The Cottage Orné Quilt

The Cottage Orné Quilt
Click the picture to visit my other blog

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Star Turn - New York!

Well I'm back - what a trip!  I can never get used to the speed of air travel, one day in the buzz of New York and the next in the calm of my garden which is now in early Spring mode.  The progress made on my new garden room has been considerable too - it obviously pays to stay away!.

When I left UK last week the trees were still leafless, now they are a haze of green or in full bloom - so wonderful, especially as it was very cold in New York and snowing when we arrived.  I'm not complaining because after the snow it was cold and sunny which is so much better than being too warm.

I will be showing you some red and white quilt pictures in future posts, but I thought I would share this quilt with you -

 it seems to sum up my experiences and feelings of the last week as it is just bursting with exuberance and colour.

It is a Mennonite quilt - Star with Princess Feathers from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and can be found on the Woodward & Greenstein website where there are some wonderful things to see.  It was on my list of places to visit but I never made it! 

Friday, 25 March 2011

Another farewell

When you read this I will be in New York, and while I am there my dear little Chesterfield, which my mother bought me and which has been with me for many years, is to be re-upholstered.

At the moment is is covered in Liberty Ianthe, which I love and am reluctant to change.  Though it is a very bold print it seemed to fit in with my colour scheme in whichever room it graced, but I have decided that it is to go in my new garden room and there I intend to have a simpler, less patterned look.

Of course I wouldn't be doing this at all if the cats hadn't used it as scratching post while it's been in my present living room.  This has forced my hand, but oh I'm going to miss that lovely pattern, which can hardly be seen in the picture, but it is there - disguised with cushions!  Here's a better one with Wilfred - one of the culprits -

I'm a Cancerarian and apparently we have trouble letting go of things, so I'm asking the upholsterer to save as much of the fabric as possible so that I can do something with it for old times sake!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Preparing for New York

These are very exciting times for me.  I have building work going on at the bottom of my garden - the renovation of a rather decrepid building into, hopefully, a new garden room.  Sod's law prevails and my much longed for visit to New York is happening just at a point when I should be here making sure paint colours and electric fittings etc., are correct. 

My cats hate all the activity.  Wilfred, who loves the outdoors, has taken to hiding in the house and is off his food.  Bella is a house cat and is usually above worrying about such things, but she knows I'm up to something!  Of course they are thoroughly spoiled and I don't like leaving them, but my friend Jilly will be here while I am away and I know they will be in good hands.

The Red and White Quilt Exhibition will of course be the high spot of our visit.  I shall be carrying the above Emma Bridgewater Union Jack tote, suitably dotted with American Stars.  If you see me there please tap me on the shoulder!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

My friends in Japan

I have just been reading Jacqueline's tribute to Japan in her Needleprint blog -
and I can't really better what she says - do read it.

Many of the large Japanese electronic companies had factories here in Wales and the wives of the managers came to our textile classes.  They were such fun and we had many happy times with them.  They loved it here in Wales and didn't want to leave, indeed some had to leave their children behind because they had settled here.

Language difficulties caused much amusement and just when we were making progress they returned home.  Some I am still in touch with, others not so, as over time communications falter, but my thoughts are with them all now when tragedy has fallen on Japan.  May they be safe.

I have been searching for a suitable picture and knowing how they admire our traditions and all things British I am sending them my thoughts and prayers with some of my favourite things -

I am an anxious traveller and don't like leaving home but I have been to Japan and I loved it.  It is the one of the few places that I would like to visit again.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

My version of a favourite quilt

OK - here we go!  This is my much smaller version of Jen's wonderful spotty quilt featured in my second last post. It may seem now that I was being rather coy by referring to it but not showing it, but I really didn't mean to be!

Because this quilt is so much smaller (33inches square) I didn't try to adapt the quilting patterns of the original but to do my own design. This is a closeup of the central area -

Quilts come together in different ways and this was an easy one. It just flew together, mainly I think, because it is quite an organised design.

I didn't have any suitable spotty fabrics so I used a geometrically printed rose Laura Ashley dress fabric as the focus fabric.  The majority of the other fabrics came to me from a friend who was getting rid of her stash.  I chose a selection and used them in this quilt.  My friend was thrilled to recognise some left over from her dressmaking projects!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Two Welsh Red and White quilts

Taryn of
has asked us to show red and white quilts prior to the forthcoming exhibition in New York. (The above link to her blog will explain all.)

I don't own any yet, but I know someone who does!  Here are pictures of two -

I have shown the above one before but it it's worth another look I think?  

At first glance the basket quilt could be American or indeed it could be from the North of England, because baskets were a popular pattern there.  However, it is quilted in a typical Welsh way which declares its national identity.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

A favourite Welsh Quilt

What makes a quilt a favourite quilt?  I suppose it is our emotional response to it and very often that is instantaneous and difficult to quantify.  It was love at first sight for me with this quilt -

SIZE 214 x 229 cms.

which I first saw hanging at the entrance of an exhibition of quilts from the Jen Jones Collection at St. Fagans: National History Museum a few years ago and it stopped me in my tracks.  In fact if I could choose just one quilt from Jen's collection, this would be the one!

It isn't made in the vibrant flannels or Paisleys that we usually think of as being typically Welsh.  Its colours are pale, almost delicate and it has spotted fabric which is always challenging to use in a quilt, but here the quilter has pulled it off!  It was made in Aberporth a coastal village in Ceridigion and Jen thinks it's early Victorian.  The quilting is quite wonderful -

I have actually made a "Little Welsh Quilt" version and was going to show it here but chickened out, because though I am quite pleased with my little quilt, it doesn't really bear comparison to this stunner, which will be in the next exhibition at the Centre entitled "Oh that Summer would Last Forever".  This begins on 12th March (see link for more details).

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Do you really want to be minimal?

It's not really Spring yet but several of my friends seem to be agonising about all the stuff they have accumulated and trying to sort it out.  Even Linda Seward, who writes a column in "The Quilter" which I love reading, is following this theme in her current column.

Some of us may even aspire to those ridiculously spare and tidy rooms we see in magazines.  We must  fight these thoughts!  We are working with textiles and we need a stock to draw on and I don't think we should feel guilty that we have stuff.  If we were artists we wouldn't say that we had too much paint would we?

The above picture shows part of my workroom last summer when I was working on some 4 inch blocks.  These are only some of the fabrics, I had another two large bags from which to select suitable fabric!
When I was teaching embroidery and had a new intake of students, my heart used to sink a little when I saw immaculately tidy, colour co-ordinated and sequence numbers thread boxes. I knew at that point that it was going to be an uphill struggle to get creative and imaginative work out of that student.

I am not advocating being in a complete muddle with either thread or fabric, though very often wonderful combinations of pattern and colours are discovered among chaos.  One has to have a certain order or you get to the point of knowing that you have something, but buying another because it is simpler than trying to find it amongst all your stuff.  When you reach this point I do think that is the time for a sort out!