Friday, July 31, 2009
Embarrassingly, the first quilt started for my book was the last one finished and photographed. You may remember seeing a bad picture of this quilt quite a while ago, but I thought you might like to see a good one. This quilt was very much made for my bed. I love the black and silver fabric in it, and I was determined to have a quilt with it in. I also wanted to check the quilt worked with as few as three fabrics. This quilt really divided opinions, but whatever others think, I love it, and it did good service as the book sample.
I guess this would be a good time to tell you what the design specification for the book quilt was. I had only been teaching the class for a term and I wanted to see how they thought it was going. At the Christmas party I was dumb enough to ask. I think everyone came up with a suggestion, or two,
- we should all work on the same quilt
- but we have to all be able to take it home
- we have to be able to use our own fabric
- we will be broke after Christmas so we can't buy any fabric for a
- it's got to be a lap quilt
- it's got to be a single bed quilt
- it's got to be a king size quilt
- it has to be quilt as you go
OK that's an interesting list to start with then they went on to techniques they wanted
- Celtic knots
- half square triangles
- flying geese
- foundation piecing.
I came up with a round robin style sampler quilt. It works well with three fabrics or a whole scrap bag full. It has places where beginners can fudge things to get back on track (actually the experienced ones used
this more I think). I like the fact that the center panel can be pretty much completed in 3 hours which is
the standard class length (for the weekly classes) where I teach. It means they leave their first class with something they can show off.
So if you see anyone wearing a black t-shirt that says QuilTarT you will know who they are.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Well that's it. It is off the frame. I didn't realise while I was working quite how big it is. When Cy described it as a "Bad Rain: A Double-Page Bedspread" he was quite right. The picture doesn't show all of it because it more than covers our king size bed. Of course it wouldn't actually be any good as a bedspread, it's too fragile and too heavy, but size wise it looks the part.
I thought you might be interested in some facts and figures about this monster of a quilt.
- When bound the quilt will be at least 90"x70"
- There is over 4000m of thread on the front of the quilt
- About 40 pre-wound bobbins were used in this quilt
- More than 1/2m of solid black appears in the quilt - it surprised me, as most of the black - isn't
- 4 1/2 cans of 505 spray baste held the pieces down so I could stitch them
- 3/4 roll of freezerpaper was used to make patterns
- 5m of washaway stabiliser was the pattern and quilting design
- over 15m of ombre fabrics went in to this quilt.
- the master pattern was 112 sheets of A4 paper
I think I will take the rest of the evening off, and get on with a small art quilt tomorrow.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Feeling somewhat encouraged I think I will start the day by cutting my fist. It will take a disproportionate length of time, as it is a large piece of fabric, but it will bring the overall quilt on in a leap so it will help encourage me for the day. I also know it has lots of very satisfying quilting to be done on it to make it's muscles at least two and a half d. Fun fun fun.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
As you can imaging the side of the building has been another very time consuming area. It's been fun too. In fact I've been really enjoying working on some thing completely different. I'm also starting to think about which of my other projects (hmm I nearly typed problems, how Freudian is that) I will move onto next. I have two small ones that need to be done before the show and I think they might be the next stop. They are more the sort of thing I usually do so will be another complete change and being small I should be able to finish them relatively quickly. I find it helps keep my going if I can have a few quick targets then a longer one.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Sunday, July 19, 2009
As Stephen has borrowed a picture from me I thought I would do the same from here, exchange is no robbery and all that. He is the artist behind this image, and this is what I am trying to recreate. I am only using commercial quilting fabrics, so I won't be getting a perfect colour match. However I do think I should be able to capture the essence of the image. I have discovered a lot more detail in the picture than I had noticed when I saw it in the book. There are huge variations in the pencil strokes, that will be a huge challenge to reproduce. The most problematic areas are the human faces. They are very small relative to the whole piece but very important. I am happy that I have got them just big enough to render them. I have to admit I am really enjoying working on this. It is very different for me, but I like the locks of colour I am using then adding the 'inks' over the top. Look out for more updates tomorrow, remember I am on a very tight schedule with this one.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
This is my current project, Bad Rain. It is taken from the Cancertown graphic novel written by Cy Dethan and illustrated by Stephen Downey. I am very lucky to have been granted permission to make my version of this image which appears in the book as a double page spread. You may recall that I have said some of my recent quilts have been test pieces for another quilt, well this is it. I've needed to come up with new ways to approach making art quilts to have a chance of pulling this one off. I've made two pieces recently where I have tried very hard to maintain the style of another artist, I am pretty happy with them and will be applying what I have learned on this one. I've also been playing with ways of assembling large patterns. It's helped, I needed to have less distortions in this one and I've got it. I've also had to have a think about which fabrics I can use and how I can get them in place. I'll let you know how that goes as I progress.
I realised yesterday that this is the biggest and most intricate art quilt I have attempted. It's over 90" long and I am not sure how tall yet. I had to scale it up to that size to be able to get the level of detail that was in the original. I felt that the detail was an essential part of the image, it is what gives it the feel of the busy crowded street, so I had to keep it. Also the main character appears in this double page spread so I had to be able to stitch the details of his face as well. Fortunately I've managed to get all those features in and keep the piece just small enough to make on my frame. I could theoretically have made the piece sideways but I find that a lot harder so it's good I can work on it the right way around. I spent most of yesterday tracing the first 40" of the quilt. I decided to work with it pinned to my blocking boards as there is nowhere I can lie it down to trace. It makes it more tiring but it is quicker and easier in the long run. Today I've been able to crack on with putting the fabric in place, although having been teaching today I didn't have much time.
Now for the really exciting bit. I need this quilt finished ASAP. I would like it complete by about Thursday this coming week. I've still got other quilts I need to make or finish before the show, so I have to get on with this. If things had gone to plan I would actually be at Santa Pod this weekend, but the weather forecast is for rain so I have gained a day to work on the quilt. I would rather be racing, but I am grateful for the extra time to work. I will try and share progress photographs over the next few days. The picture on this post shows the first few pieces of fabric laid down on the sky . The black lines are all my markings for where quilting needs to go, hopefully I will get that stitched tomorrow morning then I can roll on and place more fabrics.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
It feels now like my book as a life of it's own, and I am along for the ride. It's a very strange feeling, but not a bad one. People have told me publishing is like giving birth, so I suppose it should have a life of it's own. The strangest one I've noticed is my book being listed on Amazon in Japan! Don't know why but google found that as one of the first links to my book. Very strange.
I am just about keeping up with enquiries about it, but other email is taking me longer to get to. Bear with me and normal service should be resumed just after the NEC show.
Monday, July 13, 2009
These two quilts have been waiting for a long time to get their turn on the quilt frame, but it finally came. I decided I needed a bit more of a breather between large art quilts and these fit the bill nicely. They will both be on display in my gallery at the Festival of Quilts, Birmingham, in August. It's also a great feeling to be able to cross two pieces of my list in one go. Hopefully they will both be dry and ready to trim when I get back after my talk this evening, which will be another step I can cross off.
I had hoped to have more cars for the show, but who knows I may get another chance to show a body of work and I can put them in then. I really do need to find a way to add more hours to each day. I have too many ideas and not enough time. On that note I had better finish loading the car and think about making a move to Kew for tonight's booking.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
It's been a mad mad week. I hadn't anticipated the amount of excitement and orders the foreword to my book would generate. Having picked myself up off the floor and dug my way out of the emails, we've put the order form up on my website. The pre-order price for "Ferreting Around" is £12 which includes postage within the UK. For those further afield I will charge the actual postage cost, which appears to be £6 to any destination, I will double check that before I guarantee it. I will be accepting pre-orders until the 15th of August at which point the price will be £15.99. Payment can be made by a cheque drawn on a UK bank or by paypal. If you email me the request I will send a paypal invoice. Er, I think that is everything but if you have a question please do ask. I am still a little stunned.
I've also been out and about. Yesterday I had a lovely day out, I mean I went and worked hard, with Harben Oaks. I wasn't convinced by a morning talk (OK to be honest I am not convinced by mornings in general) but it actually worked very well. They are a very lively group and I was lucky enough to be speaking at their summer lunch. I was very impressed with lunch and spent far longer there than I had intended. It was a day well spent and I came home inspired and ready to work. So thank you very much Harben Oak.
Today I was back at Sprat & Winkle quilters. I did a talk for them earlier in the year and today was teaching a workshop. Again a fun and hospitable group. I was highly amused that they live up to one of my rules of teaching. The person who complains most about their fabric will manage the biggest success. She was thrilled with her work (a journal cover) by the end of the day, and had managed to really loosen up and go with the flow. I was also very impressed with how prolific one student was making not one but three covers in a day! I think though, having looked at several peoples work, my favourites are those using hand dyed threads. This group had several people who brought along really interesting fabrics which made wonderful, personal and utterly unique covers. I hope they will all use them for many years to come and hopefully make a few more.
Now I have an art quilt calling to me from the frame. I'd better get some more quilting done, and I might even have a really early night, well early for me anyway.
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Monday, July 06, 2009
The question was who to ask? I knew what sort of person I was looking for, but they are few and far between. It needed to be a quilter, who did both traditional and way out work. They needed to be technically great, but not afraid to break the rules. I pondered it for some time and wasn't coming up with an answer. When it did dawn on me, I didn't think I had a hope of getting the person to agree, they were just too perfect for the job and way too big in the quilting world to bother with my little book. I plucked up the courage to ask and knock me down with a feather they agreed! I still can't quite believe that Ricky Tims took time out to do this for me, especially as at the moment he is busy working not only on The Quilt Show, but also on his next music CD. Without further ado let me share with you what he has to say about "Ferreting Around".
Every now and again, a new talent emerges in the quilt world that transcends the ordinary and is instantly unforgettable. I witnessed this first hand at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham in August of 2008 when an emerging artist's name was announced again and again as a winner. Not only were her quilts fresh and exciting, but so was the artist who stepped on stage to receive the awards. It was a thrill to see a young talent making her mark in the quilting kingdom. It is obvious to quilters worldwide that the general quilting demographic is of a ‘certain’ age. It is therefore exceptional to me when someone from a younger generation latches on to this timeless art/craft and puts a fresh spin on it. To this I say, “Hear, hear!” However, I have discovered that Ferret enjoys creating her work using a variety of quilting techniques, many of which are rooted in tradition. She does not fly in the face of traditional quilting, but rather she embraces it and includes it into her extraordinary ‘quilting toolbox’.
Ferret is young and talented. But being young and talented are not the qualities that I most have come to admire in Ferret. It is her enthusiasm and heartfelt desire to share her passion with others. Many artists have a selfish side—or at least they hoard a few secrets to themselves in fear that someone else might rise above them. Not so with Ferret. She has not chosen to write a book about shocking and unorthodox techniques. Instead she polled individuals to find out what they most wanted to learn. In turn she has authored her first book with you in mind. The techniques included here range from simple to complex, but in every aspect it is written with easy-to-understand language and presented with excellent illustrations.
I am honored that Ferret asked me to write a foreword for her first book (thank you, Ferret). I hope she will pursue quilting and fiber arts as a lifelong career. If she does, you are no doubt holding in your hand a collector's item for it will always and forever be—Ferret's first book!
I've actually got quite as bit further than this, but the rest doesn't look terribly interesting on it's own. I thought you might like to see the teeth and a bit more belly. I love the belly scales though cutting out the ones for the tail wasn't entirely fun. I have two feet entirely quilted and most of the other parts cut ready to go on. I don't know if I mentioned but I really need this off the frame tomorrow, so I have been trying to press on as fast as I can without getting tired enough to make mistakes. So far so good.
I got to talk to the artist who drew the dragon for me today. Those who know me have probably guessed it is Glenn, the chap who drew and indeed tattooed the dragon on my arm. The even more astute will realise this is that dragon. He seems pretty happy with how it is turning out.
I can't wait to be able to see the whole thing. I am getting to the point where I can't really see the big picture at all. It's getting hard to work out what things are unless I label them very carefully. It's always a problem when the image is this big and I spend hours obsessing over a small area. Hopefully it will all look right when it's seen in one piece.
I'm very pleased with the belly scales too. The ones that have their stitching on are looking very scaly now. I am trying to decide how much stitching they will have. If I stitch shading on it may make them look more shaped, or it may have the opposite effect as it will crush the fabric down. At the moment the fabric sits up and curves the way it should. What I may have to do with this one is take it off the frame with the minimum quilting on it and then drape it somewhere where I can study it. It's going to be a close call either way.
Now you've all had a look I think I need to go and put some more quilting on this little beastie.
Sunday, July 05, 2009
It isn't a great picture, but then conditions there are tircky. Light from the window does save putting the lamps on but it doesn't help show the quilt in it's best light. Also to make things as easy as possible I used my phone to take the picture. Every little saving counts at this point. I love the horns on the wing tips, I think they have come out exactly as I imagine them. I just hope I can get the face right too. I was very lucky to be able to get the artist of my original dragon to draw the starting art work for this piece and to trace off the quilting lines from the enlarged image. I am hoping this will give the finished piece a strong feel of him as well as me. Well enough chat I've got a lot to be getting on with. I hope you've all enjoyed having a little look at what I am working on.
Oh wait there was something else I was going to say. I've been asked to do a meet and greet session at the Festival of quilts. It will be open to people who are attending the evening events on Saturday night. After the show closes there would be a chance to come to my stand and talk to me without the bustle of the show. There is even the promise of a glass of champagne each. So if you going to any of the events that night and would like to come to the meet and greet, get in touch with Twisted Threads for the details. As I am teaching on the Saturday this will be pretty much the only time I am on my stand that day so it will be great to have a chance to meet people I might otherwise have missed.
Friday, July 03, 2009
Now I had better brave the heat in the longarm room again and see if I can get to a point where I can post a photo later. My dragon is coming on pretty well, and I have to have it finished Monday or Tuesday next week so I can quilt a quilt for a friend, who needs it urgently.