Posts Tagged ‘patchwork’

Here are this week’s pictures for the photo scavenger hunt over on Ashley Sisk’s blog. No, I still haven’t managed to post on a Sunday, but Monday is an improvement. Baby steps…

Right, here goes.


This beautiful orchid was a gift from some friends. They clearly didn’t know of my track record with orchids, but I am hoping that this will be the one I fail to kill.


I love the colours of these pulses, and really enjoyed swirling them round to get different combinations of colour and shape.

In disguise.

This is a mask I bought in Venice – not one from the touristy mask shops that are everywhere, but from one of the few proper mask makers who work in papier mache. (The Italian for papier mache is ‘cartapesta’, which I think is a very pleasing word.) I chose a mask style called ‘La Civetta‘ (The Flirt) which is the type worn by the female characters in the Commedia Dell’Arte.


This is a vintage ‘Double Wedding Rings’ quilt that I picked up for a song on Ebay. I love the shapes, both of the pieces (the circles are made of various trapeziod and diamond shapes) and the geometric patterns on some of the fabric prints – and then of course, there’s the swirling shapes of the quilting.

Photographer’s choice.

This is a picture I took this week by the river. I really like the way the autumn colour is just coming in – the yellows and oranges pushing inexorably against the green.

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I’m a bit late posting about this, but thought you might like to see some pictures from this year’s Festival of Quilts, held at Birmingham NEC last week. We took the train up, and despite delays, we had a lovely time.

The lighting was much better this year, so I was able to get much better pictures of the Traditional Quilts. Last year I was totally blown away by the art and contemporary quilts, but this year, although there were some amazing quilts on display, I found myself satisfied with a quick glance at most of them. Talking to others, this was the general impression. Maybe last year was an exceptionally good year. However, there were still some lovely pieces of work:

I really liked the colours in this – and the techniques and shapes in the quilting were lovely. (They should show up if you enlarge the picture).

I’m not really one for the Union-Flag-everywhere trend, but I did think this was clever – it’s made up of lots of smaller Union flags, in all orientations. It doesn’t really show in the picture, but the fabric choice is really clever.

The picture didn’t come out brilliantly, but I just loved the colours and movement in this.

I loved this one. I heard some people commenting that ‘it didn’t make sense’ and helpfully pointed out that it was a Welsh alphabet quilt, and did make sense if you spoke Welsh. It was gorgeous – beautifully done and some lovely pictures.

I especially loved this little chap, for ‘Dd is for Ddraig’:

Again, great colours, amazing cutting and sewing and lovely fabrics:

The art history student in me appreciated this one:

And this one was lovely – my second favourite fish quilt of the show.

Because this was my favourite:

Here’s a detail:

I love the combination of shiny, plain and the odd unexpected floral.

But if the art quilts weren’t perhaps as good as last year, the traditional ones (which I adore anyway) were mindblowing. Absolutely amazing. There were also big crowds around some of them, which meant I couldn’t get good photos, but I hope the following will give an idea of what I mean!

I only took one photo of the quilts as they’re displayed – don’t know why as it gives quite a good idea of the scope and range of quilts on display:

The work on this was meticulous.

A lovely take on the traditional hexagon flowers:

This was utterly traditional but the colour choice makes it look fresh and modern, I think.

I love this. I want it for my bed:

Again, great colours and absolutely meticulous cutting and stitching:

I love – and admire – wholecloth quilts, and there were a few on display. They are just breathtaking, in an unassuming way:

And this was the winner in the traditional quilts section. And I can quite see why.

Here’s a detail:

But possibly my favourite quilt was this one, called ‘Becky’s Dresses’:

Beautiful, hand made, hand-smocked dresses, incorporated, very cleverly, into a quilt.

And after the quilts, was the shopping. And oh my, the shopping. I bought quite a bit of fabric that I didn’t need but that I definitely wanted. Including some uber-synthetic black taffeta spangled with multi-coloured shiny stars. I love having kids as an excuse to buy things like that. I hope to be able to show you what I’ve planned for my purchases…

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Last week, I had a lovely day out. I went to the NEC in Birmingham to the Festival of Quilts. I am new to quilting and haven’t done that much sewing lately, but I had heard good things about the Quilt show, so I jumped at the chance to visit.

And my response? Wow.

There were hundreds of quilts on display, in several categories. There were ‘Art Quilts’, which used lots of interesting techniques, as well as the ‘Traditional’ quilts, which were meticulously stitched. There were contemporary quilts, group competitions, categories for under 16s, school competitions and a category for quilted ‘objects’. Many of these creations were just breathtaking – some because the finished result was so startling, others because of the sheer perfection of the work.

I took dozens of photos; what follows is just a small selection. Some of the quilts I couldn’t get good pictures of because the light wasn’t right, or, as in the case of the winning ‘Traditional’ quilt, there were about eighty people standing around it at all times.

This is the winning quilt in the ‘age 12-15’ category, which is pretty mind-blowing. The theme was ‘Cityscapes’ and there were some wonderful entries. I was so impressed.

In the ‘contemporary’ category, this phoenix was the second-prize winner. It’s so striking from a distance, and the level of detail when you get up close is incredible.

There was also this really colourful quilt, which I really liked – the photo doesn’t really do it justice. I loved the unashamed use of rainbow colours and how they ‘popped’ against the subdued backing, and I loved the range of techniques used.

This was a ‘postage stamp’ quilt, in which the pieces were, as the name suggests, no bigger than a postage stamp. I really loved the random placement of colours, which was then unified by the blue stripes and the patch of yellow. I also think the quilting in concentric circles worked really well with all the squares.

I loved the work on this dress – it looks like it could have come out of a museum.

This was probably my favourite of the ‘Art Quilts’. It’s called ‘Winter Reflections’. It was stunning – I love the way the impression of reflection has been conveyed, and the way it seems to radiate light.

It’s made with lots of little triangles:

This was really interesting in its construction – the three-dimensional element was really effective, and there were lots of little details.

The colours in this quilt were amazing – much more vivid than in the photograph. Again, the detail work was beautiful.

I really liked this one – at first glance it was quite ‘modern’ and lots of the techniques were very contemporary:

But then you get close and see these little hexagons, just like the ones on an old-fashioned quilt!

Unfortunately, the lighting at the end of the exhibition housing the ‘Traditional’ quilts was a bit dodgy and made everything look rather yellow. A shame, as there was some beautiful work. Some of my favourites were examples of quilting, rather than patchwork – i.e. intricate designs quilted onto single pieces of plain fabric. Still, here are a couple of the traditional quilts:

And this little box was rather intriguing in its construction:

So much beautiful work. This really was the barest fraction of what was there.

As well as the exhibitions, there were stalls upon stalls of fabric, threads, patterns and gizmos for the dedicated quilter and patchworker. Really, it was quite something. I was very restrained and bought a few skeins of discounted embroidery silk and three fat quarters.

In one of the shops, I had a chance encounter with one of my all time heroes. Yes, I had a long conversation (mainly about knitting) with Kaffe Fassett, who was charming. Really, what a totally lovely man. We talked about his latest project (and he showed me how he was doing it) and how he translates swatches into designs – all sorts of things. For someone who is such a legend, he’s very modest about his skills and gives real credit to the people who work with him, which is not something that everyone in his position does. It was so nice to meet someone I’ve admired for a long time and discover that he was so absolutely lovely. I came away quite starstruck!

I’m already making plans for going again next year…

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