Thursday, 31 December 2009

A tale of two quilts

In 1986 Nic was still at University.  In the normal way of things I took over his room.  During vacations I had to make a hasty retreat, well not so hasty, boxes of bits everywhere.  In one box I found a pile of dyed fabric, experiments.   I had just started 'playing' and at that time not many dyeing books were available.  So I had fun.  Such pale colours - I had a lot to learn.   I pieced them all, free cutting, with a vague Log Cabin pattern.   

I love old Welsh quilts - filled with carded sheep's wool; the utilitarian quilts of India, stitched together randomly, and quilted to hold the layers together.   So this quilt has, possibly, Warm and Natural wadding, and a plain cotton backing.   It's quilted from the back with big stitches.  The back could be a whole cloth quilt.   

I love this quilt, it's randomness, the texture - over the years it is now getting that old 'lumpy' worn look.   I called it Indian Comforter - Winter (and it does!)  There is also a Summer Comforter, Thermofax wadding, much lighter. also hand stitched.  The colours on this one were really bright. No more pale colours for me.   This quilt was sold and is living in a cottage somewhere in Dorset.  

A detail of the quilting, seen only as points of colour

So now we come to 2009.  I have my own room, what a joy to settle at last with my 'stuff'.   I still continue to experiment with dyeing, moving on to screen printing, and the beloved Indigo vats.   Trips to India inspire, and I sometimes get to 'play' with master craftsmen, or at least watch the process of their craft.   I actually take dyeing workshops now, and I guess I am so lucky doing what I want to do, passing on knowledge and learning from students.   Never going to be rich, but as long as I have enough money to continue with my work, and then some over to travel to India I am as happy as happy can be!

The old shirts (pillow cases, kurtas, or anything white laying unattended) quilt completed.  Dyed, waxed, overdyed;  free cut and pieced;  Soft and Elegant wadding this time, and machine quilted with simple (not so) straight lines.   My dyeing skills have improved!   

These two quilts gave/give me such pleasure.   Just going for it, having fun and not sticking to any rules!   I can piece precisely if I want to, I am a Virgo after all - yeh, I might have broken out, and machine quilt pretty well too. It's good to know how to break the rules sometimes

I'm going to call this one Blue Moon, as this is the evening of such a moon.   It will be part of Raw Talent, the family exhibition - see link bar.   Guess this is only going to happen once in a Blue Moon.  

A Good New Year to you all.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Boxing Day

Rayna asked for an explanation.   Traditionally Alms (charity) 
Boxes were placed in churches to receive gifts for the poor.  
These were opened on Boxing Day and the contents
distributed to the deserving of the parish.   

It is also St. Stephen's Day - patron saint of horses and
sport.  The hunting scenes of Christmas cards are now
history - the sport was banned in recent years.   Lots of
football matches in rain and snow.   There might be
boxing going on too - who knows?!!

The recycled shirt quilt is almost finished.   Half quilted, by
machine - I need to have it completed (with other things)
by next Tuesday.   Not a straight line in sight, great.
The colour should be a bit more toward turquoise - taken
using flash 'cos it is very dark and very wet outside.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Family gathering

 Back from a trip to deliver presents to our family.
We stayed with Will, Juliet, and young Benjamin
who is now looking about and really smiling.  

A wonderful carol service at Hampton Court 
Palace,which took the form of a walk about.  
Through various courtyards, corridors, and 
spooky herb gardens.  No sighting of any
 ghosts.  A very atmospheric evening -  cold 
enough to notice,  with a flurry of snow 
falling down through the beam of spotlights. 

Today my sister Lesley with Lottie and Tim, 
and my niece Harriet with Harry and Albie
drove up from Berkshire to join us for
mince pies and presents.

Now home, having driven through rain and
sleet, we are putting our feet up for the rest
of the day, ready for tomorrow's celebrations.

With good wishes to one and all.
Peace and Love

Friday, 18 December 2009

old shirts

Earlier this year I treated myself to a Batik
Wax Pot. This week was time to get down
to business. The recycled shirts have been
dyed, over dyed and the final process,
a touch of batik.

Here's one block, free cut and pieced.

Ages since I've gathered a large selection
of oddments and recycled fabrics. What
initially seems a huge pile quickly becomes
small. I have a feeling I am going to have
another forage today for more plain shirts,
old pillow cases etc.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

The last Journal Quilt of the year

Winter Leaf

Discharged dyed cotton through
vilene stencil. Machine stitched
before the blue border was
rolled with white textile paint.

The back is equally good!

Monday, 14 December 2009

it's not raining

Cold, clear, slightly frosty and the sun is shining - perfect.

Three weeks ago I was set for a dyeing and printing session.
Other things intervened! However, although December is
traditionally my hibernation month, I am making up for lost time.

It's pretty cold in the conservatory, dyes are kept in the
warmth of my room, and cloth is batched in a tray on the
floor. Several short dyeing sessions before I freeze,
then back in the warm. Layers of clothes, thick socks,
and scarves help.

This is a small section of a large piece - dyed for cutting into

Over dyeing a breakdown piece - I like, reminds me of India.

This piece was dark and light peach (! i don't do peach) I like it now.
Over dyed with turquoise and navy

A tray of cloth - recycled shirts gathered from my men and myself
over the past year or so. A 'family' quilt in the offing.

Finally a little peep of my Indian slippers - worn with socks, good grief.

Monday, 7 December 2009

situation almost normal

November was not the best of months. We got off to a good start,
but then it all went down hill. Keith's operation was a success,
he's still recuperating - doing well. Shed loads of rain and grey
days, broken up with various new duties. Not a lot achieved.

So, December. Deadlines looming, not even thinking about
the festive season. Fabric, dyes print paste ready to go.
To get me on the roll again, I start the week giving a talk
and slide show of my Indian Journey in February. A local
quilting group, and it's their Christmas party. I can feel
several mince pies coming on.

A little show for you of a gorgeous Rabari Bag. Indigo
linen, typical Rabari stitching. I just love the huge
triangle and diamond shaped mirrors.

It's still gray and raining. Must pack up my 'show' carefully to avoid
a soaking. We can at least close the curtains and escape to the
heat and dust for a while