Sunday, 31 May 2020

BLOG 498

BLOG 498
What a hot week we have had! I just love the sun and the cheery brightness it brings but it was so hot this week that it wasn’t conducive to being ‘in the garden’ gardening as opposed to ‘in the garden’ relaxing! The soil is so dry and hard packed that it is unworkable. The plants are just doing their seasonal thing with the help of some judicious watering so we are largely leaving them to it and enjoying their bounty. Not being outside has meant that I am well employed inside, just keeping cool and enjoying my playroom. Below you can see the progress I have made on my turtle this past week. During the colouring process, all the fused bits were cut out and pinned onto the Master Pattern on the design wall. Displaying the pieces on the design wall in front of me is the only way I can judge the progress of colours and I get a good idea of how the turtle is going to look when it is complete and what sort of impact it is going to make.
             Pattern progress 1

            Pattern progress 2

The next stage was to use the Master Pattern to position all those fused pieces onto the background fabric. This involved removing them all and temporarily placing them back onto the Working Pattern which was the reverse image. (Note to self: draft both patterns onto tracing paper so both can be used on both sides!)
             Pattern pieces on working pattern

I then placed the Master Pattern onto the background fabric on the ironing board and I peeled back a small section to expose the fabric underneath. I took the backing paper off the individual pattern pieces and placed them where they were to go, always double checking their positon by re-covering them with the peeled back Master Pattern.
             Master pattern on background

             Placement detail

             Discarded paper backing

So far so good! Those with eagle eyes may notice that I have replaced the dark fabric under the chin with a medium tone which I much prefer.

               Completed image

And of course when I start to play with fabric, I start to create scraps. And so the cycle begins again…. Will it ever end???


At this stage I need to think where I am going next with this piece of work. I have often said that if I knew what a piece of work was going to look when it was finished, I wouldn’t ever get started! I need to feel my way instinctively as I proceed and work spontaneously. So while I ponder on this I have brought out two Linus quilt tops that needed quilting and finishing. One was done with free motion quilting, the other with straight lines sewn using a walking foot.

              Linus quilt layering

             Linus quilt quilting
            Linus quilt complete

                Another Linus quilt









Sunday, 24 May 2020

BLOG 497

BLOG 497
First, I want to share a picture with you; it’s the collection of infinity scarves that inspired me to make one last week. These were done by quilting chum Veronica and you can see why they were inspirational. These are heading for Sweden!


             Veronica’s infinity scarves

The focus of my week has been trying to work out how to interpret my doodles in fabric. As soon as I am in a relaxed state, like listening to a speaker or just watching TV, I start to form these mindless images. They look like fractured mosaics (my daughter once said that a psychologist would have a field day analysing them!!) and I have always done them.

               Mindless doodles

I have been influenced by them before, years ago, when I started to make an ‘in the wall’ series of wall hangings. The turtle below, made from 2 batiks on a black background, is an example from that series.

             ‘In the wall’ Turtle


So I thought I’d revisit the technique and I tried a picture on baking parchment, just drawing as I went along and feeling my way round the idea. I tried to use ready-fused fabric but this was decidedly slow as I had to cut all the shapes to size as I went along. These pieces were no more than an inch in size so it was extremely painstaking!



And as I continued to play, I started to wonder whether my doodling was best left as just doodling! But then, as I didn’t want to be defeated, I decided to revisit one of my old patterns. This is something I rarely have the chance to do because I am in the habit of destroying my original patterns when I have finished a piece of work. This means that my interpretation is the one and only and it protects my individuality. Why I still have this pattern I don’t know but I was grateful for it because it kept my creative juices flowing.

             Turtle pattern
Last time I chose black for the background but this time I decided on a light batik; it will be interesting to compare the results. And I wanted to continue working with bright colours so I chose batiks that had a variety of colours and values.



I also had a second pattern which showed the reverse of the image. I used this one to trace the shapes straight onto a fusible. This turned out to be a far easier way of working than using ready fused fabric and it allowed me to choose the areas/colours of the batiks that I wanted. This will keep me happy for the rest of lockdown!

             Fusible tracing

            Step 1



Step 2





And finally, in the warm weather this week, Tess and her family decided to have a bbq. I usually contribute marinated chicken on those occasions when we are invited but with lockdown we had to keep our distance. As they were preparing to eat, Ella said she missed Grammy’s manicured chicken! Here’s my interpretation of this!!!!


Sunday, 17 May 2020

BLOG 496

Blog 496
I don’t know about you but I am finding that one week seems to blend into another during lockdown; it’s rather like being retired!! We still do our daily walk, I read a lot and the garden has never had so much attention over the past weeks. But I can’t for the life of me tell you where all the rest of the time has gone. I make sure that I know when it’s Friday because that’s gin and tonic day and I look forward to it all week! (Someone once said that if I enjoyed it so much why didn’t I have one every day? I replied that if I had one every day, I wouldn’t enjoy it so much!!) And with all this extra time we have been granted, I seriously thought that I would be turning out masterpiece after masterpiece. Not so! If there is nothing in the way of competitions/exhibitions to aim for, there is no incentive and I have a house full of utility quilts already. I have Linus quilts and scrap quilts waiting to be quilted but nothing terribly special in the creative pipeline. I am thinking my way through some potential technique at the moment but nothing that can be recorded yet in this blog.

Today was our NZ neighbour’s 50th birthday so her husband, a computer whiz, organised and chaired a zoom meeting with 60+ participants from around the world. We were part of it … eventually … when we had sussed out the methodology! … and it was great to be part of such a jolly occasion. We all had our bunting and balloons around us and also candles on our individual birthday cakes. We started the quiz but, on one occasion when I left the room, my BH didn’t continue to answer the questions so I guess we came in a spectacular last!! We didn’t hang about to find out! I made her a little wall hanging of felted houses (2 ½”) to remind her of her birthday under house arrest; these are the ones I chose but I forgot to snap the completed hanging.
             House wall hanging

One of my quilty friends got in touch last week to show me a picture of the 3 infinity scarves that she had made. I loved the look of them and was intrigued about the method so she kindly sent me the details (thanks Veronica!) I cut all my squares to create a charm pack of Batiks and here’s the finished product.

            Batik squares

              Sewing order

              Infinity scarf

I also made a few more face masks because it looks like we’re going to be asked to wear them when we are out and about amongst larger groups of people. I’m happy as I am at home for the moment and I am enjoying this much more relaxed and unpressured lifestyle.

             Face masks


Sunday, 10 May 2020

BLOG 495

BLOG 495
This week I decided that I needed to make a birthday present and card for a young friend who was having her 40th birthday under lockdown conditions. It’s such a shame she won’t be able to do all the things that were planned, by her family and with her family. That said, it still makes it a rather special birthday because the people involved will make an effort in other ways and it will certainly be memorable for that reason! The only place I have shopped in the last 8 weeks is Tesco’s and that proved a baron place for a suitable card. I know you can order cards on-line and personalise them too but I am not that organised. And, as far as the present is concerned, I decided to use some of the small felted houses that I have been making and accumulating over the past few weeks. I like the idea of making a little wall hanging of houses for her birthday as a reminder that she spent it under house arrest! It just seems appropriate. Because it was small, it was simple to make and I am pleased to report that it was very well received!


Felted houses wall hanging
It required very little, just a piece of fabric, a thin strip of wadding, 5 house blocks and a hanger.




I folded the fabric in half, RS together, placed it on top of the wadding and sewed round three edges. I left the top edge (where there is no wadding) open for turning through. I also shaped the bottom edges by angling the stitches across the corner and re-enforcing them.




           Shaped corners

               Ready to turn

Once I had turned it through I wrapped the un-wadded edge around the wooden baton and caught it down by hand.

                Adding the hanger

The little houses were positioned on top and caught at the corners. It measured 15” x 3” when finished.

                Completed mini hanger

The birthday card was a variation of one that I had seen on-line. The birthday girl has a Labrador called Crumble. She is a really happy dog who barks a running commentary to whatever is going on around her. This is my impression of what is going on inside her brain!

                 Birthday card

 And finally, with the prevailing hint that the Government is about to suggest that we wear a face mask when we go out, I decided it was time to make some. There are many tutorials on line and they are simple to construct. I used Batik fabric because it is tightly woven. I made one mask each that was just 2 layers of fabric and another each that had an extra lining layer. Job done!

              His/hers face masks