I decided to make a little quilt this week for the workshop I am teaching on Sunday at Midsomer quilting. The workshop is called 'Not my grandmother's garden' and is very loosely based on the very traditional quilt made solely from hexagons - just like the first picture up above on the left. The first piece of patchwork I ever made (when I was 11 years old) was just 7 hexagons big, and I must say, it didn't inspire me to carry on with patchwork at that time. Too many fiddly bits for an impatient eleven year old! However, several years ago I made the yellow quilt (above) for a Quilting Arts Magazine challenge, and used the traditional hexagon quilt as the starting point. Hopefully you can see the hexagonal 'flowers' behind all the paint, thread and buttons.
The inspiration for this last quilt came from one of Monet's paintings of the waterlily ponds at his home in Giverny. The top section of the green quilt reminded me of a watery pond, and made me think of Monet. Changing the shape of the hexagonal flower into a rounded flower is the sort of variation I was looking to explore for the workshop. It also meant I learned another new patchwork technique - Suffolk Puffs.
To make my version of the lily pond I needed to start with a watery blue background fabric - but my stash of such fabrics is rather depleted at the moment, so I needed a quick way to make a suitable piece. I decided to try my hand at marbling with shaving foam, as I believe it is quick and easy (nobody ever seems to mention how messy, however!).
If you haven't had a go at this technique it really is fun - but I do recommend wearing an apron and having lots of newspaper and a large bucket of water and a bin at your side!
(Arthur Comstock - a little bird told me that you love the gelli plates, so I think you might like to have a go at this too!)
This is what I did...
The shaving foam on the tray can be used several times, spreading it out again and adding more paint. My foam did start to break down and 'curdle' after a while, so when that happened I scooped what was left into the bin and started again.
The whole process took less than 3 or 4 minutes per piece of fabric, so was a quick project which yielded several very nice pieces of fabric, each a little different.
I'll add some photos of the quilts made at the workshop as soon as I can.
Thanks for reading.
If you haven't ever said it, I'm sure you have heard someone else say it....
"I can't do free motion quilting. It is so difficult."
Well, I can honestly say that is a load of rubbish! And here is the proof. Last Saturday I was with a group of ladies at Midsomer Quilting who are the proof that free motion quilting is not only easy to master, but lots of fun too. Some were complete newbies to FMQ - and others had dabbled a little and a few were already confident. Just look at what they made - I bet you can't tell who had never done this before!
Gill's brilliant and totally original golf playing bird has just scored a birdie. Get it?!?!?!?! I think he is wonderful.
We had quite a lot of Dodos (incidentally, my favourite Doodle bird
Robby Robin and his Christmas tree
So as you can see, a lot of very successful free motion quilting was stitched and a lot of concentration and fun was had. The great thing about making these lovely birds is not only do they look wonderful, but they are great at boosting confidence with free motion quilting. By working on a square of fabric of around 12" it is easy to keep control as you do not have to manage the bulk of a whole quilt in the throat of the machine. You are also free to experiment and try out lots of different patterns.
Still don't think you can free motion quilt? Why not just have a go?
If you would like some tips on how to be successful with free motion quilting take a look at my blog post from back in December 2014. You can read it here. I hope it helps! (Just one thing has changed since I wrote it - I no longer drop the feed dogs when I free motion quilt, - you could give it a try to see if you find it any easier). If you give it a try, I'd love to see what you do.
Thanks for reading
To say I have had a hectic few weeks is a bit of an understatement. However, a lot of beautiful things have been created by a lot of people, and I am very happy to be able to share that with everyone who reads this blog.
I'll start with some lovely sardines!
These were all created by the ladies from Avalon Embroiderers Guild, who are a very friendly and enthusiastic group indeed. It is always a pleasure to work alongside embroiderers - they always have such fabulous ideas. We had a very busy and productive time, and by the end of the day a whole shoal of fish had been created. Lots of organza and net was cut ready to complete the quilts at home.
De, from Midsomer Quilting, very kindly made up packs of fabric for us, to ensure everyone had a wide selection of different fabrics for each of their fish. They turned out to be very economical and I hope you agree, her choice of fabrics is perfect!
Here are the photographs I managed to take during the day, but there are even more lovely photographs of our day on the Avalon Embroiderer's Guild website, which you can see by clicking here.
Next, a lot of very beautiful flower bowls have been made by the ladies at Pauline's Patchwork in Poundbury. It was my first time teaching at Pauline's and I was made to feel most welcome. Many thanks to Sarah and everyone else for a great day (and delicious cake). The ladies worked very quickly and everyone completed at least one bowl. Some ladies added beads and decorative buttons too. The bowls turned out fabulously - and for the first time ever, we had a cabbage, created with some Kaffe Fassett fabric that one lady had bought several years ago and never been quite sure what to do with. Take a look at the photos below and spot the cabbage!
The very next day I received more photos from Pam and her sister, Helen, who have become just a little bit obsessed with these flowers. I don't think much else has been done by either of them since, as they have created 3 more bowls between them - one of which is a daisy - another first. The ladies down on the south coast certainly are an adventurous lot!
Next came the 'Rose Garden' workshop at Midsomer Quilting (where I am always made to feel welcome - in fact, it feels a little like 'home'). This is the first time I have run this workshop - and the ladies made some fantastic original work. They were all really pleased with their designs and enjoyed exploring different options for their quilts in terms of line, shape, space, colour and texture.
The infuriating thing is - I cannot find the photographs I took of this workshop anywhere!!! Where did I file them? When I do find them, I will share them! I am so cross with myself.
Finally, on Monday evening I was invited by Jane Bjoroy to give my new talk 'When your points don't match' to the lovely ladies of Westbury Park Quilters. They too were very welcoming and we spent the evening laughing and sharing stories.
I have several other workshops coming up over the next few weekends - so I hope to be able to share some further fabulous work that will be created on those.
This weekend I will be teaching the 'Doodlebirds' free motion quilting workshop at Midsomer Quilting. Although this workshop is full, if you are in the shop please do come and say hello and see what we are up to. If you like what you see and would like to learn or improve your free motion quilting skills then I am repeating the workshop in September at MQ and in November at Pauline's.
On 31st July I am at MQ again teaching another new open ended workshop, called 'Not my grandmother's garden' where we will explore lots of different art quilt techniques (stamping, raw edge applique, using gold leaf, embellishing with buttons, beads and hand stitch etc) for people to create their own unique small quilt that could be hung as a piece of art or used as a journal cover. It will be lots of fun!
Thanks for reading.
As a member of the group Contemporary Quilters West, I am proud to tell you that our biennial exhibition is now on at Rook Lane in Frome - and it looks amazing! Of course I would say that, but if you have the chance, do come along and see for yourself. I am certain you will agree. Read more about us here
The venue itself is beautiful, which only adds to the beauty of the exhibition. The building was originally built in 1707 a non-conformist chapel and as such is large, light and airy and has plenty of space for each of the pieces show at their best. In 1968 the chapel closed and was abandoned and vandalised, falling into terrible disrepair. Fortunately, after many years it was rescued and renovated by its present owners, NVB Architects who also run it as a community arts centre - hence our presence here.
Find out more information about the chapel here.
Here are a few images to give you a sense of the scale of this beautiful building.
The hanging committee did a fantastic job, enabling the eye to flow around the work. I hope you enjoy looking at it, and encourage you to visit. I'm sure you will be glad you did!
On the days that I have been at the gallery we have had some wonderful visitors, all of whom have commented on the high quality of our work. Although it is great to see the work you have spent many hours over hanging in such a wonderful setting, without an audience to come and share what has been made, an exhibition is somewhat meaningless. So thanks to all who have come (and some people have travelled a very long way!) and helped to make our exhibition such a success.
The exhibition runs until Tuesday, 5th July - and Frome Festival starts today too - so there is lots to see and do in Frome over the next few days. We look forward to seeing you!
Thanks for reading. We look forward to seeing you.