ST&D: Lush!

I have four more blocks quilted.

I confess, I was a bit nervous about this one. I wasn’t sure how the Aida fabric would quilt up, compared with the softer quilting cotton fabrics. I was terrified of mucking it up, so I made a sample using the same fabric and quilted that. It seemed to be OK. There were a few small tracking marks where the new walking foot’s feed dogs had gripped onto the surface, but I though the result was pretty good. So I took a deep breath and got going.

It’s lovely. The firmer fabric hasn’t stopped the texture forming, and there’s a gorgeous soft ripple which catches the light beautifully. It’s a really nice contrast with the slightly nubbly texture of the background and stitching. I’m so pleased with it!

Thanks, Margaret, your beautiful embroidery is a real asset to the quilt 🙂

ST&D: 30% quilted, and a lot of words

Not exactly a fascinating post, sorry, but I’ve been incredibly busy.

I thought for those who thought I’d disappeared off the radar, I’d better let you know that I’m still here, still quilting, and I’ve got two rows of Signed, Tealed & Delivered blocks quilted with the wavy lines.

Part of the problem has been poor Ariadne, my sewing machine. You may recall I had her serviced during our holiday, and she purrs along beautifully now, but there was still a mysterious grind and squeak. Well, I tracked it down. It was my walking foot. I hadn’t really looked at it for ages, but now I gave it a close examination. It’s been in pretty continuous use for nearly 10 years by my calculation, and guess what? It shows. The spring is very sad and saggy, the arm that raises and lowers the feed dogs is creaky and sticks, and the feed dogs them-selves are worn almost flat. So I treated myself to a spanking new one, and boy, what a difference. I’m so glad I took a look!

The walking foot ridges are worn almost flat

That said, I’m struggling a bit to find sewing time… “What?” I hear you cry. “Can this be a post from Chiconia?” Yes, it’s definitely me talking. Bonnard is merely inching along instead of flying along, and without the other distractions I’d have ST&D half done by now.

The thing is, I’m doing massive amounts of marketing planning, copywriting and copy editing right now. My oldest (or should I say most long-term) friend owns a school in Barbados, in the West Indies. It’s small (by intent), fee-paying and has a limited intake because of the way they deliver education, in very small classes with study tailored to the individual student, and offering a wide variety of curricula, include the US national curriculum, British O and A levels, the International Baccalaureate, etc. The school receives intake not only from Barbados but also from a wide expat community working on the island.

They’ve just been awarded Cambridge International School accreditation, and the lightbulb has gone on big time. It’s not a small, niche private school any more, but a serious contender in the island’s education stakes, and ALL their material has to be reworked, from business cards up to the website, brochures, signage, the lot. Sadly, the work doesn’t include a business trip over there (although I’m familiar with the school from previous visits), so the entire process has to be conducted online and by Skype. The school itself needs to grow; they want to include boarders, invest in more equipment, offer scholarships and pay their teachers premium rates to stop them being poached by other schools!  I therefore also need to write a business proposal for a prospective Board of Advisory Governors, encouraging them to support the school, assist with fundraising and marketing input, offer business advice, and so on.

I haven’t done this stuff for nearly 10 years. The skills are still there, but my brain has had to be kicked into touch, and I’ve been totally wiped out for the past few days after 12 straight hours of planning, analysis, reading, note taking, writing and rewriting each day. Oh, and designing a brochure for her; she wasn’t happy with what arrived from her own designer. Well, what else do you do when you get an SOS from your girlfriend of 40 years’ standing, whom you still call by the same old nickname no one else understands, despite her being a school principal and all?

The Husband wants us to submit an invoice for ‘1 x 75cl bottle of St Nicholas Abbey Barbados Rum for services rendered’. Me?  I’m doing it for love… 

TWX12: nearly there…

One more attempt at the layout, and this time, I’m pretty happy.

I think we’re just about there…

There’s a bit more symmetry, which always makes me happy, it feels more balanced, and I’m not trying to force the blocks to be a colour or intensity they’re not. Everyone’s work is beautiful, and stands on its own merit. Well done, you lot 🙂

I’m just over halfway through the quilting. Three rows done, another row part done, two still to start. That old faithful of mine, wiggly line quilting, is featuring once again. You’ve got to love how very quick it is. Nothing to mark, no panicky FMQ-type changes of direction, just strap on the walking foot and swing yourself some gentle curves down the centre. And echo. And echo again, till you hit the edge. Reverse the piece and repeat to the other edge. Job done. No threads to bury, all the loose ends get trimmed off. Having said that, I have a hankering to do a bit of FMQ stuff at some stage, but not for a donation quilt. Only the Teal Ribbon block will be different; I’ll echo quilt the ribbon shape to make it pop a bit.

Thank you to everyone who contributed their thoughts on how best to improve the layout. I took it all on board and tried everything… and then did it my way 😉