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

 

New Quilt …

29/12/2011 § Leave a comment

A new quilt is in the making …

Blocking draft 1

Just before Christmas, when we escaped to Bath, I spent a delicious half hour or so in Country Threads Patchwork.  What a fabulous selection of fabrics to browse through -such fun!  Choosing, deciding, which colours appealed, what could I make with that, what colours to put together, what patterns were singing a jolly tune.

This retro panel has lovely words – I love you, M is for memories, Dream out Loud – all in a classic 1930’s style.  But – and it’s a big BUT – many of the blocks are different sizes – different lengths and heights!  It’s taken a bit of courage to decide what best to do and I’ve decided to go with a Brick Pattern – so the rows use blocks of the same height.  I’m using quite a few plain blocks, as I want the words to take centre stage, and a colour palette of cream, soft green, turkey red, black and caramel.

This is Draft 1 of the blocking and has way too much of the black winceyette backing showing through.  When I make a big quilt I always take a photo so that I can see what’s going well and what isn’t working with the colours.  Can you see where it starts to go wrong?  The first 4 rows (from the top down) seem fine, but rows 5, 6 and 7 are in trouble!  It’s all sorted now though.  The quilt is going to be large – a good double size.  I think it’ll be called ‘Vogue’.

I won’t be able to work on it again until the weekend but I’ve pinned all the blocks and sewn the first few rows together – it’s SOoooo exciting.

This quilt is going to span the bridge between the old year and the new.  Hopes and dreams and memories all sewn together.  Just how a quilt should be!

Happy New Year to you all.  Take care, keep safe, stay warm and be happy.

Adaliza x

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