Blogs I follow

Quilters Guild AGM

I find these events like the box of chocolates which Forrest Gump refers to.  You THINK you know what you are getting, but then once you take the lid off and try a few out, they can turn out to be real suprises.

I made a decision last November to only attend lectures and no workshops as opposed to my previous attendances where I have always done workshops. I wanted to enjoy a wider range of art and information than a whole day workshop could give me - and I wasn't disappointed.

The highlight of the weekend for me was a talk given by Linda and Laura Kemshall - the mother and daughter duo whose quilts raise quiltmaking to a wholly different level.  I can only watch and admire! They are wonderful artists in the traditional sense.  They draw and respond to external stimulus and interestingly, rarely look at quilts made by other people.  This is so obvious in their work. The graphic elements and fearless use of new technologies put their quilts into a different league from many others.  I am not saying they are always better but they are always different!

Here are is the piece which Linda is currently working on for the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in August.  It is truly stunning - and that is when it is only half finished!

Linda and Laura have developed a technique based upon taking their drawings, scanning them into a machine which then prints them onto 60" wide fabric.  This fabric is then quilted, both using free machine quilting and hand quilting.  The quilts may also contain piecing to develop the design further.

Their work is inspirational, although how it will inspire me is questionable.  I can't draw well and I don't have a magical machine to print onto fabric!!  However what I am inspired to do is to try and seek out designs and further inspiration from other areas than quilts made by quilters.  Yet again we come back to the need to keep a sketch book and I think their sketchbooks stand as testimony to their dedication to trying to perfect their designs and develop their creativity.


Linda and Laura Kemshall belong to a group of quilters known as Six and Friends.  They are all mini-heroes of the quilting world for me.  I was also able to attend a talk given by Edwina McKinnon who is also one of their group.  Her quilting style is quite different but together with Catherine Nicholls, she brought several quilts to show her development as an artist and it was quite fascinating.  

I have long felt the tension between being a "piecer" i.e. someone who loves the challenge of accurate piecing and the mathematics contained therein and being a "surface designer" i.e. someone who loves the challenge of dyeing a piece of fabric, over-dyeing it, printing, scraping, using discharge paste etc to produce a piece of fabric which you can stitch into.  Catherine's work shows how she has moved from one to the other and still enjoys the challenge of both forms of quilting.

This quilt contains both commercial and hand-dyed fabric.  I am sorry about the quality of the picture but I took it using my phone and as you can tell, the situation was not the best!  Nevertheless the quality of the work and the design is very obvious.  How different is this to the work of the Kemshalls!


Recently Edwina has moved on to more surface design work, using sushi as her inspiration. This is vastly different from her work above.  I can see the attraction of both but can't come down on one side or the other of which I prefer!

I can only apologise for the fact that this is sideways on!  I have uploaded it 4 times in all sorts of different guises but it steadfastly refuses to stand upright.  Perhaps you could indulge in a bit of yoga to have a look at it??

Six and Friends are exhibiting at the Minerva Arts Centre in Llandoes Wales from July to September.  Please click on the link on my sidebar to get to their site and find out exact details.



Fascinating Journeys

My creativity has been somewhat compromised in the last few weeks. Not only was I on crutches for 3 weeks but having reached the point where it was possible to drive again, I set off to Derbyshire for a planned week of walking with Angela, a long-standing friend, and the dogs. Our journey up there was a little difficult in that there were 8 foot snow drifts on the road to the village where we were headed! Nothing daunted, we made our way through only a short while after the snow plough!

So our walking holiday was a little different than what we had anticipated and I spent quite a lot of time working on my knitting. It is a challenging task. The lovely pattern of roses, as seen in a former post, is knitted as intarsia and I am beset with numerous bobbins, all with a mind of their own and a seemingly endless attraction for one another. All too often the time spent knitting works out as 60% knitting and 40% unravelling twisted bobbins!

Sewing has been more successful in the few days since I returned as I have layered the Pineapple Winter quilt and am now about to start the quilting. I just need to get the thread and the trip to Country Threads which I have planned for Friday should enable me topickyou up the necessary thread to get on with it.

What I have been doing as often as I can is "de-boing" all of Dick's shirts to produce fabric to make quilts for Ben and Tom. The cutting up of the shirts was so hard to do at first but after about 8, I have got into the swing of it. There are 17 in total so I am making good progress.

at the end of the week, just 4 days after returning from Derbyshire, I went back up to Nottingham for the AGM of the Quilters Guild. I shall write more in the next post about it all but it was a thought-provoking and interesting experience - not to mention the fantastic quilts that were on show.


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