June round-up

A busy month filled with lots of good intentions to post, so this is really a case of better late than never.  At the start of the month I packed The Tank and went down to The Bramble Patch to teach the follow-on to my Essentials of Hand Quilting class.  This follow-on class is something I have neatly avoided doing for the past 20 years – despite many requests, I always felt that, when it came to the crunch, there would be insufficient demand to make it viable.  Amazing the places your mind can take you!  It was a great day and we had a lot of fun, too busy to remember to take pictures during class – but I did take a couple of shots of the newly-extended premises, which are packed with excellent quilty stuff

This pilot version of “Essentials of Hand Quilting – Part II” went so well that I have been persuaded to put it on my official workshop list for future bookings.  Sally White over at Threads & Patches has already picked it up and put it on their class schedule for September, and that’s before I teach the first class there next week …  And a Thank You to Jan, who signed up for the Essentials Part II class and brought along just a few of the lovely things she had made ( based on the “The Essential Quilter Project Book” ) since she took the first class last year.

A small non-quilting diversion at the beginning of the month – a terrific concert in Cork and a warm weekend strolling around the city

Back home there was lots of that familiar packing and unpacking to do.  A selection of Tentmaker hangings  taken down to Denman College to adorn the main staircase until August,

a visit first to Mead Quilters and then Lutterworth Piecemakers to give talks on Tentmaker applique followed by a workshop.  We managed to bring a little Eastern atmosphere to the lovely hall the Lutterworth group use for their meetings –

I promised to keep identities secret, but here are some busy hands hard at work during the workshop

Packing and unpacking for a Chris and Barbara class – it may be “local” but the volume of stuff that needs to be taken isn’t any less.

Still carrying around the Jubilee version of a Whigs Defeat block that is now reasonably close to a finish – or closer than it was anyway

Just as an aside, it’s been really fascinating seeing how much interest there is in this block – lots and lots of “Whigs Defeat” searches showing up on the stats pages.  The pattern I am using is an adaptation of one I found online, designed by Cate Tallman-Evans in Quilters World magazine, January 2008.  There’s a growing feeling that I should add a handpiecing class, featuring this block,  to my list  … Hmmm.

This last week I needed to send pictures to accompany requirements lists for next year’s  classes so I thought I’d finish up with a couple of those, just to remind myself that hand quilting is my main focus … you’ve probably seen the Celebrate Hand Quilting buttons on various blogs – all very well worth investigating, I haven’t got around to joining up yet!

Two more classes on hand quilting will finish off this week and then it will be July – how did that happen?  Time to start thinking about Festival of Quilts ….

happy stitching!

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!