Sunday, 13 May 2018

BLOG 396

Blog 396
This week I have sold and handed over one of my Contemporary Welsh quilts. You may remember that I made a second one (slightly different) because I wanted to keep one for myself. I wanted to keep one mainly for reference and but also because it was my first attempt at working in this style, so perhaps there was a bit of sentiment behind it too! The colours are not represented too well in the picture as they are much more intense and vibrant! Still, I have managed to let go of a favoured quilt!

                 Contemporary Welsh

Another quilt I am planning to sell will be the scrap quilt I am making for Gresford. This has been the main concentration of my endeavours this week and I am pleased to say that it will be finished. All 7 rows of 5 blocks have been constructed and here are the rows hanging vertically (instead of sideways) because my design wall isn’t big enough!
              Scrap quilt

Next Thursday we are flying out to Poland! This is an unplanned break and therefore a big and eagerly awaited surprise. I have been invited to attend a quilt exhibition called ‘Through the garden gate’ which is a tribute to my signature work and which is also the title of a book I wrote on the subject many years ago. The teacher (Julie, formerly of Higgledy Piggledy) of the classes asked permission to teach the workshop she had attended with me at Higham Hall and I gladly gave her permission. It’s flattering that people want to emulate my work and a great courtesy for them to seek permission; many don’t. As a result there will be many garden gate quilts included in the exhibition for me to see and enjoy as well as an enthusiastic bunch of quilters for me to meet. I can’t wait to see what they have made and I will report on it when I next blog in a couple of weeks’ time. I am also looking forward to exploring Krakow and Zakopane, meeting old friends and visiting a nephew and his family. Below are the pictures that tempted me to go.
           Garden gate A


                Garden gate B

                      Landscape image

              Landscape in progress







Monday, 7 May 2018

BLOG 395

Blog 395


I’m a bit late posting my blog this week; just blame it on the fabulous weather over the Bank Holiday weekend. What with socialising, family birthdays, barbecues and gardening I have not got a lot to show really apart from a repetition of the scrap quilt which is my main focus. I have managed to join together 2 rows consisting of 5 blocks each, and started 2 others. Still a way to go but it should be finished by Gresford.  


When I was at Suzette’s last week, I spent most of the day making this sunflower picture in stitch. I soaked a bit of calico with water and dropped some silk paint onto it, leaving it to flow through the material and dry off. I then cut a piece of iron-on pelmet Vilene to the size I wanted and pressed the calico on onto it, folding and sticking the edges to the back with thin strips of fusible. This gave a taut foundation for me to work on with copious stitch, but I was very disappointed to see that it had pulled and creased. Back to the drawing board!

                  Embroidered picture 

As I have been out in the sunshine gardening most of the WE, I am going to post some pictures of it to show you where I get my inspiration. It is full of colour most seasons and I work hard to keep it well stocked and tidy. Notice that I don’t name the plants, I only see colour!

            Pale peach 

              Acid green/orange 


               Yellow with green 

              Burgundy and green 





Even the fish were near the surface in the heat of the day. And the frogs were impossible to count, much like the tadpoles!


Whenever I have the grandchildren, it is always an excuse to do a bit of art/craft. As we were outside, I gave the each of them a root from the leeks which I had used to make soup. I just said it looked like hair and left them to it. This is what they created, I think there was a bit of copying going on but I love the results! Aw bless.
             Garden art 1
                Garden art 2









Sunday, 29 April 2018

BLOG 394

Blog 394
A lot is going on in my sewing world as usual but much is repeated processes as I continue to prepare exhibits for the Gresford show in June. As we are just still in April, it seems a long way off but in two days’ time, I will be able to say that the show is next month. EEK! Panic on! So I have started to join together some of the quilted squares of my scrap quilt. I am using a bright strip on the top and a patterned black on the back. I just have to be vigilant not to have colours repeated too close together and make sure that I create a chequer board effect on the back as I am using 2 backing fabrics. What could possibly go wrong! And I make no apologies for going over this method (again!) of joining ready quilted squares; everyone needs to know about it!
              The Block
The block is trimmed to 13 ½”. The front joining strip is cut at 13 ½” x 1” and the back joining strip at 13 ½” x 1 ½”.

                Joining strips
To join two blocks together you will need one front and one back strip and these will be sewn onto the lower edge of the first block. Place the front strip (1”) RS together onto the RS edge of the block with edges aligned and, AT THE SAME TIME, place the back strip (1 ½”) RS together onto the back of the same edge. Secure the strips with the pins placed at right angles to the edge for easy removal. Sew through all the layers with an exact ¼” seam allowance (the first) to attach both strips.

                  2 blocks and 2 strips

             Placing the strips

               Pinning the strips RS

Pinning the strips

                 First ¼” seam allowance
Leave the back strip lying where it is but press the top strip over to cover the seam. Place this block onto the second block with RS together, aligning the edge of the strip with the raw edges of the block and secure with vertical pins. Sew a second accurate ¼” seam to attach the strip to the second block. (In the picture my sewing foot is ¼” on both sides and it fits perfectly into the space. Accuracy is essential with this method!)

                Front joining strip

                Blocks RS together

               Aligned and pinned

                Second ¼” seam allowance
The 1” strip brings both of the raw edges together and they should fit perfectly (too large a seam allowance would make the edges overlap and too small would leave a space between the edges). On the back, fold the edge of the strip to the stitches and then fold it again to cover the joining seams. Hand-sew along the folded edge to hold it in place. I hope to make good progress on this over the next few days when I can’t get out into the garden.

                  WS raw edges level

                First fold

                 Second fold

 RS joining strip


Sunday, 22 April 2018

BLOG 393

Blog 393

                  Tess with daily squares
This week I have had quality garden time because the weather has been superb! I have been finishing the autumn cut-back, removing weeds, replacing lost plants, digging in compost and adding decorative bark. Exhausting but also very satisfying! The neighbour’s ewes are grazing the paddock … and wandering around the garden after they leaned on a gate that wasn’t fastened securely … and all’s well with my environmental world.

My creative world is a bit more frantic with the Gresford show very much in the front of my mind. Last week I made significant progress on my scrap quilt so this week I have dug out the wedding signature quilt which I started last November. All the names have been embroidered and I am now adding 1” strips to form a narrow border round each square. The gold stars will have maroon borders (all different) and the maroon stars gold.


              Wedding stars 

               Ironing surface 

I am sewing a scant ¼” seam, placing the WS of the blocks uppermost against the strip so I can see exactly where the needle is sewing. There is an exact place where two construction seams cross and I aim to sew a smidgeon clear of that place to make sure all my points are sharp! I am also trying to make sure no border fabrics are duplicated. Errors are easily made! I have yet to decide whether I will join these bordered blocks together with more background strips. This is indeed a work-in-progress and I hope to make steady progress this coming week.

              Sewing strips 



                    Bordered stars 

               Work in progress




Sunday, 15 April 2018

BLOG 392

Blog 392

I have a feast of colour for the eyes this week as I have been sewing at Suzette’s with other machine embroiderers. I learn so much and I love seeing their work develop over the weeks. Occasionally I ask if I can take photos for my blog and they generously agree. Pat, who owns three large boxes of embroidery threads, (organised by colour!) is working on a pair of grebes. I suspect that she needs so many threads to be able to ‘thread-paint’ her birds so exquisitely. Peggy, who must surely have the same amount of threads if not more (carried in large plastic bags!), is creating an lifelike owl, stems and ivy leaves to add to her textured portion of tree trunk. There is a mind boggling amount of detail and effort in all her constructed embroideries. And Suzette, an incredible thread artist, is working on a very large competition piece in her own inimitable style. I applaud you ladies!


             Thread envy



 Tree trunk

                 Blue tit

  Machine embroidery
And what did I do this week during my day at Suzette’s? I sat at my machine to complete all the foundation strips that I need for my Gresford quilt! It was a heaven-sent opportunity to catch up on myself and break the back of this quilt and I was grateful of the time away from home and other distractions to make valuable progress. And with the wet weather still keeping me from the garden, I spent more time constructing the block and adding borders. I am confident that this quilt will be completed for the June show now!


                Foundation piecing

             Block construction


  Border strips

             Sewing borders



I have also completed the 3 ½” daily squares for my daughter. They represent every day (and then some) from her initial diagnosis, through her operation and treatments until she was signed off this week. I said to her when she was diagnosed ‘When life deals you scraps, you make a quilt’. I rather hoped that she would do it! but she was very poorly a lot of the time and patchwork is really my chosen means of expression. So she was totally surprised and bowled over when I gave them all to her this week. What we are going to do with them next remains to be seen ……

             Daily squares