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.

Wingham Wool at Praa Sands

My sister, who lives in Devon, has recently taken up felt-making.  A few weeks ago she asked if I would be the taxi driver for her and a couple of friends so that they could go to the Wingham Wool sale at Praa Sands which was held yesterday.  Wingham Wool are a mill based in Rotherham who specialise in fibres for weavers, spinners and dyers.   These are made from all sorts of things; even milk powder and soya bean pulp, but a lot of the products are merino and other wools.  They do both dyed and natural fibres and you buy them by weight.

It was very interesting for me to go to this event.  I realised that there is another textile community out there who work in fibre/wool.  The community hall was full of bags of glorious coloured fibres which you buy by tearing off chunks.   There was a group of women spinning in the corner and in addition to the fibres, there were Australian natural dye powders and parts for Ashford spinning wheels.  It was good for me as I was not really tempted to buy anything.  However, there was a small bin containing thread made from recycled saris.  I know I can buy this in Penzance but there was a sample of a bag made from silk heavily couched with sari thread so I succumbed to a skein.  In the same bin there were strips of knitting and 'skeins' made from torn strips of 'glossy' fabrics.  There was a display of wooden needles beside it.  I immediately realised that I could try this technique with the bridal fabrics I have still not used ten years after acquiring a huge box of offcuts from a specialist dressmaker.  So I bought a pair of needles and will have a go.  I couldn't really photograph the samples but here is what I bought.

I did not think to ask my sister if I could photograph her purchases so I shall have to take some photos when I next see her.  If you are interested in Wingham Wool's products they are currently doing a roadshow in the South West.  Details on their website.