Thursday, 27 February 2014


Well if ever there was an extra shove to push me in the direction of a photography course, I had it this morning. A bit of expertise and equipment and something has been transformed into some of the most beautiful images I've ever seen. And he did it for free! As my quilt is to be auctioned for charity, the lovely Rupert Marlow donated his time and a fab cup of coffee to produce these. He has a blog too with some more treats for the eyes. So much for me throwing my quilt over the wall and trying to get a quick snap of it before the wind blew up! Anyway let me just bask in the glory: today, for one day only, my blog can stand as proud as any other textile blog and be totally, utterly, astoundingly beautiful...

Friday, 21 February 2014

A year of thoughts and no wiser

I have just realised it's been almost exactly a year since I started writing this blog. It has been an interesting journey and rather an enjoyable one. Call me vain but I do quite like the sound of my own (written) voice. I annoy myself when I'm talking out loud: lots of missed witticisms, words mixed up, no time to think through my sentences so I sound like an eejit. But written down or typed out, I have more time and it all gets a little bit better. I started out this blog in a vague attempt to publicise my felted pictures and make some sales but as time goes on I think I'm actually just emptying my head onto the computer screen, and then editing it a bit to make sure nobody sees the really ugly scenes. I don't know who my target market is. Sometimes I think it's just for me - but if it was completely private I'd write some very different subject matter. Sometimes I write with someone particular in mind, in my fantasy world where everyone finds me fascinating. I know of just a handful of people who do look in on me every so often, and I installed the map thingy down to your right so that I might be able to get a handle on who pops in - but it hasn't given me much of an insight at all. On down days I get the feeling that most people who end up here do so by accident whilst searching for something else. On up days I realise that it's all a learning process and once I've really found my groove, I will get some steady viewing and enthusiastic comments left for me at the bottom of my posts. In the early days I discovered that sometimes I got more viewings if I put in a recipe than if I showed some felted art ("there's a surprise", muttered beleaguered husband) but there are thousands of food blogs out there and only a handful of felting blogs. Food, though very close to my heart, isn't what I was meant to be flogging. Not that I've shown you much felt recently. Anyway I am very close to getting my 4000th page view so it can't be too bad.

So, to myself, or to you, a friend or family member, or to you, a passer-by who was expecting something more useful and informative and looked in the window by accident, here is what I can show you today. I've finished it!

I have read every bit of advice online I could find about taking good photos of quilts, and this was the best I could do. Draping it over the wall on my own on a windy day in between showers was no mean feat; I had to weight it down with stones and was terrified I'd get concussed if the wind blew up any harder and the stones flew off. I'm still thinking I might need something professional done to really do it justice (and make it sell well in auction). But I am really rather pleased with it, and I have well and truly got the patchwork quilt thing back in my head. I have a new bit of inspiration, in the form of Malka Dubrawsky whose quilts are like the most fabulous SAD light, and whose fabrics I have been snapping up online left, right and centre. I am wrestling with the fact that I really need to finish my other brown quilt first and am trying to get my heart back into it. And then of course my head keeps coming back to the felting. Can I incorporate patchwork into my art somehow? Is the quilt above Art, as much as my felted pictures are? Could I try to amalgamate the two in some way? Would I want to? An identity crisis ensues. Or at least it will do when half-term ends and I have some headspace to myself. 

Saturday, 8 February 2014

My funny valentine

I have a confession to make. My head has been turned. It has been a while but there is a new love in my life. I couldn't help myself. I have been succumbing to bed-related fantasies, and every waking moment is consumed by my new passion. It's been two full-on weeks now and the relationship is developing very well. Blossoming even. I will be devastated when it, inevitably, has to end, as they always do. It is so frustrating to have to be distracted by silly fripperies such as dealing with the children, cooking, housework... I know, I know, I should be thinking about felting and making my next break in the art world, but it feels so yesterday.

So it's probably time I introduced you:-

Yes. A beautiful double-bed-sized quilt. It's actually come on a bit since these photos: it now has a border and I am about halfway through the quilting. I hope to get some professional photos of it once it's finished, to do it justice, as taking pictures of quilts is really not easy. Technically it's not the greatest and it wouldn't win any prizes, but when passion takes over, who wants to be measuring perfect quarter inch seams?

Aren't the fabrics great? I wish I could take credit but I didn't choose any of them (apart from a few around the border). In fact, in my darker moments, I think that the reason it looks so good is BECAUSE I didn't have any creative input with the colour scheme. Random is often so much better than a thought-out plan. The fabrics were in fact chosen by 28 lovely people who were making lampshades. My friend Ruth, from Quincy Lampshades, offered to have a Mass Lampshade Make at school to raise money for the PTA and everyone loved it. And I asked for everyone's leftovers. And here we are. It is an odd mix: about 50 per cent quilt fabrics, 45 per cent furnishing fabric and 5 per cent fine Liberty lawn, so some areas are a lot heavier than others. Until I had finished cutting squares out, I had no idea how big the quilt would be and whether I would need to supplement it with some of my own fabrics, but in the end only a few extras were needed for the border. And most of those were supplied by Ruth who kindly let me help myself to her lampshade-making scraps (cue the kid in the sweet shop, I tried very hard to look cool and not hyperventilate).

When it is finished, I shall take a big gulp, steady my wobbly lip, get some sleep and then publicise it with all my heart, and auction it off for the PTA. And yes before you point it out, I am fully aware that normal people have no idea of the true value of a home-made quilt, being used to buying things made in Chinese sweatshops, and that I will not raise the amount of money that this baby deserves to get. But I don't care, it's been a wonderful interlude and it's given me a tingling sense of being alive when the weather and the time of year were trying to suck that life away.