Monday, 31 December 2012

Last deadline for 2012

I completed my last Journal Quilt for this year's Contemporary Quilt Group challenge last night. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, this year I have used the monthly themes from the online Sketchbook Challenge group and of course, these then had to fit in with the CQ group challenge of four red, four yellow and four blue A4 quilts.
The theme for September was Pattern so I challenged myself to use a piece of fabric previously printed with various screens. I based my machine and hand quilting on the circular based patterns on the fabric.
I found October's theme an interesting one, 'Cabinets of Curiosities'. This time I turned to some of my favourite jugs and vases and although they are not all blue in real life, I used their shapes and patterning to inspire this quilt. I appliquéd  them to pieced Attic Window blocks made from various indigo dyed fabrics from my stash. It feels so good delving into the drawers of fabrics and using some of my dyed and printed pieces.
Spice of life was the theme for November so this time I used my cupboard of spices to inspire the colours for this quilt. I produced a background of different blue fabrics and then bonded my pots and spices on to it. I still have a much treasured collection of Manchester indigo fabrics that I bought from June Morris many years ago and these provided just the right contrast between the background and the various mounds of spices.
To complete the collection of quilts I went with a seasonal approach to the theme of Gifts. A group of silk covered gift boxes stacked on top of one another, tied with metallic braid ( a great stitch, no. 157 on my Bernina Aurora!) on a star studded background.
Well that's it for 2012. There certainly has been a lot of work in progress and a lot completed, thank goodness! There will be new challenges for 2013 with more exhibitions to work towards, new workshops and courses to plan plus all of the other things that I want to do such as make clothes from the many lengths of cloth I either buy or dye and print myself, knit using some of the bags of wool I have accumulated over the last few years and always challenge myself to try something new.
Thank you for visiting my blog this year and may I wish you all a happy, healthy and creative 2013.
All for now

Friday, 28 December 2012

Fun and laughter!

I apologise now for the Christmas images but we had a great day with lots of fun and laughter. Fourteen for dinner meant moving around the furniture and importing a very large piece of MDF to place on the dining room table so that everyone could sit around it.
It also gave enough space for all of the food ( which we are still eating!!)
My son and son  in  law decided that Christmas jumpers were the order of the day so as you can see this was taken on board!
It was lovely to have my three grandchildren joining in the fun and Isla, who is only 7 months old,  enjoyed cuddles from her two cousins and was not phased by the occasion.
And, of course, I didn't want to miss out on a little dressing up!
So, a belated Merry Christmas to you all and may I wish you all a happy, healthy and creative 2013.

Monday, 3 December 2012

December already!

Well I have made a start on Christmas today. The Christmas cake is almost cooked and the Christmas puddings are steaming away so all I now need to do is the Christmas shopping and buy a tree! It's easy really isn't it? So why do so many people start preparing in September? Don't get me wrong - I enjoy the festive season but I don't want it to go on for months.
Since last I blogged I have made a return trip to Italy, this time for a retreat and I spent a whole week dyeing, printing and stitching. Wonderful! It was such a luxury and I enjoyed every minute of it.
One of the ideas I had wanted to experiment with was the sweeping gestural marks that we had made on Dorothy Caldwell's Human Marks workshop back in September.
I started by brushing dye on to dry soda soaked fabric - acid yellow, golden yellow, scarlet and magenta followed by royal blue.
When the dye was dry and batched I brushed soy wax over the surface using similar sweeping strokes.
This was followed by rubbing thickened royal blue dye over the entire surface making sure that it penetrated any crackles in the wax.
This is the resulting fabric which is now pinned on my design wall waiting for the next step, which at the moment is an unknown!
Each day, when it wasn't raining, we would go for an after lunch walk through the olive groves that surround the Masseria. Apart from taking photographs of the amazing olive trees that are hundreds of years old I also collected pieces of rusted metal with the intention of doing some experimental dyeing with them.
I soaked some white cotton fabric in vinegar (it happened to be red wine vinegar as that was all we had available!) and placed the found rusty cans, tools, wires etc on top of it, tucking the fabric over and around it. The whole lot then went into a plastic bag, weighted down and placed beneath a radiator for 36 hours and the results were fabulous.

Again, I have no plans at present for these fabrics but I know at some point they will be just what I need for a special project.
I returned home to vast quantities of rain and floods. Fortunately we weren't affected by the floods but the River Severn in Worcester was making full use of the flood plain!
This is the racecourse which was completely underwater. You can just see the fence in the foreground which is about a metre high.
At least the swans were happy!
Speak to you soon and happy Christmas preparations.