Bluebell Inspiration …

15/04/2016 § 1 Comment

I’m often asked about the inspiration for my quilts and it’s sometimes difficult to pinpoint what enters my head when I’m planning a quilt.

 On occasions though, it’s quite specific – like my Ridge Tiles Quilt where I wanted to capture the history of my home since it was built and mark the work that’s been done this year.  I was inspired by the colours of the lichen on the red clay ridge tiles that were removed from the roof (left photo) …

Other times there’s a fabric that captures my eye and I try to pick up colours and tones that capture my mood or a landscape.  The quilts below are all inspired by the sea and our love of sailing (we had a little Bermudan sloop when we were first together over 30 years ago) in which we used to explore the coves and harbours along the south coast.  It was all to do with the colours for me – blues, greys, white horses and red sails …

This week it’s Bluebell Time!  As I walk in the woods with the collies, the secretive bells are beginning to bloom in the beech woods.  I LOVE native bluebells, their colour is magical and the scent on a warm morning, quite intoxicating.  I always name our collies after flowers and plants and Belle is really called Bluebell because it’s her birthday at this time of year, even though she doesn’t look at all like a bluebell flower …

This week, Bluebell Time has also provided the inspiration for a quilt …

I decided to make it All About the Blues, so didn’t include any greens or woodland colours.  You can see, I’ve also discovered how to make circular pictures!  Always good to learn something new and they make me smile.  I’m off to a market in Putney, south London this weekend.  Wish me luck and some good weather!

Have a good weekend.

Adaliza

PS – I’m linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday – pop over to see what everyone’s been stitching up this week.

 

Walk in the Park – Quilt Commission

19/09/2015 § Leave a comment

When someone commissions a patchwork quilt, it’s the beginning of a journey …

They have a picture in their mind of a patchwork quilt …

I don’t know what they’re seeing …

We chat and I try to capture their mind’s picture …

quilt fabric swatch

pinks and a farmyard

quilt swatch 2

trees and blues with oranges and a touch of red

quilt swatch 3

we’re almost there with this one using the tree fabric as the focus for the quilt

We started chatting about farmyards then colours and the fabric that I’ve named Walk in the Park won over, so I collected some additional pieces over the summer that I thought would co-ordinate well with it.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve worked quietly and consistently on a quilt for a very special little girl and here’s the moment it all came together …

7

8

4

2

those final couple of photos, taken outdoors look a bit ‘washed out’ – in fact the quilt colours were strong and it was a melody of blues and greens with pinks and soft pumpkin hues all flowing through the patchwork.

I really loved making this quilt – I loved working with those colours and the baby girl, in her mother’s arms couldn’t stop staring at the colours when the ribbon was untied and she first saw her quilt.  I hope her quilt, complete with her name embroidered on the front, will become a memorable part of her homelife as she grows up.

I’m teaming up with finish-it-up Friday over on crazy mom quilts and am looking forward to strolling around to see what everyone else has finished.

Enjoy the weekend

Adaliza x

Edited to add – J’s testimonial and feedback on her commissions:

“I wanted to give my niece and daughter a special quilt which they could learn to crawl on and would keep for years but I’m useless at sewing so I couldn’t do it myself. Adaliza asked me to suggest themes which would mean something to the children. I chose the seaside for my niece (because she lives on the coast) and ‘a walk in the park’ for my daughter. Adaliza was extremely sensitive to the colours and styles I wanted and sent lots of pictures of fabrics and colour combinations to choose from. She even looked for new fabrics to enhance the effect.

Adaliza created stunning, dynamic quilts which have a wide range of patterns and images to enjoy and talk about. They are genuine works of a art with a bright, fresh feel, which the children can interact with and play on for years. She also designed and made an embroidery cushion for my cousin’s wedding which marked their occasion in a non-sentimental way which felt right for them and a small personalised cushion for a friend’s daughter which I was proud to give.

 She was professional to work with, produced flawless work and encouraged me to feedback openly so the process felt creative and exciting. I would recommend her to anyone wanting to give a special, individual present which is good value, unique to them and genuinely comes from the heart.” JG

~ ~ ~ please leave a comment,
I’d love to hear what you think about Walk in the Park quilt
and what you’re up to at the moment ~ ~ ~

Go confidently …

01/01/2014 § 9 Comments

in the direction of your dreams

This time last year, 2013, for the first time in my life I adopted a motto for the year.  So aptly did I feel inspired by these words of Henry David Thoreau, that I even embroidered and framed them, with the addition of a little duck which made me smile.  The thought of Flora striking out in the pond, in the direction of her dreams which undoubtedly would include gobbling up a fat slug or juicy snail, always brought me back to the simplicity of life and the directness of creatures in the way that they exist.

SONY DSC

This time last year, I had dreams.  I was happy at home and with my family, but felt stressed and uncomfortable in work. Like most people, I was doing ‘too much’ and I needed an escape plan.  By the turn of 2012 into 2013, I had a plan but no idea quite how to execute it.  I spent many hours in my sewing studio, number crunching on my calculator – could we afford to live comfortably if I didn’t work?  My dream was to leave work, chill out and do some sewing.

Events were stressful, Himself wasn’t too good and in March it resulted in me having a bit of a ‘meltdown’. Nothing ever so dramatic or requiring medication or anything – I was simply told by my GP to stop, sit down, look after Himself while he recovered from surgery and take life a bit easy.

I never returned to the classroom.  We made a decision at Easter time last year, that I would leave work.  We’d manage – and we have!  It took me a long time to ‘recover’.  In March and April I did stop, I sat down a lot, walked the collies a lot, did some hand-sewing and one day when we jaunted to a local market town, I bought some wool and picked up my crochet hook again.  I recovered stitch by stitch, by needle and hook whilst Himself got stronger and life got easier.

Never have I enjoyed an Autumn and Winter as much as last year.   I had no idea that my job was causing me such stress, I loved teaching.  I kept running around in that hamster wheel of term times, classes, parents evenings, open days, exam revision, analysing results, planning for next lesson, week, term, year – until I stepped off that day in March and felt giddy with joy!

‘Go confidently in the direction of your dreams’ was a very fitting motto for my 2013.  My dream was to leave work, chill out and do some sewing – I’ve left, I’m feeling chilled and have done LOTS of sewing!

So, what about this new year – 2014?  Shall I keep paddling along like Flora, or should I have a new motto? These are almost there …

“Live the life you have imagined” – the end of the ‘Go confidently’ quotation by Henry David Thoreau

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while” – Steve Jobs

But I don’t ‘feel’ they’re quite right for me for 2014.  I’m going to have to go with my instinct, and just like when I name a quilt I’ll make up my own.  My 2014 motto is …

“Living Patchwork Dreams”

Life is like a patchwork, all the pieces come together and the most interesting patchworks have brights and subtles working together in harmony to create something quite different from the individual patches – the whole is so much bigger than the sum of the parts – like life.  The quilting stitches bind the layers together and the whole thing is designed to satisfy those basic needs of warmth and security, keeping us warm whilst we sleep and dream.
I dream of creating lots of patchwork quilts in 2014 and drifting off to sleep every night, dreaming in colour about what I’ll be sewing tomorrow.

Happy New Year – live your dreams.

Adaliza

Daydream Believer

06/11/2013 § Leave a comment

isn’t that a lovely name for a quilt?

Some weeks ago, I received an enquiry for a commission.  It sounded like a perfect project for me – a red and white quilt. Commissions are always exciting – and a bit scary!  I want to – (must) – create something that I love.  I’ll spend hours and hours designing, planning, cutting, stitching, quilting – and the finished article has to be perfect.  Here’s a journey through the different stages of creating a bespoke quilt.

When accepting a commission, I need to get inside somebody else’s head to create something that they’ll love too. They’ll have a vision, a colour-scheme, personal likes (and dislikes), a history and traditions that will transform, through my hands, into a very personal heirloom.  It’s a lot of responsibility.

I usually start with a colour-scheme and send off a swatch of possible fabrics …

reds, whites, blues, touch of green - first draft

reds, whites, blues, touch of green – first draft

Some will be discarded, new ideas will emerge and then I’ll work with some specific fabrics and cut out some patches …

2nd draft

2nd draft

Quickly, I discarded the pale green, here, it was washing out other more vibrant colours and had to go!  After more discussions, I retreated to my studio and began to work – and work I did!  This was a mega king-size quilt with 2 matching pillowcases.  I don’t share photos from this point on, with my clients. From now until the final binding stitch, the quilt is all mine, the creative process indescribable, but here are some of the stages, in photos (for another quilt, called Summer Days).

3rd draft involves taking photos, a final re-arrangement to balance the colours and focus patches.  Then I pile up the patches, in rows, ready for stitching.  I work fast and uninterrupted.  Daydream Believer was too large for a single session so I divided the quilt up into smaller, more manageable sectors for this stage and pieced them all together once they were completed.

Patches laid out in tidy piles, ready for piecing

Patches laid out in tidy piles, ready for piecing

It’s not in draft any more – now it’s a piece of patchwork!

Rows, ready to be joined up

Rows, ready to be joined up

still a piece of patchwork

still a piece of patchwork

patchwork detail

patchwork detail

5th stage involves a lot of pressing, with the iron, tweaking and checking.  Then, with a plain border added, a sandwich is made – backing fabric (my preferred fabric is fleece), wadding (I like light-weight wadding that’s easy to wash), then much smoothing when the top patchwork layer is added.  It’s a bit like icing an enormous cake – smoothing takes ages – but not as long as the pinning!

Snow on the Roof quilt - pinned and ready for quilting

Snow on the Roof quilt – pinned and ready for quilting

Stage 7 – it can take me well over an hour to pin a quilt together.  I don’t tack with stitches as I find the fabric layers stay together much better with tight pinning.  It’s important to allow a good few extra inches of backing and wadding, all around the edge of the quilt as it will move, most probably, when quilted.

Then, the fun begins – what’s this – 8th stage?  The quilting will totally transform the 3 layers of pinned materials into one. Quilting patterns are endless sources of creativity but somehow, I love the simplicity of diagonal lines dissecting perfect squares.  It really ‘does it’ for me!  Quilting also takes hours and hours – sometimes days!

simple patchwork squares with diagonal quilting

simple patchwork squares with diagonal quilting

see how the reds all merge and really need the focus light & dark patches to lift the pattern

see how the reds all merge and really need the focus light & dark patches to lift the pattern

the pillowcases had folk-art horses added - for special sweet dreams!

the pillowcases had folk-art horses added – for special sweet dreams!

Now we have a patchwork quilt, with messy edges but NO – DON’T take the scissors to those edges yet!  A binding must be added first.  Bindings are important.  They’ll frame the whole quilt.  I sometimes have a quilt laid out for days, with different strips of possible bindings draped across it.  I nip into my sewing studio to catch it in unexpected moments – surprise the quilt (and myself sometimes) – with what looks best!

9th stage – sew the binding (right side to right side) all around the edge and THEN, and only then, TRIM THE EDGES.

see - the binding on the left is still to stitch but I couldn't resist a photo shoot in a hotel room!

see – the binding on the left is still to stitch but I couldn’t resist a photo shoot in a hotel room!

Daydream Believer

Daydream Believer – almost finished

10th stage – if you’re still with me, then you’ll probably be a quilter, or potential quilter.  What’s your favourite thing to do whilst hand-stitching the binding?  It’s going to take HOURS – me, I like to watch a good film!  On rare days in summer, I’ll sit outside in the sunshine, but 90% of my quilts are finished during quiet evenings on my sofa, feet up, watching a film!

11th stage – name the quilt, add a label and get the camera!

All done - and the sun is shining!

All done – and the sun is shining!

I knew I married a tall man for a reason!  I had to be quick with the camera, as he stood with arms outstretched to hold up the finished quilt.  I was clicking and nagging constantly as it couldn’t possibly touch the autumn leaves – or worse – Flora’s water bowl!  Success!!

Daydream Believer was named one afternoon, when I was doing the quilting.  The song, suddenly came into my head and the lyrics seemed to fit perfectly …

Oh, I could hide ‘neath the wings
Of the bluebird as she sings.
The six o’clock alarm would never ring.

Sometimes, people ask how I can let go of a quilt and to tell the truth, this quilt was a special one.  As I rolled it up and tied it with a selvedge-ribbon bow, I did say goodbye and felt a little sad.  But it wasn’t mine to keep and here’s what my client wrote:

“It was lovely to see you this morning.  I wanted to relay to you a very big thank you for the bespoke quilt you made for me.  I am so very happy with the end product and I appreciate it will not have been easy given I was changing my mind on design every so often.  You exceeded my expectations and the quality of the materials and your workmanship is to the highest standard.
 
I look forward to commissioning more work with you!”

“Thank You – I’m so pleased you love your quilt”

So now, it’s on with more commission work.  There’s one called Champagne Truffles that’s almost ready to be quilted and another commission about which I’m sworn to secrecy.  But it’s for somebody famous!!!!  I’ll say no more – I’m off to my studio for some SERIOUS design work this morning.

Thank you to everybody who sent me Happy Birthday wishes for yesterday.  I had a marvellous day – flowers, wonderful presents from Himself, nougat from Mallorca, wishes from friends and family all around the world, supper with one of the boys and Himself at my favourite restaurant, sparklers, a birthday cake with candles (just 5, I’m counting intervening years, not the tens), lots of magazines (my treat to me) and a new phone (that’s driving me mad)!

I LOVE the 5th of NOVEMBER!

birthday sparklers

birthday sparklers

Adaliza x

300th post – quilting, quilting

16/09/2013 § 3 Comments

I was going to do something different for my 300th post, but it will have to wait for a while.  Go and put the kettle on and then settle down to follow a journey into quilting, harbours, hearts and roses.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about quilts.  Apart from the buzzing in my head that’s urgently trying to turn itself into another quilt, there’s a real underlying thought process in this creativity.

My quilts are all unique – I couldn’t make two identical ones for love nor money!  It doesn’t work like that for me.  I can’t use a pattern and even when I jot down ideas in my notebook, they ALWAYS change as the fabric passes through my hands.

I was looking through Passionate Patchwork by Kaffe Fassett the other day (again) and as ever, this quote rings bells “why strive for complicated, difficult-to-sew arrangements when simple squares … are so endlessly fascinating as long as the colours are alive”.

Whilst researching for my audition presentation “Scandinavian Patchwork”  (yes, I am now on the Hampshire WI Speaker’s list), I came across so many references and pictures of quilts that have a timeless simplicity – squares and strips and colours in glowing combinations – utterly beautiful.  I try to replicate that feeling in my quilts – that feeling that I get whenever I see a beautiful piece of textile work, that’s been made with love and stitched so carefully.  I try to balance the colours, working with what makes good sense to my eye, pleases my soul and challenges my boundaries.

Patchwork and quilting are becoming SO important to me since my full-time teaching career ended.  I love how much the quilts mean to their new owners – maybe especially those little people, dozing in their prams, blissfully unaware – who will grow up snuggled and cuddled in a quilt that I have made.  Here are some of my thoughts about recent quilts …

Sailing By Quilt

Sailing By Quilt

Sailing By is Cornwall-in-a-quilt.  I started with the larger seaside panels and decided to make them double size so my happy 5″ squares (5″ squares always make me happy – they’re the perfect size) could pick up the colours and sing along.  I wanted sailing boats and the fishing fleet too with stars for starry nights and reds for sunsets.  Blues – well, who could have Cornwall without blues?  And whites for sails, and frothy waves and white-washed cottages and ice-cream!  I always think that little boats and orange go well together too …

Porthleven Harbour at full-tide

Porthleven Harbour at full-tide

little fishing boat

little fishing boat

So there’s my Sailing By quilt – all ready to remind its new owners of the sea, the boats and the harbour when they’re toasting their toes by the fire as the chilly evenings draw in.

On a completely different theme of colours – Sweetheart was always going to be very girly …

Sweetheart Quilt

Sweetheart Quilt

I wanted the last roses of summer to bloom against white-washed walls, beneath a china blue sky, on this quilt.  I wanted love-hearts too, and my all-time favourite colour combination of reds & blues with pinks & chalky whites all mixed in.  I set up a sewing table in the garden last week in the sunshine and stitched on my little Elna all afternoon.

reds and pinks and blues

reds and pinks and blues and chalky whites

Sweetheart Quilt

Sweetheart Quilt

A very Little Miss is, I hope, going to love her new quilt when she’s old enough to trace the quilting lines across the squares and around the hearts before she drifts off into her dreams.

What’s in the planning for this week?  Well, a while ago, I made a quilt called Wildflower Meadow.  It’s a keeper and we have it in our bedroom at home and take it on holiday in the Dolly van too.  I love this pattern of blocks and strips so I decided to make something similar …

Wildflower Meadow

Wildflower Meadow

Here’s Summer Days – a variation on a theme of Wildflower Meadow …

blocked up in strips

blocked up in strips

oh that was a glorious day, just last week

oh – that was a glorious day in the garden in early September

quilt top - all done

quilt top – all done

and that’s how Summer Days is – all pieced up with some edging strips added to finish it off.  Just waiting for me to make a quilt sandwich with the wadding and backing, pin it all together, then quilt the blocks, add a binding and hand-stitch all the way around the edge!  I just love doing the hand-stitching – always on the sofa in the evening – hopefully watching a good film.

But another quilt is milling around in my head already.  I’ve been playing with fabrics – think reds and whites, blues and greens and maybe a touch of pink here and there – contemporary patterns, a sprinkle of polka dots, ditsy sprigs, country roses, starry sunsets – maybe …

polka dots & stars, roses & patchwork

polka dots & stars, roses & patchwork

I’m thinking of my favourite block combination of a double-sized square mixed in with happy 5″ squares – a wide white and red border.  What do you think?

My friend visited from New York last week and brought me some lovely fabric.  American fabric is so cool!  It’s so good to catch up over lunch and I do appreciate how she finds time to pop in to Winchester – we used to natter over the garden fence, when she lived next-door.  She’s an avid quilter too, although how she finds the time to fit it around all her other work and leisure commitments is amazing – she’s a very busy person.  Last year, she won a 1-1 workshop with Victoria Findley Wolfe and I couldn’t wait to investigate her website.  Amazing!  She certainly pushes my colour boundaries and I’m not sure I could ever replicate that style, but she’s certainly an amazing colourist and quilter.  I love what she says about a quilt’s journey – transforming her ideas and creativity and how to get inside somebody else’s head, to make a quilt they’ll love.  I totally agree with her every word.

So, there’s my 300th post – all about quilting journeys, creativity and colours.

There’ll be a give-away in early October but I’ve got a couple of quilts to finish in the meantime!

Enjoy the end-of-summer sunshine in between the early-Autumn showers.

Adaliza x

 

If you go down to the woods today …

27/01/2013 § 16 Comments

be sure to pack your Teddy Bear Blue quilt!

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

It’s all twinkly stars with gingham check, stripe and polka dot teddies tumbling around in every block.

I’ve used my favourite white flannelette as backing and a lightweight wadding in the middle.  We want little people all snuggly, but not boiling over! The binding is a simple blue gingham which is just visible over on the left of the middle photo.  I’ve just this minute finished the hand-stitching around the binding edge – phew!  And all in time for the 101st Handmade Monday too.

Can’t resist one last (will we have more?) snow photo of the collies earlier in the week up at Farley Mount …

Snow Collies

Snow Collies

Enjoy your handmade week whatever’s on your needles, hook or cutting-out table.

I’m preparing a talk on Scandinavian quilting too.  I have Trine Bakke’s Scandinavian Quilt Style book already – it’s one of my favourites, really inspiring and achievable projects; but if you know of any other interesting source materials, I’d love to hear – I need to impress!  I’ll share all the details when I know more.

Have a lovely week.

Adaliza

 

 

Quilting days …

02/09/2012 § 7 Comments

just a taste of the quilts that I finished over the summer …

Phew!  I did a lot of quilting in my holidays this year.  I’m completely addicted to the whole process as I was back here  in January, and have found some stunning fabrics here and there when jaunting, as well as discovering a fair few that I’d forgotten about when I sorted out my room into a proper studio space.

I’m going to a post about using larger prints in patchwork – watch this space!  Hopefully next week.  Just working on a tutorial, as requested by Sarah for the pattern for Gypsy Rose, too.  As you may know, I seldom follow a pattern or recipe, but I’ll work out what I did easily enough – Gypsy Rose spent last night warming my toes in bed!  It wasn’t chilly enough for a full blanket like Ripple 1 or Misty Morning, but toes definitely needed some extra warmth – Autumn has arrived!

Hope you all have a lovely week.  Pop over to see Wendy’s Handmade Monday get together and share what everyone’s been making and creating.

Adaliza x

PS I didn’t get to the Vintage & Retro market today for complicated reasons, but all is well now so I hope to be in Alton next weekend, as planned.

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