August 2018

I love the summer holidays, but juggling work and family means very little making happens. That is not a complaint, as my children get older I cherish every summer we spend together, but it is more an explanation of why I don’t seem to have racked up many sewing hours.

Days out mean lots of inspiration though. We went to London and visited the British Library and the House of Illustration, both of which we fantastic. We also had a lovely trip to Chichester as I really wanted to visit the Virginia Woolf exhibition at Pallant House (no photography...). I often pop into the Cathedral in Chichester. It has such a calming feel to it, and lots to look at. This time I was struck my how many pieces of textile work were to be see. Some lovely examples of modern, and mid-twentieth century embroidery, as you can see below.

Talking of more inspiration… early on in the month I went to an auction and bought a big box of Brighton paperwork. I am not sure what to do with it yet, but it is mine! I am thinking of getting some printed onto fabric. Maybe to make an abstract quilt, inspired by maps and road layouts. I keep looking at the scanner and wondering where to start, so that is something for a wintery Sunday afternoon.

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I had a couple of trips to Lewes. As a tile fan I could’t resist taking some photos on the High Street. I researched one of them for my Instagram tile account. Patchwork inspiration everywhere, does not help when you are trying to be focussed on finishing what you hav started before starting yet another tile quilt before the first two are finished.

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Back in July I stitched a square for a community quilt made by Eliph, a young artist who is part of a group running events around the Gilbert & George exhibition at Brighton Museum. Eliph ran workshops at the musuem and in community settings where participants could stitch a square inspired by G&G imagery. She chose the colours to fit in with their work and it looked stunning when it was unveiled in the gallery on the musuem’s free day. Another member of the group, Colin, is a perfomance artist and sat in the gallery reading under the quilt. It brought up lots of thoughts, and I am now starting to wish I was brave enough to suggest something similar in the future somewhere like FoQ. So so interesting seeing a quilt used, rather than on display on a wall or bed. It also amuses me that visitors (me included) wonder whether you can chat and say hello to the artist, or need to stand back and observe the art while chin stroking. This is a reaction to textiles (tactile, that’s why always so many signs saying do not touch), and people (we want to communicate). The video is here, https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JRe4nhTHbI0 a word of warning though, on the off-chance you are easily offended by imagery and swear words then maybe don’t click.

I also made a big dent in the second version of my tile quilt. The first is completely English paper-pieced, so the blocks end up square. With this version they all need to be irregular as they are sewn onto a backing fabric. No point sewing a square block onto a square. Some have been easy to work out, and some have taken little bit more thought. I have kept them in a box under the sofa so they could come out as and when I had some time to stitch. Kept the fingers nimble during a quiet stitching month. Once stitched I often place them under the rug in our living room to flatten them and amusingly my daughter had some friends round who sat on the floor and wondered what was under the rug and were a bit confused by these stitched ‘things’.

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At the end of the month I was a guest judge at the Ouse Valley Quilters’ Show. A tad nervous to say the least. The challenge was tricky to choose a first, second and third but I was working with another judge and after discussion we chose our winners. However, the open competition was really hard. The topic was ‘quilt you would most like to take home’. Oh my, I love all quilts so it was hard. In the end of chose a Dresden design made from lots of Liberty fabric and a stunning turquoise background. If I were to be able to take a quilt home for my sofa that would have been it. Incredible quilts there, a variety of themes and types and some stunning workmanship. They hold it very two years and raise lots of money for charity so lookout for the next one.