01/07/2018 § 7 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.
23/06/2018 § Leave a comment
It’s been a while and I’ve been busy – not too busy, just busy. The collies and I went to Cornwall for a week at the beginning of June and had fun. Misty is an old lady these days so we had very gentle walks around the harbour – not bad for a collie who, in human terms is almost 100 years old.
I had to invest in a towel (pink of course), for The Princess – Belle. She looked quite sorry for herself after swimming out to fetch her ball from the harbour slipway. She actually attracted a round of applause from holidaymakers on the quayside as she took several attempts!
On my long journey to the Lizard, I couldn’t resist following the signs for a Quilt Show. After finding a suitable shady spot for the collies, I went in to see the amazing show put on my Kernow Quilters. There were SO many beautiful quilts – it was inspirational.
Apart from my wonderful week away, enjoying the harbourside and the company of my friend who lives in Porthleven and is a fellow quilter, life has been trickling along and that’s just the way I like it! My garden has exploded with colour and my grandfather’s lily that I wrote about some years ago, is having a magnificent summer.
I’ll be back soon – enjoy the summer sunshine and do pop over to see my students’ work in the Adaliza’s Students’ Hall of Fame board on Pinterest.
25/04/2018 § 1 Comment
The four seasons, that are so defined in our imaginations, body clocks, flora and fauna seem to be skipping by at an alarming rate this year. Is that an age thing, do you suppose? I’m hardly out of winter woollies before it’s time to find my shorts and sandals!
I’ve found over the years, that my patchwork inspiration is much affected by the seasons. Last year, I remember blogging about Christmas in July and no sooner had I written the post than New Year celebrations and fireworks were upon us – or so it seemed.
I’m currently sorting out dates for Autumn workshops. I’ve decided to take a bit of time out for myself over the summer so that everything is set up and raring to go for the Autumn patchwork season. With that in mind, I’m going to rationalise the workshops that I offer and run favourite classes with seasonal themes. Think Table Runners for Autumn, Spring and Christmas – possibly Summer & Winter ones too. What do you think?
I have SO many ideas for workshops and a queue of eager students wanting to join in, so watch this space and I’ll let you know when the dates are all sorted. There’ll also be photos of Wales, a textile collage like nothing I’ve ever created before and updates from my garden which has just woken up to the fact that Spring has arrived and everything needs to grow very fast (especially those perennial favourites – bindweed and sticky weed)!
07/04/2018 § 2 Comments
A good while ago, I gave a presentation about my patchworking adventures, to a local WI group. I chatted on about what inspires me to make quilts and showed lots of photos of quilts that I’ve made over the years, including Memory Quilts. I once made 4 quilts for the same lady – I can’t believe that was back in 2014!
One lady at the WI meeting had her imagination sparked, as she’d kept lots of her 3 childrens’ baby clothes, so there was a memory quilt just waiting to happen! We had quite a wait as a very special snuggling blanket needed to be ‘released from the clutches of her youngest’ and form a very significant patch in the corner of the quilt – so it was easy to snuggle up to some more!
As always, I regard Memory Quilts as a huge responsibility. To be trusted with precious tiny clothes that remind a mother of her children as babies, is not a task to be undertaken lightly. I love making memory quilts and make a huge effort to include tiny labels, hidden pockets and as many details as possible.
One morning in early March, I donned my leather glove – to save from blisters with all the cutting out – picked up my scissors and cut out for 6 hours with hardly a break. Many, many more hours of cutting and stabilising, stitching and applique followed and here’s the finished quilt …
I won’t give all the personal details, but the applique stars & hearts are significant fabrics and bind the quilt with clothing pieces from 3 generations of the family. There are almost 20 tiny pockets and so many appliqued details that I lost count!
Here are some lovely words, from the recipient …
I have to say a huge thank you. Whilst I am typing this, I am sitting underneath my wonderful new memory quilt (oh how lovely and warm it is). It is beyond anything I could have imagined and the lovely touches you have added like the pockets, the added shapes of sentimental fabric and the inclusion of so many beautiful features from their clothing makes it such a unique and special item. I can’t wait to show it off.
Many thanks for sharing your amazing talent with me. EG, Hants
There’s now another huge project underway here in the studio – a textile collage to mark the 175th anniversary of a village chapel in Wales – the village where my great-grandfather lived and worked as a stone-mason. I’m working to a deadline and will have it finished for a preview evening here in Winchester (let me know if you’d like to attend), before it goes off to The Land of my Fathers later in the month. Very exciting!
Workshops are booking up for the summer and early autumn – we’ll have to discover whether Spring ever actually makes an appearance – it’s a long wait! Next time I’ll show you some of the finished quilts that my students have been making over recent weeks.
Have a lovely weekend
linking up with Finish it up Friday
18/03/2018 § 3 Comments
I awoke early this morning and before I left the warmth of my blanketed, quilted nest, I pondered, from the outside light through the curtains, whether it had snowed during the night. You know that sort of white light that glows when it’s snowed and the silence – yes, it had snowed!
Oh my goodness – what a surprise to see so many inches of the white stuff and amazing to see the cherry tree, where the blossom had burst from buds just a day ago, covered with a liberal sprinkling of snow. That’s a first.
The view out over the garden, from my upstairs studio – and talking of studios …
how cosy does that look?
The studio where I teach my workshops looks like the prettiest place to sew, this morning!
and my favourite view of my home – from the bottom of the garden,
beyond the apple trees.
I remember on the day we moved in, when I was 7 months into expecting our 3rd baby, my darling and I stood here looking up at the house and couldn’t believe it was ours. The house is much larger now, he’s not here in body though I like to think he’s never far away, the children are adults and our home has been shared by 3 dogs and a duck over the years. And mornings like today’s are special and to be remembered, with the mistletoe growing in the apple tree and spring blossom and bulbs beneath a blanket of magical snow.
Stay warm – blankety, quilty nests are to be recommended for days like today!
09/03/2018 § 3 Comments
“Quilted clocks – now there’s an idea!”
I had this idea a while ago and then, a couple of weeks ago I decided to have a go at making them. It was time to try something new.
So, here are Spring Time (blue and white versions), and High Tide!
They’re tissue wrapped and boxed up all ready for tomorrow’s Makers’ Market in Alton – the first of the year and I’m hoping that it won’t rain all day, as it has done here today.
Just think – a week ago, it was like this …
and tomorrow they’re saying it might reach 14 degrees – what a change in the weather. Whilst last week’s snow was still with us, I did finish one other pretty little quilt – Squirrel Nutkin …
Now, it’s time to finish a few more cushions ready for tomorrow and make herby dumplings to go with the chicken casserole for supper this evening.
Have a wonderful weekend.
linking up with Finish it up Friday
02/03/2018 § 7 Comments
It’s been absolutely freezing here this past week. Siberian chill and lots of snow! Fortunately the house is warm but workshops have been cancelled due to the weather and even though there wasn’t too much snow on Wednesday morning, we had a power cut so the studio was freezing inside and out.
It’s been pretty though – proper Christmas card snowy scenes and I’ve loved the magic of the light, snowflakes, scrunching snow under wellies, snow-crusted collies and the activities of the garden birds who I’ve been feeding 3 times a day!
And, it’s been perfect weather for quilting – I’ve been busy …
I can’t tell you for how many years I’ve longed to be able to photograph quilts in the snow. I pore, with envy, through photographs of my US and Canadian quilting friends’ quilts, laid out on a magical snowy blanket. So, I’ve been quilting like a fiend this week and have waited all day for it to stop snowing, then donned hat, gloves, coat, boots and clickety clicked away – I’m so in love with quilts in the snow.
The Sunday market in Winchester is apparently still going ahead though I’ll update my website events page, if it’s cancelled.
Stay warm and toasty
linking up with Finish it up Friday
25/02/2018 § Leave a comment
and another NGS garden visit, to Little Court in the village of Crawley.
The village is just a few miles from Winchester and has an abundance of immaculately kept, chocolate-box, thatched cottages and even has a duck pond with little duck houses for their nests. I remember we once viewed a very pretty cottage when *C* was a baby but I’m pleased we moved to our present home instead which, although not chocolate-box, nor thatched, is in such a convenient location and walking distance to Winchester.
Little Court itself is a beautiful red brick house set within its traditional 3 acre English country garden that features an orchard – today, carpeted with crocus. There are so many secret seats and gateways and the garden leads up to a meadow with stunning views – especially on a day like today! You can read about the house’s features and why it is Grade II listed here. Teas were served in the Village Hall and the Victoria Sponge was excellent!
Hellebores are my current obsession and there were many varieties in full bloom today. I have quite a few that I’ve acquired over recent weeks – I’m just waiting for the ground to thaw before planting them – it’s rock hard frozen at the moment.
Apparently, there’s heavy snow in the forecast for the coming week. Winchester, set almost due centre of the south of England, frequently misses bad weather. Storms blowing in from the south-west pass to our west and then head off up country; easterlies catch the middle of the UK and often miss us – am I tempting fate? Maybe!
Wherever you are, stay warm – it’s definitely weather for snuggly quilts and crochet blankets!
24/02/2018 § 2 Comments
Let’s start with some sleeping foxies. They’re all curled up on a chilly night (of which there have been many over the past week), with their noses tucked into their tails. Ears though are alert, listening for the sound of anyone approaching their secret den. Snuggle up foxies …
I picked up a sample of Tula Pink fabrics that formed the starting point for this quilt and then set about teaming them up with others to create this vibrant pink, purple & mustard quilt with just a touch of cool aqua. The colours are much prettier than in the photos. Winter quilt photos are such a challenge!
On a day trip to Bath yesterday, I actually discovered another fabric shop – yes, I know – how could I have missed Mark Pickles Sewing Studio? One of my students told me about the shop and it’s a treasure trove of beautiful fabrics, many from my favourite designers Lewis & Irene. As you might guess, I came away with a few metres of this and that – well, it would have been rude not to!
Bath was very beautiful in yesterday’s chilly sunshine. The easterly wind was bitter but the magic of this, one of my favourite, cities couldn’t subdue my delight at spending a few hours there …
Aaahhh – I must visit again soon.
This afternoon, I’m going to stitch around another quilt whilst watching Wales playing rugby in Dublin. There’s a beef casserole in the oven, to which herby dumplings will be added later on – just what’s needed to keep out the cold.
Wrap up warm and enjoy the weekend.
linking up with Finish it up Friday
18/02/2018 § 1 Comment
Spurred on by my visit to Welford House earlier in the week, today I sauntered off to visit two local gardens, opened under the National Garden Scheme.
I had no idea this movement began in 1927 inviting garden owners to open their exceptional gardens to the public for good causes, giving people unique access to some of Britain’s most beautiful, memorable gardens. They’ve raised over £50 million to help charities. The bright yellow notices have sprung up this weekend, rather like early daffodils and today’s gardens were a treat.
First, it was Brandy Mount House in Alresford …
Described as ‘an informal plantsman’s garden’ I loved the beautiful Spring bulbs and lovingly planted borders and alpine gardens. Whilst enjoying a sit down with a cuppa and a slice of excellent homemade cake (as you do), the scent of daphnes wafted through the air.
aaahhhhh – a hint of sunshine, pretty bulbs, stepping stone paths, alpine sink gardens and cake – a perfect start to a Sunday afternoon! I came away with a Magnolia Donna – I’ve never had a magnolia but I felt like a treat and back at home, having found some internet photos, I’m really looking forward to some beautiful flowers in a couple of months’ time.
Next it was off to Bramdean House. I’ve visited before, for the summer fete and it’s been fun to look back to that post and compare the photos, especially the borders that today were brown, with just a few valliant perennials sprouting up.
The 18th century Bramdean House and its 5 acre garden are beautiful. It has a somewhat faded glory and I can only imagine carriages drawing up to the front entrance, through the grand gateways that are now closed as the busy traffic rushes past. The house is protected from the road by billowing yew hedges, many yards wide.
Walking up from the old stable yard, the lawns with their mirror image borders, lead you through the immaculate walled vegetable garden to the orchard where there are beehives and an intriguing clock tower where nowadays time stands still!
Then I wandered along the grassy orchard paths and around every turn there were gateways, shelters, meandering paths, ancient brick walls and crocuses, growing, almost by accident beneath trees and shrubs, they looked as though they’ve bloomed here for hundreds of years.
I came away with 2 hellebore plants, as my afternoon visits have definitely inspired me to get going in the garden! Here’s hoping for some gentle sunshine and ssshhhhhh … do I hear a whisper that Spring might be just around the corner?
Enjoy your week