least I don’t think so. I think there is a bit of a macho element that thinks it can drive anywhere despite signs to the contrary.

However, back to tea time. I rather like the kookaburras who are having such a good time the tea is getting spilt. The slit of an eye makes all the difference to the expression. The one on the right seems to have told a very funny story.

Don't Make Me Laugh.

In the next one the possum on the right is a busy little fellow. Pouring the tea and handing the cakes. If you are interested the cakes are called ‘Lamingtons’ and are plain cake dipped in chocolate and sugar and coated in coconut. Click here for the recipe and the theory of origin. They may sound a little odd but they are strangely delicious.

More Tea Vicar.

Then there are the koalas tossing pancakes into another block. See the expression on the face of the one tossing the pancake and the other watching it go whilst the third sifts flour. Lots of french knots there. Please note the steam from the coffee. A bit of backstitch there.

Where did that one go?

Then there are the ’emus what lunch’. It looks like milkshakes rather than solid food. I expect there are some of you that think I hand-embroidered the chairs. I don’t think so!  Satin stitch on the machine. I don’t mind french knots and a bit of backstitch but I have to draw the line somewhere.

'Ladies What Lunch'

The frogs were great fun. Just look at the one on the right. You can see her pursing her lips ready to drink the hot tea. Attention to detail like that puts the expression and humour into the picture. This is a quilt that makes you laugh.

Do Have a Cake.

Down at the bottom left it looks like Granny’s birthday with Junior delivering the cake. A very tactful one candle I see. More french knots on the cake and sundae in the foreground. They almost look good enough to eat.

Happy Birthday to You

The border fabrics were a jelly roll I just happened to have . I probably wouldn’t have thought of that fabric if I hadn’t had it in a jelly roll but I think it makes it. Someone asked me to make them a similar quilt but in creams and browns. It was a struggle bearing in mind the way my colour tastes run but I did it and it looked as good in its own way. Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of it so you will have to take my word for it.

Well I think it is about time to put the kettle on so I’ll love you and leave you as they say. I wonder if I can find some cake.

Many a Slip Twixt Cup and Lip

20 Jul

Now here’s a turn up for the books. I haven’t done much everyday cooking for years but tonight I have been requested to do so.  The Big Cheese says he loves cooking , helps him unwind apparently whereas it winds me up. My hairdresser says that anybody who says they find cooking destresses them, which could be a rough translation of ‘winding down’ is just after an excuse to drink the cooking sherry. Whichever it is it seems to work. Not that the Big Cheese ever seems to get stressed unless you count when he’s talking to me but I think he has a mechanism for that called ‘not listening’. That seems to work too. Anyway, I digress.

I suppose I shouldn’t complain as many a quilter has to do the cooking every night. I’m afraid I would have to buy a cookbook of ‘Meals to make when you have just realised it is 10 minutes to dinner time.’ This could consist of a lot of pasta which would in itself have me removed from the kitchen posthaste. He doesn’t like pasta, I prefer not to eat red meat but I am prepared to sacrifice my preferences to my need to be able to get on with more interesting pursuits. I may die early of some horrible disease brought on by rich food but at least I’ll die happy. Not sure what the Big Cheese will do with all the quilt tops I’ve accumulated over the years and never made into quilts but I guess that wont be my problem.

You will be pleased to know that the Millamac  quilt reported in the post of July 13th is coming along nicely. I have now started the satin stitch. What a lot of pieces were involved in placing though. Still, no pain, no gain as they say. See if you think it was worth it. They cheer me up anyway.


This is the one featured in the July 13th post when I had just placed it. Now it is stitched. As you can see there are bits that cannot be stitched yet as they go over the border and will have to completed when the various scenes have been joined with sashing. As  said in an earlier post, this is more difficult to do as you have to work with more bulk but makes a more interesting quilt in the end.

Sailing stitched in place.

Finally a view of the perils of the road hog on the slopes. I love this one.

The dangers of the 'croc racer'.

Anyway, that’s what I am doing at the moment. With a fair wind I am hoping to finish stitching before the weekend . I was going to have to help with the next batch of cheese but daughter number two is bringing her washing home so I’m hoping to do a deal.

You will be pleased to hear that my onion tart turned out well by the way. I used some of the Roquefort he made on the cheese course and even if I say it myself it was delicious. It’s not that I can’t cook, just that I can’t see the point. I was helped greatly by the fact that I bought him a Kenwood Chef for his birthday – no really – so I made the pastry, sliced the onions and whisked up the eggs and cream. in the machine. We had a nice little salad and he had a baked potato. I was taught at school that if you have pastry you don’t need a potato. Perhaps boys’ schools had a different philosophy. Or perhaps they did woodwork instead. Whatever, with the example of the head of the household  I have never managed to get the idea across to any of my family. Anyway, I am sure you are relieved he didn’t starve.

Roos, Damned Roos and Wallabies

13 Jul

I get very confused doing Australian themed quilts. I will be cruising along nicely having traced and placed several panels then I will come upon an animal I have never heard of. What for instance is an echidna? I came across this little fellow doing another of the Millamac designs – can you spot it on this link? It turns out that all my life I have been calling it a spiny anteater.  Then I will be quietly placing bits of kangaroo and find out that one of the creatures is actually a wallaby. It may seem a  trivial thing but it can be quite traumatic .

Anyway, I have already placed and fused four of the panels for my  quilt.  I would have done more but I had to embroider a birthday card for the big cheese – but that is another story. Several of the pieces overlap onto the sashing so it’s a bit of a challenge fusing just enough of the edge pieces that it doesn’t become necessary to prise them off the background in order to attach the sashing. Take note here as you can benefit from my extensive experience in doing just that – prising bits off the background that is. See what I mean below.


I would have got more done if I hadn’t had to keep answering the door. This consists of panicking when the doorbell brings me violently out of the necessary concentration for applique placing. This is followed by a dash across the length of the cellar, tripping over sundry items on the way. I then realise I haven’t unlocked the door yet and deperately try to do so before the person outside decides nobody is home and leaves. The reason I had to do this was that The Big Cheese and  Daughter the Second had gone off for a sail and a fish. Apparently the mission was nearly aborted as they couldn’t get out of the harbour. The village is finally having something done about the inadequate sewerage system and the only place for the subcontractor to park his huge boat for offloading was right in the harbour entrance. An agreement was reached with the trip boats that they would do a shuffle to let them out so the Big Cheese tagged onto the back of the queue and managed to get out into the sea. Unfortunately without wind sailing is difficult, nay impossible so they brought back a couple of fish instead. Funnily enough, unlike the home made cheese which is delicious, I am never too keen on foraged fish. I prefer them from the supermarket all packaged up with a bit of parsley and a nice slice of lemon.


After all the excitement of answering the door it took me a while to get back into the swing of things but I was drifting nicely into thought when the iron started screaming at me. The fact the iron screams is due to the problem I have of remembering to switch it off.  As a result all my irons – and I have a few – have timers. Why The Big Cheese had to choose timers with noise I do not know. He blames it on internet shopping and the lack of ‘try before you buy’ but I’m not too sure.

Great Barrier Reef

Enough of my problems, the point of this blog is to show you some of the stages of my Australian quilt.  See what I mean about the overhanging pieces. However they are worth it as they give the finished quilt a more interesting finished design.  Sometimes you have to suffer for perfection. If you want to follow the making of this quilt, keep reading. I will be posting comment and pictures as I progress.