More Uzbek travels

We were up early and walked to the spot where it was possible to get a shared taxi to to Urget.

At the market we eventually found the old textiles section – buying a couple of pieces was quite stressful as everyone really wanted us to buy something and we had to bargain hard.

I bought some braid and and a small modern piece – no bargaining needed for this and they were really cheap


On the way home we visited Konigil to see paper being made and got the bus back. Getting a local bus always causes lots of local watching us. Bus fare about 10p for a 40minute ride.

More markets


With plenty of time in Samarkand we visited mosques etc. It was really one of those, pinch yourself times – were we really standing in front of such magnificent buildings?


We stumbled across the craft centre in Samarkand – beautiful shops


On our 3rd day I thought maybe we should make some plans, no one speaks much English but the hostel owners son was helpful and suggested if we wanted to book an internal flight the only way to do it would be to go to an agent.

How we’re going to pay for a flight?

There is really only one note in circulation  a 1000 som note worth about 13p. If you are lucky you may get a 500 and really lucky if you can get hold of a 5000, so whenever you exchange any money say £50 you get a brick load.

So to book our 2 internal flights meant a taxi ride out to Samarkand airport to pay and book the flights. What an archaic system.


I tried to pay with a credit card but the only one that I was able to use was my Halifax visa debit card.

They tried 5 of my different cards

Booking a train ticket was also difficult – through an agent we managed to get 2 vip tickets to Bukhara departing at lunchtime.


Vip meant a coffee in the lounge and a tea on the train.

At 4 in the afternoon we arrived into Bukhara – we stayed in a cheap hotel- 10$ a night each including breakfast. I know that seems really cheap – it was nice, and for breakfast we had porridge and eggs,



Uzbek adventures

One day at a time…..

 I am often asked about some of my trips? 

Do you need to go with a group?

Is it possible to organise a trip yourself?

I have written up my experiences of independent travel in a country such as Uzbekistan 

Is it all about confidence, experience of travel, being with someone you trust, or is it all about having a high level of tolerance of discomfort? 

I have included lots of my photos – they speak for themselves and don’t really need any explanation

Why do I love independent travel so much….a sense of freedom, seeing what I want and when I want, at my speed

Above all it is about people watching, looking around me, seeing and being part of the the unexpected 

I love to stay in cheap hostels and hotels, travel on local buses and trains etc I could travel in protected luxury and stay in much more expensive hotels but I like the budget option – people talk to you more, they don’t see you as a posh westerner and someone who should be ripped off but just a normal person.

Here goes….

I am getting closer to 60 years old than I really want to be  but I can put a rucksack on my back, sleep in cheap hotels,  can walk at least 35,000 steps a day, so maybe I’m really only 25.

The last few months have been so stressful that I decided it was time for a bit of a treat, and to feel free from everyday responsibilities.

My Daughter had booked a week off work. We usually try to have an interesting holiday ( always good for her if mum – or this time granny was paying)

I have always wanted to go to Uzbekistan ( along with Mexico, Guatemala, and Ghana) so we found some cheap flights departing on a Friday night – an overnight flight arriving into Tashkent early in the morning. With Festival of Quilts taking up lots of my time to get everything ready I had had no time to really do any research. Whenever I tried to find train times etc different websites gave different times – even the guy on seat61 said – don’t trust any timetable.

In the end we just decided to go with nothing at all booked. I had the lonely planet – Uzbekistan chapter of Central Asia guide book downloaded on to my phone.

The only thing I was really concerned about was the money situation. I changes £20 into dollars  and took some pounds and euros.

This was a good decision but it would have been better to have taken all dollars

Arriving at Tashkent we went straight to the bazaar in a taxi, we had had very little sleep as the airline would not serve any food until the seat belt sign had been turned off. 3 hours after dinner, breakfast was served.

As we had expected the taxi driver was hasseling us to change money on the black market with him. We didn’t but actually his rate was the going rate.

The bazaar was a good place to start and we saw some fabulous craft work and just watched it all happen around us. There were no other tourists anywhere.


Tashkent is a city with many modern buildings and seemed quite big.

After the bazaar we made a visit to the applied arts museum – a very tranquil  place and a good introduction to the arts of Uzbekistan


We planned to stay our first night in Samarkand so that we could go to the very big bazaar in Urget on a Sunday.

We took a shared taxi to Samarkand


Our $20 lasted all day – it was going to be a cheap holiday!

We stayed our first night at Emir,s B and B. Room was lovely and so was the breakfast in the courtyard. All for £13 each, and right next to a beautiful mosque and near Registan square


more to follow….


Festival of Quilts

I’m back from 5 days at The Festival of Quilts. I work so hard to get everything ready for it that by the time I get there I am quite nervous about it all – Will anyone like my new work? Will anyone buy anything etc etc?

By Thursday lunchtime I am usually beginning to relax a little.

The day after the show I am usually feeling a bit like a zombie, and wander aimlessly around my studio etc, but today i have been sorting things and trying to get organised, and trying to work out what direction I should go in the future.

I am really trying to reduce the amount of teaching I do and concentrate on only the best.

I think i had better do some more “sardines” quilts and some more houses quilts as everyone seemed to really like them.


I never get much chance to see any of the quilts, these are some of them that caught my eye


We had a lovely evening with one of the judges and we were asking her why one of the quilts won a first prize – it was really interesting, the first thing she said was that many of the quilts did not fulfil the rules of entry of that category. I made my game and entered it in the quilt creation category, and when I read the judges comment it said it was not 3D

So my game. I made it based on the idea of Pachisi – an Indian game like ludo and now have some kits for sale.

Here is my entry


It was stitched using Decora 12 – a Madeira thread given to me by Madeira Israel


It comes in such fabulous colours and is so easy to use. Don’t use it in the bobbin and use a top stitch needle and you shouldn’t have any problems.

They also gave me some frosted matt thread but i have yet to use it


Back to Festival of Quilts. I did loads of teaching this year – I was offered it, but next year I will go back to just session a day.

Thanks to all my helpers my stand was managed in my absence wonderfully by Fiona, Lesley, Shoshi, Dorothy and Carina


I was lucky this year to be given (without having to pay for it) a little extra space, however I did have to pay for an extra light.

It was lovely to meet up with students and friends from all over the world. There is such an fabulous atmosphere – everyone looks like they are having fun. I spoke to a very sweet lady who said she hadn’t been able to sleep well for 3 weeks she had been so excited at being able to come and have a day off by herself.

I was given a beautiful book by my friend Shoshi. I love the colours of the Palestinian costume. Now I just need some time to look at it


I was given another book. This one is all in Polish but look at the patterns / illustration.

You can see why i like it

Thanks Madeline


There is never much chance to buy much from all the shops but i did buy some fabric. I liked this as it is shaded and I have a plan to use it on one of my next projects

Its a moda fabric


Watch this space!

More thread came today for me. This time it is from Mettler as I am going to use their thread for my workshops in Maastricht in Holland in October


Yes it is variegated! I have a plan, this is for 2017, but the grey is for 2016

Now….so much admin etc to catch up with.






New Quilt

I’ve inherited this quilt. So what can anyone tell me about it?

I think it is was probably made in Northumberland and probably Victorian.

The back is white and the edging is machine stitched. There are no laundry marking numbers on the edge

It isn’t worth much but it is rather nice.


Gone global

I just don’t know how it happens some time, but occasionally a quilt of mine will get shared on a website / facebook page etc and then the number of people looking at my website goes sky high.

This week it has been my turnip quilt.




I have had messages from someone in Moscow asking me if they could  buy it and another one that made my day.

“Beautiful, beautiful work! Also love your piece (not sure of the title) of the spice pots. Simple but exquisite!

Thank you for being out there, creating such beauty. I needed a lift this morning and you’ve given me that, thank you!”

Here is another lovely email

Firstly, let me express my admiration to your quilts and other art! it’s wonderful. Yesterday my mother sent me a facebook link. so bright colours, so much life in it. I subscribed on your page :).

secondly, the question! do you sell the bettrave quilt? I would buy it and pay the delivery to Moscow, Russia. Or maybe I could pay you for the image in a very good quality, I would really print this picture for my kitchen maybe. It’s so cool andso violet! 🙂

Here is another small JQ I made this week


I sent an image of it to my friend in Israel with the words

“Walk out of your door at 7am and you might meet these 2 ladies”

This week I made one of my favourite Sunday morning breakfasts for some friends




It is great following an energetic exercise class, Best eaten with some proper hummus – Sainsburys sell the best (not their own make but one with a green lid)

I’ve been on a lot of trains lately and I was sorting through some of my India photos and I found these and thought perhaps I should share some of these photos of the children – happy memories


Catching up and getting ahead

With so many images from my recent teaching trip I just wanted to make a couple of Journal Quilts. They will be September and October so I am ahead!

There is a small street in Jerusalem where an art project designed lots of umbrellas to be positioned high up. This quarter all the JQ’s have to have a small piece of orange


This one is inspired by the bowls of spices in the market in Jerusalem


My new kits should be ready for Festival of quilts. the graphic designers always make a good job but always always leave it to the last minute.

This is the first page of the instructions

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 18.17.24

I have a couple of residential classes to do this year and next based on the Interchange applique method and I have been working on some slightly different approaches using Jelly Rolls. I have never really seen the need to buy a Jelly roll until now. These 3 small quilts were made with 1 Jelly Roll and I still have loads left to make another couple, although not quite the right colours. Maybe I’ll have to buy another one

This is my sample


Here is a finished quilt – I really like this one


And this one I don’t. there isn’t enough contrast in colour and I thought the red and blue would work well together but they don’t. It’s good when teaching to be able to have an example that doesn’t work well.