Sunday, 7 February 2010

Holidays and recycled quilts

I feel I spent most of last week trying to organise holidays.  I had never 'bought' a holiday until last year and I am still learning how to do it.  It seems to me you can spend/waste an inordinate amount of time on-line considering possibilities only to find that British people all book in January which I was not in a position to do.  So now I am waiting to hear if I can be squeezed onto an art history study trip to Venice in mid-March.  I won't know until Tuesday but as it is a small company I then spent another couple of hours this morning trying to work out how to get to Gatwick.  This is one of the downsides of living at the end of the country: you have to leave the day before, spend a night in London and endure two six hour train journeys for most holidays and add in the additional cost.  On a brighter note on Friday evening I managed to book myself and a school friend in New Zealand on a six day tour of Normandy in July, all in the space of an hour, thanks to e-mail and on-line booking.  And if anyone can tell me whether we can get from Rouen to Bayeux by public transport for the day, let me know.  One day of this tour is to the Normandy beaches which is not really our scene but we would very much like to see the tapestry.

Finally over the weekend I have taken a couple of steps towards doing some quilting.  I now have two cans and their lids rusting in the garden.  I put them there this morning knowing that they will probably take months to disintegrate in this cold but my husband can add a few discarded tools, nails etc. as he passes.

And I have made a few decisions about journal quilts.  I am going to do them (I considered having a rest this year) but I am going to try and use recycled materials.  So I began by looking in the bin where I put leftovers and unsuccessful pieces of fabric.  Here are some pieces of monoprinted fabric left from a previous year's journal quilts.

And here are some stamped pieces that did not work very well.

I have also decided to go back to a theme I was working on a couple of years ago and extend it a bit.  Then it was 'old farm buildings' but now I realise that there is a bottomless pit of source images here that incorporate dereliction, rusting etc and tell an important story about the death of traditional  industries in this area including mining and fishing.  So my theme for the year is 'Any Old Iron'.  I find it useful to have a theme but I usually abandon it at some point so I shall try to do better this year.

And then this afternoon I actually started on a project I was going to do months ago.  I have dug out an old wall hanging from the suitcase of quilts under the bed.  I made it ten years ago, using blocks made in a workshop at Danetre Quilters which I used to belong to when we lived in Northamptonshire.  They were made from commercial fabrics but the rest is hand-dyed, some of my early efforts - you should have seen the back!

The piece is machine quilted but this was the first time I had tried to 'paint' with free machine quilting so it is not very even and the plain pieces were quilted using a home-made stencil so that quilting is not very dense.  It will be interesting to see what happens to it during its reincarnation.

I am following a workshop by Annette Morgan that appeared in Quilting Arts in December 2008.  The first step is to paint the whole thing, front and back, with white emulsion paint.  Half of the quilt is heavily painted so that I will then be working on a new surface with just the quilting ridges from the old quilt, while the other half is painted quite lightly (easier said that done) so that some of the colour remains.

Now I have to wait for it to dry.  As the studio is only heated when I am working in there or the dryer is on, this may take several days especially in the middle of winter.  Perhaps this is a good thing as it will mean I can get on with the journal quilts.

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