Friday 20 February 2015

Sea Glass Waves

I'm linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts with a finish today.

This quilt started as an experiment a couple of years ago.  I fished it out of my basket of other experiments-which-haven't-come-to-anything-and-are-looking-at-me-reproachfully and cut it up with no plan, other than to see what would happen.

I re-ordered the cut up strips a little, and added linen in between and all around - but I wanted the original pieced strips to still look somehow linked so I added more quilting which runs right across. Then I quilted a series of boxes round the central panel using 28 weight Aurifil, a beautiful weight to quilt with if you want some definition to the quilting.

Finally I raided my hoard of beach glass and sewed pieces all around in a gap in the quilting, using an Aurifil embroidery floss, and this really beautiful hand dyed skein of No 5 perle I found at a quilt show.

If I do something like this again I might try piecing in, or appliqueing, little chips of coloured fabric, instead of the glass.

The floss has a lovely sheen.

I really love the texture of this quilt.

I made a hanging rod out of an old  piece of plumber's copper pipe - I hacksawed off a suitable length, polished it up a little with Brasso leaving it just a bit tarnished,  and super-glued a marble in each end.  I sewed tabs for the quilt, but they are only pinned on.

It was difficult to get a picture because it kept blowing away despite my helper's best efforts!

Actually though I think you get a better idea of its nature close up.

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts.

Wednesday 18 February 2015

WIP Wednesday

Having such fun working on this mini quilt - more about it here.  I solved the quilting dilemma by quilting round and round the central panel in a series of 'boxes'.  I've also added some more quilting in coloured threads which runs across all the strips, linking them together. 

Nearly done.

Linking up with Lee today for WIP Wednesday.

Monday 16 February 2015

Spring in Scotland

From these frost ferns on my windscreen...

to this, in one week...

Thursday 12 February 2015

Almost exactly a year ago [updated:  two years ago, I am even worse at UFOs than I thought!] I made this thing.

Although I really liked it I wasn't really sure what to do with it, so this is another thing that has been lurking in The Basket.  I am on a mission to finish things up, so as an experiment I sliced it up, inserted some linen in between the slices, added a bit more quilting, and some more linen round the edge.

Looking a bit dingy and wonky
I'm now wondering how to quilt the rest of it.  I think straight line quilting would be too dull, but if I do wavy line quilting would that just be too much wavy?

Why is it that whenever I'm in a state of indecision about a quilt I feel the urge to go and make myself a sandwich?

Tuesday 10 February 2015

The return of "Murmuration"

It is a very grey day here, and I am feeling rather grey, so I thought that I would try to achieve something by dragging Murmuration out of the basket of shame and finishing it off.

If you are a regular reader, you might remember that I abandoned this one after beginning quilting on it.  I have ripped out some quilting, and added some more, and bound it, and here it is now.

Because of the dingy weather I have bumped up the contrast a bit, but this is a pretty fair representation of what it looks like.  My main problem with this quilt is that I had drafted a lovely block for the birds, but when it came to assembling them into the quilt I bottled out, and used fused applique instead.  A small amount of fraying happened round the edge of the birds when I quilted it, which obviously isn't ideal. Mainly I think that the quilt would have had more "integrity" if I'd stuck to the plan, however difficult.

Still, I am happy with the composition, and the quilting is not so bad too.  If you have ever seen a flock of starlings on the move you will maybe understand the feeling of "wheeeeeeeeeee!" I was trying to get across (when you see them you really do get the impression that they are only doing it for the hell of it!) so the quilting comes in from top right and then whooshes round the birds in a spiral.

This is an idea to be brought out again now that I have had a bit of practice.  As Einstein said, anyone who never made any mistakes has never tried anything new!

And after all tomorrow is another day!  (Bonus picture of this weekend's sunset for Gone with the Wind fans)

Sunday 8 February 2015

Making the Moors

A couple of people had asked if I had painted my Moors quilt, so I thought I would just give a bit of information on how it is constructed.

The central panel is made by curve-piecing strips of 14 different fabrics together. If you haven't discovered curve piecing before it is very satisfying - and you can find tutorials online.   (My first attempt and things I learned from it are here.)   I included quilting and shot cottons, klona, calico and linen for variation in texture, and starting with the darkest of various shades of grey at the top, fading to a pale neutral, then onto beige and through various shades of brown.

Quilting added a lot of colour and also softened the transition in colour from one strip to the next.  I used black, grey and a grey/blue/green variegated thread at the top, gradually changing to various buff and brown threads. Then I started adding in some lines of green, and a range of heather colours, from dark to light pink to suggest moorland vegetation.  Just as with the fabrics, the threads are all different weights and fibres. Sometimes you have to take advantage of things that happen by themselves - I deliberately left some strips unquilted because the slightly puffier texture seemed just right for hinting clouds or different layers of landscape/vegetation.  Halfway through, I fused on the dark strip of fabric in the middle because I felt it needed it.

It was interesting to see quite how much thread colour does affect fabric colour.  In the pic below the brown strip in the middle is the same fabric as the one right at the bottom, but even a few lines of deep pink quilting gave the bottom one a purple tinge.  Similarly the fabric which looks green in the pic below is actually a beige brown - if you look at the first picture in this post you can see how it looked before a couple of lines of green quilting just outside the ditch between it and the adjacent strips.

I trimmed away the excess batting and added some fresh strips all the way round to bring it up to 12 x 12 inches, which is the agreed size for Four in Art quilts, then made a kind of 'mount' for the picture with an off-white Oakshott leaving the top edge of the pieced section curved.  I mitred it, because that seemed the right thing to do, but it was very fiddly - I should have followed a tutorial!  Then I added the binding in one of the browns - a textured solid - to look like a frame.

There is the usual list of things not to do next time.  (The subtitle of this blog should be "Learn from my mistakes")

- My carefully measured angles in the mitred border don't actually line up with the final corners of the quilt  - partly because I forgot to take into account the fact that the central piece isn't actually square whereas the quilt is.
- There is a join in the binding which is right next to one of the corners.  Careless.
- There is a tiny piece of red lint trapped in behind the border.  Luckily it only shows through in a particular light.  This is even more shameful because I have done it before...  I mention this as a cautionary tale.  Obviously it is as important in quilting as in cooking to keep your work station clean...

But I still like it anyway!


Friday 6 February 2015


...hidden behind the thick paper on the walls of my under-stair cupboard, the board of a pad of Iolanthe Linen bond notepaper "Suitable for home and Foreign correspondence", with a drawing on the back.

The caption reads "A smart little lady with her hat flying off--------done by Nellie Cleland.

I love her button boots.

There was a flyer in there too, advising the recipient to buy shares in oil.  A bit of research into the date of the flyer suggested that Nellie was probably roughly the same age as my two at the turn of the last century.  

Dear Nellie, we found your picture.

Sunday 1 February 2015

The Moors

At the end of last year I was accepted into the Four in Art collective whose members make a 12 x 12 inch quilt each quarter, reflecting an annual theme.  We are revealing our quilts for this quarter today! The theme for the year is "Literature" - which is a nice wide theme given that it potentially includes not only individual works of literature and their authors, but the history of literature, its political, social and cultural importance, themes in literature, the history of writing and text and so on!  I am excited to see how the others have interpreted it and you can visit them all here:

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

[post updated to direct to Jennifer's flickr page]
The Moors
My work is inspired by the use of landscape and weather in literature.  In particular I thought of the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.  (If you have not read Jane Eyre it is marvellous - it has absolutely everything in it.  Feminism, romance, morality and religion, the issue of class and social mobility, questions about the nature of love and the importance of autonomy, about the significance of physical appearance, and about passion and intellect - and it is also just a really good story!)

As well as the themes the book covers, there are also beautiful descriptions of landscape and weather, both of which often act as a way of heightening whatever happens to be going on in the plot.  The Yorkshire moors and the weather she faces on them are used at a key point to emphasise Jane Eyre's total isolation, not just geographically, but physically and mentally, cut off from any family or friends.  That scene was the jumping off point for this quilt, but I was thinking also of the significance of the moors in general in the life and work of Charlotte Bronte and her sisters.

I left the top of the pieced section deliberately curved, adding the border around it, partly for aesthetic reasons but also in an attempt to make it to look less static and contained, and I stopped working on it at the point where the image is still quite abstract, because I like to think that in the absence of any kind of artistic statement by its creator a viewer can take whatever they want from a work.

Finally, I wanted the quilt to appear framed like a painting to symbolise the way that words have transcended the page to create an image which now has a life in a different form.

Practical details of the quilt in another post.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...