Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Quilting in colour!

 Hello again, this is an all sorts of things post.....some of those quilting bits that are more about the simple fun of making them!

Sometimes I get a real yen to just work with colours, the brighter the better!
That's how this 'pillow' quilt came about, I'd got all these gorgeous, fun
materials in my stash and they just needed to come bursting out.
Each little pocket is stitched together by hand and in this quilt I used natural sheep 'fluff' to fill them with.  I then laid all the little squares out on the floor and switched them around until I'd mixed the colours up as best I could.
Then came the 'fun' of stitching each little pillow to its neighbour on the machine. First making strips, then stitching the strips together....it was no fun when all that weight accumulated!!
I then backed the quilt - in bright yellow, what else! and tied the layers together at each of the junction points.....was I glad to get to the end of that job!!

Not a great photo but I think it shows how lovely and textural this
sort of quilting is - it does make for a heavy quilt though.
This one now gets used as a bright and cosy play rug by my little nephew!

Now don't laugh!
Why am I showing you a huge jar of marbles?
This lovely jar took pride of place on the counter of the museum at Reeth where I spent many happy hours as guest Craftswoman last year....
ok, so what about the jar and what has it to do with quilting?
Well, it actually inspired me to create a cushion using the 'suffolk puff' patchwork!

I call it my 'marble' cushion - and once again I got to use all those lovely bright bits of fabric!
I had many lovely memories of playing marbles in the school playground, as we did back then, while I stitched this.....oh, how I used to covet those extra special, huge marbles!!!

 This next cushion doesn't have a huge amount of quilting stitches on it, it was more about the motif I'd crocheted and placed centre front but I did like the patchwork binding I'd made using up those tiny scraps that you get sent so that you can buy material mail order.
I still keep the ideal of not throwing any scrap away!  
(Does mean my material cupboard is groaning though!)

Back to the museum last year for the last piece in this section.
Upstairs was this lovely old rocking crib, a little narrow I thought, the babies would definately have to be swaddled to fit in there! but this little quilt is quite special to me as it was the quilt that got me back on track with my quilting life once again.  I'd had a break of over two years because personal strife caused a creative black hole!!

This little quilt called 'Nursery steps' was my new little steps back into the world of stitching.
Thank goodness!!  :-)
I hadn't realised how much I'd missed it!

Thanks for looking in,  take care.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Danu - a wallhanging

I'm almost caught up in showing you the quilts I have done in the past!
This one I made around 3 years ago, I was beginning to find my style by then, one that echoes the Celtic designs deep within the history of this part of the world.

This particular design is named Danu - the mythical mother goddess of the Tuatha De Danaan of Ireland.  She is associated with water among other things and hence with rivers - the Danube and the Don for example.
The image suggests at a feminine figure, associated with the natural world through the leaves I painted that act like a cloak and hinting at the association with water by the raindrop like beading that I stitched on.

....here the head, arms and cloak swishing behind

...the painted leaves that flow down around the figure swirling in the river eddies,

The red materials are all hand appliqued using the needle turn method 
and the clear beads stitched around to sparkle like water droplets.

Hope you like the image and the Celtic twist that is developing in my quilts!!

Ash.   :o)

Thursday, 31 May 2012

A 'peaceful friend' of childhood imagination.

Hello, finally beginning to stop dragging my feet and getting back to the world of blogdom!
Still having a go slow on the stitching side of things because of damaged fingers but I think I'm almost there - good job, I musty be on a 5 month lay-off now!
Frustration, what frustration!?  :)

So I thought I would drift back once again to quilt making of the past.....

......please meet' Kumi' - my peaceful friend.

I had long wanted to make a black and white quilt but instead of basing my piece on patchwork I'd discovered Sashiko quilting and determined to give it a go!
Traditionally this japanese style of quilting was white on navy
 but who says things cannot be different?  :)

The horse was from a favourite childhood book of mine 'The Silver Brumby'.
 I had always loved the 2" high image on the front of the book and had always said I would use it at some point in  my life.....I set to to create my own versioin, somewhat enlarged, to be the centre-piece of the quilt. Then, using a very useful book I found in the local library, I set off on the then little known process of creating a sampler border of different sashiko designs.  I loved the way each pattern had a name and association so typical of the japanese.

.......a little closer in on the stallion, I love the movement from the flowing mane.

A little blurry I'm afraid but you can see the quilting to the back of the horse where I tried to show rays of light radiating behind.....

This pattern is a variation of 'Seigaiha' - blue ocean waves.....

This one is a variation of the 'Asanoha' - hemp leaf design.....

 This pattern is 'Shippo tsunagi' - linked seven treasures.

Each pattern requires a grid to be drawn on the cloth before drawing in the actual design to then stitch over....my stitching was maybe not as precise as it should have been at the pattern junctions but I was pleased in the end as it was my first attemp!

 Here at the bottom I placed some oriental characters that I hope depict the message of 
'peaceful friend' -  a strong association for me to a beautiful white creature, imaginary, a piece of childhood, but so real nevertheless.

A comment from a lovely lady recently causes me to note that apart from patchwork piecing and borders, which I do on a sewing machine, most of my work is done by hand.  I love the flow and texture that true hand quilting gives, though I am thinking of machine quilting simply because of a matter of speed but my first love will always be the hand work.  I never thought to say before and didn't realise people would think I worked by machine!!!!!
Hey-ho as they say.

Hope all you stitching fiends are busy and creating yet more wonderful stuff.  :)

Best wishes,  Ash.


Saturday, 24 March 2012

Quilts - In no particular order!

If you have looked in on my general blog you may know that stitching, at the moment, is held up for me while I try to allow damaged tendons in a couple of my fingers to heal.
Sooooo frustrating!! So I have ended up browsing past stitching projects and thought I might show you a little of my quilting journey over these past years ..... in no particular order!

This bed sized blue and white quilt was inspired by a book I was given one christmas about snowflake photography. These images are so exquisite I just had to have a go. Each white panel depicts a different snowflake, I remember having such 'fun' trying to draw them!!
I chose the cool blues to surround the panels because what else does the temperature feel like when it snows? Why the quilted rings because that is how the snowflakes appear as they melt, little drips of water that flow back into our rivers and seas.

Just a little closer in on a snowflake, I also added some silver beading to these panels at a later date - this quilt I have kept for myself!!

This is my original 'Kaleidoscope' quilt using pillow patchwork made for a little american boy who lived in England for a while due to his parents working here - I guess it carries on its travels over in america now, I have lost contact with them.

This was a cot size quilt inspired by a kirlian photograph of a butterfly where only the energy
around the object gets picked up - its like its just the presence of the butterfly rather than the creature itself, I found it fascinating. The rigid quilted triangle expressed a little of me caught in a world of being 'mum' and how I sometimes wanted to lift free of all that and just be me!!
This was a donation to a childrens hospital charity.

This bed quilt was inspired by a teeny-tiny scrap of material - a panda print!
I loved the dresden plate patchwork back then so used that and added my applique block in the centre panel. Some of the quilting depicts chinese script which I hope says 'Big Bear Cat' the chinese name for these gorgeous animals and hence the name of this quilt.

A little closer shows the panda chomping on bamboo sat amongst,this a nod to the oriental,
a rock garden.
This quilt was admired on the quiet by mum-in-law, guess where it ended up!

This is 'Kaleidoscope II' a much zingier pillow quilt which has found its way to
my lovely little nephew.

This quilt doesn't exist any more but it was the beginning of my love affair with the swirling celtic designs of old. It is an appliqued silhouette of an ash tree, so abundant here in the Dales,
the border is a stylised pattern of appliqued leaves, anchored at the corner and centres by
the appliqued sooty black buds that distinguish this wonderful tree.

This cream quilt I've called 'Daisy sprite' for the embroidered daisies scattered
around the borders. I took it into my head to do a single colour patchwork, why? I guess just because I could - the pattern was quite apt as apparently it is called 'crazy ann'.
I think people thought I was crazy chopping up a length of cloth to stitch it back together again!

This wall hanging was a first foray into felt applique. I would do it so differently now but I called it Muin - a celtic name for the blackberry which was said to symbolize the golden things of life (outside of money!!) Family, spirituality, regard, love...... needless to say I quilted some of this using a gold thread!

Another wall hanging called 'dewdrops'. Again I was using the curling, flowing celtic style I love and added the almost tear-like dew drops - inspired by early morning dew on grass seed heads one early morning walk with our old labrador.

This was one of the few commissions I have undertaken, very specifically a central
medallion motif was wanted and it had to fit on a double bed. As much as I enjoyed the creating of the quilt I do find such specific requests quite stifling as I can't go off on a tangent
as the design unfolds, my usual method of working!

This little mat I made on the one and only quilting class I have ever been to....called 'Forest green' for the colour of the applique motif. I almost headed off on an hawiian type of stitching around it. This one enden up in Norwy with a pen-friend of child-hood.
(I really must get in touch with her again!!)

This is one of the few quilts I regret letting go of, a 21st birthday gift to a sister-in-law, I loved the rich red colour in the patchwork and the idea behind the quilt. The print in the centre of the star is of ladybirds .......
'ladybird, ladybird fly away home '.
I used a quilting motif that represented the 'white rose' of Yorkshire and my family had just wended its way back to home territory after moving around the country for work -
Hence this quilt was called 'Fly away home'.

There, a meandering around some of my past work.
My ideas and style is slowly changing I know and I find it quite desperate trying to keep away from my needles. That has happened so much this last few years, I hope I can begin to change that and maybe make my life and part of my living through what I love.
Watch this space as they say!!! :-)

Thanks for calling in, please say hi it would be good to hear from you all.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Wensleydale Rose

This smaller quilt I really enjoyed making. I'd seen in a magazine a wreath style quilt and wanted to have a go at my own - I used applique and enhanced the flower motif by adding an extra crocheted layer using some of my hand spun wensleydale yarn, hence the name!
I didn't want to use a five petalled 'rose',that would have been more natural but that motif is already 'taken' in the symbol of the white rose of Yorkshire - its close enough though to the dog rose that grows wild in the hedgerows around here.

In the centre of the wreath I quilted a repeat of the rose design and then went for a traditional quilting filler design.

A little closer on the applique,
I love using cream and liked the muted tones to go with it....

.....here closer in on my 'dog rose' flower.

....and the border where I quilted the rose repeat again before venturing into the large scalloped edge, very fiddly that bit!!

I'd used a very soft organic cream cotton for the front and back and with the colouring of the applique it gave a lovely antique feeling to the whole quilt.

I think I'd like to try 'mark II' of this quilt just to see how my style has changed over the years and to see what comes out of the idea this time!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Wild Arum

This is a quilt I made maybe six years ago now - and it was given to a friend as part of a barter,
my creative time for her emotional support and the time that takes!!

It began life as a single inch scrap of material - the sort that gets sent to you for
ordering via the post! That set the colour scheme and the theme for this quilt as
the scrap was a stylised print of the arum flower.

The patchwork block was taken from a quilting magazine but I then decided to add my own applique block which depicted an image of a local wild plant 'Lords and Ladies', 'Cuckoo Pint' ....
or in otherwords the wild Arum.
I still took this to be an image of peace as the stucture of the plant is the same as the white 'Peace Lily' often sold as a houseplant.

As is my wont the border include a classic celtic design, the celtic knot, used as a repeat
with the diamond motif picking up the repeat from the central quilted section.

In the centre was the panel that for me was the main 'thrust' of this quilt so to speak, my own large celtic knot and, as I was stitching this, the following thoughts kept streaming through my mind.....

In the eternal knot that marks our lives,
where we continuously follow our paths and cover so many 'miles' -
do we in fact travel so far?

at the centre is ourselves ,
need we wander all these pathways - well, I guess that is experience
and hopefully wisdom......
but always what is nearest is the space 'that is'....ourselves.
Shouldn't we let the search move inwards and always there, at the centre,
is that thing we call Peace!

So there she is...... Wild Arum - peace lily,
hope you like!

Friday, 10 February 2012

The Silken rose

This is a small quilt that I stitched a number of years ago now......
but it still sits waiting for a home!
I wanted to have a go at wholecloth quilting but decided on this cot-size piece I suppose it would be called - it sits on top of a double bed and just covers the bottom half.

I used an oyster pink dupion silk and stitched with a matching silk thread.
The design just seemed to happen really but I had been admiring a cross-stitch pattern for the rose window at York Minster at the time - the cross-stitch never happened but I so enjoyed making this quilt.... even if the seed stitch in the centre-piece drove me nuts!

I've found it quite difficult to get a decent phot of it but I like this one because it shows the lovely sheen of the silk and picks up on the play of light and dark on the stitching and pattern
that is is one of the ouotcomes of quilting that I love so much.

Someday I might be adventurous and try a larger piece!!!!!

Monday, 30 January 2012

Quilt - Dance of the Snowdrop

Here is the flower which to me is an expression of the joy of new life that comes to this part of the world each spring with the emergence of this, the beautiful and very delicate snowdrop. When the world is still grey and the gound cold and often hard, unbelievably this tiny flower pushes through and nods its delicate head in the heavy winds.

I love the pure whiteness of the petals, the amazing bright green that edges the tiny inner trumpet, the way there is only the tri-petal shape to create this little wonder which hangs from an arching stem that seems so tiny and yet proves to be so sturdy.....

This following octagonal quilt is an expression of the joy I find in this flower, I was inspired to begin having completed spinning some yarn in the early spring one year - a green dyed alpaca blend that was soft and fine.
This described the edging of the snowdrop flower for me and then gave me the base to follow with the green and white colour scheme - why octagonal, not planned it simply evolved!

It took a while to complete being hand-stitched throughout so the first photo of completion happened in the summer months!

The design of the trisceles came from an actual drawing of a celtic artifact I found in a favourite book of mine and echoed the tri-shaped nature of the snowdrop - and the couching with my green yarn created 'the dance' on the quilt.

I then built on the base design by drawing in and quilting the outline of the snowdrop flower...
the central star was a 'compass' that speaks of all the directions that can be taken in our lives...

A further echo of 'three' was having that number of bands in the design, the central circle or 'dance', another band of white running around that and the third and last border that picked up the green and was itself quilted with another trisceles 'running' design.

Dance of the Snowdrop

We speak of the three,
Light of life,
love of the heart
and breath of the wind.

Hope you like!