Sunday, 19 July 2015

On my way to Guizhou Province, China

I'm on my way to China, taking a few minutes to post some photos while I'm in the departure lounge at Schiphol airport.  After double double checking the variations in the baggage size and weight allowances between the two airlines I'm flying with, I had to change my packing plans and take two smaller suitcases rather than one big one, because China Southern airlines would probably insist on classing the big one as freight.  So I couldn't take my A2 cutting mat or my 60 x 15cm ruler (I am working metric on this trip!)  Luckily Daniel Wan at Singer in China, who is providing the sewing machines, plus technical assistants to help me, says he's managed to get rotary cutting gear.

After having to split the quilts into 2 suitcases - and with enough space for presents I'm taking, including lots of Yorkshire Tea, Scottish shortbread and several dozen spools of top quality Aurifil threads that Alex Veronelli kindly sent me for the project - I had enough space to put in some potholders I made a few years ago.  There are two versions of the double happiness Chinese design and others which could be made by beginners.

Not having met the students before and not knowing a lot about them individually, I have no idea what their previous sewing skills might be, so I have asked them to bring something they've made before, if they have other things.  Miao women are famous for hand needlework, so I am expecting to learn from the people I meet on this trip too.  I've been told they haven't used sewing machines before but, as in any class,  I expect some of the students will come along in leaps and bounds quite quickly, so I have packed enough things to keep them stretched - I hope!  In the end, I put in the original version of Super Strips, the scrappy one with narrower strips, rather than my red 'Celtic & gold print' one.  It was the first one that came to hand, plus it is easier to get this kind of look with almost any fabrics.

Once I arrive in China, I won't be able to access Blogger to post here, as Google is blocked there, so I will be blogging on the Chinese Diaries page I have set up on my main website instead. I hope I can get a good internet connection and start posting photos in a day or two, so keep looking.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Teaching in China next week


On Sunday, I start my trip to China for 10 days, flying to Guiyang in Guizhou Province via Beijing, where I will meet Angel Yao, the organiser for the Earth Diary Project's patchwork classes near Kaili city.  I'm still working out which quilts I can pack in my suitcase - I would like to take 'Chinese Pavilions', one of my Japanese Circles and Squares series, because it is quite an easy quilt to make.  I will be teaching beginners, so I want to show them things they can make easily.  Also, I have the metric cutting sizes for it worked out already, which is useful.  Weight is 1.09kg.

'Sakiori' and 'Oriental Log Cabin' are two more I would like to take.  I haven't weighed these yet.  'Sakiori' will weigh more than 'Chinese Pavilions' and 'Oriental Log Cabin' will weigh more again, probably about 1.5kg.


I would like to take 'Maru' - same blocks as 'Chinese Pavilions', but a bit smaller... so it will weigh about 1kg.


I have been asked to take the 'Denman Kannon' too - that will be about 1.8kg max.  Although it has no piecing, the fabrics are heavier and there's lots of sashiko thread on it too.

I would like to take 'Garden Party', as an example of using half square triangles... this will be about 


Together, these would weigh a little under 8.5kg.

I would like to take a quilt top too - I thought about this version of Super Strips -

I need five or so quilts for including in a hand crafts exhibition in Kaili when we arrive but I am also wanting to take quilts that I can use for teaching.  It is so frustrating when trying to limit yourself to 23kg, including taking a few clothes and some presents for the students and organisers.

Monday, 13 July 2015

A weekend off (more or less)

After getting my quilt sent for the deadline this week, I had a bit of time off over the weekend.  On Saturday, we went to the transport extravaganza at Glamis Castle.

Lots of Series 1 Land Rovers.

First ice cream of the day.

Both our dads had Austin Cambridge cars, but in different colours.  It used to feel like a really big car, but they're nothing like as wide or long as most modern cars.

Classic minis.

A BSA bike very similar to the one I had, except mine was a Streamlight, with the dyno hub and lights.  Glyn bought me a 1970s BSA bike a few weeks ago.  If I'd known I was going to end up married to a cycle restoration enthusiast, I'd have kept the one I had originally.

Glyn used to have a Triumph almost identical to this bike.

Glyn was looking forward to the auto jumble/car boot.  There seemed to be a lot more antiques and collectables stalls than the last time we went to this event, more so than auto jumble. Our find of the day was a small pewter dish commemorating the centenary of the Stockton and Darlington Railway.  I would like to find out more about the centenary commemoratives.

This miniature Stockton town hall in crested china was another of the centenary commemoratives.

On Sunday, various private gardens in Coupar Angus were open as part of a garden trail.  When we spotted Glyn's previous house on the list, we had to go and have a look!  The barge boards he made for the cottage are similar to the ones he did for the garage here.

The house sign he made was still there.


The new owners had done a lot with the garden.  I liked their kitchen garden very much, with really well built raised beds.  Tip - use roofing joists rather than (now) expensive 'railway sleeper' timbers.  Also got a tip on where to get free compost from the council.

The contrasts between the blue and yellow flowers was lovely.

The patio was a real sun trap.

Round the back, Glyn's rockery, built from excavated stones, was still there.

It was a really lovely garden.  We visited two others on the same road.

It was a warm day, so we stopped off for a cuppa in the town centre, at the venue used for the yarn club.

It is round the corner from one of the oldest buildings in Coupar Angus.


This garden had a fantastic panoramic view across the town to the hills.

The hedge hid an ornate knotwork garden.


The final garden we visited was at a Victorian house and had many really interesting old trees, which must have been there since the house was built.


The view from behind the stables and outbuildings.

The site was huge, with a disused kitchen garden and an orchard.

I don't think I would want a place this big.  It would be a full time job just maintaining the garden, and it really needed a lot of thinning out - too many trees now.  Cutting the lawns would be a full day's work with a ride on mower.  The smaller gardens we saw earlier were more interesting for me.

We have made some progress on the summerhouse.  Glyn has been working on painting the bits of trim that are a bit to high for me!


The UPVC corner trims will be going on once the painting is finished.