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Cuckoo Bush Quilters

A couple of weeks ago I went to my mother’s quilting group’s exhibition in Gotham, Notts.  This is Goat-ham not Gotham, home of Batman.  It’s got its own Wise Men of Gotham lore in which the inhabitants acted like fools to stop a royal visit which would have meant opening up the road to the village which they didn’t want to do.  One of the foolish activities they undertook was to hedge in a cuckoo and the village commemorates the very spot where this was supposed to have happened.  The spot turns out to be a neolithic burial ground.

There is also an 18C nursery rhyme:

Three wise men of Gotham,
They went to sea in a bowl,
And if the bowl had been stronger
My song would have been longer.

And so it goes on.  The villagers are very proud of this tradition of feigning idiocy to avoid inconvenience.  I once worked for a boss who had an ‘I’m a simple country lad from Bridgwater’ routine which threw people off the scent of his really quite forensic brain.  I am, however, digressing.

The exhibition was held in the local church as you can see from the above photograph.  The medieval historian had been lured in with the promise of tea and homemade cake, but was actually quite interested in the church itself, which, it appears has some fine tombs and some very early stonework.  And there were indeed cakes.

It was a lovely exhibition because it was a good group show.  I like exhibitions where everyone is included and where there are displays of different quilts coming out of the same workshops or group challenges.  This show was nice because so many of the quilts were draped over the pews and various sofas, so it gave it a kind of cosy nomad tented feel.  By this I mean that you could imagine reclining on all the soft quilts, and then being able to pack them up and be on your way following the herd or going to the next oasis or whatever your nomadic tribe got up to.

I very much liked this quilt which was draped over some choir stalls:

I love the vintage placement and all over design with a modern palette.  It is wrong, really, to single out one piece, but it is the one that I would have taken home with me.

Really, though, this was about my mother showing off her quilt.  Now this quilt has been hanging about in various stages of construction for years.  In the end, I said I would take it and get it long-arm-quilted for her so that it would get finished.  I also did the binding and the hanging sleeve, so I like to think that I made a contribution to it.  It’s called Scherenschnitte after the paper cutting technique, where you fold paper and cut to make symmetrical snowflakes:

This is not a brilliant photograph because the lighting was not the greatest on a really rainy day, but it gives you an idea of the layout.  It is all hand appliqué:

But, I have to give a load of credit to Frances Meredith who did the quilting.  That perfectly fitting circular motif was just gorgeous, as was the extravagant feather border:

She took something that we really just wanted to see that back of and made it into a stunning piece which was greatly admired.  She even told me the fabric range that the main blue fabric came from so that I could find the dark blue binding to match.  I cannot recommend her services highly enough.  Her business is called Faberdashery and she is a joy to work with.

So, a success all round, and we also won a raffle prize which turned out to be some lovely fat quarters from the Moda Grunge range.

Five Valley Quilters’ Exhibition, Nailsea

Well, it was a damp, warm, dizzly day here today as the Medieval Historian and I made our way to Nailsworth in Gloucestershire to have a look at the the Five Valley Quilters’ exhibition.  We went through some lovely English countryside of the type you would want for one of those Victorian costume specials about vicars’ daughters and agricultural workers.  It’s only that green because of all the rain.

The show, however, was lovely. exactly the right size.  There was just enough room for lots of variety but not so much stuff that it became a bit of a slog to get through it all.  The quality of the work was uniformly very high, which is unusual for an open group exhibition and it ranged over everything from traditional patchwork to experimental pieces.  I really loved the way that several quilters had explored working with some of the very modern prints which look gorgeous on the roll but can be hard to make the most of in finished pieces.

I heard a woman behind me say that she was interested in learning patchwork but didn’t know where to start.  This exhibition was perfect for a beginner who wanted to see what was happening in the craft, and also because it was really well stewarded by friendly and enthusiastic quilters throughout.  I came away feeling really cheerful because I felt I had spent a happy hour in the company of people who loved what they were doing.

There was a lovely welcome on the door, great homemade cake and a very good value sales table.  I am not sure you can ask for more.

I have not included pictures of individual quilts because that didn’t seem fair, but one lovely touch was a collection of antique chain-stitching machines on a window sill, a couple of which were really prettily painted:

All lovingly restored and in full working order.  Which is more than you can say for me.

 

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Wreath Wraith

 

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I have been very busy recently and have let my blog slip.  I can only apologise.  There are plenty of posts coming up which I hope will go some way to make up for this.

I am starting with the pieces that I entered into the Bristol Quilters Exhibition earlier this month.  The first of these is Wreath Wraith.  I have no idea why I chose the word ‘wraith’, here; it should have been Wreath Wright, as in someone who makes wreaths.  But I think that I might have done so much of this that it made me feel like a wraith or a ghost.  My idea was to show how you could make Baltimore style wreaths part of a contemporary quilt.

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The appliqué here is all by hand, but the construction of the pieced elements is done on my IKEA sewing machine to show that you don’t need a fancy one to piece.  I had to fall back on the Bernina for the machine quilting, though.

I have blogged about making this piece before: (https://annjrippin.wordpress.com/2017/04/17/further-adventures-in-wreath-making/, )and so I thought I would say something about seeing the quilt in the show.

The first thing was my horror in seeing it hanging.  About as straight as a dog’s hind leg, as my mother would say.  The right-hand-side of this ripples gently and is probably about three inches shorter than the left.  Now, I put this down to rushing to finish it, and not hanging it up myself.  What a nightmare.  Note to self, try the measuring and using a set square the way they tell you to in quilting manuals.

The second thing was my ‘delight’ about being hung next to the totally glorious and perfect appliqué piece by the international championship winning quilter, Sandie Lush.

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Just stop for a minute and consider just how perfect this is.  Here is a detail:

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Not only is the appliqué of a standard to make you weep, but the hand quilting is perfection too.  Then look at mine:

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Just above entry level.  But Sandie is a lovely, gracious and kind woman.  She came up to me at the show and said, ‘I love your appliqué.  It’s really vibrant and lovely.  Mine looks dull and lifeless.’  It didn’t, of course, but very kind of her to say so.

Sandie has a great web page detailing her quilts and her activities.  When you see that, you will realise why I was so crimson of mien being placed next to her, and why she is such an inspiration to so many.  Her website is here http://www.sandielush.co.uk/

Just to let you know I am still here

 

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I haven’t posted anything for far too long and that’s because I am at that point which a lot of you will recognise of frantically trying finish a quilt for an exhibition.  I wouldn’t exactly use the phrase ‘throwing it together’ but it’s really not that far off.  I made the classic mistake of entering a quilt which I hadn’t made without fully taking in the date of the show.  It’s helpful that the evenings are lighter for longer otherwise I don’t think I’d get anywhere near finishing it.

There will be plenty of photos and posts to come when this marathon is over, but for now, here is a weird photo from my phone of Westonbirt Arboretum.

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Gillian Travis at Malvern Quilt Show

 

 

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There was a lot of lovely work on show at Malvern, but the ones I liked the absolute best were Gillian Travis’ Indian quilts.  I think this is probably because my own work is going through such a figurative phase.  I loved the vibrant colours and the clever techniques

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Nice use of block printing over the finished piece, here, for example, and I like her substitution of foil for glass shisha mirrors.  I also really liked the use of a small mini-quilt on the side of the main piece picking up a design element:

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The figure here is a very clever layering of black tulle.  This is the ‘detail’ quilt

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I also admire the machine quilting in metallic thread, which really isn’t as easy as it looks here.

Her book with Pat Archibald, Dual Journeys in Stitch is absolutely gorgeous and had the weird effect of making me want to reach not for a needle but my sketchbook.  I did say that I wouldn’t use many photos as people are  increasingly nervous of having their international property stolen, so she has a lovely blog, website and facebook page, so there is plenty of opportunity to see the work.  Here’s one more quilt to finish the post:

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Malvern Autumn Quilt Show

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This is a quick photo post of the Malvern Autumn Quilt show that I went to today with my excellent friends Ceri and Alison. It’s quite a small show and so you could see it all easily, and you could get up to the traders for a change and really see what they had on the stall.

I took the new camera with me and couldn’t resist taking some arty photos.  The lovely bundles of tweed came from Quilting Antics, who also have a blog.  They thought it was hilarious that I wanted to take a photo of their fabric.  I had a nice conversation with them and they seemed to be my kind of quilters – ones with a sense of humour, rather than treating it all as a life or death issue.  Their blog is lovely and one very much for people who love to quilt.  Anyway, the photos:

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