This blog is a bit of a ramble through my life. There's a lot about quilting and textile arts, a sprinkle of my family life and some of my thoughts and ponderings. We currently live aboard an old wooden 1945 Navy boat, called MV Cerego, so you'll find me writing about that too. Welcome aboard!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

More Herons, and a tease of Ungainly Grace

There is another heron quilt I didn't include in the last blog post.  It was one created for the SewEzi Aotearoa Quilters Flight Challenge, which is being exhibited as part of the Great NZ Quilt Show, the first weekend of May, in Rotorua.

I got very good news yesterday that my quilt, titled Ungainly Grace (recognise the reference to the quote in the last blog post?), was chosen as one of the twenty finalists!  Yay!

Here is the drawing I started with:

It is a sketch from one of my own photographs of a white faced heron:

Unfortunately I can't show you the full quilt yet, but I can tell you it is 75cm square, as they all will be, and I can tell you that working in a square format is difficult for me! 

 I was discussing it with my mentor (Lisa Call, in case you are looking for a wonderful teacher/life coach) and she suggested that a landscape or portrait format has instant expressiveness without even adding the art.  Think horizontal = calm, portrait = power.  But a square makes you work harder to convey the feeling you want.  You can only work with the images and layout within the square, you can't rely on the shape of the frame.  Interesting.

I can also tell you that there was hand-dyed silk and much free motion quilting on my Bernina 440 domestic machine.  

There was also much thread tying in.  Ho hum.

And there may have been a last minute dash to sew on the label in my car on the way to drop off the quilt (not while driving - just waiting for carpooling!).

But I was very happy with the final result.  It is subtle and my aim was to work with tones and get them right rather than relying on colour to do all the work.  I think I got there, but you'll have to wait till the show to see if you agree with me.

For now, this is just a glimpse.

See you at the show!

Here is a link to a great blog post written about the upcoming show - I'm biased 'cause I wrote it! 

Saturday, April 9, 2016

I like herons, but...

I'm not sure I like them on my boat!

Anyone who knows me, knows that herons are one of my things.  Graceful yet slightly awkward.  This is one of my favourite quotes about them:
"The queen was settling on the edge of the bed, ungainly with hesitation and at the same time exquisite in her grace, like a heron landing in a treetop" - Megan Whalen Turner
So it was neat to see a white-faced heron taking his ease on the back bulwark of my boat when I came home the other day.  He let me get pretty close too.  Then I started to think about where the remains of his last meal was sure to end up and I regretfully scared him away.  There are plenty of wharf posts he can rest on.

Here are some of the quilts I've made with herons as my muse.

'With Little Sound'   30cm x 46cm   SOLD

'Memories of Flight'   62.5cm x 120.5cm    $850

*Edited: This quilt is now SOLD.  Thank you for your interest.

'Morning Waters at Opua'    52cm x 89cm    SOLD

'One Grey Heron'    30cm x 46cm    $125

I don't think my quilting love affair with herons is over yet.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Whangarei Patchwork and Quilters Exhibition

This weekend is the Whangarei Quilting exhibition.  A few months ago they asked me if I'd like to be the judge for their challenge and a guest exhibitor and demonstrator.  I was pretty chuffed and said yes, not knowing how hard judging the wonderful challenge quilts was going to be!

But it's all done now (after much thought and many cups of tea) 
and the opening function is tonight when I get to announce the winners.  

I'll be demonstrating tomorrow (Friday) and a selection of my quilts will be hanging all weekend.  I've taken my hand dyed silk organza and am demonstrating how to use it to make a piece of textile art for the wall.

I'd love to see you if you're in the area.  It promises to be a great show, plenty of quilts, great merchants, a wonderful sales table and lots of great raffles.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Podcast - Interview with Wendy Welsh from Wendy's Quilts and More

I first found Wendy, a New Zealand quilter, through the wonderful pictorial world of Instagram.  Wendy loves colour, loves handwork of all kinds and loves sharing her work with the rest of the world.

I was intrigued with Wendy's millefiori la passacaglia quilt and I contacted her to ask for an interview.  She graciously obliged and we had a good old chat about quilting, colour, hand-piecing and social media.

There is lots of good listening in this interview and I hope you enjoy listening as much as I did talking to Wendy.

Wendy's blog
Wendy's Instagram feed
The Millefiori Facebook group

All pictures are courtesy of Wendy Welsh, please don't use without her permission.

Download this episode (right click and save)

Friday, March 18, 2016

Colour Palettes on Friday

One of my favourite activities is playing around with my hand-dyed fabrics, putting together colour palettes.  My fabrics are my paint box and tools and I can learn a lot just by playing around with them.  Any excuse for fabric fondling, right?

What I observe sometimes when other quilters are putting together colour palettes, is that they don't play around with proportions.  They stack a beautifully folded pile of fabrics together and look at it.  But rarely do you use equal amounts of fabric in a quilt.  So change the way you fold them and look at how the colours work together when there are different amounts of each.

Then I sometimes use this internet tool to check how the different proportions might look in actual pictures.  It's called TinEye Labs Multicolr Search Lab, and it searches Flikr creative commons images for photographs that match your chosen colours and proportions thereof.

Below is the search I did based on the proportions of colour in the above mix.  Whoa! Look at all that orange, and I can now see that the orange is about the same tonal value as the pink, so there is less tonal contrast than I might like. (Click on the image and that should biggify it if you need a closer look.)

The photo above and the search results based on proportions below.  This reminds me of sunsets and I like the large proportion of light - some nice contrasts.

Above is the photo, and below is the search with the roundabout proportions.  Lots of pinky purple coming through here.  More restful perhaps?  And once again, less tonal contrasts.

And below is the search I did with equal colour proportions.  I find it a bit messy, or perhaps busy is a better word, no focal colour that draws me in.  

So how do you play around with your colour palettes?  Do you rearrange your stacks to get an idea of how fabrics play with others in your chosen scheme?  And do you rearrange proportions to see what different looks you can get?