Tag Archives: Bernina

Gosh! It’s Been A While.

Setting The Scene,Rocking Dog

Setting The Scene

Gosh! It REALLY has been a while since Rocking Dog blogged. We have been fortunate in having the opportunity to spend an extended break in Umbria. The beauty of having super quick wifi is that work things can be dealt with across the miles.

We started our trip with visiting more cemeteries for The Remember Me Project. By the end of our break a total of 38 poppies had been laid in near enough the same amount of cemeteries across France and Belgium. This figure includes the cemeteries visited in October last year. A dedicated post regarding my latest poppy laying trip will pop up on the Rocking Dog site in the next few days.

Eventually we left the Somme and headed close to the Swiss border for an overnight stop. The spectacular trip through Switzerland followed and finally after a bit of white knuckle driving through northern Italy we reached Umbria. The sun doesn’t always shine in Italy. We had rain, we had wind, there was the cold and the odd luxurious sunny day. Most nights we were grateful for the newly installed wood burning stove. With temperatures hitting in excess of 40 degrees in the summer affecting grape and olive harvests the Umbrian folk have now had to endure an uncharacteristically cold winter. Thick snow and temperatures dropping well into the minus’s, they have needed their famous down filled puffa jackets!

In November we had grass seed sown but unfortunately it has shown no desire to germinate and grow. The sowing will be repeated next week and hopefully with the warmth of an Italian spring we will soon have verdant green pasture. Fingers crossed! It is too early to tell whether there will be a good harvest of olives late October, but we are ever hopeful. We love the whole process of producing olive oil from our trees. There were weather weary shrubs to replace and new herbs to dig in, there were 15 barrow loads of pruning to put on the bonfire and jolly geraniums to pot up. Constructive time spent outside.

I was sad to have lost a very lovely friend somewhat unexpectedly and did lots of contemplative walking and lots of contemplative sewing. It’s taken so much of my life to realise that sewing really does soothe my sad soul. Beloved Bernina really is truly therapeutic. Can I ask what soothes your soul?

Flying back to Bristol for my friends Celebration of Life service, Andy was left to host ancestors of the farmhouse we now own a tiny part of. From New York, they were apparently lovely and really enthusiastic about the area and their kinfolks former home. We hope they’ll return and stop for longer next time. I’m sure they are going to be pretty busy as they have sold their home and are converting an old yellow school bus for a unique mobile home.

As ever there was gorgeous food to eat, starry skies to be amazed by and the odd Aperol Spritz to partake in by the lake. It is often the most simple things that give the most pleasure. I love the ancient olive tree just outside one of our bedroom windows. As dawn arrives, the tree fills with chirpy and busy little birds. They enjoy the olives which escaped the rakes of the late autumn harvesting. Such a perfect view and I absolutely know that we are truly lucky.

Back in UK there are sewing projects to finish, ongoing research for The Remember Me Project and a job to apply for. The garden of the damp woodland variety needs to be tackled and the dusty, crumbly house needs to be dealt with. Friends need to be loved and cared for, and the nest got ready for another little grandchild. Volunteering for Young Carer’s will restart and yes, there are really lovely things to come home for … just not the dusting!

Hope you have a good week. Love Rocking Dog x

PS Many thanks to Cliff at the British Legion, Frampton Cotterell for the box of poppy crosses. The box is sadly empty- each cross represented one young local soldier who fell or who died of wounds during the Great War.

Roman Rugby,Rocking Dog

Roman Rugby

Letting In The Sun,Rocking Dog

Letting In The Sun

Contemplative Walking,Rocking Dog

Contemplative Walking

Choppy Lake,Rocking Dog

Choppy Lake

Calm Lake,Rocking Dog

Calm Lake

Social Lake,Rocking Dog

Social Lake

Cake,Rocking Dog

Cake

Pasta....,Rocking Dog

Pasta….

& Projects,Rocking Dog

& Projects

 

Sleigh Bells Ring, Are You Listening…..

Rocking Dog Stocking Tops, Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog Stocking Tops

…..in the lane snow is glistening, a beautiful sight etc.. etc.. Enough of that, it’s just that i’ve been making Christmas stockings.

At times it’s good to seek solitude and contemplation. A little bit of yesterday I shut myself away with Beloved Bernina and a bit of Radio 4 catch up. I was meant to get on with THE wedding coat, but it simply felt too challenging with so many thoughts circulating. Today is another day!

Fabrics were sought on Material Mountain and away I went with some festive sewing. I love mixing pattern with pattern, so chose my main fabrics and then selected check and ticking for linings. As I happily sewed I decided that I wanted to name my stockings, strange but true. The vintage American nursery print really reminded me of the story of Johnny Appleseed, whilst the French Toile de Jouy made me think of Napoleon Bonaparte!

After a succession of traditional stocking shapes I decided to try a heeled boot shaped stocking. I drew out a shape for the boot on a large piece of cardboard, this would serve as a template. Fabric cut in main and lining fabrics I then got sewing! Bobbles, ribbon hanging loop and decorative buckle finished this eccentric little boot. Not bequeathed with the largest of openings this stocking is crying out to be filled with mere trinkets, baubles and jewels, perfect for Marie Antoinette!

No sorry Michael it really isn’t time for you yet!

Homage To Scotland, Rocking Dog

Homage To Scotland

Vintage Toile, Rocking Dog

Vintage Toile

American Nursery Print, Rocking Dog

American Nursery Print

Slimline Stocking, Rocking Dog

Slimline Stocking

Vintage Threads, Rocking Dog

Vintage Threads

Dainty Foot, Rocking Dog

Dainty Foot

Vive La France!, Rocking Dog

Vive La France!

Oh So Pretty!, Rocking Dog

Oh So Pretty!

Don't Forget Me!, Rocking Dog

Don’t Forget Me!

Rocking Dog Advent Calendars All Sewn Up!

Counting The Days, Rocking Dog

Counting The Days

The Rocking Dog Advent Calendars all sewn up! Very labour intensive, I am pleased to have completed the first of my jolly 2015 festive makes.

I set up a production line of fabric pieces on the kitchen table and to get me into the festive mood I worked by fairy light! I love my kitchen “chandelier”. The large twirly metal lamp fitting came from a car boot sale years ago (£5). For years it moved from shed to garage to shed etc… with the looming threat of Andyman “skipping” it. Finally a few years ago I did a 5 am makeover, spraying it with gold paint and adding a collection of antique sugar tongs, dessert forks, and crystal chandelier drops. Fishing line is brilliant for a project like this as it is strong and transparent. Fairy lights were then twisted around the frame. At various intervals of the year the chandelier has seasonal additions, baubles, glass gnomes and lametta at Christmas and kitsch bunnies and painted eggs at Easter etc… Last weekend my girls bought me a string of battery operated light bulbs from the Christmas department in Harrod’s. These are currently providing extra light and character on my chandelier

Back to the production line, I didn’t quite put Michael Buble or Wham on but I did work like a busy elf… measuring, stamping, snipping, positioning and pinning. I really enjoy working with gingham and striped fabrics because apart from feeling quite Scandi’ they are useful for keeping me to a straight line! Laura Ashley, Ikea, John Lewis and Ian Mankin all have great stocks of squares and stripes.

Finally I made it to the fiddly sewing on Beloved Bernina. I have got a funny feeling she’s pining for a bit of a service. I will need to book her in for a Bernina spa treatment. Well deserved with all the quilting, hemming, zig zagging etc.. she endures with me at the helm.

Finally the Calendars were sewn, poles were added and strung with rustic twine. The final touch was a sweet felt mouse to move from pocket to pocket for when the advent countdown begins. VOILA!

Real Live Rocking Dog still quietly convalescing, a tip run or two to do, a collection of vintage lights being fitted and a lovely girly afternoon tea are all on the weekend calendar. Whatever is on your calendar this weekend have a really lovely time.

Working By Fairy Light!, Rocking Dog

Working By Fairy Light!

Production Line, Rocking Dog

Production Line

Pinned To Sew, Rocking Dog

Pinned To Sew

Pocket Mouse, Rocking Dog

Pocket Mouse

Pocket Detail, Rocking Dog

Pocket Detail

Love Of Gingham, Rocking Dog

Love Of Gingham

Hambrook Quilting Bee Hangs Up Her Needle!

Ready To Slumber Under, Rocking Dog

Ready To Slumber Under

Yes, the Hambrook Quilting Bee has hung up her needle- the quilt is finished!

Lots has happened since my last quilt making post. After sewing the squares together I backed the patchwork mass with some cotton batting (wadding) using safety pins to secure the layers. Following this I used a special walking foot on beloved Bernina to do something called “stitching in the ditch”. This is a technique to topstitch accurately between each square and to anchor the various layers together. I then added a border of dog tooth gingham before cutting backing fabric of traditional pillow ticking.

Some very late nights followed, sewing vintage buttons between the squares to further secure the three layers. I used green embroidery thread for the task and left decorative knotted threads on the quilts reverse.

Searching through fabric mountain for edging fabric I came upon my dusty French ribbon box. I remember buying this box at some street market in a now long forgotten French city. I remember seeing boxes upon boxes of ribbons, obviously the contents of some ancient defunct haberdasher. Sadly with space at a premium (no doubt a car bulging with three children, tent and camping paraphernalia) I could only choose one box! This box is labelled “bandeaux autruche coul” Translated, bandeaux means strip, often pertaining to fabric strips used for the hair. Autruche meanwhile is a place in the Champagne region of France, whilst Coul I see as an abbreviation for coleur (colour). As most of the ribbons are in shades of creams through to browns could this be the box that the Haberdasher labelled “Champagne coloured ribbon” ? I am reminded of the custom of buying and wearing new ribbons in books by Jane Austen and the like. In my box I found ribbon to edge my quilt and some lovely old Swedish braid to completely over gild the lily!

I didn’t quite make it round with my edging ribbon so I improvised with a little braid that originally came from my Mum’s sewing box. I have an old Welsh quilt that has lots of odds and ends incorporated into its fabulous make up…and I love it!

Loose threads cut, quilt pressed, there was just one final flourish. I added a verse and chose something from Virgil, the Roman Virgil and not the Thunderbirds Virgil! Incidentally, it reminds me that my son Alex’ as a little boy hated going to have his hair cut, so the promise of a Virgil (the Thunderbirds variety) hairstyle was the only way we could avoid tantrums! Back to Roman Virgil, I love “the dank night is sweeping down from the sky and the setting stars incline our heads to sleep”, thus I penned the verse onto a vintage linen coaster, backed it with Bondaweb and ironed it to the quilt.

Voila! The quilt is finished. I just need to decorate the room it is destined for, so that I can let the patchwork slumbers begin!

Stitch In The Ditch!, Rocking Dog

Stitch In The Ditch!

Laborious Buttons!, Rocking Dog

Laborious Buttons!

Quilting Bee, Rocking Dog

Quilting Bee

Swedish Border, Rocking Dog

Swedish Border

Champagne Strips, Rocking Dog

Champagne Strips

Vintage Haberdashery, Rocking Dog

Vintage Haberdashery

Edging Improvisation, Rocking Dog

Edging Improvisation

Finishing Touch, Rocking Dog

Finishing Touch

Folded & Waiting, Rocking Dog

Folded & Waiting