Sunday, 24 February 2013

Another quilt almost finished!

I've been quilting like a demon this week and I'm happy to say that all I have to do is add a hanging sleeve to 'The Messenger' and he's ready for our next exhibition of 'Orientation' at The Bramble Patch next month. There have been a few obstacles to the quilting, not least of which was Toby deciding a quilt was a perfect place for a nap in the sunshine.

I did manage to persuade him to find another place to snooze so that I could finish the quilting!

I rather like the final effect if I'm allowed to say that myself! When we accepted the challenge to work with an oriental theme I really thought it didn't have anything to do with me or my work. I've been surprised to find there are actually quite a few objects around my home that suit the theme. None of them are old family pieces, they are just things I've acquired because I liked them. Oddly enough, I did have a Japanese aunt and so there is some sort of a connection with the culture. Yoko was married to my mother's brother and they lived in Australia. I met all the family when I visited Oz for a few months in the 70s and we've kept in touch over the years even though both my aunt and my uncle have now sadly died.

Here's my most recent 'oriental' acquisition - we spotted this lacquer red cabinet last week when we were browsing a local antique and collectables shop. Couldn't resist so it had to follow us home! I've justified the purchase by placing it beside my armchair and filling the drawers with all the hand sewing bits and bobs I need when I'm working in the evening. A few weeks ago I started to restore an old screen for the same room - this might help me decide on the design and the colour scheme. So there you are, if justification was needed - it's obvious I had to have it!

I've also spent a bit of time this week painting the final details to 'Broken'. This is a detail from the top of the quilt, members will be able to see the whole story on DMTV very soon. It'll also be displayed at the NEC next month when we have our stand at Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch. We haven't done a big show since last summer so I'm really looking forward to it.

In the midst of all the quilting and painting it's important not to neglect the inner man. I've enjoyed my usual Sunday morning baking session. A warm kitchen is the best place to be on a cold February day and aerobic kneading is pretty much the only exercise I get these days! Today's bread is massive - should keep us going for a day or two!

Thanks for reading - hope you're having a peaceful and productive weekend too - Linda

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Having far too much fun

I've got my newest quilt for our Six and Friends' exhibition, 'Orientation' well on the way today. It's a glorious day and I'm making the most of the beautiful light to tackle the quilting. It's just great when things are going well and you can see progress being made.

I'm free motion quilting the negative spaces to throw the characters into relief. Today's brilliant sunshine really shows how that's working doesn't it? Pity I won't be able to request such cooperative side lighting at the exhibition venues!!

Where there are no motifs to stitch around, I'm letting the colours of the fabric dictate the shape of the quilting. You may already know (because I've shown the whole of the print already) that this is a hugely enlarged digital print that started life as a gouache and Indian ink painting in my A4 sketchbook. The dark random marks are what remained of the ink when the page was washed under running water. A slightly unpredictable technique but one I love for that very reason.

Compelling as it is to hide away in my workroom all day, the weather did lure me and my camera out into the garden for a few minutes.

After a dismal winter the first crocus of the year are always a joy aren't they?

And the stems of the dogwood are enjoying their moment of glory before they get chopped back for the new season. (I only just noticed my shadow in the photo - I'll never make a proper photographer!!)

The Honesty grows like a weed here and I don't find the foliage or the flowers very appealing most of the year but at this time I love to see the papery seedheads catch the sun, even though they are a bit bedraggled and moth eaten.

I admit to being compulsive when it comes to quilting but, tempting as it is to go back and stitch like a thing possessed for the rest of the afternoon I have domestic duties to perform. The family are arriving shortly and there may be a riot if there's no evidence of Sunday dinner in preparation. Off to the kitchen!

Thanks for reading - Linda

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Nothing if not persistent

Once I start something I pretty much always finish it no matter how long it takes! You might remember the cushion top I started not so long ago. Well, it was anything but a quick fix but it kept me busy and quiet on many a winter's night. When I'm asked if I've seen a particular TV programme I usually say, "no but I heard it".

You can just spot a corner of the Kantha quilted cushion that inspired me to take the hand stitching further.

I promised I'd show how my sketchbook page turned out when Jamie at Fingerprint got his hands on it - he's done a great job and as you can see, I've got it layered up ready for  the quilting. Can't wait to get going!!

Here's the other quilt I've been working on this week. I've called it 'Broken'. Today it's complete with free motion quilting and ready have a few areas painted.

I've used very pale thread in some places to connect the light fabrics with the dark border. This is going to be featured in a DMTV video soon so I'll keep the rest of the details for then!!

Thanks for dropping by. Talk to you again soon - Linda

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Beady eyes

For me, the best part about making quilts is adding the final detail. This afternoon I've been painting beaks and beady eyes on the appliqued birds in 'Safe Haven'. One of life's smaller pleasures but it makes me ridiculously happy to fiddle about with a bit of paint!

It's somewhat strange that these creatures are inside the windows of my Attic Window quilt rather than outside with the trees but I have it in mind to question what's real and expected with what might be. Think Rene Magritte and you'll have an idea of what I have in mind.

The painting isn't finished yet and there's still free motion stitching to add but it will be finished in time for our next DMTV videoing session. There's a lot to be said for an imminent deadline!

The rusty greenhouse quilt, (there will be a catchier title soon) has been extended with more digitally printed fabrics from Fingerprint  It seemed logical to bring in some of the Old Oaks print as the trees were photographed about a hundred yards from my house. Even if they weren't local I'd have used them - I love the black and white against the vivid oranges and blues. I've actually layered this up and made a start with the quilting. It is all about shattered glass and distressed surfaces so the quilting is attempting to show that with sharp points and acute angles.

I'm waiting with great anticipation to see these pages from my sketchbook printed big and bold on fabric. Laura gave me an idiot's guide to Photoshop so I could erase the line of the central spine. We scanned the pages in high resolution so the image can be enlarged to almost one and a half metres wide. That should create a bit of drama. I'm so excited I can hardly breathe!!

To avert all the complaints I get when I don't include a picture of Amelie here she is this week in her latest silly hat. It's amazing what a doting grandma can concoct from a bit of leftover yarn isn't it?

Hope you're being creative this weekend. Thanks for dropping by - Linda