Monday, 30 November 2009

December Journal Quilt

Yes, I know it’s still just November but, ‘Dah da dah!’ I’ve finished my December Journal Quilt for the Contemporary Quilt Group. Woo hoo!

December Across St Ives Bay III

This was the stitch and flip curved piecing which I then topstitched using variegated threads, changing the thread to blend with the fabric as I went. The fabrics include my own hand-dyed and painted fabrics together with commercial batiks and cottons. I have to say I am really pleased with it and with myself for completing this challenge before the deadline. I really wanted to get December’s quilt done before everything started to get mad with the ‘C’ word.

The topstitched curves piece pictured below still needs cutting to size and binding but I have done the decorative quilting. I used the same arrangement of fabrics for both pieces.


I did think about stitching the two quilts together back to back but I chickened out! Bwck! Bwck! Bwck!

I have a couple of things I should have included here before.

ATC from Carole Brungar

When Carole sent me the fabric to make her stitched square for her bloggers’ quilt she also sent me this ATC made from vintage embroidery. Thank you Carole :)

Postcard for Pat

I have made this little postcard for a lady I met at a workshop with Gina Ferrari down at Art and Stitch in Peterborough. Pat, who doesn’t blog, very kindly sent me some cyclamen leaves as she had seen the Journal Quilt I had done inspired by Gina’s embroidery workshop. This postcard is a little thank you to her .

I’ve already started my next little project but I’m not going to be able to show you it until much later as it’s a present and I think the recipient may look in here occasionally. Suffice to say it is something I said I wouldn’t do again so the air will probably be a little blue chez nous.

Hope you all have a good week despite any grotty weather that’s about.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

A Bloggers’ Quilt


square for carole brungar


A few weeks ago Carole Brungar in New Zealand had the idea to make a quilt for herself and to ask her blogger friends to each contribute a square using fabric and thread provided by herself.  I’ve just had an email form Carole to tell me that my contribution has arrived so I can show you my square.  I was stumped at first for what to do, especially as I could only use the one thread that Carole had supplied,  but then I thought I’d do a little garden.  You can tell I’m not a true embroiderer as I don’t think there’s even a name for some of the stitches I’ve used but basically I played about with detached chain stitch.  If you pop over to Carole’s blog you can scroll down her sidebar and see all the squares she has received so far.  I’m looking forward to seeing Carole’s finished quilt and what a lovely reminder of people you have ‘met’ around the world! 

While you’re visiting with Carole have a look round her blog, it’s very varied and she has some beautiful work to share.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Harrogate K & S Show

Harrogate Royal Hall3

Why are there not 48 hours in the day and the energy of a 5 year old to go with it? I went up to Harrogate on a coach yesterday and had a great day. Fortunately I had bought the catalogue in advance so I was able to plan my day before I went and it certainly helped to have a route round the exhibition planned in advance.

I have never taken time before to look into the amazing Royal Hall that serves as a refreshment venue at the Conference Centre so I had a peak in yesterday and was blown away by the beautiful building which has been restored recently.

Harrogate Royal Hall

Harrogate Royal Hall4

I am sure there will be inspiration for future work in these images.

Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of the first exhibit that I really enjoyed by Louise Baldwin but if you follow the link you can see the type of work that she had on display. I was also particularly impressed by the work of Cindy Hickok and Tom Lundberg, neither of whom I knew before.

Cindy Hickok3

This embroidery by Cindy Hickok is entitled “Her Mother Told Her Not To Run With Scissors” and is typical of the quirky vein that runs through her work. It rang a particular bell with me as my Mum has always said the same thing :)

Next stop in my day was an enjoyable demonstration by Jan Beaney who I have never met before but she imparted a huge amount of knowledge and insight to her work in a very short 45 minutes. Jan Beaney sample

Jan’s talk centred on the use of solvent supports for embroidery and the piece above has given me some ideas for the future. Mind you, I went rushing off to Barnyarns later in the day to get some Soluble Sticky and managed to buy the wrong stuff! Oh well, I will still find a use for it!

I managed to link up with Sandra for lunch which was lovely and then had to pack quite a lot into the last 2 hours before my coach left to return home.

I was pleased to be able to see “The Art of the Stitch” exhibition as I had not seen it on any of its previous outings.

art of the stitch exhibit

Jane Kenyon’s work.

Rosie James 2

Rosie James’ work.

Pippa Caley Twigs

Pippa Caley “Twigs”

Pippa Caley Twigs detail

Pippa Caley Twigs detail. My photo does not do this work ( or probably the ones above either) justice as the light was not wonderful and my camera struggles a little. I’m hoping Santa might bring me a new one for Christmas (Hello DH are you listening? lol).

So what else? Oh yes, Alice Kettle of course. If you follow the link and click on New Proj. you will be able to see the work that was on display within Clay and Thread, a collaborative exhibition of work between Alice Kettle and Helen Felcey in Place Settings and Alice and Alex McErlain in Conversation Pieces. I particularly liked the combination of subtly coloured ceramics and the delicate stitching of Alice Kettle’s work.

Alice Kettle and Helen Felcey

My camera wouldn’t oblige me with a decent photograph of the Alex McErlain pieces but Alice’s website has some good images.

I had hoped to spend time watching the Artists in Action but when I got there there wasn’t much ‘action’ :o( I think they were mostly having a late lunch or working on their stands elsewhere. (Insert rude word of frustration here!) Never mind, next time.

Finally, I did manage to get most of the things on my shopping list.


There were a few other bits and bobs but they were just routine things like sewing machine needles and urea for dyeing. The books are a present from my DH who also cooked dinner when I got back. Bless!

Well, that is by no means all that was at the Show but I think I did quite well in the time allowed. Needless to say I am exhausted today and my body is reacting in its own wonderful way but it was worth it. I enjoyed the day and got lots of inspiration.

You may have noticed that I’ve got more photos than usual into this post. I’ve decided to give Live Writer a try and so far I’m impressed. It even allows me to save the post to my laptop so I will have a permanent record in case Blogger ever throws a wobbler.

Oops! Nearly forgot, here’s a photo for Sandra


Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Work in Progress

There is something addictive about these curves! Having said yesterday that I really liked the top-stitched curves I found a slight variation on stitching curves with stitch and flip and have really enjoyed doing just that today. It was in the book Stitching To Dye in Quilt Art by C June Barnes which I have on my bookshelf. I have to confess I've had this book for a while and haven't yet got round to reading it properly. You know what it's like, you buy the book, have a quick scan and drool over the pictures and then put it to one side for a moment when you have more time to really study it. Nine times out of ten that precious moment is a long time coming!

However, I digress! So far I have constructed the basis of a seascape above using stitch and flip and effectively quilting as I went as the fabrics above are stitched to wadding and a base cotton. I have used an assortment of commercial fabrics and batiks, hand dyed and painted fabrics. The curves went together easier than yesterday and my only/main niggle is that some of the areas look as if they are going uphill as I didn't angle the curves quite right.

Questions that occur to me are:

* Should I now add free machine quilting? Yes probably.

* What quilting pattern should I use? I think I will use a series of lines that suggest the movement of the water with a variegated thread. I would probably have to change this for the foreground which is supposed to suggest the beach.

* What about incorporating some layers on top eg lace, scrim, sheers, net?

* What about adding embellishments, beads, beach finds? Too early to decide at this stage I think.

* How do I include narrower strips next time? I have an idea but I will obviously have to keep working on that one.

I think I will have a go at the same design using predominantly the topstitched technique to see what that looks like. I have enjoyed myself so much yesterday and today that I am worried that I am catching the patchwork/quilting bug! These things creep up on you when you least expect it! Not so long ago I called myself a painter then I morphed into a mixed media artist only to find I was becoming a textile artist and now it appears quilting is slowly taking me over! I'm only taking little steps but they are taking me in a very unexpected direction ;o)

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Tuesday, 17 November 2009


Thanks to some very generous blogging friends, you know who you are :o) , I have been having a play with stitching curves. Before I started I watched Alicia Merrett's videos on YouTube as Sandra suggested. This was a good introduction and demystified the process to the point where I felt ready to have a go.

Having said that, I did decide to start with the top-stitch curves as I thought they may be a little easier. Annabel had sent me some detailed instructions which walked me through the technique.

The main premise of this method is cutting the curve, turning the edge and stitching the curve down onto the next fabric after pinning. (Please ignore the top piece of orange fabric in the photo above, it shouldn't be there).

The beauty of this method is that you can arrange the curves so that some are set as 'valleys' with a fabric stitched on top on both sides, and some become 'ridges' being stitched on top of two other fabrics.

For the other method there is no top stitching but a 'normal' seam is stitched with the edges being pinned round the curve and the fabric eased. I am assuming that with this method you cannot have valleys and ridges in the way that you can with topstitching.

Putting the two techniques side by side the curved piecing on the left does give a smooth feeling of landscape or rolling hills. I can see that you would have to work with tone to achieve the feel of a landscape or seascape and I can see exciting possibilities with this method. I would add though that I found it very tricky to do, but that may have been more to do with cutting across the grain - or not! The top-stitched curves on the right were much more comfortable to do and I do like the idea of including 'valleys'. Karen Eckmeier is a proponent of this technique and both teaches and has written books on the subject. Her quilts are lively and my trip to the Knitting and Stitching Show on Satruday will definitely have me looking for her books!

Obviously I have only just started to explore this technique and my efforts are very raw but I am excited by the possibilities. I think my next task is to explore combining both techniques to get the effect I have in mind, to see if it will work. If it doesn't I think I will explore the topstitched curves for my final journal quilt for the Contemporary Quilt Group. Or maybe I could go mad and try a reversible quilt with one method on each side!!!! Oh no! Forget I said that! :o)) Thank you, everyone, for all your pointers to instructions for cutting and stitching curves. Bloggers are wonderful!

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Sunday, 15 November 2009

Journal Quilt - November

Where did the last week go? I have been busy but I can't show you everything that I've been doing yet (not that all of it's wonderfully exciting!). I have finished my Journal Quilt for November. In the finish I decided to edge the quilt with satin stitch rather than apply a binding. I did, however, apply a backing and stitch through from the quilt top to secure it. My inspirational (!) title for this JQ is Across St Ives Bay II. My friend Sandra has suggested that I make this again as a miniature quilt for next years Festival of Quilts. Hmmm! Maybe. I think I would be very tempted to add beads if I do this again. It was very hard for me not to add some beads to this JQ. ;o)

Earlier this week I received the last two pages in the flower book page swap that I have been engaged in at MixedMediaATCs_UK Yahoo group.


This page is for the inside of the front cover and was made by Wendy Kirk. I very conceitedly thought the writing said 'Julies' and wondered how she could have known that I would get that page! However, when I looked again I saw it said 'Tulips'! Duh! :O)


This page is for the front cover and was made by Jean who organised the book pages swap. It bears a passing similarity to the front page I made and I am delighted with it. Now I just have to make two pages of my own and bring the whole thing together into a proper book. That is going to be the hard part and may take a little time.


I'm still not sure where this week went but part of it went in a very enjoyable day out in Bradford with the lovely Sandra Wyman . We had said that we would have a day out round the textile outlets in Bradford when we met up last year at the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show and it has taken me all this time to arrange it. The absolutely gorgeous velvets and threads above were Sandra's very generous gift to me. She felt that the colours would work well in one of my seascapes and all the fabrics are her own hand dyes. I am such a lucky girl! Thank you Sandra, I will have a wonderful time using these fabrics and threads.


So what did we do in Bradford? We started off with coffee at the National Media Museum which does what it says on the tin and focuses on all methods of communication from photography through radio and film to the internet. The Museum was extremely hectic vibrant with hoards groups of students visiting so it was nice to get into one of the exhibition spaces and find a little peace and quiet, not that we don't enjoy the company of excited young people! (You can tell I don't have any young people at home, can't you?) We had a look round the history of photography section and then had a look at an exhibition by the animator Joanna Quinn. I didn't think I had heard of Joanna but I very soon recognised her work and it was wonderful to be able to see the progression of her work and her sketchbooks. Aren't other artists' sketchbooks fascinating? Also, did you know (Bob T Bear, you might wish to look away for a minute!) Joanna Quinn is the artist who drew the bears for the Charmin adverts? Her drawings showed her progression of drawings of real bears with quite angular features to the rounded figures of the Charmin toilet paper bears. Sorry Bob, I didn't mean to remind you about the awful things people do with the bears on Charmin toilet paper! If you click on the link to Joanna you will be able to view the excellent resource that the Media Museum have put on their site including Joanna's sketchbooks and video clips of her animations.


What did you say? Textile shops? Oh yes, I nearly forgot! We did eventually tear ourselves away from the museum and went to Bombay Stores which is a mind boggling source of everything shiny and glittery! We spent a lovely hour caressing all the beautiful fabrics and ogling at all the threads, beads, trims, silks and satins but believe it or not, our purses stayed in our bags! I for one was overcome by so much choice. I will just have to go back another time! lol


So what happened in the rest of the week? I've lost a few days with recovering from my day out and a tum that decided to have a bit of a shout but I have been working on some hand sewing. Unfortunately I can't show you yet as it's got to go to Carole Brungar in New Zealand for her blogger friends quilt so until she has received it, it will have to stay a secret. Ooh, that reminds me, I haven't photographed it yet! Don't forget!

This week I am planning to work on my next Journal Quilt and work on the topstitched curves thing so if you hear some bad language coming from this neck of the woods you'll know who it is! Have a good week everyone and if you're going to the Knitting & Stitching Show in Harrogate have fun! I''m going on Saturday, can't wait!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Lest We Forget

We shall remember them........

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Wednesday, 4 November 2009

York On The Edge and Curves

First of all, may I say thank you to everyone who rallied to my plea and gave me links to various sources for Free Cut Curves. Also to Annabel for contacting me too with her original tutorial. I'm hoping to get started on my own curves in the next few days and I will be sure to post my progress.

Yesterday my friend Ann and I decided to have a girl's day out and took a trip to York to visit the Quilt Museum. I have heard some criticisms here and there of the Quilt Museum but Ann and I really enjoyed it. The Museum is housed in the 14th century mediaeval Guildhall which had also seen service as a school in its history.

This plaque which sits in the wall by the entrance to the Quilt Museum commemorates the Blue and Grey Coat School that was once housed in St Anthony's Guildhall.

The main exhibition hall is a very impressive room being upstairs in the building and having beautiful exposed wood beams and rafters on display together with carved bosses. I'm sure I could smell the soot from age-old fires still lingering in the rafters. The Turkey Red exhibition was interesting and a lot of the quilts were antique. I haven't really seen a lot of traditional quilts up close (ther than at Quilt Shows where you can't always stand for very long) so it was fascinating to see all the work that had gone into them. Some of the red fabric had been discharge dyed with very intricate patterns and many of the quilts had been hand sewn. It was interesting too to see the areas of wear on the quilts and wonder at the lives they had led. Maybe the most fascinating were theitems of clothing made from Turkey Red fabric, including a quilted skirt which must have been rather bulky but pleasingly cosy in the days before central heating. There was even talk of quilted knickers! Makes a change from the 'longjohns' that were all the rage when I was at school! (Mid thigh length draws with lacy trim, sorry I can't find an image anywhere).

There is a separate exhibition by The Edge Textile Artists from Scotland and that was a great contrast to the Turkey Red exhibit. The Edge display was in a side gallery that had once been the school dining hall. There was a wide variety of work on display, some of it sparking off ideas for both of us. It was a lovely surprise to see a piece of work by Frances Caple whose blog I have followed for some time. "Allium" is a large quilt with about 30 images of an alium and jug, each one subtly different in colour from its neighbour and embellished with beautiful beads.

Coming out of the exhibition, after a good look round the Museum shop and a little shopping (I was delighted to see a copy of the third issue of Thr3fold by Linda and Laura Kemshall which is out of print so I snapped it up together with some thread) I had time to take a snap of the pleasant looking gardens which must be a lovely place to relax with a cuppa in warmer weather.

We had a nice mooch around a few shops after lunch and then went to York Art Gallery to see the Sashiko exhibition that is on there. That was stunning! There was a mixture of antique pieces and modern interpretations and the original garments had so much life and history in them. Many of them are badly worn through but the resulting textures are exciting. I'm really pleased we went to see the exhibition. You can get an idea if you click here. It would have been even better to have seen all round some of the garments, especially a beautiful modern coat with mixed fibres stitched onto the surface. If you go to the official Sashiko website you can see some images of the exhibits and see where the exhibition will be going next.

The Quilt Museum has regularly changing exhibitions as well as workshops and events and in my opinion is well worth a visit. The staff and volunteer stewards are very friendly and informative and the exhibition space is amazing in itself.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Free Cut Curves

I have just spent a very frustrating couple of hours scouring both the net and my computer to look for instructions on how to cut and sew free cut curves. I am certain that one of my very kind blogging friends has already given me instructions for just this task but do you think I can find them? I cannot! HELP! Please can anyone direct me to a site that will show me how to achieve these free cut curves? I want to have a go for my final Journal Quilt as a trial piece for something I have in mind for my entry to the 2010 Festival of Quilts. Annabel, was it you?

Thank you very much if you can help :o) Of course, while I was browsing the net I found some very lovely blogs that are new to me. What a lovely way to spend a couple of hours on a windy Sunday afternoon. I haven't been on the computer all day though. I did spend a very useful time this morning rearranging my stash drawers which were getting in a terrible state of disarray. Maybe I'll be able to find things a bit quicker now.........or maybe not! Have a good week all! My next task, aside form starting my next Journal Quilt, is to get some Free Machining and quilting practice.