Thursday, April 16, 2015

Image Search

Searching for images on the web to use as a starting point for a quilt is never easy. Google's usage rights search tool helps, but you are dependent on people actively choosing the right label:

Today whilst searching for inspiration for the next12by the dozen challenge I came across which promises that "You can copy, modify, distribute and use the images, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission and without paying attribution. However, depicted content may still be protected by trademarks, publicity or privacy rights." In as much as people have to actively upload their images to Pixabay this seems much clearer. I've found a couple of interesting images and have signed up. it will be interesting to see how quickly the inbox fills up, if at all!
Just some of the 181 images shown after searching for 'inbox':

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

2015 Journal Quilts Part 2

I've really enjoyed stitching these pieces. Somehow picking up a ready made background and letting it tell me 'machine or hand stitch' 'fine or thick thread' and then allowing the marks in the fabric dictate where the stitch goes has been a joy. It's far more relaxing than my usual watching as the calendar ticks by and knowing that lack of time will mean compromise! When I took these photos I was playing around with the idea of using the shells beads because I love repetition but I'm still wondering whether they are a bit twee and what else I could use - if anything. Less is more?

With or without?

Friday, April 03, 2015

2015 Journal Quilts

I'm more than a bit cross with myself that I've reached April and not begun my Journal Quilts for 2015! I'm blaming it on the weather - it still feels like January here.
A while ago I decided to use some fabric that I'd coloured whilst on the CQ Retreat in February but was struggling to get started.
Today whilst my room was still tidy from a short spell as guest bedroom I pulled out the fabrics and began to cut. I'd thought that I'd put together a couple of backgrounds to help catch up but became so interested in using sections with interesting marks that I didn't stop until I'd done all twelve backgrounds.
What made this more interesting, but more challenging is that the NW CQ group are working to a landscape theme and I know that several members are using this theme for their JQ's too.  I'm not interested in pictorial but the colours I was working with are representational and some of the marks were too good to resist. So now I have twelve backgrounds which nod sufficiently towards the landscape for me to feel quite pleased with myself.
It's my intention to catch up as soon as I can with the first four then I'll pull one background out each month to work on with a mixture of hand and machine stitching, depending on what the fabric says!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

1000 Quilt Inspirations

The pages may be turned quickly but I still managed to see a couple of pieces of mine:-

Friday, March 20, 2015

Twelve by the Dozen - Sand

Having just finished reading a book on stitch by Helen Parrott it seemed logical to attempt sand ripples for this piece. The first lesson learned was about scale - too many ripples resulted in a near ric-rac effect!
I layered up a piece of lightly rust dyed fabric made during a recent workshop with Alice Fox and used the rust marks to guide my lines of hand stitch. Once the stitching was complete I rollered the surface with acrylic paint, with varying degrees of success, in an attempt to achieve more depth.
To see the original image and how other members of the group interpreted the theme go to

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."