Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Progress on my 'international' retro EEP cushion cover!

It's been a bit of a busy time just lately so unfortunately my rate of finished crafts has slowed somewhat! It has been good busy in particular with the successful defence of my Dr(!) Stuart's viva for his PhD at the end of last month. We had a rather swift trip to Scotland for his viva exam and I am pleased to say it went very well and he has now also completed his minor corrections, or as my Aunty likes to call them, alterations, because surely we weren't wrong :P

I surprised him with a celebratory cake and gift to make note of his new Dr status, it is quite an exciting since time after 4 years of hard work the title is a nice reward. Although we aren't 'proper' doctors as we are often reminded!

Whilst Stuart was having a very intellectual discussion about plasma impurities in fusion tokamaks (phew!) I was occupying myself with my EPP cushion cover in Glasgow in a number of coffee shops. The thing I love about EPP is the ease of doing it anywhere since there isn't a lot of equipment required. This particular cushion cover has been a long while in progress. It was actually started on a sunbed in Corfu at the end of September on a family holiday.

I have used equilateral triangles alternating in black and white and in bold coloured fabrics, I found my inspiration on this great blog: In Colour Order. The cover has grown slowly by working on it whilst watching TV (particularly The Apprentice!) and whilst in Glasgow:

It is finally ready for quilting :) In future I will not choose such large cushion pads for EPP projects!! It is now big enough for the 18" square cushion pad I have, which has used more triangles than I care to count. But I have found the range of fabrics I have worked with really beautiful and I can't wait to do more projects with the remaining bits of fabric.

Sherlock approves of the designs and is certain it won't give her a headache, as long as she has lots of cat treats, of course ....

Although after her energetic playing around it she may be in the bad books for a little while....

For those less familiar, that's a little catnip mouse in that mess of fabric!
Happy crafting!

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Duxford Quilt Show - the hangover cure!

This Saturday morning afternoon I met my Mum at the Duxford Quilt show. She had already purchased tickets for us both so that we wouldn't need to queue and could go straight in to enjoy the quilty goodness and the beautiful fabrics. Being the brilliant daughter I am, I went to a friends Halloween party the night before (actually a house warming for their little x week old puppy, Remus!) and may have drank a little more butter beer than I planned.... Slightly later than advertised I left home and drove straight to Duxford from Didcot (2 lovely hours :-/) but at least the roads were very clear and went to meet my Mum. Thankfully I had thought to remove my make up the previous night so I had no residual cat face stains when we arrived!

The show was lovely, it was my first, and set in the Duxford Imperial War Museum so there were also impressive war plane models around the hall that you walk through to quilt world. The fabrics and patterns on offer to purchase were wonderful and the prices so much better than my usual online shopping so obviously I had to make the most of it! I did my best to stick to the types of fabrics that I am lacking, such as the neutrals and less dramatic prints. I am hoping to do a baby quilt for my friend before the baby comes (I have several months, she's only just beyond scan one!) so I decided to get some things for the colour scheme I had in mind. I may have got enough for several babies! But I see it as an investment since I am getting to that age when the babies are starting to arrive amongst my friends and family.

I also picked up some general bargains and some slightly less traditional Christmas fabric as Mum and I are planning to make some little decorations to gift this year. I can't wait to get all my fabric put away so I can just look at the pretty colours! We are adapting the spare room slowly at the moment so I can use it as a craft room when we don't have guest, as finally neither me or my partner need the spare room as a thesis writing office (yipee!). I'll post some pictures when I get the fabrics put away :)

There were some wonderful quilts on display, from traditional designs to modern designs and also some genuine pieces of art! I've posted a selection of my favourites for you to see.

 Some wonderful quilts with very effective designs. The hexagon quilt must have taken so much time and care!

 Some real works of art in quilt form. I particularly like the jail break quilt, simple but so effective!

 I just love these prints, especially the liberty prints in the middle picture, one day I will treat myself to some of these!!

Brilliant quilting detail, so intricate, I hope to have the patience and skill for this one day.

 I love these because they show that you don't have to have neutrals to make a quilt go, it is ok to have bold prints adjoining as long as you do it right!

It felt a little like a poster session at an academic conference but I have to say these are much more fun and I think that in future I should be able to take a quilt instead of a poster to a conference. Although I may have to get a bit more ahead with my research if I ever hope to do that!

Definitely planning to go to the show in March, and hoping to bring my sister-in-law along as well then. She was keen to come this time but they have just moved into their new amazing home and she had a date with many many boxes! I have shot-gunned one of the rooms as a craft room but unfortunately it is a bit far to travel to craft in the week. For now I will just be envious, in a loving way, and hope I can make something good out of our spare room.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Project Zero - the result and a bit of celebrating

I did it! I actually finished a project in time to gift it. I have to say I am quite pleased with how it has turned out. The hand quilting took longer than I had imagined but it meant I could get all the special shapes I wanted and it will have the handmade look when you see the odd wonky stitch. I put it into a cushion cover using an envelope method from a great easy to follow tutorial from Crazy Mom quilts blog. Here's the quilt design before it became a cushion.

I added quilting detail to look like the magnetic field we will have.

Hopefully you can see what I was trying to get at!
Example of the magnetic field lines in the divertor of MAST-U (right) from a poster by D. Stork (CCFE)

I've delivered the gift today and it went down really well. Stuart tried to convince me to keep it because it turned out so well; I may have to make another at some point for our own lounge. It will look good with the picture he gave me last Christmas of the machine that is on the wall!
The final cushion compared to the photo of MAST in our living room
Since it isn't a birthday without cake I also made a tokamak themed cake and birthday card. I made a two level toffee cake from a sticky toffee recipe and made toffee butter icing by adding sticky toffee sauce into the buttercream. It made quite a sugary cake, but personally that is just what I need on a Wednesday afternoon at work along with a good cup of tea :)

The cake design is the upgrade machine again but I put a slight spin on it. The poor birthday guy has a bit of a reputation for breaking the machine because he set the fire alarm off this one time whilst operating it. Here you don't live things down, you get a good comical nickname, his is Flash. Instead of detailing the intricate field lines onto the cake plasma, as has been done on the cushion with quilting, I decided to go for cartoon sparks and explosions. Obviously I couldn't miss the fact that he is turning 30 today, I only have 2 years to find this funny before all the same jokes are turned back on me by the younger members of staff and students! The little yellow blob is Andy in his hard hat despairing at breaking the machine again ;) although in reality if he did this we would all be out in the cold because of the fire alarms! Let's hope it isn't a prediction for the new machine, my line manager liked the taste of the cake but is not wanting a reenactment of the design!

All in all it was a successful crafting experience from cushion to cake to card. I think I need a little break from fusion crafts now so I can make something pretty 'just because', although not this evening, tonight is about having good food and a few drinks with friends to celebrate the birthday in a less geeky way.

I didn't get any help this time.... instead my little friend has found a new hiding place.....