There are some compensations though, aren't there? Still beauty all around, if you but look hard enough. In the garden, we are awash with apples with their delightful rosy hue and sweet, crisp flesh.
There is still the odd rose (my favourite, David Austin's Jubilee Celebration), and interesting brambles, teasels and seed heads.
Maybe it's the nature around me which has turned my usual sewing practice on its head? You may recall that sludge and I are sort of old friends, albeit a tad begrudgingly ( if you fancy, read here, here and here) but this year, I am embracing sludge like no other.
My bedside reading is consisting entirely of books like these...
I have become quite obsessed with the "prairie style". This is music to my dear sister's ears who has long been in bed with sludge and is an avid dolly quilt maker. The books above are all by the talented Kathleen Tracy who also has a lovely blog. She mainly creates doll quilts and her books go into some of the interesting history of the American Civil War and prairie life. There's nothing I like more than a book which combines sewing and history; heaven.
Like Squirrel Nutkin, I've started to surround myself with Autumnal, prairie-style goodies (he being a hoarder but not necessarily into prairie style?)
And so I have had fun this week working outside my normal comfort zone, going small and sludgey. Working on such a small scale, means I have been prepared to change my usual way of quilt making. I have been hand basting the quilts in advance of quilting, rather than pinning them as usual.
Then I have even been hand quilting them! Maybe you can just pick out the pretty leafy border design on this quilt?
I cobbled the design of this first quilt together myself. "Bow tie" is a very traditional design, often seen executed in 1930' style fabrics, but here in sludge with an added border. The whole quilt measures 13" by 15 3/4". You know, looking at it, I'm not sure if it isn't a bit mean to condemn it as sludge. In fact, it has a right old mix of fabrics: a bit of charity shop dress, some Liberty, some modern prints, along with all those repro Civil War designs.
I then turned to one of Kathleen's books "The Civil War Sewing Circle" to run up this scrap squares quilt. It's a little bigger at 17.5" x 22.5". I did find the hand quilting on this a bit boring in the end, just going back and forth in a criss-cross fashion, but cannot deny that I like the effect very much. Somehow it just seems right with these quilts.
Goodies then. What did my beady little eye spot in Bridport which just had to come home and be part of my very own sludgy sewing circle?
Oooh yes, that fabulous little Singer sewing machine had to be mine! Talking of sewing accessories, Kathleen Tracy came up trumps again with her pattern in "Remembering Adelia" for a traditional housewife needle case. These were used by ladies in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to hold their sewing supplies. They were also carried by soldiers during the American Civil War, often made for them as a sentimental token by a loved family member back home.
I think these are a fantastic practical idea, no sooner had I made one than I made another for my sister. The chance to ummm and ahhh over five different fabrics for one project is an opportunity I certainly relished!
So that is how my new Autumnal header came into being.
And I must confess, I already have yet more sludgey quilts and things to show you soon. The Hen is on a veritable sludgey roll...