Tuesday, 28 April 2015

The future is bright, the future is Orange (with apologies!)

April has flown in and not a post written but I could not wait to write about my weekend away for a retreat with my Honeybee group.
We decided last year that we would book a retreat and I found Come2Quilt which seemed to have everything we needed; an experienced quilting host, delicious food cooked by her husband and a comfortable space for our small group. Kate and David Ranson have been running retreats from their home in Somerset for some years. The walls are adorned with examples of Kate's work and it seemed that we were still discovering things we had not noticed at the end of the stay.

Kate's Orange Peel wall hanging
Our task for this retreat was to conquer the fear of curves and with this in mind Kate had designed an orange peel wall hanging in two contrasting fabrics. The templates and instructions were at our workstations and we settled down quickly to cut the three shapes we needed. Although this stage was tedious it passed quickly enough as we chatted.
I had originally planned to use a Japanese fabric I had bought on impulse. I'm not sure what had come over me as gold highlights are not my thing at all and as the time for the retreat came closer I fell right out of love with the colour and design. I pulled two fabrics from my stash instead. One was a muted orange and the other a modern restrained design in pale grey with a touch of the same orange tone. Orange seems to be my "go to" colour this year (it was purple in 2014).

Gilly and Liz with Kate in the background.

Jane hard at work. She is the industrious one!
With Kate to guide us we took our first tentative steps in sewing curves. Those of you who are more experienced may have forgotten how difficult it is at the start. Eventually we mastered got the knack of easing the fabric and sewing at the same time. Curves were clipped and pressed and our blocks started to take shape. The real difficulty was in trying to get points matched when we joined the rows together. This is where my skill with a seam ripper really helped!
It had been hoped that the quilt top would be finished by the end of the weekend but this was not to be. The combination of great company, food and wine with a "new to us" skill foiled our attempt. Jane had decided to use her blocks to make a bucket shaped tote bag. Her design was modified to include a curved bottom and a flap. Her bold fabric choice was a real success and I cannot wait to see the finished bag. Gilly decided that the only way to go was to do a table centre. Her Brandon Mably spotted fabric was accentuated with larger circles and will look super in her modern home. Liz and I are going with the original design idea and hope to have wall hangings to show soon.

I do have a finish this week on the knitting front. I have been following the KAL on Ravelry run by 2 Knit Lit Chicks, Barb and Tracie. Their podcast is always worth a listen for trends, tips and good reads. This KAL was an Alana Along using the designs of Alana Dakos. Remember my Entangled Vines? This is the link for the finish off thread with some beautiful knits. I just about managed to finish another cardi for myself which I have on Ravelry with all the details of yarn etc. It is my Gnarled Oak cardigan designed by Alana and I just love it- everything is just right and it fits so well. The KAL finished tomorrow and I have my fingers crossed.

I told you I liked orange.

Post-script. I finished the third row of the orange peels yesterday afternoon and decided to finish at that point. I have squared it up, chosen a thinnish cotton batting and I aim to hand quilt it. No photos as yet.

So I'm back home and sorting things out for a visit by Jenny and her family next weekend. She and her husband are celebrating their wedding anniversary by staying in a 5* hotel on Friday night and we will have Isobel and Jacob to ourselves. Bliss (I think).

Have a wonderful week. The promised downturn in the weather has not happened yet in South Wales and it is another sunny, if cool, day.


I'm late but linking to Wool on Sundays and tomorrow to Yarn along with Ginny of Small Things. Also linking to Celtic Thistle Stitche's New to Me, button on the sidebar, with my new curvy technique.


  1. I think orange is a very addictive colour. I used to hate it but now it seems essential to use use at least bit in everything I make. Your retreat sounds great and the orange and and grey blocks are amazing. The shapes are wonderful and those colours are perfect. Your cardigan also looks lovely. It really suits you. I hope you have a lovely weekend with your grandchildren and the weather keeps up :)
    Thank you for linking with Wool on Sundays :)

  2. What a fun and productive retreat! Love the wall hanging and the sweater. Have fun with the littles. I think you must have sent your rain to us, as we have been having a lot. We are grateful for every drop on our parched, drought-plagued land! :)

  3. I wish I could book a retreat like you had in The Netherlands! You must have had a pleasant time. This week we had Kings Day in The Netherlands. We were orange clothes and hats and the streets are decorated orange. So we wear seldom orange clothes or uses orange for quilts. But I do love your mini quilt. It is beautiful.
    Love from Amsterdam

  4. Your project (and Kate's original one) look amazing! It will be nice to see it when you've quilted it too. I tend to steer clear of curved piecing, so this looks awfully ambitious to me!

  5. What a wonderful retreat!! It helps, when trying something new, to have lots of help and encouragement from knowledgeable people and good friends. I don't think I'm ready to try an orange peel pattern yet but maybe someday. Your sweater is gorgeous! Orange is your color, Lady!! Enjoy your week!

  6. I think you have definitely mastered those curves Catherine :) I would never have been a fan of orange but your cardigan and quilt might have changed my mind :)

    Thanks for linking up to New to Me too.

  7. You look as if you've mastered curved piecing, I look forward to seeing your wall hanging.


  8. The retreat sounds amazing! Well done for tackling the curves!

  9. Well I just adored this and I love orange too, in fact my favorite cardi is orange and I wear it all the time even though I have the exact same one in three other colours! I remember watching an interior design show where they made an orange and gray room and I've been partial to that scheme ever since, your peels look fabulous, I love it already!

  10. Sounds wonderful, your time away with friends, learning new skills - lovely thing to do.
    Adore your cardy, the colour and the style. Have a great weekend!

  11. Your Gnarled Oak cardi looks fabulous! I never would have thought to do it in a coral-peach colorway like that but it looks so lovely and spring-y. Well done on the curve quilting, as well.

  12. That's a fantastic cardigan! Orange is such a great colour. Can't wear orange and be sad. It seems to give off freshness and life. :)

  13. orange is a must in quilts I reckon! Your curved piecing looks amazing - those are really tight and small curves to sew. Glad you had a fantastic time away :-)


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