Thursday, 28 May 2015

Absolute Unbroken Continuity - May 2015

This is my journal quilt for May.  The words, "absolute unbroken continuity", come from a poem my sister read at Daddy's funeral earlier this month.  It was Death is Nothing At All by Henry Scott Holland.  The quiltlet is similar to my usual style, and adheres to my rules.  The text this time was printed rather than written and I overlaid the fabrics with some sheers.  The stitching is all done by hand.
Today I remembered why I don't often make large quilts these days.  I spent a few hours layering this sampler quilt from a thousand years ago.  All that crawling on the floor, smoothing, adjusting, phewy.  The quilt itself is not terrible square (it was one of the very first quilts I pieced, using Lynne Edwards' Sampler Quilt book), and I like it but it has many, many faults.  I felt bad for it, sitting there in my sewing room, thrown over for more "arty" pieces and decided to layer it, quilt it and then use it!!

Talking of "arty" pieces, today was windy and sunny and a perfect day to rehang my prayer flags in the garden.  DH put the re-proofed gazebo up yesterday, complete with fairy lights, so we are all ready for balmy summer days and evenings.  The prayer flags from friends have been joined by a classic set I bought when we were in New Zealand last year and are all fluttering away beautifully with the prayer:

"May all beings everywhere receive benefit and find happiness".

The Quilters' Guild published a link to this pattern on Facebook and I loved it, possibly because it's blue and white/Japanese/indigo fabrics.  For whatever reason, it has inspired me to make a similar quilt with some of my indigo fabrics.  It will be for our bed, so a king size.  I have obviously forgotten the lessons of earlier already, but have been having fun pulling out all kinds of blue fabric.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Indigo Prayers

My dear Indigo Sister, Judi, stitched this prayer flag for me. It was waiting for me, having flown all the way from Australia, when I returned home from Daddy's funeral.  I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to open the package and find this special gift inside.  If recipients of the prayer flags I stitch feel at least half as special as I did I would be honoured.  Thank you Judi.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

New Zealand Remembered - a finish

I have finished my quilt of New Zealand journal quilts and this afternoon the sun is shining so I have managed to take a picture.
I composed a haiku for each place that inspired me and have written these on the quilt in permanent ink.
The six blocks are:

Top left
"Meeting of the Waters"

Where oceans collide
By pohutakawa root
Spirits travel home.

Top right

Darting dotterels
Glistening white silica
Natural treasures.

Middle left

Ravenous lahar
Consumes express, bridge, landscape
Leaving weeping waters.

Middle right

Shiny jewel box city
Not two hundred thousand souls
All vibrant, singing.

Bottom left

Troll the chilly depths
Tranquility on water
Head in the sunshine.

Bottom right
"Manaia at Huka Falls"

Swirling white fury
Crash over the precipice
Meet still sacred flow.

As well as reminding me of places this quilt is a wonderful reminder of people.  Some friends saw my work in progress, some shopped with me for threads and fabric, some shared the places I visited.

Friday, 1 May 2015

RIP David Harwood

You know when you say, "Hey, at least it can't get any worse....."?

Many of you already know that it has and I thank you for your messages, prayers, cards and support, you have helped more than you can know.  

Other friends, blog readers and Facebook friends that I don't communicate with very regularly, will not know that Daddy died suddenly on 18th April.  His funeral is not until 13th May and so we are all in a strange limbo.  This limbo is preferable to the limbo we might have been experiencing as Daddy  discovered he had secondary cancers (liver and spleen) a week before he died.  His death was unrelated to the cancers, being due to a ruptured colon, and he died with dignity and free of pain.  God moves in mysterious ways indeed, Daddy would have hated a slow, miserable death being cared for at home or in a hospice, he would have been very irritable about the whole thing.

These are two of my favourite pictures of Daddy, this one taken a year ago, the oldest and youngest members of the family:

and this one taken with Mummy on their 50th Wedding Anniversary in 2006:

Needless to say I am doing a lot of stitching.  I have been working on my New Zealand journal quilts and the hand stitching has been marvellously therapeutic and it somehow felt as if I was stitching my prayers into the quilt (there was no time to make a prayer flag for Daddy) even though Daddy never visited NZ.  This is not a good photograph, apologies.  I have to quilt the "Wellington" block and then add the binding and labels.  I have haikus to add but haven't decided yet whether they should go on the blocks or on the back....

It's a Bank Holiday weekend here, three days of chilly winds but some sunshine promised, have fun whatever you get up to and I'm hoping normal service will be resumed fairly shortly.  Love Lis xx

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Getting Things in Perspective

It has been a very difficult period for my family recently but we are beginning to appreciate that the light at the end of the tunnel might not be an express train.

Getting things into perspective has been the order of the day over Easter and so that is the inspiration for my April quiltlet for the Contemporary Group Challenge.  The quotation is from Marcus Aurelius and I am continuing to adhere to all my rules.  This piece is based on groynes on the beach.
I stitched a prayer flag for my DD Sara over the Easter holiday.  She likes it but thinks it is a shame that the idea is that it disintegrates in the wind and weather.  I told her the prayers are already sent (and answered in some cases) and so I think she might hang the flag somewhere sheltered.
What else? Well how about these gorgeous Kantha stitched creatures on fabric dyed with woad?  Angela Daymond (Fenland Textile Studios) will be selling kits to create these yourself at Festival of Quilts this Summer.  She asked several people to trial the kit contents and instructions.  I've never measured the amount of thread I'm using before, quite interesting!  All the thread is beautiful Aurifil in various weights, including lana wool, all lovely to stitch with.  The Kantha stitching has been very therapeutic to work, just what the doctor ordered.
I love the movement and sense of freedom exhibited by Angela's hare.
The heron is so elegant and haughty.
This last hare is on plain fabric, not woad dyed and is only 4" round so it will be the perfect introduction to Kantha stitching.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Shaving Foam Printing

Some fabric friends share magazines or ideas, some point you in an interesting direction and then there are fabric friends like Ros.
On Sunday she showed me an article about shaving foam printing in an issue of Fabrications magazine.  On Monday morning she sent me a text saying she had gathered EVERYTHING we needed to have a go! Now is that impressive or what?
We filled a tray with shaving foam.  
Good tip:  lining the tray with cling film makes an easy way to gather up and dispose of foam and ink later.
We dropped, sprayed and dribbled various kinds of textile paints on the foam.
Using a skewer and a chopstick we swirled the inks together.
We took prints from the surface of the foam.

We left the ink to dry for a few minutes, scraped the remaining foam from the surface of the fabric and then ironed it (under a cloth) to fix the dye.
Ta dah!!  Thanks Ros, just what the doctor ordered!!

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Just Keep Swimming, Swimming

I have finished my March quiltlet for the Contemporary Quilt Group Challenge.

The quilt follows the rules I set for myself using fabric from my stash which I have hand pieced.  I applied a variety of gold fabrics and hand stitched the quilt with a selection of goldwork threads and cotton perlĂ©.  
The quotation from Dory is written with permanent ink.
The design was inspired by the idea of looking up from below the sea to the sunshine.  The rays of the sun offer an escape route from the cold, dark depths but the sun is distant, frightening and hard to reach.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

March 1 - Just Keep Swimming

The inspiration for my journal quiltlet for March comes from several places.  
The text is the most obvious, that great advice from Dory in from "Finding Nemo" is appropriate this month.
But as well as swimming, there is the opportunity to look upwards from the dark and murky waters and see the sun shining down on that water, extending its rays like lifelines.
I have pinned a curved seam, using fabric from February's quiltlet (as per my rules) and some hand dyed cotton.  I am now auditioning fabric for the sunshine and then I will get stitching with gold threads.  
More soon.

In addition I have been making some goodies with batiks for the latest Global Piecers' swap.  We've been a bit quiet recently, it goes like that, but it's good to be swapping again.  These will be for Easter and need to be flying soon!  I can't show more than these pinned pieces, ready for the machine....

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Postcard Delivered

This is my journal quiltlet for February finished.  Thank you for your comments, I decided to write in Maltese, the proverb translates as,
"After bad weather comes fine weather".
I used lace and thread dyed with woad on the quilt as well as commercially produced cotton perlĂ© and a little of that Chinese silk thread used for tassels.  As the Chinese New Lunar Year was celebrated when we were in Malta it seemed appropriate.
Now we are home I shall return to my New Zealand project before thinking about the next journal quilt in March.  We also have two great workshops coming up in Country Roads Quilters, one to make a lantern-style fabric bowl and one with Jennie Rayment so I'm going to be busy!
The weather is awful here, grey, grey, grey and wet, just right for sitting by the fire to stitch.  Enjoy your Sunday.

Monday, 16 February 2015

A Postcard from Malta

Today I think I have finished the stitching on my February journal quilt for the Contemporary Quilt group challenge.
I am on holiday in Malta and so my quiltlet is inspired by the island, the colours, the sea, the honey-coloured limestone rock, the ancient history:
I have decided on a Maltese proverb to write onto my quilt but can't decide whether to write it in English or Maltese (which I can't pronounce properly).  I shall sleep on it!