The merry month of May

Well it may not have been merry all of the time, but May has certainly been an action-packed month – starting with the great trip to the Open European Quilt Championships as described in my last post, continuing with 4 days of quilting fun and friends at Quilts UK, Malvern, various one-day classes and Chris&Barbara work and then last, but by no means least, the safe arrival of The Grandson (weighing in at 9lbs 9oz, mother and son doing fine).  Quite a rollercoaster!

Just before Quilts UK the postman delivered a most interesting parcel full of good things from my Aussie pal Lee Cleland.  Lee and I are working on a constantly-changing number of collaborative and individual quilting and writing projects (last count was around 9) and I have fallen behind in my timetable – but things have been really moving along Down Under.  One of the projects we planned last year involved Lee interpreting some of my new designs using Oakshott fabrics from one of their Charm packs.  In the parcel were the results – here’s a quick glimpse –

Lee only had my tiny little start-up scribbles to work with and it was really interesting to see how close they all came to my final versions which are in the new pattern book “Top Twenty”.  (Shameless plug, the pattern book is now available for purchase on my website )  And, of course some of these were developed into patterns that the amazing Volunteer Team worked on at the end of last year –

It was great to have a chance to show some of both sets of samples at Quilts UK and I’m planning on doing something similar for my space at Festival of Quilts in August, so thanks again to Lee and the Volunteer Team for their excellent work.

Sometimes it feels like the only time I sit down and make time to quilt is when I’m demonstrating at shows – ok, it isn’t really the only time I quilt, but it’s certainly less often than I should.  A couple of years ago at Festival of Quilts I started on this silk piece and got a whole motif stitched while doing a lot of talking –

– this was just one motif from the Hearts & Ribbons pattern book that was new for that show.  Great plans to finish the sample off into something quite delicious – but, as is so often the case, no further action.  Rescued from the back of The Cupboard, this was a good piece to demonstrate on at the Malvern show and, who knows? – maybe it will be much further along by the time August and Festival of Quilts come around…. there is some progress

and a quick close-up

Intriguing how much difference even light marking can make to the stitching – you can see here the main lines appear darker/yellower than the second or double line around the outside.  It’s the same thread both times, but the second line is stitched “by eye” (also known as guesswork) rather than over markings.

In rummaging through The Cupboard I came across a silk sample I stitched in the early 1990s – or was it late 1980s?  anyway, it’s a long time ago.  This was a sample for one of my first set of quilting designs and you can see how much things have changed and moved on – look at the feather loops and notice how they are opposite each other and quite chunky and squat compared to the more elongated loops we like today.

As well as a lovely day at Cupcake Cottons in Burford teaching Essentials of Hand Quilting I had a very sunny day with Brockhampton Quilters, teaching them not to be Defeated by Whigs.  Foolishly last year I had shown them my sample block of Whigs Defeat – Fine, they said, come back and show us how its done!  And, as you can see, they all got a great start on those pieced arcs …

A quick reminder of what a completed Whigs Defeat block might look like –

At one point during the day I think I heard myself saying something REALLY silly like “Oh wouldn’t it be great to do a Jubilee version in red, white and blue?” – !!  Wonder if anyone heard me – or should I just mark out some pieces and get going …

Next class is at that favourite haunt of mine The Bramble Patch – and as that is scheduled for tomorrow I’d better get going on the all-important task of packing everything into the car.

Happy stitching!

One show after another

The past few weeks have been fairly hectic and I’m now home for only a few days to turn around and get ready for Quilts UK at Malvern next week.  Last week was the much-anticipated trip over land and sea to the Open European Quilt Championships at Veldhoven.   Judging, teaching and demonstrating alongside an exhibit of some of my vintage quilts and some of my Tentmaker pieces, plus LOTS of quilts and traders to enjoy, an excellent hotel (and food!) and many lovely quilters to meet – how hard can it be??  You can find videos from the show and all sorts of other goodies over on the OEQC website – do go and take a look for yourself, and perhaps make a plan to visit next year.

Here’s a detail of what, for me, was one of the outstanding quilts in the show – “Serpentin“, a wonderful wholecloth that was pretty near perfect in every way, and an equally wonderful surprise when I discovered that it was made by Andrea Stracke.   Andrea and I first corresponded with each other way back in 1993 or 1994 I think, shortly after “The Essential Quilter” was published, and it has been a great pleasure to see her work at UK shows.

The detail and workmanship on Jane Rollason’s quilt ” Elizabethan Flowers” was pretty good too –

Then there was a quilt from the inimitable Sandie Lush – ” Whig Rose

A really quick glimpse of just a few quilts in the championships –

A charming detail from Sheena Norquay’s sampler

I did manage to acquire a few fabrics –

(- some of these are from the last visit to Cupcake Cottons in Burford just before I left for the show.  Thanks for a great day, Jackie & Steph, I’m looking forward to next year already!)

One of the features of the OEQC show is the number and diversity of guest collections.  Two that were very popular were from Reiko Kato and Joes Meester & Isabeau Reinders Folmer

My Judge’s Choice was “Hommage a Monet” by Hilde van Schaardenburg

It was fun to see the Dutch edition of Essential Quilter for the first time –

and to see some of those quilts from the cupboard on display.

The last day of the show I was teaching Tentmaker applique and was so busy I almost forgot to take pictures –

And if I don’t stop now this post will be far too long and I will be even further behind with the preparations for next week.

Happy stitching!