Monday, 28 March 2011


I'm eggstatic.
One goose, four ducks, four bantams, and eight chicken eggs
Beautifully arranged in eggsquisite fashion

What a splendid present...

Monday, 14 March 2011

Week of Trees, Conclusions, Lessons Learned, and Summation

Well, I have learned a lot this week.  I have learned that just having One Thing To Do is infinitely precious and productive and a lot of fun.  I have learned that Blogger has improved beyond all bounds since I last did much here (the New Editor works!)  I have learned (although I already knew it perfectly well) that not everything that gets started gets finished right away.  But that's a Quilter Thing..
So, today's work was mostly not very photogenic.  I quilted a few blocks on my Forest Of dreams piece - it seems to have settled to Leaves In All Directions.  Matching threads is quite time-consuming - I want minimal input from the thread colour to make the most of the texture.  As I do each block I am making two postcards, so I now have a nice little pile of these

and I sorted and cut and pinned together the bits for all the rest, so that was half an afternoon's worth of messing about which will make life easier for later.  Last of all I made this pocket to put on this nice little hessian bag (I have 10 of these to decorate, in different colours)

Tomorrow I have to clean up, make space for my Teapot Quilt group, and maybe not make any trees at all.

In summary - I will do this again, it's been a really good exercise in concentrating the mind, in focusing the Creative Urge, and in getting things done...

Many thanks to those who have commented on and off the blog.  See you again soon....

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Week Of Trees Day 7

Hello again..

Still limping, but better than yesterday (been practicing)

 Still working on the Green Tiger thing (now almost certainly going to be called Burning Bright)
I have made the sun, sewn on several trees, then hung it up again to audition more. The very dark ones will be thinner and will be OK, and I think the translucent ones will work OK too.  Must resist the urge to add too many new fabrics.. So far I'm quite pleased with this one

I've started quilting the 25 Trees thing (now called Forest of Dreams) - here's a detail.

A friend, looking at this piece online today, said "oh, the small  tree pieces" - each of the blocks on this are 12 to 14 inches high.  I have started to use the leftovers constructively, though -
This is the basket they have been living in - I added 50 postcard stiffeners and backs, and have been making 2 cards from each of the leftover background pieces like so
First pair are finished, second pair not quite.  I plan to show them together and sell all the cards separately

Incidentally, one of the things I have been doing this week as well as all the Tree stuff, is updating my Postcards pages on my website - I realised that there was absolutely nothing left that was for sale (all sold or posted) so I moved all the old ones back a page and made a new page with all the rest.  I shall add this one (made last night after the blog entry) in a few minutes..
It's called Square Tree.  Painted needlepoint canvas, quilt offcut, odd block, screen-printed offcut, hand-made cord, stitch... £9.50...
Then I quilted this one at least the middle - need to stand away from it to decide what to do with the edges

And then John came to collect me, and as I walked out of the door I saw this wonderful grey rainy light and my Local (Oak) Trees against the sky
 And so to Home, Curry With Prawns, and an early night, perhaps...

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Week Of Trees Day 6 and a slight setback

...being a painfully damaged muscle in my left calf, caused by getting off a chair too precipitately.. Sometimes I forget that I am no longer 24 and superfit. Must work on that.

Anyhow, I got the sun onto my Green Tiger piece and started adding trees (see image) (I think this may be called "Burning Bright"). Digressing a little, I find I have no problem naming work - it sometimes happens that I have a name and make the piece, more often I reach a point somewhere in the process of making where I am Suddenly Certain of the name. Only once or twice have I named things and then changed my mind (one piece from my last exhibition was hung as "See where it gets you" but has become Lime-kiln Country). I'll try to post an image tomorrow....

Anyway, I went shopping and for a coffee this morning at Baileys in Beccles - quite the best coffee in town, good service and a certain Spanish Something, did a little mooch and came in to work full of inspiration, only to have a totally interrupted day - customers (real ones!) and the phone, and visitors (not unwelcome) and what with one thing and another, I was just thinking nothing good would come of the day when I sold this piece (finished at 10:30 last night) (which hasn't been named and now probably won't be) to a nice passing Londoner.. So my tentative design of having all this week's work on the wall together has come to nothing, but hey, the money is much better...

Now I'm going to nurse my leg and skulk a bit in my boudoir (from the French "sulking room") which is where I compute, make indoor mess, and occasionally take in trousers for the man in my life (because I NEVER do alterations where anyone else can see)...

Sleep well, more tomorrow...

Friday, 11 March 2011

Week of Trees, Day 5

Well, more progress.. many thanks to all of you for your kind and thoughtful comments on this exercise, by the way, I am touched by how many people have said that this has inspired and encouraged them in their work. I am full-time, professional, expect to be productive (or don't eat), but it can be hard some days to get out of the hoover-first-and-create-later handbag..
Anyway, today's efforts - I finished quilting the Orange piece (still without a name) and blocked it for binding and finishing tomorrow.

I pressed the Green Tiger background again and started to put trees on it.

Hmm, not quite, colours too nice together... (There will be a lot more trees on this, including some dark spotty batik ones), so I tried with a Sun. First attempt was too bright. This is dyed cotton organdie, so it will be a bit translucent when added, I may leave the blocks behind it or cut away for clearer colour.

Then I tried a duller orange, which I think is just about right. I didn't make circles - I think that size and placement is much more important when auditioning fabrics. I have several titles gently swirling towards this one..

I attacked the 25 trees which have been sitting in the box since last May. I rearranged them yesterday (see previous post) and today decided to sew them together in approximate fashion, that is, working with the size and shape they wanted to be. Hooray, it works!

My first instinct on this was to try to sew them together as raggedly as they hung on the design wall, as it was delightful. Technical considerations aside, I think the end product would have been unsaleable, so not this time

Now big enough to need photographing on the floor, and I will layer and start to quilt tomorrow, just need to decide how...

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Day 4 continued

Today has felt like swimming upstairs through treacle all day. I think my shoulders are about to pack up (too much quilting) and my back is complaining (too much everything)

However, things did consolidate somewhat. The Hedge piece and Red piece from the first post are now blocked, bound, and nearly done. The Red piece has a title (Hollow Ground). The cushion is finished and filled (sorry about the poor image). I made about 30 more cards last night so I have a basketful to put out for sale (not all trees, I confess, some boats crept in)

And I made this rather delicious piece of Faux Chenille to play with tomorrow, and got the Green Tiger blocks above sewn together to make a new background (quite a big one, it's 3ft 6ins by 4ft 6ins - I think this will have a lot of very skinny dark green batik trees and possibly a Sun.. It's interesting that this was my first idea for these blocks, and I have made several large and lots of small quilts with them, none of these the least bit like this one...

Probably the most important job was a decision on the 25 tree blocks that have been harrassing me. More on that tomorrow... I did rearrange them though...

Week of Trees, Day 4 and a Digression

Recipe as promised

Nasty Fish Pie

In the bottom of your two-tier* steamer pan, put one thinly sliced new potato and a reasonable quantity of chopped cauliflower
In the top, put your Accompanying Vegetable (we had carrots)
In another pan, put water, and one or two onions chopped roughly, and a piece of haddock (oak-smoked or plain, not that yellow stuff)

Boil the fish and onions till done (about 5 mins max)
Steam the cauliflower etc till soft

You can use a parsley sauce in this (Sainsbury's instant suits both of us) or just a bit of butter

Drain the fish and put back in the pan. Break it up a bit, add sauce or butter, chuck the cauli on top and lots of grated cheese. Grill till crispy, serve with the other veg

Thoroughly nasty apart from the effects on the body
Pretty low-carb
Gluten free for himself
Spike-free for me
Cats love the plates....

Image is today's Tree Thing - Mike at Oakshott Fabrics sent me three packs of Sunrise - 25 eighths of cotton fabrics in yummy rainbow colours, with a note saying "Make something" So far this has been languishing a bit, but today I'm going to tackle it seriously, starting by rearranging the blocks..

See you later

*Don't have a two-tier steamer? Well you should (or you can boil stuff)

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Day Three

Well, today we wandered.. Went out to lunch and laughed about stuff. Went to see this wonderful gazebo, made from recycled Victorian iron posts and huge oak lumps, about 9 feet high, which I may make a lid for. Also at the site, this astonishing Owl sculpture by Rachael Long, which moves when the gate is opened and closed..And we drank coffee at Wroxham Barns and said hello to the people who have just taken over the quilt shop there (Sew Creative) and are expanding madly into shiny new premises on the other side of the same site.

And then we came home and ate a Nasty Fish Pie (recipe later) and I made some more cards. As this is a Tree Week they mostly have trees on...

I've given up for tonight on trying to arrange these images.. see if you can work out which is which for yourselves..

And there was this wonderful sunset thing and my local trees in front of it. Looked at lots of trees today...

More tomorrow

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Week Of Trees - Day Two

Well, so far this has been fun and very productive. I had a nicely peaceful and very sunny day and got lots of quilting done. Yesterday's Pieced tree was made into a cushion (in progress on the machine here and finished above)

I find the preview window in Blogger almost unusable. Any hints about manipulating and arranging images would be gratefully received..

Images here of the quilting in progress on the Hedge piece shown yesterday. I tend to look at the back of the work to see where I have missed bits and to find out if the density is as I like it. (Frequent student question - "have I quilted this enough?" My invariable answer "No")

You will see that I have filled in the black border with an almost invisible quilting pattern (spirals) as I didn't want to detract from the colour. The rest is mostly long straightish lines (done free-motion to keep them loose and a bit wonky) around the Cow Parsley. None of the quilting follows the Hedge print. Quilt is now blocked on the table, as is the Red one from yesterday and my cushion. Very satisfactory.. I also made quite a lot of green tiger blocks for my background idea, photographed a lot of old sewing machine bits for my OSM site (see link) and drank lots of coffee. Tomorrow is a rest day, but I shall think, photograph, and lunch-in-the-pub...

This piece was my favourite from the first lot of hedge prints - the sunset was sort-of-accidental as I was demonstrating something else. I layered this ready to quilt - it will certainly lose a lot of the white edge..

Found 2 pieces of heavy Faux chenille in the box. Just looking...

Finally, the piece from yesterday blocked, trimmed, and ready to bind. It will be finished tomorrow...

Monday, 7 March 2011

A Week Of Trees

Monday 7th March 2011. Hello world.
This week I am mostly (only) making Trees and Tree-related stuff
Today was very productive. First image is a piece that has been on the wall for a week or two awaiting the impetus to finish the quilting - now blocked out and on the table - should be bound tomorrow and finished in the evening..
Those are my toes (for scale)
Next image is a Pieced Tree that I made a couple of weeks ago, that has also been on the wall. No progress on this one today except to look at it...

This one has been in the box for ages. It's layered but I haven't started the quilting. decided this was not quite right but saleable, so I will finish it too...

Pink piece is on heavy hand-dyed cotton drill - a Screen-print from a recent batch which I was very pleased with.. This will be a bag, I think, quick and easy
Next one is a start on a new piece. Not quite sure about this yet. The little tree goes with it quite well

Then I made some Tiger blocks for a background for another piece for later in the week

Started this one and got it to the half-quilted stage - I am using imagery on top of the print which is unconnected - a theme I think needs much more work

Finally, did a bit of work on this red piece which has also been sitting around for a while. I like it, but for some reason it's seemed hard to stitch...

Found this last one in the box too. It needs additions, and is all fused on a screen-printed ground from almost 25 years ago. Work In Slow Progress... I am planning to teach Fusing this year so this will make a reasonable sample

More tomorrow