30 August 2013

Going backwards to go forward...

Like most of the other quilters making the Love Entwined quilt, I couldn't wait for the first part to be published, I had bought some lovely French blue and red fabrics and was determined that these along with some chintz and off-white washed linen would be my colour scheme. I quickly pieced the centre compass and started on part 2.

I was really happy with the way things were progressing until I came back from holiday a couple of weeks ago. I had taken the pieces for the zig zag border to work on, but had left the top at home. I looked at it again with fresh eyes, and although I liked the centre circle, I was not really happy with the star flowers or the colours...
It was too co-ordinated, too blue! too contrived looking for my taste, I normally make really scrappy quilts with lots of colours and almost never use blue - this is really out of my comfort zone! I didn't want to work on it and seriously considered abandoning it, or starting again from scratch. After a lot of thought and some advice from friends, I decided to remove the red stars and add in some more colours.
Yes, I like this much better! It has a more muted antique feel to it now. I have replaced the star flowers with some broderie perse.
Everything is just thread basted at the moment, you won't see any of the background around the flowers when I have finished, I may add some outline embroidery details too.
There is a lot going on in the centre of this quilt, I will add some blues and more greens when we get to the corner baskets to balance the colours. I have still not decided if I will use my original zig zag border, I have an idea for something different! I also want to go back and add some embroidery to the centre circle. I am glad I changed my mind, I am really enjoying working on this again!

24 August 2013

Silk Shading Part Two

In March, I attend a wonderful beginner's silk shading course at the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court. We embroidered this daisy, which I blogged about HERE

Last week I attended the two day follow on course, lead by Kate Ferrer, it was great fun and Kate was a wonderfully patient teacher! You can see some of her stunning designs HERE I love attending the RSN the setting at Hampton Court is magnificent and the tutors are always very relaxed and great fun.
This class focused on achieving a more delicate painterly look to our stitching, using one strand of embroidery floss and a size 12 needle. Kate had designed a lovely fuchsia for us, here is her original embroidery.
And my start...
This is only the second piece of silk shading I have worked, I was really pleased at how much better it looks than my first attempt.
I need to finish this design and then keep practicing, there is an advanced class planned for next year, I am really tempted to sign up now!

20 August 2013

Crazy Wedding Sampler - Piecing the Backgrounds

So finally, after a considerable amount of trial and quite a few errors! I managed to print my chosen photos on to fabric. It didn't help that I am not very computer literate and was too impatient to read the instructions on the fabric sheets to start with!
Then using some pieces of silk mixed with a little lace and cotton fabrics, I pieced my four crazy quilt block backgrounds.
My I present my grandparent's on their wedding day in the early 1940's...

my husband's grandparents at the wedding of his parent's in 1962...
My in-law's and my parent's in 1962 & 1966...
And finally us in 1990...
I like the naked pieced blocks very much :)
But I think they will  look even better when embellished with some of these lovely threads and silk ribbons!
I am all ready for class to start in September.

16 August 2013

Crazy Planning

I have always admired Victorian Crazy Quilts, I love the madness of them and the over the top embellishment and embroidery details. I bought this wonderful book last year and have spent hours reading and studying it, and Allie's blog.
Now that I have completed my first embroidery course, I feel confident that I can tackle a crazy quilt piece of my own. I discussed the idea with Sophie before we broke for the summer and agreed that I would piece the background during the holidays, and she would then teach me all the embroidery stitches I need, when we start class again in September. I want to start small with 4 x 8" blocks featuring the wedding photos of myself, parents, in-laws and all four sets of grandparents. When we visited on Tuesday my mother-in-law very kindly sent me away with the photos from her own wedding. My mum sent me her wedding photo too :) along with one of me as a baby (top left)
I have spent all afternoon scanning photos :) and playing with special effects. Don't my grandparents look very formal and serious?!
I love the sepia tones of these photos and think the colours will work much better with my chosen palette than the black and white images of my parents & in-laws wedding photos
I need to play around with my photo software and print everything in sepia tones I think. I have some paper backed silk that can be fed through the printer that I will use for the actual piece. These are just draft copies on paper so I can check size etc.
I want to have a sort of family tree arrangement, I need to try smaller photos I think. I have already bought some silks for the patchwork which I will combine with some cottons I have.
 I also have a box full of threads and lace etc for the embellishment along with some beautiful silk ribbon and beads.
I am really excited about this project and can't wait to get started! I have been browsing the internet studying images of crazy quilts and all the fabulous details. I just need to figure out how to print the photos onto my silk :) does anyone have any experience of printing photos onto fabric? This is the product I have bought, it is not cheap and I don't want to waste it :) any advice gratefully received!

05 August 2013

En vacances ...

Enjoying some peaceful stitching on the terrace in The Dordogne.