Saturday, February 14, 2015

A drive through heavy mist into Yorkshire ...

.. took me to a meeting with members of Etcetera at The African Fabric Shop, luckily for us owner Magie Relph is a fellow member! You can read more about Etcetera on Helen's blog here
It's a group with an enormous depth and variety of talent and I count myself lucky to have been invited to join them when we started out several months ago.  In spite of the talent within the group none of us have exhibited greatly and that is the focus of the group.
Today's meeting consisted of stitching, eating Helen's wonderful cakes, discussing our first exhibition to be held later this year, leaving Magie a little shorter of stock and generally being inspired by the exchange of conversation. I'm off to stitch whilst the buzz is still with me - though that may have been the excellent coffee!

L-R Isobel and Magie are Etcetera members, Bob and Frank aren't

Monday, February 09, 2015

It's been a busy week..

.. though I haven't a lot to show for it. Ten Plus, an exhibiting group that I belong to have an exhibition next month so there is a lot of work going into new pieces for that, but they're not at the stage to be photographed yet. Deadlines? Wot deadlines?
On Saturday I did a short stint stewarding the CQ exhibition at the Stitch and Hobby show at Event City, Manchester. The show is a complete mix of paper, wool and stitch but it is good to see quilting featuring more each year. As ever the Journal Quilts looked wonderful and I enjoy the fact that we see new members showing their JQ's for the first time, never failing to amaze visitors by the variety and standard of work on display.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Thanks to Sandy Snowden for flagging this up - A Point of View: Why tyrants are afraid of art and beauty by A L Kennedy 

Friday, January 23, 2015

A source of inspiration -

The Pot book by Edmund de Waal. I don't like the feel of clay on my hands but love the results! Described as a visual anthology the description goes on to say "Each entry is sequenced in alphabetical order by the name of the artist/potter, the school, or the style. This allows for some wonderful serendipitous  juxtapositions. " I couldn't agree more.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Not a lot of stitching ....

A busy week has left little time for stitching but a meeting in London did allow for a quick trip to the National Portrait Gallery and a whistle stop tour of The Real Tudors and Grayson Perry's 'Who are you'
Having spent years teaching children how to look at the representation of power and beliefs in the Tudor portraits that I was seeing in the flesh for the first time it was interesting to move on to see Grayson Perry's portrayal of 'real' people.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Things I like - circles

Love the stitching defining the circles on this bag by Jane LaFazio

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Suddenly there are too many stitching opportunities....

Occasionally I find that I've committed myself to too many different things such that I lose my way. Currently, in addition to my work for Etcetera and 10+ I'm working a challenge for Quiltfest in Llangollen, the Mystery Row Robin in The Quilter:

and my next piece for 12bythedozen for which this photo is the theme:

It's sometimes hard to remember to develop my own ideas!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Too busy to blog?

The answer to that is very much a yes and a no. I've been busy but I've not been busy quilting, and not because of lack of time. I just don't seem to be able to summon up the motivation to continue quilting. So what do you do when you're going through the doldrums?
In my case I've been making pieces for the next 10+ exhibition - Unfortunately when I came to mount my work today I discovered that a couple of the frames I'd planned to use are slightly damaged. I've had them in the house for several weeks so I can't be sure when the damage occurred so I'm going to have to write them off, I just hope I can get replacement frames quickly! So instead of a picture of the work here is one of the cards I've made to sell alongside my quirky bird pictures, which are being re-named 'too fat to fly' in my head!

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Daily, weekly, sometime stitching ...

I'm still stitching. Sometimes my choice of stitch feels quite forced at others it flows nor does that seem to change with time.

I had no plan for the pieces when I began and every one who sees them assumes that I will be sewing them together at the end. At the moment that is the only thing that I am sure of - these pieces will not form a patchworked textile!


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Shelley Rhodes Workshop

I was fortunate to be able to attend a workshop run by NWCQ, a physical branch of the almost virtual Contemporary Quilt Group . The workshop was led by Shelley Rhodes and called  'j u s t    o n e   t h i n g '

I like Shelley's work but it  is so far from anything I've ever done that I was either going to love or loather my day. Fortunately I loved it and I can see the exercises that we did becoming part of my practice. Shelley was both giving and patient which removed the workshop paralysis that I often experience, though I did struggle during the second half of the day In some respects there was little that was totally new but the presentation and variety of exercises all slotted together and made sense. For a literal person like me, it was an extremely free-ing day. You can see the small bundle of letters that I used as my 'one thing' to the the right of this set of exercises:

Rather than loose the impetus by putting my materials away until I could find time, I've selected the bits that best represent what we did and have created myself a reference book. But the element that I will definitely be exploring sooner rather than later are these marks:

Saturday, March 22, 2014


I've had an Evernote account for ever or so it seems (Since the time of the day job, which seems like forever ago!) and never really got to grips with it. This morning I decided that I either closed the account or got to grips with it. In true visual learner style I turned to YouTube and came acros a video by Paul Boag about how he uses Evernote. As I seem to be in need of some organisation, I've decided to give it a go. I've also subscribed to ifttt which I hadn't heard about before. If that works a link to this post should appear in my under-used (Since the day job.) twitter account!



Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Using time productively

I make lists - on paper, on ToDoist, and more recently I've been trialling Nirvana but there are days, usually when I have a lot of time, that I seem to get less satisfaction from the days work than I'd expect of myself.

Yesterday was a case in point. I've three large-ish quilts that are nearing completion but are frustrating me for different reasons. Yesterday I decided to add more quilting to the one that I used an experimental grid pattern on and then I decided that I didn't like. If I'd written that down as an item on my list it would have read 'do quilting' and I'd have done what I did and added the extra quilting, but somehow the time spent sewing felt as though it had had no impact on my work.

I'm a starter not a finisher so whilst I love starting new projects and thinking about starting new projects I actually get a lot more self-satisfaction when I finish things.

So from now items like yesterdays quilting will be written differently, instead of  'do quilting' it will be recorded as 'Finish quilting' (Even though I
may not even have started it!!!) and I'm going to see if I can create more completion goals to up my sense of using my time purposefully!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Work I like

At a loose end I've been wandering the web and via  Robyn Gordon's blog I've been introduced to the work of Donna Watson . I really like the way she uses what she calls collage, but looks to me like wrapped bundles, to hold memories ....

Friday, March 14, 2014

Keeping up with the Journal Quilts

It's March and I'm still keeping up to date with my CQ Journal Quilts - the first time for a while!

Using my Gelliplate printed fabrics has made this interesting for me, but I need to print some more for April onwards.  More often than not when I've been printing I put my fabrics to one side, that 'Too nice to cut up' mentality kicks in and then they become too special and lurk in the back of the cupboard. So this time, knowing that I wanted to use them for the JQ's I cut them into pieces before they went into the cupboard. That way I was (Mentally at least!) using up my scraps which I always find more interesting any way!!!




I've just noticed a variation in the blues in these photos that isn't true, GIMP or another session with the camera???????

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Pride comes before a fall ... Again, again!!

So, I took my little Adrinka symbol squares and sewed them on my plank piece in a winky wanky fashion and thought 'Phew, got away with that!'
Then, I sprayed the piece ready to block it and as if by magic one side of the piece turned bright red - some colour from the backing fabric had leeched through! Into the washing machine with a colour catcher it went. The red dye came out easily but so did the colour on the strip cloth - out came the paints. I  didn't quite manage to capture the warmth of the original colour, but I was quite pleased with the end result.

The piece has now been handed over and you can see it and the other 'plank' pieces, which vary enormously in size, at . The quilts are now available for bidding on the site. They will also be shown together at the British Quilt and Stitch Village in Uttoxeter on  25th, 26th and 27th April 2014 where viewers can place a bid in person. Bidding will finish when that show finishes. All quilts have a starting bid of £75. "May we encourage you to view the gallery and, even if you cannot bid, to enjoy the art, to be inspired to make your own art and to consider how you could use it to help others."

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Wandering but not Lost: The impossibility of February

I love Kate Castelli's work but this piece also has the most appealing title - The impossibility of February: The Frequency of Falling woodblock on vintage paper, unique impression 7 x 9.5" copyright Kate Castelli 2014, Wandering but not Lost

Saturday, February 15, 2014

More mono printing

Guess what the theme for the next Twelve by. The Dozen challenge is! I've had my gelliplate out again and have been having fun. For someone who always finds the 'add some more' way of working difficult the gelliplate is helping me break that habit! Mind you the fabric got a bit shiney in places. ...



Friday, January 17, 2014

Pride comes before a fall ... Again!

I was really pleased with how these little Adrinka symbol squares turned out. Each symbol is only 1" square and I drew and painted them myself but they look as though they could have been printed. I can be just bit clumsy with a paintbrush hence my satisfaction!

It was only when I auditioned them on the on-going African plank piece that I realised that they should have been done on point.......

I've no more of the surrounding fabric so if I did them again there'd be a lot of unpicking as well as the painting to contemplate and I fear that my luck with the paintbrush would run out before I completed the task. What to do?


Monday, January 13, 2014

A lesson learned ...

... in more ways than one.
I've had a quilt top waiting to be layered and quilted for a couple of months. It was a top that I was really pleased with as it expressed my idea as well as it could. For a large part of the surface I used the fragmented log cabin technique that I fell in love with last year but I decided I wanted to try something other than the narrowly spaced lines of quilting that I've used in the past. The narrow lines tend to blend the pieces and make the piecing disappear - I wanted to try something that would echo the piecing so went for a horizontal and vertical grid of  'not quite straight' lines. And I don't like it! I was right in that this style of quilting does echo the piecing but it's all a bit too much. So lesson one is don't use this quilting pattern again.
But for me lesson two is the exciting one - as it became apparent that the quilting wasn't going to be to my taste, rather than trying to unpick a lot of stitching or putting it to one side to ponder over (Something that can go on for weeks whilst it niggles and irritates me!) I put a concerted effort into finishing the quilting on the basis that I can do another one and try something else! Wow - so simple, I can allow myself to get things wrong knowing that I can try again. How many years has it taken to learn that? So, here's to tomorrow ....

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Playing with my Christmas plate

Like lots of people I met at K&S show at Harrogate I bought my own Christmas present on behalf of my other half. And, if there were a top ten of presents for contemporary quilters I guess a Gelliplate would have been high on the list and I'm no different. I've always enjoyed mono-printing whenever I've dabbled but didn't necessarily see a place for it in my work, but the idea of creating my own textured fabric does appeal and it's something I've seen a lot of since the advent of the Gelliplate.

However the random, chuck everything at it to see what happens approach wouldn't suit me. Even though this was my first attempt I needed a structure so I went shopping:-

And add myself some stamps:

I used a, commercially printed, very pale mottled grey fabric and printed and removed colour. I used the stamps that I'd removed the colour with to add colour back in, but all the time worked with the same Prussion Blue acrylic. (It was rather old paint and splashed across the plate on more than one occasion!) But I learned a lot, mainly about how little paint you need, but also about not leaving thread ends trailing across the plate!


Needless to say my favourite piece was the one that I put on the plate as I was spraying it to clean it at the end of the session. I thought there was very little paint left until the water droplets started to move the colour around:

I now have a batch of fabrics for my 2014 JQ's and am looking forward to my next session when the colour mixing begins!