Sunday 30 September 2012

Happy Sunday

I don't want to sound smug but I've had one of those Sundays when I get loads of stuff done. I made bread as usual but you'll have to take my word for it because it's all in the freezer now. I've baked enough to last aIl week. I also made Chelsea buns but you'll have to take my word for that too - we ate most of them as soon as they were out of the oven! Maybe I'm easily pleased but I do enjoy baking on a Sunday morning while I catch up with the Archers on Radio 4!

There's always a lot of waiting time when you make bread - I make the most of it by popping back and forth to my studio and I couldn't resist photographing this glorious Euphorbia on the way.

This top has been hanging around unfinished for too long - all it needed was a neckband. It's typical isn't it - the top only takes twenty minutes on the overlocker but it takes longer to tackle the finishing bits and pieces so you put it off. I had fabric left over so decided to make a matching scarf as well.

While I was working on the top my embroidery machine was purring away beside me. I do love the sound of two machines working at the same time! I'm upcycling an old quilt with digital embroidery.

It's very satisfying to combine high and low tech!

I'm already being influenced by the colours of the ancient frescos of Pompeii. OK, maybe not the turquoise but the dark red and the old gold certainly.

And to make the weekend perfect Amelie came to visit!

Hope you enjoyed your day of rest too! Thank you for visiting - Linda

Wednesday 26 September 2012

Unfinished business

I feel the need to start some completely new work but I never like to leave anything unfinished so, before I can allow myself free rein there are things that need to be done.

I've put the finishing touches to this piece 'Imagining' which I think I've only shown little details of before. She was looking a little insipid so I've worked into the features with Inktense pencils and added a few more embroidered moths to introduce a bit more energy. She now has a hanging sleeve and a label and is ready for her moment in the public eye at Leamington Art Gallery.

You'd be forgiven for thinking you've seen this quilt before!

In fact no one has ever seen it until now! I am prepared for this to be controversial and am somewhat nervous about putting my head above the parapet when I admit that this is a second version of the quilt that won recently in Alsace. When I said to Laura people would think it was cheating to produce another quilt so similar she pointed out to me that no fine art printmaker would ever make a single print from a plate - they would make a limited edition. This is Number 2 in my very limited edition of 2! All of the machine quilting is free motion and I'm still adding colour to the quilted surface with Inktense pencils so it will change a little more before it is completely finished. 

I've emphasised the outlines of the text with Madeira Lana threads.

And used more Lana to define the veining of the moths' wings. There isn't any fabric painting on version 2 but there is lots of hand stitch and pencil drawing - so there you are, it is very different in detail to the first version!

Daylight hours have been rather hectic this week but there's always the evenings and always time for knitting! Laura started this cotton baby blanket in what she thought was plenty of time but was caught out when her baby arrived so early. For some reason she seems too preoccupied to do any knitting now! and it has come to me with the plea to finish it before Amelie is old enough to knit it for herself.
Here's the warning if you're bored with baby photos - LOOK AWAY NOW!

Amelie at two weeks trying not to look humiliated in grandma's handknit hat. Poor baby - if only she knew there's so much more knitting to come!

Thanks for dropping by. It's lonely in blogland if nobody comes to visit!

Talk again soon, Linda

Thursday 20 September 2012

You asked for it

I promise this will be the last lot of baby photos for a while. I am quilting - honest! There will be evidence soon. In the meantime here's Amelie aged 9 days.

And looking incredibly stressed on her mother's lap at 11 days!

That girl needs to learn to relax! Actually I think she's been taking lessons from my Bengal cat, Toby who also sleeps stretched out like that. Wish I could be that serene - mind you an hour in the dentist's chair this morning didn't help.

I'm planning a bit of a new direction for my next set of work. Having been inspired by Alistair Sooke's TV programmes on Roman art recently I'm going to revisit Pompeii. Not literally unfortunately although I did go there many years ago. The colours and textures of the distressed frescoes are glorious and I love the landscape and bird paintings especially. I may of course bring in the odd portrait as that will provide the link between current work on ageing and memory. The ideas are completely vague right now but I'm sure I'll find some focus once the sketchbook gets going!

I'll let you see some progress when there is any!

Bye for now - Linda

Monday 17 September 2012

Stand back - domestic goddess in full throttle

I'm having a domestic moment so if cooking doesn't interest you look away now! September is always a time of plenty chez Kemshall. He who gardens grows lots of vegetables and the plot is at its most generous right now. So much so that I cook enough food most days to feed an army. Thank goodness for preserving, pickling and freezing - come the famine we will survive!

Tomatoes come in many guises. We seem to have them all. And true obsessives (mentioning no names) always keep them in separate bowls. Don't ask me why - must be a man thing. These are some of the large red variety he favours. We also have small red cherry types and long plum varieties especially for cooking.

Of course we have little orange ones too - delicious but more like sweets than tomatoes.

We give some of the surplus to unsuspecting visitors (even the milk man got a feed this week) but turn your back and there's more to pick. To avoid the danger of having to eat them three times a day I roast them in olive oil until they begin to char and then push them through a fine sieve. The concentrated sauce freezes perfectly and lasts us right through the winter. Add a little pasta, grated cheese, some torn basil and dinner is served!

I could bore you with pictures of the beetroot, the courgettes, the aubergines and the green beans I've also been dealing with this afternoon but instead I'll just show you something foreign and exotic. At least they are to me - those weird green things peeping out of their papery cases are tomatillos. We've never grown them before so I am experimenting with a Mexican salsa recipe off the internet. Who knows if it'll taste any good - I'll report back soon with a verdict.

I tried to resist sharing yet more baby photos but it seems resistance is futile. Here's Amelie exactly one week old.

In the midst of the harvest and the obsessive baby gazing my quilt made the local Alsace paper - thank you Chantal for sending me the cutting!

Mustn't rest on laurels - must get quilting!

Thanks for dropping by - Linda

Saturday 15 September 2012

Well, what a week that was!

Here are the latest pics of Amelie, our perfect little grandchild. Don't you think those are artistic hands? She looks to me as though she's dancing a flamenco although I think she might actually be saying why can't these people buy me suits with sleeves that fit?

Amelie will never forgive me but I couldn't resist showing you this one. With that funny expression I think she's just humouring me by wearing this peapod green kimono jacket. She'll need to get used to the humiliation because there'll be many more hand knits to come!

It seems almost greedy to expect any other marvellous things to happen this week but I heard yesterday that I'd won Best in Show at Carrefour du Patchwork in Alsace, France. What a shock - it's almost impossible to take it in!

Remembering is one of a series I've made about memory. The moths represent the ideas and thoughts that arrive unbidden and disappear just as quickly, especially as we get older.

It's been very satisfying to bring together my sketchbook drawings with the photos I've taken of my moth collection and to have Laura print them for me on her wide format printer. Thank you Fingerprint!

Have a good weekend and I'll try to come back down to earth before I post again - Linda

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Indulge me if you will

Ok, so I know people have babies all the time and those babies grow up and have their own babies. My friends have become grandparents and I haven't understood what all the fuss is about until this week when it's happened to me! I really appreciate all the lovely messages you've sent in response to the picture I posted of Laura's baby on the day she was born so I hope you'll indulge me if I show you a few more.

Let me introduce you to Amelie Elizabeth - it's hard to believe she's arrived a whole month earlier than expected isn't it?

She's only 2 days old here.

Out for the count on grandad's lap on day 3.

And weaving her spell over Great Aunt Maureen on day 4. (Yes that is an iPad on Laura's hospital pillow but I promise you I wasn't making her answer email!)

As a pre-term baby there have been a few concerns and Amelie has required careful monitoring from the hospital staff. Without exception everyone in the maternity unit has been absolutely marvellous. We are eternally grateful for their care and expertise. All the tests results have been good and we are hoping that Mom and baby will be allowed home in the next day or two.

Thank you for indulging me. I can't promise there won't be more photos but I'll try to resume normal service as soon as I can.

Talk to you soon - Linda

Monday 10 September 2012

She's here!

If you're visiting this page expecting to see pictures of my latest quilts or paintings then I apologise in advance. I don't usually put really personal stuff on here but these are exceptional circumstances!

Laura's latest production arrived a month early but it's her best yet! And new grandma's are allowed to show off a bit aren't they?

I'll be taking more pictures this afternoon but I'll try not to be too boring with them! Bye for now, Linda

Tuesday 4 September 2012

Still here

I know I haven't blogged for a while but it's not because I've been slacking! The SiX and Friends' exhibition, 'Orientation' opens at the Redditch Needle Museum on Friday and we are all busy making final preparations. That makes it sound as though we are organised but the truth is most of the group are still stitching or painting. We do love a deadline but this time we are really pushing it!

Members of DMTV will recognise the quilt above. It's one of three Iris pieces that will be in the exhibition. Somehow Laura and I managed to agree to take part in two exhibitions that partially overlap this year. That shows a certain lack of foresight not to say good sense! It has spurred us on the be extra productive though. The detail below is part of a small quilt called 'Imagining' which I've made for 'Through our Hands' opening in Leamington Spa next month.

I've included digital embroidery this time and it's still so hot off the machine that I haven't even cut the jump stitches yet!

My third quilt for 'Through our Hands' is called 'Remembering'. I can only show you the very top left hand corner for a good reason. Yes, you guessed it - that's the only bit quilted yet but I have till the end of the month so I'm not panicking yet.

Finally, just to prove I have been working this summer, here's a quilt I've just made for DMTV. Hope you like it.

Thanks to everyone who's written to ask about Laura. She's being closely monitored by the maternity unit and trying to take things easy at the moment. I'll let you know as soon as there's news!

Hope lots of you can get to our upcoming exhibitions and maybe I'll even see you there! Bye for now - Linda