Happy Weekend Making

A while ago, I used to get up early on a weekend morning, and head into my craft room to create. For a while I seem to have forgotten this, instead having lie ins, or spending too long browsing the dreaded internet,

I got up early yesterday, resolving to print in my sketchbook for the Sketchbook Project, which needs to be on the way back to the States by the end of March, and I hadn’t yet started.

None of the themes particularly interested me, but I liked my friend Anne’s idea of No Worries being easy to interpret. I had no time to think up, draw and cut new stencils and stamps, so I returned to my coffee pots. I got out lots of lovely background stencils and Rollagraphs, including ones which I did not own when I last used the coffee pots, for variety.

I’m really enjoying working with purple, blue, and green at the moment, so I got those setacolours out, and set to.

I love it when my desk is all piled up and ready to go, so much potential. I am using the sketchbook project book (the small one with the kraft cover) and a lovely long Seawhites zig zag book which has a slipcover. I saw Hilary using one when we were at Festival last August, and it looked such fun.

I love printing with stencils and stamps; I have so much fun composing on the pages that I think I could keep on printing forever.

After a while I ended up with these gorgeous prints:

And happy, painty hands:

Having enjoyed yesterday morning so much, I got up this morning and set about dyeing my pages.

I love how a black wash makes the rich purple and greens really shine:

And watching the dye run down the slanting zig zag book pages, past the paint is wonderful:

The dye is drying, then I get to sit and spend glorious evenings colouring them in:

2017 Journal Quilts

During 2017, I joined the Quilters’ Guild’s Contemporary Quilt Group Journal Quilt Challenge. This meant that I had to make a total of 12 11” square art Quilts over the course of the year, to a set theme.

My in laws live in Spain, and we have had many happy holidays visiting them, so I chose Spain as the theme for my Quilts.

For all of the quilts, I researched the images I wanted to use, cut stencils, and then combined them with commercial stencils to print my own fabrics.

I then collage the fabrics together into pleasing compositions. Composition is a part of making art quilts that I really enjoy, but I am less good at working at small scales, and working on square pieces, so this was a good challenge.

I tend to compose quilts by dividing my printed pieces of fabric into backgrounds, focal points, and pieces that could be either. I then grab a focal point and start building up backgrounds and other interesting elements to go around it. I try to balance light and dark tones, and make sure that the eye travels round the piece in an interesting fashion.

I add machine stitching in shapes inspired by the theme, then outline the focal points with white backstitching.

I dye the backings and bindings in the same colours as the main printing, and this year I have enjoyed experimenting with various tie dye techniques to get interesting patterns.

The first four journal quilts were inspired by an area of Spain called the Mar Menor, the little sea, where we often go for walks. I used the colours of the sea, sand, sky, and the wood of the boats and windmills in my printing and dye colours. The background stitching is inspired by fishing nets.



Old boat


The second set of quilts was inspired by my in laws’ house. They live inland, surrounded by mountains, with broccoli fields out the back of their house and orange and lemon trees out the front. The local farmers regularly drop bags of fruit off on their doorstep, so breakfast is often accompanied by freshly squeezed juice, served in a lovely square jug. When I made these quilts, I had just been on a Language Of Flowers retreat with the excellent Hilary Beattie, and so I used the thread-sketching technique I learned to draw orange and lemon branches for two of the quilts.

Orange branch

Lemon branch


Oranges and lemons

The third set of journal quilts was inspired by my honeymoon in Barcelona in 2014, where we enjoyed sightseeing and eating lots of tasty food. We went for a trip on the cable car from the beach area up to Montjuïc, where we enjoyed a trip to Fundació Joan Miró, as well as the views over the city. The “BCN ❤️” graffiti was frequently seen on city walls as it was in the run-up to the 2014 independence vote. We saw the Sagrada Família and Casa Batlló, as well as Casa Milà, all wonderful, inspirational examples of Gaudí architecture.

Casa Milà

Sagrada Família

Casa Batlló

Cable car

I’m really proud that I finished the whole set of 12 quilts. It was a great exercise for working in a theme and to a strict deadline. I can’t take part next year as I have a few too many personal commitments, but I am hoping to join in again in 2019.