Monday, 30 December 2013

Time to quilt

I quite like these few days between Christmas and the New Year when I can spend time at my sewing machine without feeling I should be preparing yet another massive feast. Actually a broken oven put paid to that any way! It is also good to have the opportunity to blow away the cobwebs and walk off some of the Christmas pudding which is what we did yesterday. It was a beautiful day with not a cloud in the sky and we visited Clent Hills.

This is a favourite place of mine as I visited it often as a child. It is totally unspoilt and the views from the top of the hills are wonderful. Birmingham is only a few miles away which is difficult to believe when you are surrounded by such lovely countryside.

Today we woke to more heavy rain and strong winds which is not going to help the flooding situation in nearby Worcester. Once more the River Severn has broken it's banks creating more havoc for local businesses.

I have been busy quilting one of my pieces for Identity, the first exhibition of Art Textiles: Made in Britain which will can be seen at Festival of Quilts 2014.

This is a whole cloth quilt using one of my breakdown printed cloths using the numbers that relate to the houses I have lived in during my life. As you can see, there are few threads to sew in tonight but I'm sure there is something to watch on TV while I do this!
I have also finished piecing together my winter Four Seasons quilt using some rust and indigo dyed and printed fabrics. I'm looking forward to stitching this piece with a combination of machine and hand quilting.

So I have lots to keep me busy over the next few days although we will be finding time to celebrate the arrival of 2014 with our lovely neighbours.
I wish you all a happy, healthy and creative 2014 and thank you for taking time to read my ramblings!


Sunday, 22 December 2013

Dyeing results

It may be nearly Christmas but I have had a week at home so have indulged in a few things that I have not found time for during the last few weeks.
First of all I rinsed my printed fabric inspired by my visit to Matera in Southern Italy.

Having masked out the top section of the cloth using a profile of the hilltop town, I scraped a pale thickened dye over this lower section of the cloth. When it was dry I ironed the lower section of the freezer paper mask on to this dyed section and applied another slightly brighter dye to the top section. I wanted some colour on the background but only enough to take away the stark background.
Now it is rinsed I am ready to assemble it with wadding and backing so that I can add stitch to highlight this profile which is not as obvious as in the image above!

I am very mean with mixed dye so these fabrics are the result of mixing different combinations of the dyes described in my last post.

I really like the marks on the fabric achieved with rather over enthusiastic scraping of dye on to the cloth. The central and right hand cloth have a look of Log Cabin about them.

How about these lovely fabrics to brighten a dull December day? These are the result of a demonstration at a recent dyeing workshop I taught. Here I used turquoise, golden yellow and red brown dyes to create a rainbow effect. The red brown dye was not as potent as I had expected it to be but I love the subtle colours it produced.
As it's Christmas I have also enjoyed some time in the kitchen making ice cream, chocolate salame as demonstrated by Nigella Lawson in a recent TV programme and I was very pleased with this loaf of bread using a Paul Hollywood recipe.

I must admit it tasted as good as it looked!
We have also celebrated an early Christmas with the grandchildren as we won't all be together this year on Christmas day so the opening of a few presents was allowed!

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a little time to do things you enjoy too!

Thanks for reading.


Sunday, 15 December 2013

Where does the time go?

Since last we spoke I have spent a fabulous 10 days in Italy at Masseria della Zingara working on new ideas and developing older cloths. It is such a luxury to spend all day being creative without having to worry about the normal everyday routines.
The highlight of my time in Puglia was a trip to the hillside town of Matera. The town is known for its sassi, stone houses which have been carved out of the hillside. The old town is gradually being restored but is still a photographer's dream with every few steps revealing yet another unexpected vista.

Matera made such an impression on me that the following day I printed a cloth inspired by my visit.  I responded to my photographs by producing this silk screen using torn strips of masking tape.

I then printed my fabric using this palette of thickened Procion dyes,

with a 'squirt' of acid yellow dye added to each of the nine mixed dyes.

When the yellow dye was well mixed in I set about printing, beginning with the palest colours

until I had used all nine colours.

Since returning home I have dyed the background but have not yet rinsed the fabric. Once I have done that I will post the result - which I hope has worked!
There is lots more 'work in progress' happening here so I will post again soon.

Thanks for visiting,