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

More Travels

When I decided to write a blog and tell the World exactly what I am up to all the time I realised that everyone knows when I am working hard and when I am on holiday etc.

I am so lucky to be able to travel extensively for my work, i go to some amazing places and meet some lovely people, but in between I have to be very organised and work really hard so that I can take the time off.

May has been so busy – I have boxes and boxes of teaching materials that have not been put away and my studio is in chaos.
I have masses of emails to answer whilst i am away, so maybe you would like to picture where I am writing this from.

It is dark and I can hear the crashing of the waves of the sea, in between the beat of some awful Asian music. There are insects crawling all over my screen. I am hot and sweaty even though it is 10pm.

I am in Sri Lanka, with my daughter and son. We are back packing for 10 days. My son is travelling the World and we have come to meet up with him, and have spent a week travelling across Sri Lanka – we are now on the East Coast and enjoying a few days of sun sea and sand.
We are staying in very basic accommodation and travelling by public transport etc.

It is rare for me to take a holiday and it not be for Textile research but I knew there would not be any spectacular textiles for me to see here, but hoped I would get some inspiration for making some new quilts.
I have lots of ideas and some fabulous photos.

My holiday is almost at an end.

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New work and a little holiday

This week as always I seem to have been very busy. I wanted to finish a couple of quilts before I had a little holiday, and have taught a few classes at the Quilt Cabin in Hebden Bridge.

I finished my May Journal Quilt – this one is inspired by Sonia Delaunay. I have been experimenting with felt inlay techniques and it is all hand stitched.

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I finished another of my counterchange flower quilts and have started on a large “pots” quilt inspired by the pots in the Utensil Museum in Ahmedabad in India.

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Making up new kits can take hours of time just checking the correct sizes of fabric etc. I dyed some of the fabric that arrived from India and started stitching it – just to check it all works. Lots more sampling needed.

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I’ve just returned from a few days cycling in Belgium with some friends. So in 3 days we cycled 300kms with one very very windy day and another day with fabulous sunshine.

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After a day of cycling so far into a head wind we stopped for bananas and cake.

Cycling along is just such a fabulous way to see a country and you can see some unusual sights off the usual tourist trails.

We cycled past a bird singing competition. The people in a long line and recording the bird song – the bird in the box that sings the most is the winner.

Most bizarre!

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Here are just a few pictures of Bruges, Ghent and Ypres

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Not much stitching!

Not much stitching happening at the moment. For all those that thought being a textile artist was all about stitching – it’s not.

The emails take up lots of time, but this week I have done quite a bit of teaching. I have spent time collecting all the images together for my new book, designed  a new kit, redrawn the patterns, assembled together some other kits and teaching samples, phoned loads of suppliers to get some prices for stencils for my jumper kits and a load of other jobs that don’t sound very worthwhile.

And I don’t think I have done any stitching or printing.

We have had some fun as the Tour de Yorkshire cycle race came past our house and we have had another party – not as big as last year but just some time with some lovely good friends and lots of good food and drink.

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All my non textile friends know what I do for a living, but I’m not sure that they really understand what that means, so today I gave them a tour of my studio that unfortunately looked a terrible mess.

I think ( I know) they were surprised at what is involved – not the quilts, but the kits, the patterns, the equipment etc.

Tired tonight….and I wonder if it is all worth it but tomorrow morning I am sure I will feel proud of all that happens in my studio.