Free machining and blocking

I’ve been working on the background of the coffee quilt, getting it all quilted before I put the focal points on.

Fitting in a bit of stitching in the mornings, and a good few hours on Wednesday and today, I’ve now got all the background quilting done:

I had a few problems with my machine, despite cleaning it regularly, there were still some lint buildups, and it started making a birds’ nest in the bobbin case, so I left it for a day and then re-cleaned it, and luckily it worked fine again:

The all over quilting is a checkerboard pattern of alternating squares of coffee beans and wiggly basket weave grids:

It is easier to see on this photo of the back of the quilt:

Some of the stitching is quite dense, so the piece needs blocking. You can see how distorted the middle section is here:

Here it is, all pinned out on my blocking board:

I’m looking forward to getting it off and stitching the focal points next.

A little sketching – Bath Abbey Grounds

My husband and I spent a lovely weekend in Bath, sightseeing and relaxing. We spent 4 hours in the Roman Baths museum, a wonderful place. I took lots of photos, and I will share some of them with you once I have them loaded onto the PC.

We spent a lovely few minutes sat in the Abbey grounds enjoying  freshly made lemonades, and I sketched this flower bed and tree:

Tidying and unpacking

Over the past few days, my husband and I have been tidying up my room, which had condensed down to a rather small space, piled high with boxes brought back from workshops, and compounded by some boxes not being unpacked from when we moved in a year ago.No before photo, because I forgot to take one, but this is after:

Shelves immediately facing the door now contain smaller boxes, including hand embroidery threads, and my soda soaked fabrics.

 This is my main fabric storage shelves, which still need a bit of a tidy to rationalise them down to a manageable level, but they are useable now.

The bookcase got a tidy, sorting it out to just the books I am referring to regularly at the moment. The box in front of it is all my sets of materials. I need to get some large popper folders, and then sort them out much more neatly, but at least they are in one pace and not in heaps getting damaged. The magazine files contain inspiration for current projects, so I have somewhere to put ephemera, photos and related items.

The desk got a tidy. It still needs more work, especially if it is to be useful as a desk, rather than a storage place for the big printer, but it is in a better state. I got a plastic drawer unit for all the speciality papers, which makes them much easier to find.

My big, beautiful desk. Not much change here, just that the roll storage area on the right is more full (another area to sort soon). My small table is butted up against the desk as I am free machining a large wall quilt at the moment, so it means the desk can take the weight of the quilt.

My main shelves. Another area which is working well, I just need to sort the paints out and get space on the shelf for the trays of pots of dye. The bottom shelves under here now contain free machining kit, and the massive and very full box of white cotton, so I have no excuse for not printing on fabric!

The second set of shelves. These still need a sort out, but I can now get to all my scraps boxes (the coloured cubes).

And back over to the door. Behind it there is a useful area for storing canvases, large pieces of foam board for mounting, the iron, and the blue step.

So there you go, a tour of my room. It feels massive and very useable now. Something to remember when I have (inevitably) messed it up in a few months time.

I also sorted my machine threads into better zip lock bags which actually close. Can you tell which I like more, purple or yellow?!

And as part of tidying up, I found both the barrier cream and roller heads I thought I had lost, so I bought more. Oh well, at least they keep, and now I have plenty!

Competition winner!

Back in March, I made these three little 8″ X 10″ art quits, called Hot Fruit, always intending to enter them for my Embroiderers’ Guild branch competition. They were finished apart from backing and binding, when I realised the competition was only 3 days away!

I spent the day finishing them, and I am glad I did, because I won! I received this little cup, which I get to keep until December.

Here are a couple of photos of the finishing:

Before trimming them down to size.

After trimming; it is surprising what a difference just this makes to the appearance.

I also finished this pear piece at the same time:

Sanctuary at The Bramble Patch – Roundup

I’m home and have spent a couple of days just thinking about my time at the Bramble Patch with Hilary, processing all the things I learned. Here’s a summary of what I got up to.

The theme I had picked for my sanctuary is Bumble Hole nature reserve, in Netherton. My husband and I like to go walking there when things get a bit too much, and it will be nice to have a little bit of the area at home with me.

I cut stencils and stamps to fit my theme:

Made heaps and heaps of printed papers and fabrics:

And assembled lots of fabulous collages:

Hilary was excellent, as usual, sharing her knowledge about a wide range of topics.

It was a wonderful, and very busy three days, in the company of these lovely ladies:

I learned loads, including:

  • How not to be scared of photos in collage
  • Lots of useful tips about composition
  • How nice it can be to use a different colour palette
  • More about the effectiveness and ease of Lino cutting

I feel like I produced a really cohesive, focused set of work, and I’m very pleased. It was an excellent three days, looking forward to the next one.

Sanctuary at the Bramble Patch – update 4

Just a brief update this one. On Wednesday night, the wine made another appearance:

I made up my mind about how I wanted to make books, and so I spent the evening cutting and tearing 7 inch pages, turning this pile of paper:

Into this pile of organised signatures:

The original plan was to sew them together into signatures and then collage onto them, but I think they will be easier to work loose, and also they need some deli paper layers, I seem to have forgotten that yesterday.

Today is the last day of the retreat. I’ll miss it, but looking forward to a good final day.

Sanctuary at The Bramble Patch – Update 2

I made these 5 stamps, all double sided with both positive and negative images:

I spent my afternoon printing focal points on a wide range of fabrics and papers, with a lovely old gold colour paint, and then adding dye.

We then spent a nice evening in the pub, colouring in sketchbooks:

A tidy table to begin with…

Got less tidy, as we finished the wine:

Hilary, hard at work:

I took up a whole 3 seater sofa!

Even less tidy!

I mostly worked on an altered board book I had started earlier in the day:

All in all a great day! Now, sleep, because tomorrow I need to make backgrounds.

Sanctuary at The Bramble Patch – Update 1

I’ve arrived safely at the Bramble Patch, and having a great time.

This is my home for the next couple of days:

Hilary has brought the shop, it’s a bit too big for the tables, so some of it is underneath:

She’s brought her rabbit ears too!

The Bramble Patch has a cafe, which does excellent, exceedingly large slices of cake:

I’ve made three stencils so far, a grass stem, a section from the bridge, and Cobb’s Engine House.