31 March 2007


..and off to downtown Knebworth. The direct trains weren't running today, so rather than take the replacement bus I went to Stevenage and got the bus back to Knebworth, all of 3 miles away.Rather than go straight to Art Van Go, I wandered round and found a charity shop and a bead shop with lovely jade, agate, etc etc beads --
...available singly...
...or in quantity ...Here's some of the booty - haven't unpacked the art materials yet. (All that wool for 50p - Jaeger silk&wool, and some Patricia Roberts cotton - now that's a blast from the past!)
After waiting nearly an hour for the allegedly half-hourly return rail-replacement bus to Stevenage, I was ready to get on any bus -- and got on the one to Finsbury Park, which came first. An hour and three quarters later, I was home at last. The journey up, including the busride from Stevenage, took about half an hour. But it was a lovely day with marvellous clouds, the roadsides bursting into blossom and leaf, and the countryside gently rolling and city gardens looking cheerful -- so the bus ride was actually a treat. You get to see places you wouldn't otherwise. Welwyn has a John Lewis, and Potters Bar has four charity shops within a stones throw (take note, Martha Ann).

28 March 2007


Starting point: a picture in a magazine - it feels like it came from the desert -...and some fabric and threads --
Intensive stitching:
But the scrap of green isn't quite yellowy enoughand maybe a web of orange rayon threads will give the silky look I was aiming for (but had no scraps of silk on hand) -
Judge for yourself --

22 March 2007

Old fabric

These fabrics are usually safely tucked up in a trunk, but Sue came round and we looked through them. On pulling these out, I realised they came from the late 70s. "Time to get rid of them," said Sue. I felt happy with that decision.
Those polkadots (lawn bought in 1988, £1 a yard) are destined for a blouse: "It's a polka-dot moment now, " said Sue, "so you'd better make that blouse right away." We also identified some fabrics for kimono-type dressing gowns for various people.

Sue brought along her almost-finished "bowls" piece - a delightful counterpoint to the piece by Margaret Anderson that's been hanging on my wall for a few years.

16 March 2007

Ah, the moon

It just needs the backing - pearly "light" to shimmer through those 28 full-moons round the edges.The back of the quilting will be hidden - I used different bobbin colours to help keep track of the different colours (well, shades of grey) on the front. But those nuances have been overwhelmed by the dark/light of the fabric collage, and the silvery bits. OK, I'll do it differently next time....
The machine's "needle up" position makes this type of quilting possible. Along with the knee lift, which allows the fabric to be moved easily after each row. When I tried this type of quilting on the other machine, which has only a "needle down", it ended up as "extreme applique" - because that machine (Brother 1500) is really easy to stitch back and forth with, at speed. The spacing of the rows and the angle of the rows are a couple of variables to play around with - as well as thread weight and thread colour. And leaving areas unquilted.


A tasty turkish treat - like a crispy-crust finger-food pizza that you heap up with salad, squirt with lemon, and roll up. Dee-licious! And only £1 (£1.50 to eat in).Thomas has mentioned "lam-o-gen" many a time - he lives near the part of Green Lanes that has the cafes with the best lamacun. When Emma came for a flying visit, I got to tag along.
Does she look like a person who's been up since 5am writing essays?

Country Living Fair

Lots of stalls, lots of people......all looking like they advertise in the magazine --
This sparkly denim looks "quite fun", in a sort of "in passing" way --
...as does this knitted sofa --
I was there to help out on the Quilters' Guild stand for a few hours, after which I had a quick look around but didn't feel like buying much. Highlights were traditional quilts made in Wales (One White Whisker), Pauline Burbidge's work, and a stand selling very jolly deckchair fabric, and giving out samples.

14 March 2007

Extreme applique

This started from an urge to (a) use some of my lovely, colourful thread and (b) run the machine at top speed - a substitute for driving a sports car?At first I did just lines of thread, but it took a while to cover the fabric, so I started adding scraps from the scrapbag - lame, velvet, silk, cotton, anything. And thin strips of sheers from the wastebasket (can't seem to throw anything away!)
Very satisfying to watch this grow and see what was needed next. But - how to make it into a quilt(let)? It's obviously not finished yet. Maybe it's one of those things that was pure pleasure to make, and wasn't really meant to be finished...

12 March 2007

El Anatsui

A Ghanaian sculptor who, with his helpers, makes "cloths" out of discarded liquor bottle tops. The exhibition at the October Gallery (till 28 April) makes the point that this raw material is related to positive things - having a drink with friends - or negative effects - the deleterious effects of alcohol.This ambiguity is the raw material of art!
I love showing people the spectacular huge "cloth" in the African gallery in the basement of the British Museum. And there's a photo of it in my picture files .... somewhere ....

10 March 2007


Here's one of the things that's been keeping me busy while gathering courage to update the blogger account (the way they force you to do). Variegated threads, mostly in blues, for stitching on the latest Moon piece.

I needed to see how they looked on dark and light fabric. The ribbons are going to be helpful later on - on the spool, some of these threads look different from the stitch-out.

The next step was to try out some of the fancy stitches on the machine - they show off the variegation in a different way.

The ribbons help orientate the pieces during the sewing together. They've been moved to the back of the quilt.
A close-up of the happiest accident - using an Indian rayon (6 spools for £5) with a long colour-change.
I like the randomness and lack of control - the capacity for happy accidents. But am still not sure how to use variegated threads to best effect. It seems it would be all too easy to over-egg the pudding.

"The moon belongs to everyone"

It's coming along - Still needs more "drifts" of quilting, in shades of pale grey -Looking for a background, and learning about the importance of contrast in tone -


The plaid silk and the printed Japanese fabric were the challenge fabrics, and I thought these from my stash might be useful with them -
I came across a picture of an 11th century crown in a book on Hungarian museums -Why did I think the design needed to be cut out of the bondaweb first? It doesn't! Ah but doing it that way did mean bits of other fabrics could be slipped under the top layer. The edges were satin stitched with variegated thread. Cut out bits were added on top of the strip on the right -
Next time I'll do a more careful drawing. The leftovers could start off a new piece --


These appeared mid-January -Then in February we had the delight of snow -
While most of us struggled in to work, some people got to do fun things -
That's part-time colleague Barbara on Dougal, a 15.1 hand Connemara cross gelding.