The Real Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey, Highclere Castle

For all the Downton Abbey fans out there (and who isn’t?)…I found a book that will help tide you over until the series resumes (or at least until The Royal Baby arrives!)

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey is the true story of Almina, the daughter of a wealthy industrialist, Alfred de Rothschild who married the Earl of Carnarvon and lived in Highclere Castle-his ancestral home.  Their family is the the inspiration for Julian Fellowe’s Downton Abbey series.  Lady Almina was a remarkable woman and her story is fascinating…The Earl is famous for his travels and exploration of Egypt–and for finding King Tut’s tomb.   While the photos aren’t as satisfying as the movie settings and costumes, the real Lady and Earl are far more interesting than their fictional counterparts.  A must read for summer!

PS…I predict the Royal Baby will be a girl named Charlotte...

PSS...Downton Abbey doesn’t return until January 5, 2014!

Works in Progress–Setting Priorities

Free Motion Quilting, Flowers, Sulky, Bernina

I have so many “Works in Progress” right now that I can’t count them all!  I have always worked that way…I almost never work on a project from start to finish without interruption.

Free Motion Quilting, Flowers, Sulky, Bernina

I am usually very enthusiastic at the beginning of a project and then I find my interest wanes somewhere in the middle.  Often I lose interest because the project isn’t working out the way I’d planned, or I run into some technical difficulty.   Sometimes I just don’t know what I want to do–too many options and I need to give the project time to incubate.  I often get waylaid with a new idea altogether.  New idea–new fabric-maybe a new ruler–quilt shop hopping?  Does this sound familiar to anyone?

Free Motion Quilting, Flowers, Sulky, Bernina

I wish I had a Minion or two to help me in my sewing room—(I’d have them binding quilts–a task I hate!)

Free Motion Quilting, Flowers, Sulky, Bernina

Usually I circle back around on the projects that are the best and deserve my attention, though sometimes it is years later.

Free Motion Quilting, Flowers, Sulky, Bernina

My sister does a regular inventory of her quilts and asks herself this question:  “Which quilts would I be sad if I never had the chance to finish?”

Free Motion Quilting, Flowers, Sulky, Bernina

I think it’s time to clean my sewing room and ask myself that question.

Free Motion Quilting, Flowers, Sulky, Bernina

What about you?  How do you work through a project—start to finish or with many stops and starts?  Are there any quilts in your closet that you would be sad about if you didn’t finish?

Tuesday Tutorial: Townhouses

Townhouses, FMQ Tutorial

We’re moving!!! Remember the Rowhouses we built a few weeks ago?  (See that tutorial HERE.)  We are moving on to bigger and better things…today, we’re building a Townhouse!  

Before we start, please review the Greek Key tutorial HERE.  We will use it for the windows in our Townhouse.

This tutorial is a bit longer than most of the tutorials.  It is still very easy…don’t worry!  I think it might be useful for you to follow along with pen and paper.  Remember...if you can’t doodle a pattern, you won’t be able to quilt it!

Townhouses are constructed in three parts:  The windows, the door,  and then the roof...

Here’s a storyboard for today’s tutorial:

Townhouses, FMQ Tutorial

Begin by drawing six lines spaced 1/2 inch apart.  These are our  “rails” or guidelines to keep things straight (plumb —for the carpenters out there).  If you are following along on paper, draw these lines with pencil and erase them later.

Townhouses, FMQ Tutorial

Begin on the bottom line and stitch up to the fourth line (this forms the left side of our house).  Stitch two side by side Greek keys to form the windows.

Townhouses, FMQ Tutorial

Stitch down to the bottom line again-forming the right side of the house.  Stitch a few stitches on the bottom line then begin stitching the door frame.  The door frame  is stitched from right to left.  The next several photos depict the door:

Townhouses, FMQ Tutorial

Townhouses, FMQ Tutorial

Townhouses, FMQ Tutorial

The door frame is centered under the windows and is stitched on the second “rail”–  (one inch) tall…

Townhouses, FMQ Tutorial

After completing the door frame, stitch on the inside of that line to create the door.  Stop on the right side of the door and stitch a small loop as a doorknob…

Townhouses, FMQ Tutorial

Townhouses, FMQ Tutorial

Stitch down to the bottom “rail” to finish the door and then stitch to the left (under the door)…back to the starting point for the house…

Townhouses, FMQ Tutorial

Next, stitch up the left side of the house next to the first line of stitching… then create the roof as seen below:

Townhouses, FMQ Tutorial

The roof has a small window which we will create in three steps:

Townhouses, FMQ Tutorial

Stitch a half circle and then stitch on the inside of your circle.

Townhouses, FMQ Tutorial

Stitch a cross in the window.

Townhouses, FMQ Tutorial

Finish at the bottom of the window and continue to stitch to the left side of the house…

Townhouses, FMQ Tutorial

Echo quilt around the roof and down the right side of the house …and you are ready to stitch another house…Amazing!  No stops and startsNO KNOTS!     A One-Pass Townhouse!

Townhouses.2002

Now of course, you can’t stop there…Make a row of houses…Change the windows, add steps, add chimneys, add trees, and flowerpots and dogs and cats and….kids…lots of kids…at least six (like me!)

Townhouses, FMQ Tutorial