Monday, 31 August 2015

The Festival of Quilts 2015 - Part Two - Traditional Quilts

The quilts in this category were beautiful and the standard was as high as ever. Traditional patchwork techniques were demonstrated in abundance on each quilt - applique, piecing, hand & machine quilting.  Being able to examine the quilts up close, I could see the skill and appreciate the hours of work that went into each and every single stitch. These are the kind of quilts I aspire to make. I am full of admiration for the dedicated needle women who made them. I stopped making large bed quilts in 2011. A change in job and a re-evaluation on life altered my creative journey. I stopped quilting and started embroidery. These wonderful quilts have inspired me to take up the rotary cutter and quarter inch sewing foot once more. I am looking forward to making my new quilt.
Here are my favourite pieces from this catagory. Enjoy.
Ladies of the Sea by Jacky Field

Another Sampler by Jean Ball

Dear Jane Seattle to Surrey by Victoria Eyers
Passacaglia in Blues by Asa Holmer

Billings Coverlet Reborn by Lynne Johnson

Madame Butterfly by Edna Marie Nylen

This stunning Quilt 'Subtle Differences' by Kay Bell was the Judges Choice - looks amazing from the back too.

The show was brilliant. I have lots more to share. More Festival of Quilts 2015 posts to follow.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Lancashire's Textile Heritage - The Weavers Cottage

As you might have already guessed, I love Lancashire. My mother's family originate from a valley in Rossendale. Her ancestors were mill workers - weavers and spinners - and my fascination in our textile heritage stems from a childhood filled with stories and tales about the mills.
Last weekend, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to visit The Weavers Cottage in Rawtenstall.  It's hard to believe that anyone would want to destroy such a stunning piece of industrial heritage, but they nearly did! - it was saved from demolition in the 1970's.

Originally a Loom Shop, this building has had many uses over the years and still retains many of its original features including an array of beautiful, stone fireplaces on each of the floors.

The Rossendale Civic Trust curate the building and share their knowledge freely. Their enthusiasm in the buildings's heritage is inspiring and made me want to research further once I returned home.
The top floor has a variety of looms, all set up and ready for use. The sound of a working loom is wonderful.

Yarn filled shuttles and bobbins are everywhere, ready for use.

(My Father gave me some shuttles years ago by a chap who was using them as firewood! They're my pride and joy, safely hidden away in my sewing room.)
Over the years, the Trust have acquired various items  associated with local life. My favourite are from the shop of 'J Crawshaw',  the last clog maker in Rossendale.

A great deal of my embroidery has been inspired by my Lancashire heritage and I'm thrilled I was able to buy this piece of fabric which was handwoven on the premises.

This visit was a real treat for me. I went home buzzing with new ideas and a real sense of pride in my home County.

Monday, 24 August 2015

The Festival of Quilts 2015 - Part One - The Artists at the Show.

The Festival of Quilts 2015 was busier then ever. It never ceases to amaze me how many people visit the show - it reminds me of the quote 'build it and they will come', and they do.
Before arriving I'd made a list of the stands I wanted to see - Coolcrafting, Stone Creek Textiles , Empress Mills, Cowslips Workshops, The Warm Company (and receive their free gift!) and John James Needles. Some to buy goodies and others to check out their latest stock.
A two person quilt by Steve Richardson and The Bramble Patch

Sarah and Anthony of Coolcrafting
The fabulous free gift from The Warm Company
It was lovely to say hello to Janet Clare, Hilary Beattie, Stephanie Redfern, Christine Chester,  Ruth Singer and my dear friend Ferret and talk to the fabulous Stuart  Hilliard on the Cotton Patch stand - a man truly in love with fabrics and quilts.
Stuart Hillard

Hilary Beattie
Stephanie Redfern
Ruth Singer
Christine Chester
By the end of the day my feet were aching - the sign of a good show. A short walk and I was on the train.  In previous years, the train has been chocker in economy, so the assurance of a seat and a two hour journey chatting with friends about the show (and a large coffee), was something to look forward to at the end of the day. Coming back in First Class was a real treat.

The goodies that came home with me

I came home with a large bag of goodies - less than in former shows - I was very restrained. I am thrilled with the khadi paper, the John James needles and my latest kits from Coolcrafting. I had a brilliant day.
More Festival of Quilts posts to follow.  

Sunday, 16 August 2015

At Jessie Chorley's shop with friends

Yesterday had been a date in my diary for quite some time. It was the launch of Jessie Chorley's new book in her newly decorated shop. Jessie's open invitation had flocks of us turning up all morning. The book launch party was celebrated with cake served on vintage plates and glasses of Prosseco and Elder-flower fizz.

It was so lovely to meet the ladies from Hope and Elvis again, and to bump into my Facebook and Instagram friends - to finally put a face to the name. I am so lucky to have friends as barmy about textiles and I am.

Her shop has changed dramatically since my last visit a few years ago.  She has redecorated the interior with a coat of white paint which sets off her work beautifully. The shelving is made from scaffolding boards and all her goodies for sale are displayed in pre-loved china and vintage furniture.

The shop's exterior decoration always makes me smile. Jessie puts out her hand decorated textile 'flags' and decorations each day, regardless of the weather. The shops's window dressing is constantly changing. This weekend, there was a celebration theme - 'Celebrating 10 years in business' -  even the window pane had been decorated.  On the pavement trestle tables were full to bursting with cake, books and flowers, and there was a bench for visitors to rest or to sit and sew.  The whole shop had a wonderful warm buzz about it.

My visit to the shop was the first port of call as part of a day out in London with my DH. He popped into the shop and saw my eyes light up as I drooled over one of Jessie's framed pieces of work - he bought it for me as a gift for our Silver Wedding Anniversary. I'm a lucky girl. There are very few things in life  that I have a real weakness for (apart from Pistachio ice-cream and nougat) . I am not really a handbag, shoe or jewelry kind of girl - textiles  are my weakness and this piece I adore. Thank you my DH.

Jessie Chorley's  creativity and enthusiasm is so contagious. I went home with my head buzzing with even more ideas and I just had to sew!  Thank you Jessie for inviting me and for the very generous goody bag.

Jessie Chorley's shop is at 158a Columbia Road, London.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Jessie Chorley's New Book

It's the 15th August 2015, launch date of Jessie's new book.
I managed to acquire a copy from Jessie last week at the workshop and had to promise not to blog about it before the official launch. Here it is - I love it! Enjoy this brief preview.

Copies are available from Jessie Chorley's website.
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