Sunday, February 27, 2011


I was able to spend all day to day in a community centre in Manchester at a newly formed local group linked to the Contemporary Quilt Group of the UK Quilters Guild. We played all day at monoprinting. Well, actually most people payed for a couple of hours or so then worked on some sewing they brought but me - not good at stopping!  I was having FUN!

Here are a few of my favourites.

 If you want to see all the cloth I produced I have put a Flickr set together here of all the dry ones ( the last ones got carried home wet in layers of bin bags and are still drying upstairs. Now I have to make something with  them. I already have an idea......

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Blind up. Quilt up

The title and the photo say it all.
Save that Dennis wishes you all to notice that today he chose bananas in a perfect state of ripeness to match the tones of the quilt for the photo.

Oh and to say that today I am the featured artist on the Lark blog - the are doing features on the Twelve by Twelve group in the run up to our official book realease date.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Kitchen quilt

I finished another little quilt tonight. This one is destined for my kitchen wall - I'll show you it in situ when its hung which will be after my pelmet and blind are fitted this coming week. It measures 14 by  14.5  inches.

The fabric on the left is commerical but I made the fabric on the right and I am very proud of myself as its the first time I've done anything like it. I quilted the pattern, and rubbed some silver oil pastel into some of the lines. Then I made freezer paper stencils and overlapped green markal stenciling, rotating and altering the stencils as I went. then I did the same thing with silver metal leaf.  Then I hand stitched a similar set of symbols.

Ironically it is inspired by my latest Twelve by Twelve quilt but I can't show you that until my reveal on 1st March!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Journal Quilt

This year I signed up for the Journal quilt project run by the Contemporary Quilt group  which is part of the UK Quilters Guild. It started this month and the first four 10 inch square quilts must contain a circle. This is my first one:

Despite my experience of working with square quilt in the Twelve by Twelve project and despite very careful measuring it measures 9 3/4 inches square. Sigh. I don't suppose anyone will shoot me for it.  The wonky botton edge is far more to do with my cropping on Photoshop skills than my quiting skills. (And my lasziness in not correcting it). I wanted to experiment with some surface design. the copper is Jaquard paint, the sliver is a metal leaf which has actually dried a little scrubby - I shall probably give it a second coat.  The greens are Inktense pencils.

Talking fof Twelve by Twelve - my copies of our book arrived yesterday:

I understand that and Barnes and Nobel are shipping it already in the States. are still on pre-order ... but why not place an order now so you get a nice suprise like I did?

Dennis was excited to see that he got a credit for the photography he did for the book.

PS Did you notice our kitchen walls have been painted now? Thanks Mum and Dad :) I think I spent about £35 on tester pots trying to find the sage colour that was already in my head. No luck. In the end we mixed, on an easy 1:1 ratio, the two Farrow and Ball paints we used in the dining room and sun lounge- exactly what I wanted.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Olympics 2012

Today the athletics schedule and pricing came out for the London olympics. I am the least sporty person going in terms of participation but I love to watch athletics. We have been toying with the idea of getting good tickets ( for who wants to be at the back of the wrong side of the stadium for the 100 m?) for the whole tournament and making the olympics our summer holiday. Much as we did for the athletics and rugby at the Manchester commonwealth games.

Then today I found out that the best seats for the whole of the tournament would cost us £11,550 for ticket alone plus accommodation.

Are they having a laugh?

I shall be watching ( with close ups, replays and helpful commentary and no travel problems ) from my sofa for free.

Who exactly are they marketing to? Oil sheiks?

Quiltfest 2011

On Sunday Dennis and I drove to Llangollen. I went to meet up with Magie Relph, to divest myself of money in exchange for more of her African baskets, to discuss future kits and to see the quilts at Quiltfest. Dennis went so that he could drive and I would not kill myself or other road users when I fell asleep most of the way back home. I was ill last year and missed the show, which, because of renovations to the usual venue was split betwene three buildings. that arrangement was retained this year and personally I found it a great shame.

The first display was in the Pavillion where the famous Eisteddfod takes place and where the traders were. I don't wish to disparage the quilts of others but the fact that I have no photos to show you perhaps itself illustrated best what I thought of the quality of that show. We then had to trapse in cold rain to the museum where some very good quilts based on the theme of trees were displayed in an upstairs gallery. It was very hard to stand back from the quilts and see how the details played from further away.

From there we had to go another half mile or so in more cold rain to Plas Newyd where an excellent exhibition was displayed in a very small space with some quilts almost at ground level because of the shape of the room. As you can see it got very crowded and I did feel that the artists were not given the opportunity to show their work off to the best effect. It was hard to stand and really take in the work because you felt that you had to move aside quickly for others to see.

I thought the premise of this exhibition was fascinating though. they quilts came in pairs. One was made entirely by an individual. The other was collaborative being started to the same inspiration source by the same individual then passed through the hands of three others before being finished by the originator. The 'intervening' members often did rather drastic things to the part work they received but on the whole it worked very well. I was interested to note that it was often not apparent before I read the accompanying notes which was the individual piece and which the group one.

As I bought a photography permit I can show you an example set with the explanation and artist credits: Posting these information sheets was a great addition to the display.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

First room complete!

Yeah!!!! One room in my house is actually complete. Well, I'd like a picture on the wall and the lamp shade on the table lamp is temporary, but for such  minor details how can one resist blog-celebrating?
Of course it is the least necessary room in the whole house - my dressng room:

And the paint is on the walls downstairs. I ignored all your advice (but thank you for it anyway) and went with  the recommendation of Best Quilting Buddy who knows best, having slept in the rooms concerned. She recommended placing the the darkest colour on the two window walls and the small wall in the dining room backing onto the kitchen and she was dead right.

Its hard to photograph the colours accurately, but we went with  Farrow and Ball Green Blue ( or it might be called Blue Green, I forget) in the lounge with Pavillion Grey in the alcoves. The carpet ('Silverstone') was laid today.

In the dining room and sun lounge we went with Ringwold Ground and Lichen which I absolutely love. It is perfect and a touch darker and earthier than the dreadful lightbulbs we inherited make it look in this photo. And in fact, despite deciding not to go for two shades of green, when the sun is shining in, the sun lounge looks lighter than the dining room which is what I wanted to achieve anyway.

We had a slight wobble when the lounge was first painted as the colours looked slightly different to me and I was disappointed. It transpired that when the decorator said he would get us the Farrow and Ball paint we chose trade, he actually meant he (and all of his decorator freinds who he rang) had never heard of Farrow and Ball, didn't know that it was a traditional paint company with no acrylics which gives a better depth and chalkier, longer lasting finish and that he would take our paint chart have it scanned and buy a close match in trade standard Crown Paint.

It was in fact an interesting experiment because it confirmed that the use of a company like Farrow and Ball is not just a middle-class affectation but really does produce a different result from the standard DIY store paint. And that scanning a colour gives a very close but not exact match. The grey in particular was very, very close but to my eye had a taupe undertone compared with the blue undertone of the F&B paint. The decorator redid the lounge and was duly educated!


It should have been so simple. The carpet for the lounge was fitted today and furniture is arriving Thursday and Friday. So last night we decided to watch TV and  just before bed to take the old 3 piece suite out to the garage to store it, because Best Quilting Buddy has kindly agreed to assist by getting a van and is coming in a few weeks to take it off my hands. All we had to do was take the furniture through wide double doors into the front end of the hall, through the porch and into the garage next to the porch. The exact route the furniture came in by.

Only, to do the turn between lounge and porch it is actually necessary to take the sofa backwards into the hall  straighten it up then come out straight into the porch because the angle between lounge and porch is too acute a turn. No problem. Big double doors make that a breeze. Or it would have been had we not earlier temporarily placed a bookcase full of heavy tomes about Churchillian history and Aboriginal woven baskets right where we now needed the sofa to go. So, we set to and removed all the books to the nearest resting place, which was the stairs, hefted the book case backwards,  and swung the sofa into the hall. Now its a straight run out of the door.

Only, will it go it that way? Will it heckers like. ( The TV, which by this time was a good 30 minutes earlier, was the Pete Postethwaite film  Brassed Off ,so excuse me if I come over all Yorkshire in this post). After about thirty minutes of huffing and puffing and 'up your end ,no up your end -ing' we concede defeat. The *****  thing is wedged in the porch door frame.

OK. Lets not be Bears of Little Brain. It came in, it will go out. I stand and think. I measure. I mentally tilt it and rotate it. I kick it and tell it to move. Nope.  Fine. So the removers are clever little people and we are sadly inept idiots. No problem. There are large patio doors to the rear of the living rooms and a wide side access. We'll just go the long way around. So we  push and huff and puff some more and get it unwedged and carry it into the lounge and through the dining room to the patio doors in the sun lounge (Note to BQB: undamaged. Do not worry).

We go outside in the pitch black, because we are waiting for the electrician to fit the oustide light in the side access area and find that  we cannot open one of the double gates because the cotton brained previous owner thought  it would be a good idea to build a brick base for the rain water butt right in front of one of them.  Dennis votes for going to bed and asking the carpet fitters to help. Oh no. I am not going to be defeated now. I am Woman.

I get the wind up torch, two kitchen bowls and start to drain the butt through the tap at the base of the butt into one bowl and scoop from the  top wth the other, letting the water run free momentarily free inbetween moving the bowl from under the tap and putting it back, having sloshed it's contents down the drain because Cottton Brain did not build the tap over the drain, did he? Twenty five minutes later and a lot of sloshing of cold rain water later, the butt can  be moved.

Now all I have to do is demolish the brick base. For once I am glad about the prevous owner's shoddy workmanship becuase it is easily pulled apart and the gate is opened. Now, we have to carry the furniture all the way around. Only we will need to rest because its now way past midnight and we have weak and tired muscles. But we can't set the furniture down in the said access because its all wet from the sloshing and BQB will not thank me for wet  furniture. So I go to get towels to give us little rest points. Only the towels are upstairs and the stairs are now completely covered with books. So we then have to move the bookcase back refill it  to get the towels.

 We heft and puff some more and - look. All stored. It only took an hour and a half.

And I still can't work out how they got it through the front door. Or indeed in and out of the same sized door at our previous house. As I say. Inept.