Wednesday, 17 August 2011


Thanks to Linda who blogs as Blue Eyed Girl I have made the above mosaic using a programme called Photoscape. Many thanks Linda, I shall have some fun with it :-)

I've seen a few blogs saying that they thought the festival was quieter than usual, maybe because of the financial situation worldwide and the unfortunate social unrest in the preceding days.  That may be so but the aisles appeared to be thronging to me and I heard a good selection of international voices including some American, French, German, East European, Dutch and Irish.  I do love the international flavour of this exhibition and the music of tongues other than my own.

Saturday morning the Rise and Shine Breakfast was held by my Region 10 of the Quilter's'Guild and was well attended with everyone enjoying a selection of demonstrations and hands on mini projects and a gae of quilt bingo! 

The tombola themed on 'Put 'Em Ins' attracted constant attention throughout the 4 days and was a great success.  I won a fabric bowl and a little box that I think is probably supposed to hold a cotton reel but I used it for my small change!

The detail shown above comes from a quilt called 'Yellow Roses' by Margit Nenning from Austria.  Margit describes it as a 'Memory quilt, old bedclothes of my mother,aunt,friends and myself, sewn with traditional stars in a contemporary way'.  It rang a chord with me as I am full of thoughts of using the linens I have from mum and Grace.  The textiles are mostly old white cotton fabrics and old embroidery from the Voralberg area of Austria.  Margit won the Contemporary Large Amateur award at FOQ 2008. (page 16)

Gillian Cooper's installation has been shown on several other blogs and was very striking.  Perversely what I liked as much as the figures was the depiction of clouds on the sheer fabrics.

This is just a small part of a Guinness Book of Records entry by a group of international quilters (I think) which was over 6 metres in length.  Very stupidly I didn't write down the details so I'll just have to leave you to enjoy the quirky houses.  The quilt has successfully been accepted for the Guinness Book of Records.

This jolly helter skelter was made by Luke Daymond for the age 12-16 age group.  Sadly it didn't win a prize despite the fact that Luke did everything himself and also included lights that worked.  The quilt was made under the title 'All the fun of the Fair'.

I love Gannets for their beauitufl plummets into the water and so I couldn't help but like this entry in the Miniature Quilts by Sandra Wyman

I've been told I have to include my own quilt so here it is with the proud artist alongside.  My quilt arrived back with me this morning along with the judge's comments and I'm pleased to say they were kind to me.  I've been blowing my trumpet on Facebook so I'll show you the judge's comments in case you've never seen what they look for:

Between 'excellent' on the one hand and 'good' on the other I am more than happy with the comments and I'm beginning to see my quilt with fresh eyes.

Yet again I'm having trouble with Blogger and with my browser so I'll be back later with a little more.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011


Where to start?  As usual Festival of Quilts has been a wonderful experience and I have taken way too many photographs.  Several friends have already blogged their visits so there are a lot of images already out there in blogland.  I shall do my usual thing of burbling on and see where we go. 

The first thing I made a bee-line for was Carolyn's beautiful St Ives inspired quilt.  The quilt is titled 'Seaside Cottages' and is made from beautiful silk fabrics which have been painted and dyedand is embellished with heat distressed chiffons, found objects, beads and hand embroidery.  You may be able to see the very delcate embroidered fabric that Carolyn incorporated into the quilt and she has included digital images of views of St Ives and beautiful cobbled streets.  I'm a St Ives devotee but this quilt is a delight with so much to look at. (If you follow the link to Carolyn's blog you will be able to read a little about her journey with this quilt.  You'll need to scroll down a bit).

Next port of call was Annabel's wonderful 'Life, Measure of Time' quilt (left above) which was attracting constant and interested attention.  It had been hung next to another quilt including figures titled 'Do You Remember'  but was attracting much more attention and discussion (despite my photo above).  You can read Annabel's own story about her quilt here.  Very deservedly Annabel won a 'Highly Commended' for this quilt.  From my own point of view I was blown away by the power of the painting of the female figure.  This lady stopped me in my tracks as I arrived to view Annabel's work.

This is Sandra Wyman's 'Digging For Bait' which I love for its piecing and the light it describes.

I liked this quilt for its surface texture.  It's entitled Crack't and describes the patterns and plants on stone.  It is by Ruth Brown from Hull.  I have just had a revelatory moment and think that this may be the work of Ruth Brown who lives in the Humber Estuary and trades as Stone Creek Silk.  The surface was created from breakdown printing.

The Tentmakers of Cairo were attracting a lot of attention and their work is phenomenal.  You have probably seen other views of their stand elsewhere and all of the pieces on sale were ridiculously cheap by our standards.  Sadly, because their work is associated with funerals in Egypt tourists are not directed to see them when on holiday so they do not command a price sommensurate with their skills in their own country.  I watched this man working for a short while and the speed he stitched at was phenomenal!  I wish now I had taken some more detailed images but the stand was heaving!

This stunning piece of silk is by Regina Benson, one of the professional exhibitors.  This stand had me mesmerised!  Regina often starts with black cloth which she discharges, sometimes over snow.  You can read her own statement below.

Another of Regina's pieces discharged on snow.  You can go to Regina's website here.

An artist I had not met before was Mary Lloyd Jones who is a renowned Welsh artist.  Why had I not seen her before?  Her work is so exciting and inpired me so much.

You may not be able to see it clearly from my photos but Mary's work includes text both ancient and modern and has a very painterly quality. 

Back to the general exhibition this quilt is titled 'Rock Face' and is in fact 2 quilts one hung in fron of the other.  I love it for it's colours (not surprising!) and its design.  It is by Patricia A'Bear from Gauteng South Africa.

I was asked on my last post about the artist using re-purposed household linens and ephemera.  The artist was Jennifer Hollingdale and her work is beautiful and quite poignant.   she makes use of old linens and old packaging, some of which she has had made into printing screens so that she can repeat the image.  She then combines the screened image with found objects like pins that would have originally gone with the packaging.

Blogger is now sulking so I'll continue next time :-)

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Reminders of a Bygone Age

I should have posted these photos before I went to the Festival of Quilts but I ran out of time so excuse me if I just catch up before I start posting about the FOQ extravaganza.

We have been in the process of sorting out my friend Grace's house as she hadn't any family to do it for her.  In the process I have come across some very interesting things from the past that will be sure to find their way into some art work.  

As you can see I've found a mountain of these crocheted doillies, many more than I could use so if you would like some do leave me a comment.  Grace would love to know that they were being put to a creative use.

These silk flags were given away with cigarettes back in the 1930's (we think) and have been hidden away from the light and thus are still lovely and bright, if a little dusty.

These beautiful flowers were given away by Kensitas cigarettes in the early 1930's and I almost discarded the little pieces of paper as I didn't realise they were hiding these beauties.  Fortunately I had a second look and you can imagine my delight and surprise when I opened the first and found the jewel like colours inside.  Sadly there is not a full set but there are quite a lot of doubles and trebles so I may well use a few in an art quilt.  While I was at the Festival of Quilts I saw several pieces that inspired me and suggested a use for some of the things I have found so I may use some of these beautiful woven tags. (More of that in my FOQ posts).

Aren't these embroidered linens beautiful?  Some of them show signs of a lot of use over the years. 

This little gadget looks like a variation on the old cardboard rings that I used to make as a child to make pom poms.

Sadly we are having to clear the house tomorrow with the help of a local charity so, in the light of my new inspiration, I have been round there again today to make sure I haven't missed anything and have rescued some more linens and sewing paraphenalia.  I just need to collect about 12 woollen blankets tomorrow before the clearers go in!  My friend who took us for the natural dyeing a few weeks ago has a use for them so they won't end up as rags.

I've just spent 3 days in Birmingham at the Festival of Quilts and am still processing all the photos I took so I'll post about my trip soon.  It was a fabulous show and I met up with lots of people, not to mention fellow bloggers!

It was wonderful to put flesh and blood to virtual friends.  Pictured here are, from left to right, me, someone I don't know (sorry missed her name), Carol McFee (Textiel Tales), Carolyn (Loves Stiching Red), Mags (DigitalGran), Jackie Cardy (DogDaisyChains), Gina (Fan My Flame), Chrissie Galley, then two ladies standing who I don't know and Sue Krekorian (seated) (Magic Armchair Traveller).  Sandra (The Dyer's Hand) and Penny arrived after this photo was taken and most of the girls had drifted off to continue their viewing and shopping so escaped being captured for posterity.

Finally, after a hectic few days you would have thought that I would have had chance to relax at home to day but, no, after going to Grace's house this morning I went into town to meet up with some old friends, some of whom I haven't seen for 37 years!  37 years!!!  Where did they go?

This motley crew trained to be teachers in the 70's and most of them made it (except for me!)  It was lovely to have a catch up. :-)

Monday, 1 August 2011

Thank you's

I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who left me 'Happy Birthday' messages here and on Facebook.  I felt really spoilt having so many lovely messages.  That is one of the wonderful benefits to participating in the network of blogging and communicating via Facebook.  

I had a lovely day on my birthday.  My friend Ann and I repeated last year's birthday visit to the Quilt Museum in York.  The two exhibitions on at the moment and until 29 August are 'Celebrations' and 'Made inYorkshire' and both are interesting and stimulating.  Sadly no photography is allowed but do go and see the exhibitions if you get the chance.  I was particularly struck by the work of Carol Coleman who is a textile artist and whose work defies belief.  You can see an image of the piece displayed at York here.   If the link doesn't work just check out Carol's gallery.

The work of Caroline Dunn also impressed me.  Her mixed media textile pieces are layered and include stitched detail and have a beautiful atmosphere to them.  If you follow the link and scroll down you will see some of her work including the piece with crows which is in the exhibition.

As you might expect birthday outings call for a little retail therapy.  My dear DH gave me some money to treat myself with and it would have been churlish of me not to make the best effort for him ;-)

I didn't go too mad, did I?  I couldn't resist the batiks and I am planning to use the postbox fabric for a pennant for the Olympics.  If you haven't heard of this idea yet there is still time to join in.  I will be adding a link in my sidebar to the Quilts 4 London site where you can find full details of how to make a pennant which will be given to one of the competitiors in the London Olympics 2012.  I haven't decided what I will do yet but it is top of my to-do list.

My dear friend Ann thoroughly spoilt me with her birthday present:

She made me this beautiful sewing pouch which will be a pleasure to take with me whenever I want to take a portable sewing project.  It is so beautifully made and has some beautiful beaded details.  I believe the pattern came from a Popular Patchwork magazine.  And what about that gorgeous batik?!!!  The piece on the left is so vibrant and  I will have to find a special project for it.  Maybe another Round Robin, which is where I used the last piece Ann gave me.

The crowning glory of my birthday was a very special card from my mum.  My DH made her one of his lovely photo cards for me and expected that he would have to write it for her but she took the pen and wrote me the most beautiful message.  I have to admit it brought me to sobbing tears as the last time she wrote a card, for her brother, she got the words all jumbled but this time everything was in the right order.  My DH tells me the only word she asked him how to spell was 'my'! 

Since last week we have been busy clearing some of the things from my friend Grace's house so things have been very hectic.  I have found quite a lot of vintage linens and lace so I will show you those another time.  It is a sad task but we keep finding things that bring back happy memories amongst the sad moments and I have found some wonderful photographs dating back more than a hundred years.

I can't resist showing you this beautiful embroidery

Sadly I don't know who the embroiderer was.  Grace would have been 27 at this time and busy working but maybe she stitched it.  Funnily enough we never really discussed embroidery when she was alive so it may have been her mother's work.  More to come next time!