Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Hard to let go...

When I make something I usually make it because I really WANT to make it and I like the thing I'm making. A few months ago I made a prototype necklace using my felt oak leaves. I really liked it. I planned to make more and have finally got round to it. The second one I made I also REALLY liked, ended up liking it so much I'm wearing it...I like the three others I'm currently making too.

 Today I sold the prototype to a lady who also really liked it. Nearly snatched it back from her...very hard to let it go...I know it is silly as I am designing and making these things so I can sell them, but, heck it was hard to let it go...

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Back to teaching drawing.

 I spend a lot of time on my own in the studio and it is really nice to go out and teach. Today I was back in school, teaching youngsters drawing and painting. We worked from a big bucket full of leaves and plants, using water colours, pens and pencils, sketching and experimenting. I always do demos during classes- which is a bit scary, as they can go horribly wrong, but that is what sketching is about, playing with something and working it out as you go. I was quite pleased with these, so here they are. I've been completely hi-jacked by sewing for weeks now, so it was lovely to be back with the paintbrush in my hand. 

 





At the end of the day we made collages from leaves cut from painted paper- I need to find a way of doing this with fabric!

Saturday, 27 July 2013

What have I been doing apart from hand stitching? Not a lot.

Racing around like a headless chicken this past week or so getting my three quilts finished for the Festival of Quilts in a fortnight. I know now I should have allowed way more time for all the hand sewing, particularly the final quilt, which took days and days and days of very hot stitching with a quilt over my boiling knees.




 So here they are, all wrapped up and ready to go. 



One.



Two.


Three.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Meeting Quilters


 Been a very warm and very busy few weeks. I've been away gadding about in far flung cities. I've given a talk to one Quilt group and taught a class at another. Lovely ladies all, I do enjoy getting out and about and seeing other peoples' work. The class was at a very nice shop in Horsell, near Chobham/Woking in Surrey. It was a real Aladdin's cave- lovely selection of fabrics, great haberdashery, really excellent selection of needles and other equipment, knitting wool and embroidery threads. One to return to. The name? Needle and Thread, 80 High Street Horsell GU21 4SZ and here is a link to their online shop http://needle-and-thread-online.co.uk/ . I believe the owner does do shows, so watch out for her stand. A really nice fabric selection- which is what I love about visiting quilt shops, every owner will make a different selection, might be the same manufacturer, might be the same range, but every shop will pick their favourites. And yes, before you ask, I did break my " I need no fabric" rule, I fell spectacularly off the waggon, I found some fabrics that will fit very nicely with some ideas I have for projects and bring them to the 'enough fabric to make it' stage. That almost sounds reasonable doesn't it?
 I confess that it isn't the first time this month I have broken my "no buy' rule. I was in New York. I visited the City Quilter. They had stuff you can't get readily in the UK, dyed wool fabric for applique. How could I resist? The ladies in the City Quilter were a delight- as USA quilt shops go it is teeny-weeny, more the size of a UK quilting shop, but they do have some things there we can't readily get here, so worth dropping by if you are in NYC. I have an real urge to make a penny rug- but no way am I working with wool fabric until it is cooler.
I have another quilt to finish this week for the NEC show, but just the thought of a quilt over my hot knees is too much for me today...
I also visited 'old' York to see some trains- more of that another day- and came across a lovely wool shop, Ramshambles- nice staff, lovely wool selection, likewise patterns. By chance I stumbled upon  a 'proper' sewing shop- one of those that has seemingly endless rooms winding backwards and each one has more,different, good stuff in...as I left a Husband was standing outside with the family dog, "will she be long?" he asked. I replied that it was "like the tardis". He sighed. I recommend a visit if you are in York, it is very near the Cathedral, so only a slight detour required, The Viking Loom - again, very helpful and knowledgeable staff. I got the quilt fix I didn't have time to fit in in New York in old York- lovely exhibition on at the Quilt Museum, catch it if you can, on until 31 August!
 It is very hot here, so very hot my precious double red rose fried in the sunshine.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Tula Pink jelly roll "Swirl" wall hanging- second finished UFO of the weekend!






All done! Added a bit more embroidery yesterday and now I'm happy that this one is finished too. I wanted to try out a new technique with this hanging- hand turned applique- and to do something slightly different with jelly roll strips.
 One more UFO to go, then I can start a new project- well, might just have to start it before the UFO is completed. It is hard to resist the siren call of a new project, especially one that needs to be finished in two weeks time...



Saturday, 6 July 2013

Wimbledon Finals Weekend




 Should be re-named UFO busting weekend. The sewing has to be simple so when the matches get exciting mistakes are easily rectified. Perfect opportunity to get some nearly finished projects FINISHED. First off the blocks is a Christmas Hanging using left-overs from a Funky Tree Runner class I taught last December, some scraps from other projects and a version of the Autumn Leaves Cushion design. Didn't get this done in time for last Festive Season, now done and dusted on the hottest afternoon of the year so far!

Summer poppies- with bees!










 The garden is humming with Bumble bees this year and after a slow start, with the honey bees looking worryingly small and few, the chimney top bee colony is buzzing with loads of big, shiny, healthy bees. This colony has now been going for at least seven years, just proves that if you leave bees alone to regulate themselves they can thrive, even through three horrible Winters and a couple of grim Summers. I'm thinking of taking a bee keeping course and getting a hive for my front garden-the chimney bees tend to stay at the back of the house where they live, so some more bees at the front would be excellent. I'm thinking I will keep the bees 'naturally'- intervention only when the bees have a problem, only taking surplus honey, keeping bees for the sake of having bees rather than honey production for me, though a bit of surplus might be nice, knowing which flowers they like to visit I suspect the favour might be a tad 'interesting'!