Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Giveaway Question Two

What a difference a few days makes, oh and a four hour flight!  Well done to everyone who said I was in Morocco, and especially to Jenni and Paula who were very specific and said, correctly, that I'd been in Marrakech.
So after enjoying the sunshine (even though the nights were chilly) in Marrakech, we are now snowed in here in Lincolnshire.  My daughter was planning to come over to see us but thought better of it (for which I'm very thankful) and took Sam for a walk in the snow instead.  She sent these lovely photos:

I had a great surprise with the postman today (who got through the snow somehow) - this wonderful parcel of gorgeous fabric, a magazine AND chocolate from Cara.  Thank you Cara, it made my day.  Please pop over to say hello to Cara, she could do with a hug and is also planning a big sale of fabric.
I've been finishing off my projects for Christmas swaps.  They are all packaged up and should be in the post by tomorrow.  I'm not sure this is going to be possible.  Not only is the Post Office uphill from our house but we can't actually get the car out of the driveway at the moment because of the snow.  As soon as it's possible I'll get the goodies in the post.
This brings me neatly to Giveway Question Two.  There's no right or wrong answer this time so everybody who comments (and leaves a way for me to contact them if they win) will have an entry in the giveaway for my 200th blog post.

Giveway Question Two
When you are in a block swap (or similar) what extra goodies do you include with the finished block / and like to receive with the blocks that come to you?

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Giveaway Question One

I am approaching my 200th blog post and so I thought I'd have a bit of fun.
I'll ask you a series of questions and everybody (and all my followers) who answers them correctly will go in the draw for a giveaway.  Please make sure I can contact you :)

Question One
I've just been away for a week, these photos might help you to guess: 
"Where have I been?"

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Friday Night Sew-In, November

Instead of sewing all day I have been spending a very long time trying to sort out my email account after my address was hijacked.  I expect some of you have received spam messages that look as if they come from me, but they don't.  I hope you have deleted them, if you haven't, please do.
When I did get around to sewing it was getting dark so I had a chance to try out my new little OTT light.  It works very well and so now I can sew and enjoy our lovely log fire at the same time. 
I can't show pictures of what I got done, some of it is part of Secret Santa swaps but I can tell you I've been making little fabric boxes and some delicious kanzashi. 
I've also prepared some stitching to take away with me for Friday Night Sew-In.  I'll be doing some Christmas embroidery and some more kanzashi but will have no computer access so please consider this my Saturday morning report and enjoy some kanzashi here and here.  I'll share mine later.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Chilford Autumn Quilt Show 2

Okay, here's what I came away from Chilford with (plus a few things from Euro Japan Links which you can see at the end of the post here).
Inspiration from nature.  The trees have been really stunning this year.  This one was in the grounds of Chilford Hall and I can see how it could easily become a quilt design...
New thimbles.  One soft leather one and one adjustable metal one with a gap for my finger nail.  I'll let you know how I get one with them.  I also stocked up on bobbins and was tempted by this small OTT light which I'll clip on my shirt to illuminate my work as the evenings get darker.  I'll be able to sew in front of the fire with my beloved rather than locking myself away in my sewing room.
These books were a special promotion.  The top one I'll be lending to my friend Georgie as she is experimenting with quilting using a variety of textural stitches.
This gorgeous fabric was from Monkey Buttons and I'm going to make a bag from one of their patterns.  Something else to add to my to do list!
 Lovely textured silks from The Silk Route (who now have an online shop).
 I love the feel of these beautiful Liberty lawn fabrics, so soft.
Re-cycled Liberty fabrics from Kim Porter at worn and washed - lovely things.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Amazingly Gorgeous

I just had to interrupt the Chilford Quilt Show report to show you this, it's a ralli.  A ralli is a quilted textile made from layers of discarded cloth.  You can see more at sri threads.

Cherry Blossom and Maple Leaves

The Oriental Fabrics Competition at Chilford was for a quilt of minimum 24" square and maximum 84" square and include at least 60% Oriental fabrics.  Such a wide brief led to a variety of quilts but I was surprised with how few there were on display.  Here they are:

Secret Rendezvous 
by Elisabeth Green of Worcestershire. 

I took a couple of close up pictures to show the detail of all the applique blossoms and leaves and those wonderful koi.

by Christine Davey of Norfolk

This quilt included both hand and machine quilting and I liked the fabrics Christine chose to use.

Madam Butterfly
by Megan Bradfield of Carmarthenshire

This lovely quilt was an "idea" for eighteen months so none of us need to give up on those projects on our to do list.  Megan combined hand applique and quilting in her design which was inspired by books by Suzanne Marshall and Kumiko Sudo.

The Last Samurai
by Susan Briscoe of North Wales

A strong combination of Oriental prints with a Japanese craft panel depicting Samurai armour and quotations from 'The Art of War'.  The design was inspired by narrow Boys' Day banners and the blossoms and leaves contrast with the armour to show the fragility of the warrior's life.  You can read more about the making of this quilt on Susan's blog (at the end of the post).

Geisha Dreams
by Margaret Brett, Kent

This calming quilt is the result of many hours of fussy cutting,  hand applique and hand quilting to create a fantasy maple tree bearing cherry blossom.  Again I took a close up to show the detail.

Of course I had to have a little retail therapy after admiring all the quilts and being inspired.
Euro Japan Links just happened to have a stand at the exhibition and this is what tempted me:
This gorgeous length of fabric.  I bought 2m and am planning ...

A couple of half metre pieces of Japanese cotton fabric that I haven't got in my stash.  Those are hares on the indigo piece.

These folded flowers are going to be appearing everywhere when I get the hang of them.  I bought two as I was thinking "Secret Santa", I wonder who would appreciate them the most?
That wasn't too extravagant was it?  I feel one has to make the most of these opportunities (and there were one or two other purchases on the day which I have put on Online Quilting.)

Monday, 8 November 2010

Chilford Autumn Quilt Show 1

What shall I share first?  What I bought or the quilts I liked?  Decisions, decisions!  I've posted about some of the Japanese quilts I enjoyed here so I'll show you some of the other quilts that inspired me today and what I came home with tomorrow, deal?

I haven't attended the Chilford Show before but had heard good reports, "friendly show", "lovely venue" etc.  It took place at the Chilford Hall Vineyard where we found an assortment of buildings, architectural salvage (loved the stone lions on the road in) and lovely gardens.  On the negative side, I thought some of the quilts looked as if they'd been put up in rather a hurry and were hanging unevenly (or maybe the quilters hadn't attached a hanging sleeve) and the lighting wasn't brilliant (lots of shadows across quilts).  Overall it was a good show, manageable but plenty to enjoy.  I had approximately two hours looking at quilts and two hours shopping!  Good food too (but rather a long queue for the bistro).

To the quilts -

One of the exhibits I was keen to see was the "Glimpses of New Zealand" quilted hangings by Gail Lawther.
I have Gail's book of the same title and saw some of the quilts at Festival of Quilts this year but it was wonderful to see some again and to see the whole series together.  I think she has beautifully represented that wonderful country.  I would highly recommend her book to you, it is a series of mini-tutorials in the various techniques she used in these quilts (as well as being a pretty good promotional document for the New Zealand Tourism Board).

Some general views of various parts of the exhibition next then I'll show you some specific quilts I liked and some close ups:

I enjoyed looking very closely at the entries in the Batik Beauties Competition having been perforating my finger tips by handsewing batik fabric recently.  The theme this year was "A Batik Landscape" and if you're thinking about next year the theme will be "Rising Sun" and entry forms are available from Grosvenor or on 01775 712100.

View To Make The Heart Beat Faster
by Amanda Carter of Shrophire 

The view is of Goathland in Yorkshire, also known as "Heartbeat" Country as it was where that very successful television series was filmed.
What caught my eye was the wonderful silhouette of Whitby Abbey beyond the arched window.

Down By The River 
by Christine Dobson of Berkshire

The inspiration for this quilt came from a 19th century painting by Albert Bierstadt of Wind River Mountains in Wyoming, USA.
I think Christine was successful in her aim to convey the tranquillity of the scene.

Canal Bridge
by Jill Findlay of Berkshire

This quilt was inspired by Jill's memories of canal boat holidays.
I thought the way she interpreted the water in the canal was very effective.

Jacquie Harvey showed a collection of her work from the past fifteen years entitled, "A Little Love In Every Stitch" from the way her husband describes her work.  I was pleased to have the opportunity to look closely at her wearable work, all done by hand and developed from an intial interest in North Country quilting.

What else?  Oh yes, the beautifully executed quilt, "Rose Bush" by Clare Kingslake of  Lechlade, Goucestershire which was a delight of reverse applique:

Rose Bush

Cherilyn Martin's collection of work entitled "Exploring Stitch" was lovely to see close-up as it was possible to enjoy her quilting and embroidery, her quilts rightly described as 'encrusted surfaces' in the exhibition notes.

Something fascinated my beloved in the collection of Transatlantic Quilt Challenge 2010, "Going Green" quilts.
It was this work by Lesley Brankin of the UK entitled,  Growing Green  and he was examining the transfer-printed butterflies -
Also in the Going Green exhibition were two quilts that caught my eye and were similar.  It turns out that they were both by Californian quilters and inspired by a workshop with Sylvia Einstein.

Go Green 
by Carol McCoy 

Carol created a very lush jungle.

Branching Out 
by Gail Abeloe 

Gail was also inspired by a Sylvia Einstein class and by a photo in a Japanese quilt magazine.

Dot Carter exhibited a collection of quilts with three other textile artists from south west England, known together as Kindrid Spirits and their exhibition called "Skimming the Surface".  Here is a close-up of her lovely work inspired by the port of Falmouth and the Cornish coast.

The Contemporary Quilt Group of the Quilters' Guild of the British Isles worked on a journal quilt project during 2009, each quilt measuring 6"x12".  For this exhibition members selected four journal quilts to assemble into one piece for display.  These were two of my favourites:

by Julie Mackinder of Grantham, Lincolnshire

 by Margaret Scholey-Hill of London

And finally, I have often thought I'd like to make a quilt based on Escher's tessellating designs and was delighted to see this:
  Busy Lizzie
by Anna Jenkins of UK
This was Anna's quilt for the Transatlantic Challenge, Going Green.  The green lizards developed from Escher's "Lizards".  Couched threads were used to give extra texture to the design with a limited palette of green, grey and black.  It made me smile.

That's it for today, I hope you enjoyed the quilts.