Monday, June 16, 2008

A Busy Week

It's been a busy week here at Austin Towers.

There have been birthdays to celebrate and things going on which haven't left a lot of time for reading or knitting.

The Evilpixie turned 18 last week, and is now officially an adult. I am left wondering just where exactly all those years have gone.

Pete's birthday is tomorrow but we already had his present which was a day out to the BBC Good Food Show Summer at the NEC on Thursday. We went on the train so we could fully partake of all the free samples of wine, cider, sloe gin. We ate quite a lot too. A good day.

On Saturday we toddled off to the Three Counties Show at Malvern where we saw a great array of chickens, goats, sheep, ducks and some wonderful Gloucester Old Spot piglets, plus merchandise of all kinds. We watched the White Helmets Motorcycle Display Team do complicated and dangerous things on motorbikes, we watched the wool handling competitions and the sheep shearing competitions and a gundog scurry. It was a very hot day (not forecast to be that hot!) and we both got a little bit sunburned. I was very bad at taking photos but here are some Badger-Faced Welsh Mountain sheep being judged....

This little chap was being shown for the first time and he wasn't at all keen.

We had a great time at the show and would recommend it to anyone. Unfortunately there were no alpaca at the show this year - something to do with the dreaded blue tongue, I think, but the breeders were there and I bought a little fibre to spin in a lovely pale caramel shade.

Today I have been indulging in my latest obsession which is quilting. I suddenly got it into my head that I wanted to make a quilt. (I am blaming Jane and Lene for this.) I was first drawn to it by the flashy Kaffe Fassett colours on Jane's blog, but when I did a bit of reading and acquired a few books and magazines I decided that what I really wanted was a proper old-fashioned traditional quilt. (Which is not to say that I won't make a bright modern one at some point in the future - I still love those Fassett prints.) A couple of weeks ago I stumbled across a little remainder book shop in Beeston which had a lovely selection of quilting books including this one. It takes you through all the skills you need to make a sampler quilt, block by block, and at the end you have a quilt. This seemed to me to be the ideal project for a beginner so I spent a few weeks collecting together some suitable fabrics and today I finally made a start.

Here is the result - block one of seventy-two!

It's by no means perfect but I think it's not too bad for a first attempt. I haven't done any patchwork since the 1970s when it involved a lot of cutting of templates and bits of card. This seemed much simpler and took me just an afternoon. I hand-stitched it - despite planning to use the sewing machine, when it came to actually sewing I felt the need to stitch it by hand. This may or may not continue. Further blocks will follow as and when I have time. This will be a long term project!

Books and knitting update later in the week. I've been a little distracted by Euro 2008. So much football, so little time!

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