[If you are looking for the giveaway, click here.]
For the first weekend in some time I did no knitting or sewing (in spite of the fact that I hauled a big bag of yarn and needles down to Devon and back), but luckily I can show you a pretty picture for here is something I made earlier.
Yes, yet another another patchwork cushion because I seem to be on quite a roll thanks to the dear old Go! Baby, which has certainly revved up my productivity.
I am beginning to realize that the thought of all that cutting out was a barrier to creation, and now that by winding a little handle for a few seconds, wham! 32 triangles can appear as if by magic.
You may remember that I made the cushion above for my sofa a little while ago, and I felt that it needed a friend to cuddle up to. I did not want to use exactly the same pattern, but I did want to use the Go! Baby to do the cutting, and being a relative newbie to this sort of patchwork, I found this book from Search Press very helpful in giving me ideas as to what patterns I could make with my half-square and quarter-square triangles.
It is called Patchwork: 200 Questions Answered, by Jake Finch, and is a handy little companion, particularly useful to the novice patchworker, as it answers all those questions you need to know the answer to but don't know who to ask.
It shows you exactly how to piece a huge range of blocks, from the simple to the complex, and also covers the finishing of quilts, sashing, binding, etc. The only criticism that I have is that the book would be hugely improved if it had imperial as well as metric measurements - I know that officially the UK is metric, but most quilting in this country is done using inches, and in fact when I started out I could not have bought a metric cutting mat or ruler in my local shop even if I wanted one.
After some thought, I decided to do the centre of the cushion using my 4in finished size half-square triangle die, with a border of quarter-square triangles to link up with the first cushion, using red and aqua reproduction feed sack fabric. The Go! Baby really came into its own when after cutting out all my triangles and laying them out I changed my mind about the colour scheme - I was able to cut out another 20 quarter-square triangles in a trice. I know that if I had had to start again with the rulers late on a Saturday afternoon I would probably have given up!
But I won't waste the rejected colour, which you can see making up half of the back envelope - I have another cushion design planned for the triangles I cut from this fabric, which I think will involve some of Amy's My Happy Place fabric. (I have also found out that if you sign up with Accuquilt, not only can you download the free pattern books I mentioned before, but they also have a big selection of free patterns which can be downloaded direct from their store, which I have found a great source of ideas and inspiration.)
So two out of the three sofa cushions are now done - and now I will give you a handy little hint. These cushions are sitting on two 'thrifted' chairs: in fact, they were so thrifty that they were free, abandoned to their fate by their original owners. But before acquiring a chair, please do sit on it. And if it is not comfortable at first, then forget the proverb encouraging you to try, try and try again, however wonderfully shabby chic it looks.
I spotted the chair on the right outside a cottage that was being renovated one day a dozen years ago when I was out walking the lanes, when thrift, and vintage, and recycling weren't nearly so commonplace as they are now. The builders looked incredulous when I asked to take away the chair and highly amused as I lugged it off down the lane, so pleased with my find. They had obviously tried sitting on the thing which has bitten and harassed everyone who has sat on it since, however many cushions it is loaded with. A stream of polite guests have said, no, I'll be absolutely fine here, when the family have vainly offered to take the pain as they seat themselves all innocent and unknowing at the table.
But enough is enough. Twelve long years and I have finally come to the conclusion that as nothing is going to make that chair comfortable to sit on, why on earth do I give it house room? The Fly Lady says that you have to declutter as the first step in gaining Control over your domestic situation; I am going to pack that pesky seat bag and baggage out to the bonfire and consign it to the flames and will not pretend any longer that its looks can compensate for its vicious tendencies.
And I have the Fly Lady to thank for a relaxing weekend away. The Head Chef and I took our short break - many kind thanks to those of you who wanted to send us to Tuscany, Canada and the like, but with such a short time available we headed south-west to our spiritual home for a revivifying walk on the beach at Padstein and some invigorating cliffs and crashing waves at Hartland Point.
I was able to head off with a clear conscience thanks to my very shiny sinks and buffed-up bathrooms; the rest really did not seem so very bad, and even a tearful phone conversation from Princess Bunchy due to her having suffered a very serious sick feeling All Day which necessitated Leaving the Pool Early at swimming club, and multitudinous phone calls between the back door and Guildford, only caused me the slightest wobble. You will be glad to hear that the Ploughboy took her in hand and administered his fail-safe remedy for all ills: drink two pints of water (preferably followed by a hearty meal) and retire to bed early, and I just concentrated on thinking about the uplifting power of shiny sinks.
So here are some handy hints: if you want a nice holiday in Devon I can highly recommend The Old Granary at Leigh Farm in Hartland; two pints of water proved very efficacious in curing a sick Princess; sitting on chairs is a surefire way to tell if they are comfortable.
Now back to the fray: real life begins again with sinks to shine, a house to declutter, and Routines which promise much (not to mention a new pattern to try out, too). Which shall I start with . . . ?