Saturday, January 21, 2012

Background fill

I'm now heading my way back up the dragon filling in the background. I am having to add quite a lot of filler to keep the quilt as flat as possible. I don't think I said before but the fabric is another hand dyed sateen. I love Heide's fabrics and this piece was just the right size. I think I even have enough to bind the quilt.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


The head is really hard work. I've mostly finished the neck now, and the bits I haven't filled in I know what I need to do. There is a little more to do on one front leg but really the head is slowing me down a lot. This is really where I wish I could draw and colour things. Well this counts as a crash course. I think an observer would think I hadn't done much today as I have spent a lot of time with the machine stopped just staring into space or at the quilt. I have however been very busy thinking.

My tattooist spent some time trying to teach me about art and how to draw. I didn't think much sank in but hopefully he got enough through to make all the difference. I think the main lesson that I've been using is essence of thing. He said all you needed to do was understand the essence of the thing and put that down on paper or n this case fabric. So when I get stuck I think about what is actually going on and what I need to show. I've spent a lot of time today thinking about nostrils and lips. How they work, how they fit together and what details you need to show to make them read as what they are supposed to be. I still haven't quite got the inside of the nostril but I know what it looks and feels like so hopefully the colours will come good soon.

I've also been asking why a lot. I know this dragon is part cat, part horse and part dinosaur, so how do the back spines and in between bits work? If there is skin between the spines it must be attached to something, several somethings. It must grow from the back of the dragon and it is supported on the spines so they much also be covered in skin/scales. These sort of questions go on and on and on, but they do tell me exactly how the thing works and what it's essence is. It may well look like staring onto space to others :)

I am going to try really hard to get an early night now. My back aches, a combination of concentrating too hard and helping to pick up a very heavy man I think, but apart from that I have an early start tomorrow to get to Warwickshire Quilters New Year lunch. I suspect  by the time I've done the talk I will have some ideas about nostrils and be desperate to get home and back to work.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Well the hind feet are in. Just front feet, neck and head left.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


This quilt has been one heck of a learning curve. I don't draw and really this quilt is heading in that direction. Fortunately I have a starting sketch drawn by my tattoo artist to work from. That helps except it is the first sketch he made and he did edit it when he worked form it and now I am looking at it up close I am finding I need to change things. That's really scary. The next problem is the shading. The first problem there is I have a limited number of shades of thread and blending them doesn't entirely work, so I need to reduce all the shading on green areas down to 4 shades. To be fair I still haven't quite managed that I hope I will come up with a cunning plan for the rear leg in shadow. 

The absolute hardest thing though is working out which direction my lines need to go. Most of the time it is the same way I would quilt the shape but not always. The belly scales took me two attempts to get a result I liked. Fortunately I was fairly light with my first attempt so I didn't need to unpick just over sew. They aren't done but they are coming along now. They are pretty intensive my shoulders and neck have just informed me, and having just broken a needle as well I figured it was time for a break. Maybe I can get the rear scales done after dinner. That would be pretty exciting.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Threads so far

There will be more I need for the face but these are what I am using so far on the dragon. I just wish I had more shades of all of them.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


I've mostly been working on butt and tail today.

Why I change needles so often

The needle on the right has just come out of my machine, the one to the left is a new needle. Hopefully you can see the used needle now has a completely blunt tip. The needle had only been in the machine since this morning and at the moment I am running the machine fairly slowly. Repeatedly punching through a quilt is really hard on needles.

This is going to be hectic.

I've just been checking my travel arrangements, and it's dawned on me quite how busy this year is going to be. On the other hand there should be lots of options for people to see my work, which is really cool. The manic session starts with Quiltfest. This is a two week exhibition in Llangollen, it is open every week day from the 1st of February till the 12th. On Sunday the 12th is trader day, when there is a hall full of quilt traders as well as the exhibition. I should have a couple of new pieces on display there.

In the middle of this I will be in Northern Ireland for the weekend of the 4th-5th. Well it beats sitting around doing nothing right :) It sounds like that will be quite an interesting area, but with 2 classes and a talk I suspect I won't get to see much of Ireland. Hope the airports are exciting :)

After the  show I will be teaching at a couple of venues on the way home. Quick trip home and my regular classes then back to Quarterjack quilters in Dorset. Then things get really busy, yup, this was the warm up.

At the beginning of March I will be teaching at a weekend retreat at Farncombe Estate. It will be my first class there but I am really looking forward to it. Some of my students have been there and highly recommend it, certainly the staff sound good and are really helpful. I will be teaching my art quilts by numbers class. As it is a whole weekend there will be time for students to make patterns from their own photos. In a day class I can't cover that much ground so it's a great chance to teach more about my art quilt techniques. There are still a few more places on the course if you would like to join me.

From there I head north, Peebles in the Scottish Borders. Yeah that's a bit of a trek, but it looks like I can get home on the way and I think I've even found a reasonable train ticket. I seem to have got a bit ambitious, I'm teaching in Peebles one day and Hemel Hempstead the next! Just as well there is a sleeper service and it's the cheapest way to do it as well. I might even manage dinner in Scotland before I head home. Fortunately I then have a couple of days to repack before heading out to Spain. I am thrilled to have been invited to have a gallery at the Spanish Patchwork Group show in Sitges. I will also be teaching a couple of classes there. Oh, it will also be my first visit to Spain. I guess that must be pretty rare for a Brit, but not being a sun lover I've not got around to it.

Well I'm tired just thinking about this, so I guess it must be time to quilt and not think about it until it happens.

Monday, January 09, 2012


This is a wholecloth, just fabric and thread. No, no paint, that's just not how I work.

Hmmm, dunno why the picture looks pink, there is no pink in it. Grey background blue and green threads.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Yesterdays work

It doesn't look like much but this is several hours work. I'll explain mer later. Right now I want to sew