There has long been niggle in the back of my mind about this poor neglected site. If you’ve found yourself here enjoying what you read, I can only apologise that it stopped so suddenly. I came to the end of my stash-busting experiment, fabric all but used up, my teaching was a victim of cutbacks, so I had to evolve.
I have continued creating, but have turned now to paint and pixels. I have always loved to draw but it certainly wasn’t seen as a career in my childhood home, so I found my way into Graphic Design for most of my working life which never quite hit the spot creatively, but was certainly better than nothing. I gained a lot of experience working with clients all over the world and learned all about computer software, but as my circumstances changed, I decided to take the plunge and retrain as an illustrator. Fast forward three years, and I have a website, a greeting card range, an Etsy Shop (here) and you can find me hanging out on Instagram.
It’s certainly not an easy way of life, being self-driven and challenging, but it is tremendously fulfilling. I wonder whether my passion for patchwork was secretly a passion for the illustrated fabrics which I can now create. My dream is to illustrate book covers in the future, just putting that out there in case any of you happen to be Art Directors…..☺️
Happy creating everyone…. and thanks for reading.
The block of the month continues, but eagle-eyed readers will note only two blocks above. The block from March has ended up in the bin! It doesn’t seem to be as complicated as February, on the right above, but I was trying to use scraps that were just too small, the seam allowances were all wrong and it was a disaster. Thankfully, they are little, so I will try again. In the meantime, I finished…..
…my jigsaw quilt. It is only cot size, but so many Half Square Triangles! For the first time, I tried out some Free Motion Quilting, in a stipple design. It was lovely to do and my machine behave very well. I’m so pleased with the way it’s turned out – it’s perfect for the back of the couch.
I found out this week that there will be no patchwork teaching for me this term due to low numbers. I am happy and sad in equal measure – I love those diverse quilts that emerge from the classroom, but I am secretly elated to have a whole day to do my own thing. Well, more actually if you count all the paperwork! So in this unexpected free time, I plan to follow a Block of the Month.
Has anyone ever done one of these before? This will be my first. The idea is to download the free pattern each month and make 12 different 4″ blocks over the course of a whole year. If you are in the vicinity of Dorking, Surrey (UK) on the first Monday of the month, The Quilt Room will also give you free fabric! I’ve missed January’s but I plan to be in the queue for February!!
If you would like to join me, you can do so here…
These are miniature blocks, and follow the Foundation Paper Piecing technique, much like the old Grandmothers Garden quilts of yesteryear. This is the modern equivalent, stitched with a machine, but I am intrigued to see how it all works. The Quilt Room have provided full instructions here.
I will post my efforts here as they are made. There is something rather lovely about the rhythm of following such a scheme. No rush, no worry about setting the blocks, good things come to those that wait.
I’d love you to join me so we can compare.
I have written several interesting, witty and informative blog posts over the past few months, which I now realise have all been in my head! So much to share, I actually didn’t get around to sharing it.
The images above are from a new textile collection I have been working on for Allbymama.co.uk, where some of my work is for sale. We were invited to provide a gift for their christmas draw, and now these personalised letter canvases are for sale on their website.
I also had the opportunity to hang some of my pieces at a local garden centre cafe. This has been in the diary for a long time, but I had forgotten how long it takes to prepare everything.
Perhaps the most exciting news (for me) is that our new kitchen/family space is just about finished. It feels a little alien still, it’s so new and not at all what we are used to, but I can feel the love.
And there, laid out on the table, is the backing for one of the quilts I have on the go. It has its borders, and it’s sandwiched together. In my head, of course, it is finished!!!
It seems I’ve been away a long time! Autumn is lingering here and although we have had a first frost, it is ridiculously mild for the time of year. Whilst sewing at home has been non-existent as renovations drag on, I have taken the opportunity to return to the classroom myself and learn a few new quilting tricks.
A few weeks ago, I headed south to the pretty town of Dorking in the Surrey hills, and took a class at The Quilt Room. The classes are run in a beautiful annex behind an old pub, which now houses the quilt shop. So as well as taking the class, I was able to pop in and browse the beautiful fabrics on display, and watch the Longarm Quilter at work.
My class was called “Jigsaw” and I found myself doing something I never thought I would do in quilting terms – following a pattern! This was exactly the kind of complicated quilting that put me off many years ago: cut 5 of this, 6 of that, sew A to B! But with the patience of the lovely Margaret who was teaching, I found myself rather enjoying the slow and steady process of assembling each block. The quilt uses a jelly roll, again something I’ve never used as I tend to be a scrap quilter, but I took the opportunity to use some very modern fabric designs. I managed to complete a couple of blocks by the time the class ended, and after a few sessions at home, I have a finished top, waiting to be quilted.
Last week I returned there again and this time there was no pattern – just a set of strips to cut based on recurring numbers. This quilt came together so fast that I finished all the blocks the same day. There were infinite variations that could be acheived with this quilt, and I love the random effect that I was able to achieve with 5.5″ blocks – I shall definitely be making this one again.
I shall post pictures of the finished articles when I can. I will then have two lovely new lap quilts to put in my hopefully shortly to be completed, new family room and study.
If I don’t manage to pop back before Christmas, I wish everyone peace and joy and lots of family time this holiday.
Did I mention that I started teaching again recently?
It feels wonderful to be in a room full of creative individuals, all beavering away on something unique and personal, and to share my love, knowledge and experience of quilting. I have a lovely group of novice quilters who are making great progress in their chosen projects.
Making that first quilt, imperfect as it invariably will be, is a milestone – here is where “A Quilter” is made. The desire to start the journey is only a tiny part of the adventure. For some, the path will be bumpy, forcing them to turn away, albeit in frustration or relief; for others, it leads to a new world where obsession meets practicality and there can never be too many quilts. I bet we can all remember our first quilt and the wonder of turning a pile of fabric into something beautiful and functional – the achievement of crossing the threshold to a place of creation and possibility. There are anxieties, of course – the indecision of pattern and colour placement, the struggle of seam matching – all problems that ease with experience.
The class is an Introduction to Patchwork – basic block piecing – but people are so inventive, and I am always inspired by the individuality this craft brings forth. This is the reason I don’t teach step-by-step, as some classes do, where every learner makes the same item. Some of my learners are already adapting their quilting and inventing their own block combinations and it’s thrilling to watch them.
At a time when I can’t do much creating myself (see the picture below!), I really look forward to spending time with them each week. Happy quilting. x
There hasn’t been much in the way of crafting, or patchwork in the past month, with the building work going on, but I have a few items to share.
I’ve sent a uniform cushion off to a its new home today. The new school year is only a few weeks in, but primary school already seems a world away. I hope it brings comforting memories to its recipient.
The poppy was a birthday card for a friend, and her gift is one of the ceramic poppies currently on display at the Tower of London. If you haven’t seen this tribute to the fallen of our wars, I highly recommend looking it up online. There are 880,000 ceramic poppies, one for each soldier that lost his life. Its incredibly moving and to further support the families of those that have given their lives, the poppies are available to buy once the installation is taken down in November.
The building work is continuing here and I am in a constant state of alert regarding fixtures and fittings. As for my former studio, it is doing great service as a little tea room for our builders.
Bye for now – I promise not to leave it a month next time!
The time has finally come to say goodbye to the place that I call my studio. Though humble in construction, she has been my refuge, and I knew that whenever I sought solace within, I would find peace. Once resplendent with creation, now stripped to her bare bones and ready to bravely face the demolition team next week. I wasn’t quite prepared for how awful this makes me feel – she is after all, a shed. I shall be honouring her memory by saving a small piece somehow, to incorporate into whatever form my next place of creation takes. In the meantime, like a teenager, I will be found in my bedroom.
It has been a heady few weeks somehow with all the planning coming to fruition, and getting ready for construction to begin. I have also been preparing work to go on show in a local cafe…
…and perhaps more significantly, I have taken the huge step to give up my day job and concentrate full time on what I love to do, and feel I do best.
I will share more of that journey as it unfolds – expect to see lots of Blue Sky thinking here! In the meantime, I will be the one wearing the hard hat. Xx
Was it only last week that school broke up? Only a week since the Leaver’s Disco, sports day, balloon race day and end of term picnic?
Now my focus can turn to a “hearts and flowers” exhibition I am preparing for in a local cafe. Above are mono prints, but I have some stitched work going too. I am busy framing, labelling and pricing, which is turning out to be surprisingly time consuming, and not at all ideal whilst trying to entertain children who have had gadgets confiscated. However, in a pleasant turn of events, this has started to happen….
Only another 5 weeks to fill, during which time our building work is due to start, and we will have to exit the house, so we’d better make the most of it!!! Happy sunny days.
The school summer holidays are upon us, so making is having to take a back seat. I am sneaking bits in though, and have a few more uniform jumpers on the go for the girls end of term on Friday.
And the Rag Rug continues to grow…. Pictures soon