Monday, 30 December 2013

A new day, a new square but some old lessons.

I went to the Local Grammar School. A very academic place where lessons were fast paced. I thought it full of educators as dry as Cream Crackers. My eldest brother was very academic and following in his footsteps was precarious and tricky.

Whenever I find myself in such tricky situations I tend to either bury my head in dreams or switch off. I think I did both. How I hated P.E. I was very,very little. So cross country running was the worst of all the lessons for me. We set off at a gallop for what seemed like hours. The teacher, a Miss Foxhall just wanted to get rid of us I think. And I was generally last back to school. I told the "cold as a fish" Miss Foxhall that a man had approached me in the woods when I was lagging behind. She was so shocked we were never sent so far again. What a massive fib!!! It still makes me smile today.

I,did,however love Cookery and Needlework lessons. The teachers were very strict but I loved these double periods so much. Just to walk into the practical areas in the classrooms was the highlight of my week. I have never forgotten what I learnt during those lessons and those skills have served me so well.

Today I have been working on Block Number 2 for my Monster Quilt. I found the softest piece of hypo-allergenic stuffing and tucked it inside the body of the monster. It made the sewing a little bit harder but I love the 3D effect it has created.

I can be really slapdash but I remembered the importance of pinning and tacking. I am using blanket stitch to attach the pieces onto the backing material. And all of a sudden a voice came back to me across the years. Miss Vicary was teaching us embroidery stitches to decorate a gingham apron. Probably in 1964. These were her tips.

  1. Do not thread your needle with too great a length of cotton or embroidery silk as it will knot.
  2. Keep 2 identical size needles threaded when you are working embroidery stitches and then you will not lose your rhythm .
  3. Always start a new length and the first stitch in the most inconspicuous place on your piece of work so that your joins do not show.
  4. When using blanket stitch make the gap between the stitches the same size as the height of the stitches. My goodness once I remembered that tip my stitches got neater.

Here is a picture of my second square. I am wondering whether to join as I go,or work all the squares first.



I will have to think about that.

I have been reading about batting. Luckily that step is a long way off yet. I do know I want batting that is squishy and soft. Gentle and downy. Luckily there is a specialist Patchwork Shop in Bovey Tracey which is a Moorland Town about eight miles from me so I will seek advice when the time is right. It is called the Serendipity Patchwork and Quilting Shop. I bet they know all about batting there and will hold my hand as I choose.

There is also the most wonderful wool shop there too so maybe my feet will wander through that door too!

Can I please finish with a very big " Thank You" to all my lovely followers who are encouraging me with this new venture. Also I would love to say a very special welcome to my new followers. I love your comments so much.



  1. Monster two looks great. I hated my needlework and cookery lessons in my senior school, very bad memories of two very horrible teachers, but I must have learnt something because I can cook and enjoy embroidery - mind you we were not allowed to do embroidery in our needlework lessons, that's probably why I enjoy it.
    Julie xxxxxxx

  2. The quilt is certainly getting off to a cracking start!

    Your story about cross-county made me laugh, me and my friends used to lag behind then divert to a friends house for a cuppa as it was on the route! We used to watch out for our class limping back, then pop back out and join in at the back of the group!! Oh a misspent youth!!


  3. Lots rang a bell from this post- I hated PE as the teachers used to have a deal to buy themselves some spare time. They used to put two or three classes together and 'do' cross country round the school buildings and seriously dodgy local area or Hungarian folk dancing - big lines of folk doing inane clumping in rows with no music! This meant one or two could slope off while the other one took the class. I only had Home Economics (cookery, sewing, how to clean a house) in year one as once you were streamed these 'low grade' activities were reserved for warehousing those who were considered unlikely to achieve much while at school. I never had technical as I was a girl and girls didn't do men's work. When I think back on my time in school I shudder over what passed for teaching in those days which was actually late 70's early 80's!

    If I'd relied on school to either teach me crafts or practical skills I'd be seriously handicapped these days. Luckily, my Nana taught me all my yarny, fabric-y make-it-up-as-you-go-along crafts, my Dad let me loose with his tools and off cuts of wood and other materials and my Mum.....well, she'd have loved to help but stuck to praising my efforts, encouraging me and dropping the odd wee challenge that I'd go and create!

    I like your tips about sewing and will bear these in mind.

  4. So lovely Linda! Looking forward to more. xx

  5. He's looking great! You know, I loved school. I was a very academic, bookish kind of kid. But my favorite classes were actually art and what we called "Home and Career Skills," which included cooking, sewing, budgeting, etc. I really loved the domestic topics. I became a teacher and enjoyed doing that but being at home is my favorite job ever and I love managing my home, simple as that. I'm sure a lot of people are stunned that I'm not more ambitious, but this is who I am and I'm happy. I love reading those tips about sewing, they're actually very useful so thanks for sharing. I'm so excited about your quilt, it's going to be wonderful.

  6. I love block number two Linda, you are very good being able to remember all those tips from so long ago. I hated PE too with a vengeance we had the most awful PE teacher Miss Cook she only liked you if you were good at it and barely looked at you if you weren't I always got weak on my school reports for PE. Biology was my favourite subject, our sewing teacher was a bit of a battleaxe and that put me off, but I do remember most of what I was taught back then. :)

  7. My goodness reading about your school years got me wandering into mine, my favourites were needlecraft and Home Economics (new name for cookery) too.
    So this is monster number two, he is looking good against the lilac background, are you following the pattern exactly in that you will not be choosing where to place specific squares? If you are then joining as you go along would do no harm I suppose. I have no experience with this at all and I am sure a more experienced quilter will put you right on this. If you are choosing what goes next to what then joining would be at the end I would think.

  8. I had my own teacher like that, she taught us how to sew, cook muffins and do a little beading. How I wish I had actually listened to her so that I could remember her wise words. I made a sundress in her class and did not tie off any of the threads, we were not allowed to back up the stitches. The day I had to wear it to school I was so afraid it was all going to pull apart.

    Hugs to you and keep up the great work,

  9. Hi Linda.. wow, you're doing so well! I got a kick out of your stories of schooltime. I think we were all slightly traumatized by things that happened then. I'm off for another lunch with my sisters and Shirley. Wish you could join us!

    ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

      *H*A*P*P*Y* *N*E*W* *Y*E*A*R*!*

  10. Hey Linda,

    You got me thinking. I was hopeless at Home Ec & Needlework. But I was good at sport. Miss Clewitt was my games teacher. She was a cow, but inspired love of hockey and athletics that never left me, even now it is from an armchair instead of a pitch or a track.
    I love the fib you told!
    As for the quilt, I think it's just fantastic.

    Here's to new ventures in 2014!!

    Leanne xx

  11. I love your idea for a monster themed quilt. And very good tips about sewing, I agree with all of those. We were never taught to sew at my school so I'm pretty much self taught, but it's funny to see that nothing really changes. x

  12. Your little monster is too cute to be a "monster". Good job on the piecing. He (she?) is adorable.

  13. He looks fab! So cute. It's great to see the little personalities from each square :)


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