Friday, 26 July 2013

Infections and coals to Newcastle (quilting and cross stitch)

a hobbyist or crafter can be quite infectious.  I have a friend who started out as a happy recipient of my hobbies.  Cross stitches, embroideries, quilts, salt dough, just about anything I tried.  After a while, possibly in self defence she agreed to give some of them a go herself.

Together we made a logcabin  baby quilt for her son to be,then we moved on to something a little larger.
logcabin variation
This time I was less of a participant and more of a consultant.  Subsequent quilts have had less and less of my input with only the occasional problem solving or "might try" tip required.

For a birthday gift for me, she made, all on her own without my knowledge a lap quilt.  Now some may think that there is no point in giving a quilt to a quilter, that it is like taking coal to Newcastle! (well before they shut down the mines and Newcastle had no coal).

log cabin with multi boarder

Don't you believe it, as a quilter I was more than delighted to be so gifted.  As I excitedly admired the mitred corners she admitted with a grin that was the only way to finish corners I had ever shown her!  We have tried a few different methods since.

the reverse

Subsequently she is making baby quilts for her brothers children and larger quilts for her own home.

Sadly or perhaps joyfully she has also been infected with the cross-stitch strain of crafting.  I am delighted to say that I have also been the recipient of the fruits of that infection also. A dragon, as you can see my friend knows me well (I am less fond of lettering so would never have done this for myself).
Pink Dragon 

Mind I am not the only one to pass on obsessions, she has also been the recipient of the card making bug from her mother-in -law,  of which she has given me a milder case.

She has also a genetic inclination passed on through the female line of her family, knitting! She has done her very best to pass this one on to me, I will come back to that later, actually you will find that later is definitely a good description of my knitting.  

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Purposefully inedible dough

Salt dough to be exact.  This has been a 'learnt at church' craft.  One of the sisters was very 'into' it for a while with books showing different designs.  I particularly liked a princess and the pea wall plaque she made. Sadly I do not have a picture for that.

For the lesson at church she suggested we bring a picture of something we would like to make, or chose something from a pattern book.  I took a birthday card I had received with a picture of a dragon on it, a slightly humorous image that I hoped would work. I told you there would be more dragons, lots more.

salt dough dragon



The fat parts of the design were built around a tinfoil support to even out the sections for baking in the oven.  I used enamel paints to finish it off and glued it to watermarked silk before mounting it in the frame.

I have done the occasional small item since, bears mainly,that come in useful for adding to cards (for hand delivery, they would not do to well through the post) but my book reading dragon remains my favourite.  He hangs above my bookcase giving it delusions of being a library.

I like the idea of a book so exciting that a fire extinguisher needs to be on hand just in case.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Tracing inspirations (quilting)

A finished quilt is the culmination of lots of decisions.  The fabric (type,weight and colour) the size, the patchwork block pattern used and the style of the quilting.

Sometimes I start with one idea in mind and that makes it all the way to the end.  Mostly the plan changes as the quilt progresses.  And sometimes it is not easy to make the connection, even for me, between what inspired the quilt and the end result.

Some years ago I went to Dublin with my friend and we went to Trinity College to see the book of Kells.  We both have a fondness for Celtic knots and I occasionally try my hand at calligraphy (pun intended) it was a very enjoyable visit.  I recommend it if you visit the city.

I came away with an increased appreciation of the skill (the book is so much smaller than I had expected) required to complete such intricate designs, and a postcard of a carpet page from the book of Durrow.


Until recently I thought I had pretty much forgotten it.  But with the Lindisfarne Gospels coming to Durham I recognised it had been the influence behind a quilt I made.  The design, called snail trail or monkey wrench uses triangles in increasing dimensions growing out from a central square.  A triangle based logcabin construction now I come to think of it!

I chose material gradually moving from yellow to orange and from pink to red and set the block into an interlocking tessellation.  As you can see from the picture it is neither a celtic knot nor is it the same colours as the above image.  Being inspired does not have to lead to a copy.  I designed my own quilting pattern and was very pleased with the result.  Again it is not a celtic knot nor an exacting spiral pattern but again I realise that it drew its inspiration from the artistry and skill of the monks.  


Snail trail , carpet page quilt
It was some years between the visit to Dublin and the medieval manuscripts echo arriving in quilt form.  So having just seen the Lindisfarne Gospels at Durham (instead of their adopted home in London, again I recommend a visit to see them) I wonder when they will appear in one of my crafting projects?