Free Motion Quilting and conkers

Horse chestnuts have their own beauty
Horse chestnuts have their own beauty

I love the word ‘conkers’, largely because it rhymes with ‘bonkers’ and that’s a good enough reason for me to love it.

I was advised that in order to keep my indoors as spider-free as possible this autumn, I should arm each room with a bowlful of conkers as apparently this repels all arachnids like Kryptonite. I like conkers even more now. I have nothing against spiders, per se, they fulfil a very useful purpose in life, ridding the world of those other pesky pests, flies.

Spiders... my pet hate
Spiders… my pet hate

We live right out in the countryside amongst around five thousand porcine neighbours who are really delightful, not at all noisy and who only occasionally drop in unannounced.

There is one drawback when you have pigs for neighbours and that’s the flies. Ordinarily, not a massive problem, but in high summer I’m sure we had half the world’s population of flies living in our kitchen. When we first moved in, the place had been empty for some eighteen months or so and we spotted a few dead flies on the floor in the upstairs rooms, but thought no more of it because, as I said, the place hadn’t been lived in for a while. In fact, when we finally moved in, we were amused to note that the over-zealous junior estate agent who wrote the inventory had included ‘a small quantity of dead flies’. I kid you not!

Look out Spider... here comes SuperConk!
Look out Spider… here comes SuperConk!

So the spiders do a good job on the whole, but my philosophy is that I don’t go pestering them in their homes outside so I really believe they should have the good manners to do the same for me. Hence the need for substantial quantities of conkers – it’s fortunate that we have a magnificent horse chestnut tree right outside in the front garden. My FAB hubby has been bringing arms full of conkers in various states of undress (the conkers, not my hubby – although he does frequently explore the grounds in little more than his boxer shorts and a t-shirt, but that is a WHOLE other story!) in order to test this theory once and for all. Will we be spider free whilst we have conkers in the house? Let’s wait and see.

Detail of the sashing
Detail of the sashing

And now, to the free motion quilting. It is possible that practice pays off with this game. I’ve now managed to stitch, freely, with my machine (go me!) in the outer sections of two of my Dresden blocks – OK I made a ferocious tangle on Sunday and had to make some apple crumble and copious cups of tea in order to sort the whole mess out, but that is now behind me and today I have stitched these two blocks together AND applied the sashing, which I have ALSO quilted!

I’m not going to connect the others until I’ve finished with quilting the outer sections of each block, but I did want to see what it might look like and so here it is.

Don't look TOO closely at the stitching!
Don’t look TOO closely at the stitching!

I’m sort of getting the hang of swinging the fabric sandwich around and drawing with my machine, but it really is a fair old challenge. Hopefully, each block will be better than the last and by the time I’ve done all twenty five blocks, I’ll be pretty good at it all!

Let’s hope no eight-legged helpers drop in for a chat… 🙂


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