Tuesday, 10 July 2007

New blog created

My new blog is at Feather on a Wire (an appropriate name after having my wings clipped, grin)
Please alter your feeds or lists (or whatever they are called)
I shall leave this list as it is for continuity.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Comments have been removed

I tried to remove comments which pertained to members of my family. Unfortunately one cannot do this without a censorship notice appearing. Just what I don't want. I feel very badly about my own censorship let alone yours. So to remove references to family members, I have had to remove ALL comments.
At the moment, I don't feel like blogging under such constraints. I may or may not continue to blog, if I do I shall set up a new blog where comments shall be permitted but will have to be approved in the very small chance one might contain a reference to my family.
Yours very sadly,

In the words of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, 'So long and thanks for all the fish' (mild grin)

Sunday, 8 July 2007


My DH (unnamed) has declared I should not mention him, his work or my DD in this blog.
I think I have removed everything.
I disagree very strongly. I cannot see harmony returning here for a very long while.
I think I have censored out all references but if you find one, please let me know.
Book burning is the comparison which comes to mind.

Like a bird on a wire...
I have tried in my way to be free

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Indigo quilts

Jane Western asked for more pictures of the indigo quilt in the post about using a hoop under the quilt.
I made two using these 3 Cats fabrics. Sometimes I make quilts that are real no brainers. They're not ugly quilts, just ones which go together fairly quickly, need not a lot of thought and little creative energy. I don't fuss about points, or the quality of the quilting too much.
These two were made for the sofa in the sitting room. Just something to drape over you when having a nap.
Some people when looking at this quilt see stars (that was the intention) but others see a Japanese car logo. If you see the car logo, it's obvious how it went together. Piecing 60º triangles is very easy as if you leave on the corners, everything lines up nicely for piecing.
The 3 Cats fabrics were originally printed in England and went for export to Africa. Eventually the factory closed down and someone rescued the printing blocks (or were they rollers?), happily they are now being produced in South Africa.
When you get these fabric they are as stiff as very stiff card. Washing a few times softens them up and loses the excess dye. They are printed by using a resist and on the back are 3 cat heads. On the newer fabrics you'll find not only the cats, but 3 leopards, 3 fish and other motifs. Maggie Relph
imports these fabrics back to England, they are gorgeous, be aware that they are woven on 36" looms so fat quarters are smaller than those on the 'normal' 42" looms.
This 2nd quilt is made using kaleidoscope blocks, one of my favourite traditional block patterns as I love the secondary impression of circles.
Last year (or the year before My memory is shot (grin)) I went to a woad farm in Norfolk and learnt about woad indigo. We also had Jane Calender teaching us a little shibori. She is a master shibori expert. Jane uses synthetic indigo (apparently all indigos from different plant or coal sources are chemically the same). I bought some pots of the woad indigo but I shall not be using it to dye fabric but to mix into paint for our bedroom. Nothing else has quite the same blue. Perhaps my love of indigo harks back to desperately wanting a pair of Amco jeans when I was a young teenager in Australia. I coveted a pair of these so much. My mother bought me a pair of fake synthetic jeans which were NOT the same thing at all.

Friday, 6 July 2007

Quilt this far


Patsy Thompson left a comment to ' Please hurry up and make this thing and post the pictures because I can't wait to see it!!' . No pressure there then (grin). Anyway because of the premiere I didn't have to cook or anything last night so I could get on with it a bit. This is the markings I started off with. Just a line with the over and unders marked on it. It's quite feint, you'll probably have to click on it to see the lines.

And this is how it is now. I've done the feather and am about half way round echoing round the edge. I might just do echo quilting for the whole background, changing colour or not.
For the first time I used a fusible batting. It's made little spots on the fabric which I assume will wash out. I'm not a fan. I found it very hard not to get creases on the back and this quilt at the moment is only 42" square, heaven help you if you were using the whole batting in one go, it's kingsize. The quilt has softened up more as I quilt it but at the beginning it felt very stiff, almost like cardboard. I thought it would only be suitable for straight lines with a walking foot but as I say it has got better.

Thursday, 5 July 2007

couldn't resist finding my thinking style

I found this on Carol Clasper's blog and couldn't resist. Strangely I ended up having the same result as her.....

Your Dominant Thinking Style: Exploring

You thrive on the unknown and unpredictable. Novelty is your middle name.
You are a challenger. You tend to challenge common assumptions and beliefs.

An expert inventor and problem solver, you approach everything from new angles.
You show people how to question their models of the world.

Perhaps no sewing today

This is CAD 2000 (or was it 2001?). Anyway it was the first really serious quilt I made. It's 90" square and heavily quilted with trapunto in the points. CAD is Children's Aid Direct and I got involved with them after organizing quilts for the Kosovo crisis. Someone told me raffle quilts make far more money if they are bright. As you see I took this advice on board whole heartedly (grin). I had help as there was a deadline, my friend Pauline Sanderson helped with the piecing (foundation) and another friend Lyn Stalybrass prepared the trapunto for me.
Anyway the point of this post was when this quilt was at the National Show to sell tickets, Linda Seward who wrote 'The Complete Book of Patchwork, Quilting and Appliqué', made a point of seeking me out to let me know she thought it was good. I remember going into a silly mess. A great quilter and author was telling me my work was good. I got totally flustered and had verbal diarrhoea. But this encouragement gave me the will to go on and make good quilts.
The photo is not wonderful quality but it's the only one I have unless I find the CD somewhere in the depths of our garage.
BTW it raised over $8,000US (£4,000) and the money went to the children. Children's Aid Direct was taken over by another charity or I would still probably be making quilts for them.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Which machine am I using?

I've been asked what machine and am I using a frame.

Today I'm using a Bernina Aurora 440, but I'm not using the stitch regulator. I find it too slow. Sometimes I use a Bernina 1260. I don't use any type of frame. I normally have the inner ring of a wooden 8" embroidery hoop under the quilt. (My apologies to those on BQL and Cyberquilters who have already seen these photos. ) I never push the quilt towards the needle but manipulate it by pulling gently with a thumb or a finger (or a combination thereof) in the direction I want to go. The quilt in the photo is about 48" wide so I have virtually all of it in the harp of the machine. You can see this would be the same as working in the middle of a 90" square quilt. You can also see I don't roll the quilt, I just 'puddle' it around the area I'm quilting. The hoop is not attached to the quilt in any way just underneath it.

This photo shows how it is just slid under.
On these Patsy Thompson feathers I not using a hoop because to get the organic 'feel' you need to be able to swing round each lobe in one smooth motion.

Patsy Thompson, webrings and design thoughts.

Sinclair's just here as I have no relevant photos for today's post. This was about ten minutes after the new sofa arrived and he took possession as only a cat can (grin)

I'm positively glowing from the lovely things Patsy Thompson has said on her blog. Thank you if you are reading this, it's very lovely to hear such things from a wonderful quilter.

In her post she suggests you cruise webrings. It has been suggested to me I should join one or two of them, but which ones? I don't seem to 'fit' in any of them I've found. All suggestions welcome.

I have a big wholecloth marked out. It has very traditional feathers and is ready to be trapuntoed but those feathers in Patsy's style are just calling out to be played with. (grin) I have given myself permission to play with these on a 40" square quilt before I start the large whole cloth. Now I could just follow the simple Amish style quilt Patsy uses in her DVD but there is this big bit of me which struggles with remaking another quilters work however lovely it might be. I need to create my own. I feel guilty (why?) enough that the major element in this quilt shall be someone else's creation. I have to make it mine. The rainbowing of the fireworks goes a small way along this route but it isn't far enough to quell the inner designer in me.

So my thoughts keep coming back to having the feathers spill out from a central point like a Prince's Feather (Oh dear my comfort zone always takes me back into the traditional). But I feel this is the one quilt where I should go asymmetrical. I'm also playing in my head with the feathers weaving under and over each other. This would mean a lot of starting and stopping as the 'over' bits of the feathers would have to be done before the 'under' ones. Clear as mud?

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

More fun with those feathers

I outlined the feather with the curlicues as I felt whilst I liked the shapes, it didn't have enough impact. Outlining just outside the plume seems to sort this out. It might have looked even better with another colour. The fabric is a mat black not the grey it appears in the photo. The thread is very definitely a pure yellow but in photos and in life it appears green.
This has caused a problem in the next feather.

I thought it would be good to try to gently blend the colours on the fireworks feather. I used green and then yellow moving to orange then shocking pink. I think for this to have worked I would need to find a more orange yellow but you get the idea.
The threads used are Madeira Polyneons in their luminescent range (think dayglo colours) with Bottomline in the bobbin. I used a 90 Microtex needle.
I also think the stumpy bottom of the feather could do with a little more work. Perhaps a 'nib' could be drawn with thread before starting to draw the feather with thread?
Is this quilting or is it embroidery? There's a definite crossover here. I know where all those threads meet on the fireworks feather, the work is very stiff.

Monday, 2 July 2007

A lovely day

My two favourite things about quilting are learning and the design process and yesterday I managed to fit both in.
As usual I did a tension piece first, this didn't look too bad until I saw the back and there were a couple of loops and broken thread on the top.
See what I mean? But I got this sorted and then started to play.
The first lesson was to do organic feathers with no spine and only the central line marked as a guide. I found this contra intuitive as I had to do each lobe of the feather in the opposite direction that I'm used to. My very first one is the one on the left. I'm pleased with this. The 2nd one wasn't quite as good as I started to relax a little and the needle took my down it's 'known' route (a bit like when your car goes on auto pilot (grin).
This 2nd lesson is done the same way but with little curlicues interspersed.

And then WOW! This one is called fireworks and isn't this cool. I love it. This is the very first feather reworked. I took the sample piece to bed with me and didn't sleep just because I was thinking how to use this in a quilt.
The lessons were on a DVD from Patsy Thompson. I don't recommend it until you have got to the point where you are happy moving the fabric round under the needle, but then go for it. I have a link to her site in the column on the right, 'Blogs I read' I haven't felt this fired up for weeks about my quilting. I hope it rains again today (except over those places where it's flooding) just so I don't feel obliged to work in the garden when I want to be stitching....

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Old Baltimore Blocks

On BQL there was a post about the Quilt Police in our heads.
The post referred to an old unfinished project and how she was now not happy with her work at that time. This made me remember one of my early appliqué projects. In my head the work was absolutely dreadful. The post made me out them out and re-look at them. Actually they're not too bad workmanship wise. They are not anything like Margaret Docherty's work you understand (grin) but for an early effort they aren't dire.
The fabric selections are odd. Very different greens, yucky reds which clash with each other and muddy cat foot prints but together they don't look too bad.
Now to decide what to do with them. And then when it's finished what to do with the resultant quilt.....
Perhaps some UFOs should remain just this?