Wednesday 26 February 2020

Mr and Mrs Blackbird

I've just finished working on this quilt, which is the fourth in a series of blackbird quilts, though the third is still waiting for a few finishing touches.

Like my other blackbird pictures this has a curve-pieced background which is quilted before I start to lay on the applique.

Then, as usual I sketched out various elements on pieces of paper, and tinkered with the composition until I felt it was right.  This part of the process takes ages.

I use Oakshott shot cottons a lot, as you can see if you look for the label in my side bar.  The different warps and wefts create a feeling of dimension, and the colours are extremely beautiful, so they are ideal for applique.     

Only the brown was difficult to get right and so I used a single French General fabric (front and reverse) for Mrs Blackbird.  This turned out to be very fortuitous because I have run out of the second-hand black beads I used for the eyes of previous blackbirds and I couldn't believe my luck when I looked at the colour test circles on selvedge.

I added a shine to the eyes with a french knot.

This piece is a commission, and I wanted to give it a bit of clout so, rather than binding, I finished it by wrapping round a homemade wooden 'stretcher'.

Mr and Mrs Blackbird
Shot cotton and quilting cotton
Curve piecing, raw-edge applique, free-motion embroidery
38 x 38 cm

Monday 3 February 2020

Poppies by the Sea

I've just finished a quilt inspired by a miraculous sight last summer when there was a beautiful flush of poppies by the sea near where I work in East Lothian.

They were such a surprise as they are not what I usually associate with coastal flora.

Although they look so delicate and fragile, with their silky petals, they seemed to stand up surprisingly robustly against the wind and rain.

I love those colours against the sand and sea.

This little quilt is at about 12 inches square.  It is pieced, quilted, appliqued using Oakshott shot cottons, and embroidered.

Poppies by the Sea at Cockenzie, East Lothian
12 x 12 inches
Pieced, quilted, appliqued, embroidered
Oakshott cotton, quilting cotton
Mounted on canvas

Saturday 1 February 2020

The Endeavourers #9, Wishes: Say it With Flowers

Today is our quarterly reveal for The Endeavourers quilt group, and our theme this quarter was 'Wishes'.  For some reason I found this theme a very difficult one.  I couldn't think how to express it.  I had lots of thoughts about what 'wishes' might be about but none of them would settle into a quilt.  Eventually I set on what I would wish for someone else - happiness.

We often express our hopes and wishes to other people in the form of flowers  - either as a bunch of flowers or as a symbolic bunch of flowers on a card - so this became my plan.   I wanted to make a really jolly, happy and exuberant quilt as my quilts are usually more restrained, and maybe subconsciously I was wishing for a bit of colour at the end of a long grey January!

I was going to add a little banner at the top of the quilt, saying "Be Happy", but when I tried it out I didn't like it and although it would have made the quilt more obviously relevant to the theme artistic vanity won over.

The vase and table cloth are pieced, and the flowers are raw-edge applique, with quilting to make parts of the flowers stand out.  I thought a couple of the flowers needed a bit of extra pop so added buttons to the centres - the largest amount of time was spent in fussing with the composition.   Finally I bound the quilt round a canvas and stapled it in place.  I had a lot of fun making it!

Please check out the fantastic work of my fellow Endeavourers on our group blog.


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