Monday, 28 May 2012

54 down - 18 to go...

Only 18 blocks left to quilt - hurrah!


Seems months - it IS months! - since Esther cut the
 batting (wadding) for her Odeon quilt and we sent it
to be machine basted 
I can't recommend enough having the layers
tacked together by machine, particularly if
you're a hand-quilter with bad knees or a bad back.
It's worth its weight in gold!

 My quilting friends offered to do a Team Baste, bless 'em,
but some of them aren't good after leaning
 over a table, so this seemed a very good option.

By the way ... 

Look at this lovely little stained glass wall hanging -
A perfect match for my quilt, or what?

It's by Shards of Glass and I found it on Etsy last week. 
Couldn't believe how similar it was in colour and style

"EQ - what?"
Those who've never seen Electric Quilt 
 in action might be interested in a brief view of how
 the programme helped me design the Odeon quilt

For the basic layout I chose a 9-block by 8-block
horizontal grid and added vertical sashing and a border

Next I added quarter log cabin blocks,
inserting them right across the grid and flipping some
horizontally to get a mirror image.
Colouring the block is easy - just the touch of a button.

EQ comes with libraries of blocks, fabrics, applique
 patterns and basic quilt layouts, and new fabrics are
added free every month.  You can also download
 ranges you like direct from the manufacturers website.
For OdeonI just used library fabrics that were roughly
the colours I wanted and refined the choice later.

EQ6 planning page

Esther wears jade a lot and loves browns and creams,
so those seemed a natural starting point. I've never used batiks,
but the more I thought about the more it seemed the way to go.

Bought most of them at the wonderful Web Fabrics at
Purcellville VA,and then trawled the web to match a
 lovely gold scrap I found in my stash.
  Must've looked at HUNDREDS of sites, but eventually found it at
Batiks Etcetera in Wytheville VA and had it shipped to the UK.
The fabrics shown in this layout are not batiks, but
they gave me the yardage needed in each colour

Number of patches and yardage
EQ6 is great - it works out fabric yardage (above) and prints
rotary-cutting patterns, templates or foundation piecing patterns.

Rotary-cutting diagram
Templates with 1/4" seam allowance added

foundation piecing template preview

These were the final fabrics

My grandson's quilt (see Something old - something new)
has applique in it.  If you're interested I'll add a post with
a few pics to show how the applique design tools work.

Would love your feedback -
it's so nice to meet people through comments!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Clarice Cliff, Davy Jones and me

Art deco fans - read and weep...

Meet Clarice Cliff

one of the most innovative and exciting
designers the Art Deco era produced!

Her iconic 'Bizarre' ware was a big hit, and the manufacturer,
 stunned by its success, pretty much gave her
 carte blanche to design what she wanted.
Bizarre ware is still very collectable, but its affordable
price tag is a thing of the past!

In the 1950s, Grandma had a clear-out and my mum found
 herself with two full sets, an 'Autumn' design dinner service,
and a lovely 'Jonquil' tea set with iconic rectangular side plates

very cute 'Jonquil' cup -
would make a pretty applique design

I loved it - so colourful and fun! - but my mum was not so fond.
When we rented a beach bungalow for a few years, she was
quick to ship it to the seaside for use on the beach.

Here we are on the roof of our beach bungalow.
I'm top right, with my cousin in his very cute knitted bathing suit.
When it got wet it stretched really badly

January 1953

A massive storm surge hit the East Coast and Holland  -
many people died and much of the coast was devastated.
We only caught the edge, but it was still pretty scary.

The waves hitting the sea wall were huge and the wind
lifted me off my feet, so my dad tied me to a lamppost
with his belt while he took photos from the cliff top.
 I survived, and he kept hold of his trousers,
but, sadly, the photos have gone ...
A day or two later, we went to see the damage.
The beach bungalow was a wreck - doors ripped off,
windows gone, knee deep in sand and seaweed,
and everything we'd left there, including the Clarice Cliff,
had been swept out to sea.

So, if there's not much 'Jonquil' about, it's because
 most of it is at the bottom of the North sea.

I wonder if Davy Jones is down there
eating crab sandwiches off a plate
 like this - or has he sold it all on Sea-bay?

Well, that was a little deco detour -
now back to the quilting... 

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Art Deco - so inspiring!

Remember Saturday matinees at the Odeon?

Or am I the only one who admits to being that old?

Few of us had a TV, so matinees were a real treat.
 Queueing at the door, the rush for the best seats,
Pearl & Dean adverts, ice cream, cartoons -
it was all very exciting...
And getting chucked out when my cousin dropped
stink bombs in the gents was quite exciting too.

It seemed a very long walk from this very
screen to the exit, herded along by an angry usherette...
Toilets on right, out of shot.
Wonder if the air has cleared yet?

Odeon design must have been burned on my brain
 at that time, because the name that immediately sprang
to mind when I designed this quilt was

Art Deco or what!

These colours and shapes show up in art deco
architecture, lighting, upholstery, glass, pottery
- so many different things.

Look at these fabulous tiles from
the Regent Theatre in Mudgee, New South Wales
photographed by Michelle of Barnhouse Antiques

And this art deco wall light from Coventry Technical College,
taken by Pete Zabulis is just so evocative of the era

Inspiration everywhere!

Coming next - a Clarice Cliff story
that will make you art deco fans weep...

Monday, 14 May 2012

Something old, something new...

New grandson = new quilt

Been seeking inspiration for a few weeks now...

When Hector was born, the family dogs
 seemed just the thing to feature on his quilt,
 but what to do for Meyer...?

Was at a loss until a dig through the
 family archive produced this little gem...

I've always loved this delightful drawing,
created many years ago by Meyer's daddy.

It was the perfect centre for the quilt -
but I needed three more figures
to complete the family group 

To clone or not to clone...?

Decided not to clone.
Decided to try doing more drawings in the same style -
which turned out to be harder than it sounds.
Drawing kid-style is difficult when you're an adult -
we can't help making things too perfect.

Fancy having a go yourself?  Then try this -
If you're a Righty, get a massive felt tip,
hold it in your LEFT hand and just go with the flow on a B-I-G sheet of paper.
It feels odd, but adds lots of naivety to a drawing...

so here are a couple more.

Using Electric Quilt software I created basic
 borders and a large central panel.
Then the drawings were scanned, imported into
the programme, and traced using the mouse.
It took a while as I haven't used the drawing programme
for months and it's amazing how soon we forget...
If you're finding EQ hard to get your head round,
hang in there and experiment - it's worth it.
Here's the result.
It's a work in progress, but I quite like it so far.

Now comes the interesting bit -
chasing up the right fabrics at Patchwork Chicks ,
plus a detour to the Alma for lunch of course.

I can think of a few people who'd be up for that...

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Obi Wan Kanhoover

 The universe is safe! 

Obi Wan Kanhoover has found his true identity and is cleaning up the far-flung corners of space...

power up the weapon

Hmmm... something's missing...

'Use The Force and dress to impress, my young apprentice!'

Aha - that's better!

Boldly going - Ooops, wrong film, but you get the idea...


Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Whistler's Mother

Wuuurgh... not feeling good!

Have honked, hooted, coughed, sneezed and sniffled all over the weekend - but last night was the most orchestral.  Even the breathing between coughing fits sounded like a geiger counter.

I've offered to sleep in the spare room but Al wouldn't hear of it.  Think he might change his mind tonight...

Been shivering under a shawl I crocheted back in 1968.  Glamorous it ain't - it makes me look like Whistler's Mother - but I love it at moments like this.  Buster was press-ganged into modelling again as there was NO WAY anybody was going to see me wearing it. 

I think he does Whistler's Mother rather well.

A bit of family history 

Because of this cold, I haven't been able smell or taste a thing for several days.  Food tastes of nothing, flowers have no scent, and I sprayed deodorant twice yesterday cos I couldn't tell whether I'd already done it. 

It's reminded me a lot of Alan's dad...

He was shot and captured during the Second World War and ended up in a POW camp near Dresden, where he witnessed the bombing of the city by the Allies. Afterwards, the POWs spent weeks digging people out of the ruins.  It was a terrible job and, after a time, his brain just switched off the sense of smell and taste in order to cope.  It never switched on again for the rest of his life.  I remember him saying that food had lost all its pleasure and the scents he'd loved were all gone.

Not a big thing in the light of the whole event, but life-affecting nonetheless

Dresden after the bombing

Looking forward to feeling better soon. 

Having a curry tonight - maybe that'll clear the tubes...