See me in Australian Patchwork and Quilting.

5 08 2013

It has been a long time since I have had a quilt published in a magazine.  As a general rule, I don’t have time to make, write up and submit magazine articles.  However, I have set some new goals, one of which is about increasing my contributions here and overseas.  This is the first.  Australian Patchwork and Quilting Vol 22 No 11, page 106.

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What do you think?





A Patchwork Economy should be a strength, not a weakness

4 05 2013

Those of you who follow my Unique Stitching Facebook page will have seen that I took exception to the continued reference by members of our Government to patchwork as a negative and problematic part of our economy, our health and education systems and the delivery of disability care and so on.  That comment and this post does not reflect a position on the Government, positive or negative.  I don’t agree that ‘patchwork’ is the term to be used to describe difference, diversity, inconsistency or the requirement to make do.  Yet then again that is exactly what it is.

The Oxford University Press defines patchwork as:

noun [mass noun]

  • needlework in which small pieces of cloth in different designs, colours, or textures are sewn together:a piece of patchwork [as  modifier]:a patchwork bedspread

  • [count noun] a thing composed of many different elements so as to appear variegated:a patchwork of stone walls and green fields

Your Dictionary dot com defines it as:

noun

  1. anything formed of irregular, incongruous, odd, or miscellaneous parts; jumble
  2. a quilt or other covering made of patches of cloth, etc. sewn together at their edges
  3. any design or surface like this

Interesting that both dictionaries state it is a noun, yet our Government uses it as an adjective.

My view is that being patchwork, whether a noun or an adjective should be something seen as a positive.  If we go back to the very reasons behind patchwork, it was about making do with what was available.  Fabrics were recycled and sewn together to make utilitarian, functional items.  At the same time, fabric was put together in patterns so that the utilitarian items also were visually pleasing and beautiful as well as functional.  In times of poverty, such as the great depression, patchwork became both popular and essential.  Patchwork was about saving money and reuse of what we had. Doesn’t that sound like something to be venerated, not condemned, particularly in the wake of the Global Economic Crisis?

To illustrate what I am talking about, I went to the scrappiest quilt I have ever made.  I like scrap quilts because they have this order out of chaos thing going on.  I like that.  In this case, I used a pack of 50 six inch floral charm squares.  This pack was one of those what on earth was I thinking packs.  There were, in my mind, some truely hideous fabrics in that pack.  My challenge was to make it work, so I divided the pack into value - light and dark – completely ignoring colour or pattern.  It got a bit dodgy around the middle and calls had to be made on just how dark the mediums could be and still be classified as lights.  Compromise had to be made and the groupings worked because when viewing the quilt, the pattern dominates the individual parts.  The process of making the patchwork caught up the weaker areas and bought it together in harmony.

Although I hate half the fabrics in here, I love the quilt.  It works because of the compromise and the integration and the harmony that is then created.

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In some cases, the pattern over rode fabrics that were just not nice:

scrap 2

Or just did not belong:

scrap 4

But overall the sense of balance and coherency wins.

scrap 3

So, with some reflection and thought, I think it is good that we have a patchwork economy and health system etc.  It is the very diversity of all the disparite parts that make us strong.  We just have to find the unifying pattern.

Patterns for this and seven other scrap quilts can be found in my Stashbuster Book:  http://www.uniquestitching.com.au/p/1025033/stashbuster-quilts-by-cecile-whatman.html





My Turtle Playground.

26 02 2012

It may come as no surprise that I work a lot with textural fabrics.  I love using silks, velvets and other interesting fabrics to create depth and texture in a piece.  I am putting together some samples of how people can use non traditional fabrics in a traditional sense.  For example applique.  The elements of this piece are all from a Helen Godden pattern – Dolphin’s Playground.

I started with two off cuts of the Radiance, sewn together to create both a big enough piece, but a focal point.

I basted it on to some wading and stitch ric rac onto the surface.

Next I appliques some coral with pink/salmon/peach velvet.

Next I made a turtle.  The turtle is cotton sateen (head, tail, legs), Velvet shell, and a commercial cotton I had in a draw.

Next I made some star fish out of some velvets and silk jacquards.

I stitched all the pieces as I went so that the appliqueing did not get complicated.   I do what is effectively free motion applique – drop the feed dogs and go like the clappers around the edges of each shape.

I had some black and white and red fish, but decided that I was happy with out the red which would have dominated.

So here it is.  New sample number one.  What do you think?

This is not the best picture but I was running out of light.  You get the drift though don’t you?





Machine piecing is my artistic comfort food

11 11 2011

I have spent most of today cutting and machine piecing a quilt top.  It has been a very therapeutic day.  I love the precision of piecing, the predictability of how the pieces form up blocks, the blocks rows and the rows a quilt top.  The rhythm of the stitching, the thrum of the machine and steady reduction of thousands of pieces into one whole top fills me with a sense of balance and completion.  I piece when I need to get back to basics, to reinvigorate my soul or to remind myself of who I am creatively.  When life is not going to plan, I piece.  When I need time to reflect, I piece.  I love that piecing a quilt allows the simplification of complex designs and ideas.  I love  that you see the transformation of many different fabrics into an integrated whole.  I love that you can express yourself through colour, texture and design and that a two dimensional object can have movement and activity, light and joy.  I love piecing.

 





Easter – five days of creativity and cleaning.

22 04 2011

Happy Easter to all.  I am hoping to spend most of it doing fun things with fibre, fabric, paint and discharge paste however had to catch up with the basics.  Four loads of washing later, lawns mowed, website updated and we are ready to play.  Or I am.

I bought these Japanese fabrics at AQC from a couple of the Japanese fabric stands.  I wonder what I will do with them.  I have an idea, but I am off to cut them up and see how they go.

I also have some tops to finish using silks and velvets.  Does anyone else have three of four projects on the go at the same time.  I am not talking about UFOs.  I have heaps of those too, but multiple projects that you are working on concurrently.  I seem to always have.





Books, Silk kits and more Flood Relief Fabric – what a day

16 01 2011

Today I did absolutely none of the things I had planned.  You know those days.  I got up to a heap of orders for the fund raising fabric which was both pleasantly surprising and unexpected.  So the first order of the day was to dye more.  Two bolts of fabric later, I have filled all of the orders with a little more to go before I have to dye more.  Wow.  Thanks to everyone who has become involved so far. 

I have to tell you up front, I have not ironed any of the fabric we packed today, so if you have ordered some, give it an iron and the lustre will come up beautifully.

Whilst I was processing orders I got the strangest email I have had for a while.  I thought it was spam and nearly deleted it.  A neighbour, ten houses down the street had returned from holidays to discover a package on her door step.  When she had a look at it she discovered it was for me, so did a quick google search to work out who I was and emailed me.  Off I toddled to collect it .  Well I went in the car because we were going to the Fruit and Veg market and it was very hot – we will just forget that I mentioned it was only ten houses down – very hot remember .  I had been waiting for this package and was just about to start getting worried.

It had some beautiful silk quilt kits:

these gorgeous fabrics

  

will make this quilt

the photo does it no justice. 
Also in the box where a pile of Surface Design books:  Art Cloth and Complex Cloth by Jane Dunnewold; The Painted Quilt by Linda and Laura Kemsell; Mixed Media Explorations by Beryl Taylor and Uniquely Felt by Christine White.  These are now all on the website.
These are all seminal books which are absolutely packed with ideas, techniques and projects.  I am gradually increasing my book range.  I decided to start with new releases and add the depth of the classics and essentials as I go.  It was important to me that I can get these at a price that remains competitive with overseas sellers, which is a feat in itself.   If there are any books you would like me to carry, let me know and I will see if I can source them for a good price.

 Now that the roast lamb is in the oven, I am going to go and sort some fabric to make blocks for two seperate collection points.  Firstly for Nikki Tervo’s call for quilted 12.5 inch squares and the Sunbury Stitches and Quilters.  They are after 10 inch square blocks.  10.5 inch is hard for me.  All of my usual quick and easy blocks are a nine patch variation so I am going to have to be a bit more creative.  If you want to join in either of these, Nikki’s details are in an earlier post and the Sunbury Groups details are below.

10.5 inch blocks to be sent to:

Sunbury Stitches & Quilters’ Inc.
     c/o Lynette Peucker (President),
     37 Jeffrey Crt,
     Gisborne South,
     Vic. 3437
This group is supporting a call from Qld Quilters, through the Victorian Quilters.  They will also welcome donations of wadding, fabric or any sewing goods.  If you want more information, get in touch with me and I will forward the full email to you.





Today’s offerings

14 10 2010

I am waiting for a couple of deliveries this morning.  I need the stuff NOW, but I need to be patient.  There is always more to be done, so instead of watching for trucks, I should get stuck in and get some work done.

Last night I made another non woven collage.  It is a bit wonky, but will straighten up when I quilt and block it.  This one uses a hand dyed wool felt as the background.  The focal point are three photos I took at Floriade.  I printed them and the word Floriade on to TAP and then ironed onto the heavy weight Lutradur.  Metal foil on light weight lutradur for the metallic strip went on next and then purple and blue lutradur was agressively heated around my photos as a frame.  I heated it with the heat gun after stitching the layers together.  I really like this effect.  It is a quick and easy three dimensional effect that adds colour and texture at the same time.  The orange is a piece of cotton scrim that I scrunched and distorted.  I quite like the over all effect. What do you think?

Floriade 2010 captured

I also played with some of the new Liquitex inks while I was taking a break between bouts of felting.  I like these inks, because they can run and blend but are also opaque.  You don’t need to heat set them to be colourfast either.  Given I iron all my patchwork and art quilts as I go this is probably not relevant, but there could well be a time when it is important.

Here are the inks I used.  They come in a pack of six and there are two themes.  I, naturally, went for the shiniest.

Liquitex Metallic 6 pack of inks

I am not sure what I am going to do with the fabric, other than have it to show people.  I smudged the gold, copper and bronze to blend them in a bit and then splattered the white, black and silver. 

Fabric with inks. A bit over the top, but I wanted to see what they did.

I will show you the felting when I get it dry and into a quilt top.  Which will be behind about 20 other things I MUST finish today.  Off to work.  Where is that truck!





Okay, could not help myself – I had to fix it.

19 09 2010

I was speaking to someone the other day about the need to sew.  I was quite upset about something, and the person I was speaking to suggested that I would be very productive as I channeled my frustration, but it may not be my best work.  I suggested to this person that they had known me far long enough to know what a perfectionist I am and it is always my best work.

So, true to form, despite trying not to reach for the unpicker, I have rotated the one misbehaving block.  I have also added a 2 inch border so that the colour ‘floats’ off the surface.  MUCH happier now.

Here it is.

Rainbow Quilt fixed and bordered





Another day, another quilt top.

19 09 2010

I have had a very productive day today with heaps of orders processed and ready to go in the post tomorrow, online classes ready to be loaded and another quilt top finished.  I really like foundation piecing, though the preparation is time consuming and tedious.  This is a really simple design aimed at showing off the movement in hand dyed fabrics, moving from dark to light. 

Here it all is in progress.

And here it is almost finished. 

My Rainbow Quilt

It looks a bit like an animation doesn’t it.  But it is real and the colours, again are realistic.  I am about to go for my daily walk and then I am going to unpick the yellow block that is not the right way up (blast it)  and put a narrow black border on to finish it.

Love to know what you think. 

Cecile








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