Friday, 9 December 2011

Photo of the Day

Another study in rust.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Photo of the day

Teasels: to be found all over Penwith in the autumn, they make good dried flower arrangements for the winter.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Photo of the Day

We have plenty of old iron down here.  This is part of a rusty ship.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Photo of the day

Statue in memory of fishermen who have died at sea.  This was put up about three years ago on the approach to Newlyn.  People were concerned that there was no memorial to fishermen.  The seaman is standing on a gyroscope.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Photo of the day

It is quite warm here today although very wet so amazing to remember that exactly a year ago we had really heavy (for Cornwall) snow. Here is a photo of a neighbour's agapanthus that I took on 2 December 2010.

Tomorrow I will see what the plant looks like a year on.  It is possible that there aren't any seedheads because the woman who lived in this house died at the beginning of 2011 and some professional gardeners now live there.  They may have chosen to chop the seedheads off.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Photo of the Day

Another shot taken on our walk at Newlyn harbour on Sunday.  This is the marker at the entrance to the harbour.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Photo of the day

The sign in the window says this is the Newlyn Harbour Office but we thought it was the model for 221 Durella St. San Franciso in the film What's Up Doc?  That's where Eunice was taken when she should have been at the party at Mr. Larrabee's house.

If you don't know What's Up Doc is, I think, one of the funniest comedies of the late twentieth century.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Tribute to Sheila Acton

I was extremely sorry to learn that Sheila Acton died on Monday 21 November.  Sheila and I were close quilting friends when I lived in Northamptonshire and we kept in touch by e-mail in more recent years.  We met when we were both members of Danetre Quilters.

Like many people, Sheila took up quilting seriously when she retired.  Unlike most women of her generation she had a career in a man's field: engineering.  She took a degree in engineering and later set up her own PR company, specialising in working with the engineering industry.  I seem to remember that she did lots of embroidery and crafts while working and bringing up her children but I did not know her then.  She was a real dynamo and when she retired she decided that she needed a new interest so she enrolled on City and Guilds Patchwork and Quiltings.

I met her after that.  As you might expect of someone who had run their own business, she had a huge range of skills at everything from business and financial planning to marketing and events management.  The Quilters Guild recognised this and after serving on the Regional Committee, Sheila was asked to join the Guild Council  as the PR officer.  This was in 2001.  She was allowed to choose her own committee and she asked me to join it as the person who coordinated links with the quilt show organisers.  I had just been made redundant and chosen not to take another full-time job so I welcomed the opportunity to take on something new.

Sheila and I had a great but hectic three years.  It was much busier for her than me and sometimes you would have thought she was still working full-time.  I learnt a great deal from her, not least in how to organise stands at large events.  The Festival of Quilts started during this period and we were in it boots and all.  Sheila gave the Guild lots of advice about designing the main Guild stand that faces you as you come into the show.  She had very high standards and worked extremely long hours at these events.  In addition to the Festival of Quilts we had stands at the Knitting and Stitching Shows and the Grosvenor shows.  I will always remember how, when we did not have enough quilts to decorate the walls of the stand at the Knitting and Stitching show, she phoned me the night before and asked me to bring as many of my quilts as I could that might fit in the space available.  Her husband Roy was roped in on these occasions and drove up from Northants to Ali Pali at very unsociable hours.  Sheila and I also drove to various places for exhibitions and meetings, all of which gave up plenty of opportunity to discuss textiles and put the world to rights.

This was a time when the Guild was undergoing serious review and Sheila had many ideas to contribute to discussions about its restructuring and management.  She took on additional tasks in order that things would not collapse.  For example, when the Webmaster emigrated to New Zealand at short notice Sheila added that role to what she was already doing so that the website, which was quite new, would not collapse.

Working for the Guild at national level means you make many new friends and both Sheila and I became part of the wider quilting world as a result.  She will be missed by quilters up and down the country.  When the time came for her to stand down, she was able to get back to actually making quilts.  She was extremely creative and I am sure her training in draughtmanship helped her in designing some wonderful hangings.  She joined a group called Contemporary Expressions who made art quilts.  In the summer she sent me photographs of the items she was putting into an exhibition they were having at the Northampton Shoe Museum.  These were wonderful: a large wall hanging of Fred Astaire and a wonderful flapper hat.  The exhibition was being taken down on the day that Sheila died so it is good to know that she had had this last opportunity to demonstrate her skills.  May her memory live on in the work of quilters in Northamptonshire and in the legacy of the Quilters Guild.

Photo of the day

Given my inability to post to this blog recently I have decided that the answer might be to do postings of individual photos.  So here goes with a shot I took yesterday at Newlyn harbour.  Newlyn is a wonderful sources of inspirational photos if you are into rust and industrial detritus.  You have to go on a Sunday, though, as it is one of the busiest fishing ports in the country.

Here are some crab pots.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Frescoes at Piona Abbey, Lake Como

We saw lots of frescoes on our Como art history tour.  I was not able to photograph all places because of issues such as 'no photographs allowed', poor light etc. but I was really pleased with those places where it was possible.  One of these was Piona Abbey which is situated at the head of the lake on the Lecco, i.e. eastern, side.  We went up the lake by boat.  There are wonderful views across the lake at this point, even when as on this occasion, there is a lot of mist around.

The monastery was originally a Cluniac foundation but it now belongs to the Cistercians who were given it by the former owners, the Rocca family, in 1938.  There is a complex of buildings and lovely gardens that stretch down to the lake's edge.

It was Sunday and Mass was about to begin so we could only have a quick look at the frescoes in the church itself.  However, the adjoining cloister is wonderful and has a whole wall of medieval scenes.

The individual panels represent saints and peasants.  These include George and the Dragon,

St Catherine on her wheel,

and I think this one is St John the Baptist minus his head.

The peasants give a real flavour of everyday medieval life:

Most of them are involved in field tasks:

but there are also one or two of people having fun such as this musician:

The abstract patterns that make up the dividing portions are also interesting to textile artists.  We saw patterns similar to these in other places.  Lozenges appear to have been a popular shape for tiles on both walls and floors.  The abbey lay on the pilgrimage route from northern Europe to Rome.  A very narrow road winds along the edge of the lake and later we visited a church which had a shrine to St Thomas a Beckett.

The monks today make money by selling a particularly fiery liqueur known as St Bernards Elixir.  We were cautioned against adding it to our coffee!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Lake Como and the silk industry

My trip to Lake Como was a great success with beautiful weather every single day and lots of medieval frescoes to study.  Before I went to Como I had no idea that it was famous for its silk production but we were lucky enough to be given a tour of the Silk Museum which is prviately run and squashed into the basement of a polytechnic.  The Lake Como area began producing silk in the fifteenth century.  There was already a thriving woollen industry in Piedmont and this had spread to Como but by the fifteenth century there was intense competition for wool productaion from Northern Europe. The Como area had plenty of water to use for the mills and mulberries grew in the Po valley so they were able to swop from wool to silk production.  I found some interesting comparisons with the woollen industry in the Pennines.  Many of the mills were originally situated in small  remote alpine villages and the museum's collection of looms reminded me of the mills I used to visit in Lancashire and West Yorkshire as part of my job in the late 1970s.  The museum has collected these old looms and other machines and brought them down to Como in pieces.  It must have been quite a job.

As with the wool barons here, the silk merchants grew very rich and built themselves beautiful houses, both in Como city and as villas on the shores of the lake.

This house is now a bank.  It still has wonderful plaster entrance porches with patterns taken from the silk designs.

We saw a number of houses like this. There are also the remains of many large silk factories around the suburbs.  It was interesting being in Como in September because of the proximity of Milan fashion week.  Apart from a few extremely stylish visitors who I suspect were having the weekend in Como, the TV news was full of the fashion shows.

After weaving silk for many years, the Como area moved into dyeing and printing after the second world war and that is what remains.  This began with jacquard production, using punch cards and designs on squared paper.  In about 1979 I taught English in a small Courtaulds factory in South London where they had just introduced this kind of machinery to produce woollen fabric.  (Pretty ugly it was too.)  It all came back to me when I saw the machines.  Jacquard braid and trimmings are apparently still produced in Piedmont but Como moved over to printing.  The filament is now all produced in China.  We were shown a variety of printing methods: really old blocks, silk screens, traditional rollers and modern rollers which are much lighter.  The museum also has a 'chemistry lab' and a a 'physics lab' with old equipment.  It is all very interesting and quite familiar in some ways to textile people.

The museum is part of a school doing foundation diplomas in weaving, chemistry and design.  It is trying hard to secure proper funding so that it can move to better premises.  At the moment it is only open to school groups and special parties (I was on an Art History tour with a company called Art Pursuits and given the lack of air conditioning in the basement, it will be much better if it does manage to find better premises!

It seems the souvenir of choice from Como is a silk scarf or tie.  I bought a linen scarf (will take a photo of it.) It came from a posh tourist shop but I have to confess that I have never liked what I think of as Hermes style printed silk squares and that seemed to be the main thing on offer.  I was not tempted which was probably just as well given the prices.

I took lots of photos of art details but did not find Como particularly photogenic.  Here is a sample and I will do another posting about some of the things we saw once I have edited the photos.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Festival of Quilts and Abstract Art 2: SAQA

The second exhibition that inspired me was Beyond Comfort by SAQA.   I have to say that I had an advantage here as I did two sessions on the stand and this meant I could study the pieces in more detail.  You can see photos of the whole exhibit at
and look at the individual pieces by going to:

I always find the SAQA standing inspiring and this was no exception.  I noticed that lots of people were particularly interested in Kristin La Flamme's three apron shaped quilts about the life of an army wife.  I think the juxtaposition of symbols of traditional women's roles and the use of the apron shape really made you think about the lives these women live.  Here in the south-west, huge numbers of people have careers in the military, especially the navy, and almost every evening our regional news programme has a military related item, often about yet another casualty in Afghanistan. These frequently feature interviews with the women left behind, so I could relate to the images she included as well as the messages she was giving us.

The apron quilts were on the wall behind us as we sat at the table, though, and it was the quilt immediately opposite me that I really had time to study.  This was Sampler Revisited by Joan Sowada and used fabrics she had rusted.  This was a very good example of putting samples together so I was interested to find another quilt by her in the Quilt National 2011 book which I received a couple of days ago.  'Full Measure' is completely different, being a portrait of two girls looking towards the right of the picture and designed to illustrate: 'the female spirit, firmly planted and fully present'.  Together these two pieces illustrate Sowada's versatility but also I think tell the amateur quilter that it is quite acceptable to vary one's style quite dramatically.

Probably one reason I liked it was because I am working on something similar: pieces of rusted fabric combined with samples from an indigo workshop.  Mine is about the same size as Sampler Revisited and seeing something like this in a juried exhibition made me think perhaps mine is not so bad after all!  I should have it finished in a week or so and will then put it on the blog.

On the wall to the left of us was Bad News by Elly van Steenbeek.  This was another abstract piece incorporating unusual materials including a piece of iron and paper.  She suggests that the piece of iron found in a park is a symbol of waste and telling us something about modern life and the environment.  There were also several pieces that were virtually monochromatic.  Working in tones of black and white seems rather popular at the moment and removing colour certainly draws the viewer's attention to other aspects of the design such as line.

So where do these quilts leave us in relation to the statement about abstract art in my previous posting?  I like the idea that contemporary artists have dialogues with concepts and ideas that were expressed by people fifty years ago and I suspect that because quilt art is a newer medium, we probably have plenty more to say.  Talking about these ideas with my husband (not an arty type), however, has also made me think about another question: if you can tell that a piece is, say, a landscape, does that mean it is not abstract?  And does that mean that it is not 'worth' as much as one that addresses thoughts and layers of meaning in the mind.  I don't know.

There were other exhibitions that addressed these issues so I will continue posting about them.

Festival of Quilts and Abstract Art 1

I suspect I am like many other people in finding the invited exhibitions at the Festival of Quilts particularly inspirational.   There are always several that give me new ideas and 2011 was no exception.  I have now had time to mull over what I saw, even though I chose to take very few photographs.  I am very conscious of copyright issues these days so I tend to buy the catalogues rather than take photographs that then sit on the computer and are forgotten.  This posting is therefore totally photoless!

I find myself attracted to more abstract quilts so I was very interested in how the statement below might apply to the quilts I saw.  It appears in the press release for the Tate St Ives winter exhibition that opens on 8 October.
The contemporary position of abstract painting is problematic.  It can be seen to be synonymous with a modernist moment that has long since passed, and ideology which led the medium to stagnate in self-reflexivity and ideas of historical progression.  The Indiscipline of Painting (title of the new exhibition) challenges such assumptions.  It reveals how painting's modernist histories, languages and positions have continued to provoke ongoing dialogues with contemporary practitioners, even as painting's decline and death has been routinely and erroneously declared.
Does this statement, which is initially quite dismissive of abstract work, apply to art quilts I ask myself?  I think overall we would say that art quilters continue to engage with contemporary issues and there were several exhibitions at FOQ where I could see this happening.  The first was by a Dutch group, TEXUI

The catalogue says that their artwork 'can be characterised as a quest for images expressing deeper layers of the mind...even a matter of aspects of everyday life gives food for reflection, are taken out of its context and given new meaning in a different order'.  It goes on to say that the use of experimental techniques and materials is an aspect of this.  The pieces they showed ranged from those where the viewer could recognise and identify with the subject matter (Crocodile by Elke Boesewinkel, The Wall by Jacqueline de Jong-van-Balen and Windmill by Willy Doreleijers) to others which were very abstract so that you had to ask yourself how the subject matter related to the title (Human Rights by Hanne Capel, Tape-e-stry by Annette Jeukens and light 2 by Jelly Dijkstra).  My favourite, however, was Genesis-'And the Word was...' by Rita Berghuis-Ensing.  So I have to ask myself what it is I am responding to.  Is it the colour (because of course I am a colour freak), the overall design, or the techniques?  How many of us, I wonder, respond instinctively to some combination of these and how many more intellectually to the ideas being expressed?  I suggest you go to the website to see more of their work although at the time of writing I could not find a page that had all these pieces on it together.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Cornwall Design Fair

After ten days away at the Festival of Quilts and a family wedding, I have decided I am going to go backwards in my attempts to catch up with this blog and start with the event I went to today.  The Cornwall Design Fair is a high class craft fair that I usually miss because it in on the same dates as the Festival of Quilts.  But with FOQ being a week earlier this year I was able to go for the first time for several years.  What's more it has moved and is now held at Trereife House which is very near us.

Trereife House is one of a string of period gentlemen's residences that encircle Penzance.  It has wonderful gardens which you can see better in this photo, and views down to and across Mounts Bay.

There is also a small orchard in a walled garden:

The trees are medlars which is quite unusual these days.  The fruit look rather sad at the moment but I am sure they are meant to be like this.

The Craft Fair attracts lots of local designer-makers who exhibit in marquees.  I was pleased to see lots of younger artists just starting out and great displays from both Truro College and Plymouth College.  I was particularly taken with two pieces by one of the Truro students: long hangings made from linen, one with vertical rows of machine stitching and the other with vertical hand-stitching Kanta style depicting a sun and descending lines.  Unfortunately she had not put her name by the pieces and as the student looking after the stand was a wood-turner, I have no idea who she is.  Obviously I was not going to photograph the pieces without permission.

There were a lot of jewellers underlining the popularity of this option on art and design courses in this area.  I can easily be tempted by silver rings and bracelets but keep telling myself these days that I have more pieces of silver jewellery than I will ever wear.  Also quite a few potters.  There is also a long history of pottery in this area, due in part to the legacy of Leach.  There were some beautiful bowls on the Leach Pottery stand  I particularly liked the ones made by Jack Doherty who is the lead potter.  They had wonderful glazes that really represent the colours of the sea and sand in St Ives but I am afraid there are no photos of them on the website.  I was also struck by how blue is returning as a colour in pottery.  There were several people with lots of blue pieces.  I will put some photos up later but I resisted buying all but one piece as we have nowhere to keep things that we do not use regularly any more.  In my youth I used to collect pottery and have memories of lugging pieces round Europe in my suitcase.  They are still all treasured.

Textiles were also well represented, everything from weaving and knitting to digitally printed silk, appliqued household textiles and some wonderful felt.  Becky Williams had lovely small framed felt pictures with applique and stitching on them .   Again, she works in blue.  Someone told me that if you really want to sell things down here you have to do things that represent the sea and use blue.  She certainly ticks all the boxes!

The other useful aspect of an event like this is that you learn about other events, some of which are new.  Lamorna is a valley about five miles west of Penzance where members of the Newlyn School lived.  Today it is home to at least two dozen artists and craftspeople so it is good to see that they are having their own arts festival at the end of September.   And even nearer for me is the Chapel Gallery in Gulval which has an exhibition in the earlier part of September.  And there is the St Ives Festival in September.  I think I have made a mistake in deciding to go on holiday for part of September.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Red Cross Appeal and the Changi Quilt

It is always good to see the image of quilting being promoted.  I have just received the Red Cross mailing for its summer appeal.  The Red Cross always chooses a theme for this and this time it is the Changi Quilt.

I have known about this quilt for some years because there was an article about it in The Quilter at some point.  Changi I have known about since childhood because Singapore and the Fall of Singapore was much talked about in New Zealand when I was a child.  I cannot think of anyone I knew personally who was interred but in later life I worked with someone whose father-in-law lost his wife and children when they were torpedoed as they left Singapore for Australia.  Her husband was the eldest child of the second family, born after the war.  Whole families were interred in Changi under extremely harsh conditions.  As the Red Cross mailing says, the quilt was begun with the encouragement of a Red Cross representative who was one of those held.  Each woman was given a square of white cloth asked to 'put something of herself' into the square along with her signature.  As you can see, many people chose to depict things from their life outside prison

Memories of home are represented in flowers of different types

The completed quilts were given to wounded male prisoners who were interned in a different camp.  In this way they knew that the women and children were still alive.

I rather regret never having been to the Changi museum in all my trips to Singapore although I have always thought it would be a somewhat harrowing experience.  On my last trip, in 2008, I did go to Changi village, however.  One of my nephews was working in Singapore and as he and his wife were living near the airport, we spent a Saturday evening at Changi Village.  It is a popular picnic destination for people who live in the high rise appartments in the city.  We walked along the boardwalk

and took photos of the amazing clouds

but unfortunately I did not take any photos of the picnics.  People had brought everything with them (by bus): tents, food, small TVs and even their cats.  First I saw a cat on a lead down by the river.  As someone who trained cats onto leads I was not totally surprised by this but later I noticed other cats wandering round the tents without a lead in sight.  Obviously they enjoy their Saturday outings too.  People were cooking satay on barbecues along the beach.  All this took place directly under the flight paths from the airport and only a few hundred years from the perimeter fence.  This is a very different Singapore from the one most tourists see and a real treat.

Repeated stopovers in Singapore finally led me to read a whole book on the Battle for Singapore and the Malay peninsula.  I do not normally choose to read serious war histories but, although it was heavy going, it really added to my understanding of this part of the world.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

More Kanta style bags

I have been spending quite a bit of time sitting in the conservatory overseeing the cats' 'garden time' over the last three or four weeks.  They only go out with one of us keeping an eye on them because we have had some terrible experiences of lost cats in the past.  Even so there are times when one escapes and when I arrived home from my Tate volunteering yesterday afternoon Nui had completely disappeared.  Running round the block calling for him is a good way to get to know the neighbours!  It appears that the conservatory door had opened itself so they were able to get out.  The girls, being girls, were sitting on the lawn when my husband realised what had happened but Nui stayed out for four to five hours until it began to rain and was beginning to get dark.  We have no cat flap so it is a bit of a problem when you have more than one cat and you don't want the other cats to get out but do want the absent one to get in.  All this activity meant that I did not have a chance to read the book about Margaret Mellis which I bought from the Tate bookshop but I still plan to do a post about this.  Instead I spent the time updating the cats' PetLog registrations.  I am very glad they are microchipped.  This wasn't possible in the olden days but would have been a great help on a couple of occasions.

You will see that I now have three finished yellow bags made from the scraps of the yellow churn dashes.  There is plenty of fabric for more but I fancied a change this week so I have made a blue one from the small offcuts of blue cotton that I keep in a large old-fashioned sweetie jar.

There is only one square left to do and then I shall line it with bright red/pink batik.  The yellow ones have worked well especially with fancy buttons:

I think the buttons are designed for use on cardigans for small children.  I just have to remember that the ones with flowers on them cost 50p each so it rather puts the price up.  I originally intended to give these bags to the Put Em Ins fund-raiser at the Festival of Quilts but the St Ives Arts Club of which I am a member is going to have a craft fair at the end of September.  I missed the first one last year because it was the weekend of my nephew's wedding.  I showed these bags to a friend who had been to the fair and she said they would do sell  so I am now working flat out to see how many I can make.  It is a pretty slow technique but I think of it as the equivalent of Victorian needlepoint.  I may swop to making them by machine but the hand-sewing is very portable and I will be able to take it on holiday with me.  Also it is a wonderful excuse to use lots of Stef Francis variegated thread.  I find their extra fine mercerised cotton is best because I am working on three thicknesses: wadding, the cotton patches and finally a layer of fine net to keep it all in place.

I do have some other bags that I can let the Put Em Ins people have so I don't feel too guilty about keeping these to sell.  My main aim at the St Ives event is to try and sell some of my journal quilts and in theory I would like to make a few more, possibly similar to the ones I know people like because they are supposed to represent various features of the Penwith landscape.  I fear it will all depend on how much time I have to sew over the next few weeks.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Flowers as inspiration

This morning I received my copy of the new book by Twelve by Twelve Twelve by Twelve: The International Art Quilt Challenge which one of my fellow Contemporary Quilt group members recommended last week.  It is every bit as good as she said and very well designed.  Twelve by Twelve is a  blog based group who do group challenges of quilts that are 12 inches square.  I already knew quite a bit about them but it is always good to have a book to study rather than just using the Internet to see images.  As I have been taking my camera on a few short walks round here this week I was particularly struck by a comment in the first chapter where the topic was 'Dandelion'.  Diane Perin Hock says that Jane Sassaman, teaching a workshop, would ask her 'What do you want to say about that flower?'  This has made me think about some of my photos in a different way.
First, foxgloves.  I have been photographing these off and on for years but it is often difficult because it is almost always windy down here.

This morning I walked up the valley that starts a few hundred yards from here.  The foxgloves were magnificent and  there was lots of red campion plus plenty of white cow parsley.

The comment made me consider what it is that is so attractive about foxgloves apart from the general effect of drifts of them.  I decided it is the detailed mottling inside the petals and the bell like shape of the ends of the petals.

I need to get out the drawing tools!
A couple of days ago I walked up to a nearby small reservoir.  It has wild rhododendrons i.e. they are all purple as opposed to the different colours of cultivated varieties.

 In fact they are a big problem here as they 'get away' and often cause wildfires so there have been a lot of clearance programmes over the last ten years or so.  This one was growing in a an uncontrolled hedgerow beside the reservoir.  When I uploaded it I realised that although it is not very sharp it is probably the sort of photo I can play with in Photoshop.  Also the centre of the flower is sharp and detailed and the petals quite wispy.  I am sure there is some artistic message there!
The reservoir also has a good display of wild waterlilies at this time of the year.

They remind me of the ones I saw in Monet's garden last year.
I have also had the camera out in the garden now that the plants are beginning to bloom.  I am not a good designer of gardens - I just know what I like - but this year I decided to go for hot colours in our small herbaceous patch.  The patch is getting smaller as the shrubs grow but I know it will be easier to maintain in future so I am not panicking.  Apart from the self-sown nasturtiums which I am having to pull out so that they do not strangle the plants they hide, we have some rather nice gazanias this year.  I am sure they are the sort of flower of which I should be asking: What do you want to be saying about that flower?'

So now I just need to think about how I might use some of these images.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Wedding present quilt finished

The wedding present quilt is finished!  We collected it from the longarm quilter last week and this week I have put the binding on.  Now I just need to sign it.

I am very pleased with longarm quilting which is quite simple but right for something with such a busy pattern.

I was also impressed with the cost which was much less than a lot of more commercial places.  In fact I am wondering if I should spend next winter making a new quilt for my bed.  The current one is ten years old and beginning to look a bit sad, not least because it gets washed rather a lot.  After I finished it, I swore I would never make another bed quilt and the ones I have done since have been smaller - topper size rather than huge King-size quilts that cover up the whole duvet.

I have rolled the quilt up and put it on the top shelf of my wardrobe as I plan to give it to my nephew and his wife when we are all at his younger brother's wedding in August.  And I am still appreciating not having to make this last one a quilt because his prospective mother-in-law is a quilter.  I have realised that making traditional bed quilts is very time consuming and that over last winter that was all I did: the wedding present and the single bed quilt for Zelah.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Those indigo fabrics

This week I have finally got round to doing something with the fabrics I made at Janice Gunner's indigo dyeing workshop.  It is inspired by walks between Hayle and Godrevy lighthouse, an area with very interesting geology.  The quilting is going to be an important part of the whole design but here is the top.  It is approximately 28 inches square.  I am not making it for anything in particular which is why I can show it at this   stage of its development.

The centre consists of a piece of fine cotton that was folded and clamped with bulldog clips.  It is collaged onto a piece of linen that was simply scrunched.  The left hand panel is a piece of rust dyeing and the strip below it is commercial batik with a piece of sateen that I had dyed and then pole wrapped and painted, collaged in the centre.  I plan to quilt that section to represent the ridges you find in the sand when the tide is out.

The right side is space dyed cotton sateen that I made some time ago.  Is is supposed to represent the rock faces you find in this area but I do not seem to have a photograph of them.  The top and bottom panels are the piece that was anchored with clothes pegs.  Fortunately there was enough to cut and piece this.

I still have several pieces left from the workshop.  Here is the stitched grid.

It is also linen which I can see is going to be a bit tricky to stitch because it is quite a loose weave.

Tomorrow we are off to Launceston to collect the wedding present quilt from the longarm quilter.  I rather fancy visiting Launceston Castle if the weather is OK as I have never been there although I have driven round Launceston numerous times.  I am reading a fascinating book: The Making of the British Landscape by Francis Pryor and today I got to the section on Norman castles.  Launceston is a particularly good example of one.  As I have always had a great interest in 'reading the landscape' as I think it is called, I used to say I would take Hoskin's Making of the English Landscape to a desert island. This book is really its successor and illustrates how much archaeology has developed in the last half century due to all the high tech. equipment and techniques that have been developed.  Highly recommended and it has recently come out in paperback.