Saturday, 1 August 2015

Mrs Midas: A Four in Art Quilt #3

I'm here to share my latest contribution to Four in Art.  I'd like to introduce Mrs Midas:

Mrs Midas
A Four-in-Art Quilt, August 2015
No 3 in the 'Literature' series

This quilt was inspired by the poem by Carol Duffy, which you can read in full here.  The poem comes from a collection called The World's Wife, in which Duffy examines, sometimes very comically, the lives of the women behind a collection of famous men.  Mrs Midas is a poem from the point of view of the wife of a modern Midas, "the woman who married the fool who wished for gold".

It's full of beautiful and vivid imagery, and terrible sadness.  Unable to embrace his wife any longer Midas has to move out to their "caravan in the wilds, in a glade of its own".

"You knew you were getting close.  Golden trout on the grass...And then his footprints glistening next to the river's path."

The colours that the poem evokes are what influenced my quilt - I really wanted to get across the feeling of the gold, beautiful but unexpected in contrast to the greens of the grass and the wooded glade.  It is made using various kona and klona cottons and some gold silk dupion, and quilted simply in the ditch.  I had quite clearly in mind some ideas - the (rather wobbly) flying geese which represent Midas's footprints in the grass, and the stylised applique leaf - and I knew I wanted to make an improv quilt, and for it to be abstract, which fits in with my plan to make each quilt in the series progressively more so.  (My previous two quilts are here.)

I'm not satisfied with the pictures of this quilt and I want to take it outdoors when the weather is more reliable, but I do love it. There are many practical details I would fix but I managed to get out what I had in my head!

Watch out for the reveal of our final quilts on 1 November but meantime please do visit the other participants and check out their quilts for this round of the series.

Elizabeth at OP Quilt  
Betty at a Flickr site:
Jennifer at Secondhand Dinosaur 
Nancy at  Patchwork Breeze
Rachel at The Life of Riley
Simone at Quiltalicious
Susan at PatchworknPlay

Monday, 25 May 2015


My tiny studio (yay!!!) is still being partitioned off, and all my fabric is spread all over the house while the great bedroom re-organisation takes place so I don't have a project on the go at the moment. On the other hand, I'm spending a lot of time just thinking and looking and making plans. 

I was out of the city this afternoon for an appointment and it's a beautiful day so I just had to pull over onto the verge and go for a walk.

The rape flowers have a disconcerting scent - it's nice, but it's definitely pollen-y with an undercurrent of wee.

The broom just smells glorious.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Quilts for Nepal?

I received this by email and checked with Tikki that it was okay to post it here - just in case anyone has a spare quilt to send:-)   In my travelling days I went to Nepal - a beautiful and welcoming country, and it's just awful what has happened there.

From Tikki Patchwork in Kew Gardens

URGENT APPEAL FOR NEPALThrough my daughter's school we have managed to organise space on board a flight to Nepal next week on Wednesday - this is an amazing opportunity to help, but there is very little time!
The following items are needed:
Warm adult clothing
Blankets and Quilts
Tents and sleeping bags
If you can donate any of these items, please bring or post them to Tikki by Tuesday 12th May by 2pm and I will make sure they get to the collection point that afternoon in time for the aid flight.
Your help will no doubt be much appreciated!
Thank you in advance.
Tiina at Tikki
293 Sandycombe Road, Kew Gardens, West London (Surrey), TW9 3LU, England, UK

Monday, 4 May 2015

Big News

I have something to tell you!

As you know I was faced with the tempting thought of turning our junk/guest room into a workroom for me or on the other hand giving it up to Sprog 1 so that she could have a bedroom of her own.

Obviously I did the decent thing:-)   But then an opportunity came up that was so perfect that I had to jump on it, although to be truthful I dithered about it so long that it almost passed me by and then jumped just in time!

I live in what was once quite an industrial part of the city, and not too far from me is a factory which has been empty for a while.  The owners have decided to rent it out as an arts hub, with studio spaces, offices and a cafe/gallery/performance space - and I have rented a studio!

I've looked enviously at other people's workrooms for so long - if you are like me and have to make things at one end of the dining table I'm sure you understand my excitement!  The bit I have rented is a small space - and I mean really small - which I will be able to pay for by carrying on with some of my other work, and initially I'm only committed to it for a very short rental period so I can treat it as an experiment while I see if I can actually make anything that anyone would want to buy.

I haven't moved in yet, because the partitions are still going up, but should be in mid May.  There are girders too!

Friday, 1 May 2015

Four in Art 2: Haiku

This year I am so enjoying being part of Four in Art - a group of quilters making small (12x12") quilts inspired by an annual theme.   This year's theme is 'Literature'  and we are revealing our quilts for the second quarter today (you can see my first quarter quilt here).   Each quilter interprets the theme in their own way and in their own style, and it's really interesting to see how they all differ, so please do visit the others:

Betty at her flickr page
Elizabeth at
Jennifer at her flickr page
Nancy at  Patchwork Breeze
Rachel at The Life of Riley
Simone at Quiltalicious
Susan at PatchworknPlay

My quilt is called Haiku.  It is inspired by a poem by one of the most famous haiku poets, Basho:

An old pond
A frog jumps in
The sound of water

I wanted to make a very simple quilt which reflects the deceptively simple form of the haiku and the wealth of meaning in it. Some of this meaning is contained in cultural and literary references which are lost to non-Japanese readers, but we can still understand some of the message and find the poem beautiful.

I think that the best literature can be appreciated on many different levels - it should be possible to take something away even if only that it was a good story.

The little square, in lacquer red, refers to the chop or seal used as a signature in Japan.  I wanted it to look roughly woodcut, and used fused appliqué to make it look as if it was stamped on.  It has no readable meaning - but it is an essential part of the composition.

The quilt is made of silk and the overlapping concentric circles are quilted with Japanese sashiko thread.

12 x 12 inches
Sashiko thread quilting on silk

[updated to change generic links to ones for the relevant posts]

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Very Berry Handmade ATC Swap: Home Sweet Home

Yesterday I posted a pic of the wonderful Artist Trading Card I received from my partner in this round of the swap organised by Ali Very Berry Handmade.  The theme for this round is "Home Sweet Home", and here is the card I made for my own recipient.  It is called "Waiting to be Let In".

I hope my partner likes cats!

Do check out the other cards in the flickr group - they are really amazing.  It is hard to remember that these cards are only 2.5 x 3.5 inches - it's a fun constraint, and it's always fascinating to see how each member of the group takes the current theme and runs with it in their own way.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

I was so grateful for all the helpful (and very tactful) comments about the spare room dilemma #firstworldproblem - of course it did have to become a room for eldest child.  She is ecstatic at the idea and already planning the purchase of many things made of coloured plastic to put in it and I'm currently distracted by moving bits of furniture around, and trying to find a home for the Mountains of Stuff.  

We've also just been on holiday, have lots of photos of stately homes and daffodils to be sorted through, and there are always many other excuses for not managing to do anything remotely creative, but I did get back and find the results of someone else's creativity waiting for me and I'm so happy.

I've been taking part in the Very Berry Handmade ATC swap again, and this is what I received:

Isn't it fantastic?  I really love it as it reminds me of many happy childhood holidays.  Look at the wee sheep! The theme of this swap is Home Sweet Home, and I would happily live in this house on a hillside, waking up to the sound of baa-ing lambs, although my husband would go mad if there wasn't a coffee shop nearby with good internet access.

The ATC arrived along with a card by the same artist, Sue Forey.

Sue has a shop on Etsy  and it is worth checking out for more of her beautiful work.  I feel very lucky to have a little piece of my own!

Now that I've received this the pressure is on, but my own card will be on its way to its recipient shortly.


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