Monday, 30 May 2011

Rainy Bank Holiday
It has been a typical Bank Holiday Monday here in the Midlands but having spent the morning at my sewing machine we decided that we would brave the weather and visit a local National Trust house, Croome. Despite the weather we had an enjoyable walk around the grounds which had some great photograph opportunities.
The extensive grounds were designed by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown and the numerous follies and statues that are scattered around the parkland were designed by Robert Adam and James Wyatt.
This is a statue of Pan, the god of sheep and shepherds. There were no sheep to be seen today only a field full of cows with their calves.
Doesn't he have wonderful curls!
Further along the path was this rather pensive Druid. Apparently this statue was made from Coade 'stone' which is a manufactured material formed in a mould and fired.
This is part of the lake which was dug out by hand.
How about this for an incredible fungus? It was nestling in between two sturdy branches. I have no idea what kind of fungus it is but I certainly didn't fancy it in a risotto!
And then there were some wonderful tree barks..........

Back to the sewing machine again tomorrow but I am making good progress with the first of the two quilts I am making for summer exhibitions and I will post some photos later in the week.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Paper Play
We had great fun yesterday in my Journal Days class experimenting with paper lamination. I was introduced to this technique at Committed to Cloth on one of my study days. I thought I would share with you some of the results.
I used newsprint cut into random shapes and placed on a padded drop cloth. I then pinned a piece of polyester organza over the top, making sure it was taut and making contact with the paper.
Jill had prepared a silk screen with masking tape so I borrowed this to screen the acrylic medium onto the fabric. It is essential that the medium penetrates through the fabric onto the paper so screening it on is one of the best methods to achieve this.
You can just about see the areas of acrylic medium in the photograph. This must dry thoroughly before ironing it to set it. This is then soaked in a bucket of water for a few minutes and then rubbed carefully to remove the excess paper. 
This is the resulting fabric. You can see where the acrylic medium has not made a good contact with the fabric and paper as the paper comes off at the rubbing stage. I rather like the resulting distressed look.
Joan used colour photocopies torn into strips and laminated to a very pale pink polyester organza. Rather a nice landscape I think.
Ule used a Thermofax screen to laminate her coloured newsprint to her fabric.
This is Ule's resulting fabric. It will be interesting to see what happens next!
I used a Thermofax screen with a checkerboard design for this. Skyscrapers come to mind!

I'm now going to turn my back on my computer and stitch for the rest of the day - apart from a trip to the dentist! Hopefully it will be a productive day and I will show you what I have been doing soon.

Monday, 23 May 2011

May journal quilt finished!
There seem to be an awful lot of deadlines looming but at least I have completed my latest journal quilt in time for the end of the month. 

I decided to quilt this quite simply by stitching in the ditch in the strip pieced section and echoing that in the top section with irregular spaced lines of stitch. The central section is free motion quilted following the printed design on the fabric and I have quilted around the edge of the appliqued shapes.
I was pleased with the binding which was cut from a soy wax resisted fabric so the various marks pop up around the edge in a random fashion.

The first four quilts for the Contemporary Quilt Group challenge this year had to include a circle so now that those are completed I must now consider how I will develop ideas for the next four months as each of these must include text. 
So far this year each of my quilts for this challenge has worked as a sample for a larger piece which I find a very satisfactory use of my time. Whether I will continue in this way I'm not sure at present but I do have a week or two to consider ideas for June.

The next deadline is my Moon Rainbow quilt for the exhibition in Ledbury during the Poetry Festival 28 June until 10 July.  The quilt is designed, the fabric is ready so all I need to do is make it!

Another date for you diary -
This is an exhibition of my students and Ineke Berlyns' students work. We would love to see you at our exhibition next month. There will be some very exciting work on display so please drop by to see what we have been creating this year and enjoy a tea/coffee and homemade cake with us.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Ready to quilt!

My May journal quilt is now ready to stitch. I spent a happy hour cutting and bonding the different coloured shapes to the background. 
The way the soy wax resisted the dye on some of the fabrics was just the effect I wanted for this area as you can see on this close up.
I had time out this afternoon to visit Quilts UK at Malvern. I haven't visited this local show for several years so it was good to go and meet up with old friends.
Here are a few of the quilts that caught my eye so I thought I would share them with you.
Marrakech by Pauline Barnes
Pauline uses her sewing machine to great effect creating intricate detail on a wide range of fabrics.
The Fall by Veronica Broadley
I was fascinated by the effect that Veronica created using Markal oil sticks, paint and quilting to depict the repetitive dream of falling.
Echinacea Purpurea by Hilary Beattie

Hilary has been sharing her design ideas with the Midlands CQ Group recently and it was good to see this inspirational quilt again.

Inspired by Fusion (group quilt)

This quilt was inspired by a spiral staircase in a tower in Bath. I was intrigued by the idea of  a group working on such a complex design!
Flowers and Lattice by Lynne Edwards (detail)

I am usually drawn to quilts with bright colours but I was instantly attracted to the subtle colours in this beautifully hand appliqued and hand quilted wallhanging.


Wednesday, 18 May 2011

The next step

As you can see I have worked on my collage for my lichen inspired journal quilt. I'm happy with my composition although the colours are a little 'wilder' than my fabrics!

paper collage 
I then began to audition fabrics and after a few trials I have decided on these for my background.

They are only folded and placed, apart from the lower strip which I have strip pieced together. I am really pleased with this colour combination although it might change when I begin to add the circular pieces to it. It is going to be fun deciding which fabrics to use for these.

We went for a walk by the river this evening and the meadows are full of wild flowers and plants like this hogweed. I love the shape of these seed heads and I'm thinking that with a little work this would make a great Thermofax screen!

Speak to you soon!

Monday, 16 May 2011

Getting started

Today members of the Midlands contemporary quilt group met up for a day of sharing ideas and working on projects. As I need to make good progress with my May journal quilt I decided this was a good opportunity to prepare papers for making a collage to confirm my design.

Oil pastel resist with watercolour dyes

watercolour dyes

watercolour dyes

dried acrylic on my palette
I also have some printed papers to add to the above so now I'm off to complete my collage.

Speak to you soon.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Successful fabrics!

My black discharged fabric is washed and pressed and I'm really pleased with it. The positive and negative shapes have worked as I wanted them to.  This piece of fabric is destined for a large section of a wallhanging. I will keep you posted with how it develops.

Do you remember the psychedelic lichen fabric that I was working on last month? Well it has had another layer of colour applied, this time by hand!

This is a great way of applying thickened dye paint to a soda soaked fabric as you can work it into the fabric exactly where you want it.

As you can see, once it has been washed and pressed the colours are a lot lighter. I'm really excited by the way this is developing. I now need to decide how to proceed with it. Probably pinning it on my design wall would be the best idea so that I can study it.

The irises are flowering in my garden this week. They are such beautiful flowers but are over so quickly. At least I could make some quick sketches of them to inspire the irises that I want to feature on my April journal quilt - I know it's already May, I'm a little behind schedule!
Speak to you soon.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

A day in Surrey

It was my study day this week at the Committed to Cloth studio in Surrey. We were trying out the new barn studio which was very exciting.

I started work on a new set of fabric for a quilt for an exhibition in July at the Weaver's Gallery in Ledbury. The theme for the exhibition is Moon Rainbow and is based on poetry written by the Dymock Poets. Two lines in the poem Iris by Night by Robert Frost inspired me to work with this imagery -

'The clover mingled rowan on the ground
Had taken all the water it could as dew...'

I prepared some silk screens using freezer paper images and masking tape to produce both positive and negative images.

This is a section of the fabric that I discharged using the negative image screen. It is possible to see the positive images on the background which hadn't then been discharged.

I will post an image of the finished fabric once it has been rinsed and pressed, but I'm very pleased with the result so far!


Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Watch the video!

I have just watched the latest video on DMTV (see for more details) where I am describing my Cut and Come Again quilt technique. It is very funny watching yourself on the computer and I am amazed at Laura's skill in piecing together all of the sections of film that are taken during the making of the video and cutting out all of the takes when I spoke gibberish - thank you Laura for making it look so good!

I am very pleased to say that I have completed the machine quilting of my first Lichen quilt.

I am very happy with the effect that I have achieved with the quilting so far. I like the contrast between the straight line quilting and the free motion quilting of the appliqued section.

To complete the quilting I intend to hand stitch some of the central section with thicker hand dyed threads to add some extra texture.

In the meantime I have lots more 'lichen' fabrics in my stash and ideas for another quilt so watch this space!

Monday, 2 May 2011

Another sunny day!

I can't believe that the sun is still shining and it's a Bank Holiday Monday here in the UK. That usually means it will rain! I took advantage of the weather to dye fabrics and threads to add to my collection which I sell at workshops and talks or to anyone who would like to buy them!

I spent a while at my computer working out requirement lists for two 2-day workshops I will be teaching at the Loch Lomond Studio in July. It is a little challenging when planning surface design workshops  knowing that I will be unable to take my usual car load of equipment on an aeroplane. I will be teaching an introduction to screen printing and paper lamination techniques so if you are interested please contact the Studio for more details

This afternoon we took a well deserved stroll by the newly renovated canal system here in Droitwich and saw this mother duck with her twelve ducklings investigating the reeds. I can't imagine having to look after twelve babies!