As good as new

Well hey!  I finished quilting all 161 squares and 60 triangles this weekend.  I’m not really sure why there are an odd number of squares, but I did count them at least twice.  During the quilting I’d noticed that some of the peach fabric squares in one of the nine patches were very threadbare and holey.  I put a pin through it to remind me where they were.  We slept underneath the quilt that night, fortunately not getting pricked.

I replaced them with some teeny ones using a buttonhole stitch around each one.  I love the cute little animals on these 1930’s reproduction fabrics!

Then I washed it, ironed the prairie points flat and have put it back on our bed.  The quilt on the wall is our wedding quilt Cleaved.

This has been such a fun and satisfying project that I am thinking about making another quilt.  🙂


Time for a few small repairs

One of the first quilts I made is a double bed quilt.  I started it in 1998 when 1930s reproduction fabrics were all the rage.  I chose a pattern called Nine Patch which was popular in the Thirties.  I pieced the quilt top in California, quilted it in Scotland in about 2000 and finished it with a prairie point border in 2002 with more fabric I bought on a trip to North Carolina in that year.

A few months ago we noticed that the fabric at the top is beginning to fray and shred after 15 years of use.

I got my ‘precision’ hat on, measured up and made a cutting list.

It has been a very long time since I’ve done any quilting, like four or five years of a long time.  I’ve really been enjoying myself!  I’ve taken over the dining tables in our salon and have been ‘coming and going’ to the work over the past few weeks.

When I culled my stash a few years ago, I’d got rid of most of my print fabrics.  D’oh!  So I had to order a pack of 50 different 5″ squares from the States, which pretty much matched my original fabrics.  I turned most of them from back to front, so they would tone in better with my gently faded quilt top.

When I made the quilt, I ‘stitched in the ditch’ around all of the seams, but didn’t quilt inside of the white squares and triangles.  Now that my repairs are made, I’m thinking of quilting those.

My quilt is called ‘Nellie’s Nine Patch’ named for my mom Nell who was a girl in the 1930’s.  On the back of the quilt is her school picture, probably from the 5th grade when she was about 10 years old.  I printed the photo onto fabric back in the very early days of printing onto fabric.  I used Bubble Jet Set to prepare the fabric, then ironed it onto freezer paper to stabilize it.  In 2001, I didn’t have a computer at home, so I used the one at the little library in Haddington, Scotland and the nice ladies who worked there very kindly let me use their printer for this first experiment.   You can see how much the photo has faded over the years.

Just below her photograph is a very faded poem that she and I found on a sundial in 1976, when we were on a trip Back East together just four years before she died from cancer.

Time flies, suns rise
Flowers bloom and die.
Let time go by and shadows fall
Love is forever, over all.

I’m planning to print her photo onto sheer fabric and stitch it over the faded one.  I’ll also revive the poem.

There is something very poignant about the fading of the photograph and the words.  It brings to my mind the fading of memories and that remembering keeps people, things, and places alive.  One root of ‘memory’ is the Serbo-Croatian word mariti “to care for”.  Perhaps to remember a person is to care for them.

Fortune Butter

Some people get their fortune from Chinese cookies.  We buy Lurpak Danish Spreadable Butter in 500g tubs, so once very 3-4 weeks I get my fortune when I lift the lid on a new pack.

This fits my life right now.  I feel as enthusiastic as a sausage about all of the great things that are happening.  I’m starting to run my first Creativity Coaching group and 1:1 sessions and have planned a Deep Art Making workshop for next Saturday with a new friend.  I’m applying to an art show in the South Hams and starting to think about my 2013 Sacred Threads entry.

I knew that this was coming, but on Thursday I watched, for the first time, the vidcast that Bonnie McCaffery made of  me showing my bed Enter the Forest of Dreams to Luana Rubin of eQuilters at the 2012 Festival of Quilts.  I had run into Bonnie and she grabbed me and said ‘Let’s go find Luana and show her your bed’ and off I was whisked to be filmed!  I had never met Luana before, but found her very easy to talk to and Bonnie is a great camera woman and editor so I knew it would be OK.

I am quite pleased with it, not least because it shows me telling the story of my bed and all of the many dimensions it occupies.  I think it gives people an idea of what it is about.

It feels great to have so much going on that I find exciting and engaging.  Even though the days are shortening and nights are closing in, there is a last minute flurry of activity and reaping of the harvest before I quieten down for the winter.  Steve and I rounded out our weekend socialising with friends, eating fantastic food, doing some DIY around the house and chilling out together.

I hope that everyone is finding their rhythm and feeling in sync with the season they are in.

Enter the Forest of Dreams photo shoot

This is very exciting!  I met up with Bonnie McCaffery at the Festival of Quilts and she snapped a really nice photo of me and my bed.

Festival of Quilts, 2012

Bonnie is a great friend of mine, whom I meet up with for a few hours at a time when she’s here in the UK teaching or filming vidcasts.  Bonnie was filming video of quilts at the show for Luana Rubin of and I was interviewed by Luana!

Bonnie McCaffery setting up the vidcast with Luana and I

After the Festival of Quilts, Steve and I broke down the bed, collected Bonnie and we all came down to Devon for a few days.

Some friends of ours let us use their property to photograph ‘Enter the Forest of Dreams’ in the woods.  It was the perfect setting and a beautiful day with sunlight twinkling through the trees.

Forest of Dreams photo shoot

We got some fantastic photographs from the day.  Here are a couple.

In the forest of dreams

I commissioned Bonnie to make a short film of me telling the story of ‘Enter the Forest of Dreams’, from the making of the bed frame when I was a student at the Chippendale International School of Furniture through to all of the symbolism in the headboard and bed quilts.  At the end, the secret of the hidden valance is revealed.  Even though Bonnie lives in America, through the magic of the internet, we’ll be able to keep in touch while she’s producing the video.  I’m really looking forward to seeing it sometime in 2013!

On day two, we turned my living room into a photography studio and Bonnie took some amazing portrait photographs of me.  I’m saving those for another post.

Road trip to Brum!

So.  Enter the Forest of Dreams has been delivered to the NEC in Birmingham for the Festival of Quilts, which runs from 16th to 19th August.

Ready to roll!

My Quilt Creations entry was too big to post in or drop off at a concierge’s desk, so I was able to take it direct to the NEC. Big thanks to the organisers – esp. Pam & Amanda!  Steve and I wrote an assembly/instruction manual, hired a van and delivered it directly to the Hall.

It was a rainy day, but we had clear roads and smooth sailing all the way up.

I packed a Dukan lunch into my trusty lunchbox.

Ham & cheese, yoghurt and Dukan biscuits

We stopped into Gordano Services for fuel.

Roadside mecca

Custard cream filled fabulousness and a cup o’ Joe

When we arrived, we walked through the empty, nearly set up halls.  It’s going to be great this weekend when the NEC is filled with beautiful quilts and wonderful people!

In one corner of Hall 9, white gloved Quilt Angels were busily unpacking this years entries.


We carried my bed to a quiet corner of the hall and headed back down the road.  If I have one wish for Enter the Forest of Dreams, it is that it will touch people in a place of beauty.

Enter the Forest of Dreams at the NEC

On the way back home, I kicked off my sneakers and curled up for a kip on the front seat.

I’m really looking forward to Friday when we go back up for the show!

The Sleeve of Invisibility

Apparently, there truly is a Cloak of Invisibility, as fictionalised in the Harry Potter novels.   Scientists have developed a ‘metamaterial’ – a new flexible film able to manipulate light rays in a manner that renders solid objects invisible.  Sounds like fun fabric to make wearable art from!

I finished my ‘invisible’ hanging sleeve for Suncast Shadows.  I whipstitched an organdy sleeve to the back and hung it this morning for the acid test.  I have a perspex lath which I use for my other transparent quilt –  ‘Le Mariage du Fleuve et du Ciel’.

When we decorated our flat this spring, we put hanging rails in the hallway outside my studio to make a gallery.

Gallery Two at No. 5

Anyhow, the invisible sleeve is just that.

Suncast Shadows

Completely invisible.

Now, where did I put my fat quarter of metamaterial?