First quilt finished

I bought a new sewing machine.

I got enticed to buy the “quilt kit” because it was a good deal and I’m Scottish so I like a good deal.

I then had a feverish outing to the lovely Raystitch forsaking even the delightful Loop in my enthusiasm and I rushed home with my gorgeous (and extravagant) fabric purchases.

I then tried to make a quilt at home and discovered it was a bit harder than I had anticipated and that online tutorials and blog help wasn’t going to cut it so I enrolled in a quilting class and this is the outcome …. It isn’t beautiful as I omitted to realise when choosing my fabrics for each block that at some point all 12 blocks would be put together. Oops. But it does combines a whole pile of different quilting techniques and I learnt a lot.  Including how tedious whip stitching binding is!

Thanks to Silvana at Beyond Fabrics for infinite patience especially when I chopped all the seam allowances off my blocks when squaring them up. That was a real learning moment and needless to say I won’t be doing it again….


Open house London

This weekend was the annual extravaganza of queuing and building nerderythat is open house London.

I volunteered primarily to get my hands on a coveted queue jumping volunteers badge which I then failed to use as the places I wanted to go didn’t allow their use. Sob!

I must say thought that the Bank of England is really quite superb inside – although it was slightly disappointing, but perhaps unsurprising given the traditional nature of their business that so much of the previous building was simply recreated in the 1920s one.  This contrasts strongly with the other 20s building I visited – United grand lodge of England which was breathtakingly spectacular inside and very much of it’s time not a pastiche of an earlier time.

i took very few photographs but here is a challenge – where did I volunteer?

Car free cornwall day 3

Getting the tides wrong. I had a bit of planning failure here – having decided to go to St Michael’s Mount on a day when I couldn’t use the tidal causeway in either direction so I was obliged to ride in the small passenger ferry.

I had a quick scramble up the hill to the house and enjoyed my free visit courtesy of my National Trust for Scotland membership. I was amused to learn that is was a sister property to Mont st Michel in France as that was the descriptor I had used the previous evening to my brother.

After visiting the house I had cram tea for lunch (what else) and set off to walk to Penzance. I enjoyed my poodle along the coastal path so much that I decided to carry on so I walked past the Art Deco jubilee lido, Newlyn harbour, and the Penlee lifeboat memorial garden eventually stopping in Mousehole. I had a lovely pint of refreshing Cornish cider and then toddled off to get the bus back to Penzance. At the Penzance bus station I was delighted to discover the St Ives service was late leaving so had no wait at all and was soon whizzing on my way back to the hotel.

Car free cornwall – day 2

Bad forecast so I elected to stay local and “do” Tate St Ives.

This was a bit disappointing – it is really quite small although the exhibition was interesting but my enjoyment was mostly dimmed by the very loud 3 year old who screamed most of the way round the gallery in a way that would no doubt have made Jake Chapman bang his gavel even louder.

I’m afraid despite enjoying taking the borrowed children into Tate Modern I judged, one child should not be allowed to disturb the enjoyment of so many paying punters by inconsiderate middle class parents delighted in their child’s precocity.

In a grump I had a cake and retreated to the Barbara Hepworth house but en route I stumbled on the cemetery where I had read that Alfred Wallis was buried in a grave marked with Bernard Leach tiles, unsurprisingly I went those if I could find it and was rewarded. It is simple but beautiful.

The Hepworth house is. A strange dichotomy of place (or should that be Place) and content. The placement of her works in her garden was moving and special. Thereafter I retreated to the hotel for an afternoon of knitting. The weather was foul.

Car free cornwall – day 1

Based in St ives the logical place to go to ( excluding St Ives itself) is probably lands end. So off I toddled to get the bus…
First Cornwall very conveniently run a round scenic bus route St Ives-Lands End- Penzance – St Ives however I had also heard that there was a newish award winning museum at Porthcarno about telegraphy and I really wantd to go. For those who haven’t red much of my blog or met me in real life I love museums!

This led to an anxious few hours (and yes I mean hours) studying the bus timetable booklet trying to work out a way to get enough time at Portcarno to see the museum and still be able to get back to St Ives.

I finally Sussed it (it involved going to Penzance first and then to Porthcarno) so off I set.

First lesson was that open top buses are chilly places and mess your hair up – couldn’t do much about my hair after the event but from then onwards I always wrapped my hair in a buff, but the cold I could tackle. Myfirst port of call in Penzance was to buy a rather fetching tunic top fromseasalt.

Love it and it was a useful souvenir which suits my holiday agenda.

Telegraphy museum was fab. Really worth visiting. I really hadn’t appreciated the impact of telegraphy or separated it in my mind from radio (doh!) soI learnt a lot.

A special mention should go to the cafe I had a totally unexpected and amazingly good freshly cooked burger with lovely homemade potato salad

I then had a meander down to the beautiful beach to admire the cables coming in from all over the globe. Very humbling to think these were originally laid with very primitive 19th century technology.

Then it was time to head off to Land’s End. To be honest ai was expected a horror of tackiness. It wasn’t as bad as I expected it sadly the weather had closed in so the view was slightly sub- optimal. I enjoyed the exhibition about all the different JOGLE’s and there was quite a cool time lapse video sequence of the entire route filmed from a landrover.

I had a quick ice cream and headed back off on the vintage bus to St. Ives. Where I have to confess I fell asleep but not before I admired the lovely beach at Sennen Cove and the desolate moorland of the Tin Coast. It was quite reminiscent of home (Scotland) tbh.

And here endeth day 1. I think I achieved quite a lot without a car!

Cornwall without a car…

I went car free when I moved into central London. It was a bit odd to no longer have a car after 15years of continuous car ownership. I haven’t missed my car much at all and use zip car (a car sharing scheme) when I need one for trips to ikea. Ocado have more than compensated for not being able to drive to the supermarket and my other major usage was rather embarrassingly driving to the gym. The gym is now in the basement, so I wouldn’t be able to drive even if I had a car.

However, holiday posed a different problem. I love cornwall and really wanted to go there but everyone I spoke to was definite that I would need to hire a car. Being a contrary sort this made me even more determined to NOt hire one…

I elected to do a two site holiday to maximise the places I could visit and visit places I have done. So Cornwall without a car is eminently do-able and I’ll bore you with each day in due course. However my top tip is a 7 day bus ticket from First. It cost 25 pounds and has now disintegrated to the point I had to be given a special plastic wallet to put the fragments in!

Too many projects on the go…

I don’t normally do this but I’ve got project overload at the moment but am enjoying it.

My jumper


The jumper for me (that seems to be never ending but at least now is long enough to cover my nipples, perhaps TMI!).


Another neighborly as they are super cute for a friends 3 yo who needs wrapped in love as she and her Ma have had a tough old time.


AND then there is my lace. However, I’m only at the boring bit  so it is currently my travel knitting.  I did have an expedition into covent garden though to choose some beautiful beads and buy the worlds smallest crochet hook so watch this space for future beading adventures!

A night out in a fridge

My sister has been staying, she is younger and far more fashionable than me so I capitalised on this by dragging her out to trendy Shoreditch for the evening.

I know the area as it is fairly close to home and contains two of my favourite places – the Geffrye museum and Columbia Road Flower market however it has been ages since I’ve been there out of hours.

One of the things the area is famous for is Pho mile – Kingsland Road or the A10 is home to masses of Vietnamese restaurants – we headed there and chose rather randomly based on business, ambience and a half remembered time out review. I think our choice was good – summer rolls to share, cassava noodles with tiger prawns and bun special ( warm vermicelli noodles, salad chargrilled pork, hot and delicious crispy spring rolls and a spicy sauce). Yum! Even better was the fact that the bill was very reasonable.

We meandered on down towards Spittalfields then to the bar which hides in a fridge. Somewhere I’ve wanted to go for a long time but first – a detour onto Brick Lane to buy hot beigels for breakfast the following day. The heat was somewhat wasted but they were very reasonable and very good.

Onwards to the bar in the fridge – a “secret” cocktail bar entered via a fridge. Amazing drinks my sister chose some crazy number which came accompanied by a flaming Scotch bonnet chili. There is nothing like. Abit of drama – it even got the punters talking to one another – not a common occurrence in London. I had a more mundane but still lovely fresh combination of gin, elderflower and a few other things.

Then we meandered home via 24 hour Tesco to buy Philadelphia to go with the beigels.

Making colour – national gallery

Another really good day out. Relies heavily on contributions from the national Gallery scientific department.

A whistle stop tour of how and when paint/pigments were discovered / synthesised and the effect this has on art. For example, ultramarine used to be the main source of blue. It was extremely expensive (more so than Gold) so was naturally used to colour the most important people in paintings like the Virgin Mary. Hence her seemingly obligatory blue robes.

There was also a brilliant section at the end about colour perception both for those of us with “normal” colour perception and those with “colour blindness” which as my friend Sam has argued many times is not colour blindness at all but altered colour perception. He still sees colour but comparative descriptions suggest he does not see them in the same way as his girlfriend or I. But then how do you actually know that anyone sees something the same way as you….

A fascinating exhibition and I shall use the colour theory introduction in my patchwork and knitting colour choices.