Monday, September 28, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009


I have been listening to old Lloyd Webber musicals lately, but that's not the Memories I have in mind. I was looking through some old photos the other day, and remembered an old photo strip my grandad kept on his pinboard for as long as I can remember. The two of us shared the same quirky sense of humour and we both thought it was hilarious. Sadly the rest of the family never saw it that way, and it has probably ended up in a landfill somewhere after he passed away. I still have an image of it in my mind though, and somehow the idea of recreating it in fabric and thread planted itself in my mind.
The actual photos were of me, at the tender age of four. I have a vague recollection of the day they were taken: My grandparents had just returned from a coach trip to Italy and we were all at the bus station to meet them. There was a lot of hugging, kissing, and high spirits, presents were exchanged and somehow in the midst of all this, someone thought it would be a good idea to let me have my photo taken in the photo booth. Nobody remembered to adjust the seat, and it didn't occur to any of them to explain to me what was going to happen once that little curtain had been closed and I was left alone in the booth. The photos told their own story, like a comic strip: In the first picture you saw just the top of my worried little face; in the next one, blinded by the flash, there I was, eyes wide open and somehow much higher up - I was probably suspended in thin air from the shock...; in the next one, you just saw the back of my head on my way out; leaving an empty booth as the fourth image.
Now I'm not all that good at drawing, but I have made an attempt to recreate the images, like a comic strip with thread sketching. I stitched strips of fabric onto wool felt with white thread to form my background and stitched my sketch with black thread on top. Not perfect, but I think it tells the story the way I intended. Now there is some space left, so I could cut it down to size, or maybe add some kind of caption? Now what would that be? "unprepared", "surprised", "flash" , "tales of the unexpected"... I'm getting sillier and sillier here - any suggestions?

Monday, September 21, 2009


I seem to have been working on my zigzag quilt forever (the quilting is all done, just the binding to do before show and tell!) and yesterday I just needed a diversion. I had an idea I wanted to try out and got some craft felt out to do some stitching. When I had cut the piece I needed, I was left with some scraps that turned out to be just the right size for some bookmarks. I had a friend's birthday party to go to, and had bought her a book, so why not make her a bookmark to go with it? I sat down by the sewing machine and stitched some selvedges and other bits and pieces to one of the felt scraps - just parallel lines with white thread, and liked the effect so much that I continued with the other two scraps. A bit of hand-stitching and voila: three new bookmarks.

My friend liked hers a lot, and one of my co-workers who saw it before I put it in the card was envious, so there might just be a market for these. Not that I'm going to sell them, but as a little treat for a friend these will do nicely, I think. There might be some more later on. But first, some binding to stitch and then that diversion I was diverted from...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

How could this have slipped my mind?

I could have sworn I had blogged about this earlier, but it seems I've only mentioned it in passing and shown pictures of the work in progress, never the finished quilt. I remember I was trying to get some good photos of it, and was waiting for the rain to stop so I could take it outdoors, but it never happened. Well, the rain stopped (and started again...), but the photo session never took place. I unfolded it quickly the other day to snap a few pics, but I see I should have smoothed the wrinkles out as well...
Never mind. The quilt went to it's new home last Monday, as a gift for my Mother's 70th birthday, and was received with a gasp of delight. The same lovely reaction I got when unfolding it at show-and-tell at my guild a week earlier. There's nothing like that spontaneous gasp through the room when presenting something you have made, is there? So you have to take my word for it - it is actually much better "in person" than the picture shows. There are a few close-ups here that show off the pretty café fabrics that made me start this in the first place.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Getting there...

Getting there...
Originally uploaded by crafty mathea
Still working on my zigzag quilt, but not too much left now... There is a lot of stopping and turning, which seemed tedious at first, but I'm getting into the groove and finding that I quite like the texture of these parallel lines.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Looking forward

I'm still quilting along on my zigzag quilt, and although there is a lot of stopping and turning, I finally feel that there is some progress, and I'm enjoying the work. Working on one project doesn't stop me from dreaming about the next, of course. After hearing a lot about it, I caved and bought an X-block ruler the other day. The idea of this is to make a nine-patch, put the ruler on top, aligning the lines with the seams in the block, before trimming the block. I grabbed some scraps and had a go, and voila - here's my first block. The blocks can be used to make a variety of intricate-looking quilts.
I have been thinking and dreaming about a red and aqua quilt for a while, and after playing in EQ for a while, I came up with this. The blocks are quite small, so the quilt will be 40 x 40" - just the right size to drape over the back of my sofa or use as a tablecloth - I haven't decided which!

I have been planning on giving two of the pictures above my sofa a rest for a while, and as I mentioned earlier, I have framed some cards to hang there in place of one of them. I haven't actually hung them yet, because I didn't know what to substitute for the other one. Then the thought struck me: why not a quilt? There are quilts on the walls everywhere, except in my living room. I kept working in EQ, and this small quilt (16 x 20") is what I came up with. If I make it in the same colours as the other one, I can make blocks for both quilts at the same time, getting two for one, so to speak, and I get the added bonus of a coordinated look.
So this is the plan, or dream, I have before me while quilting along. These may be my next projects, or the ones after that... Or maybe I'll end up making something entirely different...

Sunday, September 06, 2009

It happened again last night

- I didn't win the lottery. So it seems I'll have to keep the day job and squeeze my quilting and crafting time in where I can. I'm at the point with my zigzag quilt that there is very little to show right now - it's just a lot of zigzagging lines. I'm beginning to regret choosing this mode of quilting, because I get bored with all the stopping and turning of this big quilt, so while I'm trudging along I find myself struggling to restrain myself from veering out from the pattern, maybe go in a straight line out from halfway down and fill the open areas with lines, or maybe let the zigzags become looser and looser until they become waves?
I managed to stay on the straight and narrow path I've carved out for myself yesterday, but couldn't help sketching out my idea when I sat down to relax later on. Am I being undisciplined, not wanting to stick to my plan, or just creative...?
Talking about creativity - I really began this post thinking about how little time I actually have for creating during the week. Being distracted by new hobbies doesn't help either. My subscription to Quilting Arts some years ago quickly led to a subscription to Cloth Paper Scissors and the new and exciting world of mixed media. I find myself with an urge to create, and have started dabbling a little, without much to show for myself so far. The main problem is having nowhere to set up a little crafting corner, so my supplies have to be put away after use, and the thought of all the mess I create stops me from getting them out again. I'm still at the point where I'm working on creating interesting backgrounds with collage, paint and stamps and I have redone this little canvas several times already. Coming up with a theme for something to put on top is still a challenge, and it gets easier when I actually have time to let my imagination fly. I keep coming back to houses as a theme, though, so that may be one thing to explore for a while. Hm, houses, a room of one's own to create in... there might be something there...
I made the mistake on this one of spraying it with a fixative that has given it a sheen that makes it hard to take a decent photo of it, but it's all a part of the learning process, I suppose. I'll probably glue or paint something new on top of it one day soon anyway, I guess. I'll keep you posted.