Monday 30 November 2015

Wild Geese

So this is my latest quilt which I sweated over solidly for the last week and a half, partly out of a mistaken conviction that Friday was 30th November  (the deadline for Quiltcon entry).  The quilt was made using all but a few scraps of the fabric I received for taking part in the Michael Miller Fabric Challenge (some for the geese and the rest for the scrappy binding), and I'm entering it in that category at Quiltcon.

The quilt is a play on the idea of the flying goose block.  I had in my mind one of the beautiful skeins of geese you see flying south across the winter sky.  The main difficulty, which only a quiltmaker would understand, was how to position the seams.   It looks simple, but the construction was complicated as none of the geese are in alignment with each other.

I emphasised the dual nature of the geese by leaving the blocks unquilted except round the triangles to hold them in place, which meant burying about 140 thread ends.    Because the geese don't line up I had to quilt it in several sections - there are only two places I could  sew right down from top to bottom.

The thing I am most proud of is persevering in the face of an ongoing conviction that it wasn't going to work out, especially when I realised that the back was going to show through to the front and I had to resort to using two layers of batting.  All the things I make go like that - I'm sure I'm not alone! Anyway, I'm currently high on quilt completion euphoria, but I don't want to look too carefully at the other #michaelmillerchallenge quilts on Instagram as they are really wonderful.

It's the first time I have ever entered anything I have made for show.   For anyone who doesn't know, it's juried entry; that is, your quilt is considered and might be rejected at the application stage, so I'm hoping for the best.    I will be a bit disappointed if it is not accepted, but on the other hand I have made a quilt I wanted to make and learned a lot in the process.

PS does anyone know what to do about a crinkly bottom? :-)

Saturday 28 November 2015

I've done quite a lot of relief and intaglio printing over the years but my one experience of screen printing a long time ago was a bit of a disaster. Recently though I've started thinking about transferring ideas to fabric (partly inspired by the work of Elizabeth at Bottle Branch) so I wanted to come back to it and have another go.

This weekend I was lucky to go on a day course learning to screen print on fabric with Karen Lewis, at Jo myBearpaw's shop.

During the day we learned how to make a straightforward screen that would be easy to assemble at home, and had plenty of time to design and print two different patterns.

It was fun to see such a variety of styles among the group - you can see us, and our work, on Karen's blog!

If you can't get to one of her courses, the process is described in her book Screen Printing at Home, which is full of inspiration.

(Amazon affiliate link)

Karen was a lovely and enthusiastic teacher and the whole process was completely addictive.  I came away completely buzzing with ideas and can't wait to do more.  I have a plan for the trees too.

Tuesday 10 November 2015

Four in Art 4: Birch

With many apologies again to my Four-in-Art friends for my lateness, I'm dropping in to share my quilt for this quarter, Birch. Our group has been working this year on the theme of Literature, and my fourth quilt is inspired by Anna Karenina by Tolstoy.  It's a really wonderful, atmospheric novel, full of the most human characters (and, bonus, its a whole lot easier to read than War and Peace).

I wanted to make a quilt about the power of a book to evoke a particular image or feeling.  I last read Anna Karenina quite a long time ago - on the Trans-Siberian railway, in midwinter - and the image in my mind has always been of snowy birch forests.  I had a look back at the text of the book when I started my quilt and could only find one reference to birches, so my memory of the book is probably all muddled up with memories of the journey, but never mind!  That's the image I had in my head.

I wanted to make each of my four quilts for this series progressively more abstract.  This quilt has turned out less abstract than I intended, but it's still ambiguous.  It could be a forest of birches,

or it could be the bark on one birch trunk.

It is heavily quilted to suggest more trees, or bark texture.

The 'coloured' strips are the same fabric as the body of the quilt - I cut a large section and ran backwards and forwards with variegated aurifil before cutting and piecing it.

To be honest, I'm not sure this quilt is really finished, but it completes my four on the theme of "Literature" with Four in Art.

The Moors: inspired by the works of the Bronte sisters, about the use of
weather and climate in literature to heighten mood

Haiku: inspired by a poem by Basho, about deceptive simplicity and
whether we have to 'get' all the references to enjoy a work

Mrs Midas: inspired by the poem by Carol Ann Duffy, about vivid imagery

We have a shared blog here, and you can find the other quilters here:

Betty on Flickr:
Elizabeth at Occasional Piece
Nancy at  Patchwork Breeze
Rachel at The Life of Riley
Simone at Quiltalicious
Susan at PatchworknPlay

We are a friendly group, who all have very different styles and approaches, who come up with an overall annual theme to work on, sometimes with quarterly sub-themes for extra inspiration. The group is kept to a size where we are close enough for us to communicate easily with each other, but a spot sometimes opens up so if you're interested in joining let me know in a comment below.

All members have to do is:
  • Desire to expand their creativity. 
  • Have a body of work that members can review, preferably a blog.  
  • Make a year commitment to the group and do their best to make deadlines unless some crazy life occurrence happens. 
  • Be willing to review other Four in Art work and leave a comment within the first week of publishing.

Sunday 1 November 2015

Four in Art

The Knotted household has been living in chaos since a leak through one of our ceilings back in the summer.  We are almost back to normal, but dealing with the fall-out means my contribution to Four-in-Art this quarter is going to be delayed. Thanks to my fellow Four-in-Arters for being so kind and understanding!

Please do visit the other participants at the links below.  This is our last quilt of the year inspired by the theme of 'Literature'.  Each of us has taken this theme and run with it in our own way, and seeing how everyone else has responded to it has been such a lot of fun.

Betty at a Flickr site:
Elizabeth at Occasional Piece
Nancy at  Patchwork Breeze
Rachel at The Life of Riley
Simone at Quiltalicious
Susan at PatchworknPlay


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