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 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 …
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 …
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.
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 …
Here’s Summer Days – a variation on a theme of Wildflower Meadow …
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 …
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.
24/04/2012 § 9 Comments
A few of you have had trouble viewing the photos in the previous post.
I’d be really grateful if you’d let me know if the ones below are OK? I did a bit of editing with the last post’s pics, by altering the image size (making it smaller) and lightening some of the tones as the light here in the last week has been terrible. Quite took me back to November-time when it’s so difficult to photograph anything due to the poor light.
Today I’ve dashed out in between showers – there’s actually quite good sunshine, but you have to be quick!
Test 1 – there are 3 photos in a gallery which you can click on to make larger. Does it work? Does it take very long? Can you use the > or < to scroll back and forth through them?
Here they are, as normal. I haven’t reduced the size of them or anything. Do they take a long time to appear?
Do let me know what’s working and what’s not. Also, if you’ve any tips on how to get more from images etc, I’d be ever so grateful.
Enjoy your rest-of-the-week!
Update: Thank you all so much for letting me know how you got on with these photos. All seems to be OK again. I’ve just finished a round crochet cushion that’s been fun to make, using up some odds and ends. Hopefully some pictures tomorrow afternoon, although it’s due to be a really stormy day apparently. Poor Flora!
21/04/2012 § 14 Comments
We’ll make a start, down on the farm …
Buttercup the cow lives happily on a magical quilted farm with all her friends. There’s Percy the Pony, Petal the Piggy, dancing lambs and lots of ducks and chickens, too numerous to name. Fields of bright folky sunflowers bloom all around the pastures and cheerful gingham farm tracks divide up the land! The back is vintage striped flannelette, bordered with patchwork, a name label & date, to boot!
What a pretty quilt, for a cot or chair in the nursery!
Then, there’s the Wildflower Meadow – a double-bed sized quilt that I have Soooooooo loved making …
(These photos are in a gallery, so click and they’ll open up much larger, so you can see all the stitch & pattern details).
I’m totally into free motion quilting and the difference in texture between the quilted vintage, pure white cotton and the bright florals really make this quilt sing – not too loudly, just a gentle lullaby! It’s so soft and drapey too- if that makes sense.
I’m working on another one as we speak (well not at this precise moment, cos I’m typing away whilst waiting for one of Flora’s eggs to hard-boil for a lunchtime sandwich)! I’ve just treated myself to one of those wire egg cutter contraptions so I can have perfect, slim eggy slices – yum. Have visions of a slippery egg flying across the kitchen – will let you know how I get on!
Winchester was lovely this morning – just for an hour, I wandered about the little streets, mainly avoiding the bustle of the High Street and weekend market. The Cathedral was magnificent in the Spring sunshine and I simply enjoyed mooching around knowing that I live here. Although sometimes I think my heart is still in Wales, I’m beginning to accept that after over 30 years, Winchester is feeling more and more like home!
Enjoy your weekend.
End Note: The egg slicer worked a treat. Toothache is soul-destroying and I’ve been in agony for what seems like eternity, over most of the weekend. I’m waiting to hear back from a local dental practice to see if they can fit me in and put an end to my toe-curling agony.
Have a good week everyone.