Monday, 15 December 2014

It must be nearly Christmas!

You know it must be nearly Christmas when you see reindeer in the city centre!
They were obviously reserving their energy for the busy night ahead.
We visited Worcester Cathedral over the weekend to see the Festival of Christmas Trees in the cloisters. Many local schools, organisations and shops had decorated trees which were then arranged throughout the cloisters.
There were traditional trees, trees made from hops, glass, bamboo, vegetables, blocks of wood and fabric, to name but a few!

Apologies for the poor photography but what a fun way to raise money for local charities.
Back home we decorated a simple wreath with chillies, well it makes a change from the traditional holly berries doesn't it?
One benefit of long dark evenings is that there is time to hand quilt while catching up with the many TV programmes we have recorded.
I pieced together a collection of beautiful Indian block printed and Ikat woven fabrics a while ago and I am now enjoying the meditative process of hand quilting them with a selection of perle threads. I chose wool wadding and a backing of some appropriately coloured Oakshott fabrics and this combination is a dream to quilt.
Front pieced and ready to be tacked.
Backing fabrics pieced.
As the fabric designs are repeated across the quilt I decided to quilt each fabric design with a different pattern which I find keeps me interested as I'm not very good with repeating the same thing over and over again! I am challenging myself to quilt at least one fabric block each day so I should be finished by mid this space!
I hope all of your Christmas preparations are going to plan.
Thanks for visiting.


Friday, 5 December 2014

Dyeing fun!

Over the last couple of weeks my students have played ( or should I say experimented) with family dyeing. It is a method I was shown by Leslie Morgan of Committed to Cloth when I was on a course at the Masseria della Zingara last year which I wrote about here.
Once the pots were labelled and set out and the two control dye colours selected, the fun began using a credit card to scrape the dye into sketchbooks and on to fabric to record the results.
Helen started with golden yellow and scarlet dyes and then added first a little blue and then a little lemon yellow to produce these lovely colours on the right.
Annette used indigo and golden yellow as her control dyes scraping them first into her sketchbook and then on to fabric. She then changed the proportion of the dye mix to produce the mixes on the right.
She then painted the thickened dyes onto a printing block to sample her range of colours on to cloth.
Judith began with rust brown and royal blue on the right and then experimented by adding dark brown (top left), then magenta (middle left) and finally a little more dark brown to produce this range of colours.
She then scraped this rather gorgeous piece of fabric with the mixed colours.
Sue used her credit card creatively to make these lovely marks using her mixed dyes which started with black and magenta and then a little royal blue.
 Meanwhile Ann was using some Thermofax screens to print these lovely crocheted doily patterns. The cloth will be used as a background for appliqué.
I have been busy stitching the scroll that I began a few weeks ago. I'm pleased with the result and really enjoyed the process. It was fun to get out the bead box and apply some beads.

This is a great way of using the scraps of fabric, threads etc left over from a larger project and would make a lovely gift for someone - maybe for Christmas!
I hope all of your Christmas preparations are well underway - that reminds me, I must feed the Christmas cake!
Thank you for visiting.

Edwina x

Sunday, 16 November 2014

A new arrival

It's a been a busy and productive week with the best possible results. On Tuesday 11th November Reuben, my fourth grandchild was born, a brother for a very excited Isla!
As you can see at 24 hours old, he is a bonny baby weighing in at 8lb 7oz. I can't wait for my next cuddle!
Of course Reuben had to have a play mat and I really enjoyed doing some 'proper' patchwork to make this for him.
It was fun exploring different arrangements using equilateral triangles and I was pleased with the final decision to use the red fabrics at the top and the bottom of the piece and the binding.
As I was otherwise engaged on Tuesday Ineke took over the teaching of my weekly Textile Inspirations class which is held at Littleheath Barn. During the previous session Ineke had been working on a scroll and as everyone was keen to use their machine embroidery samples produced this term this seemed like a brilliant idea to incorporate them.
base fabric

top fabrics

I have sorted through some of my fabrics and samples, added a few screen printed sections and am now ready to compose and stitch.

base fabric
a possible layout
I added to my collection of Namolio linen threads this week - let's call it an early Christmas present!
I think some of these will work beautifully once I start stitching my scroll.
I'll keep you posted and thanks for visiting my blog.

Edwina x

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Whispers Challenge

Our Whispers Challenge was very popular with visitors to Stitch in the Middle's latest exhibition Nature and Artifice. Although the exhibition is now over I will show you, as promised, the inspiration and resulting A4 quiltlets.
Two groups took part in the challenge, one with six members and the other with seven. The first person in each group was given this photograph from which to design and make an A4 sized quilt.

These were the resulting quilts from group one.
Jan was the only member of this group to see the photograph. The following quilts were inspired by seeing only the previous quilt.

Group two produced a very different collection of quilts.

Again, as first member of the group, Cheryl had the photograph for inspiration.

Who would have thought that all of these pieces of work had the same starting point and how different the results are in each group.
This was fun challenge for a group and was a great addition to the exhibition.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Nature and Artifice

I have just returned from Weavers Gallery in Ledbury where we have set up the latest exhibition of the Contemporary Quilt Group, Stitch in the Middle. This year's exhibition is 'Nature and Artifice' with the work on display influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement.
As you can see, the exhibition opens tomorrow so we hope you will be able to come and see how we have interpreted the theme. Here's a taster of what is on show.

We have also worked on a  whisper challenge with interesting results. We formed two groups each starting with the same photograph taken by one of the group members during a visit to Wightwick Manor in Staffordshire. Only the first person in each group saw the photograph, the rest of the group had only the previous person's quilt as inspiration.

It is fascinating to see how one quilt inspires the next. I will take some detailed photographs tomorrow when I am stewarding, and I will also include the original photograph that inspired the challenge.
Hope to see you there!


Monday, 20 October 2014

A weekend of treats

Well it was my birthday!
On Saturday we visited Gloucester Cathedral to see Crucible 2, an exhibition of fabulous sculptures. This is the second exhibition of its kind at this venue and I can see exactly why as the Cathedral makes a wonderful setting.
Walking in through the main entrance we were met by Pilgrim by David Backhouse . What an amazing face.

Then through the door to be confronted with The Thief by David Mach. An imposing, larger than life sculpture.
Mach uses mass produced items, in this case wire coat hangers, from which to construct his work.
One of my favourite pieces was Sue Freeborough's Let There be Spaces in your Togetherness.
It was a difficult piece to photograph but I found it a powerful sculpture especially where it was positioned within the chancel.
All of the Cathedral is used to display the 100 sculptures, from the Crypt, the Cloisters to the College Green.
In the Cloister Garth was Beyond Silence by Ann Christopher, such a contrast to the architecture surrounding it in this peaceful garden in the centre of the Cloisters.
Lynn Chadwick's two sculptures Sitting Couple on a Bench and Jubilee IV dominate the green near to the Cathedral entrance.
This exhibition is on until 31st October and definitely worth a visit as is Gloucester Cathedral which has wonderful architecture, stained glass windows and other works of art.

As the sun was shining yesterday we decided to find some autumnal colours and visited Bodenham Arboretum which is situated between Kidderminster and Bridgnorth. We were not disappointed!

We needed a walk after brunch with the family and as you can see, it was enjoyed by all!
After the celebrations I must get down to making a play mat for a new member of the family due to arrive next month, a brother or sister for my beautiful granddaughter.
Hope you have all had as much fun as I have this weekend.

Speak soon