Saturday, 27 December 2014

theme January 2015

The random number generator gave us this theme for the coming month: Upside down. Good luck every one :-)

Friday, 26 December 2014

Painted face

A couple of years ago I painted this fabric, but as I had no use for it at that moment it ended up in my stash. This month's theme brought it out again :-). The face is stitched on it.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Painted face - Masquerade


For this challenge, I borrowed my younger daughter's masquerade masks. My version is applique onto black linen. The gold fabric has been bondawebbed in place since it was too fragile to stitch.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Child's Play - November Hand Out Piece

This is a departure from the serious subject of November's Handout theme:

Our world is filled with discontent, violence and pain, and I thought I'd take a trip down memory lane to revisit a calmer time of my life.  My little girl has her hand out picking apples in the 1950's. 

My first memory of sewing is using the cardboard images with numbered holes in them.  Then you used shoelaces to go in and out around the image following the numbers. 

Even at a young age, it felt right to be "sewing" with those shoelaces, and I received these cardboard sewing images everytime it was gift giving time for a few years.  I wore through all of them.  ;-)

Details of how many steps I took to get to this finished piece are on my blog.  It was an adventure.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

The Library Clock

December's challenge is "Painted Face" and this is Hilary's small quilt. 

She says, "The Clock Face is a sample of their Fingerprint range that I purchased from the Kemshall's stand at Festival of Quilts. The surrounding fabric is part of a fat quarter that has been in my stash for years - nice to finally put it to use."

Friday, 5 December 2014

Hand out time at Christmas

My piece is rather twee but it did satisfy the theme of "Hand Out". I took the liberty of turning it into Hands and Paws out. Cat colouring is for my daughters 2 cats.
Many people feel Christmas is or has become so commercial, I had this in mind with all the hands looking for their presents.
The cats are fabric painted and the rest is raw edge applique

Tuesday, 2 December 2014


The idea for this originated with a monotype of my hand in a glove which was printed with acrylic paint and scanned.  It was then embellished with various textures which reference fingerprint patterns and surveillance cameras.

My intention is to show two hands which are different in colour and pattern trying to make contact with each other.  They are prevented from doing so by many devices which include fences, 'Keep Out' signs and barbed wire.  The fences are printed with a wood grainer and then part of the print was taken and repeated

The background is meant to show a certain amount of chaos as is the stitchery which also becomes part of the obstacles.  The doves of peace and the CND symbol reference the intent and views of the two participants..

At Sixes and Sevens

Like others I have found this an impossible subject, no idea why but nothing would come to me - until this afternoon that is!!
I have been involved in a small challenge where a group of us were given a piece of hand dyed fabric, 7" x 8" and then were given instructions how to progress it over a number of months, stitch it, decorate it, embellish it and so on.  Finally we were told to cut it into at least six pieces and reassemble in a different format.  As I sat finishing it off today it suddenly occurred to me that I had received a "Handout" of fabric.  Rather a stretch of the subject I know but now that I am back in harness I would really like to try and do one a month for a while.

November Theme... will be late with it

Hi Everyone, I suddenly had an idea for the November theme of -Hand Out - so hope to make a piece but it may be a bit late. Now I have the idea I really want to do it.

Monday, 1 December 2014

theme December 2014

Sorry, but I am a bit late. The theme for this month is: Painted Face. Have fun with it!

Friday, 28 November 2014

Hand Out/Handout

Hand Out / Handout
I had a lot of fun playing around with the phrase. Not being able to choose any single meaning since I just couldn't make any of them turn into pictures in my head, I resorted to messing around with words instead. 
For the background I chose one of "failed" dyed pieces. It had been put aside for overprinting. Here it represents the sometimes conflicting meanings of the word/phrase Hand out / Handout. Some have meanings which arouse strong feelings in some people - hence the bright colours. I searched for meanings in my dictionary and Thesaurus, jumbling these all together in to a sequence of words which are repeated as part of the background. The calligraphy was achieved by writing directly onto the background fabric using permanent markers. Over the top is the outline of my left hand printed onto silk, again with repeated words. The whole piece has been free-machine quilted using hand outlines in variegated thread.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Townscape - Ghost buildings.

Ghost buildings
During a tidying session in my workroom, I came across some photos I had taken during the winter of 1974/5 as part of an art project for my final year at Teacher Training College. Ooh dear, that last statement really dates me, doesn't it. I am one of the last to have gained a Teacher's Certificate rather than a degree....................
Ah well, back to the plot. At the time the centre of Macclesfield, Cheshire was being redeveloped. Walking around, I took several photos of buildings which were soon to be flattened. This little collection of shops used to stand in Derby Street, now long gone, lying underneath Churchill Way, which was built to ease the traffic in the town centre.
I like to think of these as Ghost buildings, memories of what once was the townscape. As in all things, there has to be change.
My own dyed fabric, with photos printed on cotton, free machine quilting. The brick images have also been printed onto cotton. These were part of a series of paintings produced at the same time.
I really ought to apologise for being so very late with this piece. Sorry about that.

Friday, 7 November 2014


I am later than usual, but here is my vision of townscape:

Contrary to what I normally do, I used commercial fabrics this time. Only the doors and windows are hand dyed. Now I only have to finish the facing and the sleeve, and than the quilt is actually finished :-).

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Composition in Blue

Yes, I know I'm really late with adding a contribution to the Blue themed month, but I did make one for the challenge:

I belong to a local art group that is working on alternate grid pieces, and I decided to make my piece fit into our Blue Themed month. 

I hand dyed 4 gradations of blue, and after I started piecing it, realized this would have been much easier if I'd just fused the half square triangles in place. 

If you kind of fuzz up your vision, the background piecing goes away and the alternate grid concept is more obvious. 


Tuesday, 28 October 2014


This work is a reaction to the suffering the towns, villages and inhabitants of the Middle East have been enduring in recent months.  It would have been too much of a cliche to portray actual destruction and instead, I have taken an abstract approach.  I have tried to show a chaotic and broken situation by combining bits of fences, broken windows an impression of general mayhem.

The eyes observe the destruction and the strands show tears of fear as indicated by the teardrop shapes.  I have left lines of thread dangling down deliberately to add to the chaos.  Whether this works or not, I leave you to judge.

I have used a collage from my own photographs and free machine stitchery on a photo transfer background.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

November theme

The theme for the coming month is: Hand out. Good luck everybody. My quilt for this month will be a little late, sorry.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Toronto Townscape by the Lake

Always a favourite city since my first visit in 1980. A very stylized representation all stitched onto black felt for impact. Stitched in blocks of colours, brights at the front and pales at the rear helping to add a feeling of depth.
Sorry to have been missing for such a long time but family illness can be very time consuming and the months fly by without realisation. Hopefully back in the swing of things now.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Townscape Reflections

"Townscape Reflections" by Hilary.

This is Hilary's piece on the subject of "Townscape". It is an applique panel under painted Lutrador. Hilary tells me it was "based on a photograph I took in Chester. I am looking into a shop window at a display with the black and white buildings across the street reflected in the glass."

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

October theme

The theme for the coming month is: Townscape. Good luck everybody.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Carpenter's Tools are in the bag. Irene MacWilliam

I bought some narrow striped black and white fabric at FOQ after much searching. However when I got it back to the hotel I discovered it was navy and white. Although the tools look to be a different fabric it is an illusion, it is due to the black and red vertical lines of quilting. The stripes are so narrow that I am not sure I could make a large hanging with this fabric. 

It's in the bag.

"It's in the bag" by Hilary Martin

This is Hilary's piece. It is appliqué, machine stitched and quilted.

Monday, 22 September 2014


I did this one first because it was more inspiring for me which is the line of least resistance.
You might wonder how this can be considered 'In the bag' and on the face of it you might well be right. However, it can be justified as it was literally lying in the bag.  Additionally, as the original was from an
unfinished series on liberty and the effect on the individual the prisoner or prisoners behind bars are also 'in the bag'.  No-one can censor or control their thoughts though as 'Stone walls doth not a prison make' (Richard Lovelace).
It was interesting to observe that a quilt made by prisoners through the efforts of Fine Cell were predominantly displaying their great longing for freedom.
Techniques are printing and machine embroidery.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Irene MacWilliam - Sticks and stones may break my bones.

Been somewhat preoccupied by family matters so took the easy way out for this theme. I just played so that I felt I was being creative.
I took some old sheeting and immersed it in some dilute dylon silk paint to give a blue haze to fabric, I was hoping for more mottling. I then used a new thermofax screen to give a feeling of small stones, another screen gave the stick pattern. I then used a home made screen and stencil I cut to make the 3 figures. I tried out nozzle bottles for the text but they were not suitable for this size writing as the uneven blobs are too intrusive.
Text ---- Sticks and Stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.
I used blue dyed fabric with another abstract line design for the backing. Line quilting in short lines to represent more sticks.
An unexciting piece but it was fun just using so many different screens. I used to think screen printing was so messy that one needed to be doing a lot of it to warrant the preparation of an area for it but I actually find it is easy to just do 2 or 3 prints without making any mess.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Composition in blue

Not a very creative title for this quilt, but that is all I can come up with for now :-). Here is my quilt for the August theme. Background is a mixture of dark blue pieces of fabric. For the lighter figures on top I looked into the field of symbols like earth goddess, stars - ever lasting life, water = birth of new life.

September theme

The random number generator picked this as the theme for September 2014: It's in the bag. Good luck to you all!

Monday, 25 August 2014

Summer Blues - an exploration of texture

This started out as an experimental piece trying out different types of free machine quilting. Since it got rather out of hand, it has now become my piece for this month's challenge.
Distressed knitting, felt pieces - my own and a commercial piece, hand embroidery, buttons, scraps of commercial and my own printed fabrics, scrim, silk ribbon, free machine quilting, and bias binding. 
Rather an indulgent piece, since I had a lot of fun messing around and putting it all together. 

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

August theme

Feeling bad but I may not be able to do the August theme due to events here, or I might be able to do it at last minute as a bit of relief from things. Sorry but textiles have not been to the fore in my thinking this last month or so. Enjoyed the FOQ as a distraction but not really looked at all my lovely and interesting purchases yet.
Irene MacWilliam

Thursday, 31 July 2014

August theme

The random number generator picked this theme for the month of August: blue(s). Looking forward to what you all do with this theme.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Girls and Boys come out to play by Irene MacWilliam

Childs Play - theme

A sun print using Dye-na-flo and setacolor, then the figures were screen printed using a stencil. Writing of nursery rhyme, using acrylic ink in pen bought from Art-van-go. 
The background represents the tangled life of childhood with lots of images of childhood, monsters, stars, halloween skull and bones, christmas trees etc.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

July theme

I had planned to make a quilt with the June theme, but I am on vacation right now and just did not have the time to do it. That is also the reason that I am late with posting the new theme. However I never go away without my usb stick, so I had access to the list of themes. After several runs with the random number generator, this is the theme which was chosen for July: Street scene. Good luck to you all for interpretating this theme into a quilt.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Child's Play

This is Hilary's quilt. She says, "I have tried to give the impression of a child's painting in a colouring book.The figures are machine stitched."

Tuesday, 24 June 2014


This work resulted from many manifestations.  I am addicted to the design possibilities of text at the moment and words provided the starting point.  Several ideas came and went out of the window until I thought of children's play blocks.  These were a devil to construct and there were to be five originally with 2 letters on each to say 'CHILD'S PLAY'.  However, when I started assembling the first blocks I thought that I had a pleasing design so it got no further than 'CHILDS'.

The background was from a manipulation of the words 'Child's Play' together with the idea that it could be taken in the adult or child sense e.g it can mean a doddle, easy, a picnic, a walk in the park.  Most of this is designed not be read.  A quotation from Chaucer's 'The Merchant's Tale' is included also.

Techniques include digital transfer and free machine quilting on cotton.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Filling in the Blancs

Well, my piece is finally finished. Sorry it is so late. The quilt is slightly distorted in this photos since I still haven't stitched the back facings - they are pinned in place.
I took the theme quite literally and looked for words and phrases using "blanc". I came up with blancmange, Sauvignon Blanc and, of course, Mont Blanc. The mountain has a tunnel running through it so looked at photos of the entrance from the French side. This has a strange canopy which I have shown. Funnily enough, in my searches I came across a wine shop called "Filling in the Blancs". Hence the addition of the wine bottle and glasses.
A mixture of cottons and sheer fabrics appliquéd together. Free machine embroidery.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Filling in the blancs

I took this theme literally as you can see :-). Fill in the blancs and you get a text. I trust you can find it.

Fabric used are - as usually my own hand dyed ones. Whenever a theme is announced within a couple of days I know what I want to do with it. But than other things require my attention and before I know it the end of the month is almost there and I still have to start. This month was no different than other ones. And if you are wondering why you can not see the edges of the quilt. Well, I still have to do the facing :-)).

Filling the blancs - Irene MacWilliam - May theme

I got a notion I wanted to do something with a lot of yellow, then the question was what to do on the surface of my yellow fabric. I decided to again do something abstract using off-cuts. I had fun and am well pleased with having produced a very cheerful piece. I have to add yellow is my favourite colour.
I had this piece sitting on top of my sewing table as it cheered me up looking at it, BUT a robin got shut in our kitchen which has access to my sewing room and my piece ended up with a bird dropping, which I tried to remove. I can still see where it is/was and am wondering whether to fill in the area with an extra little red dot. -- that would end up with me filling a blank area, albeit with something very small. The arrow in the next image shows where the bird splat was.

First in Flight

I'm mega behind in contributing to the monthly challenges, but did complete the April challenge.  We were on vacation for February and part of March, and it took me awhile to get back into the art studio.

This is my first attempt at creating an original tesselation.  I purchased a new program from TesselManiac and turned the kite shape into a hummingbird.

I traced the repeat pattern on tissue paper to create this piece and then painted each bird with various inks and pencils.  The inks were mixed with clear Aloe Gel, and the Inktense pencil colors were blended with water.

They looked a bit like blobs, so I used a Sharpie marker to add eyes, and baby wings to each bird, and quilted around them.

The purple First in Flight hummingbird is stitched with 2 different Madeira metallic threads.

The sky was painted with 4 different shades of ink and Aloe Gel, and machine quilted with a variegated Madeira rayon thread.


Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Filling The Blancs

I wanted to find out if some white 'stuff' called waves was useable or just for decorating flower bunches! Base of calico was covered by sari strips, one layer of Lutrador and 2 layers of the 'stuff'.  They were placed with spray adhesive and the free machined.  I then used a set pattern to draw the squares.  I used my ancient Pfaff to do this piece and it behaved beautifully.............this is after my husband removed a pin from its interior.  This had been causing problems for ages!
The piece was heated with my heat gun,  the Lutrador melted first and some of the top it was plastic!  It all looks a bit like the frost patterns we used to get on windows.

Frost in the Morning

Monday, 26 May 2014

June theme

Our theme for the month June is: Child's play. Good luck everybody.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Ice or Space!!

My first thought was Mont Blanc so the background is ice white with FMQ, then crosswords jumped into my mind with all their 'blank' spaces, so I stamped some squares onto pieces of Lutradur, stitched around them and them burnt through the spaces with a heat gun. Finally I found some foam letters with sticky backs and these helped to emphasise the crossword part of the quilt. By accident the Lutradur ended up looking like very crisp snow!

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Over the Nile

I sat in a felucca crossing the Nile with an old friend and we watched the hot air balloons going overhead in the very early morning, sadly there was no time left on our trip for us to do the same!
Bonded fabrics onto a pretty batik background, machine stitched and edged to emphasize the shapes.

First Flight

This piece is, as yet, unfinished. This is Hilary Martin's interpretation of "First Flight" and is applique over a hand painted surface.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Early Flight

And as I promised yesterday, here is my version of an early flight:

Not an early flight with a commercial airline, but the early flight of birds. Background is made from my hand dyed fabrics, for the birds I used a commercial black. Going through my stash I discovered that I do not have anymore any real dark fabrics. Maybe time for a dyeing session.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

theme for May

My quilt for the Early Flight theme is almost done, I will post it probably tomorrow. Our next theme will be: Filling in the Blancs' - picked by the random number generator.
If you want me to add new themes to the mother list, just send me an email and I will add them.

Thursday, 3 April 2014


Here is my contribution for the theme Summer Adventures:
For this quilt I used the same technique as I did for the quilt which I completed last week. In a way you can call that a test piece :-). The strips of cheese cloth are stitched to the pieced background with seed beads.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Not to any theme - printing

Not to our theme but I thought this was a fun experiment. I pulled a daffodil out of a vase and discovered the stalk had split and formed 3 little spirals. I cut them off and tried them out for printing using a pin inserted at right angles to give me something to hold onto. I was very impressed with the fineness of the printed spiral

Summer Adventure - Birds of a Feather

This piece was made from an old sheet.I used a home made stencil and a small home made screen for the screen printing. I got my husband to show me how to use a mitre saw so I could make small screens of various sizes. The writing was my first attempt with a nozzle shaped bottle. The binding is just pinned so I have the hemming to do while watching TV.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

theme for April

My quilt for the month March will be late, I was having so much fun with my 2 other series that I still have to start working on this quilt. But as the month is almost ended I have used the random number generator to tell us what our theme for April will be. It gave me: early flight. Let your imagination run wild to see what you can do with this theme :-).

Sunday, 2 March 2014

A Crooked Little House in Contrast - Kelly

My mind goes first to the B/W I love but I wanted to stretch a bit more and not be too predictable.I had so many ideas that it was difficult to land on just one.  Finally decided on contrasting Color with the B/W. Figured I would design a cute house as the main bit. Remembered my favorite photo of a Crooked Little House and thought that would make a great inspiration for this theme.  I made the little house in B/W and then on with Colors (there is also a contrast in using the pastels for the backboards of the house and brights for the boards in front).  Here is one of the little crooked houses in contrast.  BONUS!! I also have another one!!! It is still on the design wall ready to be completed later.  


Here is a side by side photo of the two pieces before they were cut up and mixed together.

Sorry for the blur. Next week my camera will have a new lens (thanks to a GREAT price on e-bay!!)

Saturday, 1 March 2014

And the Photograph!

Sorry, don't know what happened to the photo the first time around, it must be me!!

Triple Contrast!

Finally I made it!! This piece stems from two Journal Quilts from 2013 based on the work of Barbara Hepworth.  I have continued to tweek the design and this time have added a third contrasting colour.
The design was drawn out onto Golden Hands paper and then stitched and flipped having first been cut into three sections. The additional machine quilting adds to the Contrast Theme. These more abstract themes are definitely my favorites, less so the pictorial ones!!

Friday, 28 February 2014

I would just like to say congratulations to everyone for their pieces this month, they are all gorgeous and so well thought out.  My piece is on its way but I may struggle to finish it before midnight!! Will do my best though.

Contrast - Striped flowers

Contrast - use of black and white, use of vertical and horizontal stripes

I wanted to try out a new idea with my black and white stripes-- flower shapes with tiny flashes of colour together with matching vertical coloured lines of quilting. I have 2 larger pieces in mind that might use these flowers with the colour additions. I am fascinated with the optical illusions one can produce with stripes and small additions of colour.

Now for confession time- I cut my original piece of striped fabric as a 12 inch square intending to cut it back to a 10 inch square. Probably harking back to another challenge I was involved in. However I was able to salvage an 11 inch finished piece... not the 12 inch required for this group.

Thursday, 27 February 2014


When I read what the theme was for this month, my first idea was to use black/white in combination with red. I even made a small sketch :-). But thinking a bit more, it would have been the obvious choice for me. So I decided to do a bit more thinking and I came up with this idea:

The contrast is between the evergreen pines and the lonely deciduous tree. Also the contrast between the green - color of life - and the brown - color of decay/death. As usual all the fabric which I used are my own hand dyed ones.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014


This is my "contrast" quilt. The basic design came from a workshop on "Notan" which I attended back in September 2011. I thoroughly enjoyed all the cutting out of paper we were doing at the time, but couldn't work out how to turn any of it into a textile piece. Well, not until now.
This is bondaweb applique onto an evenweave embroidery cotton from my stash. The applique fabrics were my own painted and dyed samples. Quilted, with a bias binding edging.
I was playing around with contrasts in texture and colour.

Monday, 24 February 2014


I wanted to contrast colour, line and stitches.  The basic design was from a screen of my own design.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

March theme

The random number generator does not pay any attention to the season :-), it picked as theme: Summer Adventure.

Saturday, 22 February 2014


This is Hilary's quilt on the theme of "Contrast". She says, her quilt is "simply a contrast of colours which could be Summer and Winter or hot and cold."

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

On the buses

"On the buses - Northwich"
I took the subject rather literally, and have shown people getting on the bus. This bus is shown in the town of Northwich, my local town. The background is a collection of dyecatchers and some scrumpled bus timetables for the local area.
My apologies for being so late with this one.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Accepted the Challenge!

OK, so the theme for January was On The Buses.  I had no idea what on earth that was about.  So, I visited my old friend Google....figuring to find scenes of people on buses, views from buses, etc.  What I DIDN'T expect to find was that "On The Buses" was a sitcom out of the UK!! As that was stumbled upon about 1am, I went to bed thinking about the theme. Before I fell asleep I knew what I wanted to do. I was inspired by one of the promo pictures for the show which used a green bus. From scenes from the actual show, I guess they usually involve the normal red buses but there was at least one scene photo with a green bus. In the morning I picked out fabrics from my hand-dyed collections.  Found the green I wanted then the background, a transparency for the windows and an old drop cloth from years ago that I kept because I thought it looked so cool.

First I FMQed a sort of cityscape (with a small hint of a nod to Big Ben). Nothing exact. I was going with the comic feel. Cut out the bus, placed the windows in the slots. Behind the windows was the fun drop cloth...again going with the fun comic feel.  I looked at putting round wheels but it all got too kitchy for me. Then I found a black very long rubber band to represent the tires. Now it was all too symmetrical. In the promo picture, there was the name of the show in red on the green bus so I grabbed a strip of red and it was just the bit of asymmetry that it needed. And here it is.....


Nope, this piece will never hang in the Louvre, but I had fun doing it...and since the theme fit with the sitcom...that seemed appropriate.

Now I'm still trying to narrow down the ideas for Contrast....There are about 4 I would really like to do.....

(I mistakenly posted this on my own blog so I just copied it to this one where it really belongs. Sorry if you get both.)

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Before my 2014 begins!

The minute the theme for November (at least I THINK it was November) was announced, I knew what I wanted to do.  I had this all planned for a larger art quilt but....oh well.  Seemed like a smaller one fit the bill for now.  From October through January my life was a zoo inside a hurricane, but this one I just couldn't let go.  It is inspired by a Hubble photograph of the Orion Nebula.  The background is a pounded fabric (black with gold metallic) which suits just fine I think. I had already dyed the cheesecloth for the larger piece. I love the jewel tones of the nebula and this brings that out. Also...just to give it a bit of outer space sparkle...I place some Angelina behind parts of the cheesecloth.  I'm very happy with it!!

It IS 12X12, just had to take the photo with my iPhone as my camera is headed to the shop. ;-((( so it looks a bit off kilter.

January's theme has me bum-fuzzled. But I'll come up with something. February's theme is difficult currently in that there are way too many ideas floating around in my head.  I've so far gotten it narrowed down to 4 or 5.  It will start tomorrow if all goes well.  

Sunday, 26 January 2014

February theme

I think for the first time that I did not make a quilt for a theme, but I have to admit the January theme gave me no inspiration. Hopefully the theme for February will be better :-). It is: Contrast.