Linear marks

A palette of thread colours for one area.

I’m still experimenting with the order I stitch the different colours. I used to start with the mid-tone. Often I ran out of room for the highlights & lowlights. If I start at one end of the range sometimes I don’t make it to the other end. 
Recently I’ve been starting with the lightest colour. Then switching to the darkest. Alternating light and dark, moving toward finishing in-fill using the mid-tone. This seems to be working well. 

Lightest threads stitched, beginning the darkest


It never ceases to amaze me how the thread stitches out on a white ground -darker and less colourful than it appears on the reel. Experimenting is essential!

Marking progress

Laying down the foundation rows of stitching. These secure the fabric strips. And provide a framework for later stitching. 

I’m pleased with how it’s going. 

Progress is slow. Not least because I seem to be a little clumsy right now. The pins are extremely sharp. It’s a deadly combination for these cream-coloured works. Next up, working with red!

Packing for the journey, part 2

With the great encouragement of some talented friends, I have been making friends with the pencil. Drawing, or at least sketching, is slowly becoming part of my process.

It is helping me to remember things and ideas, and to slow down and pay attention to the moment. 

It’s also been useful when discussing ideas with clients. I’ve been surprised how a very crude scruffy sketch on the fly has helped us move forward together. 

A drawing kit for the journey, but not too much:

  • Visual diary in pretty cover by The Sewphist
  • Soft & hard mechanical pencils
  • Black fine marker
  • Gold & silver gel pens
  • Blue, red & yellow Acquarelle pencils
  • Square & pointed watercolour brushes (for blending pencils and washing with coffee etc)
  • A spoon for burnishing/rubbing

In Sevilla I added a green pencil. 

pencil case  lying open across notebookThis kit i have used quite often and with great pleasure. Whether or not it’s a “perfect picture” doesn’t matter a bit. 

sketch of a tower at Park Güell

Four on the board

 fabric scraps pinned  to board Today I’ve started the physical work of making four new quilts for my upcoming exhibition. 

I begin with the colour idea and select from my scrap pieces baskets. I love those baskets- sometimes it seems I work more from them than from my big pieces of fabric. No matter how much I take out, they always seem to fill up again. A kind of quilter’s cornucopia. I think they began life as CD storage.

6 small rectangular   baskets  stacked  drawer-fashion in a frame You can see the brown/black scraps basket on the ground in the foreground of the pinboard photo.

I’ve pinned the pieces to a big sheet of Styrofoam. One column for each quilt, graduating from light to dark so I can keep track of how much I have of each. I’ll compose each one separately, but at this stage it’s helpful to see the ingredients in relation to each other. 

Can you guess the inspiration behind my four selections of fabrics?

Unbundling 1

I wrote earlier about sorting and bundling fabrics to make a quilt kit. Like this one:

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Unroll the bundle and spread the fabrics out, paying attention to the piece sizes and the proportion of lights to darks. Think about the feelings and ideas that the colours evoke. Make up a working title that refers to those feelings. I’m calling this Misty Garden for now.

Next step: Composition- how to arrange the fabrics

Sorting the rainbow

One of my favourite ways to make a quilt is to begin with the colours.

neat stack of fabric pieces

New fabric treasures

The first step is the well-filled fabric stash. It’s full of pieces collected as I go

From time to time I sort the pieces into happy groups, trying not to have any orphan pieces left. It’s amazing what goes together!

Fabric in in tidy stacks

15 sets of fabric, ready to make into quilts

Each one will become a quilt, or the beginnings of one. I don’t think about the size of the pieces, or the total amount of fabric, or the design of the quilt. That comes later.

Then I roll them up…

rolled fabric sets

15 fabric bundles

…until the next time I want to start a new project.

If any bundles are still waiting when I have enough new fabric to sort, they might get broken up to make new groups.

This is a very relaxed and pleasing way to create colour combinations and a design challenge for later…