Friday, 12 January 2018

Where in the World?



Underground, in this case.

The theme for the annual 12 x 12 exhibition at Midsomer Quilting in December was "Where in the World?"  There was a great variety of scenes and techniques on show, and many of the quilts were for sale by auction to raise money for Dorothy House, a local hospice.

Whereas a lot of the quilts were like postcards, showing instantly recognisable views, this quilt was an exception.  Earthquake Zones, by Pat Gerrard, is a representation in fabric of a geological fault or subduction zone, vividly conveying the threat and tension of the earth's crust under stress.


Coming back to the surface, and starting with the scene nearest to home and gradually travelling further away, here is Clifton Suspension Bridge, by De Pickford.  The bridge is truly beautiful (as can be seen in this video here), a marvellous feat of engineering designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and completed in 1864.  De shows it with balloons in the sky, which is a sight we can enjoy every year when the Balloon Fiesta is held in August.  



Just 12 miles from Bristol is Bath, and the next quilt takes us upstream to an older bridge across the same river.  Pulteney Bridge, by Jill Humphrey, is truly delightful in the way the reflections are shown under the arches and the quilting in the foreground depicts the water rushing down the weir. 


Now travel about 50 miles north northeast, and we come to the Uffington White Horse, shown in Hill Figure, by Kath Lordan.  Not only was I bowled over by the choice of subject matter, I fell in love with the subtle shades of green and the topographical quilting, recalling the sheep tracks which follow the contours on the sides of the chalk hills.


The next trip is about 85 miles north to the National Exhibition Centre near Birmingham for the Horse of the Year Show.  Constantine, by Glenis Halfhide shows a drum horse of the Household Cavalry.  The detailed stitching brings both horse and rider to life.  I spent ages gazing at the amazingly tiny stitches of the lion and the unicorn on the coat of arms on the drum.


This quilt takes us to Germany.  A Small Town in Germany, by Lesley Irving depicts
a fascinating roofscape, with the distinctive steep roofs and stepped gables to be seen there.  The various shades of brown and brick red coupled with the shapes and textures give this quilt a wonderfully realistic feel, like looking out of an upstairs window. 


Now off to hotter climes.  Morocco, by Jo McKenna radiates warmth, both with the colour and the profusion of flowers.  The simple austere shapes of the houses contrast with the hills in the background and the exquisitely stitched plants in the foreground, and the patterns of the fabrics tie in perfectly with the composition.



Finally, we go way down south for Memory of South Africa, by Rholda Picot.  Rholda's note about the quilt says it all; "My South African block is inspired by the many women you still see in rural villages either cooking over an open fire or grinding corn.  As a South African now living in the UK this block is a reminder of what you don't see here!" 

A truly memorable exhibition!

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Free Motion Mavericks - Week 168 - May Landscape


Reality in thread - to my eyes anyway.  This is the first landscape that I have stitched from a photo, and it was an entirely different experience to the usual Never Never Land that I have always stitched before.  This time accuracy mattered.

The annual 12 x 12 exhibition at Midsomer Quilting kicked me into action last October.  The theme was "Where in the World?."  Some of the fabulous quilts on show can be seen here.

Although I was tempted to try a scene taken on holiday in Ireland or Spain, I decided to depict a scene only a few minutes' walk from our house.

I chose the photo I wanted to use and made a tracing of the horizon, trees, hedge and tractor tracks.  Then I machine stitched (with no thread) through the tracing paper, placed the tracing paper over the fabric and rubbed blue tailor's chalk over the holes to give a faint line of dots to use as a guide.

Once I had plotted the perspective, then I started to build up the colour with parallel lines of stitching.

The tractor tracks in the foreground were relatively straightforward, but the faint tractor tracks in the background to either side of the centre were particularly time-consuming.


To give the right effect, they needed to be underneath the yellow stitching.  I hadn't drawn guidelines, so I had to make frequent trips between the sewing machine and the computer to plot the ends of the lines with pins and then stitch the parallel lines by eye.

The next stage was to work on the rapeseed plants in the foreground, and then fathom out how to link the foreground with the background.  This had me stumped for a while, because in the background the crop is built up with horizontal lines of shades of yellow, whereas in the foreground there is a lot more detail, with changes of colour and direction.


The solution was to work a tightly packed scribble in yellow and green variegated threads over the foreground, taking it just into the background so that the middle distance blended in.


This scribble technique was also very useful for the tree at the left, which has young leaves just beginning to bud.  A thread with streaks of yellowish May green did the job perfectly for this tree...


...whereas the tall bare trees on the skyline needed a mixture of pastel and pale neutral shades.


Then I tackled the sky, filling it with horizontal lines of mainly blues and greys, making a streaky grey cloud to the left and keeping the right hand side clearer as a background for the birds.  The birds are hand sewn - just six quick stitches for each one.  I have decided that they are crows.  We get plenty of crows flying over, and even more jackdaws, but these look too big for jackdaws.


Here is a peep of the back.  For the sky I used blue or white in the bobbin, and for the field and trees a brownish neutral mix.

Now for
the technical details:- 
The picture was free motion quilted with my 1945 Singer 15K treadle on natural coloured cotton backed with thermal curtain lining.  I used Gutermann Sulky Cotton 30 in variegated colours, and applied fray-check to the cut edges.

All it needs now is a good frame.  That's my husband's department.

And a title.  If anyone has any suggestions, please leave a comment.

And finally, many thanks to De, Chris and all at Midsomer Quilting for holding a fabulous exhibition in their wonderful new premises at Chilcompton.  Without them I am not sure I would have stretched myself to produce this landscape.  Furthermore, I would not be the proud owner of the two fabulous quilts that I successfully placed bids on.  I took plenty of photos at the exhibition, and shall be featuring several of them in a post tomorrow.


Here goes for Week 168.

Many thanks to Afton for being the first person to link up in 2018, showing her beautiful Arrow Head quilt.
  If you haven't seen her blog post yet, nip over now and have a closer look.




If you love free motion quilting, whether you are a beginner just taking the plunge, or you have reached the stage where you can do ostrich feathers with your eyes shut and still achieve perfect symmetry, then please link up.

Remember, FMQ is FMQ, whether your machine was made last week, or it is older than your granny.

Here are the very easy and slightly elastic rules:-

1.  Link up with any recent post, ideally from the last week but within the last month, which features a free motion quilting project, whether it is a work in progress or a finish.

2.  Link back to this post in your own post.
  
3.  Visit as many of the other participants as possible and say hello in the comments box.

4.  The link up will remain open for four days, from midnight to midnight GMT for the long weekend, Friday to Monday.

So far quilters from the USA, England, Wales, Australia, Canada, Germany, Holland, New Zealand, France, Macau, Russia, Ireland and Brazil have taken part. 
The first participant from each new country will get a special mention the following week.

Linking up to Sarah's blog Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday
and Nina-Marie's blog Creations... Quilts, Art... Whatever for Off The Wall Friday
and Amanda Jean's blog Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday.


Sunday, 7 January 2018

A Picture for Sunday - Winter Sky


Frost and snow don't often grip this part of the country.  Rain, wind and occasional fog, with weeks of sodden ground, are the norm, and so far this winter has been no exception.  Dramatic skies over the Severn estuary relieve the monotony.  This was the view I caught yesterday afternoon.  Meanwhile there was a rainbow behind me.

Friday, 5 January 2018

Winter Cardigan - Finished!


Down on the kitchen floor is the best place in the house to lay this cardigan out for a photo, but the colour keeps coming out bluish.  Why?  Light and the physics of it all are well beyond me.

Anyway, here it is and I'm chuffed to bits with it.  The hand knitted made to measure Christmas present from me to me.  Just what I needed, a snug winter cardy.


The shawl collar looks narrow when the cardigan is laid out, but when it's on it is a great draught stopper.


Knitting the rib for the collar shows the random yarn off to best advantage.  Also, because long rows of rib are so unutterably boring, looking forward to the next streak of colour kept me going.


I struck incredibly lucky when I went out shopping for buttons.

I only took a ball of the random yarn with me when I went out, and it wasn't until I came home that I saw I had found the perfect match for the dusky pink stripes.


The purple edging reminds me of quilt binding, but the corners are fearsomely fiddly.  Mitred corners are falling off a log in comparison.


The stitch and mixture of yarns I used worked out really well, with the warm side on the inside (on the left) and the stripes emphasised on the outside (on the right).

Now I am just finishing off the hat.  Then the weather can get as cold as it likes.

Linking up to Sarah's blog Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday
and Amanda Jean's blog Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Free Motion Mavericks - Week 167 - Chaos Reigns


Easy to let things slide.  This is the state of my sewing room today. Just before Christmas I abandoned all thoughts of sewing and have only just recovered the inclination start quilting again.  There is a bit of tidying up to do first, as you can see.  Somehow I haven't got round to it yet.  I am far too easily distracted, for example by grapefruits when out shopping, so as a result this afternoon I have been preparing grapefruits for marmalade.  Anything but tidy up.

After a quiet Christmas with just three of us at home (just as well, I was ill the week before) and a fun packed New Year at my brother's house (for his wedding anniversary on the 29th and birthday on New Year's Eve) I am making plans for lots of projects this year.

So it's Happy New Year to everyone, and just in case anyone has any sewing to show, the linky is open!



Here goes for Week 167.

The project that caught my eye in Week 166 was Margarita's set of four quilted pillows.  If you haven't seen her blog post yet, nip over now and have a closer look.





If you love free motion quilting, whether you are a beginner just taking the plunge, or you have reached the stage where you can do ostrich feathers with your eyes shut and still achieve perfect symmetry, then please link up.

Remember, FMQ is FMQ, whether your machine was made last week, or it is older than your granny.

Here are the very easy and slightly elastic rules:-

1.  Link up with any recent post, ideally from the last week but within the last month, which features a free motion quilting project, whether it is a work in progress or a finish.

2.  Link back to this post in your own post.
  
3.  Visit as many of the other participants as possible and say hello in the comments box.

4.  The link up will remain open for four days, from midnight to midnight GMT for the long weekend, Friday to Monday.

So far quilters from the USA, England, Wales, Australia, Canada, Germany, Holland, New Zealand, France, Macau, Russia, Ireland and Brazil have taken part. 
The first participant from each new country will get a special mention the following week.



Sunday, 17 December 2017

A Picture for Sunday - Tiny Toadstool


Standing not much higher than an inch above the soil, this tiny golden brown toadstool really stood out against the bright green leaves all around it.

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