Heavens this is bright

I have never made a quilt you need sunglasses for… This will clearly be one! Top almost pieced — here it is all laid out. The fabric between the bright patterned fabric was hand dyed with Procion colours, probably at a quilting retreat a few years back. The fabric is Kaffe Fassett, from a ready-cut pack (badly cut! never really square!).

On the chicken-news-front, Ms Brownie was peacefully raising her chick in the garden when we received a phone call from some chicken-raising-friends asking us if we’d like to see if she’d accept a second orphan chick they had been raising with ducklings. Poor little chap was a few days old but wasn’t doing well: the silly ducks kept getting him wet, and his feathers weren’t equipped for that. So following our friends’ advice, we moved Brownie inside into the freshly-cleaned guinea pig cage, and slipped in the orphan baby, christened Calimero by the children. New surroundings for all. The risk in such a case is that the mother hen kills the new baby…

At first, Brownie was so furious to be moved, she paniqued a bit, hissed and tried to bite me, then had a double-take when she realised her precious baby seemed to have been moved with her… but had multiplied. But, very soon, both chicks seemed to know what to do and headed straight under her wing. Mummy instict set in, and she started purring and cheeping at them both.

We’ll leave them in the cage overnight, and if all looks well, move then back to the garden tomorrow. Silence, and some tiny peeping and a purring hen, in the sitting-room now…  I do hope it works! Everyone deserves a mummy. 

Happy parenting to all, whatever species you or your babies may be! JJ

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Songs of Spring

Just in case anyone was wondering, I’m still here. Much less sewing than I thought, much more life. Children now fluent in Italian. Lots of pony and horse riding. Chickens, too. A rotten sickness over the winter, energy now mostly back. Quilty friend Ms L visiting next week. Hoooooray. I had to finish the cushions I made from her sweet gift to me last year. I keep thinking I ought to just sit back and write up our amazing year, but time fleets by and I don’t.  

   Happy sun! JJ

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Some are just larger

Oh you poor hen, I feel your pain…

Easter is just around the corner (and yes that is a jar if Christmas Mincemeat peeping out on the right that we really should eat!).

Happy laying! Or not. JJ

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Chicken Quilt

Chickens… Quilts… What can I say? It had to happen. 

You can blame one of my wonderful doctoral students who gave me two pieces of chicken-themed fabric from a shop in Amsterdam. Don’t I have great students?

Now… How to assemble them? I am thinking a thin solid green border on each to frame the blocks, then cream sashing. Would that work? The text prints are from some cheap tea towels I picked up in a local supermarket.

Elsewhere in the world, my grandmother is having her 92nd birthday. I can find few better ways of celebrating International Women’s Day than that. Hurray for her! I can remember, eons ago, learning to sew on her hand-crank Singer one summer holiday in Suffolk. Precious memories. One real lady.

Happy chickening. I’m sure the beasties will approve whatever I chose to do with the quilt. JJ

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Green eggs (and ham?)

A marvelous surprise awaited our return from a few days back in Switzerland. Our first green egg from ‘Brownie’! Clever little South American hen… I must order the Dr Seuss book of that same title for the children, to celebrate.

The almond tree is blossoming too, so signs of Spring are all around. Good. I’ve been frightfully unwell, so this is encouraging.

Happy change of season! JJ

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A break from hexagons to make a gift for a baby. It’s useful to have a mathematician husband who tells you, just as you blindly set off the wrong path, that you cannot make a ball with only hexagons… So rather than make a true football (hexagons and pentagons), a quick online search led me to Abby Glassenberg’s useful tutorial, and templates, so I didn’t need to work out Alone that I needed twelve pentagons. A few hours later, a little flannel ball was born. A Kinder egg provided a little plastic container in the middle, with a little bell inside. A very satisfactory tingle!

Stuffed with polyester, and stitched up!

That was fun! Now, to make another, while visiting my ‘onions’ quilt.
Happy stitching! JJ

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Onions and squares

I mentioned a few days ago that Ms L so terribly kindly sewed the binding on two quilts that I had finished quilting just before leaving Switzerland last summer (Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!). I had so wanted to leave them to my dear mother to use, but didn’t get them done in time, in the madness of our family move south. I was so grateful to my lovely friend for doing this last step. My mother just sent me some photos, taken by phone, but it gives an idea. It look forward to seeing them being used. Both were, if remember correctly, pieced during Peaks.

Japanese squares3They are both back by fabric taken from duvet covers from the usual large Swedish place. The ‘onion’ quilt was a project to learn about using fusible appliqué. We had to layer and cut out several shapes. This slightly thicker batik fabric worked well. I went a bit crazy with the left over bits to make what ended up becoming the centre block.

onions2OnionsThe second quilt was made with fabric from Japan that I brought a few years back at the Tokyo Great Quilt Festival (that infamous time I got ‘flu and got stuck in Japan for ten days in a lonely hotel room, banned by my airline from flying…).

Japanese squares2 Japanese squaresI was hugely relieved to see that the burgundy linen didn’t run in the wash, although apparently it made several paper ‘colour catchers’ very dark in the process. Both quilts were quilted on Ms E‘s longarm in Geneva, as she very kindly let me use it, switching bobbins and generally helping me get the hang of it.

I have discovered there is a quilting group in Pisa (yay!) so hopefully I will meet them soon. My Italian needs stretching to some new sewing terms!

Linking this up to “Finish it up Friday“, because, hey, it’s Friday.

Happy quilting! JJ

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