Kenyan wax print fabric

I have recently returned from a wonderful safari experience to Kenya. Although the main focus of the trip was the wildlife of the Samburu, Masai Mara and Lake Naivasha National parks, I couldn’t help but to hunt out some traditional African textiles. As we had travelled with only hand luggage we were limited on packing space for anything that took our eye. But I couldn’t resist this cute screen print Zebra for Bobbi. Although I thought it would be nice for her bedroom wall, I think she may use it as a dolls blanket.

We saw a lot of these tourist pieces at many curio shops on the journey round the country. This one near Lake Naivasha had the best coffee too, so was a win-win for my sister.

Sandgrouse Curios and Art Gallery

I made another impulse purchase at the Sandgrouse Curio & Art Gallery when we stopped for a break on the way to the Masai Mara, and found out that I am not good at negotiating. However I ended up with 6m of wax print fabric. I would have loved to buy more but would have had to buy another suitcase.

When we stopped again on the way back to Nairobi I had the opportunity to chat to Angela about her fabrics and clothing. She gave me permission to photograph her textile section of the gallery for my blog. Unfortunately we didn’t have long to browse all the wonderful textiles, but we really enjoyed seeing the clothing and the bolts of fabric. There were some wonderful batiks too.

We also had the opportunity to visit a traditional Masai village where we were greeted with a traditional welcome by both the men and women of the village. It may seem strange visiting a village like this, but it was explained to us that the money we paid went towards the children’s education. Again it was the traditional dress that interested me. We were told that the red checked and striped fabric worn by the men was to ward off the lions and other animals. I am not sure that is the case but the vervet monkeys at the lodges moved very quickly when they saw the guards approach.

So why did I buy this piece of fabric instead of the more traditional gold, red, and green kente cloth?

The answer to this question will be in a future blog post

Bev

Ambleside Block of the month course update.

This course started in February at Tudor Rose Patchwork and I can’t believe that we are already half way through the blocks.

The pictures in the gallery below, show how beautiful the quits are going to look just from these first two blocks. There is such a variety of colour schemes, from cool and monochromatic, dramatic accents to fun primary brights. Each quilt will have a distinct personality and I can’t wait to see them finished.

There will be sashing and cornerstones between the blocks allowing each one to shine in its own right.

Ambleside Quilt 2020
Ambleside Quilt 2021

Each year I work a quilt alongside the group. I used a beautiful collection of fabric designed by Lynnette Anderson for the 2020 quilt. For 2021 the fabrics were from the Rainbow colours and Brighton collections by Stoffabrics. This year I am using Big Sky by Annie Brady for Moda, and Bumbleberries from Lewis & Irene. I haven’t decided which thread to quilt it and have three very similar ones to choose from. Two Superior Thread King Tut collection and one from the Masterpiece collection. I will have to do some auditioning and sampling soon as I can’t put off the quilting for ever. It is a nice dilemma to have though.

Happy Quilting

Bev

June’s Table Runner

Just before Easter June purchased the Greta Table Runner pattern from my Etsy shop. Off the pattern went from the UK to Kansas, and I wasn’t expecting to hear anything unless it didn’t arrive. Well, it must have been sent by the fastest carrier pigeon the postal service had, as it was only a few day’s later, when June contacted me regarding the bias binding.

I make my own 1/4″ (6mm) bias binding with a fusible tape backing. This is a great way of matching your bias to your project and the fusible tape holds it whilst it is stitched in place. I cut 5/8″ wide strips on the bias for the 1/4″ (6mm) bias tape maker.

June chose the lovely spotted green fabric to make her matching bias edging

And added a red border before layering and quilting round the fan blades.

June’s finished runner which is absolutely beautiful.

It has been such a pleasure, and rare treat to share in the story of one of my patterns, especially across the oceans. I would like to thank June for sharing the quilt journey with me and giving me permission to share it with you.

Happy Quilting and a Happy Easter

Bev

And it’s off to the printers

The Star Table runner has been one of my most popular patterns over the last few years, and so it is time to give it a makeover.

It was previously named Borrowdale Star, but it is now just Borrowdale and it has been given a fresh look using the dragonfly fabric and the blue and green fabric combination.

This atmospheric picture was taken on a visit to Keswick looking down the lake towards the Jaws of Borrowdale

looking down Derwentwater towards the Jaws of Borrowdale

Borrowdale Valley lies at the southern end of Lake Derwentwater and extends to Honister Pass. It is a valley of spectacular scenery with rugged crags and oak forest. It was once an industrial area with copper and graphite mines, iron smelting and charcoal burning. Remnants of the industrial past can still be seen with old mine workings. It is a lovely area to visit with great walks and friendly tearooms. I am looking forward to visiting again soon.

Now it is time for the updated pattern to go to the printers and It should be available in a couple of weeks. Whilst I am waiting for this pattern to arrive it is on with the next project.

Happy Quilting

Bev

Green, Blue or both.

As a patchworker, quite a lot of time can be spent choosing just the right fabric for a project. This week I bought some fabric – just because I liked it – and now have the task of trying to match it with fabric from my stash.

Dragonflies – Lakeside Fun by Clothworks

This lovely print gives lots of choices for fabric matching in shades of greens and blues.

But whilst choosing fabrics the old saying ” Blue and green should never be seen unless there is a colour in between” keeps echoing through my head. Where did this saying come from? How true is it?

Nature loves blue and green together you just have to look at all the lovely blue flowers and their green foliage to see that, so the origin must be from something else. Blue and green lie next to each other on the colour wheel, are they thought to be too tonally similar to be seen together? When viewing a distant horizon there is a point when the green of the land merges into the blue of the sky. There may be also be a nautical origin to the saying – it was though to bring bad luck to paint a boat green as it could not be seen easily if it capsized.

Whatever the origin of the saying, I love blue and green together.

Are there any colours or colour combinations you would never use in a quilt?

Bev

Is it too early to be thinking of Christmas makes?

Every year I make items for the family for Christmas. To me this is as much about Christmas as the actual day itself. It gives me time to think about the recipient whilst I am making the gift. This last year Christmas was difficult and I couldn’t bring myself to even think about it without Luke, let alone make gifts. But as always I could hear his voice telling me “It is what it is, and we have to move forward and keep going” That gave me the push I needed, although rather too close to the actual date for much to be made.

I bought some sock yarn – Perfect by Arne & Carlos for Regia – which makes a perfect pair of patterned socks with with no worry about the row count. I didn’t read the instructions though, and started from the outside of the ball of yarn. I was quite a long way down the sock and thinking this doesn’t look like the pattern before I read the instructions. Only to find that I should have started with yarn from the centre of the ball. After unravelling the sock and starting again, everything was going great until the heel turn. My usual heel turn – the Strong heel, does not work with this yarn. It has been designed for a German short row heel or a boomerang (Bumerangferse) heel. It took several attempts to make a heel that I was satisfied with, but I still find that I am getting holes. This year I will master it as starting now gives me plenty of time before Christmas. It is one of this years challenges to myself.

First pair boxed and ready for Christmas 2022

As I started late on the Christmas makes, (mid way through November) I only managed to make 5 pairs of socks, I decided to make some simpler items as stocking fillers. One was a Christmas napkin basket. I found a fabric with a robin picture which I placed in the centre of the basket as a surprise when all the napkins have been used. Although a square of Christmas fabric works just as well and is less time consuming.

It is a smaller version of the fabric tray pattern. I have added a free pattern download to my website with the new measurements. Small Napkin Basket

I am now going to make another everyday napkin basket in the hope of being able to have friends to visit for BBQ’s and afternoon tea this summer. I think we all need something to look forward to.

Bev

Back in the Classroom with the Coniston Cutting Mat Bag

It was lovely to be back in the classroom at Tudor Rose Patchwork today after the Christmas break. Everyone was full of enthusiasm either with new projects in mind or a determination to finish projects from last year.

Janet is currently quilting the Coniston Cutting mat bag and Julia decided to get the pattern. Looking around the room I saw that everyone had their cutting mat bags with them. It seems to have become the class bag.

My original Cutting Mat bag

And a gallery of bags from Barbara, Janet, Jenny and Sarah

I love seeing how the pattern is adapted and looks in different colours It is one of the most rewarding things about teaching. I can’t wait to see what fabrics Julia chooses for her bag.

Happy Quilting

Bev

The Derwent Quilt

Today I have been preparing for lessons this week. As we are revisiting colour theory I started looking through my sketchbooks. One of them has the original designs and ideas behind the Derwent Quilt. It started as a design exercise for patchwork templates for my City & Guilds students. I was so taken with it I developed it further into the final Derwent quilt.

Growing up on the shore of Lake Derwentwater it was inevitable that one of my designs would be named after it.

Derwent quilt throw

Lake Derwentwater is one of the main lakes in the English Lake District. Growing up in Portinscale, a village on the edge of the lake, we spent most summers swimming (before wild swimming became a thing) and sailing on the Lake. We would regularly swim from Hawse End to a small island, which we called lone tree island, and occasionally to St Herbert’s Island. We also would cycle and walk around the lake. We have such fabulous memories of a “Swallows and Amazon’s” childhood.

The Derwent Quilt is a bold design, fitting for a place which holds such wonderful childhood memories. Below are some pictures I took from the launch landings at Keswick and one from the hill side above Hawse End.

This pattern has been available as templates for several years, and I have now updated it for 2022 as a foundation paper piecing pattern. It will be available on my website soon.

Happy Quilting

Bev

The Dunmail Quilt

Do your quilts tell you their names?

As I am making a quilt, sometimes they tell me their names. Other quilts hide their names and I have to work hard to discover it.

This quilt was a project I undertook during that Twixmas period. I had hoped that it would be finished before New Year, but deciding at the last minute to make another border from the orphan blocks left over from the flying geese border, delayed completion of the quilt top.

As I was adding border after border to the quilt I could hear my father asking if we had our passports as we crossed Dunmail Raise crossing between Cumberland and Westmorland ( before they merged to form Cumbria. And so this quilt told me its name – Dunmail.

Now it is a New Year and it is a time to look forward, but also to remember the past and those who have gone before us with a smile and a happy memory.

Happy New Year.

Bev

Thank you

It has been difficult coming back into the studio, but I now feel ready to start preparing to get back to work. It is most strange, knowing that Luke will not pop in, sit next to me and fiddle with anything that may be on the table whilst we chat. It doesn’t feel as if he has truly gone, just popped out for a moment. He was always one to keep moving forward, facing any new challenges that came his way and finding a solution to any problems. My first thank you of this post is to thank him for always being so positive, he will always inspire me to keep moving forward.

We have been blessed with our family and friends, who continue to support us in these early weeks. I can’t thank each and everyone enough.

One of Lukes friends, Matt Nalton, wrote a beautiful piece of music for him. He called it Gentle (after our gentle giant) and it is available to listen to on Apple Music and Spotify. This piece was used for the time of reflection and it is so beautiful. It has meant so much to us that Matt took the time to write this piece for him. Thank you Matt.

Apple Music:https://music.apple.com/gb/album/gentle/1577399495…

Spotify:https://open.spotify.com/track/5kJdwotrMrFs66HjTLE4fD…

The daughter of one of my close friends is a florist who makes the most beautiful natural arrangements. We asked Jess to use edible flowers and herbs in the spray in tribute to Lukes career as a chef and chocolatier. She suggested a cottage garden theme and created a stunning arrangement which was perfect. The scent from the spray was amazing too.

You can see more of her wonderful creations on her Instagram account Fern & Forest

Rosemary split the arrangement into smaller pieces after the funeral. This was such a thoughtful gesture. We had beautiful arrangements around the house for the following week. I also was able give my friends small bouquets to enjoy.

Thank you Jess and Rosemary.

Thank you to everyone who has donated to the Burnt Chef project in Lukes name, via the donation page Luke Mayo. We think Luke would have been very supportive of this project. From his experience as a chef he understood the pressures they are under to produce great food and to make sure that customers have a lovely experience. He was all about the hospitality of the industry. Again thank you for your generosity to this project.

I would also like to thank all my students who have been so kind and patient with me over the last few weeks. I will be back in the classroom from next week and am looking forward to seeing you all again.

Finally thank you all for taking the time to read my blog and visiting my website.

Now, as Rosemary reminded me this morning, Luke would probably say

“Come on Mum – get on with it”

It is time to get back into the studio

Take Care

Bev