Saturday, January 30, 2010

Janet Bolton Workshop

After a week taken up with lots of work and little play, it was a nice treat today to be able to attend a full-day workshop with Janet Bolton, a textile artist whose work I really love. It's very different from my normal style, but something about it just works. This workshop was great, and quite productive - I managed to get the better part of this piece done (all hand-sewing - yes, I know, that's amazing too) though I have appliqued the bird and added the buttons since I got home. Next step is lots of quilting (hand) in the background to give some texture, and some windows and/or doors on the houses.

Here's a very washed out closeup of the bird - the colour is much truer in the photo above. I've put quite a bit of stitching on the wing, as well - not sure it shows in the photo.

This piece is fairly large (compared to most of Janet's work) - I guess it's about 12" high - but I didn't think I could handle the teeny tiny applique so I thought I better work bigger...

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Here's what I did today - one of the things, anyway. I've been making some words for something which is hush hush at the moment and Alex spied them and decided he needed me to make his name. He provided the border fabric from his stash, but he doesn't really have a lot of tonals - mostly larger novelty prints (being as he's a 6YO boy - nearly 7, as he frequently reminds me - this is perhaps not surprising) so we raided my fabric for the orange and blue. Not sure what it wants to be - a pillow perhaps? We'll see...

Friday, January 22, 2010

ATCs in...

Being the slacker that I am (ok, it's just been busy!) I have had a number of ATCs accumulating that I have neglected to show. In some ways this has worked out to my advantage as there are now 6 of them I can show together! The bottom three are from the ATC birthday swap from last year - the lefthand one with words from Shasta, the centre one (with Angelina, which is why it doesn't photograph well) from Silvia and the far right from Marina. These were all slightly late arrivals where the people had been held up in making their cards.

The top three were a real surprise - a while back - I won't work out how far, as I don't want to embarrass anyone and anyway, I'm too lazy - I did an ATC challenge on my blog where I sent some ATC backs and a few bits and pieces to 10 (I think) interested people on the condition that they used one of the backs to make an ATC to send back to me - the rest of the stuff they could use as they liked. Not being obsessive, I didn't keep a checklist of who had returned their ATCs, but apparently, Jen hadn't done so, so these are her late efforts - one (the centre top row) was also made by her daughter, who got interested in the process (I hope that is an interest that sticks!). So, bonus for me - I got three ATCs from that challenge. How cool is that?

Actually, that was a fun challenge - perhaps I should do it again...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Love gone wild...

So, I signed up for a (small) swap - 4 ATCs only (yeah, I made 6, I know), to the theme of Love Gone Wild. This is being run by the lovely Lenna, over at Creative Swaps - she's been relocating and stuff lately, so this is the first swap she's done in a while, but I know we're all glad she's back in action...

Anyway, the theme is "Love Gone Wild". I've been letting this percolate in my brain for a week or so now, and the main images that kept popping up were overgrown gardens, jungles, and so on - which is certainly one kind of going wild.

So anyway, today I had a little free time at home after the washing machine repair guy had gone and before I had to go into work for the afternoon (I took the morning off) and I decided to work on these ATCs - I started with a fabric base - an old table napkin in this instance - and did a lot of free-motion leaves on it. Why I did this, I'm not entirely sure, as most of it doesn't now show, but it all adds to the textures... I then added some skeleton leaves, then animal print paper and the kiss images. Then I added some large burgundy leaves, the flower stick-ons and the dragonflies. I really like how these turned out, just hope they are "wild" enough.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Fabric & blocks

Well, this morning I went down to the big annual fabric sale at Farnham Maltings - it was a crush, as usual, but I managed to snap up a few bargains anyway. I bought some batting, which I needed, plus a few fabrics to use as backings (the purple and blue batik - £2/metre - I bought 5 metres; the brown with white dots, also £2/metre, but it's 58" wide - 3 metres of that), and then some stuff I just liked - a metre of a batik toner (the fabric which the other stuff is laid out on), a metre of white on white, a metre of the blue and brown retro fabric and I think about a metre and a half of the blue Moda Marble (it was a bolt end). And three half metre pieces - one with trees, one with words, one with gorillas (I have a friend who is really into gorillas). None of those were more than £4/metre, which is pretty good.

And then, this afternoon, I actually made some more quilt blocks (astonishing, I know) - two more as promised for my African exchange and also, two Lady of the Lake blocks in calico and Japanese taupe fabrics for a new swap I am doing with Cathi - we were exchanging Dear Jane blocks for a while, but I think we both have enough now to stop exchanging and do something with them! So anyway, we decided to keep swapping but do something else. We had a nice star-themed swap all planned out and then got to talking about Lady of the Lake blocks, and well, you can guess what happened...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

African half

...half because I want to do another two blocks with black and a different contrast before I send them off to Karol-Ann, with whom I am (in theory) doing a private block exchange. Neither of us has been great about blocks lately, what with long holidays to South Africa (her), more work than previously (me), leg injuries (her, thank goodness!), house renovations (both), kids (both), other sewing projects (both)... Anyway. I thought it was about time I did some more blocks, so I did this one, but I really liked the effect so I want to do another. I made these on Wednesday while waiting for the washing machine repair person, but have been waiting to show them until I did the other set. I think that was perhaps not a wise decision, so have decided to show them on their own, otherwise they might never get shown... They are 6" blocks. We swapped quite a few at 12", and then decided to do some smaller ones to perhaps form a border or something. Who knows.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Free to a good home

Sorry - all gone now.

Various magazines, each free to a good home (within the UK - outside will happily accept a small postage reimbursement...). Nothing wrong with any, just done reading and didn't need to keep for any reason. Fibre Arts Jan/Feb 09 (left) and Summer 09 (right).

Irish Quilting, vol1, no 4 (seemingly entirely without a date, sorry). Quiltmania No 71 (2nd quarter of 2009)

Stitch no 44 (Dec 06/Jan 07); Stitch no 55 (Oct/Nov 08)

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Cold, Snowy (slightly) Saturday

Well, it's been ages since I had a block to work on for the Bloggers Round Robin - this was due to a hold up along the way with one of the participants. Yesterday, I finally got another set of blocks to work on (these are lovely, by the way - I wish these were coming to me!) and so today, I have taken the chance to make a nice block in batiks to go with them. I'm not sure how many more are due to come to me (I think we have 24 people, total, but I wouldn't swear to it!) but we are getting closer to finishing... It's been great fun - I'd love to do it again if there is another round.

I was going to do some more sewing after that, but I had to contend with a very impatient small boy (nearly 7, as he constantly reminds me - his birthday is in a month's time) who wanted Something To Do. He decided on sewing (having rejected playing with lego, reading, stickers, colouring, a puzzle, etc - all things that would have involved minimal Mummy participation) and so a house was made. He's big on embellishments, bless him. This house features very little actual sewing (only the edging), but at least it kept him occupied for a while.

And finally, here's the finished tablecloth quilt - I stitched down the last of the binding tonight and am really pleased with the effect. I love the stars, and the row setting really suits them, I think. Olivia thought the curved corners were particularly fun and was happy to hear this one was a keeper.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Cross-stitch update

As promised, the cross-stitch update. Didn't get much work done this year on the angels - some progress in the red dress, but otherwise, not really anything. This was partly due to my being busy and uninspired and partly due to being distracted by this:

As you can see from the photo, this piece is going to be really lovely. I know I should have waited, but hey, it's my cross-stitch, I can do as I like! I'll work on this for a while yet (it's so cold out at the moment, that working on something "winter" themed seems very apt still) and then, eventually, move back to the red houses...

Monday, January 04, 2010

Events conspiring...

As it so often seems to be the case that events conspire against one, I thought it would be nice to show an instance where events conspire FOR one. Today was an INSET day (teacher training) - and though I had one meeting this morning (the other being postponed until tomorrow), the rest of the day was fairly free. That, a six year old who wanted to spend most of the day on the computer and some girls who wanted to sleep until midday and then pretty much laze around with dvds, nintendos and so forth meant that I was able to accomplish some things. So, I give you again a view of the batik star tablecloth - the difference this time, perhaps not visible in the main shot above - is that it's quilted. Yep. All of it. I know, amazing, isn't it? I managed to get a lot of other bits and pieces accomplished as well (because I have to take lots of breaks while quilting so as not to do my back in) but mainly, I quilted this. It looks like this:

I've trimmed the corners to make them rounded as I think that will look better on a tablecloth, but I've not yet attached binding to it. (Can't have everything, right?)

I had quite a few comments on this yesterday, and thought I'd mention that the blocks are originally from the block lotto, back a while ago. Which is why there are so many different batiks (don't get me wrong - I think that looks great). I do have a fairly large batik stash, but even so...

The other thing that I did today (yes, there was more - amazing, I know) was to make some more ATCs - I got these big felt flowers the other day at the quilt shop, and thought they really called for some faces. They are really big and puffy (thick, I mean - about a quarter inch or so), which I think is kind of fun. The background is made from an upholstery sample, which I then sewed stripes across. I added ribbons, then the felt flowers, faces and some bits for the centres of the small flowers. Voila.

Tomorrow there will be a lot less to show, though I might give a cross-stitch update - haven't done that in a while. Oh, and I have some magazines to give away...

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Some bits and pieces

We've been quite busy the past few days, so not a lot of sewing has been done, however I did have time to pin together a quilt (which will actually be a tablecloth) ready for quilting. Not sure how I will quilt it yet, but at least it's pinned together now!

I have also been slowly but surely putting together the blocks for the homespun tree skirt - there are now 16 units of 4 blocks. This is my least favourite part of making a quilt (or at least, if the quilt is composed of blocks) - joining the blocks into rows or squares and so on into a quilt top. Soon I will have the whole top pieced. Then it will (no doubt!) sit in my sewing room because there's plenty of time, until round about November when I panic and remember it's supposed to be finished as a gift...

And here's the finished baby quilt - I finished the binding a few days ago, but keep forgetting to photograph it.