Tuesday, 23 August 2016

V & A checkerboard quilt top

Mary Jenkins (author of the Little Welsh Quilts blog) posted on Facebook about the original checkerboard quilt in the V & A's collection, which is featured in this video of author Tracey Chevalier looking at quilts as part of research for a novel.  It reminded me that, although  pink and green modern update of this quilt was finished in 2012 (quilted by Ferret), I haven't yet quilted the one above.  There's always a few tops waiting to be done!

Sunday, 21 August 2016

A knot garden, not a mandala

We have had a lot of people coming and going at my parents' home over the last few weeks - carers, doctors, nurses - and a lot of them have been drawn to my the abstract embroidered panel hanging up in the hall.  Most people think it is some kind of mandala but it is actually inspired by an aerial view of a formal garden in winter.

I used a lot of silver metallic prints for the bordered beds and the main one, with the rosette design in the middle, was one of the Hoffman prints chosen for their 1999 'Millenium' challenge.  I had fat quarters of all the challenge fabrics and used the gold metallics for my quilt entry, but the silver didn't really work with the others - it was much more sparkly and the blue didn't coordinate with the more antique colourways.  It seemed to work much better with other silver metallics.

I made the panel for the 'Silver' challenge for Gresford Craft Group's 25th anniversary and I think we had that show around about 2001 or 2002.  I am sure I made the panel before I got the Bernina 153 QE because there are only quite basic stitches on it.  It is embellished with beads, sequins and metallic nets.  The centre is supposed to look like a Victorian fountain that has frozen.

Quilting Sidmouth Revisited

I am hand quilting Sidmouth Revisited at the moment.  A big job - it is 96in square.  The photo above was taken several days ago.  Although I've taken inspiration from the original quilt for the designs, I have resized the quilting frames that don't quite match up with the piecing on the original so they have a more sympathetic relationship to the patchwork frames. Most of the quilting motifs are Welsh and will include beech leaves, hearts etc.

The centre will feature a feather circle which is more typical of North Country designs, although used in the manner of the 'coin' circle centre seen on Welsh quilts.  Lilian Hedley drafted it for me on last autumn's course at The Royal, Bridlington.  This is a 24in square quilt she made with a smaller version of the feather circle in the centre.

The circle in the middle of the original coverlet is more like a chevron pattern than feathers, but nevertheless has a rather Neo Classical look.

Friday, 12 August 2016

East of the Sun and West of the Moon

And flitted away 
as far as they could
from the castle that lay
East of the Sun and West of the Moon 

This is my illustration of one of the last scenes from the Norwegian folk tale 'East of the Sun and West of the Moon', which I was led to by Kay Nielsen's illustrations for the 1914 Hodder and Stoughton edition of Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe's collection of stories, translated by G. W. Dasent. While it was the illustrations that I originally loved, the English translation is very poetic and there is a great rhythm to the language.

This is Kay Nielsen's illustration of the same scene

The illustrations for this book are just amazing, and show the influence of Nordic design and Japanese ukiyo-e on Nielsen's work.  I love the way he interprets trees too -

The King went into the castle 
and at first his Queen did not know him
he was so wan and thin
through wandering so far and being so lonesome 

and also

The six brothers riding out to woo

I have a kimono in my collection which reminds me some other Nielsen illustrations, this time for 'In Powder and Crinoline' (1912).

Mine isn't a quilt, although it looks a bit like one.  I painted it in oils (easier to blend on the canvas than acrylics) and it is about 44in square.  I was influenced by early works by Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky and other Abstract Expressionist and Cubist art.  It was painted in 1985/86, a long time before I made my first quilt!

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Not at Festival of Quilts this year

I'm not at Festival of Quilts this year because I'm helping my mum look after dad, who has secondary prostate cancer now. He has been in and out of hospital since May and also had a couple of weeks at the local hospice, but he is home at the moment, on strong painkillers, and we have carers coming in four times a day, plus backup from the district nurse etc. He can still get up in the daytime and friends have been coming round quite a lot. Because my mum has had 3 hip replacements after an accident 5 years ago and has mobility problems herself, I am staying here as much as possible at the moment, to do the general running around, getting drinks etc.

I will be at the Great Northern Quilt Show at Harrogate at the beginning of September, as I can do that show from Stockton, and also at World Textile Day East near Thetford the following weekend - demoing, teaching and trading at GNQS and trading at WTD. I will be at the Scottish Quilt Championships too, as a demonstrator.

Right now, I'm hand quilting 'Sidmouth Revisited' too.


Thursday, 4 August 2016

A splendid sashiko sampler

Here is Ray McLaughlin's sashiko sampler, which she has recently completed after coming to my sashiko course at Kaleidoscope. She has made a beautiful arrangement of the sashiko blocks and complemented them with some patchwork blocks from 'Japanese Quilt Blocks to Mix and Match', using one of my cotton yukata fabrics for the kimono blocks.  Using a cream print for the sashing and border gives a great contrast to the dark blue sashiko fabric too.  She says we can include this quilt in the 'Sashiko from Scotland' exhibit that will be touring the Grosvenor Shows Spring Quilt Festivals in 2017, so you may have a chance to see it in real life.  Well done!