July always catches my breath. The end of the school term means another year has passed, and my children are getting older faster than I can cope with. It has not been one of those 'carrying sunglasses just in case the emotions get too much' situations this year, one is moving onto another year at secondary school and the other into the second year at college, but still, it startles me a bit.
I had a couple of days off month which was very good for the soul. A bit of thinking and planning - the creative head does need time to wander. I have a regular piece of work that means the unsettling freelance life of feast of famine is less of a worry, and means I can have faith that work (that I want to do) will come in - as it has done. I also only had a couple of classes last month, and none in August so the summer means a little bit of downtime to work on plans, designs and finishing things off - plus some lovely walks. This photo was taken on a Saturday morning about 9am on a walk from Jack and Jill windmills to Ditching Beacon. Hot, hot, hot though, and look at that poor dewpond.
Talking of the heat, it had been getting to me (and everyone else) somewhat and prevented me from hand quilting my tile quilt. I find my thimble finger gets too hot, and sitting under a 60in square of layered quilt is not really enjoyable, so it has been sidelined for a bit. To solve the finger problem I am after a silver thimble, with a dent in the top to rock the needle, so if you see one in my finger size let me know! In seriousness, I think I will have a look at the Ardingly antique fair as I can try them for size.
Without my hand quilting, my replacement hand sewing project has been a beginner-friendly version of the tile quilt for my course starting at Hove Library in September. Instead of English paper-piecing the whole thing (including sashing), in this version the blocks are hand pieced, sewn onto a background fabric, then assembled on the sewing machine. The main fabric I have used is from Rifle Paper Co's Alice in Wonderland collection which is just fab. I bought it at FoQ last year with no plans, just because, and it is ideal for this. I matched a couple of peppered cotton fabrics with it to give a contrast and have started work. I like the way it is quite dark, I have a rather lazy habit of matching cream, white and light grey to the printed fabric in quilts so it feels satisfying to go dark - I keep muttering to myself 'curiouser and curiouser' as I sew this.
Here's a student make. J made this lovely tablecloth - we have been exploring free-piecing methods which has been a joy as she always has such an eye for fabric combinations and the confidence to push the boundaries a little.
I also ran a Sunday workshop on landscape applique. The technique uses a photo or drawing as the basis of the design. Some lovely work was produced, including the samples below.
I have been working on a few samples of my own to place in boxes. For the text, I went to the library and looked at some 1920s and 30s travel books. I will write a little more about it in another post as I have so much to share, but the pieces have been designed from photographs I took.
At the end of the month it would have been Emily Bronte's 200th birthday, so I shared this tin. It is a work-in-progress but felt good to share to mark the date. I am not a fan of Heathcliff, but the book is a mesmerising read.