A few weeks ago a blog post from the members of 'Through Our Hands' dropped into my mailbox. In it they invited anyone and everyone worldwide to join them in creating a small piece of art (A5 in size) to be exhibited at the Festival of Quilts (UK) this summer. Not only is it a great opportunity to have your art hanging in this really exciting exhibition, but if you join in you will be helping them to raise money for the charity 'Save The Children' too. After the exhibition all the portraits will be 'shuffled' and you will receive someone else's portraits to keep. It really is win - win!
There is still plenty of time to enter, (your entry needs to be completed and with them by 31st July) so why not find out more about the Portrait Shuffle and see if you would like to join the fun too? Click here or on the leaflet below to go to the Through Our Hands website for full details.
After paying my entry fee, which covers a minimum donation of £5 to Save the Children, I received my entry pack through the post. In it was a small A5 canvas to work on and a discount voucher for Festival of Quilts tickets. That was a nice surprise!
All I had to do was think of whose portrait I wanted to put onto the canvas and which medium to use. The portrait can be worked in any media you like - photography, drawing, paint, collage, print, textiles........ whatever floats your boat. I chose to make a small quilted piece of fabric to mount onto the canvas. Over the past year or so I have used a lot of portrait style images in my work, so I thought about taking one of these images and creating something similar.
But then I thought why not make something new? I have a nice photograph of my nephew that I took a few weeks ago and decided to use that to get me started. Here he is! (Well, half of him.)
Using GIMP software I twiddled about with the filters, levels and threshold settings and arrived at the image on the right which I was able to draw onto a piece of fabric with Derwent Inktense Pensils.
I added the rainbow as the last time I saw him we were looking at rainbows together. All that was left to do then was to quilt it. I thought I'd leave the long tail threads on instead of cutting them off, and stretched them over the edge of the little canvas along with the fabric before stapling it all down.
I'm popping it in the post tomorrow and looking forward to seeing it alongside all the others at Festival of Quilts.
Why not have a go yourself - it was lots of fun to make - and for a very good cause too; savethechildren.org.uk
Find out more info from the organisers, the Through Our Hands team by clicking here.
Thanks for reading.
It is that time of year again - when I am thinking about making a quilt for the annual challenge set by the Contemporary Quilt Group of the Quilters Guild of the British Isles. This year's theme is 'on the edge'.
I have participated in this challenge for the past two years and am very pleased to have had my quilt selected for display both times. Lets hope it is third time lucky!
This year the challenge is going to be a little different, in that the selected quilts wont hang at the Festival of Quilts, but instead will tour various venues across the UK (and possibly further afield). You can find out more about the challenge here. There is still plenty of time if you want to make a quilt to enter into the challenge too. All you need is to be a member of the Contemporary Quilt Group. Go on - what do you have to lose?
So, with all that in mind, I decided to make a quilt that involved the extremes of curves and points, hot and cold, and with more edges and corners than a quilt really ought to have. I woke up at 4am on Monday morning and decided that I should start the quilt right there and then!
I had a lot of scraps of fabric that had been pre-fused with bondaweb from another project, so I went through them and pulled out some vibrant colours - then sorted them into 'hot' and 'cold'. To be sure I liked the idea I had in mind I made a small sample piece to experiment with. This will probably be the piece I submit with my entry, which I hope will help my quilt get selected!
(I really like the idea of sending a sample piece to the challenge judges. I think it gives them a far better idea of what my quilt looks like and how carefully I have made it. This particular challenge always requires a small 20cm square sample to be submitted so that way the judge(s) have 3 things to help them make up their minds: the photos of the quilt, the statement I submit explaining what the quilt is all about and the sample to hold. The other thing I like about this challenge is that the quilts are all judged anonymously.)
As you can see, I went for sharp points and curvy waves on either side of the quilt, leaving the middle empty - something we don't usually do on a quilt! I cut the pieces free hand, so it came together very quickly.
You can probably also see that I have cut a square from the bottom corner of the sample - that is deliberate - not just the scrap of fabric I chose! I wanted to experiment with making the quilt an irregular shape, and because it has that inside corner I wanted to see how neatly I would be able to finish the edges of the quilt.
After a bit of thought I decided to try the pillowcase method of stitching the backing fabric to the front of the quilt, then turning the whole thing inside out - just like a pillowcase. I made my 'Cape Dutch' quilt in the same way. (Click here to see it.)
Using this method meant that I needed to put the wadding on the back of the quilt before stitching on the backing - so I decided to stitch the wadding to the front of the quilt with soluble thread first, to make sure it didn't move and wrinkle whilst I turned the quilt right sides out.
Finally I stitched the backing to the front of the quilt (with right sides together), making sure to leave an opening through which I could turn the quilt.
And here it is. The edges are very neatly turned (no binding now required), the corners have remained nice and pointy, and the whole tiny quilt is nice and flat. I have started some free motion quilting to try out a design and to make sure I know the thread / needle / tension combination for when I come to make the real thing.
I will keep you posted on how it turns out!
And now for the other thing that has me 'on the edge'...................
It is my own fault, and I should know better, but I opened up my computer this morning to find all the images of my work on the 'Go Easy on the Makeup' quilt have vanished!! Who knows where they have gone? I have spent hours searching for them, trawling the internet to see how I could locate and retrieve them, finding out interesting stuff that I had no idea about with regard to hidden files, overwriting files, retrieving files you deleted years ago, but all to no avail. So, PLEASE PLEASE - if you have anything on your computers which you really would hate to lose forever
BACK UP YOUR COMPUTER NOW!
I think I might make a quilt about that!!
Thanks for reading.
This is how a few of them looked. I addressed them to different people I know in New Zealand, put a postage stamp on each one and then dropped them off into my local postbox. (I crossed my fingers that they would make it to their destinations!) I did wonder if they were large enough to make it back - but they all did!
Thank you New Zealand Post!
Here are a few photographs which show a little of how the quilt was made.
It was a really fun little quilt to make - really just a series of small experimental pieces that finally got joined together. Why not have a go at something similar? Try using up some fabric remnants to make some tiny weeny quilts, then stitch them together and see what turns out.
Thanks for looking!
2015 Challenge: Poetry, Rhyme and Verse
The Midsomer Quilting annual challenge and exhibition of 12 x 12 quilts has begun! As you probably know, this has become a regular part of the calendar at MQ and is something I always look forward to. It runs everyday from Friday 4th December until 21st December, 10.30am until 4.00pm
This year is the first time I have ever managed to see the exhibition in person, (up until now I have always been away, so have had to wait for the pictures of the quilts to be uploaded on the MQ website) and I was so impressed with the marvelous work on display. The quilt above is my personal favourite. However, the entire gallery of quilts looks amazing - over 160 quilts have been hung with great care and consideration to ensure every one of them is shown to its best. I know how much time and effort Chris puts in to the whole event - and his encouragement and commitment to giving people the opportunity to show their work is remarkable. Thanks, Chris.
Another wonderful thing about this annual event is the generosity it brings about. Many people donate their beautiful little quilts to this exhibition to be put up for sale in a secret auction that runs throughout the exhibition. The proceeds of the auction are donated to the superb local hospice charity, Dorothy House. Click on the logo below to find out more about Dorothy House.
All visitors are offered the opportunity to own any of the little quilts that are marked FOR SALE by placing a secret bid into a special box. The highest bid for each quilt, placed by 21st December (the last day of opening before Christmas) will become the owner of the the quilt - a very special and unique piece of original artwork.
This year's theme has clearly provided lots of inspiration. Entries have been sent from all over the world - the only stipulation is that to enter a quilt you must have some connection with the shop. This year's quilts have been made by ladies, gentlemen and young people. The youngest entrant is just 5 and a half years old. I met her on Friday and she is delightful (we had a brief chat about flying back and forth to Johannesburg!) Look out for her lovely Fairy quilt with beautiful blanket stitch using metallic thread!
Positively old in comparison, there are entries from two lovely sisters aged 8 and 10; keep your eyes peeled for Incy Wincy Spider climbing up his water spout and the cute little witch from 'Room on the Broom'. Finally another 10 year old young lady (who will be taking her turn at stewarding too!) has created a really brilliant quilt about a 'special' jumper..... find it and read the poem. You will see what I mean!!
Isn't it great that there is such a diverse group of people making quilts ?
I hope you have enjoyed seeing just a few of the quilts from the exhibition - if you do make it to Midsomer Quilting you will be amazed!! If you can't make it though - Chris from MQ will be putting a gallery of pictures onto their website in the next few weeks.
Thanks for looking!
Exhibitions now on and coming soon.
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sketchbook ideas for the new challenge 'elements'
One of my favourite things to do is make a quilt in response to a challenge. I love having something completely new and fresh to think about which gets me out of the routine of whichever quilt series I am working on at the time.
As my current 'challenge' sketchbook has become quite full I decided to start a new one - another treat! I love starting a new sketchbook - all those empty pages waiting to be filled!
The theme 'elements' can be interpreted in so many ways - but I have chosen to explore the chemical elements, in particular those that were known to the alchemists many hundreds of years ago. I have always been interested in science and as soon as I saw the theme my thoughts immediately turned in this direction.
In my last blog post about this challenge I mentioned I would share some of my sketchbook pages - well, here are some of the nicer ones. I have used the paper and fabric I blogged about in that post.
As you can see, I have used lots of symbols and marks used in the 'language' of alchemy. It was a highly secretive science, loved and loathed by the rich and influential. They loved what the alchemists could potentially give them; a universal cure for all ills - effectively promising eternal life, and the ability to turn base metals into gold - effectively promising great wealth to those who knew the secret. But they loathed the alchemists because they feared they would not be able to control them - what would happen if the gold they created fell into the hands of others? The work of the alchemists was therefore a direct threat to the rich, as they risked losing their wealth and power. As a result, many alchemists were tortured for their knowledge and killed to stop others discovering it. As an alchemist it therefore paid to be cautious and clandestine. Hence the symbols, convoluted texts and overall mystery.
I am still working in the sketchbook, messing about with lines, colours, textures and materials. I have already decided on the colours, (dark and mysterious) and technique (monoprinting) I would like to use. Now I just need to pull some more ideas together for the symbols I want to include and how to create them on the quilt surface. More on that in a week or two!
Thanks for reading. I hope I may have inspired you to join the fun and make a quilt for the challenge too. How would you interpret the theme?
The size of the quilt for this year's challenge is quite small - so it will be easy to handle. It is to measure 80cm x 45cm (portrait only). If you are going to make a quilt for the challenge make sure you make your quilt slightly larger to account for a little shrinkage when you quilt. You can then trim the quilt down and be sure you have the exact dimensions.
For the fabric I have decided to explore mono printing a little further. It is such a simple technique but I haven't really done much in the way of experimenting with it. So over the weekend I raided my hand dyed fabric box and chosen some large pieces of blue/grey and yellow and then set to work.
Next I gently laid a piece of blue fabric onto the painted glass, taking care not to press down or put any pressure on any part of the fabric. With a chopstick I then began to 'draw' all over the fabric. As you draw the pressure picks up paint from the glass and transfers it to the fabric. Just take care not to let your hand touch the fabric , otherwise you will end up with more paint on the fabric than you bargained for.
This is such a quick and easy technique - within an hour I had altered all of the fabric I had chosen and had a stack of sketchbook pages ready to use. Here is a sample of the fabrics - they turned out even better than I had hoped and have given me lots of food for thought for the quilt.
Next I need to join some of these fabrics and explore my ideas further. My ideas are currently based on the idea of interpreting the theme from the point of view of the early Alchemists - I will post some of my sketchbook pages over the next few weeks so you can see how my ideas are developing.
Thanks for reading. I hope I may have inspired you to join the fun and make a quilt for the challenge too.
Coming soon at my favourite quilt shop.........................
The annual Midsomer Quilting 12 x 12 challenge. This year the theme is MUSIC - and it is still not too late to give Chris your entry. I have had a sneak preview of just a few of the quilts - and they are absolutely fantastic. I am sure Chris will write '....best ever......' -and I do not doubt it!
Just in case you don't know; Each year, De, Brigitta and Chris of Midsomer Quilting set a challenge to their customers to create a 12" x 12" square on a given theme. So far we have had 'Fruit', followed by 'Books', then 'Movies' and this year 'Music'.
The quilts are on display at the shop from 28th November to 8th December, and most are able to be purchased by secret auction - all funds being donated to Dorothy House - a local hospice charity.
DON'T MISS IT!!
The collection is now on tour and can be seen at the following
venues over the next 6 months:
Open European Quilt Championships, Veldhoven, The Netherlands; 23-26 October 2014
Compton Verney Textile Fair, Warwickshire; 8 November 2014
West Country Quilt Show at UWE in Bristol; 13th to 15th November 2014
Quiltfest Llangollen Museum, Wales; 4 February - 4 March 2015
The Bramble Patch, Weeden, Northamptonshire; 28 March - 11 April 2015
Congratulations to all participants of the challenge and thanks to all those who made the challenge and book possible.
Do you work in a sketchbook - or want to start?
How it works
On the first day of each month a theme is announced. This month it is TEA AND COFFEE.You can work in any medium that you like - paint, watercolor, pen & ink, charcoal, collage, marker, crayon or something else and your sketchbook should be a reflection of you and you should feel free to explore and work in any mediums that you want. Here are my first ideas.
The great thing is it is so flexible. There is no minimum or maximum. You just work in your sketchbook as often as you like and create as many pages as you are inspired to. It doesn't even have to be in a sketchbook - Sketchbook Challenge artist Jane LaFazio will be working in single sheets for this challenge and that might be something you might like to try too.
How to share your images
You can post photos of your pages to your own blog if you have one and if you do then leave a link to the posts in the Sketchbook Challenge website in the comments section of the theme post so others can find it. You can also post photos to the specialflickr group that we've set up. You'll find that here .
So - there you have it. I have just created my Flikr account, posted my pictures and am about to put a link to this post on the Sketchbook Challenge website. I am looking forward to seeing what other people do this month!