Hazel & Terry
If you went to the Festival of Quilts at the NEC or The South West Quilt and Textile Show in Bristol you may have joined us on one of our ‘take two stitches’ workshops, where we explored the potential of just two stitches - the straight stitch and a French knot.
This lady enjoyed the class in 2017 and had brought her sampler with her this year to show me and to buy some more of our thread so she could finish it. When I asked her what it was she had enjoyed so much she said it was having the encouragement to start and the inspiration to continue; she enjoyed the slow rhythm and peace that hand stitching brings.
Terry also enjoys hand stitching and often combines it with machine stitch and this year two of my quilts featured dense hand stitching.
My Contemporary Quilt ‘InPrint’ entry ‘Pink Floyd, this way’ and
my entry for The Fine Art Quilt Master, ‘the space between the moments’ both featured a lot of freestyle cross stitch to build up layers of texture to suggest a decaying old wall (Pink Floyd) and pine trees and snow ( Moments). Like the lady who came to show me her sampler, I too find this type of hand stitching very contemplative and soothing: I have to slow my mind and develop a different rhythm.
Through the winter evenings I can sometimes even be found knitting woolly socks on 4 bamboo needles - got to have something pretty to keep those toes warm! Knitting is rhymical and soothing too - and given their size I have a good chance of finishing them as well!
I always like to keep some hand stitching on the go as well, this little blue study was done on a piece of vintage table linen. Can you spot the exquisite darn in the middle? It was that which inspired me to join in with #1yearofstitches2017 over on Instagram.
I kept the daily hand stitching up for a good few months, even as I cycled round the Mekong Delta and Myanmar. Obviously not while I was actually cycling, but when I was having my restorative G&T in the evening! I always mean to keep an art journal when I go off on my adventures but some how it never happens, but last year the stitching did. Secretly in my room at first (I didn’t know what my fellow travellers would think) but then down in the bar and at the dinner table whilst we were waiting. I needn’t have worried - everyone was fascinated and as the days went by the whole group were keen to ensure not one event went unrecorded in stitch! By the time I came home I had a whole stitched account of my 3 week adventure on two wheels.
This autumn the socks are coming along at a pace so I’m thinking that I’ll need another hand stitch project. I don't have a quilt on the go at the moment, but like a pianist I need to keep up with my daily practice, so I’ve looked out some stitch books for inspiration,
collected my hand sewing equipment,
and started to select my threads. I thinking a piece of vintage table cloth or maybe some old linen for the fabric, I’ll need to have a rummage through my stash in the morning.
Or I might continue stitching on this. I put this together a couple of years ago from an off cut of wool wadding and some of our cotton fabric from the studio. It’s a couple of metres long already, so I could piece on another section and carry on! I intended it as a stitch sampler, a place to try out new combinations and threads, but sometimes I struggle to come up with something different.
Which is why I’m really excited to be welcoming Richard McVetis into the InStitches Studio this autumn. Richard is a British artist known for his meticulously embroidered drawings and sculptures and his artistic practice centres on his training as an embroiderer through the use of traditional hand stitch techniques and mark making.
If you feel inspired to pick up needle, thread and fabric why not come and join us on the 12th and 13th November? If you want to know more about the two days then take a look at the workshop Richard has planned for us. All you need to bring is your hand sewing kit - all the other materials are provided as well as homemade biscuits with morning coffee, a delicious light seasonal lunch and a pot of tea and a slice of homemade cake before you head off home after a day of creative stitching. What are you waiting for? Come and join us, I for one can't wait!
Hazel & Terry
The little Victoria plum tree at the bottom of the garden has given me a bumper crop of fruit this year.
Planted about 10 years ago, to provide fruit to make my husband's favourite jam, it has had a mixed track record and quite frankly I was beginning to think its days were numbered!
But as you can see, Mother Nature came out trumps this year!
When you grow your own fruit and vegetables it's lovely to be able to share; although I think my neighbours still haven't recovered from the glut-to-end-all-gluts of courgettes a couple of years back... So I've given lots of the plums away and frozen, poached, baked and crumbled many more, but there are still some left.
This weekend we are taking part in the Wokingham Arts Trail.
In the InStitches Studio we are hosting artists David Cotton and Nina O'Connell and jeweller Machi De Waard as well as showcasing our own work and the InStitches courses and workshops.
We will also be offering tea, coffee and (of course!) homemade cakes, with donations going to Macmillan: an excellent opportunity to convert the excess plums into baked goods!
In the end I made 4 huge sticky plum Bakewell tarts using a 2013 recipe from Waitrose, with the addition of a generous layer of homemade plum jam on the bottom of the pastry case before I topped it with the almond sponge and dropped in the stoned plum halves. To save you Googling to find it, here's my adapted recipe:
Sticky plum Bakewell tart
250g shortcrust pastry
150g butter, at room temperature
150g golden caster sugar
75g ground almonds
75g Self-Raising Flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp (homemade) plum jam (optional)
400g Ripe plums, stoned and quartered
2 tbsp flaked almonds
1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC, gas mark 4. Roll out the pastry thinly on a floured surface and use to line a 23cm deep, loose-bottomed tart tin. Chill for 5 minutes. If using, spread the base with the plum jam.
2. Meanwhile, place the butter, sugar, eggs, ground almonds, flour, baking powder and vanilla extract in a large bowl and whisk until well blended.
3.Spoon the filling into the tart case then press the plums evenly into the mixture (they will sink into the centre as the tart bakes). Scatter over the flaked almonds and bake for 40 –45 minutes until risen and golden brown.
4. Leave to cool. Cut into slices and serve.
I think I was a bit generous with filling the pastry cases so a couple of mine overflowed slightly, but that just provided a cook's treat for me to nibble with a cup of coffee - happy days!
The weather forecast doesn't look too brilliant for this weekend, but if you are free and fancy a day out why not pop in and see us at Venue 10? All the venues on the trail are open 10.30 - 5.30 each day, and if you do manage to visit all 11 over the weekend be sure to have your trail card stamped each time to be in with a chance of winning one of 5 bundles of prizes donated by WAT artists.
Hope to see some of you this weekend,
Hazel & Terry
It may seem a bit odd to start a new mini series called tools of the trade with a non-sewing item, but when you find a simple tool that does what it’s intended for (and does it so well!) then it’s an item worth telling folk about!
We both like making books, from new paper or from found or ‘scrap’ papers, to use as sketchbooks, notebooks, recipe books or just to have and to own. I think I can safely say that each of us have as many unused handmade books as those we have in use...we just like making books!
Having the correct tools does make a job easier and our favourite book binding tool is a bone paper folder - that’s the tool with a faint ‘HR’ on the end in the photograph below.
Made from genuine cattle bone, a bone folder is often the only type of folding tool acceptable to bookbinders and conservators; this essential tool is used for making strong sharp creases in paper and other materials. It is also brilliant for burnishing, smoothing adhesives and tapes: it is a must for book binding and repairs.
I find that mine is so satisfying to hold, nicely weighted and
the slight curve means that it fits my hand perfectly. Over time it has become beautifully polished and very smooth.
But what about if you are a vegetarian or vegan or just don’t like the idea of using a genuine bone? There are plastic versions available but quite frankly they won’t last the course, however Terry has found a great alternative.
Teflon bone folders are an ethical alternative to the traditional bone folders. They are non-stick PTFE which makes them ideal for conservation, separating papers, burnishing, creasing and all the steps in involved in book binding!
These and the traditional version, as well as other book binding supplies can be found here https://www.preservationequipment.com/Catalogue or from many other suppliers.
So, what’s your favourite tool?
Hazel & Terry
With quilts selected and rolled, everything made, packed and priced, it's time to load up the car
which seems to include everything but the kitchen sink. And before you ask, no we didn't take the vacuum cleaner!
Loading the car ready is like a game of Jenga in reverse and Terry has become quite the expert. I just carry and hold, I know better than to make 'helpful' suggestions...
Over the years our essential kit has become quite impressive and this year we splashed out on our own cordless drill. We're women who clearly know how to have fun!
See the festival trolley? It comes into its own at times such as these and I did notice that a lot more smaller stand holders have realised the benefit too. We tend to dump everything down in a heap and then get started. We do have a plan, even thought to the uninitiated it probably doesn't look as though we do.
Build up is a long day with little time for tea and cakes, but I'd like to think over the years we've developed a good system. Being the taller one Terry gets to wield the power tools, spirit level and hang the quilts. I'm a dab hand at dressing the tables, sorting stock and handing up the correct length screw when required. I also take the photographs - well, one of us has to step up to the plate!
It all takes time, but we do like everything to be 'just so' and judging by the comments I over hear visitors making I think we get it right most of the time.
Our stand is colourful, bright and definitely well stocked. As our signs say 'Everything on the stand was white until we dyed it'!
Once we've straightened and tweaked, fiddled and poked the stock into order it's time to cover it all up and go to check into our hotel
and , of course, we definitely deserve one of these at the end of build up day!
The next morning all is revealed: thread...a festival of stitch! at Farnham Maltings
or in the Quilting in action area of The Festival of Quilts at the NEC Birmingham
and just this last few days, at The West Country Quilt and Textile Show, UWE Bristol.
Don't you just love our shelves? We were very please with ourselves...thanks IKEA! In fact, where would be without IKEA for equipping both our studio and stand?!
At shows we love catching up with old friends and students and making new ones too. Helping customers select just the right colour fabric or thread,
demonstrating and sharing our passion for fabric printing with all manner of junk, as well as
teaching a variety of workshops and sharing the delight of learning a new skill. In fact 14 year old Millie even ran a poll on her Instagram feed afterwards so her friends could vote on who had made the best brooch - her or her mum. Millie won!
This year I was thrilled at the Festival of Quilts when one of last year's workshop attendees brought back her sample to show me - and buy more of our thread so she could finish it. We had such a lovely chat and catch up - she said that the workshop had awakened a love of hand stitching and now she was hooked. A teacher can't ask for a better endorsement than that!
Of course, we need help manning our stand at shows so we can go and teach workshops and have a sneaky look at the show ourselves! So here's a big thank you to Neel and Gill for helping out at this year's Festival of Quilts and of course the fantastic Christine who also came down and helped in Bristol as well- she also keeps us fed and watered with sandwiches and the occasional gin-in-a-tin(after the show, of course !) We couldn't manage without you. And of course not forgetting my Mum, who for the last 10 years or so, has come along every Saturday of the Festival of Quilts and brought us lunch - thanks mum x
But we can't please everyone all of the time, Morgan-the-Pirate has clearly had more than enough of accompanying his mum and gran around the quilt show and now has other things on his mind. Still at least InStitches could provide him with a chair!
We have just one more show to go before we resume our teaching schedule and that is when we open the doors of our studio and invite you all to come and visit us as part of the Wokingham Arts Trail on the weekend of 23rd/24th September. Pencil it in your diary so you don't forget - we'd love to see you and...sssh! there may be a HUGE surprise, no clues....you'll just have to come and find out for yourself!
Hazel & Terry
Both children in this blog appear with the permission of their parents.
Have you enjoyed visiting a quilt/ textile show or Open Studio this summer? I’m sure many of you have, but have you every given a thought to what goes on BEFORE to get everything ready?
This year we started early with thread...a festival of textiles at Farnham Maltings, then in August, which is far from being a holiday month for InStitches, saw us start with the The Festival of Quilts at the NEC, Birmingham and close with The West Country Quilt and Textile Show at UWE in Bristol and at the end of September we shall be taking part in the Wokingham Arts Trail.
So, what exactly do we have to do to get ready for a show?
Through out the winter and spring we can be found winding thread skeins when we watch tv, that’s nearly 1000 (so far) this year, which is equivalent to 31 miles of thread! They are then scoured (to remove the winding oils from the mill), washed and soda soaked before being dyed. After that they are rinsed, washed and rinsed again - all by hand, before being hung out to dry. Then it’s back to the tv and box sets to re-twist the skeins, label and price.
All the while we are trying to avoid...
...threads of despair!
Under the threads we put metres of cotton scrim (which also needs to be pre-scoured and washed!) which are then cut and tied into bundles before being piled high into baskets.
Sari silk ribbon and vintage wool blankets also receive the InStitches touch of colour before being cut and packed ready for sale.
Metres and metres of fabric are also dye and print, washed and lovingly ironed (!) before being cut up and folded to go into our themed rolls and stacks. Hazel puts the colour/pattern combinations together and then Terry comes and re-arranges them...team work!
More teamwork is involved in making up the workshop kits for all the teaching we do at the shows. InStitches' friend Ruth comes into her own at times like these - she colour co-ordinates all the fabrics and threads which she then matches to the handmade labels - no mean feat when you consider how many kits we require!
Last year's printed fabric stash was turned into cushion kits: more ironing, cutting and folding, a coordinated hand-dyed thread selected and an instruction leaflet written, printed and folded...
And if that wasn't enough Hazel had the bright idea that some of the indigo fabric would be great made up into tops ready to wear at the shows...
All this and we haven't even got to set the gallery/ booth up yet; so don't forget to come back and join us next week to see how that went!
Hazel & Terry
The Festival of Quilts has many competition categories into which any quilter can enter a quilt, and providing it isn't provocative, indecent or dangerous, it will be hung - and judged! The Fine Art Quilt Masters category is also open to all, however where it differs is that it is a juried competition. There were over one hundred quilts submitted this year from which the panel of 5 judges, leading figures from both the art and textile world, chose just 23 for the 2018 gallery.
The aim of TFAQM gallery is 'to celebrate those quilts that transcend craft and demand equal billing with work shown in an art gallery' The judges were looking for a fully-resolved composition and powerful artistic impression. The design also had to be original, but other than that anything was possible!
On the Festival of Quilts site you can see images of all the chosen quilts, but I this week I'm sharing with you a little bit about my entry, The space between the moments.
No one was more surprised than me to receive the email letting me know that my quilt had made it onto the 2018 shortlist. Sure, I had filled in the entry form and sent it off: but I didn't expect to get in (who does?) It's a bit like the National Lottery (or whatever it's called now) - winning (or in this case, being shortlisted) is what happens to other people, not to me. But to be in with a chance you first have to buy a ticket...or in the case of TFAQM, make a quilt and send in the entry form!
So how did The space between the moments come into being?
I lived in Finland with my husband and children during the 1990s and fell in love with a country, its people and its way of life: it felt like home. I also learned how to cross country ski and would spend hours out alone in the snowy forests. Skiing was such a joy, and I relished the freedom and peace which came from being absolutely alone in a pure white, crisp landscape; for the last 20 years I have longed to capture that feeling again.
If you've been following this blog for awhile you'll know that I finally returned to winter Finland this February - all the way north to just below the artic circle. I'm a lot older, not as flexible (was I ever?) and a tad more risk adverse these days but gradually as the week progressed so did my ski legs. It was far more challenging than the routes I had been used to in my 'home' town of Hyvinkää, but it wasn't any less exhilarating,
and I even managed to ski out along the Russian border - at minus 22 we didn't stand still for long!
Everything needed for a day out on skis had to be carried with you, so my bulky Olympus camera stayed in the cabin and I used my Android phone to take photographs (fact: android batteries carry on working in sub-zero temperatures unlike certain other types!). I love the panorama function on phones as it's so quick and easy to use - a definite plus point in those temperatures.
After a long day out on skis and on the way back to base camp our guide stopped each of us in turn and asked us to wait until the skier in front was no longer visible. Only then, when we could no longer see or hear the other skier could we set off.
Finally, after two decades of waiting, I could once again capture the freedom and peace in a pure white, crisp landscape. The sun was all but gone and the moon and stars were out so on I skied, trusting my instincts and letting the tracks guide my skis. The only sound was the crack of a branch as it finally snapped under the weight of the snow and the rhythmic swish of my skis on the frozen snow.
By the time I crossed the frozen lake it was too dark to photograph the way I'd come, so the following day I went back just before sunset. I wasn't disappointed and I whipped out my phone and snapped a few panoramic shots before the light faded.
As soon as I saw the image on the phone screen I knew it would become a quilt - it just asked to be made.
So, how did the quilt come into being?
Fortunately I still had some vintage linen fabric, in the right proportions (the finished quilt is 1.98m x 49 cm), left over from making my daughter some curtains (the things we end up doing for those we love!) This went into a bucket of pale blue dye. Obviously not pale enough because it came out looking like a Caribbean afternoon. So I moved on to using screen printing inks. They are more fluid than regular textile paints and as they are translucent I can build up layers of colour. Which is just what I did! The blue colour still looks a bit perky in some of the photographs, but in 'the flesh' it's just about right.
Once the paint surface was dry and heat set it was time to layer up the quilt and start stitching. The sky and snow were quilted using my Bernina Q20. The sky first had relaxed free flowing lines which were then infilled with text. Annoyingly my hand guided text is very neat and tidy - not at all the look I wanted for this quilt, I was after something much scrappier. So I had to put in many hours trying out different styles, not sure I quite achieved it, old habits are hard to kick. I also needed to brush up my angular meandering pattern as it isn't one which comes naturally but it was so right for the snowy section.
With the machine quilting done it was time to relax and enjoy the hand quilting. I used to be a dedicated quilting hoop / tiny stitches kind of quilter. Not anymore. These days I just tip all the possible threads I may need, never mind about the weight, into a basket, grab a selection of needles and settle comfortably down for some relaxed hand stitching. I still use a thimble though. Can't hand stitch without one.
I only used a very relaxed cross stitch for the hand stitching, building up the density in greens to give the impression of the tree line and in white/off white for the snow.
Hardest to represent were my ski tracks. In the end I smudged some Derwent Inktense pastel over the surface, but that looked like a river. So as very pale lavender thread was back-stitched in to show the way. Even after the stitching was done I tweaked the paint, a dap of white here, and bit more dark green there.
But there comes a time when you've just got to stop; my time was as I knelt on the floor in tears. I could do no more. I was done, exhausted and drained. No other quilt has required such an emotional commitment.
So I took the required photographs and sent off the form.
The quilt was rolled up and put it away. I went out and did some gardening.
You know the rest.
The space between the moments
It was in the space between the moments that I missed you the most:
the silence falls, the breathing pauses, the eyes close.
In the space between the moments I remembered: you’re not here anymore.
But then, as I crossed that vast cold, white landscape, I turned and looked back from where I’d come
and I finally realised:
it’s in the space between the moments that I can find you.
That’s where you are.
So now I pause awhile and be.
Be there with you
in the space between the moments.
By now you will have seen or read about the huge galleries of Nancy Crow’s experiments with monoprint in thickened dye on fabric. The scale and sheer determination was arresting and I particularly liked the effect of the massed pieces and those with a wonderful sense of depth.
But we’re going to show you glimpses of some of the smaller galleries. First of all, a disclaimer!: as we were very busy on our stand for the four days these photos have been snapped quickly on a phone, and are just intended to give a flavour of the incredible work involved. We’d certainly recommend that you follow the orange links to the artists’ websites or visit their exhibitions elsewhere if you get the chance.
The Button Box by unFOLD took inspiration from the book of the same name by Lynn Knight and explored different aspects of women’s lives and their changing role in society over time, an apt subject for the centenary year of women’s suffrage. The works, all thought-provoking, sometimes appearing frivolous, highlighted a serious message and evoked powerful memories and feelings of nostalgia, complete with Grannie’s button box to riffle through.
The gallery was dominated by Christine Chester’s piece #neverthelessshepersisted, illustrating the distance walked in one working week by a fustian worker in the 19th century (91 miles – the equivalent of Manchester to Stoke-on-Trent and back). I didn’t know what fustian was till I spoke to Christine: apparently it was a fabric similar to corduroy, woven with looped ridges in the weft thread (up to 40 ridges per inch across the width) and once woven women had to cut the loops and raise the nap by hand by walking up and down the length of the cloth laid on an extremely long (up to 150 yards) table. I think Christine said that the length of thread she used represents the miles walked, with red bars for significant distances (sorry Christine if you’re reading this, I’ve forgotten exactly what you said!).
Sara Heatherly’s pieces reflected the early years of the 20th century, and the journey from ‘never being me’ to achieving the vote via suffragettes and munitions factories. Other artists explored the importance of maintaining appearances in the days before modern toiletries and cosmetics, marketing aimed at women and using the mending as an excuse not to come to bed! In all a diverse and entertaining gallery on many levels, and one of my show favourites.
A complete contrast, but another of my favourites was Alexandra Kingswell’s More than the Sum gallery. Alex is a former graphic designer who loves numbers, pattern and colour, successfully combining them all into her bright, uplifting, geometric pieces. Based on specific numbers or mathematical sequences such as Pi (the number we all encounter in maths when calculating the area of a circle - an infinite string of never-repeating digits, starting 3.14159265.... ) and Fibonacci’s sequence (1,1,2,3,5,8,13 etc - each number being the sum of the previous two), she makes herself increasingly complex sets of rules governing fabric selection and placement and the results are striking.
In the images above the top two pieces are representations of Pi, the first a combination of four experiments using different groups of colours eg warm colours for prime numbers and cool for non-primes, and the second using two colours for each digit, taking Pi to 675 decimal places. In each the button is the decimal point. I'm guessing that this is quite mystifying for many, but for those of us who like numbers and patterns it is fascinating, and I'm still trying to fathom out how she does it. Either way, the results are beautiful. Visit Alex's website for a fuller explanation of her process – I could never do it justice here (and her images are much better)!
Janet Twinn also makes large colourful quilts, but they are quite different. The author of Colour in Art Quilts (Batsford), Janet dyes and screen-prints her fabric to create a complex palette from which she makes her quilts. Her gallery, Lost in Landscape, explores garden flowers and the Cotswold landscape in the changing seasons, starting with simple drawings which become more complex as she adds layers. Predictably, I have only photographed the blue ones (!), but if you want to see more visit her website .
Art Textiles: Made in Britain is another group of UK artists whose exhibition WILD was very diverse, involving figurative and abstract work, 3d installations and a mix of quilting, embroidery, mixed media, garments and book-making as a means of expression. Unfortunately I didn't take many pictures, but these are three of my favourites - and there are loads more over on their website.
Finally for this review is leading Japanese quilt artist Shizuko Kuroha’s gallery Indigo and Sarasa: Pieces of my Life. She uses antique indigo-dyed textiles contrasted with traditional block printed sarasa fabrics in large quilts with complex patterns formed from strips and carefully arranged log cabin blocks. Hazel and I both love log cabin piecing and Shizuko is a master at this. And these are no ordinary log cabins, with precise colour placement to achieve secondary patterning and, despite the rustic, country-style nature of these fabrics, some of the tiny blocks had ¼” strips! The designs draw you in, the antique fabrics providing texture and added interest and a wonderful depth and calmness. I can't find a website for Shizuko but there's a great article about her on this link.
There were so many other galleries which we didn’t manage to take pictures of including Unfolding Stories 3 by Contemporary Quilters West, which had some interesting work by this large group, and which you’ll get another chance to see at the West Country Quilt & Textile show at the end of the month; SAQA’s Concrete and Grassland exploring the juxtaposition of the natural landscape and the human constructed cityscape; Fly me to the Moon – a collection curated by Susanne Miller Jones, inspired by the Apollo moon missions and all things lunar and the exquisite work of Gulnara Polyanskaya’s Serendipity club students inspired by world architecture in the Russian Textile Gallery. And, of course, the prestigious Fine Art Quilt Masters, into which Hazel’s quilt The Space between the Moments was juried – but more about that in a future blog post.
So next time you visit a quilt show, make sure you save time to visit the galleries, alongside the competition quilts and the shopping. There's so much to see all gathered into one place!
That's all for now - thanks for reading!
Terry & Hazel
This is the fourth year that we've had a stand in the Quilting in Action area as well as teaching in the Quick & Easy workshops, so we didn't get much time to have a look around the show - or blog for that matter! However we did get to see some quilts and enjoyed several galleries, which we will feature over the next couple of blogs.
First are some quilts of the quilts which caught our eye. We both enjoyed the Modern Quilts category - back for its second year. The use of colour and space make for some striking compositions which when combined with plenty of quilting equals some truly stunning quilts.
Sarah Hibbert's Happenstance is a traditional drunkards path block with an alternative piecing layout with extra strips. The large scale of the blocks allows Sarah to showcase the wide variety of patterned linen fabrics with straight line quilting complimeting the curved piecing.
Iva Steiner's quilt, Narrow Geese Around was paper pieced and quilted on a domestic machine. However in her artist's statement Iva says she quilted it in a way to suggest that it had been quilted on a longarm machine! Narrow Geese Around was received a Highly Commended.
Not all modern quilts include a lot of white as Melanie Turbitt's quilt shows. Again this quilt was quilted on a domestic sewing machine, as well as being hand quilted. The finger print was made using bias applique and the unique print was taken from her husband's thumbprint!
Another modern quilt with beautiful machine quilting was Tomomi McElwee's Wind Ripple. A square of improvised piecing using scrap fabrics was off set on pale grey, which allowed the maker to use the large empty space to showcase the beautiful texture created by the free motion quilting to look like the wind ripple on sand dunes.
Hanna Farquharson's quilt, Family Sanctuary had travelled all the way from Canada. Hanna made the quilt the actual size of the endangered artic wolf that she loves. In her artist statement she says that 'the circular den is a sacred space, sanctuary, honouring and protecting family. The white fabric represents the pristine beauty of the snow and represents the harsh weather and challenges to survival. Fierce love unites family'. The central emblem carries family the initial and denotes four children.
Quo Vadis? is Birgit Schuller's emotional response to all that has been happening in the world recently. She asks 'Where are you going, mankind?' but states that the options are numerous yet no clear direction can be determined. Birgit free motioned her quilt using a longarm machine.
Quilts are made for many reasons and often to celebrate special occasions, as was the one made by Tracey Pereira for her friend's birthday. Tracey used the Free Wheeling pattern by Denise Schmidt and free motion quilted it with her own, bespoke, patterns. Beautiful, what a wonderful birthday present!
Aztec colours, geometric patterns and the Aztec word for racoon was the inspiration for Paula Steel's Mapache Tale. The quilt uses stripes to represent the racoon's tail with an Aztec inspired colour palette.
Modern style quilts featured in other categories as well and you'd be forgiven in thinking that Little Marble Track by Claudia Scheja from Werne in Germany, was full sized quilt. One of the main criteria of the Miniature Category is that in a photograph the quilt should be indistinguishable from a full sized one. So scale of fabric, stitches and binding are all crucial - as well as the usual design principles.
Helen Howes often uses improvised piecing even when she's works in miniature as she has done this year in her quilt Another Fair Copse.
Winner of the Miniature Category was Philippa Naylor with her perfectly pieced Circuit Training. Philippa used a combination of hand and machine piecing with hand applique and hand guided free motion quilting. Stunning!
Click on the gallery above to find out who made the quilt and which category it was in.
I do like quilts with a sense of humour and Moira Neal's quilt Time flies when you are having fun in The Quilters' Guild Challenge Category certain had that. Click on the images below to see more detail and in Moira's own words 'Stand, look and laugh!'
Moira must have had so much fun and it's a quilt with so many memories caught up in its making - her mum died whilst she was making it, but she says that happy times are trapped in her mum's handmade lace which she ahs incorporated. Her mum would have certainly been thrilled with Moira's Highly Commended award.
Another quirky quilt is Mousehole - no cats! sewn by Brenda Thomas. Mousehole is one of her favourite Cornish fishing villages with its almost circular harbour, golden sands and beautiful turquoise water. Moira says that her pictorial quilts invariably feature a dog - hence the name of this quilt!
Elita Sharpe must love cats, because there's a naughty one peeping out from her quilt! I see you features a large paper pieced faceted cat's face, which is an original graphic designed by her daughter, Faith Mazzone.
The Quilt Creations Category always has interesting and very non-traditional entries. Umbrellas by Tanglewood Textiles featured an umbrella made by each of the 6 makers. Inspired by the seasons, weather and nature each member of Tanglewood Textiles created an unique umbrella in her own individual style. Each year Terry and I try to spot which one was made by who - all six makers were once our students! So from left to right the makers are Hilary Drake, Melanie Pask, Jackie Amies, Sarah Dixon, Anne Gallagher and Susan Short
Next time Terry will be showing you some of the galleries.
Hazel & Terry
We both produce our own unique fabric to use in our quilt making. It’s all about the total ownership and freedom that comes with the creative process; we have a piece of white fabric, dye it, print it, remove some colour and then add even more: we take the cloth and make it our own. No two pieces are the same and often the results aren’t quite how we planned, but that’s okay - over the years we’ve learnt to embrace the serendipity that comes from working with the bucket and bench.
Each summer we move the dyeing process outdoors and into the sunshine - and yes, the sun does always shine on an indigo day! Indigo dyeing - pure alchemy. Back in July I blogged about our latest indigo day (missed it? Take a look here) so this week I thought I’d show you what I’ve been sewing with one of the pieces we created.
See the honey comb piece on the left? That’s a full width half metre piece of shrunk cotton, which we rolled up along a piece of chunky cotton string and pulled up tight until it resembled a hair scrunchy. A couple of dips in the indigo vat and that’s the cloth you get! Super easy, super fast...and super fabric!
So what did I make with it?
Each summer, as we cut, roll and label the fabric for our stand at Festival of Quilts I always say ‘next year I’m going to sew something to wear out of some of our fabric’. If you’ve ever visited us on our stand you’ll know I never had.....until this year! Yes, we have been (worryingly) so organised that everything is cut, folded, bagged and boxed ahead of schedule that I’ve had time to sew a top!
If you follow me on Instagram you’ll have seen that over last year or so I’ve come back to dress making with some summer dresses for me
and last year a couple of fiendishly tricky 1930’s evening dresses for my daughter - definitely a labour of love!
I didn’t attempt anything as complex for the indigo fabric but chose a simple top using a pattern I’d bought when we were at thread last month at Farnham Maltings, from our friend Viv of Purple Stitches.
I thought it was a great pattern to showcase some of our indigo fabrics! Its also got just 3 pattern pieces!
Multi sized with a couple of length options and printed on good quality paper - so much easier and more robust than the flimsy tissue paper the bigger pattern companies use. Cut out in a flash (does help that the InStitches studio has lovely large, height adjustable tables !) and sewn in a couple of hours
I like a lined yoke and if you go onto the pattern website there’s pattern options and videos to show you how. No excuses really!
I’ve made 3 already! So what does the indigo one look like? Take a look...
I’m really please with it. If you want to see how it looks on then do be sure to stop by and say hello, we’re on stand QIA15 next week at the Festival of Quilts - I could just be wearing it! And you never know - Terry might even have her's cut out and sewn up in time...
Hazel & Terry
That it exists is beyond doubt, but is gold actually a colour?
Throughout time artist the world over have used gold in their art work, to symbolise extravagance, wealth, riches and excess.
The colour gold is a warm colour that can be either bright and cheerful, like on these Burmese statutes ,or
it can be more sombre and traditional; mind you, in this photograph Buddha looks as though he's smiling!
In all of these the gold colouring is from the application of gold leaf not an actually pigment paint. Part of the allure of gold is it's colour and as it's a metal it's scarcity and therefore value. Cloth woven with gold threads has been around since Roman times and is often associated with wealth and Royalty - imagine how sumptuous and glittering the meeting of King Henry VIII and Francis I of France would have been in what became known as the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520. Henry is reported to have had a marquee made entirely from golden cloth!
Gold has also been used to inspire awe and wonder; is seen as the colour of reverence and is often used in religious iconography and on statues. Last year in Myanmar I lost count of the number of golden Buddhas I saw.
Despite living very economically challenged lives I was amazed as hundreds of people bought small squares of gold leaf to apply to the surface of an already glittering Buddha.
And the sight of so many golden stupas in the harsh mid day sun was enough to burn the image onto the back of your eyes.
The colour gold is closely associated with yellow and brown. Closer to home, think of the golden canopy of autumnal leaves against the cooling blue autumnal sky or
a host of golden daffodils in springtime!
A meadow full of buttercups, nodding their golden heads or
as they are just now - golden brown (or more accurately Wheatabix brown, and no, that isn't a Farrell & Ball colour!
From the golden skins of Finnish smoked fish to
golden Easter bunnies, gold is an enduring choice of colour.
It's just started to rain...so may be our next colour will be green!
Hazel & Terry
Welcome to our blog! Here you'll find out what's been going on, plus plenty of ideas and inspiration and the odd cake recipe!
Check back often to see what we're up to - it's great to have you along
Hazel & Terry