Friday, 4 January 2013

Winter Sunshine

I have to admit to struggling a bit just lately with this horrible cough and the grey days we have been having in the UK recently.   New Year's Day was a lovely bright day but somehow we didn't get ourselves outside so today when the sun came out DH and I stirred our stumps and took a very short drive to the local canal.

We had no sooner stepped onto the path than I caught a glimpse of a streak of bright blue from a kingfisher zipping along the canal.  What a treat!  It flew off twice more before we lost sight of it but sadly was never within reach for a photograph.

We havn't walked along this stretch of the canal before even, though it's only about 2 miles from home, so it was a journey of discoveries and very pleasant in the unseasonably warm sunshine.

I think this milestone was in roman numerals telling us we were just 2 miles from the town as we definitely weren't 11.

This sight of rooks getting organised in the treetops brought memories of my old Ladybird book, "What to Look for in Spring", one of my favourite childhood books.   I love the sound of the rooks chattering in their rookery, a harbinger of Spring.

There were lots of reflections to enjoy even though the water was a bit cloudy.  We havn't had as much rain as some parts of the country but there is quite a bit of run-off from the surrounding fields so that probably accounts for the colour of the water.

On a creative note I have been looking for inspiration for my traveller's blanket inspired by Dijanne Cevaal.   Dijanne's own blanket is on the cover of the latest issue of Quilting Arts. Some time ago I bought a piece of fabric that had been dyed and printed by Els Van Baarle and it has been sitting in my stash waiting for me to feel brave enough to use it.  I was loathe to cut it up and thought it might be suitable for this treatment.  

This is not a good photo of it but it gives the general idea.  The overall size is about 24" square or thereabouts and the fabric is loosely woven and lightweight.  I have layered it over a soft blanket base and silk, scrim and sheer fabrics so it should be gentle on the hands for sewing.  As the weave of the top fabric is loose it allows some of the colours underneath to show through and the patterns on Els's fabric are enhanced in turn.  

I have decided to add random squares echoing the colours in the main fabric using the fabrics that form the layer beneath and I am hoping to use stitch to enhance and echo the printing.  You should be able to see the nature of the fabrics in the images above.

Aren't these interesting marks?

This will be a very slow cloth as I don't want to wreck it with the stitching so I will take my time.  Maybe it will provide me with a portable project that will last me all year.

I have finished one piece since the start of the year so I hope I can carry that on through the year too.

I won a jelly roll at a Quilters Guild Regional Day last year and I added to it with strips cut from some African fabrics in my stash to make this lap quilt.  Actually, using the piecing method I used I have 2 lap quilts and the other is waiting to be finished. 

The backing is an African shawl that I found in my Mum's belongings (her neighbour used to travel to Africa regularly) which I felt fitted the bill.  The words are Swahili and seem to translate loosely to ' heart desire I cannot pronounce'. (You didn't know I could speak Swahili, did you?).  As this is going to be a Linus quilt it seems very apt.  I have finished the quilt using decorative machine stitches and variegated thread.

Onward and upward!


Heather said...

Lovely pics from your walk - wasn't it a lovely day?
Your hand stitched piece is going to be beautiful and I love the stippy quilt too.

Lis said...

I'm glad you were feeling well enough to enjoy that walk the low winter sun and the treat of spotting a kingfisher - that flash of electric blue is such an exciting moment isn't it? I'm very interested in seeing how your project develops, well done for making a start with that special piece of cloth.

sharon young said...

What gorgeous sunny pics of the canal, we have to take advantage of the sun when it pops out at this time of year.
You certainly are doing your bit to chase away winter blues with all these sumptuous colours, and your African shawl quilt is brilliant.

Corrine at said...

What a lovely path, I was thinking what a fantastic place to walk. Adore your piece in progress, thinking that I might be doing some gelli printing ghosty prints with masking to give that effect on some muslin overlaid with other you've got my brain whirring.....xox

Su said...

What a lovely walk and I love the colours n effects in your textiles. Have a wonderful 2013 :)

Emma said...

Lovely walk, I guess we've got to get ourselves out, rain or shine otherwise we just miss our chance & don't get it back (wonderful expression 'stir our stumps'!)
Fabulous piece by EvB, I love her work. Your Linus blanket will be great. Lovely landscape collage below too.

imac said...

Hey - the chap whos holding up your quilts is a handsome chappie

ju-north said...

A great start to the year Julie! Know there will be some fabulous things emerging from your house/shed!

sweetypie said...

ooh, thats looking interesting..

pam said...

The walk sounded nice - glad you are feeling alittle better. Well done with all the creativity - keep showing us what you are doing.