Lasagne Quilt – Finished.

Some of you may remember a quilting adventure that started at the end of September last year.  Lasagne Quilt.  Finished Quilt 1 Well it is finished. Finished Quilt 2

And I am very pleased with it and so is Toile who absolutely adores it and gambols gaily on it whenever she gets the chance, which is often. Finished Quilt 3

I’ve labelled it, (badly) should anyone find it in the dark recesses of a junk shop in a hundred years and want to find out something further about it and added my web site address which will give them all the research they could possibly hope to ever have.  Presuming there is a way of going back to old blogs by then. Finished Quilt 4

I chose to quilt it in the ditch as that is what I felt the quilt was calling for.  I can see there is the odd little stitch where the underside fabric has very slightly rumbled and caught two layers instead of one.  I decided that none of them were serious enough to require undoing and redoing and left it as part of the charm of a handmade quilt.   I really like the look of the way it is quilted. Finished Quilt 6

And then applied the binding by machine and hand stitched.  If I was being really picky as a tailor, I would say my tension is very slightly too tight. Finished Quilt 5

But even in this close up macro shot, I think you would be hard pressed to see the stitches.

My first finished quilt for Me !!!  So exciting.  One day I’ll finish the block of the month quilt.  Although I believe I have finally worked out why I drifted away from it, I just didn’t like some of the blocks.  I’ll have to try and find them all next time I’m home and start to put a quilt together from it.

Wedding Anniversary.

Well where have all the years gone.  Another year has rolled by as quick as a flash, 26 years married to this man of mine.  We decided not to bother with dinner out and ordered a  Chinese takeaway instead which was delicious.   And then we had a completely relaxing Saturday catching up on gossip whilst I was hand sewing, more on that another day.

But on Sunday we decided to venture out and firstly ended up at one of our favourite coffee houses in Piccadilly Street just off Piccadilly Circus, Kahve Dunyasi.  They do a very nice Americano served with chocolate spoons, oh my! and hubby indulged in a piece of chocolate caramel cake, which was basically a mouse on top of a chocolate ganache, not for the faint hearted whilst I gave in to the siren call of the lemon macaroons. wedding anniversary 3

Hubby does look a happy boy. wedding anniversary 2

Suitably turbo fuelled we headed off down the street to the Royal Academy to see Rubens and His anniversary 1

And we had a nice little trot around the galleries.  But, you know when you’ve been waiting for something for so long and you’ve built yourself up into heightened expectations, well that’s where I must have been, because it felt kind of flat.   Now I don’t know whether its because I think that sometimes the Royal Academy decides it must fill the space and I think the edit could have been much sharper.  I’ve often felt less is definitely more, the National Gallery seems to understand that so much better.  It could have been a lot more powerful, or maybe I was just having an off day and I think there is room for that in an analysis too.  I am going to go back in the week and view it again and see how it moves me.  It will be interesting to see if I see it in a completely different light.

Even so, it was a nice little afternoon in the middle of winter and I’m very happy to have shared it with my lovely hubby.

Gnarled Oak Cardigan.

oak leaf cardigan 4 oak leaf cardigan 3 oak leaf cardigan 2 oak leaf cardigan 1Just a few photo’s of my finished cardigan, Gnarled Oak Cardigan by Alana Dakos in Coastal Knits, knitted in Wollmeise DK colourway Petit Poison Nr.5 Dark.   I would say that the top photograph is the most accurate colour and even then it might just be a tad darker.

Its been on my needles for well over a year, I’ve enjoyed knitting it and I really am enjoying wearing it, its barely been off my back.  The sleeves are just a tad too long, possibly, but I love them because they keep me toasty warm.   I’m still sticking to my New Years resolutions, not to start anything new, three weeks in, I’m doing well.

And why this pattern, I fell in love with the oak leaves.  Growing up with an Oak tree at the bottom of the garden it reminds me of home.

Night, night.

night night._When Toile is tired and wants to go to bed she lets me know.  Firstly she gets a little bit irritable and then she sits on the stairs, half way up, occasionally meowing at me and if I don’t respond she will come back and casually bite the back of my hand, in a teeth hitting the skin kind of way, although there is sometimes just a tweak of a pinch, that is just a little bit on the dark side of friendship. And then goes back up the stairs and meows at me again.  Sometimes I hear a desperation in her voice that almost sounds like ‘are you thick, do you not understand what I am saying’.

This evening she is desperate and has already been back three times, and she won’t go without me.  I’m going to have to go, the cat wants to go to bed.

Sorting Socks.

There came a time where I just had to throw out the holey socks that I had been hanging onto.  Some I’d mended a couple of times and they had worn through quickly, some the wool was so precious that I thought I would frog and make something new with the near new wool and some was just plain lethargy.  So I sorted and threw out the holey socks, being careful to throw out in pairs.  Which wasn’t difficult what with both feet wearing out together. socks 4

My sock draw began to look something like this.  My socks are stored in a very old chest that has been in my family for many many years.  My Nan bought it during her marriage, probably after she got bombed out for the second time in WWII   It has lost a draw handle, and its just brown furniture which is really worth nothing, but to me, its a substantial set of draws that works well and reminds me of my nan.  And one day, I’ll give it a make over, but not just yet, because all those bashes and scratches mean something to me, of how this brown piece of furniture has followed my parents, brothers and sister around depending on who needed it, in their new flat or house.  Well it did, until I got hold of it and just didn’t let it go.  Occasionally Mother says, ‘have you still got Nan’s drawes?’    ‘Yep’ sez I.  ‘That was a good set of drawes that was’ is normally the reply.  ‘Yep’ sez I.  And I’ll never let it go. socks 1

Getting back to the socks..   Lots of clean lovely socks to play with.  But there was one problem, one you don’t expect when you don’t buy commercial socks anymore.  In fact I was quite shocked.

You see somewhere along the line, these lovely, soft, innocent, naive socks had picked up a few dirty bad habits.  I’m blaming hubby’s commercial black socks, I’ve seen them joking around and leading my lovely woollen ladies astray.  And led astray they have been.

Look. socks 2

Odd Socks !!!

Shocking it was, shocking.

So the others must be at home cavorting with hubbys black socks.  Naughty girls! socks 3

Well I am keeping these ladies safe until I can have a sharp word with their sisters.

Best meal of the week.

Meatballs 1

Best meal last week was some meatballs made very simply.  Mincemeat squidged into balls  just as it was, no rusks or egg white or seasonings, just simple, and then dry fried until brown.  You might understand that I am so not into cooking complicated food at the moment.  Meatballs 2

Then these little beauties were dropped into a home made tomato sauce, which was just fried onions,  tomato, garlic, oregano, pinch of salt,  grind of pepper,  a pinch of sugar and a dash of vinegar. Meatballs 3

And then served with baby new potatoes and vegetables.

And the best leftovers of the week… Meatballs 4

Meatballs with pita and salad. Meatballs 5

Stuffed pockets, such a brilliant late lunch before dashing off to my new knitting group.

Photography, a little macro work.

Hubby very generously bought me a macro lens to go with my Nikon DSLR just before Christmas and i’m just starting to play with it.   You might have noticed my photography improving over the last few months, its mostly the camera, its really not me. Then it slides back because I tend to carry my small and very portable Panasonic Lumix, which I’ve found to be a lovely camera, the Leica lens does it proud and the zoom on it is amazing.

I’ve always liked looking at macro photographs and I still need to buy a lighting rig of some description, this is what I am starting to get with or without the integral flash.   I would have photographed more, but hail stones stopped play today.  Macro 1

This is quite a tricky one to get because its the depth of the flower that is the biggest problem.  This had a 20 second shutter speed, no you did not read that incorrectly, 20 seconds..   It was the most interesting shot I got from that flower today. Macro 7

Macro 6Macro 5Macro 4These were all taken with a flash and I had to up the exposure digitally to get what I wanted from it.  Pretty though. Macro 3

And then this one without a flash and a shallow depth of field. Macro 2

And this with a flash and wider depth of field.

I have a lot to learn, but its all good fun.

A lovely evening in London.

I trotted off to The Courtauld Gallery to see Egon Schiele exhibition The Radical Nude.  I’ve been wanting to see some of his work in the flesh, so to speak, for several years now and to say this exhibition has been on my to do list for a while is perhaps an understatement, it closes on the 18th January.  Have a look at his work, its radical, it was then, it still is now, but to see the gift of his work in close up was to appreciate his use of colour and texture.  I had a really strong emotional response to it, it really is beautiful.

And on the way out I fished my camera out of my bag to take a few photo’s of the beauty of the evening, I hope you like them. Somerset House 1


Somerset House 2Somerset House 3Somerset House 42015 22015 1Somerset House 5Somerset House 6Somerset House 8


I remember reading many years ago about how various newspapers differed in their photography skills and how the Sunday Times photography was rated very highly, mainly because they had a certain skill with their cropping.  I remember looking at their photographs of important events compared to other newspapers and it was true, theirs seemed clearer and more intense, mainly through the skill of the person who cropped the photograph.  You see they had got all of the key elements without any of the other distractions that may have been going on.  But over the years I’ve often thought about it and I can’t quite decide whether I like an over cropped photograph or not.  Certainly you can get a cleaner image, but sometimes I think you lose a little something, a little flavour, a little seasoning,  it might just be a sense of an overall composition that could be lost or just not appreciated. Toile 1.1

This shot I took of Toile, I think as it stands is very beautiful, the darkness of her outline stretched out on a feather filled cream sofa with cream brocade curtains as a backdrop. We can read that this is one pampered and very content cat. Toile 1

But we can alter that just slightly and take away a little darkness that is not necessary at the left hand side.  And I think we still have the same effect and have her centered in the photograph. Toile 2

But then we could take that a little bit further and we can see more of her detail and still have the depth of the cushion to show just how comfy she must be, so you still have a flavour of the original photograph but with more detail of her. Toile 1.2

And then if we crop it again, to a fairly sharp crop, we do have much more detail of her, but I feel we have lost the serenity and the feeling of luxuriousness that was captured just at that moment in time. Toile 4

Most of the time Toile thinks she is all dog.  I find her asleep at my feet, much like my beloved Golden Retriever was, I have to look down before I walk away from the keyboard or whilst watch the television for fear of treading on her.  Toile 5

Cropping in this case has a benefit, you can still see she is on the floor as her front paw is curled around the leg of a table whilst at the same time seeing more detail.  Although it has to be said, I quite like the uncropped version too.

Cropping the quandary of the digital photographer.