I did a lot of stitching lately. I wanted to overdye a few fabric pieces.
I chose another blue, cobalt blue, for the second bath. I believe the first one was cerulean blue. (I did the first layer a long time ago.) I'm using cold reactive dyes.
I am still trying to use the green/blue fabric in a quilt. But really, it isn't working! Here's a little peek at my design wall.
Maybe it needs to be overdyed too. I think I'm going to try a very dark blue.

My blog post in Japanese last week was just a little test. I intended to explain it earlier, but in the meantime, I got an awful back pain and didn't feel like sitting at the computer... Anyway, the idea was to see how Japanese script looked on my blog. No, I don't intend to blog in Japanese. Not yet ;-)
I simply wanted to add a page to my blog with some kanji I'm trying to memorize in order to be able to "read" my Japanese magazines more quickly. I call it my "Japanese glossary". Of course it is a work in progress and it is still very short at the moment.
And just in case you wonder, the title of the post means "kanji", and the phrase means "it's raining today" as you might have guessed from the picture.
Today, it is sunny. Here's a little pic I took this afternoon in my garden...

Forget Me Knot

I have just finished reading Forget me Knot by Mary Marks.  It is a wonderful mystery.  I love how quilting was interspersed with the murder mystery. I enjoyed all the little quips like the reference to Poirot.  I also liked the detail of quilting like how Martha used an 11 needle to stitch.  Something I use myself.  It was full of intrigue with many twists and turns.  It started when Martha Rose, the main character, and two of her quilting budies went to the home of a fellow quilter, Claire Terry,  and found her dead.  Although the police were involved in the search for the murderer Martha just couldn't help getting involved.   I loved the idea of the quilts telling the story of Claire's life. At risk of her own life being taken Martha continued her search for the person who killed Claire. Very clever using the French knots to guide Martha to the killer.   It certainly kept me on the edge of my seat.  I look forward to reading more from Mary Marks.  If you love a mystery and enjoy quilting this is a book for you.

Experimental Flowers in Watercolour

I loved this book.  Ann Blockley explores experimental techniques and explains the texture of various flowers and vegetation.   The accompanying photographs in the book are clear and made me want to get out the watercolours and brushes.  A beautifully presented book.  I loved the use of gesso and cling film in some of Ann's work.  This certainly was something a little different.  A must for any artists's bookshelf.  



This is just a little test!

The Vicar's Wife

I have just finished reading The Vicar's Wife by Katharine Swartz.  A new auhor to me so I wasn't sure what to expect.   I was completely taken in by the stories of the two main characters Alice and Jane.  Alice was a young bride when she moved to the small Cumbrian village with her husband a vicar.

Jane was an American living in New York with her British husband and 3 children.  Jane led a hectic life running a charity and jugling family life.  After 16 years living in New York Jane's husband wanted to relocate to a small Cumbrian village and so they bought the vicarage where Alice once lived.

I was completely enthralled reading the two narratives, Jane in the present and Alice in the 1930s and the early war years. 

When decorating Jane came across a shopping list which intrigued her and made her want to know more about the person who wrote it and who had lived in the vicarage before Jane and her family bought it.

I loved reading about the family's trials and tribulations as they tried to make a new life in their new home and also the life that Alice had lived.  

A great read that really captured my imagination.

Do ahead Dinners

I have just read through James Ramsden's Do ahead Dinners.   This is the time of the year for comfort food and at a time when we are all so very busy do ahead dinners seemed like a great idea.  If you are entertaining then it is always good to have as much as possible prepared in advance so that you can spend time with your family. 

Some things can be done days ahead and hours ahead even frozen part way through although I am not a fan of the freezer.  Although the recipes are geared for 6-8 people they can easily be altered for fewer people.  It is a book giving practical ideas for staged cooking and is not gimmicky.  The fennel soup sounds gorgeous and one I am certainly going to try is scotch quails eggs.  I am never sure what to do with quails eggs.  I have only ever boiled or poached them.  A very nice book and one I will add to my already large cookbook library.

Quilting with a Modern Twist

I have just finished reading this most interesting book.   Quuilting with a Modern Slant by Rachel May.  It introduces 70 modern quilters.  Some are household names and others are less well known and some are known through their blogs.  Altogether a very interesting selection.   Although the projects are basic the quilters introduce their stories, techniques and projects which will have you diving into your fabric stash.

I think this wiould be a great book for the City and Guild student.  I wish it was around when I did my City & Guilds in Patchwork and Quilting.   It would be a great resource for all levels of C&G students.

As a quilt judge I was intrested in reading about modern quilkts and what they are.  Quilting with a modern Twist is certainly going to take a place in my book library.  It was provided to me by Netgalley for review. 

Indian Summer

We are enjoying very mild temperatures for this time of year.
Summer plants are blooming again. We even discovered a few tiny fraises des bois in the garden.
The other day, I had a little student. I'm not sure GD's way of holding her tapestry needle is very academic, but it is incredibly efficient...
She also made herself a beautiful necklace.
No need for a needle here, we used very stiff cotton yarn.

Next is a little peek at some of my sketchbooks...
I've been trying to draw everyday for several months now. Some days, it's only a five minute sketch, or just a little colour experiment.
I made some of the above sketches while taking Alisa Burke's "Summer Sketch" online workshop. Two or three drawings are from my travel sketchbooks. And the last one must have been inspired by Carla Sonheim's "Imaginary Creatures" workshop I took last year.

Two prints

Here are two of the ugly prints I did the other day. (I don't find them that ugly anymore!)

While sorting my pictures today, I stumbled upon this one...
I wanted to make a blue/green scrap quilt, inspired by the pictures I took in Fontaine de Vaucluse in July. Eventually, it turned into a yellow/orange quilt. Now I think I need to use this blue/green background to make another piece in the series.
And here is, at last, a photo of one of the baby quilts I made for GD2, plus the baby on top of the quilt!  (The picture was taken about two months ago.)