Yes, 16! After I got all excited about Spring in the last post, we had more snow, so I have been keeping quiet since. However, the crocuses are out, the daffodils are almost here and it is sunny and warm - perhaps I can talk again.
We have recently had some wonderful news. Our eldest daughter has been unable to find a job since she graduated - the economic situation is so difficult in England that law firms have been deferring graduates with training contracts for a year until the companies can afford to take them on. Naturally, the number of available training contracts is also very limited. So despite having a good law degree and a postgraduate legal practice diploma, our daughter was having a hard time. But last week she had a very good interview (which she enjoyed!) and this week she was offered a paralegal position with a good law firm, good starting salary, regular reviews and private health care included. Of course, this means a lot to us because we don't need to support her anymore but much more important is the way it has made her feel - that her years of study were worthwhile, that she is of value to a company. I have been going around all week with a very silly grin on my face - the day she phoned me with the news I drove to work and couldn't remember a single traffic light on the journey... The timing was perfect because both my daughters and their boyfriends are coming to Germany on Monday for a few days and now we really have something to celebrate together.
Quilting has been progressing slowly because I am having a problem with my left thumb - I've done some reading and I think it looks like repetitive strain and probably my gripping the fabric is the cause. I am now trying to relax my thumb when quilting and also having more regular breaks to relax wrists and move around. I am still doing the applique swags around the crescent and star quilt, still quilting the split nine-patch (just got the border to do now), still trying to do some Nearly Insane and have now started a cream quilted cover for the seat cushions on one of our leather sofas which have cracked and don't look very nice. I thought I could machine quilt this in an afternoon and started out with high hopes but I used a very thick batting and could not get all the fabric to go through the machine while I was quilting the lines - there was just too much of it for my ordinary sewing machine. A thin batting would have been okay but I didn't want to start all over again. Anyway, half of it is now hand-quilted in straight lines 4 inches apart and I'm sure the other half will be done in a few days. Consequently, I haven't finished anything for months and am feeling a bit stuck. So at the quilting group yesterday, I tried a Japanese method for putting a diamond in the middle of four squares - the diamond comes out folded and a bit puffy. It was an interesting technique and lovely to do something short and sweet and different. I haven't put a photo up because the fabrics were not nice - I was just using a few charm squares given me by a quilt shop - but I liked the method and the magic moment when you turn it over and the diamond pops out.