Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
So any ideas what my latest piece is going to be?
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
The first one I felt was the easier one. If nothing else it told me what it wanted, but it also has larger pieces which I often find easier to quilt. The star blocks are all quilted with a continuous curve. I kept all the stitching on the background of the star so they pop up. I wanted the stars themselves to come forward as much as I could.
The Santas are all quilted in the same way, but not the same. Each is outlined and then the back ground filled in with feathers and pebbles. The pebbles take a while to do, but I like the effect that the figures have something to stand on. The background of the figures are pieced, in a churn dash pattern. This gave me a good starting point, and I only quilted some parts of the block, hopefully making the block clearer.
The second of the Christmas quilts was O'Tanenbaum. I've been looking at this quilt hanging on the wall at the shop for a while and I've often wondered how you would quilt it. Well it finally became more than an academic question. This quilt has come closer to stumping me than any I've had before. I was torn between doing some sort of all over and not doing anything that would take away from the huge amount of work that went into piecing it.
Working with the piecing won out. OK no surprise there. The problem was then trying to do it quickly. I didn't want this to take too long and get too expensive. I decided that the houses needed a lot of attention, mostly because I couldn't think of a quick and sympathetic way to quilt the half timbered house. Each house I quilted in a way that added detail to the building, so roofs got tiles and walls got bricks. To make the applique flowers and tree pop up I needed some pretty dense quilting. As I don't often stipple I went for that in those areas. It is a good pattern for holding down an area.
The stars have the same continuous lines that I used on the first quilt. It works, and I guess I had it on the brain at the time. This just left the log cabins. I would normally like to quilt along the logs, but in this quilt they are only 1/2" wide. I also wanted to add some more flow to the quilt, to draw you around the big star. To do that I've put feathers into each of the triangles in log cabins. As the thread is quite a close match to the fabric it doesn't fight with the piecing, but when light falls across the quilt the texture does flow.
So there you go, two quilts just for Christmas.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
We did however find two silicone cake pans. I'd been after them for a while, but when Tet put in a request for a Christmas cake it seemed a good time to get them. So two pans and a lot of hard stirring later, we have two cakes, (one with peel cherries and ginger) iced and ready to go. There are some advantages to not liking alcohol on your Christmas cakes, I don't need to feed the cake so I can get it done over a shorter time. Also the paler cakes I make don't need to mature in the same way as the darker ones.
In between baking I continued the search for a tree. I eventually found a garden center who did understand the difference and had a whole range of trees. I don't have as tall a tree as I would like, but it smell great. I also managed to pick up some plain silver tinsel to go with the black ornaments I picked up at Ikea a while ago.
So, I've finished the two Christmas quilts, baked and iced two cakes, caught and decorated a tree and made a batch of biscuits. I think that's pretty good going really.
For a while I've been feeling a need to play with my longarm. Just spend some time messing about and trying out new things. In between batches of biscuits I finally managed it. I've had some new rulers I wanted to have a go with for a while and boy they are good. I am going to have to design a quilt that needs lots of little circles. They are fun and much quicker than I had expected. I am also quite taken with the chain of hears ruler. It's great and again much quicker than I had feared. While I've got the big test panel on I am also making up some samples for the shop, illustrating quilting patterns. I'd like to do a sample of my new wholecloth class too. When I get a chance I will take some pictures and post them. I don't have space at home to hang the Christmas quilts so I have to wait until I return them to the shop.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Monday, December 08, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Other than that I seem to be working on an increasing number of projects I can't talk about. I know that at some point I will be able to post about them, but right now I just have to work away and not say anything. It wouldn't be so bad if I had time to do things I can share as well, but I don't. So much pouting is in order. Rest assured as soon as I can share, I will.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
The judges comments were also in with it, and they pretty much agree with each other which is unusual. One even complemented me on my binding. Maybe not thrilling to anyone else but having and the reverse comment for the other quilts I have sent to America I was very pleased with that. All commented that they would have liked to cows rro be clearer and more distinct, which is fair comment, but I like them as they are. I see coments about colour coming up again for me :)
For the next week they will be hanging at Patchwork Corner if you are near Hemel Hempstead and would like to see them. It's the only wall I have access to that they fit on.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
In his talk he explained a lot about the things going on in the background of his work to set scenes and get you to feel what he is telling you. It is amazing how many very subtle things he does to change the feel of the story. Things you would never notice but do respond to. Having been working for many years he had a huge catalogue of work to draw on to explain how he makes a story work. One thing that really struck me about the talk is he delivered it as a story. He spent a long time filling in back story and giving us all the clues to understand what he had really come to say, and yet I didn't see him do it until afterwards. That's one heck of a skill to have.
The biggest surprise for me is how much I learned that applies to my textile art. One piece I have been planning will now be redrawn. What I had done was OK, in fact I was pretty happy with it, but now I know how I can make it better. Somehow in all my reading about composition and drawing the eye I hadn't got it, it took a story to show me how different lines and directions work. I went to be entertained, and a learned a huge amount. If I get another chance to see this talk I will be going again, I know I missed more than I got, and it will take another couple of tries before I come close to getting as much as I can from it. If you get a chance to hear him, do take it. You may not get all his comic book references but he explains things so well you don't need to, and who knows, you might find a whole new literary genre opening up to you.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Sunday, November 09, 2008
I've been dying to share this quilt on here, but I wanted to wait until the model had seen it. I had been asked to take a photograph for his web site, but this one struck me as too good not to use as a quilt. Fortunately he is quite obliging and gave me permission to use it, but I did feel that gave him the right to see it first. He only ran screaming as much as you would expect anyone suddenly meeting a large portrait of themselves so I figure I've done OK.
It isn't quilted yet, and that will be a challenge, I find faces very hard to quilt, but I guess I had to tackle that problem sooner or later, and as this is part of a triptych I should get a fair amount of practice. The tattoo will also be a challenge. I normally like to quilt in the contour lines of the body, and I like to match the thread to the fabric, so I guess there will be a lot of starts and stops there. Well it will be fun I am sure.
Yesterday I got to help a friend make her first quilt. An advent calender. I would like to point out we even made it in time. That's pretty impressive given the idea was only formed at the NEC this year and we a are both stupidly busy. She would like to add more quilting (it already has more than most get) but will probably leave that to be done in time for next year. I wonder if you would have one which you added to every year so it would be both an old friend and something new each time. I guess that will be one of those ideas I have to kick about for a while as I think it would be quite a nice thing to do. Now I need to go and work on a customer quilt and a clever idea I had an started yesterday. People really should start saving me from myself. I have far too many ideas.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Monday, November 03, 2008
On another blog I read regularly I found a post about making fabric containers, and how time consuming it is. I have a different method which I found a lot quicker so I will try to share it with you. Having had a go at doing this in just words, I've taken time to make a sample so I could photograph it. It is easy, but quite hard to describe.
As I hadn't planned on making boxes I have had to improvise. The thickest stabiliser I had was thinner than I would like so I have used two layers. You need to cut pieces for the base and the four sides. I used 6" squares in this sample, but you can make any size you like. I find larger is easier, but see what you can come up with. Also there is no reason for the boxes to be cubes. You can use rectangles, just make sure that sides that join to each other are the same length.
Roughly zigzag the sides to the base. You can see in the picture that I am treating the two layers are one. Had I been being careful with this I would have spray basted the two layers together, but I don't worry for a test piece.
When you have made a cross use it to cut two layers of fabric that are the size of the outer edges of the cross. I actually layered it up and then felt for the edges of the cross to position the ruler. Again if I had been trying to make a great box I would have spray basted the layers together, but pins will do the job.
Now you start to form the box. Pinch two sides together at a corner. You will have a big ear of floppy fabric, this is good, it will strengthen the corner later. You now need to sew down the corner to hold the sides together. Use a straight stitch and a thread that matches the outer fabric. You will find that you have to bend the box quite a lot as you sew the seam but it will bounce back when you have finished.
Sew all four corners then fold the ears flat around the corners. The point of the ear ends up exactly in the corner. If you have an overlocker this is the time to dig it out. It will trim the top and overlock it at the same time. If you don't have an overlocker go around the top with a zigzag, then trim the top flat. Stitch around the top again with the zigzag stitch to make a really firm edge. There you go one box. My sample took me about 30 minutes and I was taking pictures as I went which does slow you down, so hopefully you should find this pretty quick too. I think with a bit pf playing you will be able to come up with lots of interesting shape boxes with this technique.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
The charity quilt for Macmillan Nurses went back to the group that made it yesterday. Once they have the binding on it will be displayed at Patchwork Corner for about a month. I will get a picture of it while it is there. If you get a chance please do go and look at it, you might even like it enough to buy a raffle ticket for it.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
I've had an enjoyable but very tiring weekend manning the Patchwork Corner stand at the Wye Valley Quilters show. Sadly you will have to wait 5 years for their next exhibition, it was a good event, well attended by a very friendly bunch.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Whups, I had intended to send that to myself. Oh well. now I've said it, I've heard that Herd Mentality and my large whole cloth are in it. I don't know how to get a copy though. I guess this is proof I can't multi-task. Well not to the extent of sending an email and serving a customer at the same time. No I wasn't actually supposed to be working I was just trying to be helpful.
Monday, October 20, 2008
I've been having a weird day all in all. I got up to find my necklace had broken again, so a trip into town was required to get it fixed. With a whole stack of work to do that wasn't ideal, but I figured I could at least make it to the bank as well so it wasn't entirely wasted time. So as I was heading out of the door the post came. Including a cheque I didn't expect. Well that makes the trip into town more worthwhile. So I go to the bank, put my necklace in the the jewellers and have lunch while I wait to get it back. Even though the weather has been getting colder I am still living in my Crocs. A lady came up to me and asked me if they are as comfortable as people say. Strange, but not a problem and we get talking. It turns out that she would like to get into quilting. Her mother was really good at it and now she wants to try it. How strange is that, well it gets stranger. She was most concerned about getting the layers together. Her relatives had told her about people in other countries that will do quilting for others, but had no leads on anyone in this country. Now what are the odds of us just happening to run into each other? It was a very cool lunch and I think she left inspired to start working on a quilt. I can't believe a day that started to poorly could work out so well and it wouldn't have happened if I hadn't broken my necklace in my sleep.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
I am also working on a new pattern. A couple of weeks ago Jenny at Patchwork Corner challenged me to come up with a pattern for some black and white and red and white prints. Fortunately this really appealed to me and an idea came very quickly. I hope I will be able to share it here sooner rather than later. I've only been able to work on piecing this new quilt in down time before classes at the shop, so it hasn't gone as fast as I would like, but hopefully today I can finish it.
Once I have this top made I want to do a second from the same pattern as I think it will look great n a very different colourway, and I can't wait to see it. So expect this project to be taking up my 'spare time' for a while.
One of the customer quilts I have waiting, that I will definitely get a picture of when it is done is a fund raising quilt. It is a fairly traditional bed quilt that I will be adding feathers to, which will be raffled to raise money for Macmillan Nurses.
I am also making good progress with my second book. Apparently my students are enjoying it so they are working faster than I expected, which means I have to as well. Unfortunately this is stopping me finishing my quilts from the first book. How embarrassing is it when your students are finishing your quilt before you do. Oh well at least one has been kind enough to lend me her quilt for talks, so if you do come to one you will see at least one finished example. It also looks like I finally have a title for it. I want to try it out on a class or two before I share it here, so watch this space.
Gallery Forty-Seven. It is 47 Great Russell Street, and is currently
home to "Dreams and Visions". This is an exhibition of work by six
artists, Marlene Cohen, Claire Crocker, Margaret Jarvie, Alicia Merrett,
Christine Restall and Stefanie Rickard. These ladies work together under
the name Colour FX Textile art and have a web site www.colourfx.org. I was
lucky enough to be invited to the private viewing on Tuesday byt Stefanie,
who won the guest book prize from my show.
I managed to get there, in the middle of a very full day and I was
thrilled I had. I have to admit that I like that area of London anyway
but I don't often go there, so that in itself was a treat. The first
thing that struck me was the windows. How dumb does that sound. I don't
think I have ever seen textile art displayed in a window like that, and
well, it's something else. It made me look at it in a different way, and
was attracting the attention of passers by. Not bad going on a wet
evening. Inside the gallery has three separate areas. I like not being
able to see everything at once. I'm not sure for me it is so much a
journey as having to hunt for things to look at.
As I am terrible at names (and faces) I went without any idea what I
would see. I was very happy to discover some quilts I had seen before
and enjoyed. Had I the money I think 'Rainbow Fizz' would have had a new
home. I loved this quilt when I saw it at the FOQ, but hadn't got
arround to looking up who had made it. It turns out to be one of
Alicia's. I was also really taken with Solaris 2. It just is. To me it
has everything a sun should. Heat, light, dark and flares. The funny
thing is I don't really know how it had flares, but I could see them,
and I liked them.
I can't do these quilts justice here, so if you are arround London in
the next few days, do try to get to see them. If you can't make London
then they will also be on display at the Cowslip Workshops, Launceston
August 2009. I suspect details will be the Colour FX web site.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
I wish I could have stayed for the afternoon talk, the quilts I saw looked amazing, but I had to run off to the Birmingham Comics Convention. We made it to the convention center before it shut, although we weren't helped by Birmingham's one way system and the lack of hotel car parking, and arrived just in time to find our friends had completed their goals for the day and had time to show us around. It's interesting seeing the different comics shows. Much like quilting shows they each have their own feel. This one was very smart and professional, but not quite as friendly and lively as Bristol. I would put it as my next show of choice though. I like slightly quieter, especially when I am trying to have a look around. Over the weekend I managed to meet a quilter, and buy fabric markers, thus proving that I can work anywhere. We did also buy a few graphic novels. I was particularly taken by some adaptations of classics. I went for Macbeth, Christmas Carol and Frankenstein. They have lovely black on black covers and from a quick flick through they seem very well thought out. They are apparently being bought by schools to encourage reading so I am hoping they are well done. We did go for those with the original text which I think will help for me, but they do produce versions with different simplified text for children. If you would like to read more about the convention, Cy has put a few posts on his blog.
Monday and Tuesday were dedicated to quilting. The quilt you see here is the first I have done with this sort of edge. It is more effort, as I had to mark the curves before I could start, but I do love the effect. I really hope someone will need it again. I am also thrilled with how well the triangular feathers came out. I've been doing quite a few of them recently and it looks like the practice payed off. If you would like to see this quilt in the flesh, it will be at Alexandra Palace for the next four days. It will be hanging on the Patchwork Corner stand, which is the only reason it got done this week. I don't like doing customer work when I am under the weather, but I think I got away with it this time. I am still very busy with customer quilts but rest assured, I am working my way through them as fast as I can.
I am also making faster than expected progress with my second book. I can't claim this is down to me however. My students seem to be enjoying it (either that or they hate it and are trying to get it finished and out of the way) and are working through it far faster than I expected. This means I have to write faster to keep ahead of them. I have so much more respect for authors who can make them selves to write regularly without this kind of motivation. I know I wouldn't have the discipline to do it. Heck there are days when I would love to bunk off even now. Still I am pleased to say I have managed to write three chapters this week and hopefully that will keep me ahead for a little while.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Of course doing this much quilting is cutting into my time to play with the computer, so this site and my main website may not get updated as often. Sorry, but getting quilts back to my customers has to take priority. Although right now I think I am going to have an early night and try to see off this cold.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
To give me a bit of a break from the longarm I've been putting together a sample quilt. I managed to cut it out in about half an hour while I was waiting for a class at the shop on Thursday, and it is now ready for quilting. It's made from the "Turning Twenty - Just got better" book, and it is even quicker than the "Turning Twenty Again" which I love. Tet, who has been helping sell patterns at my talks, felt it was time for me to get samples from the other books. I have to admit he is right, but somehow it hadn't seemed urgent until someone else pointed it out. Strange how these things work isn't it. So here is the first of my samples from the other books. I am really pleased with it. The fabrics for the center of the quilt were pretty much the first 20 fat quarters I pulled from the batik display that the shop. I say pretty much as I did put one back, but other than that I just grabbed the 10 darkest and 10 of the lightest. It's a good illustration of how forgiving this pattern is. I don't think you could quite walk into the shop blindfolded, pick fabric and be guaranteed a good quilt, but I suspect even that would work out fairly often.
Also I can finally show you my Hever challenge quilt. I wasn't overly inspired by the fabrics but after they had sat on my desk for a few months I realised they reminded me of one of my screen savers. So that is what I did with them. I would like to try a similar design with circles instead of rectangles, but that is going to be such a pain to stitch, I keep putting it off.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Well I've had a few very hectic days and boy has a lot happened. On our last night in Scotland (Monday) we were taken on a tour of Aberdeen. I don't know about you but I do find it frustrating when you fly into a place but never see it. I seem to spend a lot of time saying, well I've been to X but I didn't actually get to look around, we just flew into the airport. I am so glad I did get to see Aberdeen. They aren't kidding about the amount of granite used, and personally I think it looks great. I can see that some might find it a bit grey and drab, but not me. I really liked how you find a whole row of very plain functional buildings followed by one that has every architectural feature they could think of. Ornate granite buildings are just amazing.
As our guide works in the oil industry he also showed us the harbour and the rig anchors. I am sure I can get a quilt from the docks, possibly several. I loved all the metalwork there. Especially at night when the lighting is really interesting. Obviously the light is intended to help the workers but some heads upwards illuminating cranes and storage tanks, and it is just so inspiring.
The flight home was largely uneventful, although I did enjoy seeing the South as we flew into Heathrow. There are some amazing buildings on they way in. I would have loved to take some pictures but sometimes other passengers get really concerned about someone with a camera, so I tend not to bother. It's a shame as you see some wonderful sights, but most of the time I can't be bothered to deal with people worrying about it.
As I mentioned we have been having a lot of computer troubles. So when Twisted Threads sent me the pictures from the awards I couldn't get at them. It's been very frustrating as I really did want to share. However, when you come how exhausted, what better time to sit at the computer and get photos sorted. Thanks tot Tet I can now share these with you. Now rather frustratingly the winners list, which I have to hand, doesn't tell you who the sponsors are, so I can't tell you. I will have to have a look for the show guide and see it that does. I can tell you that the lady with the black and white skirt is Beryl Cadman, who is the Gammill longarm sewing machine dealer. She sponsors the long arm quilting award. The other lady is the sponsor of the pictorial award and I believe it the editor of Quilt Mania. She is fascinating to talk to and introduced me to the European Art Quilt Foundation. Then I have to look very embarrassed, I can not think who sponsors the contemporary quilt award. Please do comment if you know as I can't find my show guide to look it up.
Yesterday I taught my first class of the new term. Well actually my first two classes of the new term. I now have groups Wednesday morning and afternoon. It went pretty well, although I will need to fine tune the change over. I had planned to start on sampler quilt book 2 with Wednesday morning, but they had things they wanted to finish, which was a blessing. Wednesday afternoon though, boy was that manic. They are so quick and lively, they are really going to keep me on my toes. Most of them have chosen to work on my round robin sampler, and in the first lesson they finished the first chapter. They are all ready to move on straight away next week. I am very glad I have this all ready to go, or I would be in trouble. I might see if they will let me take some pictures next week as their quilts all look very different to mine already. I find it fascinating how classes get their own style a well as the styles of the individuals.
Today I am pretty certain I will be starting the new book with my evening class. I've had several requests for requirements so I know they are keen. Hopefully they will like what I have planned for them. Tonight we will be starting with a Carpenters Wheel. It's a block I have been wanting to do for a very long time, so I have used it as the center piece of this quilt. I like to try and get one of my loves into each design they ask for, and so far it seems to have gone down well. I'll let you know later if it has worked out this time too.
Finally, I have to brag. I found out last night that I have won best machine workmanship in the traditional category of the world quilt show. I cannot begin to say how utterly thrilled I am. It is another award for Guide Me, which I still think is one of the best quilts I have ever made. I've been so disappointed by the response to it in this country, so it's successes in the US are even more important to me. The full list of winners is here.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
I had a great group today they were very keen and worked amazingly quickly, with good results. I did get the impression I wore them out though as they drifted off quite early. Still they seemed to have a good time and really did achieve more than a lot of classes I've done. Perhaps the Scots are just a lot more efficient with their time. I am really hoping some of them will send me pictures of their finished work, as a lot of them managed to put a lot of personallity into their work. Bear in mind they were working with my designs and in many cases my kits, so managing to make a unique and characterful piece is quite an achievement.
As we got away earlier than expected we had a shopping oportunity. Milton Studio is a lovely quirky little shop. Actually thinking about it, I am not so sure about little, maybe compartmentalised would be more acurate. If you would like to take a look they do have a web site, www.miltonstudio.co.uk. Parts of the shop were originally used for storing two carts and as a hay loft, and the shop in split into different stock in these different areas. Next to the cart garage you have a selection of quilting fabrics and thread. Coming into the garage there is the till and lots of goodies, from chocolate and ice-cream to art and crafts made locally. Heading up the stairs there is a small gallery with more from local artists (they are good and the prices are very reasonable) then you head on up to the hayloft. I would know more about the history of the building but I got distracted at this point. The hayloft is full of knitting yarns, beads, embelishments, books and well generic goodies. I think it would have been a very expensive accident if I hadn't had to get all my purchases on a plane.
From here we went to meet up with Mo. She was our tour guide on Friday, and is very passionate about the area. She took us for a walk along the the river Dee. It is a very beautiful river. Stupidly I didn't take my phone with me, so I can't share a picture. Think a wide fast flowing river, occasional rocks, pines and bends. If you've seen a picture of a Scottish river, it's probably very similar. I realy have been spoilt for inspiration the last few days. I've been spoilt food wise too. My goodness do they do hospitality up here. Last night we were at a very fancy private club, with stunning and reasonably priced food, tonight Mo made us a traditional roast dinner. Traditional here (with chicken at least) is an oatmeal and onion dish, which hopefully someone will remind me of the name of. It was a big hit with Tet, so much so I suspect I will be finding out how to make it. I think I would like i but I need to find a sauce it will work with as I don't eat gravy and I think it wants something moist with it. It was good to have a chance to try something so obviously part of life here, yet new and exciting to us. Round off the meal with an apple and bramble crumble (with ice cream) and I am in heaven. Honest solid food, perfect.
Tomorrow is my last booking here, at Touched by Scotland. It will be intersting to see a different area as this gallery is a little further afield and in a direction we haven't been yet. Who knows what we will see tomorrow, or who we will meet? Whatever happens I am sure it will be fun and probably give me yet more inspiration for quilts.
The morning speaker was Barbara Weeks. She gave a very interesting presentation on what show categories a given quilt could fit into. The talk was illustrated with many well known pieces and was very infomative. I hadn't actually thought about the lack of entry forms for the Festival next year. Apparently this is because they are looking at making some changes, and I will be interested to see what they are when they send the forms out. She is a very interesting lady to talk to if you ever get the chance.
After a fabulous lunch (even Costso in Scotland have the idea of proper hospitality, I had thought th sandwichs for my opening were generous) we got ready for my talk. It was the most imposing venue I have spoken in. Good, but imposing. There is something about tiered seating that makes a place look more official. The talk seemed to go OK, but the audience was very quiet. It was a little unnerving until I was told this is normal for here. It was interesting to see how peoples reaction to me changed after the talk. Before hand most people had no idea who I was, and I think were a little confused by me lurking. Afterwards they could not have been more warm and welcoming. I only wish I could have brought them more quilts, as they so obviously enjoyed playing with them.
A very fast clear up was followed by a good amount of driving arround. First we delivered some ladies to the train station, then off to hunt highland cattle. We were successful. I think I have arround 100 photos, so hopefully I will have at least one I can quilt from.
Friday, September 12, 2008
After breakfast we were collected by Mo and delivered to Cowie. This is a small fishing village next to Stonehaven. We headed up the cliff with instructions to turn arround at the graveyard. After days of rain an gloom we were treated to a warm sunny morning, the best way to see the sea in my opinion. The Kirk is a ruin but very beautiful, perched on the top of the cliff. Hopefully I will have some good photos from it. Apparently the cliff is very fossil rich, but I didn't find any, we did find an amazingly black slug and some very pretty snails.
Now we are sitting in a very nice little cafe bar on the seafront.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
The people are pretty amazing too, boy do they do hospitality. I couldn't have asked for more. Met as soon as we got off the plane, navigated arround the airport then deliverd to a lovely house. The longarm workshop and yurt didn't hurt any either. We got to meet some more natives over tea who have offered to take care of us tomnorrow. How cool is that? It's looking like a full day of castles, landscapes and extra shagy cows. Yes I am hunting more subject matter for quilts, who wouldn't in such a fabulous place.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
I'm finding I am more nervous about doing talks and teaching so far from home, than I have been about closer ones. I should say that close is a relative term but somehow this feels further. I guess it is to do with having to fly to get there. The daft thing is I am not sure why this should be any different to working closer to home. I will have to be a lot more selective about what I take with me, but I really aught to be able to do that. I don't know where I could puck up emergency supplies if I do forget something, but as I will be staying with a quilter, I can't imagine what I might need that I can't borrow. I can only assume this is one of those things where the human mind is not entirely helpful. Maybe this nagging (but irrational) doubt is why a lot of people don't like working further afield. I suspect that once I have done it and proved the voice wrong it will give up. I will let you know.
I guess I aught to get some sleep. Tomorrow I have to try and figure out how to write lesson plans without proper computers. I am sure I will figure out something, but it may not be elegant.
Monday, September 08, 2008
Sunday, September 07, 2008
This delay, and chatting to the very helpful friend kept me busy a lot longer than I had planned, so I haven't got all the borders on the quilt yet. However I have now got the last pieced border on which is all stars. I really like where this quilt is going. I am trying to decide the best way to transition from the patterned black area to plain black. I need the outermost border to be plain as I am going to put more applique on it and I want my work to be visible. I just think than going from one to the other might feel a bit jarring. On the other hand it worked well enough in the center. Sorry the picture isn't as clear as usual. I was working on my phone and I guess I was shaking more than I thought (and I suspect the background fabric is quite tricky to photograph as well). It looked OK on my phone, but not so great here. Still I am sure I will have my computer back soon and then I can put up a better picture. As yet if you need to get in touch please do phone me.
I had been going to reply to a couple of my Scottish students. Yes I do have kits and will be bringing them with me. if you search here for swan and rose (separately) you should come up with some pictures of the samples. Tropical Punch is one of the samples for the Touched By Scotland class.
I really should be working on samples for next terms lessons. I think I have come up with two new to me techniques which, if they work out, I will be able to share. Obviously I need to take time to play with them before I teach them. So many ideas, so little time.
The trip to Ikea turned out to have a quilty flavour. I managed to find a frame big enough for one of my prints (without needing a mortgage) and it turns out to be accomodating enough to take actual quilts. Large deep frames are generally too expensive for me to play with so I am very happy with this find. Also they have plastic containers with a hook designered to hang in the kitchen. They are 49p each and are very handy for scissors in my fabric room, and pens at the drawing board. They may also find a place at my new cutting table when I get that far.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
I guess without the computer to distract me, or indeed let me do any more paperwork, I can get on with sewing. I spent a lot of yesterday working on finishing the sample from my book. Maybe today I will get it done. At least I managed to check my quilts had arrived before it all went wrong.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
I also delivered the last of the wedding quilts today. Another happy customer and hopefully another happy couple.
Monday, September 01, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
We had entertainment in the pit today. A balloon modeler. I did try to be grown up, but he taunted me for long enough and I had to have a penguin. It's very cool isn't it. I've included a picture of his URL so you can go and have a look at his work. Apparently he does a lot of more complex sculpture when he can sit and work. The things I've seen are just the quick bits. I found it interesting how much he manipulated the balloons. Some of them seem to yank and twist and hope. Billy doesn't he seems to persuade the balloons to do what he wants. It was really fascinating how many ways he could shape the balloons.
Hopefully we will get two qualifying runs today, the whole field will go through to eliminations so any run will do. Realistically we are in the hands of the weather. We woke up to torrential rain, but now we have clear sunny skies. Hopefully this will last. Now I had better get signed on and we will be ready for our first run arround midday.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
On the other hand I did find and fix Joker. Her coolent expandion tank had developed a crack. Quick theft from our other 2.8i and we should be good to go. Now fingers crossed on fixing Trogdor.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Of course, never a household to have only one sick vehicle, the bike broke down earlier (which is why we are so late leaving) and my car has become incontinent again. I swear they talk. How else could the all manage to get sick at the same time every time? I suppose I may at least have a chance to tape up my hose before we go now.
Today has also been productive. I have the top for my Hever quilt made, I just need to quilt and bind it now. It will be quilted on a domestic machine so I can do it along side the customer work. I might have got further but I had to unblock a drain. Never the most glamorous job, but not usually a big deal. Take the ubend off, clean it out job done right? No, take off the next joint, clean that too, still no good. Eventually after two hours work with poky things and acid I have a clear drain. Great but I would have rather been quilting.
Still I have a few days away from the studio now. I am putting on my crew hat for the weekend. We are off to Shakespere County Raceway to play with car. Hopefully the weather forecast will be right and we will have dry days with the rain restricted to the middle of the night. I can't honestly call it time off as I do intend to do some more work on my second book while I am way, and maybe find time to try drawing again.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
I wonder what strange searches will lead here today :)
I've almost recovered from my five days at the Festival of Quilts. It was great to meet so many of you there, and welcome to all the new friends I met. I had a lot of fun at the show, and surprisingly spent very little. I did get a lot of hand dyed fabric, from both Ricky Tims and Heide Stoll Weber. I want to have some more interesting backgrounds for my wholecloths, although it is going to make it trickier selecting threads.
I can finally show you some better pictures of my quilts, and the awards you get from the Festival. I know a lot of people have very strong views on ribbons. Love them or hate them, personally I don't mind what form the award takes. I can display certificates just as easily as ribbons, and they all have their own character. I guess if pushed I would most like trophies, but there are plenty of those I don't like the look of, so I'll just enjoy anything I get. I am, probably excessively, pleased to have the little plaque with the judges comment on. I think it is a really nice touch to give them their say actually on the winners plinth. Even if you don't agree with the judges you can now see some of their reasoning. The other thing I thought was really good was that the judges are named on that plaque too. I was very lucky, the first show I ever entered I met one of the judges, who told me she had judged my quilt. She was happy to tell me what I could have done better, it made sense and I haven't forgotten her advice. That was so helpful. I don't know if I am thrilled or petrified that Sandy Lush judged my wholecloth, but I am glad I know.
I've mentioned that I am working on a couple of projects with people from the comics industry. Well some of you net them over the weekend, and if you would like to have a look at Cancertown there are some sneak previews here. You might also like to take a look Raggedman in the links section to the right.
Finally, if you haven't already had a look there is an article on my web site from Canadian author Lorina Stephens. I met her many years ago when I was looking for costuming patterns. She used to run an amazing web store with everything you might want for period costuming. I was very disappointed when she gave it up to write. However she turns out to be a very good writer, so I guess I have to forgive her. I also love her art work, so when you've read her article do go and take a look at her site.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Saturday, August 16, 2008
My favourite quote of the evening is "however bad things are they could always be worse". It's so true, and when people forget it, it often makes itself felt. He also reminded us that freelance is a fancy way of saying unemployed. It's something I have often felt so it was good to hear someone agree with me.
I enjoyed hearing where he has come from, and where he wants to go. It was great to see his dogs, hogs and buildings. I would love to be able to go on retreat with him, if nothing else the landscape there is so inspiring.
Finally, I have to mention his music. His first couple of pieces were not to my taste, but I could see why he chose them. As he went on he played a lot more of his own compositions, and those I loved, especially when he played the flute, it seems to push so much more emotion than the piano. Sorry Ricky, the piano was great, but for me the flute was better. Sorry the picture isn't better, but there is a limit to what I can do as a small image on a phone.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Today I have been out and about in the show and helping on the Patchwork Corner stand. It's been busy and we seem to be selling out of things fast. i hope this means packing up will be easier, but I am not holding my breath for it. i suspect however much you sell it always feels like you have more to take home than you brought with you.
I am now on my way to an evening with Ricky Tims, who's name I have spelled wrong forever, sorry Ricky. I finally managed to meet him today nad he is a lovely guy. I thought he would be from his DVD's but you can never be sure. It's good to know I was right. I might let you know later how it wen't, depending on how late it is and how tired I am.
Judges choice - Herd Mentality
Highly commended - Radience
Third place - Contemporary Small - Heat
First place - Pictorial - Herd Mentality
First place - Longarm - Flying Feathers
Yes I am thrilled, and somewhat stunned. I did decide I had to go to the gala dinner, and actually the food was very good this year. I don't know what has happened but I am impressed. Strangely I found it far more nerve wracking to go and collect prizes that to give talks. I guess it is a control issue, but it was interestinmg enough to slightly distract me from how scared I was.
When I got back to my hotel I ran into some guys here for another conference, Magic the Gathering. Yes, yes, I know I shouldn't like it, but I do, and I think they have learned something about quilting too. Hopefully I can catch up with them tomorrow night. I am going to be exhausted at the end of this.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
I arrived at the NEC before 11 this morning. The van had already been unloaded and the shelves assembled. We have been working pretty solidly since and we still have a few small things to do. Well actually Jenny has a few tweaks to do. I am on a workshop tomorrow. I think the stand is looking pretty good. It is I20 near the back of the hall. It's also close to the longarm gallery. Do come and say hello.
I had a little time to walk around this afternoon. There are some wonderful small galleries, I can't wait to have a better look at them. I don't know why but I was very surprised to see a Ricky Timms quilt. Thinking about it, it isn't surprising given he is speaking and teaching here, but I hadn't thought about it.
Hopefully I will have some time to look around tomorrow, but if not I will on Friday.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
I managed to get a reasonable amount done yesterday on the block of the month. I think it is starting to look like the picture on the pattern now. Always a good sign. As you can see I finished the feathered star at the centre of the quilt, which makes a huge difference.I already had a lot of the border pieces finished, or close to finished which meant getting to here was pretty quick.
This morning I have added two more stars already, and I have all the pieces cut to fill in the area at the bottom between the centre and the pinwheel border. The pinwheel border to the right needs extending by a couple of blocks then that will be ready to go on as well.
To the left I think the next border is flying geese, so I should be able to get those on as well today. I do have all day Tuesday to work on it so you never know I might get it all together. I certainly think I will have a good amount of it done. I guess I had better stop gossiping and get back to work.
Saturday, August 09, 2008
Honebee Quilters are a lovely little group, surprisingly close to where I live. They also have a nice range of quilters from absolute beginners to really experienced. It was nice to see so many people actively sharing their skill and knowledge, this is what we need if quilting is to have a long and exciting future. They are also a very open minded group. They loved the idea of punk quilting, drag racing and collaborative projects with other areas. I've now got the source artwork for my first cross over piece, and after the shows I will be getting started on it. I think it is safe to say my first foray into this new area will be large and eye catching. Possibly also rather challenging, what a traditional artist can do fairly easily with a pencil will be very tricky to replicate with a longarm, but I do like a challenge.
On the subject of challenges, I am trying to complete a quilt top before I go to the Festival Of Quilts. I am going up Wednesday, and I will be out all day Monday. It is the block of the month that Patchwork Corner are running. I fell in love with it because I think it will be great to quilt. Oh boy! It has a lot of pieces and I am finding working form someone else's instructions, and in their way quite a change. Still I think I am over half way, and accelerating. I have month one finished. This is the corner triangles that go around the center block. The center block is about 3/4 done, I needed a change last night so I did month one to get a breather. I've also made several pieces of border, only some of them have made it up to the design wall though. I've decided that rather than make the pieces in month order I will work from the center of the quilt outward. This is partly because I know I am motivated by seeing progress and I think it will look more like I am getting somewhere if I have a large piece of top together rather than lots of smaller pieces. Also if I don't quite finish on time I will have something that can be displayed, where lots of disjointed parts can't. My final reason is it will give me a chance to adjust things if I find my sewing isn't as accurate as I hope, and I will be spacing the adjustments in between other sewing. I don't find the adjusting and fiddling terribly exciting so this will also make things easier for me. Now wish me luck I have a lot of piecing to do and not a lot of time to do it in.