Artnextdoor's Blog

My place to be creative


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To wash or not to wash that is the question

Do you wash your fabrics prior to using them in patchwork/quilting projects?

I didn’t.  Then someone told me I should, I didn’t know why, that wasn’t explained to me.  Now I know but do I bother to wash before I use the fabric – no, it’s too much hassle, I have never had a fabric bleed colour on me yet, nor have I have a shrinkage problem.  I suppose there’s is always a first time but I’m happy to take that risk, are you?   Please let me know your thoughts on to wash or not to wash.


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More from the Festival of Quilts 2011

I have now had time to down load the photo’s of the quilts at the Festival of Quilts last weekend.  Below are just a few of those I took.

FoQ 2011-1

Made by Jane Appelbee from Milltimer(?) called ‘Turbulance’.  The inspiration for the piece came from ‘Fast flowing streams,twinkling in the sun, the sound of rippled water and my love of curves!’  Includes :- Cotton, Artic wool, recycled plastic and boning inclusions. Machine stitched.  Angelina, beading, Markel. Hand-dyed.

FoQ 2011-2 By Helen Hay from Aberdeen entitled ‘Barcelona Bonanza’ .  The inspiration came from ‘Antoni Gaudi’s work in Barcelona left a lasting impression on me.  I wanted to make a small tribute’.  Includes:- All machine stitched.  Mostly machine appliquéd using Gloria Loughman technique.  The rest applied to that and machine embroidered.

FoQ 2011-3

Sadly I didn’t get the name or artist statement for this one.

FoQ 2011-4

Once again my powers of observation and recording let me down as I don’t know the name of the maker.

FoQ 2011-5

Again I failed to record the maker. Sorry.

FoQ 2011-6

As the last three sadly I didn’t record the name of the maker. If you know any of the names and or titles of the pieces above please could you let me know so I can give credit where it is due. Thanks for your help with this.

FoQ 2011-7

Gillian Travis of Ripponden made the ‘Impressions of Romania Hanging on a Line’.  Paint, print and applique with machine stitch. Inspiration:- Rugs hanging on washing lines in Northern Romania.

FoQ 2011-9

Janet van der Colff of Keyworth.  “Curvy Doodle” Machine pieced using freezer paper pattern, free motion quilted.  Inspiratio:- I have always doodled in meetings, watching tv, etc and thought I would use one to make a quilt.

FoQ 2011-10

Catherine Lawes from Marlborough New Zealand. ‘“Wai Nag Awa” – River of Many Channels’.  Batiks and other cottons, free cut and pieced on cotton wadding.  Machine stitched.  Inspiration:- Wairau River, Marlborough, NZ meanders past a series of vineyards and fields on the plain blue hued richmond ranges to North.

FoQ 2011-11

I am hoping that I have the right makers name and details Yvonne Potter, Okehampton “Echo Deco”.  Strip piecing, stained glass applique, curved seams and foundation piecing with echo and outline machine quilting.  Inspiration:- Echoes of the art deco period, strong lines, stepped pediments and curves widely used in architecture and interiors so inspiring.

FoQ 2011-8

And lastly Kate Dowty of Bridport made “Rape Fields”.  Painted, dyed and some commercial fabrics, heavily machine stitched, with additional embellishments.  Inspiration:- The colours of spring when the fields turn all shades of green interspersed with the vibrant yellow of oilseed rape.

I hope I have given credit where credit is due, if not please let me know and I’ll rectify any errors.  All artist statements taken from the Competition Catalogue of The Festival of Quilts 2011 published by twisted thread.  www.twistedthread.com organizers of the festival.  Roll on 2012.


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Festival of Quilts 2011- Kaffe Fassett Workshop

The above photo’s are of some of the quilt tops produced during the workshop I attended at the Festival of Quilts on Saturday.

Many thanks to Miss Road-Kill(Donna), Miss Doll’s House(Jane from Torbay),Miss Blue and Yellow (Pam), Miss Thinker(Jane from Australia), Elaine and Olivia(from France now of Leicester), without you all the day wouldn’t have been the same and those of you with additional names will understand.  I am sure we had more fun and laughed much more than we were supposed too, but hey-ho we did manage to get the work done regardless.  I must also thank Brandon for turning the fabric over to mute the colour.

Large floral prints or floral prints in general are never my thing; to go this far then decide to step even further from my comfort zone by using a pastel colourway as well was a big move for me.  I usually go for bright zingy, or bright jewel colours, I have never worked with such muted, pastel colours although I have included a bright orange based print, a bright lime green batik and a darker red patterned fabric.  I am surprised at how pleased I am with the whole effect even down to the pastel striped fabric I have chosen for the sashing background.  I have also not used a design wall before usually relying on the floor or table to try to see what is going on.  The construction of a design wall will be on my to do list, at the very top this week.  I regularly change the blade in my rotary cutter and am surprised at how infrequently others change theirs and it was a joy to help Elaine change her blade and vicariously enjoy the pleasure she gleaned once she had started cutting with the new blade, no drag, no need for added pressure thus reducing stress to her wrist; she has agreed to change her blade more often now.

See you all next year, perhaps we will include something a bit stronger than double espresso coffee – no on second thoughts maybe not!


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Blocks 3 and 4 for DD’s quilt.

Block 3Block 4

I have completed all 12 blocks for dear daughters new quilt.  I now have to cut the sashing and stitch the blocks together.  I also have to consider the quilting pattern, as there is such a large area in the centre of each block I have endless possibilities – mmm which to choose?

I have to put things on the back burner for a few days as I am off to the Festival of Quilts which is being held at the NEC outside Birmingham, just 11 miles from my home.  I will, if you remember, be attending two workshops this year.  The first on Friday is with Sandra Meech entitled Digital Imagery in Stitched Textiles and on Saturday, Colour in Design with Kaffe Fassett.

I am very interested in using images in my work, having done so recently whilst working towards my City & Guilds qualification although that experiment did not make it to the final piece of work.

Whilst studying at what was then the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, now part of Birmingham City University, back in the 1990’s I was awarded a prize for my use of colour, so Saturdays workshop should be interesting.  I have the fabrics (please see previous post) to which I have added a couple more as I felt I needed a dark fabric.  I now just need to pack up everything else.

On Friday, after my workshop, I have arranged to meet one of my fellow distance learning colleges for coffee and a chat about our experiences, something I am very much looking forward to.


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At Last First Six Blocks of Quilt for DD

At last I have cut out and stitched together the first 6 blocks of a new quilt for my dear daughter.  As I mentioned before she is the proud own of a fairy quilt but at the ripe old age of 20 wanted one that reflects her age, so unknown to her I had bought some fabric with her in mind.  Fortunately when she saw them she was really pleased with the colours but as she is working away in France for the summer hasn’t seen them in the flesh.  I worked on the design for the quilt whilst we were with her in July.  I took photocopies of the fabric with me so she still hasn’t seen them up close and personal.  We agreed the design which was inspired by a section of the garden at the Chateau Villandry in the Loire valley.

On Friday I cut out all of the sections for just two of the blocks we had decided upon. (My back won’t put up with too much standing in one place for long.)  Yesterday I sat and stitched some parts together then got way laid by the ironing which winked at me from the corner whilst I was pressing seams.  Today I was allowed, in between making bread, cooking dinner, organising children, talking websites with my husband and dying my hair purple again, to finish these first six blocks.

Block 1Block 2

Only six more to go.  If I am allowed tomorrow I will cut out the remaining six blocks and stitch these on Tuesday.  Watch this space.  The quilt has to be finished before 9th September and now she wants cushions to match!


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Fabrics for Kaffe Fassett Workshop at The Festival of Quilts.

I went to see my mum for the first time since the beginning of May yesterday.  With me being ill, fetching Dear Daughter from university, getting her off to work in France, Dear Husbands work schedule, Number two son’s school schedule it has been difficult.  Mum doesn’t like us to go if we are in anyway ill as she doesn’t want to catch it – which is fair enough but it is sad that I haven’t seen her for such a long time.  Her next door neighbour is a bit of a ‘You can’t do that’, ‘I’ll make your life a misery if you do’ sort of person has complained that mum’s attempt at saving water by installing a water butt has blighted the area as this woman can see the butt from her front door!  To keep the peace mum has had to part with money to screen it off from this person’s view.  Yet this woman has left an unsightly wheelie bin parked in the centre of her drive right outside mum’s front door, smelling away in this hot weather whilst she’s away on holiday. Unbelievable!

Well back to the fabrics for the workshop.  On the way home from my mum’s I called into the Cotton Patch in Hall Green.  My husband and little son went to do the shopping and take it home before returning for me.  I spent an enjoyable hour and a half with Denise playing with bolts of fabric, even snatching some from under the nose’s of the chaps trying fulfil the mail order requests.  Eventually I managed to gather all that I need (I hope!).  I had gone in there with an idea of a colour scheme but that was completely abandoned within minutes of starting.  Below are the fabrics I have chosen, please let me know what you think.  The instructions were for low contrast I think I have achieved that.

Fabrics 1Fabrics 3

Today I have scanned and photographed each individual fabric, resized and up loaded each to EQ7 for designing with – a mammoth task on one of the hottest days of the year.  I even ironed some of them – mad of what – I like to call it dedicated.  I had to get at least 9 large scale prints (done – just) and at least 15 small to medium scale prints (done with 3 to spare).  Now for a cup of tea.