Veg, Fungi and Quilting as I Digress, As Usual

I did some food shopping today for the weekend – it’s only Thursday but Mr. T. arrives home tonight and I count Friday as the weekend – mainly so I can have a glass of wine (or two) but also because it feels like the weekend to me.  Sometimes I come home with unusual things like this Romanesco – a cross between a cauliflower and broccoli which, so far, looks better than it tastes but I think that’s because I haven’t perfected my method of cooking it yet.  I love all those little mini fir trees in fluorescent green although last time I cooked it in the oven and overdid it a little so the mini trees looked as if they had been in a mini forest fire.

Today I discovered this mushroom shaped pot of mushrooms, if you see what I mean.  I couldn’t resist it because you are supposed to get three harvests out of this pot – obviously the first one is ready to pick.

But look at all these little baby ones ready to spring into life and become friends with eggs and bacon.

I try to have little adventures all the time, even when I’m doing the food shopping.  Don’t judge me.

The postlady surprised me yesterday morning and not only because she arrived before 2 o’clock in the afternoon.  She delivered a little package which had me racking my brains trying to think what I’d ordered from here in France – my online purchases are usually from further afield.  Then I spotted the sender’s address and realised it was from Claire  a fellow British expat.  She is very generous with the results of her many talents and often sends little unbirthday gifts out to friends – both real and blogging – which is such a sweet thing to do.  I might start to prefer ‘unbirthdays’ as you don’t have to get another year older when you have one.  This lovely little needlecase features a little egg in the centre and I’m embarassed to say I don’t know exactly how she’s done it.  It doesn’t look quite like cross stitch and it isn’t hardanger as I know you cut bits away with that – so I’m stumped.  Pardon my ignorance but I don’t do all that fiddly stuff on tiny squared fabric  – just admire those who do.

                                                                      Anyone would think I like cats

Inside, some stitch markers for both crochet and knitting and some pins – all in a lovely turquoise colour which goes beautifully with the crochet project bag I showed you last time.

A long time ago (Lordy, 2 years ago – I just checked), I started a quilt – you know the story – and now I’ve brought it back out into the light of day to finish it.  I have my Mum’s birthday in mind but I’m not 100% sure it isn’t too bright for her tastes.  I’ll finish it first and then make a decision about its eventual home.  The design is called ‘Friendship Braid’ and is made using a jelly roll from a book about using jelly rolls called something I can’t bring to mind at the moment.  The fabric I used was Gypsy Girl by Moda.

I have two questions for both quilters and non- quilters who wish to venture an opinion.

I need a six inch border around the outside.  I can’t use plain white (as they have in the book) because my quilting wouldn’t stand up to the scrutiny.  I need something with at least some sort of design on it.  There is a white fabric in the braids with tiny green spots – do you think something like that would work?  What I decide on will depend on the answer to my second question.

Obviously I can’t ‘quilt as you go’ with this one – not at this stage anyway – what sort of simple (very simple!) machine quilting design would work do you think?

How do you feel about sending quilts out to be professionally quilted?  I’m pretty sure I’ve asked this question before but it’s one that vexes me.  I know it’s fairly common in the States to do so but I have recently seen a company in the U.K. who does it for quite a reasonable price and I’m interested to see how it would turn out. I am the first to admit that I’m a piecer not a quilter but is it cheating? (O.K., that might be three questions)   I would have it back afterward to put the binding on so I would feel as if I’d done the ‘finishing touch’ but I can’t quite decide what to do.  If I did something like vertical lines it would be fairly easy – apart from wrestling my smallish sewing machine into submission – but would that look O.K.  Help!


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  1. #1 by claire93 on April 6, 2017 - 17:14

    the Easter egg is in “blackwork” to ahswer that question.
    As for your French braid top – it’s lovely and bright ^^ 1st question on that: I reckon you could use a white with small dots for your borders and it won’t look out of place. 2nd question – I’m not an experienced enough quilter to give any advice there, I’m afraid. I would tend to tackle it by bands, but my quilting skills are limited to echo/ in the ditch or squiggles/stippling, so I’m not much help there.
    I don’t consider it would be cheating if you paid someone to Long-Arm quilt for you – don’t know if I’d be too keen on having to post this off though. Am always worried that parcels might go missing.

    • #2 by Dartmoor Yarns on April 7, 2017 - 08:57

      Hello! Hope you don’t mind me asking, What’s the difference between blackwork and cross stitch? Excuse my ignorance, but I though blackwork was just cross stitch all worked in black. But obviously not.

      • #3 by tialys on April 7, 2017 - 09:24

        Good question – I don’t know either!

    • #4 by tialys on April 7, 2017 - 10:19

      Thanks Claire, what does ‘blackwork’ mean exactly. Somebody else has asked too!
      I think Kate’s idea about a meandering line down the centre, then echoing it on each half of the quilt in turn is the one I go for if I decide to tackle it myself. If I do post it off, I’ll give it to my husband to take over to the U.K. with him and get him to send it registered post as it will only be quite light – she can add the wadding and backing from her own stocks on site. I did find somebody here in France – near enough to me that I could have hand delivered/collected it – who has a long arm machine and appeared to offer the service but when I contacted her via her blog (which, admittedly, wasn’t kept up to date) she never replied.

  2. #5 by poshbirdy on April 6, 2017 - 17:20

    I will butt out re the quilting. It’s stunning, as is the gift, but I am not qualified to get involved! The romanesco is a beautiful veg but I have never cooked it either. Does it taste like cauliflower?

    • #6 by claire93 on April 7, 2017 - 10:04

      cross stitch is crosses lol, blackwork is like doing backstitch, just lines to create the design. Blackwork was originally done in black (hence its name) and often gold . . . frequently used on clothing (collars, sleeves) on wealthy people’s garments. This egg combines cross stitch for the outline and blackwork for the centre.

      • #7 by tialys on April 7, 2017 - 10:40

        OOps! I think you might have meant to reply to Bekki at Dartmoor Yarns who asked the question but I’m sure poshbirdy is now enlightened too – as am I!

    • #8 by tialys on April 7, 2017 - 10:14

      I find it to be much milder than cauliflower and perhaps slightly nuttier. I still need to experiment with the best way of cooking it to perfection otherwise it’s in danger of becoming one of the vegetables – along with aubergines and artichokes – that I buy to display in a bowl in the kitchen rather than cook 😉

  3. #9 by craftycreeky on April 6, 2017 - 18:41

    Hi, I’ve both used a long arm quilter and quilted my own. I used the LQ when I’d just started and it was also a king size quilt, I’ve only got a standard sized sewing machine, so the biggest I’ve managed is a double. With this one you could either quilt in the ditch in a chevron, or do an all over pattern like a meander. If I’m doing an all over I find it easier to do what I call a wave, a bit like a swirl with a point. The point gives you somewhere to stop and regroup!
    Using a LQ is definitely not cheating, I’ve only experience of one, she has lots of designs using pantograms, it’s a matter of picking which one you wanted, she did all the sandwiching and basting before hand, she had a great range of extra wide backing so I bought it all from her. She could do binding, but like you I prefer to do my own.
    If you are going to do it yourself, it’s worth getting some quilting gloves, they’re not expensive but they have rubber grips on the inside which make it easier to hold the quilt. It looks a nice size to do it yourself, and the more you do the easier it gets!! Go for it 🙂

    • #10 by tialys on April 7, 2017 - 10:11

      The jury is still out as to which way I’m going to go. I get so stressed about the quilting part because it’s the piecing I enjoy and then I’m terrified of ruining it with my less than perfect quilting techniques. I’m looking at a company in Bridlington, Yorkshire – she sells the extra wide backing fabric too which is how I found her – is that the one you used?

  4. #11 by Frivolous Monsters on April 6, 2017 - 19:19

    Very interesting mushroom pot. Can’t work out if it’s a gimmick or not. Why does it stop at three? I’d need a forest of mushroom pots to keep me going.

    • #12 by tialys on April 7, 2017 - 10:07

      There’s only two of us who eat mushrooms in this house – the remaining resident daughter can’t stand them – so it should keep us going for a short time. I just saw the display of these and thought it would be the sort of thing that would intrigue my husband. I’ll give you a report on whether it turns out to be a gimmick or a good ‘investment’.

  5. #13 by nanacathy2 on April 6, 2017 - 19:54

    We are unbirthday twins, lucky ladies! I would go pink for the border. I think I will have to send my hexie quilt out for quilting because I don’t have a long arm machine. Thats assuming I ever finish it! Enjoy the weekend.

    • #14 by tialys on April 7, 2017 - 10:03

      Well, you can quilt on an ordinary machine – I have done it before and lots of people do it all the time – but it’s a struggle and, to my mind, not an enjoyable experience. I don’t know how you are assembling your hexi quilt but, if you’re doing it in blocks you could try the quilt as you go method which is what I’ve done with my last two quilts. The construction of this one meant it wasn’t really possible though so if I try a service – I’m considering one in Yorkshire actually – I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  6. #15 by Chris on April 6, 2017 - 20:19

    I think I might almost prefer a turquoise border, the checkered fabric could look quite fetching I think.
    I’ve never had a quilt quilted for me, partly because I don’t know of a place who does this but also because I’m much to stingy (make it at home for nothing and all that). But I really really HATE quilting and though I’ve only ever tried the simplest designs even those leave a lot to be desired. So if you aren’t stubborn and a miser like me you know what to do 😉

    • #16 by tialys on April 7, 2017 - 10:00

      My last couple of quilts were finished by me using the quilt as you go method which I can handle but, for this one, that method isn’t realistic and it’s not a massively huge quilt so it won’t be too expensive. I am very tempted to give it a try – if only to see the difference between a professional finish and my wobbly efforts.

  7. #17 by katechiconi on April 6, 2017 - 22:25

    That Caulibroccoli is fabulous, and if it was me, I’d be breaking it into little fir trees, and braising it in butter with a bit of garlic and then adding a tiny slug of water, putting on a lid and letting it steam the rest of the way over a low heat.
    As for the quilt: the busier your border the less the quilting will show, so if you decide to quilt it yourself, go that way. I’m a big green fan, myself, and I’d pick the busy green and white floral to make the border. You can do wavy line quilting with a walking foot, just mark the first one in down the centre line, and then echo it. Do half, from the centre to the right, then turn the quilt the other way up and work the other way. It’s a very forgiving pattern, because you’re allowed to deviate a bit. Personally, I’ve never sent a quilt out for quilting and never will, for me it’s a control issue (no surprise there, then), but I see no reason why you shouldn’t if you really dislike the quilting part and you can find someone skilled and reasonable. Do ask to see photos of previous work and what designs she offers, though.
    LOVE Claire’s blackwork needlecase and the unEaster egg on the front!

    • #18 by tialys on April 7, 2017 - 09:54

      You ought to start calling it ‘Romanesco’ – it sounds so much more exotic than Caulibroccoli 😉 So far, I’ve parboiled it, drained it, rinsed it in cold water to keep the colour and then put it in the oven with a slug of olive oil and some seasoning and that wasn’t bad. The second time, I skipped the parboiling and the tops caught in the oven and went a bit brown and it dried out too much. I’ll try your way next time.
      I haven’t got any more of any of the fabrics in the quilt – it was a jelly roll which I’ve had in my stash for a while so the range probably isn’t even available any more. I do have the green and white gingham vintage sheet I blogged about way back when that I was considering for the backing but, after you and several others, mentioned the possible problems with higher thread count, I’m not so sure.

      • #19 by katechiconi on April 7, 2017 - 10:28

        Why don’t you try FleaBay to see if anyone has any of the fabric? Or put out a request on your blog with the name of the range? You may be pleasantly surprised. Otherwise you’ll just have to carry snippets of it around with you till you find something to match! But I do think you’re right to avoid using the sheet unless you think the weave is open enough that it won’t be a pain in the backside to quilt…

      • #20 by tialys on April 7, 2017 - 10:54

        I might well do that but I’m still not convinced I want a busy border or something plainer to make the centre braids ‘pop’. I was thinking of something not completely plain but with enough going on to disguise any imperfections that are bound to arise if I decide to tackle it myself.

      • #21 by katechiconi on April 7, 2017 - 12:32

        “Perfection is for the Almighty” as my mother would have said. Each quilt is a learning experience, and I’m not convinced your imperfections would be either a) noticeable, or b) much of a defect in any case. Just… go for it!

  8. #22 by CurlsnSkirls on April 7, 2017 - 03:10

    Love your idea of exploring little bits at a time, and un-birthdays are the best, aren’t they! As for quilting, you’re on your own there, Lovely. Yes, sending it out is typical here in U.S., and I’m told they have patterns you can choose from for the quilting. As for border colour, I agree with your thoughts. Your work is beautifully colourful and should be featured.
    Really enjoy your posts that aren’t strictly anything except your own – brava! xx

    • #23 by tialys on April 7, 2017 - 09:42

      Thanks Del, I’m glad you enjoy my transference of muddled thoughts on to ‘paper’.
      I notice quite a few people suggest colour and patterns for the border but I’m concerned it might begin to look a bit over complicated. I’ll probably end up taking the top with me to my one and only local fabric shop and drive the staff mad by making them unroll some bolts and lay them next to the quilt while I ‘audition’ them (the fabric not the staff). I was hoping to use fabric from my stash but if I haven’t got anything just right I don’t want to compromise.

      • #24 by CurlsnSkirls on April 7, 2017 - 17:54

        Agree that “compromise” is out of the question. 😱 Absolutely agree with your auditioning idea. Have you tried positioning your piece over top of a large white sheet (if you have one)? Then leave it on floor or bed (door closed keeping cats out) for several days and peek in from time to time to see how it looks. As light shifts you might find different ideas come to thought… Best of luck !

  9. #25 by Dartmoor Yarns on April 7, 2017 - 09:04

    Lucky you! A lovely un-birthday present. Don’t ask me about colours I usually have to sit things together to get my head around colours. As for quilting, I use that wibbly wiggly pattern that just leads all over the place (Yes, another technical term). I know of someone who quilts quilts as a business and have seen her results, which are marvellous. I can dig out some details if you want them. It’s not cheap, but she’s in Cornwall, so may be cheaper than the rest of the UK. Let me know if you want me to track her down. I know where to find her details, but don’t have them myself.

    • #26 by tialys on April 7, 2017 - 09:33

      That would be interesting. The company I’ve been looking at – I found them because I was searching for extra wide backing fabric which they also sell – is in East Yorkshire and they charge £16 per square yard for a simple pantograph design if you buy the wadding and backing from them – £18 if you don’t. It sounds very reasonable to me, all things considered.
      Do you do the wibbly wobbly pattern that goes all over the place by dropping the feed dogs and using a special foot (more usually known as free motion quilting 😉 ) or do you just wibble and wobble under your own steam?

      • #27 by Dartmoor Yarns on April 7, 2017 - 13:58

        I’ll dig the details out for you. Not at home at the min though, so will have to get back to you with it. Yes, free-motion quilting – that’s the non-technical term 😉

  10. #28 by KerryCan on April 7, 2017 - 13:21

    The quilt is very pretty–I like the bright colors and bet your mom would, too. I only do hand quilting but I know many, many people who pay to have their quilts finished by someone else. And, one thing to consider–I think learning to machine quilt involves a bit of a learning curve. If this is something you want to give as a gift, you might not want to make it your first learning-to-machine-quilt project.

    • #29 by tialys on April 7, 2017 - 15:48

      Thank you Kerry. I have done some machine quilting before and, as long as I keep it (very) simple, it’s not too bad – I just can’t imagine covering a whole quilt in a complex design with a domestic machine. My forays in to quilt as you go were more successful because you only have to cope with a small piece of the quilt at a time. I’m not even going to talk about my hand quilting – it doesn’t help that I can’t use a thimble.

  11. #30 by jendavismiller on April 7, 2017 - 14:08

    Oh Lynn, funny lady. I so enjoy your digressions. The Romansco looks amazing – I’d likely have little scorched trees also. I like the idea of the chevron stitching, it would make the quilt nice and puffy. And I don’t think it’s cheating to send it out. And….I like a dark border I think, maybe one of the reds? And if my ideas are not good, no offence will be taken as I am an absolute non-quilter. But I love them. And yours is very pretty. And such a nice little un-birthday gift!

    • #31 by tialys on April 7, 2017 - 15:49

      Hi Jen. All ideas are good and welcomed – if not necessarily acted upon 😉

  12. #32 by magpiesue on April 7, 2017 - 18:59

    Okay, I may be late to the party here but I have to throw in my two centimes worth. (Love the little veggie trees by the way! Just to look at you know; I avoid the kitchen as much as possible.) I am also a piecer, not a quilter. Always have been. That’s why having my son undertake to become a long arm quilter was such a blessing for me. If you do send this quilt out to be done by others I would ask for a simple meander. That would be enough to hold the layers together without taking too much attention away from the prints and piecing. I would also use something other than white for the border treatment. If you need six inches I would look for a medium to large scale print to go there, in colors found within the braids. Or at least find something with a white background but more going on in it than tiny dots. An allover quilting design would also work but tends to cost more to have done. It’ll be fun to see what you end up doing!

    • #33 by tialys on April 10, 2017 - 11:25

      Thanks Sue. Rest assured, if I had an ‘in-house’ longarm quilter I wouldn’t even ask the question 😉 I think I’ve found the ideal border and backing which will upset the purists but it’s not as if I’m putting it in an exhibition or anything so who cares?

  13. #34 by sew2pro on April 7, 2017 - 22:00

    That’s one of my favourite vegetables! But I refuse to call it by its proper name, not now my daughter (the inventiveness of girls and their way with words!) has renamed it Hybrid.
    We also call it Fractals.
    We steam it for a quick Monday or Tuesday supper and have it with leftover Sunday (homemade, of course) gravy and a pie!
    As for your border, I imagine it in the same red you’ve used already (with the flowers spread out wider) as there really isn’t much red overall and I think it would contain everything nicely and make the blues, pinks and green pop out. Not that I know anything about quilts….

    • #35 by tialys on April 10, 2017 - 11:26

      You don’t have to know anything about quilts to have an opinion about design and colour so all ideas welcome even though I’m probably going to ignore them all and go with something completely different 😉

  14. #36 by lovelucie1 on April 10, 2017 - 14:23

    I’m not going to offer an opinion at all, just share with you the observation that your’s is the only blog where I read ALL the comments and ALL the replies. You have some very entertaining well written comments that are then completely matched in your witty replies. It is a whole blog post in itself!

    • #37 by tialys on April 11, 2017 - 09:14

      Thanks for that Lucie – I do have some funny, wise and witty readers and I hope they feel they are having a proper chat with me when they comment as that’s what I’m aiming for.

  15. #38 by tinaor on April 11, 2017 - 08:59

    I wonder what border you went for? I love the set up of this quilt. I have just started a baby quilt and have cut my strips into squares – so wish I’d copied your style – it really shows off the fabric !

    • #39 by tialys on April 11, 2017 - 09:19

      The jury is still out on the border but I have something in mind which might get the quilt police knocking on my door :/ Squares are good, I’m going for rectangles in my next project I think – unless something else grabs me before then of course.

      • #40 by tinaor on April 12, 2017 - 11:58

        I am more of an organic quilter – I plan a bit and wing a lot! Looking forward to seeing yours finished. Squares are great – my latest (soon to be shown on my blog) is all squares!

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