Tuesday, 23 February 2010

more material than you can shake a stick at.

Well I am home from work, had a fab cuppa made by Spadger and am about to start sewing the final block in my quilt. Hopefully I'll be back with a pic for you later. I hope my evening goes a little better than my day. I managed to throw a couple of very full and heavy lever arch files at myself today. It's ok, I caught them with my chin!!! No bleeding so I call that a win. I have 2 tiny little cuts to show for it but man it hurt :o(

The quilt top is finished. However dear reader there is no picture yet. This is because Spadger pointed out that the recipient may read this blog. So it's a secret til it's been given. Quilt, what quilt?

I only made one mistake during the whole sewing and it was easily done. I ironed the strips in the wrong order so consequently sewed 2 strips in the wrong place as they were the same length. So my errors in this mammoth (80x80 inch roughly) project have been 1 miscalculation that actually worked in my favour, 2 incorrect lines of sewing and only 1 broken needle. I also only stabbed myself with a pin once. All in all pretty good. All that is left is sewing it all together, binding it and the actual quilting. This will all begin on Saturday after I get to go shopping. Now I'm going to have a wee drinkie as my back is killing from too much pinning and cutting at a table that is too low.

So quilt, what quilt? :o)

Friday, 19 February 2010

Block one complete

I got the first block of my quilt top done. It isn't perfect. There are lines that don't quite match up. However it is pretty darn close for a first proper attempt. It measures in at 39 inches so that is spot on. Now I just need to complete another 3 just like it and then sew them together.

The fact that it is ending up a bit bigger than I planned does mean that I may have to buy a little bit more material to put a border round the back piece to bring it up to size or I will be loosing some off the pattern on the front and that will look odd.

So I need to get these other 3 blocks done by Friday night so I can go buy the rest of the stuff on Saturday. Best get looking for a stencil online.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Fractious fractions

I have never been one for fractions. I did quite well at math during school but fractions and their decimal counterpart percentages always bothered me. They just never made any sense. Unfortunately they still don't. Now I have taken an interest in patchwork this lack of knowledge and understanding is finally inhibiting me. Add to that a serious lack of 3D spatial awareness and you have a recipe for many mistakes.

Cue my latest one. I took a quilt block and decided to make it bigger. This way I only needed 4 of them to make the size quilt I want to do. I decided I needed to make them 3 times bigger so I multiplied all the measurements by 3. Ah this was my gargantuan mistake. All the measurements include seam allowance. By just multiplying I have also multiplied the seam allowance by 3. Ah indeed.

But with much help from Spadger it i fixed. I am going to continue sewing as I was which will leave me with lots of square that are too big which I will then cut down to the right size. This is a little bit more hard work than getting the measurement right before sewing but I have done one lot already. By doing it this way I can ensure that they are all reasonably identical.

Note to self; next time take measurements, remove seam allowance, multiply, add seam allowance back on.

Monday, 15 February 2010


Parinirvana is the final nirvana which is realized upon the death of the body. This means that you have reached enlightenment and upon death will be released form the cycle of Samsara (not the perfume). Parinirvana day is the celebration of Buddha's achievement of Parinirvana. So, it is the celebration of his death day. (Anyone else think of Sir Nicholas in Harry Potter?)

For me the celebration of Parinirvana is done by trying extra hard to be mindful of my thoughts and actions during the day.

It's a short but sweet explanation folks as I am about to scraf down some food before going to see Food Inc. Hope you are all having a great day!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Kong Hei Fat Choi

Happy Chinese new year everyone. Me and Spadger don't do Valentines day, never have. If we can't celebrate out love every day there is no point! Fortunately for us neither do our 2 closest sets of friends. So, with Chinese new year falling on the same day, we have decided to have a group meal tonight. Everyone is bringing something. I'm gonna try and make some traditional red packets but I'm not sure what to put in them. We're not exactly flush so it'll be 8 pence rather than pounds that goes in but I'm not sure what else to add.

So my day will involve a lot of cooking and cleaning. This is starting to seem fairly usual for a Sunday. I'm starting to get withdrawal symptoms from my sewing machine. I can't remember the last time I used it. Now I know it can't be that long ago but man it feels it. I have 6 more squares to cut out for the quilt I'm making and I have a pile, well, a PILE of refashioning to do before I can even think about making anything from scratch. I need to quit my day job to fit in all the crafting I want to do hehehe

As if I don't have enough to do I also want to make some cakes to take into work tomorrow. It is Parinirvana and I would like to introduce all my workmate to this.

Well back to the kitchen for me. The yeast should have risen now for the bread :o)

The bread is just beginning second rise, the cake is out of the oven and I have cleaned downstairs. I fully intend to spend the next half hour doing nothing and then start on the next round of baking when the bread goes in the oven. Then it's the ironing for me. A day that involves both vacuuming and ironing, my cup runneth over!

the bread is out, the cake has cooled, experimental muffins are in and I'm still trying to put off the ironing :o) Must focus! If I get the ironing done then I can have some sewing time before I have to start cooking for this evening. Right, I will start the ironing as soon as the muffins are done.

The ironing is done, yay. Now I am making a cuppa as I am freezing and then I intend to cut the last pieces for the quilt and maybe start sewing it. It's currently a toss up between sewing and a bath.

All the pieces are cut and stacked ready to sew. I've hit a point where I might as well not start sewing as I'm not gonna get much done. So I'm gonna have my cuppa and then have either a bath or a shower, whichever I have time for now.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Are you local?

I was directed to this fab article about the Martin food cooperative this morning. This is exactly the kind of thing I would like to see happening all over the world. People taking responsibility for their own food. Now I'm not suggesting for a moment that we all need to start growing our own. It would be great if we could but in our industrialised country it's not possible everywhere, let alone the fact that not everyone has the time or skill to do so. No what I mean is supporting things like CSAs. CSA stands for community supported agriculture. Basically you pay a set amount per month which gets you a share in the farm. For this you get a veg box every week during the growing season. Your money goes on equipment, seeds, paying the growers and improving the site. You can also volunteer to help out at the farm which obviously helps them out a lot. The one we have joined also runs social events for all share holders. Ours is also split into full shares, which would feed 3-4 people, or half shares which are for 1-2. Half shares cost slightly more as there is more admin work involved but this was very clearly explained before we signed up.

These schemes encourage small agriculture. I think that small agriculture is an important thing. Currently all our agriculture in this country is geared towards selling in large amounts. Farms focus on one product and market it to the supermarkets or to people who will turn it into something for the supermarkets. Communities don't see what is actually produced right on their doorsteps. It's not like you can find it in the supermarkets either. I have had days where I've struggled to find reasonably priced English bacon. Now I'm sure we have pigs in this country, I've seen them. But it makes more money to sell our products abroad and then import stuff. How nuts is that?!?

With the global markets for food we have lost all touch with what is seasonal. Why worry about it when you can have whatever tickles your fancy just by picking it off the shelf. Never mind that it's travelled half way around the world to get to you. Never mind that it was grown in a hot house so you could have it in December. Never mind that it has been hybridised to be plentiful and hardy without any consideration to the taste. Me and Spadger try our best to eat in season and in Europe at the furthest. We have a few exceptions, our sin foods if you like. One of these is bananas and the other is Sweet Potatoes. Everything else we look at the labels before we buy. English food is obviously preferable. Then comes Europe. We try to keep even the European food close to home. So if it's a choice between a french product or an Italian on the French would win. It means that we have to think more about what we are eating and it means we are expanding our culinary repertoires.

This weekend we went and collected our first share from the CSA. In it we got potatoes, carrots, sprouts, salad leaves, beetroot, celeriac, baby turnips and parsnips. We also got 2 bonus parsnips that were in the "gift box". I think they were there because they were too big, so wouldn't fit into the weight you were allowed, and also too ugly. I like ugly veg :o)

Now as you can see it's not a mountain of veg. It certainly won't last us a week. However this was the haul at the height of the none harvesting season. I'm quite chuffed with it. Now I just need to find celeriac recipes.