Sunday, 31 July 2011

Some unusual fabric choices - for me!

Friday was the end of a very looong week at work for me and I needed a fabric fix!

As well as working in Canterbury, I also work in what is known as the Medway towns composed of three adjacent towns in north-east Kent - Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham. They are all historic towns with a castle or two, a pre-Norman Cathedral, Napoleonic prisoner of war tunnels, Maritime dockyards going back to Tudor times and very, very close links to Charles Dickens.

I decided to leave work an hour early and went over to Rochester and a quilt store called Hometown. I rarely have the chance to visit this quilt shop which has been in Rochester High Street for about 18 months. It sits under the shadow of the Cathedral and as well as being a quilt shop has lots of other things of interest such as lots of buttons in bowls and ribbons.

The store has about 150 bolts of mainly contemporary fabric such as Kaffe Fassett and Amy Butler, but hidden amongst it all are some fabrics from other mainly Moda collections and I even found a bolt of fabric with New York yellow taxi's all over which I instantly recognised as being from the City Quilter in New York City - Diane I know is going to find that so funny!
Not having had a fabric fix in some time and being drawn in I came away with some rather unusual choices - for me!
I like the dusky pink and purple combination on the left. I do not know though how I will use them! And, I like the brights on the right particularly the middle teal and red fabric, which I bought a long length of as I thought it would make a border and setting squares for a future quilt.
The fabric on the left will be used in the Spratley Quilt. It will replace another fabric which was rather "flat" and the rather creased fabric on the right will be going in another quilt for which I have been gathering the fabrics below.
This is the collection thus far, quite a departure from my normal pre 1860's style and shows the influence  Cath Kidston and 1950's retro fabrics are having on me. May it's an attempt to try and cheer up my stash??

So, how am I going to use these fabrics? Well, I have an idea and it involves a pieced and appliqued quilt from the 1840's...

Have a good week!

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Help with fabric search please...

This week, along with a couple of other train projects, I have been working on my version of the Spratley Quilt - a little bit of unpicking, a little bit more fabric buying, a little bit more searching through the stash... and I have hit a problem. Back in March, I bought 0.5 metre of the fabric below and... well now I need more! but I cannot find it here in the UK.

It is from the Sturbridge Village Browns collection and it also appeared in the Sturbridge Village Classics collection by Judie Rothermel for Marcus Brothers in about 2008. I have trawled the web this morning using various search methods, trying to find a quilt shop that might still have some. I found one website, but since it appears not to have updated its site since 2009 and has only about 8 fabrics in its catalogue, I am rather loathed to give my credit card details over to them.

In the hopes that someone reads this message and are visiting their local quilt stores, could you please keep an eye open for it, for me? As I am using it for flower and leaf stems, I would still be interested even if it is a fat/thin quarter.

Many thanks everyone and keeping everything crossed.

More to come tomorrow.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Another week gone...

...and I haven't achieved an awful lot although I have had some excitement at work. More later!

As promised I took the blocks in Row 2 of Beyond the Cherry Trees album quilt into work and laid them out on the floor in the office and then had problems trying to work how to photograph them all, without getting the edge of my skirt into the picture and missing cabinets which got in the way - so the picture is not the best! But I am pleased with progress thus far and it motivates me on.
The bowl in the middle block reminds me a little of the glaze effect on Moorcroft pottery, which I like so much, but just cannot afford. The 1st block appears very weak in design, but it should all balance up... eventually!

I am off to Poland...

Work has taken me in a new direction this week. I have just been selected to teach, along with another university lecturer from Belgium, a week long module on environmental modifications and adaptations within the home, work, school and community to Polish students who are training to become occupational therapists and occupational therapy educators. Currently there are no occupational therapists in Poland, so a European Union funded project has been established which aims to train people in the fundamentals of occupational therapy practice so that four new training schools can be set up in Poland.

I have always been interested in (or is it nosiness? :-)), occupational therapy practices across the world. I think it is the influence of a country’s culture on occupational therapy that interests me the most. So, I am very excited, but at the same time somewhat apprehensive of the enormous challenge this presents me as I know nothing about health and social care in Poland – so over the next few weeks I am going to be on a steep learning curve! I already have a 147 page document from a Polish government department on social care provision as my bedtime reading and yesterday I took part in my first skype meeting. An interesting experience which saw me tidying up my office desk! I go to Warsaw in just a few weeks and there are a number of deadlines looming fast as my Belgian colleague and I race to design and write a whole module! 

I was supposed to be marking scripts this weekend, but they haven't arrived so I'm going to take the advantage of this quieter time to catch up on housework and laundry and prep some blocks to keep me going over the next few weeks. Hopefully, my stitching will be just as productive as my work!

Wish me luck!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

An industrious week...

I have been on annual leave this week, pottering around my cottage, doing some housework, some ironing and some weeding! and, in between what else but some quilting!

I have finished two more blocks for my version of the Beyond the Cherry Trees Album Quilt.

I wasn’t too sure about the fabric for the urn. Initially it looked a little too heavy, but all the colours are represented in the quilt and amazingly the shape fitted the fabric design, so I decided it was meant to be, but  those rim “fingers”..., I was sooooo happy when I finally finished them. With this block I have finished my first row, so I will take the blocks into work next week and lay them out to take a picture, I just don’t have a large enough room here at home, it is such a little cottage.

I am very pleased with the berry basket block, I didn’t think I would get all the berries done – only 43 berries, so what am I going to be like after 120 grapes? The basket fabric looks a little modern but it reminds me of the 1807 Julia Southgate quilt in the V & A museum exhibition last year. Her quilt had so many contemporary looking fabrics (21st century), including several with large solid stars printed on them, so I chose this fabric with the Southgate quilt in mind.

What else have I been doing? I’ve prepped six blocks of the Maltaville Quilt. I just wish I could make a start, but I am still not happy with any of my background fabrics.

In my frustration, I revisited my version of the English Baskets quilt. Whilst I was in Zutphen, Bep and I started discussing the Antique Baskets Quilt which I started back last July. Yes, it's another quilt that I have started and put to one side, but it is on my list as a work in progress, not a UFO!

The original quilt is from the 1800's, so being from that period of course I had to add it to my "to do" list. It is in the collection of Karey Bresenham and I first saw it in the November 2009 edition of Quilt Mania. Corliss Searcey of Threadbear in Victoria, Australia produced her own version, but I have decided to go with a reproduction of the original quilt setting, which means making a few more baskets (22 in all).

I decided that the blocks would be a perfect way of using up my scraps of fabric and was determined not to buy a thing! Even the background fabrics were in my stash - perfick!

I took these photographs this morning. I had forgotten how many blocks I had already stitched. Some of the fabrics are quite old i.e. I bought them nearly 25 years ago! It has been fascinating rummaging through my stash, some of the designs have been reproduced again in other fabric collections e.g. Judie Rothermel's designs  and some I wish they would bring out in another collection, especially the ones from the Smithsonian collections from back in the mid-1990's. So, with all my scraps of fabric used in this quilt, I have decided to call my version of the quilt - "Everything Old is New Again".

I should really get on with finishing these blocks, I have just seven more to do.

Have a good week!