Some news

 

Rose

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As lots of you who either know me in person, know me via Facebook or read this blog regularly will know, I am starting a small studio at home.  As part of this I am working with a wonderful woman called Hannah to build a really smart website.  Hannah is great because she gives me lots of excellent training and tips about social media.  One thing we have been talking about is doing things to improve my blog and the ease with which people can find it.  I am experimenting with three things which I would like to have feedback on:

  1. I am condensing the size of my photos so it will make this much quicker to load, particularly on a smart phone.
  2. I am putting in more headings which increases the likelihood of google searches finding the blog, apparently.
  3. I am including more links to other websites where I can as this also helps google find me.

I would be really interested to know what you think.  In the meantime, thanks for your support and I will give you the website address as soon as it goes live.

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Squaring up quilts

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Badly hanging quilt

This is another quick post.  You may remember that I was horrified by just how badly this quilt hung at the Bristol Quilters’s recent exhibition.  Well, in the comments I received there was a practical suggestion from lovely and knowledgeable Judith Barker:

The best aid to having straight edges and square corners on a quilt is a tiled floor! I pinched this idea from Carol Bryer Fallert, who has a HUGE studio with 12 inch square black and white tiles. My small workroom has vinyl flooring like fake wood blocks, all straight lines. My kitchen has square slates. You tape the quilt to the floor, and slide a cutting mat under the edge to trim. Really helpful.
Judith B.

The quilt that goes on giving

I’ve never been tremendously fond of the saying that you can eat all the pig except the squeak, but I do like to use as much of a quilt’s basic materials as I can before I begin throwing away, so here’s a mouse made out of the trimmings of this badly-squared quilt:

mouse

 

A word to the wise

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Another very quick post to say that these fantastic big sequins are back in stock in branches of Tiger.  I bought five packs because I was so upset when they went out of stock last time.

 

 

Wise words

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Teeny, tiny post today.  I was discussing the perennial scrap quilts leave you with more scraps than you started with problem last week and was delighted to hear the following acronym: STABLE = Stash beyond life expectancy.  Which just about covers it.

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I recently went on a really great workshop organised by Selvedge magazine.  It was called a ‘Craft Spa Day’ and was held in Bloomsbury.  Selvedge, by the way is a fantastic magazine.  It has the most glorious photos which I virtually want to eat, plus it has introductions to wonderful craftspersons and the story of all sorts of textiles and techniques.  It is a real treat.  The only problem is that it makes me want to get up and start doing something every time I read it, so I seldom finish reading it.   You can get it in WH Smith and arty bookshops, or you can subscribe.  If you don’t want to do that you can just look at the website which has glorious graphics.

Okay, so, the day was divided into two parts.  The first had two talks on sewing/craft and therapy.  Ruth Battersby Tooke gave a brilliant talk on Lorina Bulwer’s extraordinary textile letters:

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Bulwer was put in the Great Yarmouth workhouse by her family because she was, as we would now say, suffering from some sort of mental illness.  As Ruth pointed out, this sounds awful but it may have been an act of kindness.  She led an independent life and was not put in an asylum and it seems that her brother visited her regularly.  As part of her condition she wrote the most astounding letters to local dignitaries complaining about her lot and about her sister-in-law, whom she despised.  All the text is couched, and occasionally another panel comes to light.  It is now  in two massive pieces: one twelve feet long and the other fourteen.  Ruth used the pieces to talk about reading history through textiles, and also about the embroideries themselves.

The next speaker, Marie O’Mahoney, was talking about whizzy hightech textiles which was fine, but I sort of thought I’d heard it all before a bit.  Textiles to monitor our health, textiles to interact with our environment, that sort of thing.  The third speaker was due to be Betsan Corkhill, who had a family emergency and so could not attend.  She is the woman who has written about knitting as therapy.  I bought a copy of her book:

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I found it a bit terribly jolly, but it makes some very pertinent points about the therapeutic benefits of knitting and craft in general.  I presume there are also scholarly articles that she has written, but this would give you a good overview of the main arguments for knitting.  We should all knit for ten minutes a day, by the way.

In the afternoon we got to choose from a series of workshops on spinning, weaving, basketry and quilting.  I chose the quilting  I had a lovely calm afternoon stitching as the tutor, Abigail Booth, had already marked the cloth, all of which was dyed with tree-based dyes.  I finished my piece on the day which I think is important in a workshop, and because Abigail, who was really lovely, showed me a new way of finishing the edges which I adapted a tiny bit to give a frame.  My only problem was that I chose a pale turquoise thread to contrast with the nicely browned pastry colour of the cloth:

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Fine close up, but when I stood back it looked like I’d used one of the water soluble marking pens and hadn’t washed it out.  Hubris, of course, always gets its comeuppance.