Sunday, 22 October 2017

BLOG 368

Blog 368
Here is the sequence of work this week on my Welsh quilt. I cut the rest of the pieces from the black felt to give some sort of form to the project. This showed me just how much I have yet to do! However, having worked the longest outer borders first meant that I felt that I have broken the back of this project. And there is still the fervent hope that all the pieces will fit together easily in the end!!

               Quilt layout

Having already done samples for some of the repeated sections meant that I knew what I was doing and I didn’t have to make any further creative decisions. I could happily motor on!

              Repeated sections
With reference to the design I drafted on graph paper, I continued to flesh out the rest of the sections. I added the appliques and detail and covered them with the painted fusible ready for to take the layer of sheers. Here’s the progress to date. I will cover all the remaining sections before slumping at my sewing machine to do the extensive stitch work with black thread. Only then will I start the soldering process. I am loving this quilt …. a lot!

             Sequence 1

             Sequence 2

             Sequence 3

                Sequence 4

             Sequence 5



Sunday, 15 October 2017

BLOG 367

Blog 367
I left school 50 years ago this year and I have just returned from a school reunion this weekend. I attended Ulverston Grammar school in the southern Lake District and our year was the last year of the grammar school system as the school became a comprehensive in the autumn term. Mr. Longbotham,(alias Drag!), the old and very traditional headmaster, retired and the upper 6th all went off into the big wide world with aspirations in our head, hope in our hearts, and trepidation in our bellies. I went off to Anstey PE college and then on VSO to the S Pacific and then became a quilter; who would have forecast that chain of events? This has been our 4th reunion: 30 years on, 40 years on, 45 (time was getting short!) years on and 50 years on. It was lovely seeing everyone there and chatting to them. And isn’t it amazing how most people’s lives can be condensed into a few well-chosen sentences in conversation. Choose your sentences with care because that is what ultimately defines you to the rest of the world!
This week I have continued to work on my alternative Welsh quit. I was waiting for some more synthetic felt from ‘Artvango’ and it arrived over the WE so there is nothing holding me back from making this quilt now. I have continued to add stitch detail to the panels already completed and I have done a trial sample for another section and corner for reference. This project will just keep evolving steadily now.
               Stitch detail 1

               Stitch detail 2

             Inner border

              Corner motif

Coming up next time is an idea for a Christmas project which I will be teaching at my local craft group in a couple of weeks’ time. It is a reversible wrapped cushion. One side will be made from fabrics which match the everyday d├ęcor and the other side will be made from Xmas fabrics. It would make an original gift for someone special.

                Xmas cushion front


              Xmas cushion back

                 Reverse pad

                Reverse cushion





Sunday, 8 October 2017

BLOG 366

BLOG 366
I have done more work on the border strips this week. The patterns I am using on this contemporary piece of work are normally used as quilting designs and they were sourced from traditional Welsh quilts. Instead of quilting them though, I am appliqueing the designs onto the felt background. As I added more layers of colour I realised that I was losing sight of the designs so I made the decision to define the shapes with a strong machine stitch. I used a chalk marker to define the lines surrounding the strips and the chalk disappeared as I was sewing.

Outer borders

            In progress
On my Bernina sewing machine, I have used Stitch 709 for the lines which are easy to follow and Stitch 713 for more complex shapes. Beyond that all the extra detail will be added by free-machine stitching and a soldering iron.

          Stitch 1

                Stitch 2

            Corner squares

Here’s a reminder of the effects of free-motion stitching and soldering on the useful samples that I did when I was thinking through my working methods. Some design details have changed in translation.

           Border motif



Sunday, 1 October 2017

BLOG 365

Blog 365
For the last 3 weeks I have been teaching some members of my village craft group how to make a memorabilia box. They are a very able and enthusiastic group, willing to try any sort of craft. We did the simplest construction (without a decorative lid) and here’s mine which is now ‘in stock’ until the next occasion comes around when I need a suitable gift.
             Memorabilia box outside

           Memorabilia box inside
Our house has a long corridor which just lends itself to displaying quilts on floor-standing wooden rails. On each of the four 18”-deep window sills, there is a prolific house plant which eventually outgrows its space and dies from the centre outwards. So to regenerate the plant every year I need to take loads of cuttings and replant them in the greenhouse. Soon they start to flourish and they are brought inside again to make a lovely show of colour against the quilts lining the corridor.


            Re planted
This week most of my studio time has been taken up with progress on the alternative Welsh quilt (one day I will come up with an appropriate name for it). Although it will probably only take you a few seconds to read what I am writing and see what I am showing, just remember that this constitutes a considerable amount of creative time for me!

           Border strips

I love to be where my ironing surface is, as it is a sea of colour. I am surrounded by it and it makes me very happy .What’s not to like eh?

            Colourful environment



Sunday, 24 September 2017

BLOG 364

Blog 364
September has been a month of contrasts for our family. It’s a case of 1 wedding, 2 funerals and an operation! I am not personally affected in that I am already married, I haven’t died and I have not had an operation but I am emotionally evolved with the people concerned. So there has been little progress with my projects and all I can do is show you the ‘story’ so far. I have decided that I am going to start with the long outer borders on the ‘alternative’ Welsh quilt.
I marked the felt in sections, to coincide with the sections of the pattern, using a chalk marker. This made it easier to position the pattern pieces when they were cut out from fused fabric.

            Marked sections

I simplified the pattern down to the bare essentials; there are so many layers that small detail gets lost in translation. Once the pattern elements have been stuck in place, the painted fusible is ironed over the top.

             Pattern and fusible

When the paper backing from the fusible is removed, another layer of colour has been added over the whole design.
              Overlaid fusible
The fusible layer allows for the addition of the final colourful layer. This is made up of small bits of colourful sheers, thus adding more depth to the piece of work.


                 Layered strip











Sunday, 17 September 2017

BLOG 363

Blog 363

We had an unplanned adventure yesterday. What started out as a pleasant ride along the coast to the island of Anglesey, ended with hours of waiting in a carpark to be ‘recovered’ by the RAC! We were at Llangefni to see a new exhibition ‘Birds of Wales’ and our automatic Land Rover, which hasn’t ever let us down before, just wouldn’t start for our return journey. Maddening! It was all to do with the electrics apparently and we had to make our way home in a courtesy car with gears which was a bit of a challenge. We are looking forward to being reunited with our LR eventually and probably expensively! That apart the exhibition, in the Kyffin Williams gallery at Oriel Ynys Mon, was well worth the bother and here are some of the exhibits to illustrate the variety of talent on display.


             Chainsaw art

                 Sparrows in oil


               Silk painting

             Wood carving


           Acrylic painting








                Stone carving






              Creative pebbles


             Willow weaving

Feather painting


Rog with a big bird!

The main reason I went to Llangefni was to see the work of Suzette Smart. I am very familiar with her embroideries as I sew alongside her every couple of weeks so I understand the complex processes that go into producing them. I am a great fan and think that her work is fascinating! Most of the work on display in the gallery is for sale so get along there if you are in the vicinity and enjoy this delightful and very varied exhibition. Here are some snippets of Suzette’s detailed machine embroideries.



              Framed pictures




              Blue tit