A week’s admin

I think it would be a really good exercise, over a year, just to record how I spend my days as a Textile Artist / Teacher. Today I have sat at my computer, what seems like all day. My husband came in and said “Are you still sitting there!”

I teach, make quilts, write books and produce kits. What percentage of my week do I spend doing these?

Making Quilts

Drawings and designing?

Searching for, sourcing fabrics, materials etc?

Stitching?

Teaching

Preparing for teaching?

Actually teaching?

Writing and sending requirements list?

Preparing invoices?

Books and Kits

Writing instructions?

Photographing pieces of work?

Liaising with Graphic Designers?

Exhibiting

Writing proposals?

Filling in Forms etc?

Packaging and posting Quilts?

Media and marketing

Blog posting?

Sending emails etc?

Social media?

The list is long -the stitching takes up only a tiny tiny part of my week.

This week there has been no stitching, no designing and what seems like nothing much to show.

I have made hundreds of kits, ready for teaching in Olympia in March, Prague in April, Beaujolais in April and others throughout the year.

Buying new bags, having new labels printed is so easy on the internet but they all take time.

I have also done a plan for the joint exhibition that Sheena Norquay and I are having in March at Midsomer Quilting – more to come about this another time.

I have written all the instructions for my new project book – Interchange Applique – it is only half the number of pages compared to previous books but just as colourful. I am hoping it will be ready for Olympia.

So, not a lot (it seems) to show for a week’s really hard work but it does feel good to have it all done. I’ve even tidied up a bit, and been to loads of different exercise classes at our local gym (to give myself a break), so I feel fitter.

 

Admin week

Having to fill in my tax return always causes me mega stress in January, at least it is now done and I don’t have to do it again for another year. This week I have tried to finish off some projects and get a few things done that I should have done months ago. I have had 400 kits sitting on my studio floor for months. I needed to write the instructions and make the samples. One of the reasons it has taken so long is that they needed to be hand stitched.

I’ll explain about my new kits.

It is to make an Indian board game called Pachisi.

Pachisi is the national game of India and is a cross and circle game that originated in ancient India. It is played on a board shaped like a symmetrical cross.

In the kit this is what you will get

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And here are some of the samples I have made

 

This is what it will look like when finished if you machine stitch it

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The colours vary

And here are my hand stitched samples

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I now have to wait until the graphics designers have made the instructions look good. They probably wont be ready for a few weeks They wont be ready for the Spring Knitting and Stitching show at Olympia but should be for the Festival of Quilts.

My January Journal Quilt is finished. This year the size is 8″ x 10″ portrait and has to include a 1/2″ square of purple. It is based on images of Porto

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Teaching in Stratford

I know I work very hard but when I get a chance to travel to some nice parts of the UK and meet such lovely people it makes it seem all worth while.

I’ve just had 2 days teaching how to make my Interchange applique technique quilts. The more I teach this the better it gets and the more innovative the students become. It can be a bit complicated to begin with. Here are some poor quality photos of the results of Friday’s workshop. I did’t take any photos on Thursday.

I have almost finished the latest piece I have been working on

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It has given me some ideas for developing a new residential – 4 days of teaching based on Townscapes – it will include how to make the Italian Houses (Burano) , Yorkshire houses, Portuguese houses and now South African houses. Now i just need to write it up.

i was interviewed for an article for Pretty Patches magazine.

www.prettypatchesmagazine.com

It is always a bit nerve racking “what will they write, will it sound alright etc”

Anne sent it to me and it will be in the shops very soon.

I love the graphics and am really pleased with what she has written but i cannot get it to copy here

 

 

Teaching

This year I will be teaching at various International Exhibitions and I really need to do a bit of promoting

Quilt Expo Beaujolais near Lyon

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A lovely show in a beautiful part of France

They will be taught in English but I will have a translator

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And I will be in France again in May

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I will also be at the Prague Patchwork Meeting in April, and at the Spring Knitting and Stitch Show at Olympia in London in March.

More details to follow.

Now I need to add these to the right pages on my website

I have begun to hate the month of January, not because of the cold etc but because I know I need to fill in the dreaded tax return form, I spent hours yesterday doing admin, I hate it but at least I have made good progress.

I also spent hours yesterday putting together the plans for an exhibition I have been invited to have with Sheena Norquay. It is called “Is it really 40 years?” when talking last year both Sheena and I said we made our first quilts more than 40 years ago. the exhibition will be at Midsomer Quilting near bath, and I am really looking forward to seeing it, as our work is so different. It has also been a good exercise to choose quilts that I have made over the last 15 years

Dates 19th March until 29th March

please check those dates with Midsomer Quilting

www.midsomerq.com

My latest International threads quilt is finished and I am really pleased with it. It makes me realise how important it is to be part of a group and make yourself make pieces of work that are maybe out of your comfort zone. This quilt was made in response to Bella’s challenge of Autumn.

Now I am going to make another based on my photos of pomegranates

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Holiday photos

I have just returned from a weeks holiday. We went to France to visit my son who is working there for a few months. It is more than 10 years since I have skied – I admit to being put off skiing, I just couldn’t see the fun in skiing down a mountain as fast as you can and being scared stiff – maybe I just lost my confidence a little. So I thought I might try snow shoeing – I did but it was hard work and quite boring. I eventually decided I should just hire some skis and see if I could remember what to do.

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Love the jumper and the waist.

The weather was good and with a massive amount of snow it was great fun. I didn’t take as many photos as I wanted to as it was so cold I did not want to take off my gloves.

 

Here are just a few photos

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Lots of new workshops

I’ve been meaning to update my workshops for a while and am working through the list.

I have a few more 1 hour workshops

Here are some new ones. I will be teaching some of them at Spring Knitting and Stitch Show at Olympia, Festival of Quilts, Maastricht

Applique a peacock on a printed background and add some hand embroidery.

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Learn how to appliqué the peacock

Learn some hand stitches

The background has been hand block printed in India and the “mock” shisha glass mirrors are added to add some detail.

Various different colours available

Size 20cm x 24cm

Advanced free machine techniques

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Use unusual threads in the top of the sewing machine to produce a flower panel that looks like it was hand stitched, and very quickly made!

The felt background has been printed using a hand cut block and the stitching carried out using Aurifil lana thread which is supplied

Specialist top stitch needles are also provided

Size 12cm x 15cm

Not suitable for beginners. Students must have had some free machine embroidery / quilting experience

An Introduction to Free Machine Embroidery / Quilting

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Cut appliquéd circular shapes and add some free machine stitching to make a panel that could be later quilted or mounted in a picture frame.

Learn how to appliqué simple shapes using transfer adhesive

Learn some easy tips on how to get more skilled at free machining – either for embroidery or quilting

African Ladies Fabric Picture

 

 

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Colour one of my designed screen and block printed panels using Inktense crayons and blocks to make a panel that could be mounted in a picture frame. Add African fabric that has been printed in Holland to appliqué skirts and blouses.

Learn about the history of Dutch African wax fabric

Learn how to use Derwent Inktense crayons to colour fabric

Many different designs are available, some women are carrying babies others are carrying bags.

More images can be seen on my website

African Patchwork

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Colour one of my small screen printed panels using inktense crayons and blocks. There are several different designs available.

Size 6cm x 10cm .

Add African fabric printed in Holland to appliqué the skirt.

Learn about the history of Dutch African wax fabric

Learn how to use Inkense crayons and blocks

We will then add strips of fabric to make a small panel approx

18cm x 24cm

Christmas Decorations

 

 

Use torn strips of silks, organzas, shiny ribbons and braids to make a background that we will then add some automatic patterned stitches in straight lines using the sewing machine.

We will the cut the fabric, edge stitch it, and make Christmas decorations or smaller ones to make Christmas cards.

Sequins can be added

It is an easy and very effective method that could have many other applications for future projects

Colours pink, red and green

Indian Coasters

 

Use Indian hand woven and hand blocked printed to make a coaster. Learn some hand stitches and a “cheats” way of stitching shisha glass (Indian mirrors).

All fabric (cotton top and backing plus wadding and silk for the edge) included to make 2 coasters each.

They will need to be finished by machine at home later

Size 10cm square

 

Polly Penguin

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Learn a quick easy and innovative method of appliqué to make a fabric penguin panel that could be mounted in a picture frame for a child’s bedroom, added to a bag, or made into a small panel.

If time allows we will add some hand stitching

All fabric is included in the kit

Size 12cm x 15cm

Beach Huts

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New Work in Progress

I have just written a short article – I hope it will go into a Quilt magazine as it would be good publicity for the Quilt cabin, which will be open again from Saturday in the space upstairs. If you are coming near Hebden Bridge please come and visit. The council have suspended parking charges to try to attract more people into the town.

Here is the article – if you want to read it

“The day my quilts got wet”

 

I am regularly being asked “How do you wash your quilts?” I am an art Quilter and I usually reply by saying “Why do I need to worry about that” I’ll have to find a different reply, following the recent floods.

Thank goodness I work with fabric and not paper.

I woke up on Boxing Day morning to the sound of heavy rain. It had rained most of Christmas Day as well so instead of a long walk we decided on a gentle walk along the river near our home. The river was so full there was no footpath. Throughout the morning I monitored the flooding on the news. Hedben Bridge was flooded again. I frequently teach at the Quilt Cabin in Hebden Bridge. I like teaching there, it is small and cosy and it’s a short scenic drive for me, over the moors. I have small regular exhibitions there – it’s a good way for me to monitor the popularity of my new work. I have many teaching samples pinned up on the walls. Over the Christmas period I had a small exhibition.

The flood waters could not possibility have reached the Quilt Cabin. By lunchtime I rang Elaine the owner of The Quilt Cabin

“We are on our way to the shop now”

I spent much of the afternoon watching the videos come in to Facebook seeing the devastation the floods had caused.

By 6pm the waters had started to subside and Rob (Elaine’s partner) had managed to buy a pair of waders and had waded in to the shop. The water was waist high.

I had frantic phone calls from Elaine “We’ve managed to get your quilts out”

The next day my husband and I arrived with a van to help move anything that was dry and had not been damaged by the water.

We arrived to total devastation, the force of the water had caused everything to be turned upside down, my home made cards were scattered all over the floor, booked soaked, 500+ bolts of fabric all wet and dirty.

My quilts were washed gently and show no signs of being affected by their little adventure (Phew!) but the shop has been devastated, as is the rest of Hebden Bridge.

The Quilt Cabin is back up and running (temporarily upstairs) as are some of the shops and businesses in Hebden Bridge

If you are passing please come and visit Hebden Bridge – it needs all your support.

This week has given me a chance to get on with some new projects.

In the summer I bought a second hand Sweet 16 machine. I couldn’t get it to work properly so had to send it back. I had a quick play with it, once it returned, but couldn’t get the tension right. I have had such a busy Autumn that I haven’t even had a chance to try it again.

I have been designing a bigger quilt so today set to to learn how to use it – I still haven’t got the tension right but it is getting better. Rather than practice forever I decided to just practice on the quilt.

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I made a lot of drawings from the photos I took at Bo Kaap in Cape Town, did some sampling and then made a much bigger drawing

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Here is the applique before stitch

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and here is some of the stitching

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The stitching is wobbly but I am quite happy about that, as I want it to look like a sketch.

The other piece that I have been working on is a larger Pumpkin quilt. I sampled this as a Journal Quilt a few months ago so decided to make another.

I cropped a photo I took whilst in Geneva, in Photoshop elements I applied “posterise” and “cut out” to the photo.

I then used Split Print to enlarge it.

I have  a black and white A4 laser printer and printed it in sections and sellotaped it together.

With a black pen I outlined the different colours and made templates using Heat n Bond Lite

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No stitching yet but I am pleased with the results