Friday, 11 December 2009

Final 2009 Journal Quilts

I fell a bit behind on the journal quilts from the Popular Patchwork Challenge as this academic year I have 8 hours a week less child free, so it is a harder juggle at the moment. However, I wanted to finish and get actually achieve a new year's resolution for once, so I had one last push to get the remaining four done. I decided to make them of the same image to make it quicker and I liked my image of coral. It was, of course, too complicated to translate easily into an A4 sized quilt and I got two finished. I think I am going to have to admit defeat on the other two, which were appliqué and hand quilting.  The hand quilting one is underway, but I decided to use a thick thread, which made tiny stitches impossible (for me anyway) and so the design is not really showing up: it just looks like a jumble of stitches.  This is the image I was working from.  I spent quite a while manipulating it on the computer.

In the two I finished, the techniques were machine quilting and layering sheers.  I used an embellisher to layer the sheers over a painted background.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

New exhibitions coming up

A few weeks ago I was feeling a bit despondent, which is why I wasn't writing my blog.  I don't have much time to make new work and what was the point anyway if it was never going to get shown.  Perhaps that is why I have been making so much simple patchwork as it is pleasurable and generally appreciated, whereas with my artwork it sometimes seems a bit of a slog. 
Well, enough of feeling sorry for myself as amazingly I was contacted by the Changing Room in Stirling about my 37 steps piece and it is going to be shown there, as my first proper solo exhibition from 12 February to the end of March. In the same week, Duncan of Jordanstone got in touch about which pieces of my work are to be included in its Crafts Festival next year.  So my work does get shown.  I just need to spend more time promoting it and making it and less time feeling sorry for myself!

Monday, 7 December 2009

Cushion covers

Having made the flying geese blocks for the mystery quilt in the normal wasteful way, I had a collection of 128 yellow/red half square triangles just begging to be used.  So I made cushion covers with them.  I still have some left and I am thinking of making a box to hold finished blocks in rather than just leaving them around my studio getting creased and dusty.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Mystery Quilt

The Popular Patchwork revealing my mystery quilt goes on sale today, so I can finally show you what it looks like.  It is incredibly bright for a bed quilt, but I like strong colours.  The material is called a batik, but it is more of a tone on tone pattern, which makes the quilt less flat than the solid colour would have.  I don't make many large quilts, so I was pleased that this one was actually quite square when I checked it.  The design is just from playing with colours, initally on paper, but then I used EQ6 to check it on the computer.  It was useful to see as I could then make lots of small changes in the design quickly and so refine it.  It is not my normal sort of work, but it is good to just make something different every now and then and to prove to myself that I can do a version of traditional patchwork.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Cot quilt

While I know I should be concentrating on my art work in the few hours I have, it is easier to make quilts as there is more physical making and less thinking required, at least at the start. And when a friend has a much longed for baby, you just have to make a quilt. The baby arrived a few weeks early, before the quilt was started, so it was a rapid make, but he seems to like it now. I used fleece to make the circles to add a softness to it. The circles are to break up the squares a bit. Some of the fabrics came from Magie Relph's African Fabric Shop.  She has a lovely range of really brightly abstract patterned cottons amongst other great things, including beautiful wicker baskets.  I used fabrics from the quilt top for the binding, but looking at the photo now, I think I chose the wrong ones as it would probably look better with a darker edge. Still, I'm sure a new baby will not mind that and it was made to be used, not as an art object for contemplation in a gallery.  The picture is a bit wobbly as the light was low and this was the best place to photograph it before it got sent away.  The pattern probably be appearing in Popular Patchwork in a few months, when I finally get round to writing it.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Bringing the knit inside

The exhibition at the forest in Aberfoyle has finished and so it was time to remove the tree 'scarves'.  It was remarkably easy to unwind them and they were in surprisingly good condition.  Surprisingly no-one challenged us as we pulled the work from the trees.  Maybe the ladder made it look like we were meant to be doing it or did I just look like 'that sort of person'?!  There were some little beasties crawling across it, leaving silvery slug trails and some tree resin, especially where the staples had been, but no other major changes.  In fact, the biggest change was after I washed then as they felted some more and are now even shorter.
I loved having the work outside and recently I saw some images in a book (The Culture of Knitting by Jo Turney), of gigantic knitted cobwebs hanging between trees, which looked fantastic.  I hope I get the chance to sculpt some other knit for an outdoor exhibition again.

PS No little beasties were knowingly harmed or washed.   Can't tell you what they were as I'm not up on creepy crawlies.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Christmas is coming ... far too fast

I love Christmas, it brightens up a very cold and wet winter and allows us to have some fun.  In an ideal world, I would be making lots of handmade presents, but in reality it is not going to happen, at least not this year.  However, I did get the boys to help make some tree decorations which will be given as presents, which were included in the December Popular Patchwork.  The pressure was on to get them made in time and we got one of each finished.  I now 'just' have to machine the rest together.  Bets on which Christmas they will be ready for?
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