But although I am a mamma bereft, all is not lost - I have had a wonderful new toy to play with which has gone some way to take my mind off the slings and arrows of maternal existence.
The very kind people at Accuquilt sent a rather nifty little number called a Go! Baby fabric cutter for me to try out, and to help me along was a book from Search Press written especially for Go! fabric cutters called Mix and Match Quilts with the Accuquilt Go! which has a dozen projects, and seems to me equally applicable to the Baby version of the cutter.
As one who started out in patchwork as a girl using a pair of not too sharp scissors and templates made from back copies of Harpers and Queen, and who only came to the wonders of rotary cutting a couple of years ago I was initially quite bemused by the idea that there was an alternative, but I have to say that after an afternoon's fabric fun, I am quite persuaded of its possibilities.
You might remember that here I told you how much I quailed at those quilt instructions which tell you to cut out, say, 200 quarter square triangles before you even thread your needle - well, this is where a Go! fabric cutter really comes into its own.
The mode of operation was pleasingly simple, and of much relief to me, as I am not of a mechanical turn of mind, and quite hopeless at interpreting those diagrams which tell you to fit part A into part B whilst simultaneously giving it a 90 degree turn anticlockwise whilst holding onto the antigravitational sprocket accessed via the impossible to locate transit bolt cover.
I just had to get my little Go! Baby out of its box, sit it on the table, and it was ready to use.
You choose the shape cutter (called a die) you want, put the piece of fabric on top, cover it with a plastic cutting mat, and slide it through the machine using a handle on the side to wind it through.
No electricity, no confusion, and hey presto, lo and behold! Lots of little cut shapes coming out the other side.
Under the supervision of Princess Bunchy who was lying on the sofa a little indisposed, I made a cushion cover using a selection of small pieces of fabric lurking in my stash.
In keeping with my practice of making and memory I incorporated some small blue-flowered scraps left over from a skirt I stitched for the princess a year or two ago, and some matryoshka fabric she had chosen in the centre squares - one of these is deliberately made of two triangles to enhance the scrappy effect. Other fabrics are from Tanya Whelan, Jennifer Paganelli and Lecien.
I used a quilt pattern called Star Delight by Alex Anderson, which came free with the 4in quarter square triangle set, as my inspiration: four 8in blocks make a 16in/40cm square cushion cover. What I particularly liked is that you can cut 8 triangles per layer of fabric per pass through the cutter, and you can use up to 6 layers of fabric - which means that you can cut 48 of these triangles in one pass through the cutter, which is a real timesaver for a bed quilt. Equally, I used the Value die, which has three shapes, to cut just four 2 1/2in squares out using a small piece of fabric fanfolded into four and just big enough to cover the square, so there is no need to waste fabric if you want to cut fewer pieces.
This die also came with an hourglass pattern which I am going to use to make another cushion, and I have found a lot of inspiration in the Mix and Match Quilts book.
I really like the Garden Trellis quilt made from strips and pieced sashing, although I am slightly scared by the label 'Skill Level: Advanced', not being of the advanced type at all.
More comfortingly, the flowery Bursting into Bloom is marked 'Beginner'; the cutting dies are also available in all sorts of applique shapes such as these flowers, as well as the traditional geometric ones.
So my new toy will provide plenty to occupy me as my children come and go - the only potential difficulty will be in smuggling large quantities of fabric into the house as the postman cannot be guaranteed to arrive when the Head Chef is mowing the orchard or communing with his pigs. I do have a big cupboard which sits rather conveniently by the letterbox and front door, but that is somewhat of a yarn repository, and um, slightly compromised shall we say, in terms of space available . . . I must go and read the Yarn Harlot again - she has lots of ideas about places to squirrel away stash. I seem to remember that she mentioned the piano - or was it a teapot . . . ?