Friday, July 19, 2019

And now for something completely different ...

A little distraction as we wait for a moving date. I had deliberately not packed away the charm squares that i had received as a gift some time ago and thought all the points would offer some kind of distraction ....

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

My brain hurts ...

We're on the move, hopefully, in the not too distant future so most of my sewing 'stuff' is packed away. I pulled out some fabric with a view to working on a piece for an exhibition later this year but it seems that my brain is not in design mode.
Desperate for some sewing as therapy/distraction I pulled out something I started several years ago but abandoned because it was too repetitious. Now that repetition is just what I need but did I leave myself any notes? Of course I didn't, there are some sizes scrawled on the back of an envelope that I obviously thought would help but they only replicate what I can see here:

Can you see that the small white pieces are actually rectangles? Thinking I''d made a mistake I carefully cut two of the rectangles to match the size of the small squares and stitched them together:

But I'm trying to replicate the block below and realised that this configuration would lose its points when I cut it diagonally and added the corner triangles.

And then the penny dropped, those white pieces were cut as rectangles for a reason ...

Stitched together in this configuration then sewn either side of the diagonal to the larger square creates two of these corner units:

So now that I've worked that out I'm tempted to put it all away again because  .... my brain hurts!

Friday, March 01, 2019

Shamsia Hassani

My latest piece for 12bythedozen. Our artist this time was Shamsia Hassani a graffiti artist working in Afghanistan - I noticed that much of her work contained a self portrait element and decided to use this for my piece which is a reflection on how our backgrounds impact on our opportunities in life.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Children's working conditions in a Victorian pin factory ...

may not seem like an obvious subject for a quilt but I've actually made several pieces based on my reaction to the way people were treated as cogs in the industrial money making machine. It's sad that although my work so far has mainly been inspired by our own industrial revolution, similar examples can still be found around the world today.

The pin factory in question was in Warrington where our next 10+ exhibition is to be held. This pile of fabric is set to become a reflection on the monotony of piece work and the long hours expected of children as much as adults. 

Thank you Adam Smith

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Jean Lurcat .....

As I begin to consider an interpretation of the work of Afghanistani grafitti artists Shamsia Hassani. for the next 12bythedozen challenge I realise that I've not posted my piece for our last challenge here. The artist chosen as the focus for the challenge was Jean Lurcat - "a French artist noted for his role in the revival of contemporary tapestry." whose style was far too pointy for me to feel comfortable with. I looked for some consistency in subject matter, colour and layout and came up with a much simpler interpretation of one of his pieces:

It seemed that as a group our response to this artist was mixed but the results were exceptional. do take a look -

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Getting ready for another exhibition ..

Ten Plus currently have an exhibition running in Southport and will shortly be opening another in Frodsham before the first one finishes, which is a bit of a challenge to put it mildly!

Fortunately I had something in mind, as the thinking stage is often the longest as far as I am concerned. The technique is something I've wanted to try for a while though I was lacking a context until Leah flagged up this article. What we see as cosy domestic paraphernalia carry a huge history of social change. This piece, the first of three, is due a meeting with the steam iron before it is mounted on canvas. Although the photo is square the finished piece is 12" wide and 9.5" high:

Ten Plus @ The Atkinson
The Atkinson, The Landing Gallery
Lord Street, Southport, PR8 1DB
01704 533333

Sat 7th April - Sun 15th July 2018
Mon-Sat  10am to 4pm
Sunday closed  ( Sefton school holidays-11am to 4pm)
Free admission,  Cafe,  Lift.

Ten Plus @ Castle Park
Castle Park Arts Centre
off Fountains Lane, Frodsham,  WA6 6SE
01928 735832

Fri 29th June to Sun 5th August 2018
Mon-Sat. 10am - 4pm
Sun. 1pm - 3.45pm
Free admission, cafe.

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham

It was my turn to choose the artist for our next 12bythedozen challenge, so you think I'd be well ahead of the game by now, but no - the deadline is at the end of the month and although I've narrowed down my choice I've still no idea about interpretation/execution!!

Learning about Wilhelmina Barns-Graham at a CQ Summer School was an eye opener for me. The range of styles and materials in which she worked continues to draw me in and some of her colour choices are wonderful. You can see more at

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 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 -

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


... 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: