Thursday, 27 December 2012

Emerald Isle Quilt

Emerald Isle Quilt

Sampler Quilt...the story so far

Sampler Quilt Blocks
So far, in my Sampler Quilt class, we have made Tumbling Blocks (top left) using the English Paper Piecing (EPP) method, appliqued onto the background fabric; Shoo Fly (bottom right) where we learned to make half square triangles; Churn Dash (bottom left) which extended our skills to strip piecing to make the rectangles; and Railroad block (top right) which involved more strip piecing. So far so good, I think! At least my pointly bits are lining up!  Next up is Lover's Knot. Watch this space....

The names of the quilt blocks are fascinating and very much rooted in American history, politics, and religion. Churn Dash, for example, may have been devised as a safehouse sign to runaway slaves, though some quilt scholars dispute this as a bit of an urban myth. The Shoo Fly block is much favoured by Amish quilters. It is named after the wild flower, clover bloom,  a member of the deadly nightshade family, whose juices were mixed with milk to make a natural fly killer!  Hence 'shoo fly'!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

An obsession with hexagons!

Batik hexagons 

I've had a jelly roll of batik fabrics for some time and recently decided to use 
them to make some bright coloured hexagons. I'm thinking that I'll make them into a modern version of a grandmother's flower garden quilt: perhaps a charcoal grey background? Making hexagons is very therapeutic and something nice to do when watching TV. And they soon build up!   I can see why people get obsessed with making them. 

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Sampler Quilt Block 1

Tumbling blocks

Here is the first block from my Sampler Quilt class. Tumbling blocks made from diamond shapes using the English Paper Piecing (EPP) method: basting is still in place until the design is appliquéd onto background fabric to complete the block.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Autumn in stitches


A small postcard size sample from my Creative Stitches class: tiny fragments of fabric bonded to hand dyed fabric, machine stitched with little blocks of satin stitch, than embellished with hand stitching - straight, seeding and French knots.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Sherbert Flowers - Inspired by Lace

Sherbert Flowers

Lace from Gawthorpe Hall collection 
This is the piece of embroidery I have done for the Inspired by Lace project at Gawthorpe Hall in Lancashire. Below it is the fragment of lace which inspired the piece. I took the negative shapes between the lace, enlarged them and cut the shapes out of hand dyed silks and cottons and appliquéd them in an interlocking cluster to cream silk dupion. Each flower is outlined with split stitch and a star stitch sewn at the centre.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Sampler Quilt

Gorgeous new fabrics to make a traditional sampler quilt. My class starts week after next. Every two weeks we make a different block. Watch this space!

Trapunto circles

Trapunto circles created by stitching circles in whipped running stitch on batik fabric, adding texture with straight stitch and seeding and padding the circles from the reverse with wadding. Nice nobbly texture! Reminds me of sea shells.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

In which we explore flour paste resist

Black acrylic paint in batik
I've just started a Creative Stitches class at a nearby Adult Education Centre.  We have been creating stitch samplers, dyeing cloth and  learning to use flour paste as a resist. This was my first attempt. Once the flour paste had dried, I crackled it into fine lines and used a hard brush to push black acrylic paint into the cracks. After 24 hours Iwashed the paint and paste off to reveal lovely spidery lines! 
Just need I decide what to stitch on it!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Festival of Quilts 2012

Flower of 13115 Pieces and Peace
Hiromi Yokota, Japan

I had a wonderful day at this year's Festival of Quilts at NEC Birmingham. I took many pictures - there were so many beautiful quilts in every category. But this one was particularly amazing.  This quilt is made up of 13115 handpieced and hand quilted 1cm hexagons!

I also bought some gorgeous Kaffe Fassett fabric, had him sign one of his books for me, and found some very pretty Moda charm squares called Papillon to make a vintage style quilt. All in all, a very successful day!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Inspired by Lace

Have been working on my submission for the Inspired by Lace project at Gawthorpe Hall in Lancashire. On a study visit earlier in the year, I took lots of photos of pieces of lace from their collection. After much deliberation I have decided to use this piece as my inspiration. Final design to be revealed soon here on the blog. For now, I'll just reveal that the main design idea was inspired by the shape of the negative spaces in the centre of this piece.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Hepworth Gallery, Wakefield

Hepworth Gallery
Last week we visited the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield. Beautiful, light, open galleries host sculptures by Barbara Hepworth from different periods of her work, as well as exhibitions of painting by artists such as Ben Nicholson and Duncan Grant. The exhibition highlights Hepworths working techniques and her creative inspiration. Hepworth was born in Wakefield and went to Leeds School of Art and then studied at the Royal College of Art. By the 1930s she was a leading figure in the modern art movement, experimenting with various materials as she explored abstract sculpture.

Pierced hemisphere.

My favourite piece in the exhibition was Pierced Hemisphere.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Freezer paper appliqué

 Over the last couple of months I have been teaching myself various applique techniques in order to produce some samples for my Embroidery Course inspired my by chosen theme of Celtic Art. Havng spent many hours sketching and painting designs and motifs from Celtic objects - jewellry, swords, shields, ceramics, I finally decided on a 'palmette' motif. here's a picture from my sketchbook and the finished sample of needle-turn applique.

I used freezer paper to cut out each piece of fabric with a 1/4" seam allowance. Then I pinned each segment to the background fabric on which I had drawn out the design in dressmakers pencil, so I had a guide to positioning each piece. Needle-turning the seam allowance was quite a challenge!  The freezer paper method is much easier, and one I would be more likely to use for this kind of project in the future.

Applique palmette design

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Hand Stitchery on paper

Inspired by the fabulous contemporary whitework of textile artist Karen Ruane, I have been experimenting with hand embroidery on paper using various weights of undyed yarns. The bottom photos is a seed head worked on undyed cotton openweave in medium cotton perle.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Stitch and Creative Crafts Show

Manchester Embroiderers Guild spent a lovely three days at the Stitch and Craft Show at Event City in Manchester. I helped out on our stand and we had lots of interest in our Rainbow Squares Embroideries, shown here,  and our One Stitch exhibition. Members had created some beautiful pieces using just one type of stitch and people were asked to vote for their favourite. Winner to be announced soon!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Christmas Card Competition

Am delighted to have won the Facebook Christmas Card Competition run by the School of Stitched Textiles where I am studying City & Guilds in Embroidered Textiles. My piece, shown here on the left, was worked in undyed perle cotton and silk on pale blue linen.

I have almost completed Module 2 of the course, which focuses on canvas work and counted thread embroidery but with the interetsing theme of 'Industry'. A day at the Manchester Science and Industry Museum provided lots of photographs and ispiration for the set projects. I'll post some photos of the resulting embroideries here soon.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

In which we consider the art of slow stitchery

Having read previously about the Slow Movement I have thought for some time that hand embroiderery embodies slow movement principles. No surprise then to find this notion already has some following. The Slow Cloth and Slow Textiles movement celebrates the quality, skill, heritage, sustainability and slowness of hand stitching. For more information and further interesting links check out