Monday, September 22, 2014

When quilt disaster strikes!

I'm sure we've all experienced times when not everything goes according to plan with our quilting. Disasters can occur unexpectedly, while at other times you just 'know' something is not 'right' with your quilt.
Over the past week or so, I've experienced several disasters!

Here is my story of a challenge quilt, a deadline and fatigue...

As members of the Latitude quilt group, we create a small quilt every two months, to a set theme. Usually, I'm reasonably organised and don't leave things until the last few weeks, but this time, many and varied work commitments have kept me from getting to grips with the current challenge.

A large part of the problem is simply that I've been too busy! My 'other' work as a musician, playing the viola, has involved me in an intensely busy period of orchestral concerts, opera performances and chamber orchestra rehearsals, resulting in being out almost every night for four or five weeks - on top of my sewing and other work commitments!
Abandoned quilt! (detail)
With the deadline looming, I got started a couple of weeks ago - painting, appliquéing, stitching. But the more I did to that little quilt, the more I felt there was something wrong - something not sitting comfortably. I did not like what I was making!

Quilt UFOs
So a few days ago, I abandoned this quilt to the UFO pile and resolved to make another - with 10 days and little time to make it! I had a design plan in my head that I thought I could get together reasonably quickly, so, just yesterday, got started.

Gathering fabrics, fusible web, wadding, threads, etc, I began by piecing together a section for the background. An hour or so later this, too, had joined the UFO pile. It just wasn't my style. Oh dear! 
Not my style!
Another pieced background later, I was ready to begin collaging my design, using painted fusible web and a range of organzas. One of the challenges that arises when creating a quilt while extremely tired, is how to avoid mistakes and problems. And this I did NOT manage to do!

Organza and painted fusible web
So what went wrong? Well, everything that I caution others against doing! 
  • Managed to get fusible web glue on both my iron and ironing board cover
  • Tried to fuse painted fusible web upside down, with the result that it stuck to baking paper that was, by this time, protecting the iron
  • Succeeded in fusing paper to my quilt, which I then had to painstakingly sponge off with water
  • Melted organza while trying to attach painted fusible web
  • Cut some of the organza pieces the wrong was around, so had to cut them again
By this stage, I was nearly going crazy, but was also reasonably happy (or was it hysteria?) with the way the design was coming together. Next, began the stitching and - so far - this is moving along problem free - Hooray!

Disasters. We all have them, but I really don't think I could handle any more this week!

Will I get this quilt finished in time? 
I believe I will, indeed!

What have I learned?

Quilting and fatigue do not mix! 

Happy days!! - Deborah
More of my work can be seen on my blog.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Hilma af Klint 1862 -1944
In August Elizabeth Barton wrote in her newsletter (Art and Quilts, cogitations thereon) about why female artists are little known.

Below you can see an extract from this newsletter.

"There are many reasons why female artists are little known. In her book Woman, Art and Society, Whitney Chadwick explores several centuries of female artists. Even though excellent woman painters have always existed, academies, such as the Royal Academy in England, preferred to relegate them to the subjects of paintings, rather than the makers of paintings. Art history books, museum collections, auction prices etc. all are evidence of a complete and utter lack of respect for work by women. Alas, the lack of recognition was widespread : not just in art, but politics, religion - even sport - though that is certainly beginning to improve as people realize that intelligence and elegance are at least the equal of power and aggression.........
So whenever you research art ....whatever the era: the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Age of Reason, the Victorian paintings, modern and abstract art, post modern art into the present day - look for Women!!
Their work is strong, it´s tender, it´s fresh, it´s waiting to be discovered. Let´s create a demand for it! And I´m still waiting for women to rule the world!"

Elizabeth Barton. Aug.20.2014

Last year there was a big exhibition at The Modern Museum in Stockholm which exhibited lots of paintings and drawings by a Swedish female painter,
Hilma af Klint, so much before here time, a Pioneer of Abstract Art.  In her will she stated that her collection of paintings and drawings should not be exhibited/shown until 20 years after her death.

I would like to share with you a video about this remarkable female painter, Hilma af Klint, which 20 years after her death has been discovered.
So just click the link below and look for the video that can be seen there and enjoy!

and below is an article published in New York Times about Hilma-af-Klint.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Life in Salisbury

Moving recently to the medieval city of Salisbury, located in the county of Wiltshire, United Kingdom has been extraordinary. The city is home to the Salisbury Cathedral which boasts the tallest spire in the country, the world's oldest working clock and the best surviving copy (one of four) of the Magna Carta. The cathedral is over 755 years old and appears in several of John Constable's landscape paintings.

Salisbury also enjoys a strong artistic community with numerous galleries and an art's centre in the city centre and many, many artist studios within the county covering everything from textiles to ceramics, jewellery, painting, sculpting, metal and woodwork. I have yet to find quilters but I am relentlessly continuing my search. This weekend was the first Contemporary Craft & Heritage Fayre held within the Cathedral grounds. I dragged my husband along and we enjoyed several dozen artist's work, as well as demonstrations, talks and of course, afternoon tea. He actually had a good time!

It certainly got the creative juices flowing! Unfortunately, I don't have my sewing machine back from getting it's service yet (the first thing I did when I arrived) but I did bring a few materials with me in my suitcase (everything else was sent by sea freight and not arriving until the end of the month - patience, my dear, patience) so I can still do a few things by hand. At the Fayre, there were several felt artists producing amazing work using both the needle and wet felting methods, so I was able to extend my rather limited knowledge of the craft. I was so impressed, I signed up for a 10 week course here at the Salisbury Art Centre starting later this month!

One of the felt artists, Rose Hatcher, produces exquisite wall panels using the wet felting technique. You can check out her gallery at: and the local artist who I am doing the course with is:, also producing wonderful work.

Having moved from a large studio space in Thailand, I will no doubt find it challenging working in a smaller space here in Salisbury, however, I feel it may make me work in a more organised, tidy way...or then again, who am I kidding, probably not! We shall have to see how that idea pans out. It will no doubt encourage me to be more inventive with the smaller space I have, or encourage us (or rather, me) to find a larger place to live. Anyway, I am enjoying exploring this new place and meeting all of its many wonderfully creative people...and please, hurry up with my machine!

Until next time, stay happy and stay creative :)
Amanda Sievers

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


By Gabriele Bach

Linden wrote a fine article on this blog about inspiration and Deborah a very interesting about clean working space. In both I am interested and for me they belong together. Often I gather or buy things for special ideas. Beside time I have TOO MUCH from every other item:

- too much ideas
- too much techniques I would like to try
- too much fabric
- too much other material like threads, yarns, beads, colours etc.

I always have a lot of ideas. One difficulty is to decide which one I will realize. Another is, when I am doing a big and/or time-consuming quilt I don't want to be distracted by other inspiritations. Using a sketchbook doesn't help. It needs time too and I will end up with so many ideas I never could realize in my lifetime. And it is frustrating to see over the time how old some good designs are and still not done.

For my quilt "Backside Mystery" from the last challenge "Under the Surface" I first gathered some red fabric scraps. They are still laying on my working table, I like the view and maybe I will use them for the next challenge.

At the same time a friend and I dyed fabrics. After washing, drying and packing away all the fabrics, the gathered loose threads look pretty and they too could be used for the next challenge.

Otherwise I want to use red felted balls. I bought them many years ago and embroidered with beads they look awesome.

Near the felted balls lay silk cocoons, some I had bought and some I had dyed. They also would be great for a little quilt.

Mixing everything in one quilt is too chaotic, even if our next challenge has the theme "Wild".

All of these ideas will give me much stuff for the next challenges. Only that I will see enough new things and get other ideas. In two weeks I will visit the European Patchwork Meeting in Val d'Argent There I will see so many extraordinary quilts that all my own ideas seem to be boring. Besides all my good intentions I will come back with some stuff, one or two books, very many fotos and a lot of new ideas.