Thanks for calling by. I hope you enjoy what you see, feel free to leave a comment and call again to catch up on my news.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Festival of Quilts 2016

If there's still anyone out there reading this blog I'm truly sorry for my poor attendance here. However I thought that some of you might like to see some of the quilts which caught my eye at the Festival of Quilts yesterday. It's a huge show and very tiring to walk around the whole thing but there were some real beauties there to admire and some extremely clever quilters who displayed their work. Way out of my league! I can only stand in awe!

Most of my favourites were in the art quilt sections but this traditional hand-pieced hexagon quilt was just so beautiful.

Three quilts with trees as their subject

 A deconstructed hexagon quilt!

 Lots of colourful spirals on this one

This quilt (above) was called sunrise ...

 and this one is sunset

A colourful and cleverly pieced barcode

 Lovely little patches and scraps of embroidery joined together for this wallhanging.

This one is by the very talented Cas Holmes

And last, but not least, two extremely large and beautifully embroidered eyes - one open and one closed.

It was a tiring but very inspiring day!

Sunday, 12 June 2016

The year half gone already!!

I can hardly believe that it's already the middle of June. It is a little scary how quickly time passes as you grow older, and there's definitely beginning to be a feeling of not having enough time to finish everything I wanted or planned to do. I'm aware that, even as I write those words that it sounds a lot more negative than I actually feel however. And so onto more positive things although I have very little stitching to show you today.

I'm fresh back from a week of visiting my son and daughter in London and thought I'd share a few of the places I visited and some of the things that inspired me whilst I was down there. I spent most of  my week in Walthamstow and revisited the William Morris Gallery. I love Morris' designs and am impressed and inspired by how much he did with his life - artist, printmaker, designer, poet, social reformer, political activist ... but this time I'm just sharing a couple of photographs and neither of them are of his work.

These plants (lots of them) are in the Gallery garden and the leaves appear in several of Morris' designs. I love the architectural nature of the whole plant, the shape of the leaves and the silvery sheen they have when the light catches them just so.

There was an exhibition in the Gallery of African fabric and I was particularly struck by this beautiful dress, especially the way in which the fabric design has been used to such great effect. You can also just see another piece on the wall which is edged with pictures of Nelson Mandela.

Here it is in more detail ...

 Mother goose and her goslings in the park behind the Gallery.

I was also introduced to a shop which goes by the wonderful name of God's Own Junkyard, where they stock hundreds of neon signs. ...

 ... love hearts galore ...
 ... a Chanel angel ...
... True love never dies.

This globe is covered with tiny photographs of every solar eclipse ever recorded and they are reflected out onto the walls of the room as tiny pinpoints of light as the globe slowly rotates. A brilliant exhibition at Somerset House.

I was also inspired by this beautiful lace-like roof at the Westfield Shopping Centre.

And finally, just a little stitching to show you ...

I made this piece of lace as a house-warming gift for my son and his partner. Entitled 'Hive'.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

City and Guilds progress

I just completed Module 2 of the City and Guilds Embroidery course I'm working on with Distant Stitch and thought I'd share some photos with you.

The brief was to make a three dimensional embroidered useful object inspired by animal print.
During the months it has taken me to work through all the research, design exercises, samples, etc, etc I found I was most inspired by lizards. The prairie points on the lid of my box are not only inspired by the spines on the lizards' backs, but also by the dragon back roof on Gaudi's Casa Batllo in Barcelona.

All the fabrics were dyed by me and then many of them machine embroidered before being cut and pieced to make the patchwork body and lining of the box.

 The lining is slightly padded and hand stitched in random lines of running stitch using a soft Coton a Broder thread in off white.
I have to say that I'm absolutely delighted with the way this has turned out - much better than I sometimes thought it would do.

In and amongst the coursework I've been stitching a few French knots onto this little rockery.

 I also took some time off recently for a day out in Haworth to visit the Bronte Museum in this 200th anniversary year of Charlotte's birth. It was lovely to revisit the Parsonage Museum and see the new exhibits of tiny scraps of fabric from some of the gowns she wore and her tiny gloves and shoes. Walking round the museum it is so easy to envisage the sisters reading out their books to each other as they sat together in the parlour in an evening.

 Another day out to Salts Mill in Saltaire. For those of you not fortunate enough to have visited this huge memorial to England's industrial age, the mill has now been turned over to exhibition spaces, the inevitable cafe's and sales spaces which contain luxury homewares, art materials and books on every subject imaginable. It is interesting to see little reminders of the mill's past life in the structure of the building and to imagine it filled with looms and people and deafening noise.

And finally a picture taken in our town centre of a cherry blossom tree in full bloom. Spring is truly here!

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Dropping in for a chat

Thought I would drop in for a quick chat about what I've been doing since my last post...

The City and Guilds course in Embroidery, which I'm doing with Distant Stitch is still ongoing and the details of all the work for that are on my other blog, which you can find at http://judithsstitchingjourney.blogspot.co.uk/ 
The topic for my current module is Animal Print, and to ensure that we concentrate on the pattern, rather than the glorious colours, we're working in monochrome and using patchwork and machine stitch. The course as a whole is definitely proving to be a challenge, but one that I'm enjoying. It is keeping my mind active, which was one of my reasons for taking it on in the first place.

 I had to stitch a tiny piece of needle-lace, inspired by this beautiful lizard ...

You can see the drawing I did of that section on his cheek, from which I took my pattern.

I'm a workshop addict, as some of you who have seen previous posts might well have gathered already. So, as if the City and Guilds wasn't enough, I can't stay away from other classes in the meantime, and this year is proving to be no exception.

At the beginning of February I signed up for another of Kathy Shaw's http://www.shawkl.com/ crazy patchwork classes, and this is what I've done so far.

 A bare winter tree,
and a second tree, this time with leaves,
 a cute little blue beaded spider,

a little dog barking at an oversized butterfly, and a grape vine.

And then, yesterday, something a little different ... a bookbinding class at our local art materials shop. This was huge fun and we produced five little books during the day.

The pink book is a simple pamphlet stitched book, the orange and brown ones have different varieties of Japanese stab binding, and the striped book has a proper hard cover, with end papers and bound spine. The fifth book, which I didn't photograph has a coptic binding. As you know, I've made quite a few fabric books over the years and this will feed into that particular addiction quite nicely.

Finally, a photograph I took recently on a rare (for this winter) fine day in our local park. Black lace trees against a beautiful blue sky.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Singing the joys of autumn

Where to see autumn colours around the UK

It's autumn here in the UK and that is my favourite season of the year! I love the colours - all those warm golds and oranges. I love the scents - that very distinctive, but oh so difficult to put into words, scent of shortening days, of falling leaves, of ripening fruit and almost imperceptible decay. I love the chill in the early morning air, and pulling the curtains and snuggling under a blanket in front of the fire in the evening.

John Keats' "season of mists and mellow fruitfulness".

I've begun a patchwork bag in colours to celebrate the season.
This pattern is called a Friendship Star. The star on the other side of the bag has the fabrics reversed so the star there is patterned on a plain background.

I've also just returned from a week with my lace tutor in Wales, where I spent a blissful week stitching circles...
and a few squares ...
Just samples which I'll display in a book together with their instructions as a record for future projects. Now I'm trawling through all my needlelace books to find more designs to add to my collection.

While I was in Wales I found this piece of antique Casalguidi embroidery in an antique shop. Well I couldn't resist could I?
It's a little bag with embroidery across the front, knotted tassels on the two bottom corners, and a drawstring around the top. I shall probably use it as a project bag for my embroidery as I do like to have my works in progress inside a pretty fabric bag. I've done a little of this type of embroidery myself in the past (I may well have shared these photographs before).