Saturday 17 September 2016

Ancient Trinitarian church at Ingham

There is an amazing 14th century church at Ingham, near where I live, with a wonderful tomb of a knight and his lady. Although it has been vandalised since 1380, and their arms have been broken off it is thought that they were lying hand in hand. There are very faint coloured lines just visible on the side of her dress. They would have represented the rich embroidery that would have decorated her dresses in life and there are good explanations of how beautiful the tomb would have been when first made and newly painted.

Tuesday 13 September 2016

Contemporary v Modern part two

Generally speaking I believe Contemporary work is made as an emotional response to something - the environment, illness, struggles against adversity, close observation of something, historical events, and the like. Whereas Modern quilts are more playful, with an exploration of colour, line, pattern, scale, and made without any  deeper meaning attached... Just because I enjoy doing them!

My Quilt Eccentric Crosses was made because I had become interested in Modern Quiltmaking and saw lots of different Crosses quilts on line. I had a pack of Oakshott eighths and cut them into squares using the strips left over at the ends to make the crosses. They are free cut in slight curves, through both layers of fabrics RS up. I was playing with the colours so that each square had a different colour in the cross. I laid them out and only felt the need to move one square before I was happy with the layout.

Adding wide borders of uneven widths completed the modern look 

and super quilting by Mandy Parks helped us to a 
Judges Choice at this year's Festival of Quilts.

Below is another of my Modern quilts, Modern Wheels. Again, beautifully quilted by Mandy Parks in an interesting modern pattern. This came about because a group of local quilters wanted to do a block of the month in one of the new patchwork magazines, designed by Lynn Goldworthy of Lily's Quilts. I liked the wheel block but thought the rest uninteresting, so I just worked on that. 

Monday 12 September 2016

Modern versus Contemporary Quiltmaking

I've belonged to the Quilters Guild Contemporary Group for a long time, and have been part of the setup of the new Modern Group.

I would class my Contemporary work as Art. It involves a great deal of mind as well as method.
I made a piece for the Stretching Art Challenge in America called Illuminated Letters and this is what I wrote about it for the submission.

Stretching Art Challenge 16 Illuminated Letters

SAT16: Hidden by Heather Hasthorpe 
Artist: Heather Hasthorpe, Norfolk, UK  

Letter H Half-Understood
I made a sketchbook based on books and writing for The Sketchbook Challenge and spent a lot of time considering how meaning is conveyed through text and imagery. I have now collected a variety of printed text in different languages, most of which I cannot read! I am using these partly for their value as pattern, but also holding in mind that the meaning is obscured both by my lack of knowledge, and the fracturing that the technique produces.

Technique explored
I am using an image transfer method I first saw at Houston being demonstrated by Claire Benn, which I have further explored and developed following workshops with Christine Chester. I have screen printed medium to attach papers to fabric, using thermofax screens.

Techniques used
Image transfer, layering, machine quilting, facing, appliqué 
This is the quilt

More on this in the next post..

Sunday 11 September 2016

More from Hever Quilt Show

Jackie Norris Who is the Contemporary Quilt
Coordinator came with me and found herself
looking after the CQ Journal Quilts.

I sent a picture of the stall to my husband who responded with, "Nice pic, here's one of me"
And there he is in all his shooting kit...
Well you do need to keep occupied when retired!

And I've taken up dressmaking again, lovely pattern seen at the Festival of quilts, and some nice stripey linen from Wightmans in Bungay which cost less than the pattern!!

Wednesday 7 September 2016

Hever Quilt Show

I spent a happy three days at the Hever Quilt show demonstrating and showing the Modern Quilt Group sixty degree challenge from last year.

Thursday 7 April 2016

New Work

At quilt retreat.
I've been attaching bindings, sleeves, and sewing on labels.
I've now got four quilts ready to take to the Quilters Guild Conference next week.
Modern Sampler, designed by Helen Butcher and Helen Howes with one or two additions of my own, also quilted for me by Mandy Parks.
Arrowtail, quilted with an amazing leaf pattern by Mandy Parks.
Modern Improv, that I wrote about in my previous post.
Quartered Moons, nicely quilted for me by Julie Barnes of Quilters Friend.
Now to get on with my Modern Challenge piece.

Tuesday 29 March 2016

The Making of a Modern Quilt

More scrappiness and leftovers-using-up.

I was anxious to make a quilt that I could enter in the new Modern Category this August at the Festival of Quilts, and picked up a link online to Jenifer Dick who blogs as 42 Quilts. she had run a sewalong on modern Improv blocks called Modern Monday, so I started to play with the idea.

My first block was quite big so I trimmed to finish at 7" rather than 6" which caused some difficulties later! 

I really enjoyed making these however and using up some of the fabrics left over from the Modern Sampler Quilt I'd just finished. See that one here.

Adding in a dark pinky red for contrast helped to spark up the design and a few of my own blocks began to appear... here is a wonky tree, and my version of the winged square.

I made a tall ship, and an improv Oho Star to steer her by. I enjoyed making the oriental lantern, the hashtag,
the apron and Jenifer's lovely original block that she called Santa's Belly! My last block was the improv basket - more of these wil be appearing soon, they are such fun to make.

It isn't very big, as it has to be at least a metre long, and will be about 42". I'm not going to attempt quilting anything bigger.

The next problem is how to quilt it. I haven't quilted anything bigger than a cushion for at least 15 years....

Because the piecing is quite complicated I decided to completely ignore it and go for simple diagonal lines, using masking tape as a guide.After layering the top over the wadding and backing, having pressed everying very well, I pinned across the centre of the join around each block with straight pins. My hands are weak and find safety pins difficult to manage.

I made sure that I started from the same edge each time and stitched down each side of the masking tape. I stabbed myself on the pins a few times and ended up with plastered fingers, but no blood on the quilt! It certainly isn't perfect, but it was manageable and has given a very nice soft drapey finish.

The binding was the next hurdle. I made a flange binding with one-and-a-half inch coloured strip and one-and-a-quarter inch white strip sewn together along their length and pressed in half to make a two inch strip with a small flange of colour just showing. It is attached to the back of the quilt in a continuous strip and I like to join it on the bias. I managed a perfct join but somehow twisted the strip and had to undo... It is then brought to the front and machine stitched down neatly on the coloured flange, mitreing the corners as you go.

And here is the finished quilt. Blocks worked on over three weeks, light relief sewing, and quilted one afternoon, bound the following morning.
A quilt I can enter... and hopefully one that people may think, "I could do that!"

Wednesday 9 March 2016

Scrappy Projects

I love Scraps.. I collect tiny pieces and can't bear to throw them away!
I'm linking up to Scraptastic Tuesday

Here are some of the things I've been working on lately, the first two are with the long arm quilters so that I can bind them when I'm on Quilt Retreat in three weeks or so.

This is a Drunkards Path in Modern fabrics. I've seen a few around on the interweb and thought I'd have a go as it is a block I've never spent much time on. I've made quite a few Winding Ways like the quilt at the head of my blog, and have another cut out, but it is a much simpler block with much shallower curves. Circles are always an interesting design element, and I find that more and more I am attracted to restricted colour schemes.
 This is my version of a Quilt designed as a teaching sample by Helen Butcher. Three of us have made it now and they are all totaly different! Helen made hers in sophisticated greys and red/orange, and Helen Howes made hers in a stunning rainbow. Mine as you can see is a rather restricted palette again, but I really like it. It was an interesting project because some of the blocks are traditional, some are pieced over papers and deadly accurate, and some are free-cut modern blocks like my crosses bottom left. There is also the freedom to add in touches of your ovn like the two little pieced hexagons cut from pre-joined strips that I was teaching last year... can you spot them? Each of us also arranged our blocks differently, so from the same start point we have quite different results.
 And these are some free-cut Modern Blocks from Jenifer at 42 Quilts which is another Scrap project.

I have long been a fan of Gwen Marston and these are such fun to make, and a great "light relief" project to fit in some short sewing time in between other activities.

I've also been working on more Zippy Purses for the Quilters Guild Tombola at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham in August, and developing patterns for them in the hope of persuading people to contribute.

We have set up a blog to show pictures of our makings and there are links to our free patterns there:

These are great for using up those really small scraps!!!
These are from my pattern Pretty Patchwork Purse.

Duxford Quilt Show

I was taken to Duxford by my lovely husband for Mother's day. I always enjoy the smaller quilt shows organised by Grosvenor. You are in with a chance of seeing the exhibitions and having a good old trawl around the  Traders. Here is my haul of treasure:
I was hunting for Art Gallery fabrics which I love using as they are printed on a good quality base cloth and don't dropunravelled threads all over you! I not only found some, I found some at £6 a metre! I happily pay a lot more than that for them! There are some other modern prints here from the same trader, Cotton Cloth Fabrics in Stockton, but again printed on a nice cloth.

I also picked up a couple of Manufacturers sample packs.. this one called Improv looked interesting and there was another by Alison Glass, an interesting designer, but the very pale prints were hard to photograph.

Thursday 21 January 2016

Living World Exhibition Call

The Guild is calling for entries for a new exhibition called Living World.

I have offered my Great Granny Squares quilt as they say they want Traditional quilts too.

This is a Traditional block made in Modern Fabrics and was made as a handling Sample for the new Modern Specialist Group of The Quilter Guild. would be nice for it to go out into the world on an adventure of its own!

Each of the blocks seemed to me as I was making it to be reminiscent of the new flowers growing up through last years dry stalks. I don't have any idea if it will be accepted but I do know that I sent a quilt once before and it was very well looked after and very well packed for its journey home.

Thursday 7 January 2016

Little Pocket Purse

 Little Pocket Purse.
this one made from Anna Graham's tutorial:

Not completely happy with this as the zip was too long so doesn't sit perfectly.
As I have a lot of 5" zips, I'll make a larger version, so I can fold the edges of the zip tape out of the seam allowance which gives a better finish.
I put a press stud under the button to fasten the tab and found my sewing teacher sitting on my shoulder insisting on twisted buttonhole stitch into each hole. Well it does give a very neat finish!

I was a grammar school girl and in 1956, year three, 13 to 14, I completed a file of technique samples which included bound buttonholes, plackets, buttons and press studs. At least I was spared the directoire knickers my mother had to make by hand at Oxford High in the thirties!