Sunday, 7 March 2010

New Arrival, Quiltfest and Yet more Dyeing!

We have just had a very eventful 10 days not least of all because we are now great-aunt and great-uncle!  Wow! Doesn't that make us sound ancient? :-) My nephew's wife gave birth to a very beautiful baby boy last Saturday exactly on her due date!

Meet Max Evan (Evan is Welsh for John)!  Isn't he gorgeous? (Not that I'm biased or anything!)  We got to see him on Thursday when he was just 5 days old.  Both he and his Mum are well and he is a sweetheart.  It's too soon to tell who he takes after but I do think he has a look of the our family.  His Mum is very dainty too and she can see her sister in him so time will tell.  Whoever he takes after he is a very welcome new family member.

This is my lovely nephew John and his beautiful wife Sarah (I don't think they'll mind me putting their names here).  When you've finished enjoying Max you will see on the chair arm a notebook cover that I quickly made for Sarah while we were away.   Needless to say I had a lovely cuddle with Max and he didn't cry once! (Not until he was laid in his pram and then we heard his powerful lungs :o)  )

Our visit to see Max came at the end of a holiday in Llangollen which we had timed to coincide with Quiltfest, an annual quilting exhibition usually held at the Pavilion in Llangollen.   This year there was a change of venue and the exhibitions were held in Llangollen Museum and Y Caban at Plas Newydd,  a beautiful location on the edge of Llangollen made famous by the Ladies of Llangollen who set up home together and welcomed writers and artists from 1780 to 1829.

I stewarded last Sunday so I had plenty of time to enjoy the quilts.  However, when I got home I realised I had only photographed 2 walls of quilts.  I apologise to the  artists whose work was on the remaining wall.  The quilts were all interpretations of the theme "Breakthrough" and were the work of members of the Contemporary Quilt Group of the Quilters Guild (of Great Britain). 


One of the requirements for the exhibition was for a sample to be made of each quilt to explain something of the processes  and materials involved in its construction.  It was wonderful to be able to handle these samples which must have taken nearly as much work as the main quilts in some cases.  The uppermost piece in the photo above relates to a quilt by Sheena Quayle entitled "A Strong Reaction" and includes various fabrics combined with copper and treated with chemicals so that it will change over time.

If you click on the image above you will be able to read the artist's method and materials used.

This sample reflects "Smethwick Galton Bridge" by Jill Gray which had been inspired by a journey and the marks that occur on walls and buildings, maybe as  a result of graffiti or posters that have been stripped off.  Several of the artists had chosen to take the 'Breakthrough'  theme as a chance to break through into a new technique or material.  

An added bonus to stewarding was watching Bailey Curtis as she demonstrated felt making throughout the day.  

She made the felt making process look very quick and easy and it was lovely to be able to look closely at the work she had brought with her, some of which you can see if you follow the link.. 

We had a steady flow of visitors throughout the day, which was the final day of the exhibition, but part way through the day Bailey and I and a member of the local quilt group were treated to a private view of the main House, Plas Newydd.


The house is also famous for its opulent panelling throughout and this is part of the outside of the building.  The custodian told us that the wood had been garnered from churches and houses and included wooden chests that had been cut into pieces and reconstructed to create the panelling you can see if you visit the house today.  The panels are richly carved with all kinds of motifs including caryatid figures and mythical figures.  Plas Newydd is well worth a visit and I will definitely go and see it again on our next visit to Llangollen. (The house is closed until later this month).

We stayed in this lovely converted Hay Loft which is on the right hand side at the back of the photo.  As you can see we were out in the country but we were only about 15/20 minutes walk into Llangollen.  We had really good weather considering the time of year and apart from the first weekend the sun shone all week.  Mind you, we won't talk about the temperatures! Brrrr!  My DH will be posting plenty of photos over the next few days so you can have a look at his blog in conjunction with mine.  

Returning to a creative note I prepared some fabric for dyeing before we went away by soda-soaking various cottons and popping them in freezer bags and putting them in the freezer! Well, we didn't have any snow!  I was a bit bothered that the fabric would be affected by the soda if I left it in the freezer for another week so at the last minute I decided I should apply the dye and take the bags with me to rinse through.

These are some of the results and I used a piece of the blue to make Sarah's book wrap.  I'm really pleased with the results considering the rough treatment the fabric got and it just goes to show you don't necessarily need snow to get amazing patterns.

Needless to say  I have a lot of catching up to do so I'm off to read a few blogs.  See you soon!


PeggyR said...

Congratulations auntie! We're greats 4 times over already!

Heather said...

I was a great aunt long before I was a granny - it sounds older than a granny somehow! Such a lovely baby more than makes up for it. The exhibition looks great and the samples are stunning. Wonderful photos and your dyed fabrics are super.

maggi said...

Congratulations, glad mum and baby are both doing well.

The exhibition looks like it was a great success, wish I could have gone but a bit far for a day trip. Lovely dyed fabrics.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations. How exciting for you. And what a handsome little chap! The exhibition looks like it was interesting and lucky you, to see Bailey Curtis doing her thing. I really like her work.Your dyed fabrics are stunning too. Have a great week.

KindredSpirit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KindredSpirit said...


Your quilting antics look like SUCH fun. I am so jealous. No idea how to quilt as I am a new crafter but you have really piqued my interest now! Great post.

kiwicarole said...

Very interesting pics, and gorgeous baby!!

Emma said...

Congratulations, lovely baby :)

Those enticing little bits of quilts we saw were gorgeous.I thought I was alone in using copper roofing nails - that sample piece was wonderful!

Your new fabric is vibrant, looking forward to seeing it later.

Jan said...

What a beauitful baby boy Bless him ,What an exciting exhibition ,and wonderful entrys ,What a super time you had Jan xx

Françoise said...

Congratulations to the happy parents. He's a beautiful baby.
The quilt exhibition looks wonderful.


I missed you but so glad to hear you had such a wonderful time. Max is gorgeous and I bet that cuddle was lovely and sweet, he really has lovely features and I bet he will be a "looker"

The quilts are stunning, esp. Sheena Quayle's ... very inspiring indeed!

Also, it was great to see your fabrics. I want to hear all about it when we meet up ;o)


Wendy Coyne said...

I wondered where you were, looks like you have been having a wonderful time, look forward to seeing you soon and having a look at your dyed fabric x

The WestCountryBuddha said...

Aw, what a cutiepie!! And you're right he is a lovely looking chap.

Thank you for the photos of the exhibition. It's not something I would be able to get to, so it was lovely to see everyone's work like that.

Plus, your dyeing is spectacular. Love the colours and patterning.

pam said...

What a great blog - what a super little one - congratulations. Sounds like you had an enjoyable time stewarding and the exhibition looked really interesting.
Oh wow your dyeing is brilliant - I am certain you have far more hours in your day and days in the week than I do !!!! My blog has been sadly neglected must make note to self to do better!!!!

sweetypie said...

hyiah- cant wait to start having a go at the freezer dying looks really interesting you are on expedition at the moment famous again!