Saturday, 25 July 2015


I have a lot of catching up to do again as most of my time has been taken up with working on my quilt for Festival of Quilts.  More of that in a future post.  What I havn't had time to talk about is our trip to Cumbria at the end of June to go to Woolfest.  I've seen adverts for Woolfest for several years but never managed to go so this year we decided to make the effort.

Woolfest is held annually in Cockermouth cattle market and the stalls are all set out in the pens.  The setting is eccentric and as well as showcasing all things woollen and fibre-y it showcases many rare breeds of the wonderful providers of said fibres, sheep.

The exhibition fills two halls and it was lovely browsing up and down the aisles seeing all the amazing things people make with wool and fibres.  

If you click on the photo above you can see the name of these very cuddly sheep.

Sedbergh, Farfield Mill and Pagoda Arts of Liverpool were advertising an upcoming Sheepfest at Sedbergh in September with a variety of manmade sheep in amusing poses and a coat of many colours woven by 650 children, each square hiding its secret dream in its lining.
If you get a taste for a fibre festival from this post you can catch Sheepfest here.  

This weaving above is Saori weaving which is a very free way of weaving.  I would love to be able to do something like this.

These coats above, left to right,  are made by Linda Chapman (Cobble Coat) and Ruth Strong (Flora of the Fells) (I didn't get the name of the third coat, sorry).

I was tempted to do a little shopping with the Woolly Pedlar.

You'll have to wait and see exactly what my dear DH bought me from this stall.  It's far too warm to model it at the moment ;-)

The best part of going to exhibitions is the people you meet up with.  This time was no exception and I met up with the very lovely Jackie Cardy who had a stall selling her beautiful brooches and pictures.

I sneaked up on Jackie and took a photo of her while she was deep in conversation.

Her stall was kept very busy all day.  Sadly I didn't think to get a photograph of the two of us together.  Doh!

Before I finish I would like to refer you to the work of Iona Mackenzie Laycock.  I had a lovely chat with her about her stunning work but again didn't get a photograph.  Iona's work incorporates fibre and paint and she has spent a long time perfecting her technique.  If you get the chance to see her work it is well worth seeing.  It is so vibrant!

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

The Quilt Museum

A couple of weeks ago DH and I ventured up to York to visit the Quilt Museum which will sadly be closing later this year.  Their last major exhibition is Ancestral Gifts and is running until 5 September.  The patron of the Quilters Guild, Kaffe Fassett, selected 15 quilts from The Quilters’ Guild Collection dating from 1780 to 1949, and created 15 new pieces in response to them.  The exhibition space at the museum had been renovated over the winter closure and looked wonderful.  Kaffe Fassett had encouraged the Guild to have the walls painted grey instead of white and this tone really set off the quilts.

I've always loved this beautiful space even though it may not have been ideal for its purpose as an exhibition space.  

This beautiful quilt below received a bright and modern re-interpretation.

The Elderton Log Cabin quilt inspired the colourful quilt below it.


Side by side below, a bed quilt and Kaffe's version on the wall above it.  

As well as the quilts Kaffe had provided some of his beautiful embroidered clothing:

 I am so in awe of the stitching on this jacket.  I can recognise some of the vintage fabrics that underlie the stitching.  Wonderful!

You may recognise the photographer who saw a creative opportunity in the design wall and fabric squares.

There is still time to visit this interesting exhibition and if you've never visited the Quilt Museum now is almost your last chance.  It is a beautiful building and I will be sorry not to be able to visit it in the future.  There will be one more exhibition after the Kaffe finishes and the museum closes for good on 31 October.  It sits in beautiful grounds nestled below a section of city walls, with a stylish restaurant on the same site and an art gallery too.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Working in a Series continued

This post should be on Pages 'Working in a Series' but it's published in the wrong place.  It will make sense if you read the first part on the separate page.  Why does life have to be so complicated!

 Having looked closely at my own work and the work of others who inspire me it was time to start working with my own inspiration.  While I had looked at the shapes of the windows in St Ives I started to consider other shapes and how they relate to each other.

I started by making tracings from my photographs, concentrating on the main shapes.

One of the exercises was to work in watercolour and I made the sketches above exploring the colours I associate with St ives.  

I tried working in a grid layout using the roof shapes but felt a bit frustrated by the rigid arrangement.

Some more play followed with varied arrangements and colour schemes.  Of the four arrangements above I decided to concentrate on the one bottom left.

 The sketch above was taken into Photoshop and played about with.  

From working with sketches I moved on to working with fabric and have spent several days making improvisationally pieced units which are currently languishing on my equally improvised design wall.   The image below combines and compares two working layouts, neither of which resemble the sketches above but have been informed by them.


Excuse the weird shape at the bottom, it's not part of the design it's a door stop.  I have played around with incorporating definite house shapes using the white of the cottages that you see in St Ives but somehow felt the starkness of the white was too much.  The arrangement on the left, such as it is, has more of the feel I am after but there is a long way to go with the design.  It's neither one thing nor the other at the moment.  I have had to give this quilt a title before it's finished and went for 'Higgledy Piggledy' as I felt this describes the many rooves and alleyways in St Ives but I don't achieved that  think I've  achieved that atmosphere yet.

This course is about working in a series and while I may have gone off at a bit of a tangent working through this piece (because I need it to fulfill a brief for a challenge) I do have a lot of inspiration to take me forward with this series.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Something Quilty and Yet Another Trip

I make no apologies for having been on another little jaunt as I know people do love to travel vicariously (hope I've spelt that right).  The middle of April saw us taking the charabanc to the beautiful County Kerry in Ireland.   Our local coach company just happened to be running a trip to Killarney at the very time that we had been talking about wanting to visit some friends of ours who live beyond Tralee.  My days of driving long distances are coming to an end so if I can find someone else to do the driving I'm all for it.  Plus, we get a holiday into the bargain.  Result!  

 The two photos above are taken from Aghadoe Heights above Killarney and give an outstanding panorama of the beautiful Killarney Lakes.  We were so lucky with the weather and Paul, our driver, took full advantage to show us these views before he took us to our hotel.

On the free day Stewart and I took a local shuttle bus to the far side of these lakes and explored Muckross House and Abbey but more of that in a minute.

Our friends live out on Kerry Head and we hadn't seen them for nearly 10 years during which time my friend's husband had had a nasty stroke so it was lovely to see both of them after such a long time.  Peter has a nap in the afternoons so we were able to relax for a while in June's lovely conservatory while June plied me with wine.  As you can see I had a constant little companion, Ant, who took a shine to us.  I had wanted to take June a gift as it had been so long since we'd seen her and her life is taken up with looking after Peter so I made her a happy quilt, at least, the colours look happy.

A charm pack in my stash meant it went together quickly and I put a fleece back on it so it would be snuggly.  All the sashing and binding was done on the machine too so it was an easy make.  I'm happy to say June was delighted :-)  

Our time with June was all too short but it was lovely to have seen her and Peter at least.  We must try and get across there again before too long.

On the following day we caught a local Shuttle Bus and took ourselves off to Muckross House.   The shuttle bus is new since we were last in Killarney but it is a great innovation (I'm not sure whether the Jaunting Cars would agree) and suited our purposes for the day.  We had been on a jaunting car ride previously and I didn't feel up to it again as I was feeling a bit below par.  The bus was excellent though.  The driver kept us entertained and informed and was very relaxed as only the Irish can be about the itinerary and schedule.  He did make sure that we knew where to be and when.

Muckross House is a jewel in the crown of Killarney.  It sits in an idyllic position overlooking Muckross Lake and looked resplendent in the Spring sunshine.  (I sound like a travelogue!).
First stop was the new cafe complex for some refreshments.

How's that for a view?!

 It was quite a windy day and the cherry tree was shedding its petals like confetti.

 This beautiful old tree was colossal, the photos don't do it justice and its shapes were fascinating.

We had a lovely wander through the gardens and then ventured down to the lake shore.  The grounds were really busy but you wouldn't think it from the photos.

 This beautiful rhododendron bloom came floating by.

The water was making some beautiful patterns to inspire me.

Our next hop on the Shuttle Bus took us to neighbouring Muckross Abbey which proved to be a magical place.   You first see it as you walk down from the road,

The graveyard is still in use and has some interesting memorials and tombs.

Susan Lenz would enjoy a visit here.

The abbey itself is partially ruined but there is free access to the site, which is beautiful.

 This ancient yew tree grows up through the middle of the cloisters.  Yew trees are said to ward off evil and it must be doing its job as, on the day we visited, we saw no sign of 'the brown man' who is reported to haunt the site.

Apparently some have reported a spooky atmosphere but we felt only peace and calm throughout our visit to this beautiful building. 

Finally, (thank god, you're probably saying) it was time to travel back across Ireland via Adare and another abbey.

You're probably ready for a cup of tea now so I'll say tarrah for now.  If I can manage the technology I'm going to start a page for an online course I'm doing at Academy of Quilting with Elizabeth Barton on Working in a Series.  Watch this space!