Monday, April 30, 2007

I tried to be Productive

I really did. In some things I was successful. I have managed to get orders ready and paperwork done. I had hoped to finish the borders on the pink quilt. I have everything pressed an ready, then I looked again at the fabrics. They really don't go. Now normally I would go to my stash and have a huge range of alternatives to choose from, but I don't do pink so I have very few. More predictably none of them work. I've spent a lot of time looking for a solution this afternoon (no car so I couldn't just go shopping) but so far no joy. I think I will have to go to the shop on Wednesday. Not a problem, I have another quilt to work on, but guess what, I can't find the fabric I want for that either. There are days when I think something doesn't want me to make any progress on quilts.

I think I will just get on with cutting binding. I need about 1000" of two different sizes and small amount of narrow bias. It's not what you would call exciting but it does need doing, and I think it will be very satisfying to have it done. Also I can get some sewn to the front of quilts ready for hand stitching which I can then do in the car tomorrow.

Tomorrow is my birthday so we will be going out. I am planning a trip to Leeds Castle and Canterbury. I've been wanting to go to Leeds Castle (which confusingly is in Kent) for years. When we were students in Canterbury we tried to go but the entry was far too expensive, it seems to have actually come down in price since then. Apparently it has a maze and an underground grotto, which sound like fun to me. I am hoping that I might also find some more inspiration. I find landscapes and buildings very inspiring in general and at the moment I am quite keen on botanical images. I bet I get told off for working at least once tomorrow.

Quilt art Meme

Having checked I have three people waiting for pieces from me. Well your wait is almost over. Please could you contact me with your mailing addresses. I think you are Beverly, Penny and Dormouse, but one of you is showing as anonymous so I may be mistaken. the contact me form just comes straight to me if you can't find my email address. Yes I think I do have some of your addresses but I can't find them and I want these quilts sent.

Thanks for your patience.

Friday, April 27, 2007

I think I am a REAL business now

OK so in most ways I have been a real business for some time now but yesterday I felt I became more proper. Not due to the number of calls from customers. Not due to the number of orders I was sending out. No, just from the amount of paperwork that needed doing. I've read lots of book saying to set aside a day a week for paperwork, but I have never had enough to fill a day. Suddenly I had enough for two days. I have battled with it and I am not all up to date again (which feels great BTW) but I think it is a sign I have made it. Funny isn't it the signs that really tell us we are making progress.

One of my jobs was to get my entries in for Sandown. The deadline is Tuesday so by my standards I am practically early. I am just waiting on the last picture to print now, hence having time to chat to you. I only decided on this entry at the weekend. I knew I aught to enter a longarmed bed quilt in honour of Fran, but nothing had been leaping out at me, and most of my current quilts were off at other shows. I had pretty much given up on the idea and was going to stick with the smaller quilts I have entered. Then at the shop hop I was awarded my gift voucher, and I was telling a lot of people about the new strip club. Yes that is quilt related not the other sort. So I spent a lot of time looking at the patterns for strips. One really appealed to me, Ripple Effect, so much so I had bought a copy when I had been at the Chilford show. By the end of Saturday I was tired and I just wanted something really simple to sew. So several bundles of strips and off home. I have only worked on it in between other jobs as a way to relax but I now have half the blocks finished ready to into the quilt.

I had to take a picture of it in progress for the entry form so I though I might as well share it here too. Of course the blocks won't actually end up in these positions, as there are mirror image blocks to fit in too. The finished top will be king size, this is just the center of the single here. I am a little disappointed at the contrast. I thought the black would be darker, but I should have learned from Robin's experience with Burning Chrome, black and white fabrics don't read as that dark when they are cut up. I also though the batiks looked louder, but they have toned down too. Still I think the pattern is coming through and I am planning to use the quilting to accentuate the contrast, so hopefully that will enhance the pattern.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

It's never what you expect

Yesterday I had one of my days out in London this time with Robin. I've been thinking for a while I should go to the V&A, and when I heard they had a surrealist exhibition on it seemed like the perfect time. Normally I get distracted by the other two museums near the V&A but this time I actually made it. It was my first time there so I thought I should have a bit of a nose around rather than just go straight to the exhibition. Entering the museum through the tunnel brings you out into a sculpture gallery. It was fine, but I think the Rodin exhibition has rather spoilt me for looking at sculpture. I found myself comparing a lot if it to his work, and as such it didn't really inspire me. We then spotted a sign for a fashion display. I have heard very good things about the historical costume displays here so a quick detour had to be made. I was completely underwhelmed. There were some nice costumes there, but to be honest I think the pictures I have seen in books gave me more information. The room is very dimly lit (presumably to protect the colours of the fabric) and the commentary didn't seem to build any narrative or interest. I won't be going back to look at fashion given the display I saw yesterday.

The surrealist exhibition has been getting some very good reviews, which is just as well given the entry fee is 9 pounds. In particular the reviewers have complemented the theater costumes, the lips sofa and the lobster phones. Personally I would say those are the weaker aspects of the display. I really liked the large furniture. I would love to be able to tell you who made what, but the guide it just as bad as the signage and obviously doesn't give me any useful information. It is really frustrating. Maybe I have just been very lucky with the guides at the National Gallery and the Royal Academy. Overall I am pleased I went, it really brought home how much I like Magritte, and Tromp loi, bit of which I think will influence future quilts, but I don't think it was worth the entry fee.

After the Surrealist exhibition we went back to exploring the rest of the museum. There are two amazing sections, that I will be going back to. The materials and techniques - ironwork has some amazing pieces in it. Sadly it doesn't live up to it's name as far as providing any information on materials or techniques, but the pieces were very inspiring for me. I can see me making some whole cloths heavily based on ironwork. If you have any interest in locks then you really do need to go and see this section. I was enthralled by the locks, but again I would have liked more information, and less dry information. The care and attention given to even the insides of the locks was just wonderful. Of course there is no book or guide that covers this section of the museum so if you are interested you have to go and take your own pictures. The good news is they do allow this.

From here we moved on to their casts area. This is full of massive casts of architectural items. Some of the pieces are huge and really just too much to take in from the ground. We had to go up to one of the galleries above to have a look from another angle. It was well worth seeing, but (are you getting bored of this yet) they really do need better signage. I entirely forgot to look and see if they had a book documenting this collection, but I will when I go back. We could see there were a lot more smaller pieces in storage on higher levels, which I really hope are documented in a publicly available manner.

From here we went to the Science Museum. This has been my favourite museum since I was a child, yet I hadn't been there fro several years. The difference to the V&A couldn't be more obvious. As soon as you walk in they are giving you incentives to give them money. Their donation boxes do things, they are great. By the time we made it though to the museum proper we were already feeling quite positive about the place. Even closing the whole space exhibition couldn't upset me. I decided on a top down approach to ensure we saw as much of the most interesting items as possible. To be honest I find most things in the museum fascinating so I couldn't lose. Starting at the top of the building is the history of medicine. Strangely there is a quilting connection here, the Egyptians and their mummification process is covered as some of the earliest understanding of the human body. To illustrate this there were a couple of mummified cats. Their bindings were log cabin blocks! The colours were still so strong, I had not realised how colourful Egyptian society was. If you are in the science museum do make sure you get to see the cats.

Working our way down the building you come to the flight level. It has shrunk a lot over the years but is still wonderful. I love the racks of engines, they are beautiful and smell wonderful. I am also fascinated by the shapes in airframes. They seem to have lot of design potential, I really must have another look at my pictures from Hendon RAF museum. We had great fun playing with the demonstrations and watching all the videos. The government propaganda films are always interesting, they way they portray what is needed and what people have to offer. It's so similar to modern government information, but I think they had a better idea of how to motivate people then. It's nice to hear proper English too. The science museum was a lot less disappointing, although it has been dummed down a lot and there seem to be far fewer displays to play with. It is good to see it busy and lively, I think that is the only way forward for museums given they rely on voluntary donations. They also sell space ice cream which is one of my favourite treats, how could I not like this place.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

By Popular Demand

People keep asking me about running a beginners machine quilting class, and we have listened. I will be running the first one at Patchwork Corner on the 22nd of May. I know it is rather short notice but hopefully some of the interested people will be able to make it. Please pass the message on if you have friends who might want to take this class. I promise there will be no quilt police and we will have fun. The advanced class the end of July I think is now full but we are planning on running it again.

I am feeling very pleased with myself tonight. I have presented a design to a client and had it approved, which is always a good feeling. The deadline for the project has been moved out so I am less stressed about it as well. Wonderful. I've managed to do lots of business paperwork and completed a quilt that was causing trouble. Why is it some quilts just don't want to come off the frame? I even managed to trim up some more of my strip club blocks. I have 204 to do in total and I think I have done about 60.

Tomorrow I am planning a day off, the question is what to do? I could go into town, there are a couple of exhibitions I really want to see. Or I could go for a walk in some local woods and try and get some good botanical photographs as source material for quilts. I think I will make a decision tomorrow depending on how I feel.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Quilt Marking Spray

A couple of weeks ago I tested some quilt marking spray. It does mark very well but I found it quite hard to remove. A discussion followed on other uses for it. Well I found one, marking up the welding needed on my car. It works a treat. Even on a play blue car it shows up nicely and seems to stay on. If you want to see the rather sorry state of my car (and the great visibility of the spray)there are some pictures here. It is off to have the welding done in about a month, then I will have my car back. This may not see a big deal to most people but I have always loved my car and I do miss driving it.

While I as stripping out the interior to get access to the welding I had a chance to give the seats a good clean and give some more though to recovering them. I keep thinking about all the funky quilty things I could do for cars, from covers to interiors. I guess I will have to play one day but I am not sure I could live with it in my daily drive.

Thank You

It seems Skadi needs to extend her thanks to the packers at IQA Chicago. They have sent her the perfect cat bed, which she immediately made use of. Well as soon as I removed my bundle of fabric from it. She was less impressed with that. As you can see she is very happy in her new box. Apparently it is much better than the ones I use to send quilts, this is the perfect size for her to stretch in. So the quilt may not have won anything but Skadi still collected a prize.

Don't tell her but I am hoping to reclaim the box at some point as it is a really good size for shipping quilts.

In Full Bloom Returns

There is one thing I really love about sending quilts to American shows, getting them back. Not in any negative way you understand, but because I know they come with things in the box. I love to have the show guide and the judging forms with the quilt which seems to be standard in the USA. I like the note saying who packed my quilt, I like the thank you letter from the organizer, and I am thrilled with the care taken in packing my quilt.

The judges comments do range from enlightening, encouraging, funny to bizarre and somewhat confusing, but I think that is common world wide. In the case of In Full Bloom I feel each judge has picked up on one thing I think is wrong with the quilt and I need to improve on. One pointed out I need to watch my tension, and the other that my mitres could be better. Both things I am working on and was aware of. I find it rather reassuring when a judge agrees with me on something like that, I feel it shows I do have a clue what I should be doing.

On the other hand one of the judges has me mystified with another tip for improvement, filled and even bindings. The binding is full to the edge, I've just been all the way around checking it. I was sure it was but you never know. The binding also looks pretty even to me. I haven't actually taken a ruler to it to check, but ... So is this just the comment of the moment? I know a lot of people on quiltart have been talking about this recently so maybe it is a phase the judges are going through. Are they looking for us to add extra wadding to the bindings to actually round it out? If so I see me getting a lot more of this comment as I really don't like that look.

I was somewhat amused by the complete difference in the rating of various aspects of my quilt. I don't think the judges agreed on any point. Just goes to show judging is very subjective. Otherwise how could one judge see "Integration of all design elements" as excellent and the other as needs improvement. The same was true of "Execution of chosen construction techniques". Before you ask no it wasn't just one judge being more picky as they swapped over their differences on several points. I am very pleased I only had two "Needs improvement" though and they were both from the same judge. Even more pleasing was the fact that both judges said I had a "Good choice of quilting design and style", which given quilting is my profession is possibly the most important thing they could have picked to like. Oddly the slightly more critical judge was also the one who offered more praise, so overall I am pretty pleased. Sorry but I will be largely ignoring two of the pieces of advice, the tip about binding and the suggestion that smaller squares for the blossom would have had more impact. The latter is possibly true, but not the point of the piece. I specifically chose to work with that resolution of piece.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Day of rest

Yesterday was hectic, it was great to see so many people at the Shop Hop, but boy it was tiring. It is difficult because a day like that is very inspiring but I do come home to tired to work on anything tricky, and too excited not to sew. I settled on working on a strip quilt. I was lucky enough to win second place in the Shop Hop Challenge which got me a gift voucher for Patchwork Corner. I put it to good use helping to buy the precut 2 1/2 inch strips. I bought 120 strips in total, half black and half batiks. This will be plenty to make a king size 'Ripple Effect' quilt. Last night I managed to sew all the strips together and get the batik cut into squares, not bad considering how tired I was. I figure this isn't and entirely frivolous exercise (although it is fun and a great reward) as I will quilt it up and offer it to Jenny as a sample for the shop. It helps me to feel less guilty about taking some time off when I am really very busy, which is good as I know I need these breaks.

For those of you who haven't been on a shop hop, they are great fun. For two days the shop is full of demonstrations, bargains and refreshments. I got roped into helping with the demonstrations after spending all day there as a customer. It really is just like drag racing, stand around too long and you become crew. This time I was showing people how to sew scarves from knitting yarns, with the aid of water soluble stabilizer. They are really quick, easy and a great place to practice your free motion quilting as it doesn't really show when you are done.

Doug made the traditional cream teas for us, but invented a rather unconventional way to whip the cream. He adapted a small bendy whisk to fit his electric drill. Very clever and most effective. I dutifully sampled each batch and I can confirm the whisk works. Obviously I only partook in the name of science, so I assume they were all calorie free.

Among the other demonstrations was one for a gadget to make Suffolk Puffs, or Yoyos. I can't say I was terribly interested but after watching it a few times I started to see potential in these very regular little puffs. I think I will be adding one of these gadgets to my supplies and seeing how I can make use of them. They look like they would be interesting for building texture with left over scraps.

Now off to load up the machine and get on with some quilting. If all goes well I might even get a chance to play some more with my strip quilt before the end of the day.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Turning Twenty Again Patterns

The patterns have arrived and I have just packed up the orders to send out. I still have a few so if you would like to try this pattern click on Contact Me on the right.

The Turning Twenty pattern is very simple with only three pieces to a block, the Turning Twentry again is the slightly more intricate version that I used for my MQS entries.

Busy Busy

Sorry it has been a while since the last update. I've been busy quilting. The last of my quilts went off to Malvern just in time as ever. Although I think that is an advantage. The later I send the quilts the less time they spend packed up so hopefully the less creases they will have. I wonder if there is anyway shows could leave it later to request the quilts? Certainly some shows do leave it later but I haven't been to those so I have no idea if it does improve the look of the quilts. Anyone have any experience of this?

I've introduced a new person to quilting, yay. The moral is if you don't want to start sewing don't fall in love with a quilt. I am really very pleased with her efforts, she made a single quilt top very quickly and surprisingly accurately given it is her first experience of a rotary cutter and she doesn't get on with sewing machines. I have quilted it and the next time we see her she will put the binding on. She is now planning her next project.

I also found time to make a sample quilt for Patchwork Corner. It is from a range of botanical fabric and was quite quick and easy as requested. It is made with pre-printed panels which is not usually my thing, but as I was working on it I kept thinking of things I could be doing with it. I had never seen the potential in these panels but working with them has inspired me. I think they could be made to look really amazing with some interesting quilting and trapunto. I suspect it will be an idea I don't follow up on as I have so many other projects to do but you never know.

If you are in the area tomorrow, there is a shop hop going on at Patchwork Corner and Inca Studios. There will be demonstrations and raffles all day. Please do come along, I will be showing how to make sewn scarves from yarn.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Tops tops everywhere

I have an embarrassing confession for a longarm quilter. I suddenly have lots of tops to quilt. On the other hand it does indicate I have been busy which is good. I have samples to do for the quilt shop. I have two tops done for my meme swaps, a pink and soon to be floral quilt for a little girl, and it looks like there will be another Turning Twenty Again in need of quilting. The bright side to all this is I can spend a few days at the machine which I will love. I really enjoy the quilting and doing several quilts back to back really works for me.

My other flower quilts are on hold for now, they may make it to the competition next year. I feel much better for deciding to skip that one. See I can listen to advice sometimes. In the breaks in the mad piecing I even managed to sort out my paperwork, and figure out which quilts were available for which shows. Just as well as I needed to post my Malvern entries and I may well have forgotten otherwise. So two went off today and the last will follow them tomorrow. Is anyone planning on going to the show?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Public Speaking

On Friday I gave a talk to Gone to Pieces. They are a lovely group who meet in Coleshill. I was made to feel very welcome, and I do love having a reserved parking space. This had been a bit of a nerve wracking talk as I had already spoken to a lot of the ladies in this group, but I managed to find a good number of quilts they hadn't seen to take with me. In fact the car was full so I felt a little better about not just taking the tube. It really wouldn't have been practical. As Robin was working I took Nat along with me to help hold up my quilts. I am sure there would have been people in the group happy to do it, but as they have paid to see them it is only fair to have them in front of the quilts if I can.

I still find public speaking very difficult and it took me a while to relax into this talk. I hope I made sense and people enjoyed the beginning of the talk. I try to ask people to heckle, as I like the direct feedback and it helps me guide my talk, but I forgot until part way through. Hopefully the mistake will help to remind me in future. I certainly find that in general I learn more from my mistakes than my successes. On the other hand the feedback from the audience for my latest quilts was fantastic. I thought I was unusual in being inspired by the Turning Twenty Again pattern, but apparently not. Hence the decision to start selling the pattern. A decision that was made far easier by talking to the designer, Tricia Cribbs. She was so friendly and helpful and made it easy for me to place my order. I love supporting the good guys.

I also took along some pictures to sell. Mostly I had guessed right about what people would want to take home with them but I did miss a few. My cat portraits, I just didn't think of them as being photogenic, dim I know. It seems I should also take pictures of my Turning Twenty Again quilts, I hadn't realised ho appealing more abstract pieces are. In a similar vein other abstracts will also be available in the future. The perfect end to the day was being given a Gone to Pieces mug, I had been admiring them earlier in the day but was being good and not spending money, so it was a lovely treat. It was also beautifully presented, and has given me food for though on how to pack things. So thank you very much for inviting me to speak, and I hope to see you all around at other events.

Everythings going floral

So is it just a case that once you make a floral quilt you can't stop? I suppose In full bloom was kinda floral, even though I don't see blossom as flowers really. Then there was the pink and flowery commission, which is coming together well. Now I have spent all weekend working on a pair of flower quilts.

These are very much in my style and although fiddly they are quite satisfying. I don't know if I will have either of them done for the 'In Full Bloom' show but I will try. If not I will be able to send them to Sandown which would be fantastic as I am looking like not having anything to send there this year. I think I also need to look through what I have on hand and do some careful planning.

I am really thrilled to report I have finished the tops of my meme. I only had two people ask for pieces and I have tried really hard to live up to their expectations. I have had and discounted several ideas but at last I have come up with something I am confident about sending out. I have found this to be a lot harder than entering shows. I am so scared they won't like the pieces. As ever with me they have come out a bit larger than I expected. I hope that wont be a problem. I will quilt them up tomorrow and then think about the binding.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Turning Twenty Again

I have decided to start selling Turning Twenty patterns. This was prompted by the popularity of my quilts from these patterns at the talk I gave today. My initial stock should be with me in about a week and will be 8 pounds per pattern including postage. If you are interested in ordering either the original Turning Twenty pattern or the Turning Twenty Again that I used please contact me via the link on the right.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

More from the Racing

Here are a selection of my other pictures from the weekend. Some of them aren't a clear as they could be. I guess I am out of practice. Hopefully I will get better again during the season.

Here is Fireforce. A lot of the teams are quite scathing about this big track drier, but it wouldn't be a large event at Santa Pod without it, and whether you love it of hate it, you have to admit it is quick. It's record is 336 mph at the end of the standing quarter mile. I have to admit I have a soft spot for this car.

Two funny cars next to each other! Well I cheated, it is the burnouts . This is Showtime and Starkotter. They were remarkably reliable this week end. The Penzoil car however behaved more true to form and threw it's bodywork at the crowd. No one was hurt but two pieces of barrier will never be the same. These fuel funny cars are very tricky beasts.

Another picture of Showtime, still behaving itself. I am really pleased to have caught the header flames in this shot, especially as it was such a bright day. Another picture I am really pleased to have caught. This is Urs Erbacher (runner up Top Fuel Pro Shootout) lifting up Lex Joon (winner). It was good to see the people at the top of the sport having fun together.
This is the best picture from the weekend though. Steve Bolton on the podium. Not only there but on the top step. Who would have thought it last year. He had so much bad luck, but it paid to stick with it. This weekend wasn't all plain sailing, Steve doesn't know his own strength and keeps breaking his throttle peddle. Without the kind souls at the track welding it for him he wouldn't have been collecting that trophy, so thank you all for your help. Hopefully Steve will soon be in need of a bigger house to store all his trophies.

The 4 Link Ugly Stick.

I feel I have to start by saying I didn't name the Ugly Stick, and I don't think she is ugly. This is what has been eating our time over the weekend, and in fact last weekend as well. This is Tet's drive for the year. A Super Pro ET - Super Comp Dragster.

This is the latest addition to the Paul Marston Race School. Seen in front of the soon to be gone barn. She has just been brought over from America and seems to be taking to her new surroundings pretty well. Of course having behaved well in testing she then proceeded to have a strop the first real race. Friday morning she started blowing fuses. It turned out that her throttle stop had shorted out. This was bad news, not only had it missed us the first round of qualifying but it meant that Super Comp was going to become a lot harder. The class requires you to cover the standing quarter in 8.90 seconds, this car can easily do it in 8.20, so is too fast without her stop. Still in the old days it was done by lifting and this was Tet's chance to show he could do it that way too.

After finding and elimination this fault we headed back out for the second round, and got shut down on the line. We had a water leak. Not in an easy to get to place either. one of those simply remove the engine to fix, sort of leaks. Still we managed to get it done by the end of the day and the starter kindly allowed Tet to make his last licencing pass at the end of racing. The parachute does work and he knows how to deploy it.

Above is the early morning burn out , from Saturday. As you can see the weather was perfect for racing, we didn't get a spot of rain all weekend. I love the look of the burnout with this car. You can see the smoke slowly curling off the tyres. By the end of the weekend Tet had also found the optimum length of burnout to put the most heat in the tyres. We were thrilled when Tet made it through the first round of eliminations in Super Pro, and unsurprised that he didn't in Super Comp. However the Super Comp race was fantastically close, not bad for doing things the hard way.

This was one of those moments when you get bored standing in the pairing lanes. The car herself is very bright and shiny but the helmet was giving a perfect reflection of the lane. Again you can see the wonderfully blue sky, so different to last year. I think there will be a quilt inspired by this picture, and a during the weekend I came up with several other ideas too. I think having multiple diverse hobbies is really useful for keeping ideas flowing for quilts.

There are more race reports here;

Drivers perspective by Tet
Crew Chiefs Perspective by Robin

EuroDragster - look for 12.00

Some pictures

I have almost recovered from the weekend, more on that in a moment, and I thought I was time I put up some pictures of my MQS entries.

First is Burning Chrome, this quilt top was made by Robin Tregaskis. Rather annoyingly the quilting is practically impossible to photograph. I've tried all sorts of tricks to make it show but it isn't playing ball. Still it is a striking quilt, and in person you can see that it is covered in red flames, which do suit it very well.

I guess I should add that these are all entries in the same category, the Bread and Butter category. It has been a very valuable experience making these quilts. I would never have made this pattern without the show but it has given me a lot more insight into how fabrics work together and how balance changes the final look of the quilt. I am actually helping a friend make one as her first quilt now too.

This quilt you've seen before, it is "My Fat Quarter of Paradise". It now has wide black borders on each side. Of course that makes it too big for me to photograph. Typical. You just have to imaging the rest of it, one more row of blocks and then the borders.

As requested here is a close up of the quilting. These feathers flow all over the quilt. The thread is variegated so as the fabric colour and the thread colour change the feathers appear and disappear. I am very pleased with the effect. British customs did their best to stop me finishing this quilt but the British longarm quilters bailed me out. I posted the request and had a string of calls offering me the thread I needed to finish. I hadn't even dared to hope someone would have it. I can't wait for this quilt to finish it's tour of duty and arrive on my bed. I love it.
The last of the Bread and Butter quilts is "Road to Mondrian". This one is the same size as Burning Chrome. It is 30 Turning Twenty blocks. It has 10 fat quarters of plain black in it and is quilted with my decadent swirls. This is a fantastic background or all over fill. I really enjoy quilting it and I think is shows. Lots of movement and texture.

The thread on this one is a variegated again but much more subtle than on the previous quilt. The purples in the thread work well with the plain purple back. Yes I know I am supposed to use busy backs, but I had it and I like it so I used it. It's come out pretty well so I don't think I will be stressing about it.

It doesn't really show in the pictures but all the colours are batiks. They all came from Hanna's Room at the Chilford Show. It probably isn't obvious but they do make a pretty good spectrum of colours when you see them together. I wanted to see how that would come across in the quilt. I think the answer is it gives a very balanced feel, so I will be repeating that in the next one I make with more black in. I think this quilt will be staying with me as well. It will make it easier for me to retire a couple of my first quilts. They weren't the best constructed to start with and after constant use they are showing some wear. I have debated just carying on using them, but I think they have too much value to me to do that. I love being able to see how I have improved over the time I have been quilting.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

No time to catch my breath

You might have gathered I have been busy. I still am, right now I am waiting for a tube into London to get name stickers for The Ugly Stick. A rather unfair name for the dragster Tet will be driving this year. I do have pictures of it but I can't upload them from here. We went to Santa Pod this weekend to give it some testing and it was amazingly well behaved given it has been shipped from America then stripped down and rebuilt. If the weather holds we should have a fun weekend with it at the Easter Thunderball. Hence the urgent need for the stickers.

Last night I picked up my nudes from DHL. They did indeed have another ribbon with them and a certificate. I was so stunned when one of the mail lists I am on had said it had come third. I don't think I entirely believed it. Now I have the rather pretty ribbon I guess I have to :) However I have found something else to consider when planning quilts. I can't post a roll longer than 1.5 meters. The nudes are 1.7 rather annoyingly. Also as wall quilts are art Parcel Force won't ship them at all. You can of course lie about what is in the package but then it isn't insured so it probably isn't a good idea. I wonder if home contents would pay up if something had been lost in the post when mis-declared. Any ideas?

My entries to MQS found me another change in the post office service. They used to offer a swift air service that took four days to America, and for an extra charge they would reduce it by another day. It cost about ten pounds and was great for entering shows. I knew it was Easter this weekend but by sending my forms on Monday I thought there wouldn't be a problem. The fastest service now offered is still three days but they don't count the first day as the collection from the post office is in the afternoon. As I had missed it for Monday this meant Wednesday would be the first day of the three. As there are two bank holidays this weekend the letter would have been delivered Tuesday or Wednesday next week. The price for this high speed courier service (their words not mine) 38 pounds. Unbelieveable. So back to DHL 44 pounds and next day delivery. I am feeling very let down by our postal service at the moment.

So with those out of my hair I can concentrate on the quilt patterns I am designing, my meme quilts and my commission for a while. Then I need to think about my floral quilts and what i will be sending to Sandown. All this fitted in around the drag racing.

Well I have arrived in London so I have a signal again and can send this. Let's hope the printer has done his work. I will try and put some photos up tonight but don't hold your breath. Things keep cropping up. Oh and if anyone sees my quilt In Full Bloom in Chicago this weekend please send me a picture of it. Thanks. In fact if you see any of my quilts anywhere I love to know and get photos.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Saturday - New Members Coffee Morning

Yes, Yes I know it is Tuesday, but bear with me and it will become clear why I have only just had a chance to update you all.

Saturday was the Region 7 new members coffee morning. The idea is this is a small event where new members can get to know the committee and ask awkward questions. It doesn't seem long since I was the new member and trying to work out what one does at a coffee morning and here I am being one of the committee which is supposed to know stuff. Still at least I knew where the hall was thanks to Bonnie so that was one less thing to worry about. I also knew it was an event not to take the Camaro to (it's down a very narrow road). So Off I set at way too early o'clock. I arrived rather early so I had a chance to look around Wheathampsted. It is a lovely village with what looks like a great butcher. It also has the watter take off for a mill with fat moving water and little falls. I will have to go back with a camera and take some pictures, I feel a quilt coming on.

Our esteemed leader had arrived when I made it back to my car, narrowly saving me from the trashy women's magazine I had bought to pass the time, and we set to work putting the hall in order. After first checking for undesirables, someone had left the hall open over night. All was well and quickly the quilters touch could be seen. Table clothes cakes and a kettle boiling. If you haven't been to a quilters meeting and you like cake, do consider it. Quilters can bake, although I no longer make coffee cakes as I prefer Wendy's. Oh well.

Time then slows down, and we wait, slowly other members of the committee (this is a yucky word to type, I think we should be renamed team or gang or something else short) arrive but only one new member. For me this is the most stressful part of the day, will anyone turn up? Will we be force fed amazing amounts of cake? Then suddenly we are buzzing, the chat is off and the new members are joining in. About now I realise why this is my favourite event. It is the most chatty and interactive as a group. Probably because it is fairly small and you can reasonably talk to everyone.

As is customary for this kind of event we had show and tell. As ever it was interesting and inspiring, the Kandinsky inspired quilt especially appealed to me. I loved the colours and I think Kandinsky was the first artist I saw in a proper gallery so I have something of soft spot for him. I was also pleased to see people who call themselves beginners than show multiple quilts. I love the idea that people are making more quilts per person. I think it give you a lot more scope to grow and play with ideas, which is even more important for those just starting to try a new craft.

At the end of the meeting a group of us headed over to Patchwork Corner. It was fun to drive in a convoy of quilters rather than racers (see yet more way quilting and drag racing are similar). It is a lovely drive too. For so close to London it is surprisingly rural, and on a warm bright spring day it was lovely. As always Patchwork Corner was friendly and welcoming to new people, and I think a fun time was had by all. I even managed to get the honour of showing off the now not so new workshop facilities. I love seeing peoples faces the first time they see the custom built teaching room.

Watch this space for more breasts, Doug has provided me some new tools for my 3 dimensional work, and I hope to find time to play sooner rather than later.

The evening was spent quilting frantically. I needed to get the wholecloth finished Saturday for it to be able to go to the MQS show. I didn't manage it. It is very close, but rather than miss Tet's first runs in the dragster I decided it won't be going to the show. I have five other quilts that will so I don't think I have done badly. This quilt will still be finished though and if nothing else be used as a longarm sample. I have a plan to remake it entirely for the NEC as I ca see many areas which I can do better now. It is funny how much I have learned from this one quilt. I do love it and I am seeing this as a great proof on concept. I will try and get some pictures up later today.