Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Show and Tell

Despite the current traditional Scottish weather of four seasons in one day my paid gardening work is picking up again after the winter so I have fallen a bit behind on blogging.  It's a bit easier to keep up with Instagram (where I am @knottedcotton) so apologies if you have seen the following already.

April was quite a productive month as I rashly signed up for two swaps as well as needing to complete my Four-in-Art quilt.  First up was the #veryberryhoopswap on instagram. It was a small swap in more ways than one - small group, and we had to make a mini hoop, maximum size 5cm.  I haven't received my own yet but here's the one I made for my partner.

She liked lots of things, including blues and greens and the sea, which I tried to capture with this rustic embroidery.  I've got used to doing little pictures for Artist Trading Cards, but the tininess of this was a challenge to me and a sign that I should be wearing my specs more often instead of holding things at arms length like an old lady.  You can see how small it is from the pic of it nestling in my sea glass collection.  I made a little loop to hang the hoop from and my partner kindly said she liked it.

I also took part in the second Big Stitch Swap - my parcel is on its way to my partner, and hopefully one is winging its way here, so more about that soon!

Then a very loved friend was doing exams so I made her a good luck card.   It's about six inches on the longest side - the little birds came from an Aviary selvedge, I think, and are really tiny.

Finally, my geek husband's birthday laptop cover which of course I had to wait till Star Wars day (May the fourth be with you) to show you.   We are big Star Wars fans in this house.  It's lined with both batting and fleece so his beloved technology should be well-padded and cosy.   I managed to get the pattern to line up, I was quite pleased!

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Four in Art: Colour & Music - Rhapsody in Blue

Welcome to the latest reveal for Four-in-Art.  We are a group of quiltmakers who take turns to choose an annual theme as inspiration for a quarterly quilt.  Our theme for this year's quilts is 'Colour', and we have added a quarterly sub-theme - this time it's 'Music'.

These were great themes to think about.  They make an interesting combination because there is one particular form of synaesthesia where music and colour are linked and particular keys or sounds are experienced in colour.  While I was thinking about this my daughter's piano teacher mentioned in passing that she associates keys with colours - for example C major is red and gold.  The colour/music relationship in synaesthesia would make a lovely theme for a quilt and I'm keeping that in the back of my mind!

However my first Four-in-Art quilt for the 'Colour' theme explored the possibilities of monochrome black and white and for the second quilt I was interested in then moving on to one colour and focussing on that. I thought I would choose a piece of music and try to express the mood of it in a quilt.  The obvious choice was Rhapsody in Blue by Gershwin which is one of my favourite pieces.   The choice of colour was already in the title, and so I just had to think about the images it evokes.

Gershwin described it as "a sort of musical kaleidoscope of America, of our vast melting pot, of our unduplicated national pep, of our metropolitan madness".   It's been used as soundtrack music in the films Manhattan and The Great Gatsby but even before I saw them it sounds to me as if it opens on a big city at night - it sounds decadent and seductive and busy.    In the first performance of Rhapsody in Blue Gershwin improvised some of his playing and so I decided to make an improvised quilt with the idea of a night-time cityscape in mind.

Here is Rhapsody in Blue.

I know there is a pictorial quilt in me but at the moment I'm quite interested in making quilts which could be abstract or have a meaning.  In this quilt the flying geese could represent roofs, the gold squares lit windows and the circle could be a moon. The odd shape is a motif from an art deco building contemporary with the music and I liked it because it could also represent a trumpet which plays one of the themes.

I used shot cottons in various colours but where the warp thread is always blue and supplemented it with all that was left of some treasured gold metallic silk for city sparkle.   The quilt is partly pieced with added fused applique.   

 I quilted in the ditch, and around the central panel.  I thought I should stop there but am tempted to go back in again and do some more quilting round the shapes - there is always the fear of making things worse though!

We have a blog, Four-in-Art Quilts, but please do visit the other Four-in-Arters here!
Simone (not taking part this month)

Thursday, 31 March 2016


 So little time, so many quilts - seem to be finding inspiration in all sorts of odd places this week. 

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Being Cosy 2

If this looks familiar it's because it is a reworking of an ATC card I made for one of the Very Berry Handmade swaps.   It was a commission and is bigger at 4.5 x 6 inches.    I used one of my favourite Liberty pieces (bought from Ali) for the wallpaper - I suppose you can't just hoard them forever!

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Just looking


Closely. A world in a dewdrop.

I'm getting really into the textures of the quilt I'm making, which is just as well because the process of making it is incredibly tedious!     I held a section up to look at it and saw the sunlight shining through.

I've posted some of it on instagram already  (I'm hanging out there as @knottedcotton).

Monday, 22 February 2016

Behind the scenes

Maybe because I'm such a slow worker I occasionally feel hesitant to show too much of a work in progress, like I don't want to reveal it until it's done!  But I thought I should give a little peak of some of the stuff that's going on behind the scenes.  Do you ever sometimes think that the back of your piecing is strangely beautiful, however roughly finished?

The finished quilt will be made almost entirely of half-inch squares; four thousand, six hundred and eight of them to be precise.   I'm getting there.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

It's been a bit silent on this blog recently because I've been a bit busy.  If you have been reading my blog for a while you know that I had the opportunity to rent a little studio last year.  Sadly, the big-style collapse of our car just before Christmas left us with a studio/car dilemma which was obviously resolved in favour of a car.  C'est la vie.  I feel so lucky to have been able to try the studio experiment - it was just lovely to have a space of my own where I never had to tidy up in order to get the dinner on!  I just couldn't justify the indulgence though.

All is not lost!  We are kind of shoe-horned into our house, but we have a walk-in cupboard off the dining room that once looked like this...

Spot the family height marks - if we ever move I will have to tear off the doorframe.

A lot of relocation of stuff, a bit of work,  a table made out of two old wardrobe shelves, and it now looks like this!

It's 97 centimetres wide but it's a palace to me!


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