Thursday 26 July 2012

On with the next!

It was a perfect summer's day today and first thing in the morning, before it got too hot, I walked along the lane to my local quilt shop to enjoy coffee and cake in the garden. Each year shop owner Jackie holds a day to raise funds for charity and today was the day.

There were quilts draped over tree branches.

Over washing lines.

And on the walls of a marquee. I couldn't photograph inside the shop because it was too full of people busy shopping!

Tempting as it was to stay for the delicious looking lunch I saw being prepared I had stuff waiting for my attention back home.

The latest Moth quilt is off the longarm machine now and just needs its hand stitching, binding and sleeve. With no time to waste a little landscape quilt is now pinned on in its place and quilting has begun!

I'm keeping to a limited palette of only two or three colours of thread for the quilting. I've taken the warm colour of the moon out into the surrounding area but much of the rest of the quilt will be stitched with a soft blue which more or less blends with the colours of the piecing.

The foreground of the landscape needs some interest and spotting this statuesque Old Man's Beard in the hedgerow on the walk back from the quilt shop I think I may have found the answer!

Thanks for dropping by - I've got lots more work to show you so I'll post again very soon. Bye for now, Linda

Tuesday 24 July 2012

Feeling the heat

Well summer finally came back with a vengeance this week. We had 28C again today. My workroom is almost entirely glass at one end so working in there is just like being a ripening tomato in a greenhouse! I should be used to it by now I suppose - we always end up working frantically during the July and August heat as we get ready for Festival of Quilts. This year we've got two autumn exhibitions to prepare for as well. I've pinned one of the Moth quilts onto the longarm and begun the quilting.

I'm outlining the overlapping moth wings to accentuate the suggestion of transparency in this top part of the quilt.

And I'm taking the colour of the magenta moth across the quilt by using a cherry red thread in the negative spaces between the stencilled shapes.

The red is alarming when viewed en masse on the cone but just provides a necessary spark of colour when seen as a single strand.

When it got too hot to stand and quilt I switched to a bit of gentle piecing at the cooler end of the room. I think my friend Edwina's Cut and Come again technique really suited the Winter Hedge prints that Laura designed for Fingerprint. I made nine four inch blocks, framing them with a hand dyed fabric and then added a startling black and white design I've had in my stash for a very long time. I wouldn't normally use a geometric print like this in large amounts but as a narrow insert in a seam I love it. I think I'm going to quilt the pieced area with a variegated black and white thread and extend the quilting out into the plain border to make a connection between the patchwork and the jazzy insert at the edge.

By mid afternoon I could resist a seat under a shady tree no longer. This mini cushion was just needing to have its final seam closed by hand - such a pleasure to sit and sew outdoors on such a glorious day!

Managed to achieve quite a lot despite the heat - I hope you're having a productive time too.

Thanks for reading - Linda

Friday 20 July 2012

Time to prepare for Festival

I know I haven't blogged for a week. It's not because I've been idle - quite the opposite in fact. After much thought we decided that we couldn't bear not to be at Festival of Quilts again this year. It's their 10th anniversary and we've been there every year since the beginning. Despite the fact that Laura will be as round as a beachball by August we have booked our stand and will endeavour to demonstrate each day. Until then we'll be working frantically to prepare. While Laura is pregnant I've taken over dyeing duty and am enjoying it hugely.

I may find it difficult to part with some of these fabrics!

Mind you, there should be plenty to go round.

As well as a mountain of charm squares.

Laura has just designed this apron print and will be offering it as a kit. My much used paint box has never looked so amazing.

Of course we'll have new work on display too. This is a detail of one of the latest pieces in the Moth series. Right now it's just a little sliver of insubstantial fabric waiting to be quilted.

This is an even bigger piece needing to be quilted too. May have to work a night shift to get everything finished in time!

Maybe it's because it's summer but I've been making rather colourful quilts lately. Not my usual dour palette at all.  Of course, stitch will transform them and add even more colour - I'll let you see how I get on as soon as there's something to show.

Thank you for dropping by. Please come back again soon. Linda

Thursday 12 July 2012

New treasures

I had a birthday this week and my nearest and dearest found me some incredible treasures. Isn't it wonderful when people know you so well that they can give you the very things you would buy for yourself?

Little boxes are always intriguing in their own right.

But when they hold treasures like this well used, old silver thimble they are really special!

You might remember seeing the print tray we found at the flea market a few months ago. Here it is looking forlorn and fairly empty soon after we bought it.

It's given us a reason to scour the local markets ever since - our mission, to find lovely objects small enough to fit into the niches.

It's beginning to look much more interesting and of course the thimble box now has a home there up at the top right.

I'm reluctant to confess that I've always been fascinated by the skeletons and bones. I know it doesn't suit everyone to collect skulls but the children found these two many years ago in the garden - we all thought they were beautiful. They lived in a tupperware box for a long time but now have pride of place in the print tray.

Laura tells me I will probably upset everyone by admitting to my interest in dead things but having confessed about my macabre collection I feel free to tell you about the latest specimen. My husband gave me this antique skeleton in its glass display case. Not your usual romantic birthday present I must agree! I'm not at all sure what kind of bird it is but it will be a wonderful object to draw from.

And Laura spotted this beautiful leather bound photograph album at the local auction house and made a secret bid. She knew how much I would love it!

It's dated 1885 and is constructed on an integral stand in a way we've never seen before.

You release the metal catch at the top and the front cover drops down to reveal the first photograph. I need to feed the leather as it's become dry over the years and the hinge at the base needs a little attention too but I think it probably looks better now than when it was brand new.

I feel quite cherished!!

Bye for now - Linda

Wednesday 4 July 2012

Can you tell what it is yet?

With my love of all things distressed I couldn't resist buying a few of Laura's latest fabrics. She photographed some very decrepit walls in Spain recently and decided they were perfect candidates for digital printing.

Aren't the colours and textures luscious? I don't know exactly how I'll use them yet. They look gorgeous with my hand dyes so I thought they'd find their way into a bit of patchwork BUT.....

There was a surprise waiting when I opened out the ochre coloured piece. Is it just me or can anyone else see a landscape? I think if I quilt a couple of the curved lines I'll have an instant horizon with distant hills. I can even see a tree on the left hand side - all I need to add is a lovely red sun in the sky and the fabric will do the rest! Rorschach and his ink blot test would be proud of me!

Breton Boat 1 is coming along. I've combined machine and hand quilting for the two inch grid and now that the binding is on I'm going to add the final embellishments. There will be shell buttons to represent the original rivets and lots of extra texture with embroidery.

For a change of activity I had a couple of frantic hours on my beloved overlocker last night and ran this up for Laura. She's rapidly running out of clothes to wear but this style should be OK for a few more weeks yet even though it's not a maternity pattern.

Laura has posted more pictures on Fingerprint but just in case you don't follow her blog I wanted to finish with a photo of her latest piece today. I just love this quilt! She's combined a pencil drawing she made of a sweet little bird with her thorny hedge photographs. The border strips are pieced from more hedge prints with narrow insertions of colour. I'm sure it's going to be fantastic when it's quilted.

Thanks for visiting! I hope you are feeling creative and getting lots of stuff finished! Linda

Sunday 1 July 2012

Nature's inspiration

It's been a weird week weatherwise. We've had everything thrown at us. One minute we're enjoying bright sunshine and the next it's hailing. Oh the joys of an English summer! The storm on Thursday was scary for a couple of hours but we escaped the damage much of the country suffered. The bin was washed away but otherwise there was nothing worse than a flooded drive and part of the lawn submerged. It was gone as quickly as it appeared - that's why they're called flash floods I guess!

There were some casualties - some of the foxglove blooms were so heavy they couldn't survive the wind and rain. He Who Gardens rescued these from the mud.

Battered but still beautiful - he thought I might like to paint them before they fade.

Strangely, the wild poppies which look so fragile are still standing. We can never harden our hearts enough to weed them out of the flower beds! Don't they look brilliant mingling with the leaves of the Indian Bean Tree?

Despite the lack of summer weather our lilies are beginning to show their colours too.

I worked hard in between clearing up after the flood to finish quilting 'Remembering' and I had fun added detail with fabric paint.

As soon as that quilt was finished I moved onto the next. This lovely bit of hand dye was perfect for the backing but it did hurt me a bit to resign it to the back of a quilt where it will rarely be seen. I convinced myself that if I could dye like this once I could do it again!

It's going on the back of this Breton Boat quilt. I'm being guided by the patchwork for the quilting. Unusually for me it'll be grid quilted with additional applique and button embellishments. I'll let you see it as soon as there's anything worth talking about.

Thanks for dropping by - I always enjoy your company! Bye for now - Linda