Thursday, 20 January 2011

Morning Stitches

When I made the decision to start a blog I knew that I would need to organise my time in a much better way. On the days when I am teaching it is difficult to find time for my own work as when I arrive home I need to answer emails sent by my online students and after supper I try to relax by catching up with a few favourite TV programmes accompanied by some knitting or hand quilting, which stops me from falling asleep! Some evenings I am more energetic and play badminton or go to ballroom and Latin American dance classes!
So on the occasions when I have no teaching commitments I decided I would start the day with an hour of either stitching or designing. I am amazed how liberating this has been as after I have spent time doing the things I want to do I am happy to sit at my computer and work for as long as is necessary to complete my emails. It is incredible how much I can achieve first thing in the morning.

As you can see, I began to machine quilt my Sand, Sea and Stitch sample today. I intend to add some hand quilting to highlight the moon and the sea when the machine quilting is completed. I'm teaching my Simple Batik workshop at The Bramble Patch tomorrow so I doubt if I will have time to work on this again until the weekend.


Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Journal Quilt Project 2011

I have signed up for this year's Contemporary Quilt group journal project. This is a big commitment for me as I failed to keep up after agreeing to do it two years ago, although I completed them all but not on a monthly basis. Last year I didn't commit but still attempted to do them, I have six completed! I am determined this year to meet the deadlines.

So I have started with good intentions. First of all, I needed a theme. I have given this some thought over the last couple of weeks and decided on 'light'. Light is so important to us all, whether it is sunlight, moonlight, lamplight, firelight, shadows, reflections etc. I think I have enough ideas to pursue and produce a dozen pieces of work.
As the indigo and potassium permanganate fabrics were still strewn around my workroom I decided to use them for my first composition. The rules for the project are that each quilt must be a 10 inch square, which is a good size to work to and the first four quilts for the year have to include a circle. My Shibori dyed moon was ideal. I have also given myself one other rule and that is to include a striped fabric. I love stripes and the piece I have included here started as a black and white striped fabric, before it was dunked in the indigo bath. The potassium permanganate dyed fabric in the foreground was discharged with thickened lemon juice which was applied as a monoprint. I really like the effect of the printed surface. I now need to give the quilting design some thought.

Until the next time


Monday, 17 January 2011

You will be pleased to know that progress is being made to my lichen piece but I am now waiting delivery of a can of webbing spray so that I can create a new screen. I have decided to screen print a background before applying the shapes cut from the wax resist fabrics I showed you last week. As you can see I have experimented with a possible layout but will finally decide once I am happy with the background.

I was teaching my monthly patchwork class as The Bramble Patch on Saturday and realised I needed a new piece of work to advertise a two day workshop I'm teaching there in the summer - Sand, Sea and Stitch (see Talks and Workshops for more details). During this workshop students dye a range of fabrics using indigo and potassium permanganate and then use their fabrics to produce a wallhanging inspired by a photograph of a seascape. The fabrics are most appropriate to this theme. So yesterday I dived into my stash, then found an appropriate photograph and started work.

I began to assemble my cut and torn fabrics following the lines I had drawn in some quick thumbnail sketches and after several arrangements I think I am now happy with my composition. There is no piecing involved as the wadding is sprayed with 505 so the background section are held in place and the smaller pieces are bonded or will be anchored with stitch.

There will be no time for stitching this today as I will be working with my online students for the rest of the day but it is sometimes good to take a break from a piece and then assess again later.

Have a good day!


Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Last summer we visited a local National Trust House, Coughton Court in Warwickshire and when we were walking around the gardens came across this lichen covered fallen tree trunk.

The colours were fabulous and so inspiring that I decided to dye a range of fabrics to work with in a new project.

To compliment this range of fabrics I began to experiment with soy wax resist methods on one of my monthly independent study days at Committed to Cloth with Claire Benn and Leslie Morgan. My fabrics developed over several sessions and I now have an exciting palette with which to work.

As I'm off on my first study day of the year tomorrow, I pieced together a selection of my fabrics this morning ready to take with me.
I'm rather pleased with my composition and although I have assembled it as a landscape piece it is quite possible that it will end up portrait as it looks just as good that way round.
I have thoughts about appliqueing some of my wax resist fabrics on to the surface but will also experiment with ideas of printing or stencilling over the top of it - may be even both! I think samples are called for here.
I will let you know the outcome soon.

Monday, 10 January 2011

A month or so ago I emailed members of the Contemporary Quilt Specialist Group of the Quilters' Guild to see if there would be any interest in setting up a local group here in the Midlands. Following a good response, our first meeting took place today at Bromsgrove Rugby Club. Twenty two quilters arrived from all over the Midlands, keen to meet up with like minded people and we had a fascinating morning where every one shared their ideas and latest work. Ineke and I demonstrated screen printing and soy wax techniques after lunch and then there was time for everyone to have a go. As you can see, Ineke's Thermofax screens were very popular as was my wax pot with the various tools such as a potato masher, metal scrapers and tjantings for creating instant patterns on cloth. The beauty of soy wax is that it solidifies quickly and once the fabric is dyed and batched, the wax is easily removed with hot water. It doesn't clog the sink or washing machine and the fabric is left soft without any traces of waxy residue.
Once the wax was dry we coloured the fabrics with thickened Procion dye and I encouraged everyone to apply the dye with their fingers, rubbing it in to the cloth to blend the colours.
Our next meeting will be on 7th March and the theme for the day will be 'something familiar'. So whether it is an ongoing project, which is already familiar or starting a new one inspired by something familiar to us, it promises to be an interesting day.
If you live in the Midlands and are interested in joining us please contact me for more details.


Saturday, 8 January 2011

Welcome to my new blog - work in progress. I am notorious for having many ongoing projects so I am hoping that by committing myself to writing a regular blog, I will stop prevaricating and therefore have lots of exciting ideas to share with you on a regular basis.
The sun has shone today so Chris and I went into Worcester and walked alongside the river Severn. It was so good to be outside in the sunshine after many grey days. We continued our walk through the canal basin where the brightly coloured narrow boats and the reflections in the water provided us with a great camera opportunity. There are many warehouses converted into apartments along this stretch of the canal and these red brick buildings with their simple windows made for some interesting distorted reflections in the canal, as you can see here.