Sunday, 30 March 2008

Summer Time

The clock has sprung forward and it is now British Summer Time.  Wonderful.  Lovely light mornings and evenings when so much more can be done.

Today Dorset was definitely sunny and warm.   Keith and I took a trip to Portland Bill and the The Portland Bird Observatory.  At last I could try out my new camera.  No bird pictures here, they were to obscure, instead some greenery and sea.

Moss on an old elderberry bush - nice texture!

Bright green angelica

The blackthorne bushes were full of blossom and heavy with the sound of bees.

Just of Portland Bill, the sea a gorgeous blue with a gentle swell to add a dramatic touch.

Feeling quite invigorated with the sunshine and warmth - perhaps I would rather be here for a while!

Saturday, 29 March 2008

A Little Rant and a Blue Door

It's been a little while since I 'blogged' or much else for that matter! Lots of displacement therapy including housework.   This also lead to the clearing up of work room.   Yet another bag bin bag of 'stuff' no longer required on journey.  This should, in theory, mean extra space, but somehow that doesn't seen to be the case.

I did find in my indigo box bits of fabric dyed last summer, including bigger pieces - enough to make a small quilt.  It just had to be made.   

Piecing the quilt made me think of last summer, and indigo workshops in the sun.  We managed fairly well, only one was a tad wet in the afternoon, but it was tropical rain!

When I was teaching near the Cape in South Africa last May I took a two day indigo workshop.   Now you would think the weather would be fantastic.  Guess what?. ok it was their autumn, we had the coldest, wettest, windiest time ever.  The situation was saved by wrapping the indigo vat in layers of newspaper and placed in a bin bag.

Having pieced the top, it was time to prepare the 'sandwich'.  Reached for the 505 spray, and found it empty.   Used up at my last workshop.   Reluctant to revert to the traditional way of tacking the layers together the only solution was to visit a well known Craft Shop beginning with "H".    They no longer stock it!!!!
It is so sad that all the little speciality shops in the area have closed down, leaving only one major retailer locally,charging outrageous prices. The good news is that I was directed to a 'newish' needlework shop in Wimborne, Golden Hands. It stocks 505 and other sewing essentials.  Hurrah, my first port of call in future. 

I have lists.  Most include dyeing - velvet and muslin scarves for Create, fabric to stitch.  
Breakdown screen printing, and experiments with discharge dyeing are up there too.  My 'wet room' is great, but weather dependent - cold unless the sun shines, and, with a pvc roof, noisy when it rains.   Hoping for warm April sun and just a few showers!

It is also time to consider entries to P&Q Exhibitions.   The Blue Door will definitely be at Malvern.
A very special wall hanging, made by members of Just 10 - our ex C&G group, Donna, Kay, Pauline, Celia, Joyce, and myself.  We have been together for more years than I care to mention, and this is our very first group quilt.  We took our portion of the image, the only criteria was that the colour and shape was crucial.   A total free hand in our interpretation, no conferring. When we all got together with our finished square, just look what we had done!  Amazing!



Monday, 17 March 2008

Rainy Days

What to do when the weather outside is totally uninspiring?
Get out the dyes, of course. Spent a very happy day preparing threads for dyeing, making up the dyes, and then making a very creative mess.

That's better.

Go on to Amazon and check out cameras.  Oh dear, I appear to have bought one!  Cannon Powershot A650.  Arrived safely, now set up and ready to go.   The sun is trying very hard today, but could do better. Perhaps tomorrow will bring a sun shiney day and a trip to the coast to play with new toy.

Of course, there is the last project on the go to finished.  3" x 27" strip for the Button Up Quilt challenge.   It's fused applique, mixed dyed fabric and free machine embroidery.  

That's the 'to do' list completed, now to concentrate on the next month or two.
I have workshops booked with groups in the West Country, plus lots going on at Walford Mill Craft Centre.   I m taking part in Create - Contemporary Craft Show, do check out the website for more information. Contemporary craft work by local and national makers - a feast for the eyes   At the end of May I am running a  two day Indigo workshop, then during the summer school holidays, tie dye and indigo workshops for children.  Always great fun.

During Dorset Arts Week (24/5 - 7/6, yes it is actually two weeks!) I have been invited to join Nina Squires (pastel artist) and Jenny Adams (wood and mixed media artist) at Stewarts Garden Centre, Broomhill, Holt, Wimborne.  Apart from an exhibition of our work, there will be workshops for children and adults.

I can feel another list coming on.


Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Busy, busy

Workshop day today, teaching Indian Stitchery, which I describe as a crazy Indian sample. Techniques include mirror work, Kantha and Banjara.   A lot to take in.  Some exciting work at the end of the day.  I look forward to seeing finished work eventually!

I have been working my sewing machine to destruction.    Completed my February JQ - Peacocks.   Design based on one of many depicting said bird -'national' bird of Rajasthan.   Fused appliqaue and free machining.  Tick.

Saturday, day off to visit Stitching Exhibition at Exeter.  As Honourable Member of Happy Patchers they kindly invited me to join the coach party.  Ages since I have been to this show.  Happy Patchers (0f Wimborne, Dorset) had their own 'exhibition' and it was excellent.  Such a variety of work and styles.  Well done them.   The venue was a tad cold,  but it was great to meet up with friends from far and wide. 

Back to the sewing machine, but this time only to tidy up.  My March JQ 'Bandanna Breakdown" is 'breakdown' screen printed - using up thickened dyes.   It is heavily hand stitched - my own dyed threads, of course!  Have you noticed that colour is creeping back!

Time to put my feet up, and  consider tomorrow.  A day at Walford Mill with my friends.  Lots of cake, coffee and talk.
Might thread a needle.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Catching up

Two weeks since my return to the UK.   Clear blue skies a bonus, as were the signs of spring in the garden - remains of snowdrops, loads of primroses, violets, early iris, and not forgetting my white jasmine which has gone slightly mad, or confused since it has been flowering for a complete year!

The garden looks sadly neglected.  Still remains of autumn leaves to clear.  I did take advantage of the nice weather to coppice the hazel at the bottom of the garden and clear the frog pond of decaying leaves.  This task was well timed - the next day a large lump of frog spawn appeared.

Apart from domestic duties it was great to meet up with my friends and catch up with all the news.
First meeting was with Infinity - we are a 'contemporary' quilters' group.   One of the projects on the go is a small group quilt for the Button Up Quilt, to be completed by the end of April.

Before I left, Jean and I dyed a mixed selection of fabrics for the group.  We all have a 3" x 27" strip to stitch.   Five have already been completed, we need nine in all, I think.  So back to the drawing
board to come up with a design.   Out of the hat these elements were chosen - India, triangles, and folded fabric.  (That was lucky!).  This is how far I am at the moment!

I also belong to the Contemporary Quilters' Group, which is part of the Quilter's Guild.  I have signed up to the Journal Quilt Project 2008.  One quilt per month 12" x 12".   Good idea at the time, but, of course, having been out of the country, I was already 6 weeks behind.   

With a series of workshops coming up, craft fairs and Dorset Arts Week, the only way to tackle this situation is to throw myself straight into to it - so in reverse order ....................

Sample, fabrics and threads for February Journal Quilt.  
It looks a bit bright - flash photography!

January Journal Quilt - done and dusted, and up on CQG website.
Based on clay decorations in traditional Kutch Bhungo's (houses).
Machine trapunto, Italian cording and machine stitching.
The interesting thing is that I love colour - question, how come
this quilt it white?  Perhaps a rest from the colours of Indian
or inspiration drawn from the ice outside my window?   
Normality will resume shortly!