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A New Rocking Dog Quilt In The Kennel

Latest Rocking Dog Quilt,Rocking Dog

Latest Rocking Dog Quilt

I am still a deaf old bat! Holding conversations has been difficult and so I have used the opportunity to seek solace in my sewing machine. A new quilt has been started and finished in the kennel and i’m rather pleased with it!

It all started with the glorious 1930’s embroidered bolster cover bought at Bermondsey Market. For a long while I contemplated how I was going to do this embroidery justice. I started collecting together lovely floral materials and vintage linens from Material Mountain. They stayed together in a lavender scented box waiting for the day when I could give myself the time to make an heirloom quilt.

Looking at the worn bolster cover I decided to remount the fabulous flower border embroidery onto a new backing. With some intrepidation I ironed Bondaweb onto the back of the embroidery. The Bondaweb was used to help prevent fraying and to eventually adhere the embroidery to the new mounting fabric. I carefully cut around the Delphinium and Hollyhock spikes, there was simply no going back now!

I then cut squares of ticking for the central panel and a variety of floral fabrics to create my double sized quilt. I used a patchwork template, rotary cutter and cutting mat. I spent time creating my quilts layout and as in the past chose to use pattern throughout. I worry that plain fabrics can really “kill” a quilt! Some of my squares were sewn with vintage lace and embroidered coasters to add additional texture. The squares were collected up into rows and pegged together. Sewing could begin!

Rows of squares were sewn and then the resulting rows sewn together. A quilt was forming! All the seams were pressed neatly and then it was time to adhere the embroidery onto its custom made ticking panel.There followed the somewhat laborious task of hand sewing the embroidery using carefully matched threads.The quilt panel was then laid onto its “filler”. For this I used the thick interlining of a bargainous curtain I had purchased a while ago in John Lewis. I pinned the quilt to the interlining using safety pins, working from the centre outwards. I then “stitched in the ditch” sewing carefully through each seam of each square. There was a tremendous amount of fabric to feed through the machine and I found it helpful to roll the quilt to help with the manoeuvrability.

It was now time to add the backing fabric for my quilt. This time I used the actual fabric from my aforementioned Designer’s Guild bargain curtain, it continued the floral theme. Again I used the safety pins to attach the layers together. I then laid the quilt out on my dining room table and sewed vintage buttons to each corner of the patchwork squares (leaving the outer edges free of buttons). On the reverse of each button point an embroidered thread tie was knotted. I chose white and clear buttons for the ticking panel so that the beauty wasn’t taken away from the delicious embroidery. After all that button sewing I added a quote from Oscar Wilde to my quilt. On a vintage coaster I wrote in indelible ink “I have many beautiful flowers” he said “but the children are the most beautiful flowers of all” (The Selfish Giant). I Bondaweb’d and hand sewed this in place. Finally I sewed a 5/8ths line of stitching around the outer edge of my quilt before shearing away extra fabric and interlining.

I chose a deep ribbon from The Makery to provide the neat edging for my quilt. I pressed the ribbon in half along its whole length and sewed this in place with two rows of stitching. I finished each of the corners with a pretty button. Loose threads cut, remaining safety pins removed, and quilt pressed Rocking Dogs 2017 quilt was complete!

Happy footnote. I entered this and another quilt into the Frenchay Flower Show. I won first prize in the quilting class and a cup for best handicraft in show. I was quietly chuffed!

Piecing The Patches!,Rocking Dog

Piecing The Patches!

Sew The Rows,Rocking Dog

Sew The Rows

Choosing Thread,Rocking Dog

Choosing Thread

Hand Sewing,Rocking Dog

Hand Sewing

Ditch Stitching,Rocking Dog

Ditch Stitching

Fabric Roll,Rocking Dog

Fabric Roll

Pretty Backing,Rocking Dog

Pretty Backing

Button Anchors,Rocking Dog

Button Anchors

Showtime!,Rocking Dog

Showtime!

Hollyhocks & Criminal Ladies

Profusion Of Hollyhocks and Criminals!, Rocking Dog

Profusion Of Hollyhocks and Criminals!

Good morning from Rocking Dog, I hope you have had a good weekend. I was in London over the weekend attending the Anniversary Games at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The stadium now has its new livery of maroon and sky blue, West Ham FC now in residence. Although it was great to see Usain Bolt run, a world record being won (Kendra Harrison USA 100m hurdles) and a host of paralympic events (Please Watch this amazing link), the weekend wasn’t all about athletics.

A very balmy Thursday evening was spent on the roof terrace of my brother in law’s workplace. We enjoyed cocktails and fabulous views across the Thames to St Paul’s and beyond. It is such a beautiful cityscape, though we spent some time discussing what Christopher Wren would make of his city. Friday morning, me, my girls and nieces headed to Bermondsey market. Sorrel and I, ever eagle eyed spotted some truly yummy embroidery. The owner obviously loved it and told us that she’d put an inflated price on it in an attempt never to find a buyer for it. Evidently she was genuinely keen to hang onto it. I adored the bold stitchery of the hollyhocks, delphinium spire, pansies, marigolds, phlox and billy-button daisies. I went to sit on a bench to deliberate and cogitate! Sorrel and one niece then went off to seal the asking price deal. The stall holder was somewhat shocked and crestfallen when she saw them approach, cash in hand. She asked if she could have an hour to come to terms with selling it, but eventually agreed on a 10 minute stalling period. If you are reading this blog piece Mrs stall holder……thank you so much for begrudgingly parting with it! It will be Sooooooo truly loved!

I think the piece probably dates from the 1930’s and is currently a slip cover for a large bolster style cushion. After careful consideration, in Rocking Dog’s hands it will more than likely become an exquisite central panel for a quilt. I propose surrounding it with vintage floral fabrics together with 20’s-30 embroidered pieces and fabulous vintage braids. As you probably know Rocking Dog has a penchant for embroidery, and loves a tray cloth, tablecloth or serviette to reconfigure. I will steadily accumulate materials to work towards starting this project. I want to find beautiful cottons and the like which help to celebrate the central panel.

Maybe some of the pieces I will use in the quilt will be iconic 20’s /30’s Crinoline lady embroidery. Between the wars cheerful embroidery was undertaken, sometimes using iron on transfers. Crinoline ladies, flowers and garden subjects were all popular at the time. In addition a whole variety of housewares were available with images of crinoline ladies from table linen, paper and foil crafts, china to early plastics. In our household crinoline ladies have always been called criminal ladies. Sorrel as a child misheard what these vintage ladies were called, so criminal they have remained.

Cumbersome, with steel or whale bone hooped cages the Victorian crinoline was a hazard to wear. Women died or were left badly burnt if they happened to brush against a fire or if a hot ember landed on the multi layers of fabric. In addition, their dresses could get caught in factory machinery or the wheels of a carriage. One woman in 1885 however luckily survived as a result of her crinoline. Sarah Ann Henley, a barmaid working in a public house in Ashton, Bristol had her engagement broken off, in despair she decided to throw herself off the Clifton Suspension Bridge. She survived the 246ft (75 metres) drop because her crinoline acted as a parachute. Sarah went onto marry and lived to the ripe old age of 85yrs. Another interesting fact is that the little Unitarian Chapel in Frenchay, Bristol has a crinoline door. The doorway is wider at the bottom than the top, so as to allow crinoline wearing church goers to pass into the chapel easily.

The hollyhocks part of this post is a bargainous curtain I bought yesterday in John Lewis, Westfield. A display curtain I have several metres of fabric for little more than the cost of a metre. The fabric is “Hollyhocks” by Sanderson and is based on a documented design from 1937. I have a cunning plan that I would like to make a fabulously flamboyant floral coat to attend Chelsea Flower Show 2017. I love Kaffe Fassett’s tapestry hollyhocks (sadly REALLY financially out of my league!) but am very fond of Julie Penney’s reworked vintage piece with it’s cheery hollyhocks and stitchery.

Tyeing crinoline ladies and hollyhocks together, very often these embroidered bonneted ladies are to be found tending spires of brightly coloured hollyhocks.

Now then just where is my bonnet .. so I can go and tend my unruly plot!

Have a great start to the week.

Yummy Embroidery , Rocking Dog

Yummy Embroidery

Sanderson Hollyhocks, Rocking Dog

Sanderson Hollyhocks

Criminal Ladies, Rocking Dog

Criminal Ladies

Floribunda, Rocking Dog

Floribunda

Julie's Flowers, Rocking Dog

Julie’s Flowers

China Can, Rocking Dog

China Can

Edwardian Gardener, Rocking Dog

Edwardian Gardener

Kaffe's Hollyhocks, Rocking Dog

Kaffe’s Hollyhocks

Crinoline Doorway, Rocking Dog

Crinoline Doorway

Rocking Dog’s Very Own Flower Show

Old Welsh Florals, Rocking Dog

Old Welsh Florals

I love EVERYTHING floral and this post is to pay homage to this weeks Chelsea Flower Show.

I am particularly fond of my floral coat made from heavy linen union bought in Clifton village. My sister made it for me about 30 years ago, and I have worn it every summer. I have lovely photo’s of me heavily pregnant with our son Alex who is 28 this year. I am sporting an 80’s hairstyle, pointed peach coloured suede pumps, together with a peach coloured drop waisted dress. Thankfully the 80’s penchant for peach is no longer! I really want to make a similar coat using a beautiful Sanderson Hollyhocks fabric. I have run out of windows to curtain so i’ll wear it instead!

The old Welsh floral patchwork quilt came from a shop in Brecon. I bought it together with a Welsh plaid blanket for £50 in a junk shop 2 years ago. They were both in a pretty dirty state but we ended up having to use them in this condition. We discovered that we had forgotten to pack our quilt for a camping weekend in our beloved Pod. Back at home the laundered quilt became a more delectable textile to dress a bed. Real Live Rocking Dog rather likes the lovely workmanship too!

For real floral inspiration I LOVE the wedding scene in Nanny McPhee. I also adore the incredible floristry talents of Amy Bowley of Bo Boutique and Juliet Glaves of Thoughtful Flowers. TRULY YUMMY!

Floral Coat, Rocking Dog

Floral Coat

Porcelain Florals, Rocking Dog

Porcelain Florals

Bathroom Florals, Rocking Dog

Bathroom Florals

Garden Florals, Rocking Dog

Garden Florals

Rambling Floral, Rocking Dog

Rambling Floral

Gift Floral, Rocking Dog

Gift Floral

It’s A New Dawn, A New Day, The New 2017

But The Kid Is Not My Son!,Rocking Dog

But The Kid Is Not My Son!

Indeed it’s a new dawn, a new day, and the new 2017! Wishing everyone a VERY Happy New Year. I know it’s very rare for me to share a picture of me, I so stay away from camera’s, and please do tell me what a selfie is! So …this is my favourite portrait of the year, but the kid is not my son! Toby is my sons old school friend and we share the same wayward hair.

I am rather glad to be seeing 2016 out. It really has been a finger gripping twisty turny roller coaster ride, both world news-wise and for us as a family personally.

Who would have ever believed that we would be going into 2017 with Donald Trump soon to be residing in the White House? We are living in difficult and uncertain times. Somewhat unrealistically I hope that 2017 brings peace to Syria, a halt to terrorist atrocities and a real desire by worldwide leaders to utilise diplomacy, cohesiveness and wisdom.

Andyman and colleagues have had a difficult year, much too complicated to explain. However, with the rubbish of 2016 hopefully behind them, a new dawn beckons. I am so full of admiration for the group who stood up to bully boy tactics! We are gradually sleeping less fractiously and stress levels have subsided, phew!

There have been so many lovely things that have happened in 2016 and I am forever grateful for amazing friends and family. We have shared a wonderful wedding (Kylie & Alex), when the sun shone, bagpipes played, Motown band got us all dancing and the girls and I cooked for 120!

I loved my role as judge at the local flower show in July, though I did have to taste some rather unpalatable things. I hope i’ll be asked back, it was fun and made me giggle. I’m rather hoping in 2017 i’ll get to go to an together more prestigious flower show, Chelsea. Love it!

We visited lovely places both near and far. Cuba was a particular highlight, an amazing country where I had the humiliating experience of being kicked out of a Salsa class (my mother always said I had two left feet!). We enjoyed visits to Umbria culminating in buying some ancient olive trees with a little apartment close by to watch them grow. Incidentally if anyone fancies watching our olives ripen, it’s available to rent and i’ll post a link later this week. Feel very blessed.

The sewing machine has rattled through various projects (wedding coat, cushions, blinds, stockings etc..) and i’m about to start on my hollyhock quilt. I have fathomed that there are enough delicious vintage materials to make myself an heirloom quilt. How lovely that I have built up a few omnibus editions of The Archers- perfect!

Sewing this year has been a wonderful bonding and rehabilitative craft for a lovely friend who is currently in the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Unit at Frenchay. Her family have been truly amazing, and I have been humbled by their love, strength, energy and innovation. As for my friend I have no words to describe how brave and determined she is. 2017 there’ll be more sewing, fabric painting and the like with lovely friend. Wishing for progress and continued support and love for all.

Still on a bit of a sewing, crafty theme I really want to start a kitchen table group at the kennel- Stitch ‘n Bitch/ Knit & Natter sort of thing. Haven’t come up with a name- but one eve a month to bring a nodule of crafty stuff and to talk and eat cake, simple. I was thinking of hosting this the last Wednesday in the month 7-9pm ish. Anyone interested, please shout!

There is much to look forward to in 2017, as well as an absolute purge on the house and garden. Paint is flaking, weeds are a growing, damp needs to be kept at bay, a shed needs dismantling and the list keeps growing!  When most folk are in bed I hope to keep on blogging and hope the inspiration for posts keeps on coming.

Have a wonderful 2017, may it bring you and your families many lovely things.

Love Rocking Dog x

Alex & Kylie, Rocking Dog

Alex & Kylie

Sorrel & Pete,Rocking Dog

Sorrel & Pete

Our Liv',Rocking Dog

Our Liv’

Places We Went,Rocking Dog

Places We Went

Cuba,Rocking Dog

Cuba

& Closer To Home,Rocking Dog

& Closer To Home

Glamping....Rocking Dog

Glamping….

...Umbrian Pad,Rocking Dog

…Umbrian Pad

Flower Show Judge,Rocking Dog

Flower Show Judge

Maker Of Coats...Rocking Dog

Maker Of Coats…

..& Cushions...Rocking Dog

..& Cushions…

....Quilts...&,Rocking Dog

….Quilts…&

Helping Others To Make,Rocking Dog

Helping Others To Make

House To Spruce,Rocking Dog

House To Spruce,

& Garden To Conquer!,Rocking Dog

& Garden To Conquer!

A Lovely Weekend In September

September Beech Wood, Rocking Dog

September Beech Wood

The weekend was full of lovely impromptu things. A wettish Saturday was spent travelling to Dorset with a friend. Somewhat fortuitously Di’s Sat-nav took us on a little bit of an unconventional journey. It meant that we couldn’t resist having a peek into Antiques Bazaar near Crewkerne. We both loved a circus trapeze bar and various pieces of quirky furniture. There were lots of toby jugs, but I managed to resist! I did however buy a large and pretty curtain which will more than likely form the backing for my future hollyhock quilt.

We travelled onto lovely Bridport, drank coffee, ate lunch, chatted, laughed and enjoyed dipping into lots of independent shops. Unfortunately with the weather being a trifle rainy and windswept there were not many of the usual street stalls. However, it was a really great day and certainly blew away the cobwebs!

Sunday dawned bright and sunny. Andyman, Real Live Rocking Dog and I decided on a spur of the moment Bath walk. We walked on Lansdown Hill, the site of a bloody civil war battle in 1643. The views were truly breathtaking. In the distance we could pick out the old and new Severn Bridge Crossings together with Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge. It was tempting to stay sitting cherishing the views long after the picnic was finished.. but there was another four miles to muster.

The hawthorns and elders as we climbed, were covered with a profusion of berries. My mum would be saying “it’s a sign it’s going to be a hard, cold winter. It’s nature’s way of providing well for wildlife” We will have to wait and see!

At one point in the walk we had a lovely view down to the ribbon of water at Saltford. There were so many pretty sails, a gorgeous scene to ponder. We also chanced upon the sweet little church of St Martin at North Stoke. 12th century with older additions, I could easily imagine Jane Austen empire line, bonneted weddings. Unfortunately the church was locked. It apparently has a plaque inside honouring the 23 men and unknown number of farm horses who went from the village in WW1. The plaque was unveiled in 2008 by Britain’s last Tommy, Harry Patch, to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the end of WW1. Just a year later at the age 111 Harry died, his funeral service being held at Wells Cathedral.

The last part of our walk took us through a beautiful wooded area. The last glowing embers of the Sunday sunshine penetrated the beech canopy. It was glorious and so atmospheric.

So the new week now begins….

A very Happy Birthday to our lovely boy Alex who is 29 today. He is working at the Paralympics in Rio, and we hope is having the time of his life. Very wonderfully we had a glimpse of him on C4 just after Jonnie Peacock’s 100m gold medal win.

Toby Jug Treasure, Rocking Dog

Toby Jug Treasure

Back At Albion, Rocking Dog

Back At Albion

Sunday Skies, Rocking Dog

Sunday Skies

Green Hill, Rocking Dog

Green Hill

Doggy Picnic Time, Rocking Dog

Doggy Picnic Time

Pretty Sails, Rocking Dog

Pretty Sails

Peaceful Place, Rocking Dog

Peaceful Place

Carved Cherubim, Rocking Dog

Carved Cherubim

Happy Birthday Alex!, Rocking Dog

Happy Birthday Alex!

:)