So we left the gallery through the second entrance next to the nudes, we will now turn right and walk around to the first entrance we saw in FOQ - Overview. The first quilt we come to, 'Flying Feathers' was also the hardest to photograph. White wholecloths seem to resist any attempt to get good pictures of them, still I think you can get a general idea from the photos. This quilt was made as an attempt to please show judges, and I hope it is my first and last white wholecloth. Although technically it is the second white wholecloth, the first never made it to completion. I had planned for this quilt to have shadow trapunto, I was going to fill the raised feathers with black wadding so they would show grey in the finished quilt. To work, this requires a fairly translucent top fabric. It turns out I really don't like quilting on that type of fabric. Strange I know but true, I hated it. I didn't like the feel of it, and I didn't like the look of the stitches. Plan B. I love working with cotton sateen but it was a lot harder to mark. Still quilting on it was a lot easier and the double wool wadding gave a good trapunto effect. However this quilt hadn't finished causing trouble. The machine played up, I ran out of the pink thread and then it's final trick was to break my cheek bone. While I was packing the quilt it managed to flick an empty beer bottle into the air, which landed on my face. If you find the photographs from last years Festival you will see I had a black eye.
Moving on we come to a pair black wholecloths. 'Guide Me' is another quilt that is the second generation quilt. It is the one where I started always matching my bobbin thread to the top thread. I got about half of the way through the quilt when I decided I couldn't live with the occasional spots of the top thread on the back so I started again. Of course being me I was on a very tight deadline and what happens when you are in a hurry? You make mistakes. I managed to quilt what should have been a blue area in green leaves. It took me about 12 minutes to quilt it, and over 12 hours to take it out. I don't recommend making mistakes on cotton sateen, it is a nightmare to unpick on. This quilt is one of my most traveled pieces, and won the traditional machine quilting award at the World Quilt Show last year.
Facing 'Guide Me' is one of my favourite quilts, 'Winter Star'. It is another wholecloth, this time on plain black cotton. It was made to hang in the Longarm Gallery at the Festival of Quilts 2007. The design had to be monochromatic with one colour. The main design is stitched in a range of grey threads. I marked the piecing lines, but all the fill in stitching is free hand, as are all my quilts. The colour is hard to spot, especially in a photograph, it is in the piping.
As we go into the gallery you can see 'Dawn and Dusk' pinned to the end of my quilting frame. This is the quilt from our first self published pattern of the same name. It is a reversible quilt which uses ombre (shaded) fabrics. If you would like to purchase the pattern for this quilt use the contact me button to the right to get in touch.
Moving on across the gallery we come to 'Herd Mentality' hanging over my longarm quilting machine, which we will come back to in another post. 'Herd Mentality' was inspired by a herd of cows I met. When I say cows I am not entirely accurate, but then neither was the farmer who asked if I minded cows, I don't. I do mind bullocks. Quite a lot actually especially when they are trying to mount me. Very flattering but really not my type. Once there was an electric fence between me and the 'cows' I grabbed a camera and took some pictures. It was sunset and with the fantastic sky they looked really impressive. The first time I showed this quilt was in my gallery at the Dissenters Gallery I was surprised at the effect it had on people. They played the sky game, where you look at the patterns in the clouds and see what you can find. It kept people entertained for ages. After the FOQ 2008 where it won the pictorial prize it went on to the Houston Quilt Festival. I was a little shocked when it won the visitors choice, but really surprised when I found people blogging about the pictures they in the sky. I guess the sky game is international. I did notice that people from different countries do see different things in it. What do you see?
Moving on across the gallery there is 'Where is the North Star?'. Do you remember I said I had some "seemed like a good idea" quilts? Well this is the quilt I was thinking of when I said it. I guess I should start by saying I am very pleased with how the quilt turned out, getting there wasn't so much fun. The whole quilt is foundation pieced. That part was simple and gives a good mottled effect to represent the night sky. However I had decided it would look more organic and natural if I offset all the blocks around small squares. Well yes it does, but.... To assemble this quilt I had to lay out all the blocks on my bed and position all the small squares. I then grabbed a few pieces and went downstairs to sew them together, a time consuming process given all the partial seams. Then back upstairs to pick up the next pieces, of course by then the cats were on the pieces, so I picked up a cat, removed the pieces of quilt from it's feet and put the next bit together. Just sewing the blocks together took all day, from getting up to going to bed. Finishing the top with it's borders wasn't a problem, and then it went on the longarm. This was only the second quilt I managed to persuade my machine to sew on. The quilting went very well. I made a star guide so I could put little stars in to the quilting and it was done a couple of days before it had to go to a show. Next came trimming up. I generally make my quilts a little bit larger than I want them and trim them to size, but as I said this was one of the first I had quilted on the longarm and I had foundation pieced the borders with very little spare. Three corners squared up perfectly, the fourth was another story. This was the moment Tet decided to explain the problem with quilt to me. The bottom corners of a quilt on a bed can be quite a trip hazard as they stick out, so he suggested I cut them off. Just a safety feature honestly. Well it solved the problem and I love the look of the quilt. I wish it didn't have white binding, which looks great but is a dust magnet, but I am very fond of this quilt. It is the quilt people most often request as a patter, but I'm sorry I won't be writing it. I like to produce patterns that work and people will achieve without going mad, this just isn't it.
Opposite we have our last quilt for tonight as we leave the gallery again. This is a students quilt, made by Eileen. I had hoped to be able to hang the cover quilt from my book but I ran out of long walls. So a quick hunt through the reserve quilts found me this one. I have to admit it isn't my colours, but I think Eileen did a great job for her first quilt. She was one of the first people to work through my book with the benefit of all the errors. She kept at it and produced this quite impressive bed quilt. I guess I really aught to let her have it back soon as it has been touring with me for several months. I really must thank all my students for their support, without them my book would not have happened. I also owe an apology to one of them If you have the book you will see a quilt on page 58. It is the odd one out in that it's owner isn't listed at the back of the book. I don't know how she escaped, but I am mortified she did. I know she was really looking forward to her piece in the book. Unfortunately I can't fix it now, but I would like to introduce her to you all here. Meet Vanessa, this is her story,
My name is Vanessa, and in an attempt to redefine myself, I stumbled across Patchwork Corner and went in for a look. £182 later, I came out and felt I had found my soul. Things have never been the same since. Six years on and Thursdays are still my favourite day of the week when I attend a class at the shop. There's always something new to learn.I now know what the first correction is for the second edition, I just hope it isn't too long before I can do a second print run and get Vanessa back into the book. I am so sorry she missed out on this edition. I know every book goes out with an error but did it have to be this big? On with the show.