Monday, 30 December 2013

Winter Blues - Irene MacWilliam

Using setacolor paints I created the background, then I stencilled the tree followed by low numbers to indicate winter temperatures and lastly the screen printed child. I used some pearl setacolor to the background and then numbers to add a feeling of snow. I had never used this sort of shiny or sparkly paint before. It is not a very adventurous or stretching piece but I am happy with the feeling it conveys. It is paler colouring than I tend to work with.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

theme January 2014

I hope you all had pleasant holidays and are eager to start a new creative year :-). There are still a number of themes on the list we have yet to use, but if you want to add new ones, just send me an email and I will add them. For January our theme is: On the busses.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013


I have actually completed a piece within the timescale!
I have been interested in snowflake designs for years especially as I have one or two inspiring books on the subject.  I have nevr managed to  do justice to these inspiring creations until now (perhaps?).
The centre is a snowflake which extends beyond the square whilst small snowflakes surround the centre.  The background is derived from the previous 'Cosmos' work.  It is computer transfer printed with free machine embroidery.  I am fascinated by the idea that many snowflakes appear ro resemble the vaulting in cathedrals and old houses.  I believe this to be the case with this work as that is what the centre reminds me of.
This piece tends to be more regular than most of my work although I have tried to make it 'regular irregular'.
I have added holographic medium since I took the picture which I had forgotten at the time.  It adds some wintry sparkle.


I must crave your indulgence as this is obviously out of time.  I had started it so it seemed a shame not to complete it.
I have been interested in using traditional blocks and layouts in a contemporary way for some time.  I have experimented with log cabin, a four square block and the strippy to date and these provide parameters from the outset so there is a challenge.
This work is based on my 'Tyne Reflections' pictures and design work again, manipulated into a strippy.  I have tried to be more adventurous with the colours I have used for my quilting by introducing more colour contrasts than I usually do.
I feel that the format is appropriate as the strippy was a popular form of quilt construction in the north-east.

Friday, 20 December 2013


As you can see I took the theme of winter'blues' rather literally :-). Background is made from torn strips of blue fabric placed overlapping each other. For the text I used my Cameo Silhouette to cut the shapes out of freezer paper. This machine has great potential, but it is a learning curve to get real good with it. The text was ironed to the background and paint was applied. Next step was to applique the trees and quilt around everything. All the fabric I used are my own hand dyed ones. The fabric for the trees is pounded

Monday, 9 December 2013

once more life at the beach

A couple of months ago we had the theme Life at the Beach for which I made a quilt. When it was finished I knew I wanted to do something more with it but time was not cooperating with me so it took a bit longer than planned. Finally I was able to finish it the way I wanted to and this is how it looks now:

I painted a canvas and hand stitched the quilt onto it. To finish it off I glued some small shells to it.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013


The original inspiration for this work came from old engravings which portrayed the cosmos as a series of concentric circles.  I started with the idea of using my favourite 'Tyne Reflections' for the centre.  These were manipulated to give the idea of the swirling universe.  I thought that the yellow-orange outside circle would form an arresting frame. 
There has been a great deal of coverage lately about 'the Surveillance Society' so I used a pattern based on a camera for the black and white outside.  A fractured circcumference to the yellow circle appeared accidentally so I kept this as it looked like the flares from the sun's corona.  The planes are drones watching our every move and the text refers to the fact that conflicts between groups are as old as man.

Free machine embroidery was used to emphasise the design and I added an holographic medium (now, unfortunately, unobtainable) to add sparkle for a starry univerrse.

Thursday, 28 November 2013


When I saw the theme of Cosmos I knew that I wanted to do something with nebula's. I started with a yellow/orange piece of fabric which I overdyed using both knotted and stitched shibori on it.  After the quilting was done, the time consuming part of beading started and this is how it looks now:
Believe me the quilt is square, although this is not what the picture shows :-)

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Leaving the Group

Hi Everyone

I have decided that it is time to leave the group as I am not making many "quilty" things at the moment  and when I do they are for a specific event.

I have enjoyed being part of the group and it certainly challenged me to get my head back into thinking art again after three years of training to" let go and let art"

I wish you all well in the future and will let you know when my blog is up and running.

Monday, 25 November 2013

December theme

The theme for December is Winterblues. This season is not my favorite one :-(.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

An imaginary Cosmos.

This is Hilary's piece. It has been painted with acrylic and then stitched by hand and machine.

Complementary Cosmos

This is my first time posting to the group, so I hope I'm doing this properly. 
This piece was made for an online class I recently took with Katie Pasquini Masopust.  It is called Complementary Cosmos. 
The design was sketched out full size, then I cut it apart and traced the pieces onto fused fabric using 7 values of one color.
The orange complementary color shapes were added to create an optical illusion of the color shifting from lighter to darker intensity depending on the background fabric.  The violet and blue shapes were added for additional color interest.
Variegated thread was used for the circular quilting. 
Comments are welcome. 

Doctor Who's Cosmos!

A piece of hand-dyed cotton for the background lots of pieces of poly sheers stitched onto a separate piece and then applied to make a fiery sun. Lots of paint, mostly Dylon Pearl which is nice and shiny, made a cosmic flare. The planets whizzing around the sun reminded me that Dr Who was the ultimate Time Lord and very appropriate as it was his 50th Anniversary this month.  Perhaps on reflection I should add a Tardis!!! Leave me to think about it and then I might post a new picture.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Wonder of Life ........ theme - Cosmos

I have some black fabric that I bought years ago. It has silver stars on it. I spattered and painted white acrylic paint and also fabric paint with a bit of silver in it to represent the theme. I made a stencil and screen printed the child figure. I quilted with metallic thread which I hate using in an intermittent circle pattern, one thread was silver with touches of other colours and then used sparingly a gold metallic that had strong touches of red and blue and used it also to outline the figure.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013


My first thought on getting the subject for this month was my garden. I do grow the flower 'Cosmos' so I kept that idea. I used batiks for the backgroung and crinkled silk for the petals The petal edges were coloured with inktense pencils.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

new member

We have a new member: Dianne Miller. I 'met ' her while taking a class by Katie PM. Please let us hear a bit about you Dianne.

Saturday, 2 November 2013


Apologies for this being a couple of days late. The background fabric was the cotton under layer of my old printing cloth from my printing board. This has been overlaid with sheer fabrics bondawebbed in place. This was then stitched using machine embroidery thread on the lettering and invisible thread for the background quilting.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

3D Diamonds

Using up and not buying for a sqaure is still my theme so this time I used thick royal blue acrylic felt as the background because I knew it was going to be a problem sewing the edges once the pieces were attached.  The diamonds are made of vilene and covered with hand-dyed silks that have been edged with various threads.  These were then attached in rows with a variety of small square buttons in complimentary colours together with a very rebellious round red one to draw the eye.  I have really struggled with "Abstract", I think it was just too broad a subject for my taste although I have to say that those who have already posted did a truly splendid job so well done!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

November theme

The theme for November is: Cosmos.  It is time to start thinking :-)

Abstract trees

When I started creating this piece, it was just a matter of playing with shapes. I liked a certain position of it and fused them down. When I turned the piece around they resembled trees with falling leaves. Funny how a piece can find it's own title. Background are commercial fabrics, the trees and leaves are made from hand dyed fabrics.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Scrap Piece - Abstract

I came home last Sunday after being away for 5 days and wanted to be creative. I had not been near my sewing machine for about 10 days but I was very tired  and lacking ideas so I thought I would try a different approach to the theme Abstract. I got down my box of bondawebed bits that had scraps or discards from other projects and applied them without much thought to a piece of fabric that I had overdyed, it had been a black and white print. I used the back so the letters were reversed not that there was much difference now due to my overdyeing.  Person is not very abstract but in the setting he is just another shape. It was such fun and took me no time at all. I then quilted it yesterday - as I had my computer beside me I was watching the missed episodes of  Coronation Street so it had to be fairly simple quilting. I did straight line quilting diagonally in both directions but organised it so there are areas of parallel lines and in others little squares created by the width of my sewing machine foot. It was the fastest piece, no thought, no planning, minimum time used BUT I really really like it. Person is not very abstract but in the setting he is just a shape.


I was getting rather worried that I was going to miss out doing something for this month's challenge and decided to do a sun printed piece with whatever was conveniently to hand.  I spelt out nothing with backwards letters and added the z so it was not so obvious. Only new thing I did was try salt with the setacolor transparent and it worked fine and obviously has potential for adding a different texture. It satisfied the brief of Abstract but did not please me, it is just like  a sample. That is fine as far as it goes.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Oh, I really like this Margaret, very Astral !!  Ann

Wednesday, 23 October 2013



Please excuse the missing 1 cm. I have had this design for ages and I really wanted to try using a thick thread in the bobbin and stitching from the back. First I stitched the pattern on the front with a fine thread, then turned it over and had the thick thread in the bobbin. This was fine until I realised that in some places I could see the original that was removed. The pieces were joined and the circles applied. I use calico already fused with wadding for the backing. (from Empress Mills)

Monday, 21 October 2013

late change!

I really like this piece, especially the copper patterns.........just my favourite colours.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Catching up

Sorry gals to be so late, but at last I can show you what I did with the September theme:
My original idea was to start with small hexagons and change the shape of them, turning it into an artquilt. But that involved hand piecing and as I was late already I decided not to do that. Instead I focussed on the changing of a white piece of fabric into a surface designed one. In total there are 4 different pieces of fabric in this quilt. The starting point, a plain white one. The second one with only one layer of paint, the third with 2 layers and no doubt you can guess, that the fourth one has 3 layers. I used different paints and paintstiks for this piece.
My quilt for the October theme is finished as well, but you will have to wait a few more days before I show a picture of that one :-)

Wednesday, 16 October 2013


Abstract by Hilary.

This is Hilary's piece for the October challenge - Abstract. She has painted an abstract with acylics painted onto Bondaweb. It is machine quilted with a binding made from some of her own dyed fabric.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013


This piece is inpired by a very rainy day on the banks of the River Tyne with memories of taking the original pictures from under an umbrella which my husband was kind enough to hold.  I have had these photos for ages but never quite worked out what I would do with them.  I am very fond of them and eventually developed an idea.
The water was quite grey and the reflections 'Coaly'.  I have transformed them through extensive work and many layers of development.
The theme is that the reflections are ever changing at a rate of knots but the river goes on remorselessly until it reaches the sea Thus things change but remain the same (as in 'Plus Ca Change,Plus C'est la meme Chose'.  The quilting is designed to show a river swirling and changing.  Sorry about the colour of the photo as it was not as good as I would have liked.
I have over 200 more photos as the camera was on continuous shoot!  I'd like to explore the idea further as I have plenty of material to choose from - several lifetimes worth in fact.!

I have been asked to let you a little about myself.  Firstly, I would like to to thank you for having me in the gro
up.  I am sure that I shall benefit enormously as I like the format and making smaller pieces.  I hope that you enjoy looking at my work.
I have been steeped in textiles virtually all my life and I have been influenced by the textile skiulls if the north-east.  I have concentrated on Patchwork and Quilting (or as we should call it now - mixed media), after doing more or less evrything else.  It is the textile I like to do most now.
I belong to several textile groups including Contemporary Quilt, Thames Valley, Embroiderers' Guild and I try to exhibit as much as I can

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Martin Luther King Jr

One of the greatest political changers of the 20th century, truly a man to be admired!
I have recently been trying to adapt Maria Elkins' faces technique by using Misty Fuse instead of her recommendation of Steam-a-Seam Lite 2. I used hand-dyed fabrics backed with Misty Fuse to create the face starting with the palest and working to the darkest.  Once bonded the whole was free machine quilted.  The lettering was made by stitching the wording through paper on the machine but without thread in the  needle; the resulting holes were filled in with Derwent Inktense Pencils and them painted over with Matt Medium.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

I must apologize but I will post a day late, sorry.  Have to go sick visiting unexpectedly and I haven't quite finished the quilting on my piece for this month so will post sometime tomorrow.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Change, alter, adapt.

Change, alter, adapt.

I just had one thought when I read the title of the challenge for this month, though it has taken me some time to complete this piece. Fabric dyed on a NWCQ dyeing day some months ago, with calligraphy using my collection of dye pens, many of which are drying out. The drawing of the chameleon was achieved by bobbin work, my first attempt sewn over a layer of scrim.  An overlay of sheer fabrics, with quilting in rayon thread.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

I am interested how often we are creating little pieces that are representational and not abstract and it made me wonder whether is it the titles or it is  the way our heads work. Although my quilt for FOQ was more representational I seldom create work that does not have another meaning to it and yet when I work on Journal Quilts or these Sky-is-the-limit quilts I work in a  different way.  My aim therefore for "Change" is to go more with the flow and see what happens.  Watch this space......


Sunday, 1 September 2013

Holiday Village

This is Hilary's piece for the theme "Life at the beach".

At the Beach

Early in August I started working on this quilt and the background was completed shortly after that. But than I got distracted by some yarn and an addictive computer game FarmVille 2 so the final applique took me 2 weeks to complete :-). Here it is as it looks now. I am tempted to stitch this onto a canvas and add some shells to it, so I cannot say that it is completed right now.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

This has proved to be a difficult subject, I expected it to be so easy!! I took plain white fabric and drew a replica of a photo I had taken whilst in Suffolk, I just love Southwold, one of my all time favorite places.
Then I coloured it in with Derwent Inktense colouring pencils, washed over it with gloss medium and then added highlights and a red felt life belt just to finish it off!

Beach Huts at Southwold

Friday, 30 August 2013

September theme

The theme for September is: Change. Let your imagination run wild :-))

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Beach Combing by Irene MacWilliam

Theme Life at the Beach

Yet again I found the theme very difficult. I took the easy way out and used a photo of my daughter and grandson on the beach. For a long time I have wanted to use this photo in my work so this has got it out of my system. The sand area is using the back of a commercial fabric that has some painting and printing on it that I did for another project. I used various colour changing threads for the parallel rows of quilting, - what a waste of time that was as they only show up on careful inspection and do not really add to it.
The only interesting thing about this piece is that it was only when I looked at my photo on the computer that I realised I had missed out some of the stitching line at the bottom of the child's sweater.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

"Block Busted"'s me playing catch up again.

My architecture piece was going GREAT....then hit a snag.  But I was working on a demo for a technique and this just seemed like the perfect time and technique for the "Breakthrough" challenge.

Even if we don't hit creative "blocks" as such, time constraints and other stresses can derail creativity on any given day. (or is that just me???)  Then the force of just "having to make art" breaks through and the creativity flows again. So here is my version of busting that block.  Appropriately titled...

"Block Busted"

Here is a view of it from the side so you can see the 3D effect.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Meeting up at FOQs

HI everyone, is there any plan to meet up at FOQs during the next few days?  I have run in to Mandy a couple of times today but was too busy to stop for a proper chat.
Love to meet all of you who might be there
Ann B

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Gable ends

I am so sorry that my own piece is late.

This shows a variety of different gable ends in the area around where I live. A number of the older houses were built in the mock Tudor style fashionable around the end of the 19th century and have black and white patterned tops to their gable ends marrying this with the local red brick. Others have interesting wooden edges leading on to whitewashed walls.

The piece is made up of bondawebbed fabrics onto to a loosely woven cheesecloth base. This has then been free machine stitched with some white pieces bondawebbed on and some extra detail added using a permanent marker.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The Sage, Gateshead Quays

Well I finally made it but only just in time!  This is The Sage in Gateshead Quays and I took the photo which it represents when we went to Durham to see our grandson graduate in Durham Cathedral. I'm trying to be more adventurous by using fabrics not normally in my stash.  I bonded strips of silks onto Steam-a-seam 2 lite and laid them onto fabrics representing sky, grass and the river Tyne.  The whole of the building was covered with polyester mesh and then all stitched down while the rest was free machine quilted.

Friday, 26 July 2013

August theme

The theme for the coming month is fitting for the temperatures we are having here: Life at the Beach. My studio is on the top floor of my house with a flat roof. Can you imagine the temperature in there at the moment? With the heatwave we are having, I would rather spend some time at the beach :-).
Good luck to you all.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Out of the Mists of Time

This piece is completely different to anything I have done before. I took some horrible cheap and coarse polyester and completely covered it in grey acrylic paint before using fabric paints and acrylics with stencils that I had made when playing with the theme of Cornish Tin Mines.

I quite like the effect but wonder does it lack a focal point, or is this me just missing my usual strong colours. I felt the title fitted a rather sombre looking piece.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

This is my architecture quilt.  A few years ago I was in Zaragoza and photographed tiles on a building.  I always meant to do something with the idea!  Some white cotton was dyed with Setacolour transparent and the colours were just what I wanted for the tiles. Rather than iron for 3 minutes I put the fabric in a plastic bag in the microwave for 3 minutes.  It worked!   No dye came out after 'Zaragoza Tiles' came about.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Architecture - City Sunset

City Sunset

This is Hilary's piece for the Architecture theme. It is called "City Sunset", starting life as a photo of the Liverpool skyline. The colours are inspired by the paintings of Ton Schulten.

Monday, 15 July 2013


I combined this theme with a lesson I had to make for one of Katie PM's classes. My starting point was a picture of a lighthouse:

On a piece of paper I copied the outlines and drew a grid over it. This resulted in a picture with a lot of lines :-)) which I had enlarged to the size of 12"x12". This enlargement I copied onto transparent paper and gave every piece a number. And more drawing was to come. The next drawing was onto paper backed stabilizer. Much more preparation than I normally have when I make a quilt. Now at last it was time to start playing with fabric.
As you can see from the next picture I used lots and lots of different fabric. Only a few pieces in the sky are the same but that is mainly because I am running low on blue fabric. When all the tiny pieces were pinned where I wanted them, I could iron everything down. The quilting I kept simple as there was already so much going on in this quilt. Here is the finished result:

Saturday, 29 June 2013

July theme

The theme for July is: Architecture. This can be realistic, zoomed in on a detail or whatever idea it might give you:-). When I am home again, I will upload the pictures of the last 2 themes to their pages and update the blog.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Light and Dark

This month's theme gave me the chance to use my favorite colors :-), black and white. As I am exploring abstracts, I made another abstract for this theme. The grey is a pounded fabric, the other 2 colors are commercial ones. I admit that I finished this quilt 2 weeks ago, but I have been so busy that I did not had the time to post it to the group. Or leave comments on your posts. Trying to catch up, before I fly home again coming Sunday.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Night and day

This is Hilary's interpretation of the "Light and Dark" theme. It is inspired by the song "Night and Day" hence the music threading a path through the piece. Machine stitched and quilted.

Sunday, 23 June 2013


Finally I get to play!!

This piece is for the Light and Dark theme.  I had previously done a piece on paper with printing ink, white paint and Pigma pen called "Directions."  This piece was inspired by that artwork but in the opposite.  I used black fabric, molding paste (which gave it some texture), Pigma pen and white paint (just for the white dots). The title of this piece is....


(the inspiration for the art above) 

Anxiously awaiting the theme for July!!

Tiles 4 ----- to the theme Light and Dark

I use up some motley yellow fabric that I  had painted. I overpainted this with sun reactive paints and used a stencil as my main mask.  I put my painted pieces in the greenhouse so the wind would not disturb my arrangement. I was amazed at how well they came out. By the time I came to print a length  for the border the lovely sunny days had passed. After waiting and waiting I one day rather impatiently  chose what I thought was a sunny spell but as soon as I was ready to take it out the sun practically disappeared. 
I free machine quilted round the motifs. A rather mindless piece but I so much enjoyed doing it. I am looking forward to using this technique on other discarded fabrics and with different colours.

I felt it fitted the theme of dark and light both in execution and with the result.

Friday, 21 June 2013

hi Everyone, life has settled down a little, kitchen now beautiful although the curtains still need making.  what is the July theme please?


Friday, 31 May 2013

About turn - Janus

My apologies, my piece is not yet completed. I felt I had to post something before the deadline, so this is a sneak preview.
The Roman God Janus immediately came to mind when I read the topic for this month's challenge. This design is based on one I found online. Unfortunately I was unable to find details of the original and so cannot credit this accurately.
The figure above is free machine embroidery onto calico bonded to heavyweight Fast to fuse. This has stabilised the surface making it so much easier to stitch. The thread is Wonderfil Accent which is rather thicker than I am used to using. It is a variegated thread.
There is more to be done to this piece before I will feel it is complete, but that will take a few more days yet.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Turn about

This is not the best quilt I ever made. This theme was giving me lots of problems. For some reason the word round about kept coming up. So I decided to combine those two words. The snail has decided that it will take it's own decision and not follow everybody else who obeys this traffic sign :-).

A Messy About Turn!

Hi everyone, the reason for this title is that I always have to have everything straight, square and as neat as possible so this "about turn" is about me!!
I made a resolution in January to try out some of the "best buys" from lots of shows that have never seen the light of day; I took a piece of snow dyed fabric, another first, and stamped some expandable paint medium onto it using foam letters that my grandchildren play with.  I ironed them from the reverse so that they swelled nicely and then painted the words.  The green reversing arrows were Markelstick applied through a cutout stencil. Finally the really messy part was the free machine quilting, when I took off the feet and just let the needle go where it wanted to without much control; quite a scary thing for me and the stitching is very messy but it was soooooo liberating!!  The additional words were two that our seven year old made from the letters in "About Turn".

Monday, 27 May 2013

What Plans Have You Got

I am wondering what people plan to do with their 12 inch challenge pieces. It would be nice if our group some time in the future could show some of them. I wonder would any of the English shows be interested in them as a unit.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

June theme

The random number generator picked Light and Dark for our June theme. Good luck to you all with your interpretations of this theme. And I better start working on my May quilt :-)

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Tenerife Ride

For 'Turn about'  I went back to an adventure on holiday in Tenerife, where we were taken with cycles up to the top of Mount Teide.  The organisers were a bit concerned about the age of John and I, but we soon showed we knew how to ride a bike.  This time we cycled back to sea level,  quite hard on the brakes,  but very enjoyable.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Blue Sky thinking

This is Hilary's piece for the challenge. 

Twirling Circles

I was puzzling over how to interpret the title. I kept coming up with ideas but discarding them. Then I suddenly thought an idea I had had for about a year might suit. I had put off trying the technique as I could not work out quite how to do it. I like to work out techniques and construction ideas in my head, it saves me hours of frustrating sampling. Once I actually got down to trying to work out how to do it I made 2 quick samples and I was off.
I planned to have spotty  twirling circles in four different plain coloured 6 inch squares to make the top but then found some lovely spotty black fabrics in my spot pile, I have a stripe pile and a spot pile; both very precious. I am putting up a number of views of the piece so you can see how it works.
I did a bit of free machine quilting in multcoloured threads. This made a fairly stiff piece, as it needs to hang away from the wall,  it can be hung from 2 corners or from just one corner. 
Now for the back view. It has less good fabric on the back.
Now to think whether I will build on this idea. Thanks for the challenge - about turn- I think that was it or else it was - turn about.