Popular Patchwork October 2017

Now autumn is here I am loving this landscape, but when I was working on it, in the midst of summer, I questioned the wisdom of standing over a hot iron fusing pieces of wool suiting. However, it was for a magazine and they work several months ahead, so, at my desk sultry autumn landed in sunny July.

This design is based on photos taken on a walk in Pyecombe earlier this year. At A1 size it is the largest one I have worked on so far, but wasn’t much more difficult - in some ways sizing it up made it easier as there were less tiny pieces to mislay. I am feeling like I am suffocating under wadding scraps so it was good to make something that made a little dent in the pile. The fabrics are a mix, and I didn’t buy anything new for it. Some of the things I used include old suiting and shirting, lovely Irish 100% wool that I bought at Festival of Quilts in 2016 and some Liberty from a swatch pack dated 1986. Somehow it all fits together well, and I like the calm feel it exudes. I left out the windmill on the hill as I wanted it to stay fairly abstract. The quilting is simple, echoing each piece of fabric and and extra line or two in the middle of the larger sections.

Styled beautifully 

Styled beautifully 

A close- up. This was taken as I made it, so excuse the stray threads.

A close- up. This was taken as I made it, so excuse the stray threads.

I was thrilled that Emma asked if I could write a little more about my landscape work and she took some lovely photos of me at work. It felt good to share a peek behind the scenes at the creative process that leads to these landscape pieces.

Designing/doodling

Designing/doodling

The magazine on display with my work at Hailsham Arts Festival.

The magazine on display with my work at Hailsham Arts Festival.

Festival of Quilts 2017

Can't believe it was nearly a month ago, but I have now finally downloaded the pics from Festival of Quilts. I ummed and ahhed about going this year, having attended been every year since 2007 and working the last two, I thought that maybe it was time to have a break. However, with a definite FOMO I booked a hotel the week before and nabbed a couple of free entry tickets off my friend Sara. I mentioned I was going to one of our other friends, Wendy, and she was up for a road trip. She knows the Knitting and Stitching shows well, having taught classes and sold dressmaking patterns from her own stand. However, being someone who stitches that stuff you wear, rather than wall hangings and bed coverings, it was her first FoQ.

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Adventures in Machine Embroidery - Part 2

After the success of the landscape embroideries I delved into my sketchbook to see what other work could be scanned and stitched. I came across the drawings that provided the templates for my house applique work which were perfect. Slightly scrappy, but once smoothed out they could be scanned in. We chose to stitch the living room seemed the most interesting, with lots of lines. We repeated the same process as for the landscapes, scanning the image, editing the line (we made this one smaller) and hooping the fabric. We decided to try two versions.

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Adventures in Machine Embroidery - Part 1

Computerised embroidery machines have intrigued me for a while. The only things I ever see them do are cute pre-programmed motifs on baby blankets or monogramming flannels, but every now and then I see something on Instagram or Pinterest that makes me stop and reconsider how the machines could be combined with drawing and collage to create something a bit different. Despite thinking about how they could be used with my artwork it is not something I have ever tried as I don't have space for one, and the cost is prohibitive for something to just 'have a play' with. However, couple of friends have recently acquired a machine so I nabbed myself an invite to try it out. Nicole and Melinda run Brighton Sewing Centre, a shop in the North Laine that sells sewing supplies, machines and run classes (as the tutor, I can recommend the quilt ones!). They have lots of different machines, but the Brother PR1050X is their newest addition. 

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Hello Jane

A lot of my teenage years were spent with my nose in a book. There wasn't a lot to do in the Hove suburbs, so without the distraction of a mobile phone, reading, playing hockey or drinking cider in the park were pretty much the extent of a social life. And it was reading that took me into another world. These journeys were varied, while at home I loved Sylvia Plath and Dorothy Parker, I worked Saturdays in a bookshop and used to read the latest bestsellers between serving customers at the till. SAS heroes, or cheesy romantic novels, everything was fair game to take me away from grey Boundary Road in Hove to a more exciting world.

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Houses and rooms

At the end of last year I made a big decision to change my work situation to give me more time to stitch, and to develop my work in a new direction. I was not reckless enough to devote myself to my stitch work full time, but adjusted my work into what I enjoy and pays the bills, but also allows me some regular time and thinking space to be creative. So what to do. Finish all the quilts I am currently making, or start something new? Of course the answer was to work on a new project (while diligently ploughing away at the wip pile). I have always loved applique, and like the way it offers possibilities of being illustrative with fabric and thread, so the question was what theme would I explore. 

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