Updates

Since arriving back from South Africa, everything seems to have been non stop. I arrived back on the Tuesday afternoon and then left the next day for Munich. We (my husband came with me) went to visit my German friend and Quilter Uta Lenk and her husband Michael.

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So it was a little bit of quilting talk and lots of this

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it is a beautiful part of Germany and the weather was fabulous

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Uta thought Mark might like to visit a shop near her home, and she was right. Here are just a few of the photos I took there

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I have started to read up a bit more about the Shwe Shwe fabric I bought in South Africa, the designs originated from fabric brought from Germany Austria and Hungary, so it great to see similar fabric in the shops in Bavaria made into the national costume of the Dirnhl

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We then went on to do some walking in the mountains near Salzburg

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We had a morning in Salzburg

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And then on to see Barbara Lange, where we met up again with Uta and had a very productive International threads Committee meeting.

Barbara showed me how to make a dirnhl

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I returned on the Tuesday and then left on the Wednesday to drive to Northampton to teach on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Bramble Patch.

We had 3 good days – thanks to some good fun (especially Pam, Sarah and Susan who came all 3 days) and talented students.

Here are just some pictures of their work

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Sorry some of the photos have uploaded sideways.

And here is one of the early Morning Swim pieces of work

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Back at home for a couple of days and I have taught at the Quilt Cabin for 2 days. It has been good to teach felt making and another Early Morning Swim class.

My couple of days at home have been spent visiting the Graphic designers and my new book has finally gone to press so it will be ready for the Festival of Quilts – Phew! so will my new Indian Ladies Kits

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and the Jumper kits, plus 1000 cards!

My head is bursting with ideas for new pieces of work, and being in a hotel in Weeden Bec came me a chance to start sketching for a couple of new pieces. I did some drawings in Bavaria to start.

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I have a piece of work to do as part of a South African Challenge, and started some sampling

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and here are some drawings and some sampling for a piece of work that is due to go to Prague in April

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It has been an exhausting few weeks, after Festival of Quilts I have a quiet few weeks and time to tidy my studio – there are kits, samples, half finished quilts, piles of fabric all over the floor – it is such a mess!

Cape Town

We arrived into Cape Town with thick cloud on table Mountain but woke up on Saturday morning to clear skies and a lovely breakfast at Guest House

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With bright skies I went out to take some more photos of the coloured houses

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Rayna and I decided we would get a train along the coast, we were advised that it might be dangerous but it wasn’t and my only complaint was that the windows could have been cleaner so i could see out of the window better

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Our first stop was Kalk Bay

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We made a couple of purchases – more in another post of the delightful Michel

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And then borded the train again from St James to Simonstown to Boulders Beach to see the penguins

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Maybe these images will become a new Journal Quilt

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Stunning!

The next day – more photos of Table Mountain

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And then goodbye to Rayna

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I then went on to see the Shre shre (not the right spelling) exhibition and do a bit of shopping

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before meeting up with Pam Stallebrass who lives near Cape Town and will be having a stand at Festival of Quilts next month

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Pam took me to the botanical gardens in Cape Town to see the giant protea plants

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then on to another harbour

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and then on to the airport for the long flight home.

So I have loads more ideas for more quilts but no time to make them as I need to get my new book finished for Festival of Quilts, and the new kits.

 

South Africa

Last week I taught at South African Guild’s Creative Energy Conference near Durban. There is so much that I could write about it, and so many photos.

It was set in a boys school out towards the mountains

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Where do I start……I met some fabulous students and some of them did some beautiful work

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As you can see from the number of panels made here the classes were large – no some of them were huge – teaching upwards of 30 students in a class, on my own, was a challenge. This is not really something I really want to do again!

I taught a disable young girl who used her foot pedal with her hand – she managed to make a couple of wired flowers in the class

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The school is one of the top schools in South Africa and I did enjoy walking around the grounds- there were some very inspirational quotes up around the school, and some beautiful flowers.

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I listened to a talk by an expert on the Schwe Schwe fabric from South Africa and of course bought loads of fabric.

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We did have a lot of fun in the evenings, with Rayna, Hilary, Sheena, Brandon and Kaffe!

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After the conference we visited the Hillcrest Aids centre – they are doing amazing things working with local communities and helping aids victims (more to write another day) where, amongst other things i bought 50 beaded traveller beaded dolls to sell and will send the profit to them.

Here is a painted one, that was one the wall of the centre

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Following the festival we stayed on the outskirts of Durban and had a fabulous time shopping and visiting some of the Durban attractions.

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Here is us causing chaos in the fabric shop

I took masses of photos at the botanical garden in Durban

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A visit to the Nelson Mandela Memorial was inspirational and an incredible piece of art work

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and a visit to Ardmore afterwards was somewhere i could have spent hours

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We went in to the traditional African Fabric shop in the centre of Durban to buy the proper 3 cats fabric

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I guess the highlight of all the places we visited in Durban has to be the Phansi Museum

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We finished our day with a meal by the beach and a visit to see Odette Tolksdorf – i just love her quilts, and her house is really beautiful – full of African artifacts

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Rayna and I then took a plane to Cape Town, where we now have, for the first time Wifi!!!

The weather is damp which is a shame and this is the view of table mountain from our beautiful guest house

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The weather may not be good but the shops are, and look what I have been out photographing

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Last night we went for some food – I don’t really enjoy eating meat but in the traditional African restaurant we had to try some local food. Don’t think I will eat it again – Springbok, Ostrich and Kudu

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I hope today to be able to go and visit the penguins but as the weather is not brilliant they may not be there!

So many experience, some new best friends, and more inspiration for more quilts.

Now I need another 24 hours in every day!

Feeling good!

It always feels good to get a few pieces finished.

So here are some of my Sri Lankan images quilts.

This one is 30cm x 60cm

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These ones are all 40cm x 80cm IMG_5181

Here they are individually

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I have also finished the samples of my new game kit. One of these was hand stitched, the other machine stitched.

Lots more work still to do – writing the instructions etc

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Now my next job is to tidy my studio – it is chaos!

Sri Lanka and lots of photos

The last weeks have been crazy – I feel like I have not been at home for weeks.

I have done so much teaching but in amongst have at least managed to do a bit of my own work and have been able to answer lots of emails whilst away.

I haven’t posted any good pictures of my trip to Sri Lanka and it does seem like weeks ago, so I thought I would give a brief account of our trip.

 

My daughter and I wanted to have a week’s holiday in May; we had thought maybe we should go walking in Majorca or somewhere like that. I priced up flights etc and then we found some very reasonable flights to Sri Lanka – that would mean we could meet up with my son who would be in Sri Lanka at the end of May.

I love to have the opportunity to travel with them. I feel 25 again, and wish that I had to opportunity to have a gap year all over again

 

We had all been too busy to do any research, so when we arrived we really had no idea where we should go. My daughter arrived first, then my son, and then me.

After exploring Colombo and a visit to Barefoot – a very colourful shop selling items made by local women using hand woven fabrics, we set off on a 4 hour bus ride to the Cultural centre area of Sri Lanka.

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We visited the caves at Dambulla, climbed the hill to see the many Buddha’s and all the painted ceilings. So many patchwork patterns

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We then went on to climb the rock outcrop at Sigiriya to see the cave paintings, the mirror wall with grafitti from the 6th century, and the remains of the village (around AD500) – all spectacular. The climb up was hot and windy.

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We had read about a hotel that had been designed by one of Sri Lanka’s famous architect, unfortunately by the time we got there it was dark so we did not see it at its best.

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We made an early start the next day on the bus to Kandy. I went to visit the temple of the scared tooth – amazing to see so many people queuing up to see a tooth from the sacred Buddha.

The temple was worth going to and it was good to see a bit of Kandy and see so many tuk tuks

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We wanted to get to the village in the mountains to climb Adams peak so caught a train to Hatton. It was a spectacular train journey and I spent the afternoon taking photos from the train window.

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Once in Hatton we had a delicious lunch of rice and curry in a restaurant that cost us £1 each.

 

Unable to find a bus to get us to Dalhousie we realized that it stopped running at the beginning of the month so ended up getting a tuk tuk, this was great as the views were amazing and we were able to stop to see the women arriving with their tea. Each woman has to pick 20kg of tealeaves to be able to make a living.

I am not sure what the grey aprons are for – probably just to keep the skirts clean.

 

We arrived at the Green hotel at the foot of the intended walk. £7.50 for the 3 of us to stay. It started to rain …heavy rain and showed no sign of stopping. Our plan was to climb Adams peak and set off at 2.30 am. With good wifi that night we watched every u tube about how dangerous it was to climb –many leeches and that it was very difficult in the dark. We didn’t have a torch other than our phones.

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It continued to rain. We didn’t even have any good waterproofs with us.

At 2.30am we got up, the rain had stopped.

A Norwegian guy staying at the same place as us had a good torch so we walked with him.

We climbed the 5200 steps and arrived on the top at 5.00 am – an hour ahead of schedule.

It wad cold on the top but we waited until 6.00 and we were rewarded with a fabulous sunrise.

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We descended, all 5200 steps, went back to the gust house, had some breakfast and then got a bus in to the town to catch the train

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I just wondered how my legs would be the next day.

I was pleased when the young Norwegian guy said “You are pretty fit for someone your age” I guess this was a compliment

 

The train ride is one of the most spectacular train journeys in the World; we broke the journey and got off the train to visit the Lipton tea factory. The mist came down but it was a good tour and we were amazed that most of the tea gets processed (I assume put into tea bags) in Manchester

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We arrived at Ella in the dark, found somewhere to stay and then went for some food – curry with chicken and banana and rice all wrapped up in a banana leaf – delicious!

We didn’t have enough time to climb Ella rock so opted for Little Adams peak as, by setting off early we thought we might be able to see the women going to start tea picking.

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We wanted to head to the coast – perfectly possible by bus but we opted for a taxi which was much quicker. We arrived in Arguram Bay and found a place to stay- a cabana on the beach. I could lie in bed hear the sea and see it from 3 sides of our little hut. It was quite breezy so cool.

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The beach was beautiful and the small resort lovely.

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We took a tuk tuk to the next town and went out in the swamps in the lagoon to see the crocodiles and other wildlife. We didn’t see and crocodiles but it was very pleasant being paddled around the lagoon.

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I had a surf lesson – it made me realize just how hard it is to stand on a board but it was fun!

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We went on safari and were rewarded with the sight of a leopard, several crocodiles, a few elephants and many other animals. I loved the turquoise birds with the splash of gold.

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Every morning I would walk to watch the fishermen arrive with their fish. It was good to see the boats and see them using the new ones that have been donated by various groups following the tsunami.

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We caught the overnight bus to Colombo, arriving at 4.15am. We sat in a cafe until dawn, and then went to a posh hotel for breakfast.

I love markets early in the morning.

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I then caught a train to Galle. The train runs along the coast – beautiful coastline and I enjoyed seeing all the washing hanging out in the gardens along the way.

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In Galle I made another visit to Barefoot, bought a few things, and had a lovely afternoon wandering around the small Fort town, looking in the small antique shops and craft shops, eating ice cream and having mango with chili.

I got a tuk tuk to Uttawatuna to see more of the coast, I thought it might be quite touristy but it wasn’t and the sun was at its best and I wandered along he beach just enjoying the spectacular light at that time of the evening.

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My last day I set off on the local bus early, had breakfast on the beach at Merissa then caught buses to various places along the coast, just looking at the beaches, visiting the folk museum (no photos allowed) and trying to get a photo of the fishermen on sticks.

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The beaches were beautiful and it didn’t rain at all.

I took the train back to Colombo and a bus to the airport.

Sri Lanka was just beautiful – a cleaner greener India, easier to travel around and I just would love to go back again sometime.

Pauline’s Patchwork Dorset

I have had a lovely few days teaching at Pauline’s Patchwork Shop in Poundbury near Dorchester.

I taught some talented and keen students, an Indian Ladies class and a couple of teasels and seed heads classes.

Here are some of the results from the classes

Poundbury is interesting – it is Price Charles model town. I didn’t really want to like it as it is perhaps “perfect living” for those that  can afford it – maybe I am wrong but I did like it, and in the sunshine it did look good. It is a good place to have a patchwork shop, if only because it is so easy to park outside the door.

Today I have been working as “artist in residence” in the shop and had a very enjoyable and productive day, made all the more pleasant by having Sasha and Lou for company. it is good to be with young mums who are so keen to learn about patchwork and quilting – I just want to teach them all that I know as I feel it is so important to encourage the next generation to continue – I will need to retire at some point, although not just yet!

Thanks girls – for a nice day!

I have almost finished Coconut Joe ( that’s what Sasha has called him, but I think he should be Pounbury Joe to remind me of today) and then started on my tea Picker lady . There will be a third and fourth quilt to come.

It is always good to see them photographed as now I can see where the changes need to be made

These are both 40cm x 80cm

   
   

Home again

I have spent 2 frantic days catching up with essential admin etc, and I am off again. This time it is all work – teaching in the South. I have achieved a lot in a couple of days.

Yesterday with the help from a student we assembled 200 new Indian Ladies Kits. The “Kyra” kit was the most popular so in my parcel from India was 200 new backgrounds, so they are now available in a rich yellow colour. The fabric is printed in India and the kit includes the pot, arms and legs fabric. I have to cut the bondaweb, include the instructions, stick the label on the front, fold and add the hand stitching thread. This all takes loads of time. They now just need adding to my shop.

400 new backgrounds arrived in yellow, pink/orange and a grey/brown colour. These are to be made into new kits that will be available soon. I am just waiting for the instructions to be designed by the graphic designers. They will be similar to the previous 3 ladies kit but much bigger – approx 25ins square. I made one of the panels yesterday to check my patterns work, and thankfully they do but I just need to add some hand stitching and photograph it.

I have so many fabulous photos from Sri Lanka and a few ideas for new quilts, but decided to just make a quick and easy JQ first. This is the June Quilt so I am a few days ahead.

It only took a short time to make – and now I want to make more based on the tuk tuk’s – In India in one town they are all the same colour – in Sri Lanka they are all different colours.

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So here is my fun piece

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I will eventually get round to adding some of my photos of our trip on to facebook etc. One of the highlights was going by train through the tea plantations. We made a visit to one of the factories so it was good yesterday to sit down and drink some tea from Sri Lanka

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the baking parchment and also add the hand stitching thread