Thursday, 17 July 2014

New on the design wall

I'm really enjoying working on some small scale pieces for a change. This is a digital print on cotton with free machine quilting, hand quilting and embroidery and digital embroidery. You can still pack a lot into a small space! It's bound and mounted onto a box canvas.

12" x 12" (30cm x 30cm).  £100. If you're interested just email.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Mysterious visitor, jam for breakfast, lunch and tea, oh yes, and a bit of stitching!

We woke this beautiful. sunny Sunday morning to find this little fellow standing at the end of our path. Now I know gnomes have special powers but I am bemused by his arrival - I have my suspicions and will have to investigate!!

On a less mysterious note, I spent an enjoyable day with my mother today. We stitched for several hours while we toggled back and forth between the men's final at Wimbledon and the Tour de France in Yorkshire. Despite the tragedy of Cav crashing out on Stage 1 and no Wiggo this year, we will still be glued to the TV for the next 3 weeks. So much TV provides an ideal time to get some sewing done and Mom has recently decided that after quite some interval her children deserve a sampler like the ones she made for her grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Here's a detail of the sampler she made for my younger daughter 30 years ago.

And here's mine waiting to be stretched and framed. I've only had to wait 63 years!! She's now working on one for my brother and was thrilled that I could go online and find a throstle motif for the football team he has supported all his life. Mom has decided she loves the internet!!

After another significant interval a quilt Laura and I made in 2004 is about to get another airing. Flock is off to Ste. Marie aux Mines in Alsace shortly.

It'll hang beside Expecting to Fly in the exhibit celebrating 20 years of the European Patchwork Meeting.

In between quilting the new piece for Alsace I've been adding to the pincushion mountain. These are all destined for my stand at the Festival of Quilts next month.

But no matter how busy I am with stitching, it's unwise to ignore the raspberries. They need picking every day.

Last night's crop was 1.5 kilos and after picking was immediately into the jam pot. We have enough jam to last till next year already.

So, with today's bread we could survive on jam sandwiches for quite some time! My children say the loaves look like you could have bought them in a shop - high praise indeed!!

Thanks for dropping by - I appreciate your company. Linda x

Friday, 27 June 2014

Quilting, cooking and just enjoying

 The collaborative quilt Laura and I are making for Ste Marie aux Mines is almost finished now.

Now that the background quilting is in place there's only the birds to see to and the binding to add.

I've outlined the text with hand stitch and we've infilled with free motion quilting. What's interesting is looking to see if it's obvious who's quilted which bits. Hopefully we work in a similar fashion and it won't be obvious!

With Festival of Quilts looming, I'm adding to the pincushion mountain. Here's the latest additions with many still to come.

Meanwhile, summer has arrived and the raspberry canes are laden this year. I think this is going to be the best crop ever.

I'm picking every evening with far too many to eat fresh each day. Try as I might!!

Good job we like jam! If I make 3 or 4 jars every other day we'll have plenty to last all year.

The garden continues to provide pleasure each day. He who gardens thinks the stuff we get to eat is the most important aspect but I disagree. No matter how tasty the fruit and veg are, the flowers are also food for the soul!

Thanks for reading this today - I'll write again soon. Love Linda

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Workshop with Laura

We don't do very much face to face teaching these days as DesignMatters TV keeps us pretty busy, this month however, you have a chance to take a workshop or even two with Laura at her local Village Hall. The first class is all about Altered Books - a fantastic way to be creative if you're nervous of the blank sketchbook page! The second workshop involves all aspects of a favourite technique, Monoprinting. The full details can be found here on her blog. Just scroll down past photos of Amelie working happily in her own sketchbook till you find the previous post.

With the Altered Book workshop only a couple of weeks away I was so pleased to spot this lovely book at the flea market this morning.

 It was written in 1912 and has the loveliest illustrations.

What a steal at 50p! It's a perfect candidate for altering - I shall do my best to keep the original illustrations intact but I will add lots more of my own.

We visited my younger daughter this week and saw this day flying moth in her garden. We don't see these where we live so it was a special treat. I am fascinated by all kinds of bugs and insects so the second book I found at the market today was another little treasure.

I realise that not everyone shares my interest in bugs and beasties and this 1960's school textbook isn't as characterful as the old cookbook but I know I'll enjoy altering it to make it truly my own.

Just a short post today as the weeding beckons. On this summer solstice day, I'll leave you with a glimpse of what the English summer means to those of us who garden. All the hard work pays off when you get to eat the produce! Sadly, this is the last we'll pick until next year - a very short season but all the more savoured because of that.

Thanks for dropping by. I hope to see some of you at the workshops!
Bye for now - Linda

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Excuses, excuses

Most people I know are so busy all the time their blog posts always start with an apology for not have written for a while. I think I have a pretty good excuse this time - how do you like the sound of food poisoning? Not a lot I suspect and you certainly wouldn't want to know the gory details! Not everyone succumbed so maybe it was only the greedy ones! We've had lots of family celebrations over recent weeks. 'He who gardens' and I have been married for forty years. Hard to believe but true. Not sure why I still feel about 17 some days, especially when all the evidence is to the contrary! Our anniversary day was gloriously sunny so we drove out to the Shropshire Hills and had lunch in a lovely restaurant in Church Stretton. The plan was to walk/climb along Carding Mill Valley but somehow that idea lost its appeal once we'd eaten and a gentle stroll around the town was all we managed.

We treated ourselves to one or two gifts to commemorate the momentous occasion (how anyone can justify yet another banjo is beyond me) and also bought a new bench for the garden although we did draw the line at a brass plaque! Guess who was first to try it for size the minute it was delivered? It's a bit of a joke really - who has time to actually sit down in a garden?

Not all of my days are spent partying or making arty stuff. There are always the more prosaic but necessary chores too. This week I replaced all of the sail blinds in the conservatory. Not the easiest picture to take but you get an idea from this one end of the room. I made 19 blinds in all. A really horrible job but with luck they'll last for a few years!

Meanwhile Laura and I are gradually working on our collaborative piece for Alsace. You can see the kind of obstacles we face. Toby loves nothing more than to curl up on the long arm as though it's a cat hammock. If this quilt doesn't hang straight we'll know who to blame!

As you can see here, the quilting is quite closely spaced and taking quite a while! We're concentrating on all of the gold background now that the trees have been quilted in black. The birds will be stitched right at the end.

My smaller projects are much less demanding. This is the Allium panel with its lettering now complete. All I have to do is mount it onto the canvas and it will be ready for the stand at Festival of Quilts.

Hollyhocks is also ready for its final touches. I plan to display these square panels arranged quite formally in rows - hopefully they'll prove popular.

So despite complaints of illness life goes on. Hope you are all well and keeping creative. Bye for now - Linda

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Preparations continue

We started the week as we hope to go on - with cake! Not just any old cake you understand. This was a birthday celebration cake for my mom who's reached the age of 86. Despite all that fruit and a fat free sponge, I doubt that this counts as one of your five a day!

It was just a Swiss roll recipe for the sponge, layered with sweetened double cream, raspberries, blueberries and topped with strawberries. Delicious taste of summer! We enjoyed a lovely barbecue curtesy of Jamie and Laura even though the weather wasn't glorious. There was also trampolining which was probably unwise after all the food we managed to eat. Luckily I have no photographic evidence so you'll just have to take my word for it that I was very athletic! I could barely move the next morning! When I emailed my younger daughter to tell her about the day, spellcheck changed trampolining to trampling - not at all the same thing and certainly not suitable for great grandma's party!

It's not all jollies - after the party the work must go on. The second batch of pincushions are complete and ready to be packed away for our stand at Festival of Quilts in August. I'm really enjoying the digital embroidery on my Husqvarna machine!

This one here at the front of the picture is a dragonfly embroidered onto a mono print I made a while ago. I confess I love this one! It's great fun working onto previously quilted, dyed and printed fabrics - I'm aiming to have masses of these for my display with no two the same!

I've also added to the larger panels I'm going to display. This one is called Quill and is a mono print with photo image transfer. I've free motion quilted it and added a bit of  pastel in the foreground.

The excitement continues - my gouache and Indian ink crow is back from Jamie at the printers. I LOVE it and am  excited to start quilting. There is a bit of a queue for the long arm machine so I'll have to be patient but I'll let you see it as soon as progress is made!

Thanks for dropping by - Love Linda

Monday, 19 May 2014

Painting, plants and embroideries

It may seem like a long time till August but this year I'm determined to be better prepared for Festival of Quilts than I usually am. I've already started to make pincushions. These always sell well as they make nice gifts and don't take up much space in folks' suitcases! The embroidery machine has been purring away in the background while I free motion quilt a waterlily panel on the opposite side of the workroom. It's the most satisfying feeling - I can't tell you how much I love the sound of stereo sewing machines!

This first batch are worked on indigo dyed fabrics, some of which have also been rusted. They were free motion quilted for a previous incarnation but have now been up-cycled using Husqvarna digital embroidery designs.

While I'm in the zone I've also been making more 12 inch panels to decorate the stand. Laura printed and quilted the fabrics and I've been adding embroidery with another Husqvarna design - I couldn't resist Alliums when the garden is full of the real thing right now.

We've got white ones and yellow but the purple are definitely my favourites.

These are only just opening but they'll soon be magnificent, first as blooms and later as enormous seed heads that last for months.

Just in case you think I'm going soft with all this flowery stuff - not all the flowers in our garden are so innocent looking! We're deciding where we can put this monster so the evil smell will not put us off our dinner. It attracts flies so nowhere near the house that's for sure!

Can't remember if I've already let you see this but my latest crow painting is waiting to be scanned and digitally printed. I'm hoping Jamie can print it full width of the fabric for a bit of drama!

Finally, I've had complaints about the lack of Amelie photos lately. Maybe she's trying to avoid the paparazzi these days. Looking cool anyway!

Thanks for reading this. Talk to you again soon with more on preparations for Festival.