01/07/2018 § 6 Comments
Trefin is a village on the north coast of Pembrokeshire. My great-grandfather James Price, stonemason, lived there with his wife Rachel and raised his family there. My grandfather, William Price was his eldest son and at the time of James’ death, aged just 42, Will was working as his apprentice.
I’ve grown up always knowing that ‘my great-grandfather built the slate gateposts for Capel Trefin’. Whenever we visited Pembrokeshire we would stop and ‘touch the gateposts’. Over the years, the Chapel began to fall into disrepair but a few years ago, on a trip with my father, we saw a sign saying the Chapel was open to the public.
It is now a heritage centre for the village of Trefin and the doors are often open to allow everyone some peace and tranquility and to glimpse this imposing building’s glory. The outer shell has undergone extensive work and inside, the lime plaster and restoration has breathed new life into the once very tired building. As I walked around, I had an idea to make a quilt for the Chapel and approached the owner. As we chatted via email, he mentioned the frame behind the pulpit and my mind began whirring with ideas for a textile collage, instead of a quilt.
The plaster frame is long – over 1.5m and narrow – about 0.5m. That’s a difficult shape to work with but almost immediately I could imagine what I wanted to do. The owner and I agreed a target date by which the panel should be on display and this gave me many months, though in truth I like a deadline so I can focus over a shorter period. I always have a deadline, and then a few weeks before that, my own date for completion. I met both, with some serious stitching on my little Janome 525S. As regular readers will know I have 2 big Janome Horizon machines that I (and my students) absolutely love but they don’t like doing freehand, however, the little 525 took on the job and stitched along very merrily – literally millions of stitches.
Fibre art, or textile collage is my new favourite sewing pastime. For a panel of this size, it takes a lot of planning – and a lot of scraps. The process is complicated –
- To begin, I drew the shape and then simply ‘colour-blocked’ it with scrap fabric.
- The next stage took longer – every section was covered with minute scraps and then covered with a soluble film and stitched – tiny, tiny freehand stitching on machine (photo 1 above). It looked like a misty, washed-out mess. Then it was soaked in the bath to remove the soluble film and to tell the truth, it then looked even worse!
- As I started to add the details, the buildings and landscape took shape, building the gateposts in exactly the same pattern as my great-grandfather (I’d taken lots of photos), even adding in a few mossy bits where they grow. This part of the project was both satisfying and painstaking.
- I wanted the door of the Capel to be open, and the gate too. I needed to add colour and some words from the famous poem Melin Trefin, written about the old ruined mill, where the millstone still sits. Sharon Larkin Jones, who describes herself as ‘passionate about Wales, its language, literature and history’ has written a wonderful post about the Welsh poem, with translation and photographs.
There are some very personal details – the slate bench above the beach where Dad and I have enjoyed many a sit down and the stunning view out to sea, the village pump where Dad as a little boy would fetch water for his family who lived in the house by the pump. The family house in the top left of the collage, is speckled with tiny yellow crocus flowers. James and Rachel’s headstone in a nearby cemetery is an imposing red marble memorial, carved with crocus flowers. I wonder whether that’s because he passed away in February 1906 when the flowers are in bloom.
My father, who spent all his school holidays in Trefin with his family, tells the story that as a tiny baby his mother made up a cot from a large chest drawer, in which he slept in the upstairs room on the left. His aunt kept the village Post Office from the front room of the house, with her sister keeping a small-holding on the fields behind. There are lots more family stories and we hope to record Dad retelling them on our next visit.
I hope the locals and visitors like the panel. Although it now lives in Capel Trefin, I couldn’t quite bear to just hand it over, so it’s on permanent loan to the heritage centre. If you’re visiting Pembrokeshire, in west Wales, do pop in and see it.
19/10/2017 § 1 Comment
from the Latin aureus, meaning Golden
Although I’ve been away from my blog for a while, I haven’t been idle. My studio has been humming to the sound of sewing machines (yes, another Janome Horizon has joined my teaching studio) and as well as teaching patchwork classes here at home, I’ve also been busy working on my own projects.
Aurelia is a recent finish. She’s been in my head for absolutely ages and it’s been a treat to create what was for so long an image that I longed to touch.
Oh, how I love this quilt. Almost 30 fabrics capturing the shades and delights of Autumn.
There have been days in October where the sky has been the clearest, deepest blue and I needed to hold on to those colours – leaves, berries, darkness and light and all sunset shades in between. This will be a show quilt – to take out to talks and presentations – definitely a keeper!
Here’s the White Birch that dominates our garden, on a crisp morning a few weeks ago.
and some of the sunflowers and Japanese anemones from down by the veg plot.
How I love Autumn. It’s always been my favourite season of the year. Before she arrived, I ventured for a late summer jaunt to Cornwall and was treated to a week when I could actually bask in warm sunshine. I missed the collies who stayed at home with J2, but enjoyed daily walks for miles and miles along the coastal path – a special place for us.
Back home and feeling the need to light an evening fire to keep my toes warm. I’m working on a Snowball quilt – hope that’s not tempting fate!!!
What are you working on at the moment? Is Autumn a source of inspiration for you?
I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts and Finish it Up Friday.
09/08/2017 § 2 Comments
I didn’t think we’d need an ark!
I can’t believe it’s almost 2 months’ since I treated myself to a jaunt to North Devon – and my beloved Lynmouth. A few treasures came home with me including the little weather house and clock. They remind me of my childhood and so many happy times spent in this picturesque village by the sea.
My grandfather used to come on holiday with us when we lived in Cardiff and he always bought me little presents like the weather house. The little lady was out in her garden all the time when I was away, and right up till the beginning of the school holidays. The little man has been out ever since!
I haven’t wound the clock since I bought it – and it ticked for 3 days – all the way home in the boot of the car. It was like driving a time-bomb!! Oh, I do love a bit of nostalgia and now that they’re hanging on the wall in my studio, I feel as though I’m about 8 years old – every day.
Wall-to-wall sunshine and a heatwave lasted throughout my mini holiday. So here are some blue skies to remind us all that it is still summer …
View from my room at The Bath Hotel – what a treat to wake up to this every morning
Glen Lyn boats in their blue livery
Lorna Doone Farm, Malmsmead – where I first sat on a horse, when I was about 18 months old
Oare Church where, in RD Blackmore’s famous romantic novel, Lorna Doone was shot on her wedding day.
I encountered a small herd of Exmoor ponies during an evening drive around the moor. Mares and foals enjoying the warmth of the summer sun on their backs on the longest day of the year.
Then a brief visit to the National Trust village of Selworthy as I wound my way home.
The waves of nostalgia that I encountered on that trip rather took me by surprise. As a family, we share a history with Lynmouth. My mother stayed in the village as a child, with her parents. When they were ‘courting’ Mum & Dad used to catch the steamer from Wales and cross the channel for day excursions then when they married, holidayed there regularly with their friends and my uncle. When I was born, we visited every year until I was almost a teenager. I took my husband to Lynmouth, before we were married and then again when our children were young. More recently, we visited in our motorhome.
This was my first ever trip on my own and the memories swept me – almost off my feet. But not in a bad way – Lynmouth will always be dear to me and I felt peaceful and happy as I wandered around the village and caught the familiar cliff railway up to Lynton. I always thought that I’d live there, but increasingly over recent years, I feel rooted in Winchester and my home is here. Coming home was good – though the weather took a turn and hasn’t turned back – yet!
Tomorrow promises sunshine – let’s keep everything crossed, shall we? I have a quilt to finish and I rather fancy sitting out in the sunshine and doing some gentle stitching.
Enjoy the summer – and your holidays
08/06/2017 § Leave a comment
beside the sea!
I’ve been in Cornwall this week and it’s been wonderfully relaxing. The weather has been through every scenario – hot sunshine, humid & thundery, driving rain, gales, flat calm – typical English seaside weather and I’ve loved every minute.
Whilst clicking away on my little pocket Canon camera, I’ve also discovered some new settings – as you can probably see! I love the 4th one with those warm heathery hues.
I’ve unusually left the collies back at home with J2 and am without a sewing machine! I haven’t even bought any fabric this time BUT – come on, you knew there’d be a BUT …
I bought some yarn in Truro on my way through last Saturday and I’ve been back 3 times to stock up as I’ve been crocheting a blanket – there’ll be photos of it by the sea tomorrow.
How’s your week been?
26/09/2016 § 2 Comments
is a very good thing!
We’re back home now, me and the collies. Last week was spent overlooking our favourite harbour in Cornwall – same house, same village, same long walks out along the coast path, same strolls around the harbour – it was the ‘same’ as many other holidays that have been enjoyed there over many years – same and different. I love going back and the weather was amazingly good. I did a bit of knitting whilst sitting out in the sunshine, overlooking the busy harbour, but had a whole week away from patchworking!
That’s not to say I didn’t have a stroll around my favourite fabric shops and of course, didn’t come away empty-handed! I’m itching to get on with new projects now – it’s good to be back home.
Autumn officially arrived last week with the Autumn Equinox and the summer annuals in the garden have all had their day so I spent yesterday doing a bit of sorting out with Flora greedily rummaging around looking for worms. I did miss her, she’s such a character.
Today, I’m back in my studio, new fabrics in hand and away to go …
patchwork here I come!
have a great week …
24/06/2016 § 4 Comments
to the lonely sea and the sky …
Porthleven has worked its magic spell with stunning sunsets, hot sunshine, walks on the beach, sandy dogs, rest and relaxation.
C and I have spent the week here and it’s been absolutely wonderful.
Enjoy your weekend.
10/06/2016 § 3 Comments
to Wales, to see my Dad …
It’s a very long way to travel by myself with only the collies in the car for company, but I fastened my seatbelt (and theirs) and we took a jaunt to West Wales for a few days. Flora stayed behind with Aunty B.
We saw Red Kites swirling and twisting in the skies, dolphins off New Quay beach and lots of the neighbouring farmer’s cows! Like many rural natives they’re both nosey and friendly at the same time!
they have such expressive faces – I’m sure I’ll use these photos as inspiration for some cushions in a week or so.
I was delighted to be able to zoom in on this red beauty – in the purest blue sky on the coast road to Cardigan.
We enjoyed lunches in local towns and meals in the local hostelry during the evenings, as well as ice creams by the beach and far too many welsh cakes!
I’m definitely going to serve up some of these spicy little cakes next week, cooked on an old-fashioned griddle. I found quite the best I’ve ever tasted at a local bakery – they were absolutely delicious.
And Dad – well, he’s fine and dandy – at 90 years old!
This is quite the best photo I’ve ever seen of him and it wasn’t taken by me. His neighbours have a young daughter who is just two and half years old (she and he share the same birthday in December)! I took some snaps of them all together and then handed the camera over to her and under her mother’s watchful eye, she pressed the button and just look at that wonderful photo. She’s a very gifted portrait photographer – and at such a young age! “Thank You, G”.
I’m pleased to be back home again though it’s always a huge wrench to leave him, but he’s fiercely independent and loves his home – as I do mine!
Alton market is on tomorrow – for those of you who are in the area.
Enjoy your weekend, wherever you are.