CONTENTS

Monday, December 04, 2017

This evening I had ...

an insight into my quilting, that took me by surprise!

I was sent a link to some photos from a textile exhibition and saw a quilt that really pleased me. The quilt, which was landscape orientation, was divided horizontally with a darker section at the top and a lighter bottom section of the same shade. In both sections the colour was graduated from top to bottom, neither was solid colour, but I couldn't get close enough to see whether this was achieved by dyeing or stitch.
The only visual break to these two sections were a series of light vertical lines of varying thickness to the left of the quilt.
I found it really satisfying to look at, it was calming in it's simplicity but there were enough visual prompts in the quilt to keep me looking. In fact I enjoyed it so much that I began to wonder how I'd set about making something similar* then bingo - the surprise. A little voice popped up and said 'You wouldn't want to make that, it'd be too easy, you'd get bored'. I have never before thought that the making process was so important to me. I've always considered a quilt to be about a concept or colour or a design solution ... but the technique?
Time for a bit of head scratching methinks ....

*As for making something similar I realised that I've made several quilts that include vertical lines breaking through a horizontal change of colour. I presume I liked the quilt I saw earlier because it was familiar!


Friday, December 01, 2017

Don't you love it when ...

.. you purchase something over the internet and it comes out of the Jiffy bag looking like this:


Well done Sally MacCabe! Sally is a mixed media artist that I found out about on a visit to St. Ives several years ago. She recently announced on her Facebook page www.facebook.com/sallymaccabeartist/ the publication of a small format 90 page book featuring images of both both her inspiration and the work that it inspired, suggesting that it would make a good idea for a Christmas present.  She was right - I'm really enjoying it. Merry Christmas to me!

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Finding my feet again ...

I might almost have managed two hours quilting so far this week - if you count talking, looking and thinking as well as stitching!
Several members of the NWCQ group met today at Manchester Craft Centre to see their Katab exhibition. The exhibition itself was small but it was great to be able to meet members and talk - we're usually far too busy 'doing' at our regular meetings to discuss our work and ideas and, in this case, our reaction to what we were looking at. As well as the exhibition we spent time looking at the various studios in the craft centre which is always a good way to promote ideas.





I've also begun my piece for the latest 12bythedozen challenge. The artist chosen for this round is Escher, whose work I like including a lot of his figurative prints which are much less well known than his later work on divided planes. Unfortunately it's almost as if his work is too well known - it feels as tough anything you think of, has been done - I can't wait to see what members of the group come up with, they're a good bunch of creative thinkers!

Friday, October 13, 2017

NWCQ workshop ...

with Shelley Rhodes. I'm almost embarrassed to turn up at yet another workshop with Shelley for fear of fear appearing as some kind of groupie but I find her teaching style irresistible. Shelley's workshops are always well prepared and the pace suits me down to the ground, there's enough time to get a taster before moving on to the next step. Whether you continue or take that next step is entirely up to you, there is never any pressure. I find that that her workshops are the only time that I really manage abstraction from my subject as I'm usually, boringly, literal. I defy anyone to identify these images as being based on one of my Grandfather's fob watches:



Unfortunately I've not yet worked out how to achieve the same effect on fabric - but I'll be working on it!

Sunday, October 01, 2017

And September rolls into October ....

and I'm still not stitching. But today I did go into my sewing room, I looked round to remind myself that it was still there and walked out again. Next time I'll do a bit of tidying up and I've identified some simple quilting to get started on, which will get me back into some kind of a routine.

I rarely add much personal info. to my blog but realise that the last couple of posts have been a bit obscure. I spent time at end of July/beginning of August finding somewhere suitable for my independent 98 year old Dad to move into. It was a long haul but somewhere was found. When I came back from holiday he became ill and spent his final fortnight in hospital over an hour away from where we live. Needless to say the last couple of weeks have been about dealing with the paperwork and making arrangements. Next Friday sees everything being handed over to a solicitor so I'm banking on having some breathing/sewing time as I find a new rhythm to my life.

Friday, September 15, 2017

August rolls into September ...

and still no stitching worth talking about. I came back from a wonderful family holiday to a round of serious hospital visiting, two and a half hours travelling each day plus time by the bedside, so even when I might have time to stitch my brain has been too far out of gear to think about it. I will get back to the two hours a day - that treat is my promise to myself, but in the meantime here is the latest piece for the twelvebythedozen group based on Klimt:


My inspiration and other interpretations can be found on our blog - http://12bythedozen.blogspot.co.uk/2017/08/look-mum-no-bling.html

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Sold!

... most of us would say that we work with textiles because we can't imagine life without doing so. We beaver away in our own space and usually to our own ideas and just occasionally wonder why we do so. Do others understand what we're trying to say, do they appreciate the thought and planning that goes into a piece of work or pass by with out a second glance?
I join exhibiting groups because it gives me a reason to make, an outlet for my ideas and somewhere other than under the bed for the finished work to be seen. So it is with great surprise and pleasure at this affirmation of what I'm doing when a piece is sold. I had a triptych on display at Didsbury Parsonage and I'm delighted to learn that my favourite piece has found itself a new home. Thank you.


Friday, August 04, 2017

Going AWOL

I'd been considering taking the month off - FOQ, a few days away with family and a break with hubby wouldn't leave much time for sewing but unexpected family commitments have forced my hand. This week has been virtually, if not completely, stitch free (I can't remember back to the beginning of the week which says a lot....!) so I'll declare the rest of August a commitment free month, and in doing so will probably more than make up for  the hours lost. Cheers!


Monday, July 31, 2017

Oops - nearly forgot

as the weeks are rushing by. Last week I finished off my challenge for 12bythedozen, all the yellow fabric is back in the cupboard and I'm back on black on white, but for once I'm making clothes. Like many a stitcher I made all my own clothes for as long as it was cheaper and I had the time. Now I've better things to do and the fabric often costs more than the finished garment but I bought a top that I liked at the beginning of the summer and the shape is simple enough to replicate.
I'm working with linen so need to allow enough seam allowance in case of fraying - 5/8" seems enormous after so long working with 1/4" or less when I'm free cutting strips! So



  • Day 36 – 2.5 hours
  • Day 37– 2 hours
  • Day 38– 2 hours
  • Day 39– 1.5 hours
  • Day 40 – 3 hour, top completed apart from hem!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

A week of averages

Overall I may have almost managed my ten hours but it's not been an even (or easy!) week at all.  I've mainly been working on my Klimt challenge for twelvebythedozen, but as we have an official reveal all I can show are the scraps! (And yes, I have avoided the bling element!)






I also found time to try some variations on the idea of concealed text as the 2018 CQ challenge theme 'In Print' fits well with my ideas for forthcoming work, possibly even leading to two connected pieces.

  • Day 31 – 0.5 hours, hand stitching after a stressful day
  • Day 32 – 3.5 hours
  • Day 33 – 1 hour
  • Day 34 – 4.5 hours
  • Day 35 – 0 hours 
Hoping for a better balance next week!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Where did that week go?

It's hard to believe that it's Friday already. This week I've mostly been piecing yellow-ish fabrics for the next 12bythedozen challenge, the focus this time being Klimt. And, as I promised myself I started to do some printing, only to find that the pack of Golden Fluid Acrylics doesn't include the black promised on the outside of the packet and that my acrylic retarder is well past it's sell by date! But I had enough of a go to realise that I'm not easily going to produce the amount of fabric that I'd like. These pieces are typical of what I was producing and are about 14" x 12":


The piece that I liked best was the print taken after I'd given the plate a quick wipe over with a babywipe.  I don't think I've moved so fast for ages as I did when I saw the beads of paint left on the plate:


So progress in the 100 (Work!)day challenge this week went like this:
  • Day 26 – 2 hours
  • Day 27 – 2 hours
  • Day 28 – 2 hours
  • Day 24 – 2 hours and more, being creative with nwcq, including making notelets* for sale on the CQ stand at FoQ
  • Day 25 – 2 hours, mainly printing 
* A6 notelet, this one used a freebie commercial print I've had since the scrapbooking craze hit, decades ago, for the cover. I knew there was a reason not to throw it away!




Friday, July 07, 2017

I'm losing count

... of how many weeks I've been aiming for two hours a day in my workroom and at points this week I've even lost track of the challenge altogether - it's been one of those weeks. All things considered I'm not too embarrassed by the end result, but I'm so pleased that I committed to recording progress here, otherwise I may have totally lost my way 😊

I've just checked and this has been week 5. So:

  • Day 21 – 2.5 hours
  • Day 22 – 2 hours
  • Day 23 – 30 mins, hand stitching
  • Day 24 – No stitching, hanging 10+ exhibition at Didsbury Parsonage
  • Day 25 – 1 hour
My work at Didsbury includes pieces that have been in progress for well over a year so it's good to see them finally hung together:

 


Friday, June 30, 2017

This week I have mostly been ...

buildings habits. Other than Monday when I wasn't  at home I've managed 2.5 - 3 hours each day in my workroom. I was a bit concerned that my output hasn't increased but then I realised that a lot of that time has been about reclaiming the space. I'm gradually sifting through and getting rid of remnants from old projects and different ways of working. Did I really need that jar of pre-mixed Brusho that's been on the shelf for as long as I can remember? No? It went out, though not before I'd coloured a couple of sketchbook pages with some of it. But all the time I have some fabrics on my table that are gradually shifting into something else, but it's early days.
 So:
  • Day 16 – 30 mins, hand stitching and breathing
  • Day 17 –  2.5 hours
  • Day 18 – 3 hours
  • Day 19 – 2.5 hours
  • Day 20 – 3 hours
I also managed to slot in a visit to the Lucienne Day exhibit at the Whitworth before it closes next month. I'd expected something larger but it was interesting to see the range of her work.  A couple of the galleries were closed but I did appreciate the Beyond Borders exhibit. I loved the colour and proportions in this textile:


And of course there was a quilt:



Thanks Leah for starting me on this - I'm enjoying myself. Accountability rules!




Tuesday, June 27, 2017

And the next five days...

have not been so productive. This is the point when I've lost heart in the past, given up because I haven't met my target - but I'm a lot more tolerant these days and can forgive my self and carry on!
So:
  • Day 11 – 2 hours
  • Day 12 –  2 hours
  • Day 13 – 2 hours
  • Day 14 – no stitching, some more sorting and clearing
  • Day 15 – no stitching
The sewing room is still not straight but the end is in sight and from here on (It's already Tuesday!) this week is my own.
This is what I'm currently working towards - 


Monday, June 19, 2017

The next five days...

There's no point setting yourself a target if you're not going to record progress on it, and I'm only late because I set off for the CQ Summer School on Friday afternoon.

Following on from identifying my need for clearer goals my week changed part way through and although I can claim my two hours on Thursday and Friday I spent far longer than this rationalising my workroom so that I can have things to hand when I'm ready to stitch into them. I have several projects on the go and I realise that each needs to be in front of my eyes and easy to pick up from the last session, not tucked under a successive project out of sight! So:
  • Day 6 – 2 hours
  • Day 7 –  2 hours
  • Day 8 – 2 hours
  • Day 9 – 1 hour stitching, several more sorting and clearing
  • Day 10 – 2 hours (At Summer School!)
Mid sort!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Two hours a day

... is the target my friend Leah has set herself to keep up her productivity and motivation and the goal of creating a new piece of work each week. (She does have an exhibition or two to work towards!)
At first I thought this wasn't for me but then I decided to take up the two hour challenge, I'm not stitching as much as I'd like and I've no deadlines to work towards at the moment so this might provide the motivation I need.
Leah has a full on, full time day job and me - I'm retired, have all day to do as please so it should be easy... Except that those of you who are retired know that this isn't the case, first of all you lose your routine and the hours that are available to you suddenly aren't so precious. You volunteer to do to stuff to make friends/remain active/fill up your days and then there are the demands of your  changing family, some of which are welcome - like watching your children's families grow, others, like dealing with aging parents, less so.
So what happened this week (It's a five day working week, by the way)?
  • Day 1 – 30 minutes, stitching on the train
  • Day 2 – Away from home
  • Day 3 – 40 minutes, unpicking on the train (Not te stitching from Day 1 thank goodness!)
  • Day 4 – 2 hours
  • Day 5 – 1.5 hours( After a sleepless night and too many mistakes, I threw in the towel.)
One thing that I've learned from this week is that unlike when I have a clear goal in site e.g. an exhibition deadline or commission I'm not planning/preparing for the next day so Week 2 has the added goal of finishing the two hours by preparing for the day, materials and goals clearly identified!

To quote Daddy Pig - "What could possibly go wrong?"



Thursday, April 27, 2017

All that stitching ..

.. and your work ends up on the floor! Except in this instance I don't mind because the floor in question belongs to Salford Museum and Art Gallery!


 Our exhibition Ten Plus @ Salford begins with a 'Meet the Artist' on Saturday afternoon 29 April and runs through to Tuesday 5 September 2017.

Admission to the Museum is free and opening times can be found on their website - www.salfordcommunityleisure.co.uk/culture/locations/salford-museum


Monday, March 27, 2017

Mounting quilts on frames

is said to make it easier for a potential purchaser understand what to do with your quilt when they get it home. I've tried it one or twice but have never been happy with the finish, particularly on the corners which carry more bulk than elsewhere.

Having decided to create multiple small (6" x 6")pieces, abstracted from tiles on display in Salford Art Gallery I had to find a way around the problem and it seemed that attaching small finished 'quilts' to a painted canvas would have to be the way forward, but even this has it's drawbacks. If your quilt is anything less than square the engineered accuracy of the canvas shouts at the viewer. So I was delighted to have one of those 2am in the morning ideas and even more pleased that I could remember what it was when I woke up the next day!

This method involves ladder stitching the border fabric along the edge of the canvas but, having learned ladder stitching in the days of machine knitting, it's something that I enjoy.  One down, only nine to go ....


Monday, March 20, 2017

A Change of scale ...

and an increase in enjoyment! I'm making these small pieces, to be mounted on 6" square box canvases for the next 10+ exhibition at Salford Art Gallery next month -  www.tenplustextiles.com/exhibitions.html They are based on one of the tiles on display made by Pilkingtons and designed by Lewis Day.
I began with quite a literal interpretation of the design but as ever my untidy way of working led on to these abstractions of the original. ( My original sketch slowly got covered by fabric and other pieces of paper until just a section remained in view, leading to that wonderful 'What if' moment!)
Because the pieces are small and some of the curves quite tight I decided to do some of the piecing using needle turn appliqué and have thoroughly enjoyed the time this stitching has given me to consider the next steps.