A while ago, the lovely Sharon at Modflowers asked if I’d like to join a Blog Hop.
After an initial moment of panic – I just don’t join things – I had another think and what I thunk was that it was a Good Idea. So, here goes: Welcome to Chiconia. Stay a while and look around. I hope you enjoy your visit.
Thank you very much to Sharon of Modflowers for thinking of me and nominating me. She has the most gorgeous blog devoted to vintage fabrics and the creations she makes from them. She’s also a highly entertaining writer, and best of all, she posts almost every single day so there’s always something lovely to look at and read. Go and have a look round, you won’t regret it:
Now, I’m supposed to answer some questions, so here goes.
1) What are you working on at the moment?
If you follow my blog at all, you’ll know that I show and tell on a very regular basis and in a great deal of possibly too much detail! But for the newbies: I’m working on a pretty machine-pieced quilt called Amistad, which means Friendship in Spanish, because it’s a collaboration between me and a friend who made it possible by giving me fabric. Also in the pipeline is an English Paper Piecing quilt called Steampunk based on a design by Evelyn Zuber called Mother Earth. When I saw the design, it made me think of gears and cogs in some sort of elaborate high-Gothic Victorian arrangement, hence the name. It’s going well, but there’s a long way to go yet. I also have a piece of counted cross stitch embroidery on the go, a wedding sampler which should have been finished for my first anniversary half a year ago… Numerous other projects at the planning stage, and somewhere in there I’ve got to get another baby quilt done for a friend who gives birth in about 3 weeks. No pressure, then…
Apart from the sewing, I garden, which is a big creative outlet for me. I live in the tropics of Australia, so my ‘pretty’ gardens are lush and cool, with lots of big impact planting. My food garden is very small, and has just started producing, which is hugely exciting. Mostly the growing is done in the winter, which is spring-temperate, rather than the summer which is boiling hot, wet and very humid. So in the middle of the Australian winter, I’m growing tomatoes, zucchini, capsicums, salads, beans, Chinese greens, spinach, strawberries and rhubarb.
I cook too – gluten free, because I’m coeliac, although it features a lot less on the blog when I’m in the middle of a quilt project!
2) How does your work differ from others of its genre?
Mainly, I think, because I mostly don’t follow patterns and other people’s designs. I don’t have one ‘style’ that I always follow. True, Steampunk is a pattern, but I’m deviating so wildly from the original in colour and final embellishment that it will be a very different animal. Other quilts have been completely original, others still use techniques I’ve learned from other people but given my own twist. I don’t much go for complicated or traditional blocks or designs.
And I’m not a purist. I’m quite happy to combine multiple techniques in one quilt: machine and hand piecing, machine and hand quilting, raw edge and needleturn applique, tied and buttoned quilts, etc. I find occasionally a quilt concept springs fully formed from my brain and demands to be made. If I can’t start it right away, I draw it out in full and make copious notes. It then nags me until I make it! It can be quite difficult when I’m in the middle of another project..
3) Why do you create what you do?
Because I must. I have to create, and sewing is my chosen medium. I love the combination of beauty and usefulness that quilts represent, even if some of them end up not on a bed but on the wall. I make the odd garment too, mainly because I can’t find what I want in the shops, but I find the process a lot less inspiring!
4) How does your creative process work?
As I said above, sometimes the idea arrives fully formed, and then it’s just a question of working out how to execute it – sometimes it’s a real technical challenge. Other times I see a shape or a pattern that makes me want to see how it would work in fabric. Sometimes I see the work of others and think that I don’t like it in those fabrics, but would love it in other colours or designs. I’m a very orderly worker. I draw the design up in miniature on graph paper. I work out how many pieces of what colours will be needed and work out fabric allowances. If templates are needed I make those. If necessary I scale the design up to make full size templates for applique. I cut all the fabric out, and lay it out on my design wall, which is double quilt size. After that, I live with it for a day, looking at it, thinking, squinting at the pieces to see if anything’s jumping out too much or not enough. Finally, I start sewing, from the top down, pressing as I go to make sure all the seams nest together tidily. My least favourite part is sandwiching the quilt top, batting and backing together, and I just LOVE binding, because it means the quilt is nearly done.
OK, that’s quite enough about me. The next thing I have to do is introduce some other bloggers who are well worth visiting. Rather than nominate another quilter, I’ve chosen two bloggers who are creative in other areas:
Jan of The Snail of Happiness is an ecologist and permaculturalist living in Wales who writes entertainingly about the joys and hazards of living a sustainable life surrounded by productive gardens, chickens, dogs, Mr Snail of Happiness and a bevy of blogging admirers. She knits and crochets beautifully using British yarns, and has produced the most astonishing creation from a collaborative project involving contributors from all over the world – take a look at her Masterpiece:
Kirsten at Pink Rose Bakery (also in the UK) is a talented creator of sophisticated and luscious gluten free delights, both sweet and savoury. I never fail to read one of her recipes without drooling a little, and she writes from a very amusing and individual perspective. She too produces beautiful crochet – it just doesn’t feature among the recipes!
Finally, I’d like to point all the quilters and appreciators of things carefully and beautifully hand crafted at a post from IntoCraft where they feature the most astonishing ‘quilts’. See if you can guess what’s so amazing about these beauties before you start reading. And it’s all man-made…
Do go and check them out. You won’t be sorry.