Waiting In The Wings

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Memory Quilt Series No 1 - Dale Head Farm

Computer problems have held me up from posting until
today, but here is No 1 in my series.
You have had glimpses of this one some time ago but now I have a
finished quilt, with a story,  those who like to know the story behind
a quilt then please read on.

Dale Head Farm
High Peak

As a youngster between the ages of 4yrs and 10 years, I spent
many happy holidays with Mum on a relative's farm in Derbyshire, England.
Dad's cousin (known as Aunty Alice to me) and her husband had the farm with a herd of
dairy cows - Friesians - and a decent sized flock of sheep.

These holidays were some of the happiest times of my younger years.
The marriage of my Mum and Dad was difficult and
time spent on the farm were balm for the soul of a little girl. 
The journey involved a train ride from our village in Lancashire, another 
train from Manchester to Buxton followed by a ride on  the one bus of the day
which would take us up on to the High Peak and drop us off at the
top of the long lane to the farm, then a long walk!

I would be up in the morning at 5.00am to help with milking, no machines
then just a three legged milking stool, a pretty large pail clasped between the knees - a bit
tricky for a little girl - and knowing how
to get the milk going! How I loved that part of the day. Anyone who
hasn't had the chance to perch on a stool in the shippen (cowshed), pail between knees and
head resting up against the flank of a warm, steaming cow doesn't know what they are missing.
I also learnt how to miss the odd forward back leg kick, mostly anyway but there was
the odd accident with the pail of milk.

Arriving at lambing time was equally enjoyable, I would do the rounds with
Uncle Bob when necessary to check if any sheep were in trouble, if that was the case,
especially if twins were on the way, I would keep the sheep steady and
comforted on the ground while he delivered. What an amazing experience.

I learnt how to drive the tractor - an old photo below from about 1954

not very clear but thanks to good old iPhone it's a reasonable
copy from one in the photograph album.

The old black iron stove in the kitchen/living room warmed us, fed us
and had a copper kettle nearly always boiling hot ready for a drink.
The kettle had been used in my Dad's younger days by his Mum. I never knew my
grandma, she died when Dad was 15 yrs old. That old kettle, which by then was
almost totally black, sits now on a cupboard in our hallway, cleaned by my Aunt
when they left the farm. I like that I have something from my Grandma.

There were a couple of cosy chairs and two lovely oak carved settles - similar to
a church pew - along the walls. Luckily a few cushions were available for use, sitting without that padding
was pretty hard!
The huge wooden table in the centre of the room was permanently
covered in a homely cotton cloth, letters were written, freshly picked garden peas
shelled into a bowl, dough mixed for bread, butter made, batter for baking, all were
carried out on this table. And always a fresh jug of milk. sitting there - no refrigerator,
no electricity.

There was another smaller  room which had a piano sitting there, I spent hours
on that old thing, I couldn't read music then but I could play one or two tunes
by ear. For some reason The Minstrel Boy was constantly being hammered
out on the keys.

How I loved my Aunty Alice, she had a permanent sinus problem, very curly and
wiry hair and a wonderful happy smile. She always wore lovely old flowered wrap around aprons
which covered front and back, I wonder if that's where my love
of bright fabric comes from, hence the use of the bright flowered
KF Collective fabrics in the quilt, reminiscent also of the lovely
wild flowers in the meadows of the farm.

I close my eyes and I am back there again.
Happy Days

Now,  a couple more quilt photos.
Here is my favourite piece of fabric in this quilt, my last little bit of
an old KF.

You can see the lovely wavy quilting by
and the psychedelic backing fabric! 

I used another KF fabric for the binding, I thought it blended in with
the main fabric pretty well.

Cotton batting from Leeanne, also the backing fabric.
Original pattern by Judy Newman using pastel fabric - of course 
I had to go bright!
Measuring 66" x 78"

Needless to say this is a keeper!!!

Two more quilts should be bound by my next post, not memory quilts so
the post will be considerably shorter!

Enjoy the rest of your week and happy quilting.


Friday, June 14, 2019

Planning, Surprises and Sunrise - heavy on photos!

I have a total finish!!
The quilt for Bea's 20th birthday has now been bound, she doesn't know
anything about this surprise at all, I hope she likes it!!

Photos taken on the old deck

Two more quilt tops are on their way to Leeanne
for her to work her magic with the quilting

Rainbow Blur below

and my Tula Pink top

I'm just about to bind one of my Memory Quilts - quick peek at a
smidgy bit of it below.

I need to get down down to some serious planning on quilts to be made,
size, fabrics chosen and so on. It's going to be a hard task to decide which to play with
over the next twelve months. I'm having a sale at our Auckland Quilt Guild
early August, with the results of a serious de-stash.

An echocardiogram a couple of weeks ago gave us a surprise,
I have a congenital heart defect, not picked up before.
My aortic valve did not form correctly, instead of having
three leaflets (tri-leaflet) which peel back fully in order to let the blood flow mine
is bicuspid, the valve only splits into two flaps, looks like a round emoji with just the smile!
This, as you can see, is a
slight problem!
The  valve thickens and becomes stiff  (stenosis) and is a disorder which is progressive - 
presently mild but progression rate is variable, hence my decision to take stock
of my proposed quilting and fabrics, hopefully prematurely!

However, life goes on and just look at this sunrise two days ago,
took my breath away.

You can just see a peep of soft turquoise streaking in through the trees.

Have a great weekend, see you soon.