The End of a Busy Week.

Or is it the start of a new one? I am never sure with Sundays. Whatever it is, it is a chance to update my blog.

I received another block for the block swap quilt my quilt group started during lockdown last year. I couldn’t resist getting them all out and have another look at them all together. The final placement and design will have to wait until I have received them all but it is exciting to see them so far. Although everyone started with the same traditional block – the bears paw – they all chose different blocks to merge with it to create new designs. They are going to very personal quilts for each of us, with blocks made specifically for us in our chosen colour scheme.

I was excited to receive a large fabric delivery this week and have spent a lot of time looking at the rainbow of colours I now have to play with.

Talking of a rainbow of colours I chose a few more pages for my sketchbook. I have cleared an area in my studio for the sketchbook challenge and need to make time this week for the next lesson.

Yesterday I started the Ambleside quilt block of the month quilt course. Even though the group is geographically apart, it is companionable to work together online. It was a busy day, everyone completed the first block, and we also looked at the sashing and cornerstones. I gave myself a challenge with a linear patterned fabric, and will have to be careful with the initial placement to ensure the pattern all goes in the same direction.

And finally today it started snowing. We couldn’t resist an afternoon walk round the park. It looks so different in its white blanket. There were lots of families out making the most of the snow by sledging and making snowmen. Looking at the weather forecast it is not going to last long, tomorrow we are forecast sun. Every day is different and we need to make the most of every day. It is going to be exciting to see what the new week has in store.

Happy Quilting

Bev

A New Sketchbook Started

At the end of the year I treated myself to Laura Kemshalls Sketchbook Challenge. At times we all need a bit of a push to get going and this is going to be a great way to start the New Year. Yesterday I had a couple of hours to myself and I took the opportunity to start the course. I didn’t have time to get my art equipment out so I looked through papers I had already painted, printed, scrunched and stitched for the first pages of my sketchbook. This is a selection of those chosen.

I have chosen this to be the first page in my book as it is very vibrant. It is an acrylic wash on card, over printed with spirals and overprinted again with Liquitex iridescent green. This shows how old this painted paper is, as it is now Liquitex iridescent medium which you can add to acrylic paint of your choice.

Next is scrunched tissue paper glued to thick paper with PVA glue. Ink wash and Markal paint stick stencil.

Below – crumpled brown paper with an acrylic wash. Highlighted with gold acrylic.

Finally a long page for the sketchbook. Black wax crayon mark making with acrylic wash.

Already the sketchbook is starting to take shape and I am excited to see where this challenge takes me over the next few months. I will stitch these pages in place and look forward to the next video in the series.

Have you started a new project this year?

Bev

Back to cutting up fabric

As usual, after a busy lesson on Wednesday, I ended up with a lot of half completed samples. Yesterday I took the opportunity to sew some of them together and am very pleased with how the blocks are going together and the pattern they are making

The image below shows another variation that can be achieved by introducing more than two fabrics in the starting patches. The mirroring blocks will produce more complex patterns. To me this is one of the many joys of patchwork.

Today I have been preparing for the Ambleside Block the month course which is starting on Saturday 23rd. I have chosen fabric from the Rainbow Colours and Brighton collections by Stof fabrics. The main challenge I can see from this collection will come from the striped fabric. It is always interesting to use a fabric with a strong directional pattern and decisions will have to be made in the cutting, piecing and final block placement.

This is going to look very different from the first one I made and I am excited to see the finished quilt although as the course is over 7 months it will be little while. If you would like to join in you can book for the first class at Craft Courses

the Ambleside Quilt worked in Sweet Garden of Mine by Lynette Anderson

Tomorrow I have the first zoom meeting of the year for the Modern & Art quilt group. It will be lovely to see everyone again and to start planning what we are going to do this year. We have the block swap quilts to finish as well. I think that this is going to be a busy year and we are only 2 weeks in.

To finish the week on a high I was sent a photo of our granddaughter in the outfit I made her for Christmas. I am constantly amazed at how quickly she has grown. I think I need to start sewing again for her.

Have good weekend,

Bev

My Sewing Machine is Back – thank goodness.

Last week disaster struck and I broke a needle when finishing some placemats. Not a great disaster but when I changed the needle and re-threaded the machine something fell from the area around the needle shaft. Due to the pandemic, my machine didn’t get its usual service last year, and it was now telling me that it was time. I really hope that this little piece is not too important.

When I collected my machine today there was another piece with it. Luckily this turned out be the old cutting plate which had been replaced. It was a relief that it wasn’t another piece that had fallen off.

While I was without my main machine I turned back to the first machine I bought. A Brother Celebrity 10. A lovely little machine which may be 30 years old, but still sews like a dream.

Just as well really as I had a lot of four patch blocks to make for the zoom class tomorrow, when I will be teaching both the four patch block and a disappearing version. We will also be looking at patterns we can create from this block.

All is now prepared and everything is set up for the class and its time to catch up with The Great Pottery Throwdown which I recorded of Sunday. I am in complete awe of everything they produce and can’t wait to see what challenge they will have for their first week. There is also the Sky Landscape Artist of the Year on 13th January, and catching up with the Sky Portrait Artist of the year. January is certainly starting off in a creative way.

Bev

12th Night and Three Kings Day

January 5th, or Twelfth Night, is by tradition the time for the Christmas decorations to be taken down. I find it quite a sad day in our household as all the decorations are packed away for another year. Walls and corners or room seem bare as the garlands and the tree are taken down. Rooms go from being over decorated back to their normal state (which I have to admit makes cleaning easier)

The 6th January, is Epiphany or three Kings day the end of the festive period and the start of the new year. My Christmas panel with glitter film, shadow appliqué and cut work was inspired by the carol ‘We Three Kings’ The Kings, bearing their gifts are being guided to Bethlehem by the Christmas Star.

We Three Kings Christmas panel

But even though all the Christmas glitz and sparkle has gone, glitter film is a great way to add sparkle to any project. It can be heat applied to lots of different surfaces, from cloth and paper to wood and glass. It is easy to machine stitch and layer which made it the perfect choice for the panel.

Now it’s time for me to open up the sketch books again after the break, and to see where the blank page takes me, there may be glitter or not. I am hoping that the Festival of Quilts will take place at the NEC this year and that I manage to get an exhibition quilt completed for it, so I need to get sketching. This is my New Years challenge to myself. Have you made any quilting resolutions this year?

Bev

The pattern is available from Tudor Rose Patchwork Three Kings Also available is ‘Whilst Shepherds Watched”

Arpilleras

In my studio I have a design inspiration wall. This is where I display some of the embroideries that I have collected over my years in textiles. This year I am going to share some of them with you

31cms x 41cms

The first is an Arpilleras which I purchased approximately 25 years ago, when we had a lecture about them at our local branch of the Embroiderers Guild. Arpilleras ( or cuadros ) are beautiful hand stitched, three dimensional appliqué pictures, depicting every day scenes and stories of Peru and Chile.

going to market
Feeding the llamas
walking with child

They originated in Chile. Many women had been left in a state of financial insecurity, due to high levels of unemployment and the ‘disappearances” of their husbands and children, during the Pinochet regime. The Chilean Catholic Church organised workshops, and then secretly sent the arpilleras abroad to provide a vital source of income to the women. They showed political scenes of repression and poor living conditions. Today they are produced in a number of cooperatives, and mainly show idealised scenes of rural life.

My arpilleras was made by Angelina Elera Vidarte, and she has added a pocket containing a note on the back. It shows a rural Andean scene with llamas and condors. The three dimensional figures are in typical Peruvian dress and are working at everyday tasks, looking after the llama, harvesting crops, going to the market and spinning. It is an exquisite piece of social stitching. The figures are only 5cms, and Angelina’s attention to detail is wonderful. I hope that I have the chance to visit Peru one day, it is certainly on my to visit list.

Spinning
Weaving

Have you any favourite textiles or embroideries?

Bev

2021

Happy New Year.

We have been sent photos of Bobbie’s first Christmas and it was wonderful to see her open her presents by video link. As we thought, she was far more interested in the wrapping to start with, but with help from her young cousins enjoyed her new toys. We still have some gifts to give her and will wait until we can all be together, which hopefully won’t be too long.

It was lovely to see her in the robin dress, as she is growing so quickly,

We have been making the most of the dry weather, although it is cold, to get out for our afternoon walks and inspect the state of the flooding. The water is receding but it has left behind tide lines of rubbish. If I had one wish for 2021 it would be for everyone to dispose of rubbish carefully. We only have one planet and we need to take care of it.

On a lighter note, yesterday I looked through my Instagram feed and saw lots of lovely top 9 collages. I decided to look through mine and choose my favourite top 9.

Have you made a top 9 collage? I would love to see them.

It is going to be interesting to see what this year brings and what the top 9 of 2021 will be. I just know that it will include lots of patchwork, work on my allotment, and video time with my family and friends.

Wishing you all a good 2021.

Bev

Happy New Years Eve

Happy New Year Eve. Although it has been a strange year it seems to have flown by and here we are on the cusp of 2021. Unfortunately we can’t get together as usual but we can still meet up virtually to share our love of patchwork & quilting.

The Ambleside quilt a long, block a month course is due to start in January, and I still haven’t decided whether to make a stash buster or use a collection.

Ambleside Quilt Block 1

Ambleside Quilt Block 1a

The first block in the quilt is made from half and quarter square triangles and is suitable for beginners to patchwork & quilting. The blocks are a great size for other projects too, cushions, bags, & table runners.

All my courses are available on Craft Courses and are a great way to start the New Year.

Happy New Year to you all

Bev

How to eat an Elephant

As the saying goes – In small bites. The Elephant in question is the mess I have made of my studio in trying to clear out all the unwanted hand and machine embroidery items. Today I actually started putting things back on the shelves but still feel that I have taken on too much. Next week is 2021 and the start of my new courses. I am looking forward to getting going again after the holiday break but need to push on with the clearing.

This view is usually hidden from my students behind my design wall.

It doesn’t help that I get engrossed in looking through the magazines again ( just to check that I can part with them ) I have to admit it is quite difficult as there are some real gems among the articles. They have provided me with inspiration and added to my knowledge of creative textiles over the last 30- 40 years. From articles about Chinese silk embroidery, Turkish metal thread work, How to make Dorset buttons and Kumihimo braids and Temari balls to name a few.

edition from 1997
early 1990’s copies

This article about the Needlecraft of the Canal Boatwomen made me smile and I had to share it with our daughter who lives on a narrow boat. There was a couple who wore traditional canal attire at her wedding. Seeing this article showed me how much work had gone into their beautiful clothes. Although our daughter is not into traditional boating it is lovely to know that some traditions still thrive.

And this is only the Embroiderers Guild – World of Embroidery magazines. I haven’t started on Stitch, Workbox, Artists & Illustrators and the National Geographics’. I have started listing them in groups on my Ebid store Bev Mayo Studio clearance I hope they all go to people who have a love of textiles and embroidery and who will get as much out of them as I have. More items will be added as I continue to sort and “eat the elephant”in my room.

Bev

The elephant picture at the beginning of the post is one I took on a trip to Cambodia a few years ago.

Merryneum

I love the lexicographer Suzie Dent from Countdown. She recently tweeted Merryneum as her (unofficial) word of the day. This is the blurry space between Christmas and New Year. Today (Monday) we entered into Merryneum as our Christmas celebration was delayed by a couple of days. Christmas day started out ok. Not our usual large gathering of friends but a walk to the allotment to dig up parsnips and carrots for the Christmas dinner. All going well so far. When we got home I started on preparing the dinner and took the turkey crown out of the fridge where it had been since Monday. On opening the packaging I was greeted with a horrid smell and a distinctly green tinged turkey. As a covid test it worked. All of us still have our sense of smell. Luckily we have some Christmas traditions which see us through small disasters like this. I always cook a honey roast ham for Boxing Day salad and cold cuts. Not for the first time, a previous one had been due to a power cut, we changed our plans, and had the cold cuts on Christmas day and Boxing day, saving our roast dinner for Sunday.

Boxing Day and Storm Bella brought flooding to many parts of the UK and the river near by was no exception. We usually take a late afternoon walk round the lakes but the river has burst its banks and the water meadows between the river and lakes are flooded. Many paths are impassable and looking at the river current it would be madness to try.

Now that we are over the pared down celebrations, and storm warnings, I am making use of the next few days to have another go at my studio clearing. I have moved some shelves which has given me the opportunity to look at all the magazines that I have collected over the years. I have over 50 copies of The World of Embroidery published by the Embroiderers Guild dating from 1988 to 2005. There are copies of Workbox, Stitch, Creative Beads & Jewellery, cross stitcher, and Classic Stitches to name a few.

I am in danger of spending time looking though all these wonderful magazines instead of sorting out the studio so have added them to the studio clearance items. If you would like any of these back issues they will be listed in my Ebid shop soon. As I am no longer teaching City & Guilds Hand & Machine Embroidery, there will be more embroidery fabrics, books and equipment as I go through the studio.

As my sister remarked when we video called earlier, – I have made the space even worse, but things always get worse before they get better. It will be done for a fresh start in the New Year and the block of the month quilt along

Happy Merryneum

Bev