Saturday, 20 April 2013

Sunny Saturday

Signs that spring is truly here at last as we have a lovely batch of frogspawn in the pond. I took this photograph earlier in the week, today the little fullstops are looking more like little commas.

However I cannot go long without mentioning my quilt progress. I drew up each panel to scale on squared paper and used this to cut out the fabric.

Some of you will be familiar with these images by now.

Here is the first draft pinned up on my design wall.

Meanwhile I have had a lovely two days with Ruth Issett at Art Van Go. This time we were working on fabric.  Although it doesn't show, the example below is printed on pale blue fabric.

We used fabric paint. Day one was very busy and a bit messy!

On day two we used our printed fabric to put together some little samples.

We chose one piece to work on.

Day two was busy too, but not so messy.  Ruth is an excellent tutor and very encouraging.

Back to that quilt. I printed the border with a foam block I made of a pattern of branches.

Below are all the panels ready to be stitched together  - first I have to iron down the leaves.
I'm thinking of including some words in one of the panels. I came across a wonderful passage from Sylvia Plath's book The Bell Jar.  My copy dating from the early seventies holds many memories as it belongs to a friend who was suffering with mental illness. Under very difficult circumstances we lost touch and I have never been able to return the book to him. The passage in the book refers to a fig tree. Esther, the central character is imagining herself sitting in a large fig tree filled with luscious fruit. Each fig represents a wonderful future; something she may become. However she is starving to death, sitting amongst the bounty as she cannot decide which fruit to choose, and they turn purple and drop, rotten, from the tree before she can make up her mind. I'll let you know what I decide.

Annoyingly my back is really playing up at the moment so I'm not sure when I shall be back at the sewing machine. I really want to be doing some work in the garden or out and about, but I'm afraid I haven't been able to do either.

Meanwhile here's Marvin looking a little bored.

I hope you're able to enjoy the spring weather. Have a good week.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Still working on THAT quilt!

I'm nearly ready to start, honest. Here is my "design" back of the door where I have pinned up some samples. I've planned it all out, so just about to start cutting - gulp. It would have been quicker to build a new Olympic Stadium.

Meanwhile I tried a fabric painting experiment. Egyptian Cotton drawn on with a Sharpie pen and then coloured in with water soluble Derwent Inktense pencils. I painted over each section with as little water as possible to stop the colours bleeding. When it was dry I tested Derwent's claim the pencils become water proof by running the whole thing under the tap... and it worked. Lots of potential.

Next week I'm going on another workshop with Ruth Issett on fabric printing so I haved dyed a batch of mixed blues to work on.

I'll let you see what I've done with it next week.

I then realised I needed some more greens for my quilt, so rather than have another dyeing session I bought a lovely selection from  Maggi's hand dyed fabrics. They are greener than they look here.

I've also put together another set of little bird cards for my Etsy shop.

As I type I can hear the Midwife Toads bleeping in the garden. That must mean the evening temperature is warming up at last. Usually they are making a racket much earlier in the year. We were sort of hoping they wouldn't survive the long cold winter, but they are back!
Midwife toad, snapped a few years ago - noisy but cute, foreign invaders who've colonised my neighbourhood.

Hope all is right with you, and you are enjoying a bit of spring.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Catch up

First of all I would like to say hello to my new followers,  I seem to have gained some over the last month.  It would be lovely to hear what  you think. At this rate you will be bored to tears so I had better get on with it ... I haven't been idle, although I never seem to get anywhere. First of all I haven't given up writing my daily diary.

 Following an idea I picked up from a workshop I didn't attend at the NEC stitch show, I needle felted these moth brooches onto a pelmet vilene base, they're in my Etsy shop.

I have also stitched these needle cases for an Etsy customer, I hope she still wants them.

Meanwhile I am trying desperately to get to work on my final quilt for C&G which has to be based on appliqué work. I've been at it since the new year.  That is the good and bad point of working on-line, a flexible deadline means I have been able to accommodate family/health problems, but it also leaves me open to procrastination.  However I hope I am getting somewhere at last, thanks to lovely support from Linda Kemshall.  
I sent her this iPad drawing and the sketchbook pages exploring composition.

She liked this shape taken from a photograph of a gate at Luton Hoo Walled Garden. She and Laura also always say that anything you can draw in your sketchbook can be reproduced as a quilt...

I wasn't sure whether I had the skills to appliqué this shape. Lying in bed trying to sleep, thinking about quilting, as you do, it suddenly occurred to me to cut out the negative shapes, and appliqué them.

I made a double page spread in my sketchbook, using the cut outs and then made a larger version as a  quilted sampler.
I am hoping that my raw edge appliqué and sketchy free machine stitching will be an acceptable method for my final piece, as this reflects my style of drawing much more than beautifully sewn down pieces edged with satin stitch. I am really pleased with this little sample as I feel it is totally 'me'. I am aiming to use lots of rust stained fabric for the background.

There is still some planning and sampling to try out before I begin, so I really ought to get on with it, rather than writing this blog!!

April stretches ahead like a couple of blank pages, I wonder where I'll be when this is filled in.

Have a good week,