A feast of eye-candy

Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m a major fan of textile designer Kaffe Fassett.

He’s the most versatile and creative person I know of, creating paintings, mosaics, knitwear, embroidery, fabric and quilt designs, all coupled with an unerring and simply amazing sense of colour. So when I discovered he’d produced a book called Kaffe Fassett’s Bold Blooms (Abrams, New York, ISBN 978-1-4197-2236-3), I knew I had to have it. I’ve collected many of his quilting books over the years, but this one is not linked to Westminster Fibers/Rowan fabric ranges as the quilting books are, and roams freely amongst textiles of all nations, colour theory and his own development as a designer and artist, as well as many new quilt and needlepoint designs.

I don’t generally use large quantities of his fabrics in my own quilts. They’re expensive, hard to get in my part of the world, and mostly, they’re too saturated en masse for the effect I’m after. I’ve had quite a few pieces in my stash for many years, treasured, gloated over, petted and admired…. and then put away again. I don’t often make his quilt designs, preferring to execute my own designs.

The Hatbox Quilt is one notable exception, but here again, I’m not using many of his fabrics, and my colour scheme differs from his, both the original version in his book Passionate Patchwork, and the brighter, more saturated version in this new book.

What I use Kaffe’s work for is stimulus, inspiration, enrichment and for the enjoyment of beauty. Which is why I am now the proud and delighted owner of this beautiful book. It contains not only quilt designs and valuable information on colour work, but also needlepoint charts for some of his floral designs. One of these will be my next Stitch Along project, once I’ve finished the blue sampler. It’s a wonderful book, lavishly photographed, exquisitely printed and produced, and full of the most beautiful visual treats.

If you can’t buy it for yourself, get yourself to the nearest library and reserve or borrow it. It’s gorgeous…

The Vagabond Eye

Do you ever have days when all sorts of stuff catches your eye, and announces itself as inspiration?

Today, pecking away at WWF, my mind wandered, my eye followed, and the camera trailed not far behind. I ended up taking half an hour out from stitching and just walked around the house taking photos of things which appealed to my eye. I’ve eliminated about 80% of the images as being too messy, complicated, repetitive or just whatever…

Since I really can’t face the idea of posting yet more blue and red hexies until there’s a significant landmark to share, I thought I’d show you what my distraction produced. I think there are about three quilt ideas in there. I’m particularly liking the carved Chinese screen and the book case. I have a niece who keeps a blog about the books she’s reading (called The Unlikely Bookworm) and I’ll be owing her a quilt soon, since her older sister is getting one later this year. I think I see inspiration for a quilt for her in there somewhere.

Anyway, I’ve wasted quite enough time on displacement activity. Back to the torture chamber sewing room for another round of quilting.

Treasures unearthed

I have been pining for my sewing machine and fabrics.

Finally, we have reached a point where it was possible to spend an hour or two on getting my sewing room a little more organised. I’m not ready to get to work just yet – somewhere out there is a box with all my thread – but I’ve been getting reacquainted with my fabrics, reminding myself what I have and what I’d planned to do with all of it. Some of you (the non-quilters) will be wondering what all the fuss is about. I’ll try to explain.

It’s nearly a month since I packed up my work room, and I’ve been missing my daily dose of creativity, of association with colour and texture and a sense of peaceful purpose. It’s hard to look around and on all sides see unfinished tasks shouting to be done, with no opportunity to sit and quietly achieve goals and make something useful and beautiful.

Screen shot 2014-10-15 at 3.13.20 PMMy fabulous oak Cupboard of All Colours has been reassembled and almost filled again. My sewing machine has its own table under the window for the best working light, and I have a separate cutting table. There is a wall dedicated to my design space (or queensize beige flannelette sheet, if you want to be picky), another for my bookshelves. There will be space to leave the ironing board up all the time, somewhere to put rolls of batting, interfacing and fusibles, and best of all, lots and lots of light. I know there are three large boxes of fabric and at least a dozen of books waiting to be collected from the storage unit, not to mention the wall track, brackets and shelves for my books, but it’s a start. I have somewhere to put my embroidery project where it won’t accidentally have a hot drink set down on it, and where the needle won’t disappear into a crack in the floorboards!

I’m a happy quilter again. Next week, I should be able to start another AHQ quilt. I could actually start tomorrow if I went out and bought some fabric and thread, but having spent a couple of hours arranging my sewing room, I now have to get on with more urgent jobs, like emptying more cardboard boxes, doing laundry and loading the dishwasher.

…In a minute. For just a little longer I shall sit in my room and dream…

Just add yellow

I was feeling a bit blue. In pain, not making much progress with the unpacking, intimidated by the scope of work in the garden…

So what was wanted was a dash of yellow. Blue + yellow = green. The antidote for the blues is, I find, all things green.

Anyway, after that somewhat convoluted explanation for the title, I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves. Green, green and more green, with a dash of pink.

Screen shot 2014-10-11 at 3.29.22 PM Screen shot 2014-10-11 at 3.29.08 PM Screen shot 2014-10-11 at 3.32.46 PM Screen shot 2014-10-11 at 3.33.36 PM Screen shot 2014-10-11 at 3.33.53 PM Screen shot 2014-10-11 at 3.33.17 PM Screen shot 2014-10-11 at 3.34.19 PM Screen shot 2014-10-11 at 3.34.06 PM Screen shot 2014-10-11 at 3.37.34 PM Screen shot 2014-10-11 at 3.38.17 PM Screen shot 2014-10-11 at 3.37.55 PM

It’s making me want to make a green quilt. Some of the patterns of the leaves and in the leaves just shout ‘quilting design’ at me. And appliqué, and maybe some embroidery. It feels nice to get my creative mojo back; it has been sorely lacking the last couple of weeks.

I must go and put some pink birthday candles on the cake for my sister in law. It’s a very nice cake – I’ll be posting about it on Monday, but by that time it will have been reduced to a few crumbs…

Happiness is … almost halfway

I’ve had a few good hours at the sewing machine, and it’s coming together.

Bliss to be back in my creative groove. I’ve missed sewing while I was away – or at least, I’ve missed the speed at which one can assemble things on a sewing machine. I seem to have avoided the usual stuff-ups and the quilt is almost sliding togther. No cutting errors, no sewing errors, nothing the wrong way round. It can’t possibly last – can it?  I haven’t cut, pricked or burned myself today either. Almost like it was meant to happen!

Progress so far:

Top three lines are assembled. Next two need to have their horizontal sashing added.  The bottom 5 lines are still to be started.

Top three lines are assembled.
Next two need to have their horizontal sashing added.
The bottom 5 lines are still to be started.

I’m still totally in love with these two Amy Butler ranges (Lark and Cameo). They contain colours and patterns I wouldn’t normally consider, but which work together somehow. The white sashing is scrap left over from the Triple Trouble quilts. Hopefully I’ll have enough, but if not, I’ll just need a bit of extra.

Right, I have to go to the kitchen now and assemble some more gingerbread. I’m addicted to the stuff at the moment.  Tomorrow I’ll be making bread and peanut butter cookies, so there’ll be a little less sewing :-(. And I’ll be sewing dark blue hexies for the Car Quilt while I watch TV tonight. Unless I decide to do some more work on Thing. Or work on a paper-pieced design I’m trying to make work. I keep ending up with Y shaped seams…

You see the dilemmas you face when you have multiple WIPs?

In the blink of an eye…

Oh. My. God.

I cannot express how totally impressed I am with this camera, and what a completely different creature it is from the mentally impaired digital FRED (F…..g Ridiculous Electronic Device) I have been using. Yes, yes, OK, I’ve had to plough through pages, pdfs, jpegs and various other file formats to work out what buttons to press, what dials to twiddle, what icons are what and how to download the images once I’ve taken them. But the pictures it takes…. I could cry at the waste of time that was my photography before. This post would be full of underscores, exclamation points and italics if I didn’t keep a firm rein on my excitement.

I have nothing new and exciting on the quilt front to show you. I did the garden stuff yesterday. The slice I baked this morning isn’t very pretty. So I had to go and find something exquisite to point my lens at, and take the close-up function for a test drive.

And here they are.

Ginger lily bloom

Ginger lily bloom

Close up

Close up

Blue Eyes

Blue Eyes (Evolvulus glomeratus)

Imagine my face almost completely consumed by an enormous grin… the detail’s crisp, the colours are gorgeous, the focal point is exactly where I told the camera I wanted it. Uploading the images isn’t quite as simple as it was with the old piece of junk, but it’s still pretty easy. And I get a whole suite of editing tools and fun stuff that I’m simply too scared to look at yet!

Right, off out to find something to take pictures of!

Words Under Pressure #13

It must be relief at getting the last quilting job done, but I seem to have come over all verbal…

Chrysalis

Come, illuminate me again.
Paint the sky in morning colour,
Roll out before me
Spring’s tender green carpet.

Show my autumn heart
A new, triumphant gold
Gleaming among the clouds,
A warm finger touching the earth.

Banish the grey and dust,
The discarded husks of past years.
The glorious butterfly
Waits quietly in her cell.