Wednesday 29 August 2012

Fetes, finds and designs

One of the things I really missed when we visited Canada a couple of years ago were traditional English summer fetes. This weekend being the August bank holiday saw the last of the fetes until next year. They are a lovely mix of tea and cakes, bric a brac stalls, rides for the children, second hand book stalls (always lethal for a girl like me who can not resist a good read especially if it costs 50p!) And, at this particular fete I got to hold a baby crocodile and stroke a beautiful barn owl! To complete the day's delights, on a rack of clothes, I found a lovely Boden dress for a fiver that was just my colours and, more importantly my size and a cashmere jumper for 50p, sadly this doesn't fit me but looks great on my daughter - I do love an unexpected find especially when it ticks all the boxes.
I was also offered a space at this particular fete, in the Art and Craft hall so Crafting at the Cottage went on show, and I met some very interesting people and handed out cards and schedules so fingers crossed for the workshops!
In between cups of tea and chatting, I did some doodling and finally committed my ideas for  my next quilt to paper. Based on an eight by eight block, but not in a traditional way, I linked squares quite randomly whilst keeping a strong central design. I won't do any further paper work, as for me the real joy of patch working is playing with the actual fabrics and improvising as I go along. It's an organic process but one that I love. The finished item I am imagining will have interesting textures and combinations of plains, stripes and chintzes, so quite different from anything I have done before. I love velvet, crushed and plain, and although it is a challenge to work with, the results are always stunning and with my new favourite gizmo, my rotary cutter, slicing through the pile will be much easier and more accurate than ever before.
So here are some photos of the Art and Craft  show and the design for my new quilt.

The doodle of my next project

A table display laden with examples.
The Oxford Scribes were particularly taken with the alphabet sampler cushion

Paper cuts on show

Two quilts hung by the entrance to the hall

Saturday 25 August 2012

Patchwork inspiration

I love these sorts of visual puzzles and this one has been doing the rounds on Facebook. You have to work out how many squares there are - I make it 36 but I am open to correction! As I was staring at it and mentally colouring in the different squares, it struck me that it would make an interesting starting point for a block design quilt, the two 'floating' squares could be in a contrasting colour so that they zing out and the rest in varying shades of grey.
Inspiration for patchwork designs can be found in all sorts of places so keep your eyes open and always have your camera with you to keep a visual note of what you see. Here are a few examples I have snapped.

Spookily similar to the puzzle above! A building being renovated on Oxford Street

Reclaimed tiles stacked

A window that has been blocked up, I love the total clash of the brick work

Tuesday 21 August 2012

More from the Quilt Festival

As promised here are some more choice picks from the Festival of Quilts. There really is so much to see and be inspired by that it's a tough job selecting favourites. The variety of techniques, sizes, fabrics designs is overwhelming and one day is more than enough to get your creative side buzzing. Where possible I will credit the maker, but the entries aren't credited just numbered and categorised so it's not always possible.

Less a quilt more a personal shrine by Kate Crossley

Detail of above

 Journey/map with elements of digital printing and applique

These strips are about 5mm and 20mm long!!

Another piece using oh so narrow strips - beautiful

And another with narrow strips, this time of lime green and orange

Love the colours and shapes -
reminds me of the very wonderful illustrator Brian Wildsmith

Monday 20 August 2012

Festival of Quilts

Yesterday saw me and my daughter dashing up the motorway to the NEC at Birmingham for the much anticipated Festival of Quilts, the largest show of it's kind in Europe. Having entered one, I was curious to see how it stood up against the others, being neither traditional nor pictorial and being made up from genuine scraps rather than bought fabrics, and somewhat random in its construction. But it looked great and several folk were taking pictures of it, which I hope is a good thing. What I wasn't expecting when I picked it up, at the end of a very long and full on day, was an envelope with judges' comments pinned to the back. I was a little apprehensive about what they'd say and was highly pleased with, 'A lovely, happy quilt...super!'. If it makes people smile I can't really wish for more!
I will put up more pics of favourite items tomorrow - don't want to drown you in images!

Me with my creation

Genuine vintage sixteen square quilt

Two tumbling blocks - the larger version is a contemporary take on the smaller vintage one

Love this - the colours the structure, very Gees Bend

Me and my daughter discovering the therapeutic joy of longarm quilting

Free hand embroidery par excellance

And this was my favourite piece measuring 18 inches square and made by Dorothy Caldwell -
it reminds me of the painter Ben Nicholson

Thursday 9 August 2012

What to make next....

I have spent the afternoon de-pooping the glass house which the cats regard as the ultimate in litter boxes,and it's a mindless job, giving me time to mull over what to make next. I have recently been given a couple of bags of random fabrics and there are some I am very keen to work into something, so glass house cleansed, I spent a lovely hour or so tidying my 'office'. I use this term lightly as it's less an office and more a store room and not just for my stuff, but it's where I have several boxes of fabrics and as I sat sifting and compiling, mixing and matching, I formed a plan to make another quilt. This is madness really as we don't have acres of either a)making space or b) storage space, but quilts are very satisfying to do and I like the idea of creating potential heirlooms, things that last and will hopefully be treasured over the years.
So with several largish quantities of vintage floral and countryside scene type fabrics, some stripes and checks, a hint of luscious crushed velvet and may be some chunky vintage lace, I think I am onto something. A little bit ancient cottage, a little bit on trend vintage and a hint of luxury. Watch this space.....

The first selection of fabrics and laces

Detail showing contrasting crushed velvet and vintage linen

Charming country scene with stripes and vintage lace

Wednesday 8 August 2012

The font and logo of the moment

I have surprised myself at how much of the Olympics I have been watching, beautiful horses that dance, chaps throwing, leaping and jumping ridiculous lengths, children doing crazy things on a beam not much wider than my hand and people running SO fast I am exhausted just watching them!  And in every single shot there is this, the

Anything less appropriate for an event that celebrates, speed, poise and perfect movement would be hard to imagine. This atrocity jars in all but one detail, the perfect circle that is 'o' which could be representing a medal or one of the Olympic rings. Everything else screams dysfunctional movement, every angle seems to fighting it's neighbour. Each letter is comprised of a random selection of straights and angles, particularly disturbing is the 'y', 'e', 'p', actually they are all rather disturbing.
It is a tour de force of dreadfulness and should be confined to the trash as soon as possible.
So many great things have been created for the Games, in particular I love Thomas Heatherwick's flaming petals and the thinking behind them - that every country is represented in the flame and that each country will take home their particular petal as a souvenir of 2012 - I just hope that they haven't use the dreadful font on them but I suspect that it has been engraved on to the beautiful petal forms, there for all to see and wonder at for time in memorial.

The 2012 logo as it appears on a gold medal 
And I can hardly let this entry pass without mentioning the logo, it's been around for a while now and I have trained myself not to see it, even though it's there on every athlete, banner, hoarding, way too many items of merchandize and sadly, for the medal winners it is emblazoned on their awards. Thankfully there are two sides to a medal! I know which side I would have on show.

Monday 6 August 2012

Autumn Workshops!

After much faffing about I have finally committed pixels to screen and have come up with a schedule of creative workshops for the Autumn

Pieced, bondawebbed, and embellished cushion - such fun!

Calico Christmas decorations - make great gifts

Paper cut birthday greeting - who wouldn't love one of these?

Detail of ripped and cut cushion - stylish recycling

Sunday 5 August 2012

Holiday notions

Second post! We have been in Cornwall soaking up some over due sunshine and enjoying the stunning coastline and delightful villages and sampling some great fish and chips and pasties. When the weather is favourable you really can not beat a UK holiday. So much loveliness crammed onto such a small island.
As usual I took lots of photos of a whole variety of things and got excited about all sorts of textures and colours. I never know what, if anything I will do with these images but it's a sort of therapy for me, and if I see an image and I don't for some reason have my camera with me, I get a small pang of regret that I've missed capturing something. When I get home and download the photos, I can recall so much detail about the moment they were taken, not I hasten to add, the names of places as I am getting really bad at that, but the actual location, the weather and the surrounding environs.

So here are a few photographs from the trip

A glorious day at Land's End, the bluest of skies and the brightest sunshine

Delightful tiny cottage in Saint Mawes

Atmospheric pub interior

Glorious skies and sand dunes at Porthtowan

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