The loose leaf version…

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When the swallows came and I was banished away from my Makery into the garden to weed and weed and weed and suchlike, I became possessed of the idea that I should like to make a fabric book and, throughout those months of heatwave and gardening and painting, I preserved my sanity with pondering its pages and construction and even, on rare occasions, a little Summer stitching. The book includes a bit of everything, really. Some stitching, some vintage linens, some applique, some transfers, some cross stitch…Some, you may have seen before and some I’ve not shown.

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I had it in mind that it would be nice to finish it by the time the swallows left on their long journey to Africa but during these past few weeks the skies have been filling each evening with clouds of these swift little birds darting and diving and swooping and, sometimes, alighting for a moment on the telephone wires.

And now they are gone leaving us earth-bound creatures with duller, emptier skies to prepare for Winter and brace ourselves against the growing dark and cold.

And reminding me that time for Summer stitching is quickly coming to an end and my book is still loose-leaf in the most literal sense. I would love to get this finished by the end of the month as May Day to Halloween seems, to me anyway, a good timescale for the making of a Summer Stitching book. But I’m not sure that is manageable. So, this month, my goal is to have the pages finished to a stage to be sewn into the cover, after which I think I will probably embellish a little more.

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In the meantime, I will be linking this post with Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal October Linkup and Whims and Fancies for Wandering Camera. Last year I linked with Soma when I achieved a lifetime ambition to capture a swallow with my camera and, although they may not be much to look at, the swallow photos in this post were an equal challenge!

Good luck with your October goals :)

Janine @ Rainbow Hare

Something Different (Wandering Camera and OMG)

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With the evenings, drawing in, the leaves beginning to turn and the fruits and berries ripening, I can feel the great wheel of the year driving us steadily into Autumn – whether we are ready or not – and, although I should probably be finishing up my Summer Stitching, the pervasive sense of change in the air and the sky and the fields and the woods makes everything I’ve been doing these past few months seem, suddenly, a bit samey and dull. And I just been wanting to do something different. No grand plan. No specific different thing. Just anything different!

So, whilst I was taking some flowery garden photos for Wool on Sundays, I decided to take photos, too, of the things I never take photos of and I was surprised at the variety of pattern and texture we have about the place. Instead of trying to take ‘good’ or ‘nice’ photos, I just took honest photos. Clips of things just as they are. It was more an interesting thing to do than a great result but I put them into this mosaic, which I quite like, as my offering for this month’s Wandering Camera with Soma at Whims and Fancies. Should you be curious, you can click through the mosaic to see the individual photos, though I should mention that to see the mosaic you need to view my actual blog. If you are seeing this post in an email, I’m sorry, the photos will just be dumped anywhere in a big mess because that’s what happens to blog mosaics in emails :(

In the Makery, also, I’ve been switching things up a bit. After my little Improv Horse, last month, I thought I might make a sort of improv sampler and, to start, I tried using some improv curves to make tessellating fish – I can think of no end of uses for tessellating fish! They were not a huge success. Horribly baggy in places, though I think it could work with gentler curves or, maybe just more practice.

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But I decided, instead, to make some with a seam allowance and to sketch up a rough plan for a wall hanging incorporating some improv elements but focused more on doing something different with simple shapes. So for my OMG this month…

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…I’m going to try making blocks and setting them into the layout of the squares and rectangles underlying a Golden Spiral.

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In case you want to draw a Fibonacci spiral, the youtube video below has an excellent tutorial.

I am not planning, at the stage, to make the actual spiral in my quilt – just to make blocks in the proportion and layout of the ‘background squares. I will complete eight blocks (equating to 1,2.3,5,8,13,21 in the diagram above) and inspired by the sketch below but subject to variation.

If I have time, I might sew them together or even make more but my monthly goal is just to make the eight blocks.

Good luck with your goals this month.

Janine @ Rainbow Hare

The Trial and Error Cats

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As every pet owner knows (and I’m using the word ‘owner’, here, in the loosest possible sense because we all know who really owns who), now and again, when you are not thinking too much about it, you fall quite naturally into speaking each other’s language.

And so it happened the other afternoon. It was bitterly cold outside so we were all together in the Makery. I was sitting, knitting in the blue floral armchair, Poppy was snoozing in front of the fire, Fiona was in her box on the desk and Mrs Hare was busy sewing.

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“I really should make something else to go in my shop,” I said, more to myself than to anyone in particular.

“Why don’t you make some cats?” asked Fiona.

“Cats…”, I pondered.

“Yes! You make hares and birds and dolls and dogs…”

“Only sausage dogs!” interrupted Poppy (we have discussed before the difficulty of making a spaniel).

“And sheep!”, added Mrs Hare, without looking up from her work.

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“But cats would be better,” said Fiona decidedly. “I’m sure you’ll find there’s quite a market for them.”

I wasn’t entirely persuaded but, by now, Fiona was in full flow. “What you need is some black cats – perhaps other colours later – and I’d start with nine.”

“Why nine?”

“Oh, for the nine lives of course”.

Mrs Hare and I looked up from our sewing and knitting and even Poppy looked a bit a surprised.

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And Fiona laughed. “People always think a cat’s nine lives are nine narrow escapes from death! That’s not it all – and no one wants to buy a cat falling off a roof”.

And she turned around and started cleaning her paws and we all waited for her to tell us what a cat’s nine lives really are. And we waited and waited, all of us knowing quite well that she is not an animal to be pressed for information, but, so far as she was concerned, it seemed that the conversation was over. In the end it was Poppy, who is not usually known for her respect and diplomacy, who broke the silence.

“So, dear Fiona, beautifulest of cats,” she asked in her most polite voice, “What are these nine lives then?”

“Oh, it’s just what we do,” replied Fiona casually. “Humans and dogs and hares have one life at a time and we have nine different lives and live them all at once”.

“But how can you?” asked Poppy. “We see you having your one life, here in the Makery with us”.

“No. You see me having one of my lives here in the Makery with you. That is my life as a Makery cat. And sometimes you see something of the other eight”.

“Like a lady detective?” asked Poppy, getting the idea at once – we all call her ‘Fiona the spy’. But Fiona wouldn’t be drawn into details. “Seven are based on the seven skills of cat, which you can easily observe, and two are personal choice,” she said. Then she sprang effortlessly from the box and was out in the garden before anyone could ask her anymore.

So we just had to guess the seven skills of cat. So far we have come up with these:

  1. Sewing/Knitting/Crochet Assistant.
  2. Spy.
  3. Explorer.
  4. Astronomer.
  5. Acrobat.
  6. Dreamer.
  7. Teacher (Poppy insists that she learnt everything she knows about hunting from Fiona).

Who knows whether those are right or not. You may have some suggestions of your own and we’d love to hear them.

From a sewing point of view, it certainly gave me something to be getting along with and so began the Trial and Error Cats.

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So far, there are miscellaneous body parts +  four whole large cats without faces +  two small cats. And all are without clothes…

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So, at the moment, they are rummaging in the vintage scraps and playing dressing up and suggesting all sorts of outlandish attire that it may or may not be possible to construct from from some odd lengths of lace, old table cloths and vintage hankies…

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I suspect they will be back soon.

I wish you a warm and happy week!

Janine @ Rainbow Hare