Final Piece - The big reveal!

I have spent the end of last week getting together various bits of copy and pictures ready for my web designer who is helping me take the next steps with my web presence and go While pulling my portfolio together I realised that I haven't posted any pictures of my final piece in its entirety. This week I remembered the main reason for this is that trying to photograph a white-on-white quilt which depends on the interaction of light and the viewer is not an easy thing to photograph! But here are a mix of detail and full length pictures of 'Called Control' and my accompanying artist statement.

You can click on each image to get a better close-up look.

Called Control
‘In the house where I was born lived a child called control and she never let go of my hand…..let it go, let it go.’

The visual rhythm in my piece reflects the repetitive nature of its construction. Inspired by municipal architecture from the post war period, which was the cityscape of my childhood, I am intrigued by the relentlessly functional design of these poured concrete leviathans. I look for the design flairs which each building has; hidden in the angle of a curve or the asymmetric placing of windows, proof that a person imagined every detail of these imposing structures. The same rhythm and detail is translated into my quilts. The process of making this quilt allowed me to explore my relationship with structure and control, how this relates to my own experience and ultimately learning to let go.


Finish them

I am meant to be writing my post Festival of Quilts 2012 post but I am still processing what I think about the show. At the moment I am mostly in agreement with nbnq. I am hoping a little more distance will give me a chance to separate the good experience of entering my first quilt and all the ups and downs that went with that, from the lack of inspiring work I saw at the show.

Instead of an FOQ post I am pleased to report I spent the start of this week finishing things. My work in progress yarn baskets (plural) have been stuffed behind the sofa and under my studio chair for too long so this weekend after I found myself casting on yet another new project I decided it was time to review the lurking projects, call time on those that are not destined to be completed (baby shoes, stripey scarf with too much end weaving to face) and finish those that I can. This is my first success story

This crochet blanket was started months ago when nbnq came to visit and I needed a mindless bit of crochet to do while wine was drunk and talking was done. It grew very quickly to begin with but once it was lap sized the weight of the blanket started to hurt my wrists and the idea of weaving in all the ends made me reel back in horror.  So in the basket it went.

When I finally got round to finishing it I only had to add 5 more rows and so that was how I spent a few hours on Tuesday while our houseguest and BS undertook the serious task of UCAS statement writing. By dinnertime it was on the sofa ready to be snuggled and I felt less guilty picking up my newly cast on tank top - my first attempt at a proper garment.

I wonder how long it will take for this one to end up in the basket.....


Decor It Yourself

I used to watch an online show from Threadbangers called Decor ItYourself. It was full of home improvement DIY's and a few of my resulting projects can still be found in our house. This weekend we embraced the Decor It Yourself ethos and went upholstery crazy.

I bought this chair about 3 years ago from a market in Oxford. It cost me £3 and sat in my office for a while driving my boss crazy. It is the perfect size for me to curl up in and is now my favourite spot to sit and do dissertation research. Sadly during the last two floods of my studio this chair got drenched. It is quite an old chair probably late 60's early 70's and it had all of its original cushions which did not respond well to repeated soakings and had started to smell like very wet dog. This weekend the chair got a facelift, a new cover and a new seat.

I picked up the fabric at Dunelm and I have to say I love it. Here is a bigger shot of the chair in situ.

We also gave our dining set a refresh. Two of our chairs are white, and two red. They had their gloss touched up and new cushions sewn.

I haven't had a chance to do much sewing for the house in a long time and I enjoyed the big impact these finishing touches have made to their respective rooms. The next on the list is a new curtain for the front door and to grout the table we tiled on Sunday. Looks like August is our month of DIY.


Cwtch for Chris

A few months ago right when I was in the middle of my final piece meltdown I got asked to make a little blanket or cwtch for my friend's little boy. At the time I was too crazy to give a response beyond "Yep sure, just let me finish the madness that is sewing ten THOUSAND 1cm squares and I'll be right on it", and so the cwtch for Chris joined my never ending list of quilts to make. I have so many rattling round my head, some are further along than others, some have fabrics picked out and stacked together ready to make, some have even been half started, others rattle around my brain in the wee small hours, urging me like a fabric devil that 5am is the perfect time to start sewing, and some are on a to do list waiting for inspiration to strike. The cwtch was on that waiting list.

And then last Monday I went to the staff summer BBQ and inspired by the discovery that most people in the group hadn't ever drunk snakebite and black demanded they did and proceeded to get drunk. Very drunk. Drunk to the point of dancing, singing and ending in an embarrassing drunken rant at Chris. It turns out hangover shame was an excellent inspiration incentive when it came to designing and making the cwtch. So here it is my I-might-be-a-bit-of-a-dreadful-drunk-but-I'm-lovely-when-sober baby blanket.

The front has a vague chevron design of Curious George fabric which I liberated from Silver Lining's stash some years ago, and some Aneela Hoey Little Apples tortoise fabric which was a gift from NearlyButNotQuite. Trying to get my head round the design melted my brain a little bit but I am really happy with how it came out in the end. My sketchbook has now got a few more chevron ideas rattling round it.

The back of the quilt was made from the rest of the Curious George fabric and a little grey strip for interest, not to cover up a slight miscalculation in cutting, no siree bob definitely intentional to add interest. Here is one very happy customer enjoying the blanket.
So the moral of the story is if you want me to make you a quilt, get me really drunk, encourage me to behave badly and then let my guilty conscience do its work......

They weren't lying

This isn't the first time that I have written a post extolling the wisdom of my tutors. As the holidays are rushing by at an alarming speed it was about time to do something creative. I have been playing around with the idea of making a paper pieced quit inspired by security envelopes for ages, and today I decided to stop thinking about it, start getting some ideas in my sketchbook and even make some samples.

Every quilter seems to have a stash of hexagons somewhere. They are the easiest form of quilting to take on the go and the speed in which a paper pieced quilt comes together is satisfying and addictive. I have had several hexy fads so I thought I had a relatively large supply of paper hexagons and ready cut squares of fabric for this project. But horror of horrors - I realised I didn't have any papers left and halfway through my sample I was going to have to make some more. You can buy pre-cut squares but I print mine off using this webpage. Trouble was I had forgotten how to calculate the size of the papers I needed. It might not sound like much of a horror but printing off page after page of wrong sized templates gets tiresome awfully quickly.  Earlier this year I did a specialist processes module about quilting which meant I had to spend many tedious hours writing down all the things that I knew and investigated about quilting. It felt pointless at the time but today proved to be very useful.

I flicked through my tech journal and found not only had I written down how to measure the papers I needed, but also what size fabric squares I needed and even more importantly there was a big sample showing all the different stitch sizes and densities used so I could chose the perfect combo for my samples.

The teaching staff were right! Your technical journal *is* very useful, so though it may seem frustrating and pointless to be writing down all the things you do everyday my advice is try and remember that there will be a point when you're not doing that process everyday and having the answer written down in your own way is brilliant. In fact it may even save you enough time that you can sort out your sample and settle down in front of the TV with a beer, Mexican food and cuddles just in time for a Big Bang Theory double bill......which is what I am off to do right now.


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