Marking a curve

curved  lines of stitching on collaged fabric on  fuzzy battingCurved lines!! Stitched spontaneously without marking!!! This is something completely new for me. The works seemed to want it…I’m a bit doubtful, but  it’s early in the process.  Samples would have been a good idea. Think of all the unpicking if I don’t like it…curved  lines of stitching on collaged fabric on  fuzzy batting


Feeling the squeeze 

  Nearly ready for exhibition!
The gallery has a suspended-hook hanging system. Sometimes I envy painters and all those who frame their work, with that handy string across the back!

My quilts need “something for a hook to hook onto” plus  some structure to keep them spread flat on the wall.  I want to keep them as soft, light and flexible as possible. 
A bit of experimentation is required. The answer this time is to add a bar of very light stiff wood across the back with one or more cord loops for the hanging hook to catch. 

I quite enjoy this final bit of engineering, especially the opportunity to borrow tools -and a handy assistant- from the other studio in my home. 

With any luck this will all be invisible to you when you visit- Kumeu Arts Centre March 29 to April 9. 

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?

Setting up shop

Today I opened my Etsy shop – a key item in my plan to be a self-sustaining artist. 

You’ll see the sofaQuilts I still have in hand from last year’s busy stitching.

Please take a look and do any or all of the following:

  • let me know what you think
  • Share with your pals
  • Buy a sofaQuilt!

Thanks as always for your interest and encouragement 😘

Back to the bundles…

I’m house sitting (you saw it on the Plan!). Working away from the studio requires a bit of thinking ahead. I pack all of the usual sewing tools- and some Projects. While I’m here I’m going to make the Baby Quilt top. Assuming that doesn’t take all my time, I also brought the Basket of Bundles so i can make something else too.  

soft cane basket of rolled bundles of fabricric

Basket of bundles. lower left: baby quilt fabrics. Upper right: 2 bundles unrolled

This basket is close to being my favourite thing. It’s full of bits of fabric, none very large, all collected at random. I group them in delicious combinations and roll them up until it’s their turn to be sewn. Any bundle can be raided for the perfect fabric for the current quilt. Any fabric can be rejected and put back in the basket to be added to a later combo. Bundles are taken apart and recombined.

This seems completely unplanned; from the perspective of each quilt sewn, it is. However, from the perspective of creating a steady stream of interesting unique quilts, this fun process is the best plan I can imagine.

More unusual behaviour 

 pink fabrics blowing on a rotary clothesline Some people insist that pre-washing fabric for a quilt is essential. They worry about colours running and about shrinkage. I don’t usually do this. Most of my quilts are for the wall, or are for adults. Not likely to be washed often, or ever. I choose good quality materials so the risks of both problems are minimal.

For this baby quilt, I’m working outside of habit. I know it’s likely to be washed often, so there’s more opportunity for something to go wrong. I might even pre-wash the batting! or choose a non-shrinking polyester. They dry fast, could be the best choice anyway. 

Pre-washing also removes the manufacturing dressing from the fabric. This stuff can be irritating to sensitive skin. Remember, it’s All About The Baby! and its Mum.

Looking backward, looking forward

Over the last fifteen-or-so months I’ve completed four large quilts on commission. All are original designs I created to delight the clients in every detail. It’s been an enormously interesting and rewarding experience. I feel privileged to have been invited into the lives of these people in such an intimate and trusted way.

Those big quilts take up a LOT of space in the studio and in my mind. I’m going to change focus for a while and direct my energy to smaller works. There are so many ideas captured in sketchbooks or pinned to the design wall during those months. Time to make them “materialise” 

I hope and expect to make large commission quilts in future. If you would like one please don’t hesitate to get in touch for a leisurely conversation while I’m forging small-scale.

The next post will be about how I’m re-setting the foundry.