Sunday, 31 August 2008

Our day out

Yesterday Ruth, Paula and I went to the newly opened Quilt Museum in York. We had a great day out. The traffic was kind to us (except for several idiots who undertook me on the motorway - it's illegal in the UK - and then wove their way off into the distance!), the company was wonderful and the museum and exhibition were worth the trip. The building the museum is housed in dates from the 15th century, and is an ideal setting for the quilts. There was a good variety of quilts on show, ranging from the 1718 silk quilt (even more fabulous to see in the 'flesh'), through 18th and 19th century medallions, strippies, samplers, soldiers' quilts, crazies and much more, right up to 20th and 21st century ones, including one made of plastic bags and quilted with tyre tracks, and one made of metal drinks cans. Check here for details of this exhibition and future events. Of course, we weren't allowed to take photos, so I can't share our pleasure with you.
We then had a stroll along the narrow streets of the Shambles, which we assumed must be pedestrianised, had a quick tour of the craft shops - the Bead Hive is not to be missed - then a cup of tea in a lovely cafe and back to the car. It was then that we realised that one careless person had left her sweater in the cafe (yes, that idiot was me!). I wasn't too worried (I have other sweaters) but Ruth insisted that we drive from the Park and Ride back into the city centre to retrieve it. She even volunteered to leap out of the car and fetch it if we couldn't park anywhere. We tried to remember the route the bus had taken us on our way into the city, but obviously none of us was paying proper attention. We could see York Minster, which was very near the cafe, so headed for that. After several attempts, foiled by the one-way system, we found that the narrow streets of the Shambles were indeed open to cars, as we ended up driving straight down one, at a very slow speed to avoid killing any of the window shoppers, and hoping not to meet a traffic warden or policeman who would point out to us the No Entry sign we must have missed! We were very relieved when we caught up with another car, which was travelling even slower than me! Needless to say, we turned the corner and instantly knew where we were. The cafe was just yards away down a one way street. Ruth jumped out of the car, and luckily the sweater was still under the table where I had left it. Hooray! A fantastic day out, and a little adventure.

Here is the offending sweater safe and sound!

Friday, 29 August 2008

Family tree and love

Since my mother's birthday is in September, I have been working hard on my Family Tree quilt, and have finished the top!
I'm really pleased with it. The colour gradation wasn't intentional, just resulted from dyeing several lots of blue fabric in the microwave, but I'm quite happy with it. The letters were free pieced, then cut wedge-shaped and the whole section was added to the top of the quilt. Thanks go to a technique I learned at a Pat Deacon workshop for sewing curved pieces, and Dawn Cameron-Dick for IMA. And of course, many thanks to Christine Thresh for inspiring me with her gorgeous paper pieced people in the first place!

And now to the love. I was immensely flattered to receive this picture of a LOVE quilt made by another Linda from Ontario, Canada. She had seen my LOVE quilt on Tonya's blog and decided to make one of her own! Her colours are less sugary and more sophisticated than mine, and the hand quilting with baptist fans is awesome! Thanks for sharing, Linda.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Family tree

Yesterday DH went with Russ and two other friends to watch the one day cricket at Trent Bridge in Nottingham. Sandwiches were packed and flasks were filled, as the match wasn't scheduled to end till 10.30pm! After I had waved them goodbye, I used the morning to do a bit of serious cleaning (well, it has to be done sometimes) and after lunch settled down to do some serious sewing, knowing that I could keep going as long as I liked. All was well till I was just going to break for a spot of tea about 5.30. when DH rang to say the match was finished and they were on their way back! Apparently England just wiped the floor with South Africa, and the match was finished in half the time allotted. Much as I was pleased to see DH return, I was sorry that my sewing time had been cut short.

I really wanted to get on with my family tree quilt, but am quite pleased with it so far. My family and my DB's family are complete and looking good. I couldn't get David to hold hands with his sister, and even unpicked it all, to no avail. Still, as my Mum would say, 'a blind man would be pleased to see it', so it's staying. Christine Thresh was quite right not to have her people holding hands - it's not that easy!

Friday, 22 August 2008

Fungly fun!

I really should be getting on with my family quilt, but couldn't resist another of Tonya's challenges to make a fungly quilt. The idea is that you look through your stash and find boring, ugly and fun fabrics and use them to make simple blocks. The great thing (apart from using up fabrics which have been lurking in your stash for ages) is that to add to the fun, you don't worry about points matching or mistakes, just sew the patches together and watch the blocks pile up!
The idea isn't really to make a quilt you like, but one for the back of the car, picnics etc.

Here are my blocks all laid out ready to be joined. I have used some of my own fabrics and some of Project Linus fabrics and aim to make this up to hopefully appeal to a teenager. The only disappointing thing, is that despite the fact that I didn't try to match any points, the blocks aren't too bad at all - some of them better than the ones I meticulously pin! Typical.

And just to show I'm not a complete slacker, here are Mum and Dad complete and holding hands, ready to head up their family.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Festival of Quilts

Last week we were on holiday (Rhodes - very good, very lazy and very hot) but despite arriving home at 5.15 am on Sunday, I was determined to get to the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham to visit the 'Festival of Quilts'. I slept for 5 hours and then went off. Luckily, it's only about half an hour from us by car, and very easy to find.

Because I wasn't sure how long I'd last, I had to prioritise my viewing, and first stop was to see our group quilt, 'Forest of Seasons', made by 24 members of Lutterworth Piecemakers.

It looked really great, and then I realised that it had won a 'Highly Commended' award! How good is that! Not only having a quilt hanging in one of the best quilt shows in Europe (they say) but getting an award for it! There are more photos on the Piecemakers blog, if you want to see them.
Next I looked at the special exhibitions and saw some amazing stuff. Here are just two quilts which took my eye, and big apologies to the makers, as I've forgotten to note down their names.

This one was called 'Saints and Sinners' and shows two common depictions of women, as the slut or the goddess. there were lots of fussy cut images of female saints and naughty girls, some of which I have in my own stash (the naughty girls, not so much the saints

Here is a close-up of one section, with the lovely Michael Miller cutie in her red dress and cleavage on full display, in front of the holy ladies. I especially like the Madonna with the guita

This one was actually hanging vertically, but fitted in the frame better this way. It represents three stages of womanhood. On the left is girlhood, in the middle is marriage and the final block is childbirth. You can see that although the appliqued shapes in each block are similar, they are subtly different in an interesting way. DD says that usually the three stages of womanhood are represented as Maid, Mother, Crone, so this one is a bit unusual (and rather kinder, I think!)

The I looked at the traditional quilts and only took one photo, although there were lots of lovely quilts. This one is by Ted Storm, who is a Dutch quilter, and it is absolutely fantastic.

Here is a close-up of the beautiful applique, which was inspired by her great-great-great grandmother's white embroidered bridal handkerchief, and the workmanship was stunning. It quite rightly won an award for hand quilting.

And then to the shopping! Well, if we didn't support the traders, the show wouldn't get its funding, would it?!

Fabric first. Some dark blue batiks, which I needed (honest) as I am planning a blue batik quilt for DS, some Martha Negley fabrics to add to some I bought recently in a sale, crocodile, cherry and snake fabric because I fell for them, and neutral threads which always come in handy.

Then books. Barbara Brackman's new book on fabric history (I can highly recommend it) and the papers presented at the last Quilters Guild of Great Britain symposium.

Then I just generally browsed. As I browsed, I came across a stall selling antique quilts and quilt blocks. I have always wanted to buy some antique blocks, and fell in love with these four.

They are all hand sewn, and date from about 1870-1880. They weren't cheap, and I don't yet know what I'm going to do with them, but the feeling that someone made these over 100 years ago, is awesome.

All in all, a good day. I made it to about 4 pm, then went home and flopped!

Friday, 8 August 2008

More people

I've so much enjoyed making these paper pieced people - even though, since they're improvised, they are quite tricky! I was so pleased that Christine Thresh, whose idea it was, was generous enough to say that my people could be friends with hers! Quilters are the best! However, I'm not sure my wonky ones would fit in with her sophisticated set - although, thinking about it, there's always room for more friends in our lives, and we all have friends who may not be perfect, but we love anyway. These will be those! Thank you, Christine.

Here is my Dad, who couldn't be seen out in public without a tie (I appliqued that on).

And here is DS, in t-shirt with a motif on, and holes in his jeans.

I'm doing DH next and asked hm what he would like to wear. He says he doesn't care, so it's a sparkly jumpsuit for him, then!

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Guess who?

No, it's not the well-known game, but much simpler than that.

Yes, it's me! After completing five quilts (and DS's baby quilt) in six weeks, I felt the need for something smaller to work on. While surfing, I came across Christine Thresh's lovely site, and super patterns. Her pieced people look so good, and Christine, I would have sent for your pattern if I was able to wait for it to wing its way to me, but of course, I needed to try out this technique straight away! I also thought the people looked a bit formal, with their hands behind their backs, and wanted mine to be holding hands, gingerbreadman style. I'm aiming to make my parents' family, Mum, Dad, me and my family and brother and his family for a wall hanging for Mum's birthday present. Well, what else do you get for an 81 year old?
I next tried DD.

She's not got feet yet, but I plan to do some! She's wearing her trademark outfit of black top and jeans, and I even managed to find some fabric which simulates the blonde streaks in her hair. She says her hair should be bigger than that, and perhaps she's right.

What do you think?