Over the last five years I have been art journalling or working on ‘A’ sized paper. I have been working intuitively but thinking in rectangles. When I started sewing I loved the newness of the method and the feel of the material (though my fingers and hands are rebelling at the repetition and the skin on the top of my right thumb is rough and pitted where I clip it with the needles) .
I really enjoyed starting my big quilt. It is a rectangle, but I am struggling with being intuitive on such a large scale.
I sewed a bag panel and then started an A4 sampler. I realised I might kid my self that I work intuitively but I am always assessing the design….
I saw a couple of denim bags on social media and wanted to have a go at a boroinspired panel.
I found a denim bag in a shop sale which was decorated on the top 3rd – some of the design was heavily machine stitched – so I covered that section of the panel with patches and stitching. It needed more.
Boro is the Japanese term for mended cloth with sashiko stitching -I read that it was built up with layers over years. To make cloth stronger and warmer.Maybe working so fast over a couple of days means that the fabrics don’t have time to bed down or build up any sense of history.
Anyway, I didn’t like my panel as it was. When I am art journalling- or working in other pieces I have found my self in the mind set – that if it doesn’t look like it is working, I set it aside for a bit or add another layer…..
I looked back at the bags that I liked on social media – a stripy design appealed. So I added another layer to my panel
This ability to assess a design – look at the balance of texture/ pattern / shape is lost for me on my quilt. I am enjoying working on such a large piece and can see that there will be a huge sense of satisfaction when it’s finished, but the assessing, control freak is not a happy bunny. 😂😂😂
I have always wanted to have a go at making a quilt. I was given a small blue one when the children were small that I always loved.
I have never been able to imagine cutting out the fabric neatly with 90 degree corners and straight lines. Doing some research around my teabag quilts after some one said they looked a bit like sashiko- I discovered the fabulous world of Japanese stitching and boro inspired patching.
There are lots of sources on Pinterest and blogs about the history of /methods online
Back to my quilt. I was offered a bag of fabric scraps by a friend if mine. I decided to have a go at making a quilt using an old single duvet as a base.
As a child I remember saying when I grow up I am never going to darn socks – after watching my mother sew little hard circles of stitches into jumpers and socks. So I am amused that the technique mum taught me is now being used to top stitch a whole quilt!!!
My aversion to the effort required to cut neat shapes means that the design will be quite organic and the top stitching will hide a multitude of sins ….
I had a bright cotton skirt that was too busy. It would make a good choice to base all my other fabric colour choices on.
I started at the edges because I thought the hem of the skirt would add strength to the final piece.
I practiced boroinspired stitching on some of the pieces
Then started adding my friends fabric scraps. She has some experience with quilting so a lot of the pieces were cut into rectangles or squares ….
I wasn’t really sure about the yellow but it does lift the blue.
I have been a bit obsessive and made my hands and back ache. So I decided to stop pinning new fabric and sewing it onto the base and concentrate on a bit of top stitching.
Jon and I are enjoying this because me adding fabric pieces is very very messy 😂with needles pins, fabric and thread all over the kitchen.
This is as far as I have got with my design. I am thinking of just adding blue pieces to the middle bit in a nod to the Japanese
history. I am using second hand pieces of fabric or clothes in an attempt to be frugal.
I always need to try something new or develop what I am doing. I found a series of tutorials for big stitch quilting by Jo Glover. She explains what to do and what equipment to use. I adapted her ideas using a teabag top layer ironed onto interfacing. I decided to go back to 3×3 bag samplers. I basted the teabags to the layers of wadding and back piece. I won’t do that again because the tea bags don’t stay secure enough at the edges
Jo recommended buying a water soluble crayon and crotchet cotton and sewing with a number 7 needle.
Big stitching quilts use similar motifs to Durham quilts as far as I can see in my research. I found it tricky to draw a feather motif free hand so I used the above hearts – it ended up looking a bit like a Christmas cactus 😂. With the Big stitching method you are only supposed to use running stitch. I have left the top half of this piece just running and filled in the outline on the bottom section. I think this works better against the lines that Jo suggested using on the back ground. The blue lines are the chalk pen, which is lovely to draw with. The make I used was Aqua Trickmarker.
I had a go at a second piece drawing a feather wreath design……..
Again I had to go back and stitch the outline. I think I am working too small for this technique – though I like the background texture. I decided these two quilts didn’t work on their own as standalone pieces so I added text
I seemed to have lots of text floating around from this and my ‘Tea and home’ project so I decided to have a go at just doing the back ground pattern from Jo’s tutorials
I think this is one of my favourites – I do like a bit of text lol.
Links to Jo’s videos on YouTube – they are all very short
I have been enjoying experimenting with my teabag quilts. However, I fancied doing something a bit different. I made a collaborative quilt with Fran Halperin – she added text and pattern to my design and then I stitched a circle over it in white. I was really pleased with how it worked out.
I decided to have a go at using a quilt as the base for an art journal page. I do these usually on paper and build up lots of layers using mandalas/ printing and adding text.
On holiday in France a made a tea bag quilt that wasn’t doing anything for me, so I used that as a base
And I made a simple 3×3 teabag base.
I am afraid I forgot to take a few photos – blame it on the fact that I was away for two weeks and got over excited on the making front
I started by making a background using pen and paint stencilled through a couple of mandala stencils. I glued the lettering in place with Matt medium. Then added my white back stitched circles
I didn’t like the text it seemed too simple – so I added more – just stitching on top this time. I added a pale orange set of circles in between the white and drew on top of it with pen and gelatoes.
This morning when I got up it seemed too simple . So I attached the lettering
I attacked the other quilt which went through a similar process too
Details of the quilts – I chose the text flipping though a Psychologies magazine with soft eyes and picking out words that jumped out at me
I am back down in France for a couple of weeks. I brought all my quilting kit with me. However I felt like drawing instead. I am still drying out teabags .
We have had the house in the family for 30 years. So I blog and post pictures regularly,
This year I wanted a new way of representing the house. I decided to have a go at doing some line drawings – in the style of blind contours. There are too many rectangles to do it properly. I thought I would set my self the task of one a day….
Day one: Kitchen Window
I love the this window. There is usually some basil in a pot. This year someone has stuck in a piece of dried honesty, it looks fab against the light.
Day two – I decided to draw the window in the main room- there is a great view of the hills through the balcony.
It was very hard to do my feet 😂😂😂
When my Mum was alive she used to make Jam and pickle. This morning when I got up and checked in the fridge There was lots of fruit that needed to be used up – it’s hard to keep on top of it during the hot summers here.
So I made a mixed fruit jam. It wouldn’t get to setting point so I decided to draw the back door as I waited – which is old and hasn’t been replaced by us
It opens up on to a small ally way and isn’t used very often – it’s a storage place for brooms and mops
The symbol of the region where we live is a Cardabelle – a flat circular thistle. Mum was given one as a present years ago. This afternoon it was too hot to go out so I decided it had to been done. I made several to get my hand and eye in and added water colour.
The thistles are very rare. They used to be dried out and nailed to lots of doors in the village but you don’t see them as much because they are protected. They are about 40cm in diameter and very prickly.