Tuesday

Quitches Be Crazy 5


How did it get to week 5 already? I have really enjoyed writing these posts, but as autumn has approached and the nights are getting longer my days are filling up with the final year of my course and nbnq is settling into her new job we have decided to switch from weekly to monthly. If you want to join in and this monthly approach suits you better, check out the quitch-along instructions here.

To celebrate my favourite of all seasons this week we have gone autumnal:

Q1) Text - Autumn is firmly here. What do you do to get into the spirit of the season? 



There are a few things that I do that I love so much I try and keep them just for autumn to keep their specialness and kick the season off to a good start. Like all people who work in or around university admin I never grew out of the academic year. For me 1st January is just the end of the Christmas holidays and not the start of the new year, but come October I feel a desperate need to buy new pens and notebooks and make plans for the year ahead. Since going back to uni this hasn't changed but this year is accompanied with a sense of dread and endings as this is my final year. Every month is going to contain my last something, so I am throwing myself headlong into my other autumn traditions to keep the gloom away. These include buying new wool and casting on new socks, drinking hot chocolate and gorging myself on Thornton's Special Toffee. I love this stuff like cats love catnip so I am very strict and only allow myself 1 month a year when I can eat it, so between now and November you are unlikely to find me without a bag of this somewhere amongst my person.

Q2) Photo What sums up the back to school season for you?



Wearing boots and tights obsessively though sadly these boots are getting to the point of no more repair. Like I said, this year seems to be all about endings!

Q3) Linky/ Photo/ Text - What's inspiring you this week?


The stash of books I bought last week are currently filling my head with possibilities and ideas. 

Q4) WIP?

I have finally finished and quilted My Mother, Myself quilt it just needs straightening up and binding. It is the first thing that has been properly quilted on my frame and I learnt a lot from it. I have a full post on it planned so no sneaky peeks just yet!

Remember to check out nbnq's quitch post. As we both share such an autumnal love I am looking forward to what she has written!

ps
Sorry this is being posted a day late, I have been changing ISP's and it has as always been a nightmare! still transitioning so I am sending this from the wifi at work!

Friday

Feel the fear, then buy books



Last year this is what my car looked like. BS and I had an accident on a very wet and rainy night, we hit a puddle on a country road which turned out to be much deeper than it looked and we aquaplaned into a tree. Now the car looks all kinds of dramatic but we escaped with a few scrapes and bruises. I was also left with a big old fear of cars, especially being in or driving cars in the rain. Even the sound of rain on our attic roof has been know to keep me awake more nights than I care to remember. I live in Hereford which is pretty rainy county and having just bought a new car I know I need to get over this. Today dawned a grey and rainy day with no particular lectures or tutorials to go to so I decieded to take the plunge and drive to Hay-on-Wye to hunt out a few new architecture books. It doesn't sound like much of a challenge but purposefully choosing to drive in the rain, on winding country roads was a MASSIVE deal for me.I sang myself silly trying to remember all the words to all the songs I could from Once More With Feeling and Dr. Horrible's sing-along-blog in an attempt to keep the scared bit of my brain concentrating on something else. But boy was it worth it!


Look at this stash. Yes that is a stack of yarn on the top. Who could resist. I spent a fortune on these books but they are all hard to find and wonderfully inspiring - particularly the architecture details ones! You can expect to see a lot of the things from within this pile over the next few months.

First I found myself in The Wool and Willow shop I have been meaning to venture the last few times I've been to Hay, but as I am usually with a car full of people that I don't want to subject to my yarn stroking tendencies I haven't made it. This sock yarn is perfect for Christmas presents and I am looking forward to knitting it up at Craft Cwtch.

I got myself a quilt book for my dissertation research, I have been trying to get another book by this author for a while but been unable to get it at a reasonable price in the UK so I jumped on this.
This is the third book by Marilyn French I have. The first two 'The Women's Room' and 'The Bleeding Heart' are fiction books which use the narrative to raise women's issues in a way that I really respond to.

Finally this is a page from the Architects Details book. It is filled with images of buildings and corresponding plans. I love it and my mind is already full of ideas as to what I can do with them! If you are interested you can check out my instagram pics of the day by following me @ratsasbigascats

Wednesday

Loan Day Present

Friday was student loan day when my money for the term hit my bank account. This could meant only one thing, Loan Day Present. What is a loan day present? Well it is a usually a bit of a splurge to celebrate the healthy state of your bank balance! It should be something that you wouldn't usually have the cash to treat yourself to, but it shouldn't be something so big you can't pay your rent. In fact pay your rent first, and then if you have some money left get a loan day present. Traditionally for me this has meant a DVD box set or Amazon book binge but this term it came in the shape of a new outfit. Generally I have little or no success clothes shopping, so when the clothes shop fairy gives me a little outfit mojo I have learnt not to ignore it.

We ended up in Torquay H & M over the weekend and I found the perfect outfit for a new autumn term:

I fell in love with the jacket on site but despite scouring 4 branches over the course of the weekend I was unable to find it in my size (it seems for once I am too on-trend and they can't get the stock fast enough), I have ordered it online and am now stalking the postman waiting for it to arrive. The green trousers are actually much greener in real life but the H&M  website pics aren't great. They are more this colour in reality:

This is a bonkers bold colour for me and only the second pair of brightly coloured trousers I have owned in recent memory. The jumper is super snuggly and makes me want to drink hot chocolate after a brisk autumn walk involving excessive leaf kicking. And the blue shirt - it fits like a dream, who could resist! To make room for the new outfit joy I have spent some time this morning clearing out my cupboards and wardrobe of clothes that I no longer wear/want so I'm off to the charity shop before (dum-dum-DUM) my first dissertation tutorial. Wish me luck!

ps. I had a great time learning how to put together an outfit collage using this tutorial by A Beautiful Mess as part of their photography series. The series is really clear and easy to use. If you have some time check it out. 


Monday

Quitches Be Crazy 4



Q1) Photo - What was the favourite architectural detail or thing you saw on a building during your holiday then?   





I love this art deco building. The contrast of curves and repeating window shapes, it is almost a shame that it is a model from the miniature village we went to!





Q2) Text What did you see on your holidays and think of me?


There was a very ill advised game of Thomas Cook Monopoly which took several hours and ended in our buzz being firmly killed. Of course what we needed was a much more dramatic end to the evening, maybe with playing pieces being swallowed. 



We also saw some owls and even got to hold them, I took some 3D pics but I am not sure if they will be as good as my nbnqnbnq & JC shots.



ps I am blogging from a mac and it has been a very complicated and stressful attempt so apologies for the tiny post this week.


Thursday

Oh my, what a big frame you have


....All the better to quilt you with.

Or at least that is the plan. In August at Festival of Quilts I saw a brilliant product which converts a domestic sewing machine into a long arm quilter-esq machine. For those of you who are not machine quilters the basic concept of long arm (LA) quilting is that rather than moving the fabric through a static machine, the fabric is mounted on rollers which hold it still while you move the machine around. Genius. LA's are VERY expensive in the UK and there is little or no rental market unlike the US where it seems you can't turn a corner in blog land before you stumble across someone sending their quilts out for LA-ing.  Silver Lining and I have been discussing going halves on a LA for a few years now but the cheapest smallest machine we could find started at £6k. Every year we wander round the Festival of Quilts playing with the LA's trying frantically to figure out a way to pay for one. This year we stumbled across Freestyle Frames. Finally a reasonably priced alternative to a long arm. I thought about it for about 12 hours before giving in and ordering a 6ft frame which I finally picked up yesterday.


And it is MASSIVE! I am very glad I didn't go for the 7 or 8ft both of which had been discussed. It only just squeezes in my pretty generously sized studio.

There are a few teething problem around tension and the shallowness of my machine's throat (yes, I avoided writing I need a deeper throat...nearly)but all in all I am in love with this baby. Why? Well several reasons the main one being you do not baste your quilt with this frame. Yes, its true, no more hours spent bent over a quilt trying not to stab my fingers for the 20th time and bleed all over my quilt while sewing basting stitches that only serve to keep the quilt together while I quilt it. Secondly I can adjust the frame to be standing height. I have nerve problems which leave me with little or no strength in my hands on occasion, a big draw back when my whole career needs hand work. This is aggravated by long periods of sitting in the same position. To be able to quilt standing up is going to have a very positive impact on my life!


I made a small sample whole cloth quilt yesterday to have a play and I am very happy with the results. I am off to spend a few hours with my sketchbook and my stash to make up some quick quilt tops I can sew to practice on.


Monday

Quitches Be Crazy 3


I have been reading about stash shame in relation to crafty women and how this can be seen as a feminist issue - why do women have to justify the supplies which are needed for their hobbies when the myth of the 'shed' or 'man cave' is seen as a valid requirement to ensure that men retain their masculinity and independence within a co-habiting situation....but that is a post for another day. Well nbnqnbnq and I have been inspired to tackle this issue by having a stash themed week.

Q1) Photo Stash shame is a feminist issue, let's tackle it with a stash shot (one or more discipline).      
Here is a cheeky shot of my recently reorganised fabric stash. You will see there is an awful lot of white, so much so that I had to divide it into different fabrics and shades. There are other stashes around the studio but this is the one that get used the most!




Q2) Text Do you read one book at a time or have a stash on the go? What's in the to read file? 


I am clearly a book tart usually having several on the go at once, something which has not been lessened by the introduction of a kindle into my life. I love reading but my tastes lean to the escapist and easy to read so I tear through books at an alarming rate. This is a combination of my in progress and to read books at the moment which are shelved only because my mother-in-law came to stay this weekend and the teetering stack by my bed seemed far too messy!

I'm currently reading Submarine by Joe Dunthorne, I really loved the film and the book it is based on is even better. I'm thinking of adding his second book 'Wild Abandon' to my pile as well. I also have Patti Smith's Just Kids which is the story of her and Robert Maplethorpe, my Dad bought this for me after I raved about seeing her perform at End of The Road this summer and it is great. I found myself saying to BS that it made me want to drop out of the rat race and live my life for art - to which he pointed out that I had pretty much done that already by chucking in my grown up job and coming back to art school! I have just finished rereading Coraline by Neil Gaiman but can't bear to put it away properly, I love the illustrations and  I am a complete sucker for books with coloured page edges. This edition has black edged page and it is this tiny detail which makes my heart sigh with glee. If I ever manage to find a way to paint the edges of my notebooks without sticking all the pages together you can expect a whole rainbow to reside in my bag. 

I will admit to having rearranged this shelf and accompanying stack before taking this picture to hide away the more trashy books in the pile which included 'The Cheerleader' a point horror book I owned as a young teen which I recently discovered in a charity shop, a couple of Nancy Friday books, and more teen fiction than a 30 year old woman should really admit to. 


Q3) Linky What can you show me to fill me with what they used to call 'girl power'? 


For my daily dose of Girl Power I head to The Vagenda. I like their writing style and whilst I don't always agree with the authors they do provide me with links to so many different issues and ideas it is a refreshing counterpoint to the DIY lifestyle blogs which litter my blog reader.


I am also a fan of this quote by Joss Whedon which made its way round tumblr a while back. It gives me a bit of that 'Girl power' flare.

Q4) WIP


Currently I am finishing up a quilt I have nicknamed 'My Mother, My Self' for which a proper post will be written once it is done.

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