Wednesday, 27 August 2008

A little bit of this and a little bit of that

The 'must do' list is gradually being ticked with jobs done.   Paperwork sorted into manageable bundles.  Yesterday definitely a grand sorting day, so this afternoon I treated myself to some stitching for the Infinity Journal Quilt - subject Beach Combing.

All bits gathered together - pebbles block used for printing background cloth, ironed plastic bags, painted Bondaweb, dyed scrim, odds and bits from the beach - drift wood, shells, string. Laminated photographs from a trip to the coast, showing strata, shells, seaweed, and ammonites.

And now, for me, something completely different.   Can you see all the component parts!   Heavily free machine stitched.  Pretty pleased with the result.   Out of my comfort zone, but I think it meets the challenge.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Faffing about

Last week could be summed up with beginnings and endings.    On Saturday the marriage of my niece Harriet to Ian. A wonderful day;  the sun shone, the bride was beautiful and the groom handsome.   A grand family gathering from all corners of the globe.

The Festival of Quilts a must for Sunday.  Such a long day, but worth it.   So many amazing quilts, tempting offers from traders, and meeting up with 'far away' friends.    Lingered over Dorothy Caldwell's exhibits, drooled at SAQA stand, etc. etc. etc. So much to see, so little time.

On Monday the funeral of a dear friend and fellow quilter - Edyth Henry, one of the founder member's of the Quilters' Guild,  We were fellow students on the very first City & Guilds Patchwork and Quilting Course, way back in 1990! Was it really that long ago?!!! 

The last of the tie dye workshops at the Craft Ark.  Always a bit sad, since it means the end of summer -  which, it has to be said, really hasn't arrived yet.

To cheer things up a bit, some colourful Indian lanterns from Orissa

Bank holiday weekend with indifferent weather - a visit to Monkey World proved a diversion, although most of the monkeys seemed to be happier in than out.  I have made a start at shuffling paperwork, with more diversions in the way of colouring fabric with Markal sticks, laminating photos, a little bit of dyeing and general procrastination.

Lists of 'things that must be done' stuck on the wall. Action week to follow.  I need sun and blue skies.   Thank goodness the Indian trip is getting closer!  

Friday, 15 August 2008

Aha - Colour!

All that green - too much!    So now the August Journal Quilt - that's better.

Utility Quilt - machine and hand pieced, hand quilted, dyed threads and fabric
with a little commercial fabric thrown in. 

Detail - a little bit of darning and a 'tufty' tassel

We are all used to seeing beautiful decorative quilts from India.  In Kutch the wealth of textiles is eye popping.   Beautiful work everywhere, however, in the villages you can also see everyday quilts airing in the sun.

In village houses, or bungas, quilts are stored in huge piles, new and best ones on top.  The further you go down the pile, the older the quilts.   Some are recycled as the fillings for new quilts.   Tops are pieced, or wholecloth with applique.   Lots of hand quilting, big stitches, utilitarian you could say, just to hold the layers together.

The back of a well worn quilt

Embroidered and pieced quilts

A shopping opportunity - Ludia, Kutch, Gujarat

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Sorting out loose ends

Remember this bundle of green?   Posted in June, the result of a workshop, ready to be washed and ironed.    All done, and put away before we escaped to Greece for a few days of sun.

Yesterday was spent transforming the fabric into bunting - 16 metres in all.   I tried to take a photo outside.  It's blowing a gale and threatening rain - so not a good idea!

My year seems to fall into a natural pattern, rather like school terms!  Early Autumn - workshops, dyeing velvet scarves.   Trip to India.   Winter - research and development, doesn't that sound grand!   This year I escaped the cold dark days in January with another trip to India.   Might have to consider this option again.  I felt quite energized on my return.  Spring/Summer - workshops, indigo dyeing, stitching in the sun, and eventually catching up with my least favorite occupation, paperwork.

That's the usual pattern, although this year I seem to be taking more workshops in the late Autumn - and research starts early for an Exhibition in January 2009.   

Tickets booked for India.  Off mid October to Delhi and then new destinations - Varanasi, Kanha National Park - we're hoping to see more tigers, Orcha, and back to Delhi.  The maps and guide books at the ready for planning the trip.   As usual, it will be a combination of plane, train and automobile - perhaps elephant too!

Friday, 8 August 2008

Indigo day

I take about three workshops with children during the summer holidays.   Usually tie dye with Procion dyes.  Time to introduce them to the magical indigo vat.   We had a wonderful afternoon, and all went well.   Such excitement in the process, and then undoing the folding, wrapping, tying etc.

We all went home with smiles and very blue hands.

For once I actually had time to take some photos.

One tee shirt ready to go, and one small piece doing it's thing

The pattern of the day, plus what we like to call an explosion!

Workstation and happy students

Monday, 4 August 2008

Threads and tatters

At a workshop I took in Devon a student mentioned a Rag Market in Honiton.   Well, that needed investigating.

There is a circuit of Antique Textiles Fairs in the West County, full of vintage fabrics, French linen, old quilts, trims and buttons.  All very yummy, and expensive.   The Rag Market was set up to 'move on' old stock.

Lis and I set of early for the hour's drive and arrived at opening time - the hall was already heaving!   A veritable treasure trove and feast for the eyes.    

I was very restrained, just purchased some linen sheets for the indigo vat, and a fabulous bundle of printed Indian (yes, I know, probably have enough already, but who can resist) loose woven cotton scraps.   

A throw in the making to keep me warm in the winter, since it seems we are all going to have to cut back on the heating.  Perhaps I should start knitting long socks - missed out on a very large cone of wool - but there again, maybe not!

All sorts - bandani (spotted) Indian wrap and a peep of cowboy boots in the corner

Fabrics from France and Japan, plus American quilts

Happy shoppers

Bundles of indigo and madder fabrics from France

Linen embroidered purse

Time for lunch in the sunshine, then we hit the charity shops.    Altogether a grand day out.

Friday, 1 August 2008


Sometimes you get the feeling that you have been there before.   Note comment on last post from my son William.

Bicycles - a tricky subject, and a bit of a challenge.   Casting around for ideas, looking for reference, I came across a sketch which I adapted for the JQ.    

All a bit head scratching, what layer goes first etc.   As I stitched a feeling of deja vue was getting stronger.

On finishing, I thought of William and a rather fantastic batik he made when at school.  It was pretty impressive!
Even more so now.  All those gears were a bit of a nightmare.

Well, you might have guessed that it is the same sketch that informed his piece.   Very strange, out of all the books in the house, we both chose the same one - with a few years in between.

Will's batik is in the languishing in the back of a wardrobe apparently.  When he next visits it is going to be interesting dig it out of it's hiding place and consider the two pieces side by side!