Sunday, 30 September 2012

A Day Out with the Gypsies

At last I met my friend  Sal and her DH Murray.  We've had a few days of good food, laughter, shopping (fabric, antiques and charity shops) and some interesting trips out in my locality.  Does anyone else not visit their local attractions until they have house guests?  Sal wanted to visit the Romany Museum near Spalding, I'd never been!!  We had a fabulous time, what a place.  Gordon Boswell, a Romany, and his wife have put together a fascinating collection of memorabilia including some wonderful gypsy caravans - vardo.  Gordon is the custodian of his family's history and a promotor of the lifestyle and culture of the Romany.  He has so many stories to share and the most wonderful moustache!  There was even a quilt!  It was made by a lady who have enjoyed her visit to the collection and features the flags of all the countries where there are gypsies, and the names they are known by.  Here is a selection of my photographs, including one with Sal and here's a link to the museum's website: Boswell Romany Museum

Thursday, 27 September 2012


Cake baked.
Beds made.
Fire laid.
I'm ready for my quilting pal to arrive.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

A Patchwork of Sorts

Daddy made me this "patchwork" box and I have filled it with what I hope will be cosy bedding for all the little helpful minibeasts that need some protection over the winter.  If I don't get any tenants I think the box makes an attraction addition to the garden anyway.
I'm also in the process of making cosy bedding for Sal and her DH who arrive on Thursday.  Sal is one of the Global Piecers and was my first swap partner in Fiona Marie's Great Global Christmas Swap, I'm very excited about meeting her in real life at long last.  I'm just hoping she's started to acclimatise to our Autumn temperatures, it's a bit cooler here than in Australia.  Watch this space, there will be photographs taken!

Monday, 24 September 2012

Spurn Point Weekend

Sadly I didn't get to Alice Fox' exhibition at the weekend.  Fortunately Angela was able to make the journey to the end of the world so please pop over to her blog for some great images of both Alice's work and the landscape and lighthouse and enjoy Alice's own blog too.

Angela Daymond visits Spurn Point.

Alice Fox - Spurn Point Artist in Residence

Hibernating here in Lincolnshire, it's grey and wet and windy.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Wedding Quilt Update

A frost yesterday morning, brrr, time to starting lighting the fire, in the evenings at least.

I've finished the indigo quilt, with the addition of little tassels and buttons on each corner.  Judi, the close-ups are especially for you :-)
Now for an update on the wedding quilt.  I had determined to do Double Wedding Ring, with some trepidation.  I have allowed myself, not unwillingly, to be talked out of it, on the grounds on time restraints, non-authenticity with the Jane Austen period, limitations of quilting possibilities, difficulty and fiddliness (is that a word?), boredom of repeating the same block again and again - you can see it didn't take much to persuade me.  I have, however, found a DWR design fabric (from Red Rooster, one of the Elm Creek Quilters' fabrics) that I will incorporate into the quilt which will now be a Medallion design.  The central block will be a True Lovers' Knot, in bias tape Celtic knotwork style.  I have some planning to do but am making progress and will go fabric shopping very soon.  I need to get started, April will be here very soon.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

An Almost Finish and Blue Books

I haven't quite finished it - just the binding and label to do - but I wanted to show you the small quilt I made with the pieces of fabric I dyed in indigo at Fenland Textile Studio last weekend.  I don't like having piles of sample pieces around, I would rather make something with them and so I stitched them together and then hand quilted them.  Angela showed us a quilt she had made which was my inspiration, although hers was properly planned and executed and she used a stunning red fabric to contrast with the indigo.  I kept to the blues and used the lace I dyed, plus threads and buttons I dyed to add to the textures.
I'm nursing a sore throat this week but it's okay because I have a good book on the go and these arrived this morning so I won't be laid up with nothing to read. 
I'm currently reading "Footprints in the Snow" by Kenjiro Tokutomi and last night read this lovely paragraph that took me back to the teaching and ethos of life at the Best Exotic Indigo Hotel:

"Then there were the silkworms.  When I came to stay they had just finished with the summer batch.  The droppings had been collected for manure, the remains of the mulberry branches they had been feeding on swept up and tied into bundles for firewood, and the egg-cards for the second hatching hung from the ceiling in an airy room in the house; all day long you could hear the creaking of the reeling-machine in the newly built silkworm shed."

No silkworms here but I do have these wonderful pure white gladioli :-)
Wishing you a good weekend.  It's very autumnal here, it was a chilly 5C last night apparently, brr, time to get out the woolly socks I think.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

From the Indigo Vat

Here are the pieces I dyed at Fenland Textile Studio yesterday.  As well as trying lace, thread and the buttons and shells in the synthetic indigo vat I wanted to do a selection of shibori patterns.  Some were more successful than others, I have rather more white in some than I hoped and rather less in others, but I was generally pleased.  It was interesting to learn what my fellow students thought of each piece too, our tastes and opinions varied considerably, it's such a personal thing isn't it and the excitement of unfolding a piece and of watching the indigo develop is magic every time.  Enjoy my indigo exhibition:

Blue Sky, Blue Dye

What a wonderful day I had yesterday, in the Lincolnshire countryside, in the sunshine, in the indigo vat.  Wow, as soon as I caught the aroma of the vat I was transported right back to Japan, to dipping in the vat with my Indigo Sisters.
I was fortunate to get a last minute place on Angela Daymond's Indigo Blues workshop at her Fenland Textile Studio near Spalding.  Situated in old farm buildings at Unique Cottage Studios it was an inspiring place to be.  Coincidentally, there was an exhibition of student work on during the afternoon and so we were joined by many people, some of whom sneaked a dip in the vat and were inspired to sign up for workshops.
The main focus of Angela's workshop was to enable us to have the confidence to make our own indigo vats, using a very straightforward recipe.  Once the vats were ready we got quite carried away with dyeing cloth, lace, wool and with trying various folding and tying, "shibori" resist techniques (Angela teaches a specific workshop on that).  Our dyeing dried quickly in the September sunshine (it was 27C at lunchtime) and don't they look wonderful against that old brick wall?
We also experimented with dyeing non-fabric items, I was pleased with the success I had with buttons and shells:
At the end of the day we had time to look at the exhibition, a lovely collection of textiles, ceramics and glass.
And can you see that little bowl on the left of the picture above?  I couldn't resist it, it looked quite Japanese to me and being blue and white it was a lovely item to bring home from the day.
I also brought home my very own mini indigo vat -and yes, Angela, it survived the journey home :-)  This was a great idea of Angela's, to send us home with a way to continue indigo dyeing easily and to give us all the information we needed to rejuvenate our vat as required.  It may not be an enormous Japanese indigo vat, in a stunning ceramic jar, or set into the ground, but it does have the same evocative aroma, the same effect and it is rather more manageable in my little cottage in Lincolnshire.
Today I shall sort out and press all the pieces I dyed yesterday and then photograph them and share them with you in a separate post.  In the meantime, have a look at Angela's website and her blog post about yesterday's workshop and make a note that her next Indigo workshop will be on 20th April 2013 - I'd book now if I were you. 

Friday, 7 September 2012

Art at Spurn Point

I have just found out about this exhibition
and hope I will be able to get to see it.  Have a look at Alice's blog for more about her art.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

My Next Big Project

Cindy Brick


Hart Cottage quilts

Choosing fabrics and How to sew

I am assembling some information and ideas for my next big project - a Double Wedding Ring quilt for my DS and DDiL to be.  I have until April 2013 to get this one done - sounds like a long time, famous last words!
I am terrified of this pattern but it has to be DWR doesn't it?  At the weekend I visited my LQS and ordered a template set - they don't have them in stock as Barbara explained, they are expensive and hardly anybody does DWR these days!  Alarm bells.
I have looked at Susan Stein's book, Double Wedding Ring Quilts-Coming Full Circle, and am inspired by her ideas although I know David and Jessica would like a very traditional look to their quilt, as if Jane Austen herself had stitched it ;-)
I am definitely doing a trial run of this pattern and would appreciate any advice that fellow quilters can offer.
This DWR is from McCalls quilting