Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Stitching frenzy

I never do anything by halves and quilting is no exception. I can't help having an obsessive streak and once I start stitching by hand I find it hard to stop. Just one more shape, one more length of thread and then I'll put it away and go cook dinner or go to bed or whatever - or maybe I'll just do a little bit more to see what that different thread colour looks like ..........

I'm liking how the white Madeira Lana thread is bringing a spark of life to the dark areas of the print. I hadn't planned to use so much white but it's turning out to be the best choice. Makes me think of the froth and foam of the Breton seaspray in bright sunlight.

The sandy coloured thread is much more discreet in the low-key areas.

I've applied a short Hemingway quote to the top of the quilt using painted Bondaweb. I'm looking forward to wrapping each of the letter shapes with more hand stitch but all the background will be free motion, machine quilted.

I have a deadline to meet with this quilt so it's a good job I'm enjoying the quilting however, the lovely sunshine did manage to prise me away from my stitching and out of the house for a brief walk today. This little casualty caught my eye and came home with me to be arranged less than elegantly in a milk bottle.

There are strict rules about picking wild flowers but I don't think that anyone will notice the loss of one tiny broken snowdrop when the banks of the lanes are clothed so generously!

Thanks for dropping by - Linda

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Making progress

After a great day printing in the studio this week I've layered up the Breton boat fabric and started the quilting. It's exciting to block print onto an existing image as you never quite know how it will turn out. I've used one of my favourite traditional designs, Storm at Sea - seemed an appropriate choice for my boat and beach theme!  I've kept the paint layer delicate so not to completely obliterate what lies beneath. The hand of the fabric is also far nicer if the added paint is not too heavy.

It's amazing how a bit of stitch transforms everything isn't it? What was a floppy, thin fabric is suddenly looking like it might one day be a quilt! I'm working this by hand using Madeira Lana threads and although I've only just begun, already I can see how the quilting is adding definition to the shapes and introducing a pleasing surface texture. Just a matter of making time now!

I know it's a bit of a cliche but everyone says how quickly children grow up don't they? How can it be that our darling baby grandchild is already striding off into the garden seeking adventure? If you're a doting grandma like me and you haven't seen the latest photos of Amelie on Laura's blog you might like to take a quick visit. It can't only be me who thinks she's adorable!

Just a short post today as I would rather be stitching than sitting at a computer - I'm sure you understand that feeling! Talk to you again soon, Linda

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Escaping for the day

After all the rain lately we woke to blue skies and sunshine today. It promised to be a short respite as more bad weather is forecast. Seemed too good to waste so Laura, Amelie and I escaped for a few hours to one of our favourite places - a nearby arboretum.

I know it sounds ludicrous but I've worked from home for so long I haven't really noticed how beautiful our local winter landscape can be. There have been times when I haven't left the house for weeks on end so now that we work out of Laura's new studio it's almost like having a proper job. I have to get up in the mornings and get dressed rather than make coffee, check my email and then find myself still in my bathrobe at lunchtime! It's quite a shock to be honest. The bonus however is that I enjoy the short journey between our homes at varying times of day and in all weathers. I am suddenly aware of the amazing quality of light when the afternoon sun is low in the sky, of rainbows when the air is moist and most of all of the gnarly old trees that are everywhere in our landscape.

Our plan was to walk Amelie in the pushchair till she had her nap and then take lots of lovely tree photos while she dozed. Trouble was the arboretum is also a farm and there were far too many distractions like these noisy geese who hissed and grumbled at us till we moved away.

The fields are so saturated that these ewes had been brought into the farmyard. Posing like that they remind me of a Pre Raphaelite painting.Do you know the one I mean with the rosy cheeked shepherdess?  I want to get my brushes and watercolours out and have a go!

By the time we'd had lunch in the arboretum restaurant and then driven back home it was getting quite late and I didn't think there was time to start painting but I made time to carve a new print block of a bee. Who knew there were so many types?

Well actually this fellow obviously did - the illustrations in his book are wonderful. I was lucky enough to find it for £3 at a flea market!

I've tried the block out by making a graphite rubbing - that's the quickest way to see if it will work when I print with it using acrylic paint. We're having a play day tomorrow and plan to print till we run out of things to print on! I'll let you see how it all turns out soon.

bye for now - Linda

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Six feet high and rising

If you're in the UK I don't need to tell you how bad the weather has been for weeks now. Even if you don't live here it probably hasn't escaped your notice that we're having a hard time. Our house has been flooded three times in the past so I have every sympathy with beleaguered souls across the country right now. It's a horrible feeling to find your home invaded by water and unless it's happened to you, most people wouldn't be aware that it's not just rainwater or river water but filthy stuff from overloaded drains or the kind that flows from saturated fields complete with pesticides, fertilisers and animal waste. Urrgghr!

This is the local river today. Looks rather like oxtail soup!

The little troll bridge which we use to reach Laura's house normally has about a metre of space between the metal supports and the surface of the river but is now partially submerged.

I wonder how long snowdrops can survive under water?

Something tells me this footpath won't see many folk pass through - not unless they are wearing waders!

Don't worry about us - we are keeping our heads above water and keeping busy. We've only lost one fence panel and two panels of the roof of the cow shed so far so it could be worse! I'll be posting work very soon so thanks for reading and please drop by again soon. Linda x