Once again I am back to playing catch up with projects and posts. I’ve been feeling pretty down and lethargic over recent months, for reasons I won’t go into on here, but the year is fast coming to a close and it’s time to give myself a good shake up and get back to normal.
So the first project to feature is one I did as a result of being invited down to London to stay with my niece and her husband at the end of November. They have recently moved house and I got a request to make a pair of Roman blinds for their new study…….what better excuse could there be for a week in London? Sophie chose a lightweight dress fabric for the blinds, which give me a little concern as I wasn’t sure how well they would hang. It wasn’t the easiest fabric to work with but once they had been lined I needn’t have worried as they turned out fine and thankfully they are both delighted with them.
The second project was this years “ugly” fabric challenge with Sitting Ducks. Each year, just before Christmas, one of our members supplies us all with an A4 size piece of fabric (which we probably would never have chosen to use ourselves) and we have to make something with it. After a couple of weeks of wondering what to do with my green and orange crocodiles, and knowing that I wanted to completely disguise the pattern, I finally hit on an idea and Griselda was born. She stands 17″ tall, has a wire frame with a needle felted body and fabric wrapped legs & arms. I added three colours of netting as “wings” to make her into an Autumnal fairy. I had intended to make her face from fabric but realised, the night before we were due to hand in our pieces, that if I was going to get her finished in time I needed a quicker solution for her face, hence the air dry clay.
Although no-one said anything out loud, once we had all placed our work on the table it dawned on me that mine was the odd one out as Sitting Ducks is actually a “quilting” group. Hey, ho………I had fun making her anyway!
Last Saturday I was fortunate to attend the Quilters Guild Area Day at Sitting Ducks in Branston Booths where Susan Denton appeared as guest speaker. Having only just joined the Quilters Guild this is the first time I have attended such an event and I really didn’t know what to expect. What I wasn’t aware of when booking is that Susan is an internationally acclaimed quilter whose highly regarded work is displayed in shows and museums in a number of countries around the globe…..I was in for a treat!
Susan’s talk took us on a journey from her home in Cornwall, up to the Western Highlands of Scotland and across the oceans to far flung places including Iran and Australia. Her travels, and the sights and people she has met, have inspired many of her wonderful quilts. The photograph below is one of a trio entitled “Making the World a Safer Place”. In this she has used the colours of oil, terracotta and turquoise (a combination often seen on mosques) to represent the invasion of Iraq in the form of looted, ancient vases. I found this particularly inspirational, both in design and execution.
Susan Denton shows a selection of her work at the Quilters Guild Area Day.
Everyone was intrigued by the next quilt depicting the seafront at St Ives. We were fascinated by how Susan had created the sky and the sea, which was to become a little clearer during Sundays workshop when we learnt about using grids to create movement and perspective.
During Sundays workshop Susan explained the process of foundation piecing and we all had the chance to try our hand at designing and sewing blocks using this method. We also learnt about tessellating blocks and using grids, both of which open up limitless possibilities for designing and quilting.
The weekend seemed to pass in a flash and during the journey home I found myself wishing I had booked onto Susan’s Colour Workshop which was being held in Louth the following day. Having spoken to Sheila Evans, the regional coordinator, I discovered there was a space available so, at the very last minute, I managed to get myself booked in!
Once again I wasn’t disappointed. We spent Monday and Tuesday learning about how we can manipulate colour values to create schemes for our quilts. Although I was aware of the colour wheel and have always felt confident with putting colour schemes together I have to say that Susan’s workshop allowed me to take my understanding of colour to another level. The following photos show the group hard at work and some of the fabulous colour schemes being developed over the two days.
Three of the ladies busy at their machines.
This week my friend Molly and I spent a day sewing with the ladies at ‘The Sitting Ducks’ quilting group. The group meet once a month in the Village Hall in Branston Booths.
The Sitting Ducks Quilt Group
This months session began with one of the ladies demonstrating how to make a reversible ‘thread catcher’. It was a very simple design, made from eight strips of fabric, with endless possibilities for embellishing. Although intended for holding scraps of fabric or threads they could be used for holding all sorts of different things. These are cute little things to make and a great way to use up any scraps you have.
The basic shape of the thread catchers starts as four double sided strips of fabric.
There is a very good tutorial here which I am guessing is the one that Margaret based her workshop on.
My finished thread catcher.
Sue with her finished thread catcher
Using the same pattern and technique, Denise chose to make a larger version, adding straps, and made hers into an attractive tote bag.
Denise with her Bag.
Some of the ladies chose to continue with their own projects, including Fiona seen here with the striking zigzag quilt she is currently working on.
Fiona and her zigzag quilt.
All in all it was a great day and I am planning to set aside the first Thursday in the month to return to The Sitting Ducks on a regular basis. Many thanks to all of you for making Molly and I feel so welcome.