Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Happy New Year!

Just squeezing in a last blog for 2014. I hope you have all had a very merry Christmas and are preparing for a happy and creative 2015.
Our Christmas was spent with the family, eating, drinking and enjoying grandchildren opening and playing with their presents.
Isla loved her doll's house.
Isn't Lego wonderful!
And there's always time for family photos!
There's also been time for quilting over the festive period  and I have spent many hours hand quilting my Indian block printed patchwork. My aim was to complete it by mid January and I'm pleased to say I'm on target!
I have also spent time machine quilting this piece which is for a group exhibition next June.
This is a detail of 'Coffee and Cakes' made from a selection of fabrics provided by members of GOGs (The Groomery Old Girls). This was the first City & Guilds patchwork and quilting group that I taught at The Groomery in Droitwich back in the 1990's. We still all meet regularly and work on group projects. Our latest theme relies on a selection of blue, red and teal coloured fabrics provided by each of the thirteen members of the group. The only prerequisite for the challenge is for there to be twenty 'somethings' included in the design. I decided on thirteen cups and twenty cup cakes - yes I realise that there will be a squabble over the cup cakes! I will post a photograph of the completed wallhanging. I will be teaching a workshop based on this idea at Coles Sewing Centre in Nottingham in April.
We have taken advantage of the frosty weather and the beautiful blue skies over the last few days and one of our walks took us over the Malvern Hills.
The fabulous weather attracted quite a few families and one or two more adventurous types!
This person took quite a while to take off but eventually they sailed over the edge of the hill.
I must admit, rather them than me!
Maybe after tonight's celebrations we should be off for another walk in the morning.
As you can see I have also been busy in the kitchen. This is one of the puddings, a cranberry meringue roulade, for this evening's celebrations with the neighbours - our turn to host so I must now finish the preparations and wish you all a very happy, healthy and creative 2015.
I would also like to thank all of you who have taken the time to read my ramblings over the last year.

See you next year!

Edwina x

Monday, 15 December 2014

It must be nearly Christmas!

You know it must be nearly Christmas when you see reindeer in the city centre!
They were obviously reserving their energy for the busy night ahead.
We visited Worcester Cathedral over the weekend to see the Festival of Christmas Trees in the cloisters. Many local schools, organisations and shops had decorated trees which were then arranged throughout the cloisters.
There were traditional trees, trees made from hops, glass, bamboo, vegetables, blocks of wood and fabric, to name but a few!

Apologies for the poor photography but what a fun way to raise money for local charities.
Back home we decorated a simple wreath with chillies, well it makes a change from the traditional holly berries doesn't it?
One benefit of long dark evenings is that there is time to hand quilt while catching up with the many TV programmes we have recorded.
I pieced together a collection of beautiful Indian block printed and Ikat woven fabrics a while ago and I am now enjoying the meditative process of hand quilting them with a selection of perle threads. I chose wool wadding and a backing of some appropriately coloured Oakshott fabrics and this combination is a dream to quilt.
Front pieced and ready to be tacked.
Backing fabrics pieced.
As the fabric designs are repeated across the quilt I decided to quilt each fabric design with a different pattern which I find keeps me interested as I'm not very good with repeating the same thing over and over again! I am challenging myself to quilt at least one fabric block each day so I should be finished by mid this space!
I hope all of your Christmas preparations are going to plan.
Thanks for visiting.


Friday, 5 December 2014

Dyeing fun!

Over the last couple of weeks my students have played ( or should I say experimented) with family dyeing. It is a method I was shown by Leslie Morgan of Committed to Cloth when I was on a course at the Masseria della Zingara last year which I wrote about here.
Once the pots were labelled and set out and the two control dye colours selected, the fun began using a credit card to scrape the dye into sketchbooks and on to fabric to record the results.
Helen started with golden yellow and scarlet dyes and then added first a little blue and then a little lemon yellow to produce these lovely colours on the right.
Annette used indigo and golden yellow as her control dyes scraping them first into her sketchbook and then on to fabric. She then changed the proportion of the dye mix to produce the mixes on the right.
She then painted the thickened dyes onto a printing block to sample her range of colours on to cloth.
Judith began with rust brown and royal blue on the right and then experimented by adding dark brown (top left), then magenta (middle left) and finally a little more dark brown to produce this range of colours.
She then scraped this rather gorgeous piece of fabric with the mixed colours.
Sue used her credit card creatively to make these lovely marks using her mixed dyes which started with black and magenta and then a little royal blue.
 Meanwhile Ann was using some Thermofax screens to print these lovely crocheted doily patterns. The cloth will be used as a background for appliqué.
I have been busy stitching the scroll that I began a few weeks ago. I'm pleased with the result and really enjoyed the process. It was fun to get out the bead box and apply some beads.

This is a great way of using the scraps of fabric, threads etc left over from a larger project and would make a lovely gift for someone - maybe for Christmas!
I hope all of your Christmas preparations are well underway - that reminds me, I must feed the Christmas cake!
Thank you for visiting.

Edwina x

Sunday, 16 November 2014

A new arrival

It's a been a busy and productive week with the best possible results. On Tuesday 11th November Reuben, my fourth grandchild was born, a brother for a very excited Isla!
As you can see at 24 hours old, he is a bonny baby weighing in at 8lb 7oz. I can't wait for my next cuddle!
Of course Reuben had to have a play mat and I really enjoyed doing some 'proper' patchwork to make this for him.
It was fun exploring different arrangements using equilateral triangles and I was pleased with the final decision to use the red fabrics at the top and the bottom of the piece and the binding.
As I was otherwise engaged on Tuesday Ineke took over the teaching of my weekly Textile Inspirations class which is held at Littleheath Barn. During the previous session Ineke had been working on a scroll and as everyone was keen to use their machine embroidery samples produced this term this seemed like a brilliant idea to incorporate them.
base fabric

top fabrics

I have sorted through some of my fabrics and samples, added a few screen printed sections and am now ready to compose and stitch.

base fabric
a possible layout
I added to my collection of Namolio linen threads this week - let's call it an early Christmas present!
I think some of these will work beautifully once I start stitching my scroll.
I'll keep you posted and thanks for visiting my blog.

Edwina x

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Whispers Challenge

Our Whispers Challenge was very popular with visitors to Stitch in the Middle's latest exhibition Nature and Artifice. Although the exhibition is now over I will show you, as promised, the inspiration and resulting A4 quiltlets.
Two groups took part in the challenge, one with six members and the other with seven. The first person in each group was given this photograph from which to design and make an A4 sized quilt.

These were the resulting quilts from group one.
Jan was the only member of this group to see the photograph. The following quilts were inspired by seeing only the previous quilt.

Group two produced a very different collection of quilts.

Again, as first member of the group, Cheryl had the photograph for inspiration.

Who would have thought that all of these pieces of work had the same starting point and how different the results are in each group.
This was fun challenge for a group and was a great addition to the exhibition.

Thanks for reading.