Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Creativity at Last - Journal Quilts

I cannot believe it but I have actually managed to complete all 4 of my Journal Quilts for the Contemporary Quilt Group and before the May deadline too!  How did I do that?  Amazing! 

This year the criterion for the quilts is that they must measure 10" square and incorporate a set motif.  For February to May (we started late this year so the year will run to next February) the requirement is to include a circle or part thereof.  For the remainder of the year we have to make 4 to include text and 4 to include buttons. of course, there is nothing to say that you can't include all 3 requirements in all the quilts!

I decided that this time I would try and work to a theme with the hope that the quilts can be hung together as a whole when they are all made.  I wanted to use Gaudi and his mosaics as my inspiration and have tried to keep that in mind while I was working.  This first quilt was started in February but was the last to be finished because I couldn't decide how to quilt it.  I used and exercise from Jae Maries book "Contrasting Elements"  as my starting point and made templates to cut out the shapes and holes.  Before I started I bonded sheers and voiles to a hand dyed orange fabric and a commercial check fabric and cut segments and circles from them.  With a bit of fiddling I cut holes from layered fabrics to reveal the fabrics beneath and bonded the segments and circles on top.  All the edges were stitched with a decorative button hole stitch.  It took me until this month to decide how to quilt this little quilt and I have slowly used a seeding stitch over the surface.  Slowly because this sort of work makes my hands very sore.

The edge has been finished with a facing, which I have never tried before, but which was quite easy to do.  My thanks go to Laura and  Linda Kemshall for their video tutorial.

Quilt 2 was made by layering fabrics and free machining roughly flowery shapes to isolate areas that I could then cut down through to reveal the layers below.  The dark blue fabric is a satiny fabric.  I then layered a voile with text on it over the top and free machined from the back with metallic thread in the bobbin as my machine did not like the metallic as the top thread.   This quilt was faced with the yellow fabric in the quilt.

This quilt came form an article in Quilting Arts magazine (I think).  The circle shapes were layered onto satin and held in place with glue stick glue.  With some difficulty I free machine quilted the piece with the metallic thread after overlaying a dark blue chiffon.  Again the edge was faced but with a cotton this time as I thought satin would be too slippery.

This final quilt is growing on me (pardon the pun!)  I bonded a fusible to the reverse of the fabrics I was planning to use and drew out flower shapes.  I then cut out the petals to leave the negative shapes between them which I overlaid on a contrasting flower before free machining all the flowers down.  The edge was finished with a facing and I think I quite like this way of finishing a quilt.  

I think I have drifted away from the Gaudi theme a little but I have tried to unite the quilts by using the same fabrics throughout. 

For the next four months we have to incorporate text into the quilts.  If I intend to hang my quilts together I cannot have them all looking so busy so I will be looking to keep the next four a bit simpler and hopefully life will not be so difficult and I will be able to make one a month as intended.  I am definitely going to have to have a dyeing session before I continue.

While I'm in the mood I'll show you what I've been up to today.  You can tell, can't you, that catching up on housework is well down the list of priorities? lol  Emma who blogs as 'A Little Bit of Everything' has been encouraging me to get to grips with the Thermofax screens I've had for over a year so without further ado I headed for the shed this morning before I could get distracted elsewhere.  After a tentative start I had a great time printing on paper and fabric and managed to get wonderfully messy!

The prints above are on pre-painted watercolour paper.

These prints above are on music paper, hand made paper and calico.

I like this best of all.  It is printed over previously worked watercolour paper, quite possibly a drop sheet from stamping and spraying.  I like the partial feathers which have come from picking up ink on the back of the plate from previous prints.

I really like this piece on thick cotton which had been dye painted some time ago.  I'm going to have a play with this in Photoshop to see what I can come up with.

I think these are printed onto hand made paper (dark)  and calico (light).

All of these pieces are purely experiments and I am looking forward to playing with dyes as these were all done with textile inks and I was feeling under pressure worrying about the screens drying out. 

Thank you for spurring me on Emma :-)  I just need a sink in my studio now to save me running backwards and forwards to the house to wash my screens out!

Finally ( I know, you get nothing for weeks and then I can't shut up!), I leave you with a pic of my DH in his wasp killing get up.

You can tell he didn't intend to get stung, can't you?  The silly things were nesting in our blue tit box so they had to go.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

On the Plus Side

Despite the sadness of today there was one highlight that made the day easier to bear.  My lovely stepdaughter came up for the day and we had a few hours to enjoy her company.

Don't let the photo fool you, she wasn't in Australia!  I am very proud to call this beautiful girl my daughter and I'm probably embarrassing the heck out of her with this post but, what the heck! Sometimes things just have to be said! :-)  Thank you L for making today easier.

While I have not been getting much done I have been finding a few minutes every day to hand quilt my Journal Quilt for the Contemporary Quilt Group.  No photos yet but I almost have the four required quilts finished in time for the deadline of 31 May.  I just have to face all four.  I've not faced a quilt before so this will be a new adventure.  Fortunately Laura and Linda Kemshall have a  video tutorial on their Design Matters site so I hope to be able to make full use of that. 

Time I went and stitched a bit more.  See you soon and thank you again for all your warm words.

Sleep Tight

On a lovely sunny day we have said our goodbyes to Grace today and I think we did her proud.  About 25 of her friends got together for the service and a few refreshments afterwards and many memories were shared.  It is sad to say goodbye to someone special but we all have lots of happy times to think about and I think Grace would have been pleased with her send off today.  Hopefully she's raising a glass of 'Grouse' and looking back on her long life.  Cheers Grace!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Thank You

I have been very touched by all your words of comfort and friendship since Grace passed away.  Thank you so much everyone for your messages and emails.  This last week has been a difficult one but we have now pretty much organised Grace's funeral which she wants kept 'as short as possible'.  Friends will gather on Thursday to say their Goodbyes and remember happy times.  

We seem to be surrounded by loss just lately.  My sister-in-law lost her father just before Grace died and I heard yesterday that the lady my Mum used to cruise with died suddenly last week.  I told Mum about Grace but I am tempted not to mention her cruising friend unless she does.  Although it does seem that her dementia cushions the emotional impact of such news.

I am having problems blogging at the moment which I suppose is understandable.  I feel overwhelmed by everything and am trying to maintain a sense of proportion.  I'm not saying this for sympathy but because I know many are struggling equally with loss and grief.  This last week I have struggled to think properly and have even been confused as to whether it is my Mum or Grace that had died.  I suppose that is because I am also grieving for the parts of Mum that we have lost.  I am conscious that I have suffered with reactive depression in the past and I don't want to go there again.  

Today I decided I should try and do something positive so that I could feel a sense of achievement and not feel so overwhelmed by all the stuff in my life.  I know housework isn't important at such times but you should see my house!  Well, no you shouldn't, it's a tip! This morning DH and I had an albeit short session tackling the burgeoning growth in the garden and when rain forced us indoors (Hooray for rain!  We need more!) I had a great time ruthlessly throwing out all the fabrics and old garments that I will never use in my textile work (Oh no I won't!).  We have about 7 bags to go to the Charity (Thrift) shop and I now have space in boxes and drawers to put away some of the fabric that's laying around and cluttering up the place.  Hooray for me!

I never did finish telling you about our Cornish holiday or all the wonderful textures we found and I still have to bring you photos of my gorgeous great-nephew at Easter so I will try and get back to being a good blogger soon.  Meanwhile I leave you with a pic of our lovely nephew practising his walking.

Thank you all again for your friendship and I should say welcome to people who have started following recently.   Hopefully normal service will be restored before long.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Our beautiful friend

June 1911 - 09 May 2011

Our very special friend Grace, who has been very unwell for the last 2 weeks, closed her eyes for the last time this morning and is now at peace.  Her constant wish over the last few years was to not reach her 100th birthday, she felt she had lived long enough.  Today her wish was granted and she slipped away before we had time to say 'Goodbye'.  Our hearts are heavy but happy that Grace has her wish.  I have learned so much from this beautiful lady who has shared so many of my adventures from her armchair and always shared a laugh and her lovely smile.  Sleep well Grace xx

Daniel O'Donnell and this particular piece is Grace's favourite.