Monday, December 04, 2017

A Short Visit to Keswick

We had a couple of hours in Keswick today: walking down to the lake and through the town; stopping off for lunch in Abraham's Cafe in George Fisher (jacket potatoes with salad and cheese with excellent Americano coffees, and now dog-friendly like the rest of the shop, so Brock was pleased); a quick browse in the Oxfam, where I bought some embroidery threads; and food shopping in Booths.

Here are some of the photos that I took on my mobile (I forgot my camera :o/). The light was very atmospheric, with low cloud, but bright sun.

Lots of wildfowl, as usual, attracted by the people feeding them.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

A Misty Day

Brock was reluctant to go for his walk today: the road was half running water, mud and twigs and the weather was very misty and damp. Still, the exercise did us all good and the landscape has added mystery in the mist.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Have a Very Folksy Christmas

Why not cut out the queuing in the shops for mass produced gifts, and buy something handmade by a British-based maker and designer this Christmas?

I've made a head-start on my shopping already, and here are some of the other things you can find at Many pieces are one of a kind, so you need to buy it when you see it, to make sure of getting the item you want. [Please click on the link beneath the image to go to the listing for sale].

Hand knitted, Scandinavian-style stocks from Fir Tree Knitwear, £29

Screen printed cat doorstop from Mandy Hills, £12

Men's t-shirt with Pi spiral from uchi limited editions, £20

Santa Claus tree decoration from ndm handmade, £5

Driftwood boat Christmas decoration from Nicely Made By Natalie, £8.50

5 pack of squirrels riding a tandem Christmas cards from Dog As Pony, £5

Christmas snowflake earrings by Tanith Rouse Jewellery, £14

To see some more ideas on my Pinterest Page, Folksy Christmas 2017, please click here, and by double clicking on any image, you will be taken to the item for sale.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

A Recommended Book For Quilters: Wollquilts by Edda Gehrmann

I just received a second-hand copy of this wonderful book in the post today.

It is called "Wollquilts: von Glencheck bis Kaschmir" by Edda Gehrmann, published by Herausgeber und Lektorat in 2002. ISBN 3-9806815-4-8 [I use for finding out-of-print books such as this one].

Since it is a German book, I was expecting the text to be only in German, but was pleasantly surprised to find that there is an English translation throughout.

Here were some of my favourite quilts from the book:-

The quilts were mainly made from bags of assorted wool fabric scraps which were passed around the members of a Berlin patchwork group (mixing knitted with woven and felted wools in different weights, and sometimes other fabrics such as cotton, velvet or wool mixes). There is often a commentary by the maker discussing what they thought of the scraps (usually disappointment at the dull assortment!), followed by how inspiration hit them, and how they made such beautiful pieces from the remnants.

Several makers commented on the problems with cutting tiny pieces or trying to iron flat seams. The most successful pieces seemed to use very simple shapes - squares or rectangles, but with thought given to the placing of the different tones and colours of the fabrics.

The book has a section of tips for sewing with wool fabrics at the back, and patterns for six of the quilts found in the book, but it is more of a gallery of inspirational images than a 'how-to' book.

I can tell that this will become one of my favourite books, and it has inspired me to have a go with some of the wool and wool mix fabrics in my collection - maybe just a wall hanging to begin with.

Initial gleanings from the book are that:-
  • anything goes with regard to mixing weights and types of fabric
  • simple shapes will probably be easiest to work with
  • focusing on colour and tone placement is important for a successful design
  • tying is an easier option than trying to quilt very thick fabrics
  • larger seam allowances are best to stop fraying (1 - 1.5 cm)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A Couple of Pages From My Sketchbook

Following a talk last week (about giving talks!) by Joanna O'Neill at the Embroiderers' Guild in Dumfries, Margaret and I were discussing her wonderful sketchbooks, which were on display at the end of the lecture. There were also examples of her quilt work and small journal quilts, images of which can be seen on her website. I bought two printed cards of her work (scanned image below).

Having learned the importance of keeping a sketchbook on an OCA textiles course, and having observed the way in which textile artists such as Joanna use them (she keeps a mixture of representational drawings, jottings and notes, quick sketches etc - a visual journal/diary), it has encouraged me to make an effort to keep using mine.

We agreed that the only way to do it was to set aside a regular time in the day for drawing, otherwise 'life' takes precedence.

Here are a couple of my recent pages...

Drawing of a print seen on a wall in an artist's studio, in a book called "Maker Spaces" by Emily Quinton, which Rob bought for my birthday. I thought that this sort of design could work well as a patchwork textile wall hanging, or a cut paper collage.

"Change Something" - a collage of found images and mixed media. I am always cutting odd phrases and pictures of objects and human features and body parts out of magazines. These strange creatures occasionally emerge from the cuttings.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Raffle Prize!

I got a lovely surprise after the Morton Community Centre Quilt Exhibition, in a phone call to say that I had won a cushion in the raffle. I collected it this morning.

It is made from two panels of faux fur, joined up the centre,  with these interesting organic shapes carved into the fur revealing a darker under layer. The reverse is a self-coloured woven fabric with a floral pattern. The cushion matches our sofa well and provides some contrast in texture, so I am very pleased with it. There is no maker's label on it, that I have found, so thank you very much to whoever made it!

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Morton Community Centre Exhibition - 10 Year Anniversary of the Quilting Group

Many thanks to my friend, Babette, for discovering and taking me to this lovely quilt exhibition today.

The Morton Community Centre is a wonderful setting for the exhibition, with Victorian mouldings, an impressive, sweeping staircase, dark wooden furniture and panelling. The exhibition was spread out over several of the rooms and the Just Sew shop from Penrith had a stand selling fabrics, patterns, threads etc.

One of the first quilts we came to and both admired was made by a friend of Babette's, Freda Hodgson. It was based on a quilt by Susan Briscoe and showcased beautiful Japanese fabrics in appliquéd kimono shapes.

Apologies for the blurry, dark photos, but the lighting was quite dim to protect the quilts on display.

Freda said that she had taken several years to complete the quilt and had almost thrown it away several times. Thank goodness she persisted! The framing and border were the sticking points, as she wanted colours that would complement and unify the piece.

As well as the large bed quilts, there were numerous smaller art quilts. This one caught my eye (I could not see the maker's details) but their statement label said that it was inspired by an oriental quilt and depicts the four seasons with borders representing the four elements (wood, fire, water and metal). The Japanese-style chrysanthemum in the middle was made from loose, appliquéd petals giving it a three dimensional look.

This gorgeous Baltimore sampler wall hanging was made by Catherine Edgar using hand appliqué and quilting. The technique was taught by Yvonne Bodecott at classes held by Just Sew in Penrith. The chrysanthemum heads were very textured and three-dimensional.

'God's Will' pattern quilt by Viva Collins. I love the garden-like palette of this quilt and the perfect mix of light, medium and dark tones. The simple pattern of squares and strips looks quite do-able. I can imagine making something similar from the scraps in my stash. The strips could all be the same fabric to give some unity to the scraps.

A pair of memory lap quilts made by Trish Charlesworth from her late husband's shirts. These poignant quilts must hold many memories for the maker, and I really loved the designer's use of the striped, plain and checked patterns and different tones found in the shirts. A great way of recycling old shirts, too - always readily found in charity shops if you don't have your own supply.

These images show details of an amazing, hand sewn quilt that was made by a lady sitting next to the sick bed of a relative, made from all of her nylon, 1960s/70s dresses and other outfits. It is an unfinished top, donated to the Quilting Group by the maker, and was shown to us as part of a 'show and tell' session. Although the fabrics won't feel as nice to the touch as the cotton ones more usually used for patchwork, this would have been the piece I took home if it had been for sale. It is a wonderful example of the exuberant use of the materials to hand, and conveys the many hours of devotion (both to the sewing and construction, and to the sick relative). Some of the dresses must have been very eye-catching indeed. The vivid patterns and mixture of colours have been skillfully scattered over the surface to provide a good balance of tones and contrast. It just shows what can be done with a seemingly disparate collection of fabrics.

'After The Storm' by Catherine Edgar. This art quilt was machine pieced, appliquéd and quilted. It was made for an exhibition challenge on the theme of 'The Sea'. I particularly liked the rocks and white wave crests in this piece - very effective.

There was a raffle to win a cushion: each of the twenty or so cushions had a bag pinned to it, and you put your raffle ticket in the bag attached to the cushion you hoped to win. The winning ticket will be drawn from each bag. I chose a simple, small cushion with a delicately-coloured floral fabric and a completely different one with carved white faux 'fur' fabric. Fingers crossed! Babette liked one made from tweed fabrics and one with a French theme. I also liked both of those, but felt that the ones I picked would suit our decor better.

A great exhibition, finished off nicely with a cup of coffee and a chat in the restaurant. We both agreed on what a great resource the centre was for the area, with its café, numerous meeting rooms, a large park area at the back and even a beauty room and hairdressers on site.


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