Monday, 23 November 2009

Christmas Social

This month's meeting was a nice relaxed way to start the Christmas season. Lots of time to chat and socialise, a free raffle, lovely refreshments and three demonstrations to inspire, and of course, not forgetting show and tell!

Here are the raffle prizes, tantalisingly wrapped. I wonder how many have survived temptation to be put under the tree? I know mine didn't!
Here are people taking the opportunity to catch up with the latest news - or gossip - while sampling the goodies on offer!
Liz was demonstrating some very clever flowers which would look fabulous on bags or as brooches. She had a couple pinned to her coat to show the effect.
'Fairy slippers' was the title of this demo. It was a chance to make some really original Christmas tree decorations, and use up some of your special sparkly bits at the same time.
And here Margot shows how to make a simple wrist pin cushion (she's modelling it too!) for times when you need to have your pins really handy!

Show and tell came round really quickly and was suitably kicked off by Gaynor, showing the fabric crackers she had made. All she needs now are some small gifts to go inside, and a more attractive container! She'd also made two Father Christmas dolls. Although they were identical, their faces seemed to have quite different expressions.
I showed the diagonal strippy quilt I'm making for Linus. It was a technique I showed last month, so I thought people would be interested in how it had turned out. I just need to bind it now.Paula made this bright quilt for a young relative from strips of pictures. It looks really cheery.

Ginnie's rainbow quilt is for her daughter. She had a bit of trouble getting the colours in the correct sequence, but it turned out beautifully.

Many of us have seen Sylvia working on her Patchwork of the Crosses, as it has taken her a long time to complete. It is completely hand sewn over papers (except for the borders) and is destined to be a wedding present for her grandaughter, who will soon become Mrs Cross! Sylvia has wisely decided to have it professionally quilted by Ann.

Bunty has made this charming Christmas wall-hanging at a Jenny Almond workshop,

and this sophisticated brown and turquoise streak of lightning design as well. A bit of a departure for Bunty, colour-wise!

Ruth had made a quilt for soldiers, using some old duvet covers. Very masculine.

She had also had a go at flower ponding. I'm amazed that she managed to find so much colourful material in her garden at this time of the year! She has embellished the designs slightly with embroidery to make this gorgeous cushion cover.
Ruth has also been busy organising more outings for next year. Saturday 10th April we will be going to Quilts in the Garden at Trentham Gardens. Saturday 29th May to the Patchwork School House demonstrations & mini workshops at Threads & Patches. And the one everyone will be loking forward to, the 300 Years of Quilting Exhibition at the V&A in London. Dates will be chosen from March 20th, June 19th or June 26th by members at the January meeting. We are going by coach on all these trips with pick up points at Market Harborough (8.30), North Kilworth (8.45) & Lutterworth (9.00). Put these dates in your diary and sign up for them in January.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Annual General Meeting

AGMs aren't usually very well attended - I know some groups who try and tempt people along by offering cheese and wine or other bribes. However, we don't need to do this to get people along to a Piecemakers AGM - they're interested in the group and what's going on!

Di gave us a brief outline of all the things which happened in the last year. We had well-known speakers such as Jenny Almond, Jenny Raiment, Felicity Howatson, Sandie Lush and Linda Rudkin to enthuse us, and several of these also ran workshops for us. We had outings to Redditch Needle Museum, Hemingford Grey and Chilford, which were all meticulously organised by Ruth, well-supported and enjoyed by all. We held the bi-annual exhibition of our work which brought nearly 200 visitors and raised a substantial amount for group and charity funds, apart from raising the profile of patchwork and quilting generally. We made a group quilt, 'Up, Up and Away' which we exhibited at The Festival of Quilts at the NEC and we also raised money for the Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance, apart from supporting other charities, notably Project Linus and Help the Heroes. We were sad to hear that both Di and Stephanie were retiring from the committee, but thanked them very much for their work over the years.

Next year looks to be as interesting. Speakers include Anja Townrow, Angela Madden, Susie Corke, Margaret Shah and Ferret and there will be at least four workshops, one of which will be specifically for beginners. Ruth has the members' wish-list of possible trips, including the Redditch Needle Museum (again!), a museum with old quilts, a National Trust property, the American Museum in Bath and a day workshop at Threads and Patches. She will investigate these and let us know. Membership fees are to remain the same for the next year, and it would be useful if members could bring their £15 in an envelope with their name on to the January meeting, to speed up the payment system. Receipts and membership cards will be given out at the February meeting.

Ruth did a demonstration of Manx log cabin, while I was demonstrating a diagonal strippy technique. Unfortunately I didn't manage to get any photos of us, but perhaps that's not such a bad thing! Then on to show and tell.

Muriel showed this lovely chevron quilt in bright colours - shame my photography leaves a lot to be desired!

Nik revealed that she and her husband have been having some difficulties in the bedroom department. Apparently there is some tugging of covers going on, so she made this large quilt to stave off divorce proceedings. We were really impressed with the front,

and then we saw the back! The batik prints are to be found on Milton Keynes market at a bargain price! They are fabulous!

My New Year Resolution was not to make any Suffolk puffs this year, but Doreen's lovely trees are very tempting. And this cheery wreath (which sent her to the charity shop for more buttons!) is a super idea.

Alison had made this sweet cot quilt (and a starry project under her arm).

Gaynor brought the wall hanging she had made in the Jenny Almond workshop in September. It's perfect for the festive season.

Here is another Jenny Almond Christmas table runner with Father Christmases at either end.

I always find it fascinating how the arrangement of even simple blocks can make very different results. Here is a prime example of how straightforward diagonal blocks can be put together to produce very varied blocks.

Sylvia brought a couple of quilts which have been made to give to wounded troops and made by a local group. The fabrics must be plain (or at least, not floral!) but the quilts are far from boring.

This one is made from stripes of chevrons and patches and pockets from shirts! This is the essence of patchwork - nothing is wasted!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Exhibition 2009!

Last weekend saw our second bi-annual quilt exhibition which was a great success. Not only were the quilts all varied and stunning, the sales table was groaning with goodies, the raffle was extremely popular and the cakes just melted in people's mouths! Over the two days, there were 169 visitors (which is nearly 50% more than our last exhibition's total of 120!), and lots of members lent their support on the door, sales table and raffle, as well as being 'quilt angels' ever ready to chat, advise and hand out white gloves.

Our Piecemakers banner was ready to advertise the show, and another set of quilted bunting added to the festive atmosphere.

Here is the sales table, strangely at this point with more helpers than customers! Lots of items were sold, including one quilt.

There were lots of delicious cakes to tempt people who were ready for a cup of tea and a chat. Even my cake was gone by the end of the show! Some visitors bought extra pieces of cake 'for my husband'. We believe them!

Di just didn't mange to step backwards fast enough (her husband did!) and is caught standing in front of the Christmas display.

The raffle was a novel concept. Members were asked to make a bag and/or cushion and visitors could buy a ticket and then enter a raffle for the bag or cushion they wanted to win. I was a bit concerned that my bag would be left at the end with no takers, but, as you can see, there was a lot of interest in the items, and all were claimed by their delighted owners at the end of the day.

Here is a view of some of the quilts, with Sylvia's coffin quilt in the centre of the picture. This fabulous quilt has been hand appliqued by Sylvia with Hawaiian designs, and has been made to cover her coffin when the time comes, which explains its unusual shape. We're hoping it won't come into use for many years!

And now for the quilts. Visitors were asked to vote for their favourites, which lead to a lot of head-scratching. With such a variety and such a high standard, it was a difficult decision.

Here is Chris's Mystery Quilt, completed at Rocheberie Quilters, and beautifully appliqued, with Chris herself standing in the background.

These two quilts, by Andrea and Bunty, are actually made from the same design! It's the use of value (dark and light fabrics) which has changed their looks completely.

A lovely sampler quilt in the front and Di's cheeky cat quilt at the back.

More cats, this time cross stitched by June, making for a whimsical look at feline life, with my French Roses at the side.

The quilt on the left was made by Tilley for her mother in law's 80th birthday, and has photos of places her mum has lived in the centres of the squares. A beautiful and clever use of photos. Can you recognise me on my family tree which I made for my Mum's 80th birthday. (Hint: I like lime green!) Eileen's quilt behind it was made as a Lucky Dip quilt from a pattern by Rebecca Collins.Some bright and cheerful quilts here, including a sew-a-row and a sizzling strips (in green and yellow). The tulip quilt is especially jaunty.

These quits illustrate perfectly the variety of techniques on display. There is Hawaiian applique, Irish Chain with embroidery, traditional blocks, bargello, improvised piecing (the pink letters) and raw edge applique. Such talented people!
Another set of colourful quilts, including two circles quilts made at the same workshop. These quilts are always fascinating, as they are always quite different in mood because of the different fabrics used. Although there were a lot of quilts to see, the exhibition didn't feel crammed. There was plenty of space to admire the quilts. The only problem was that it wasn't always easy to be certain you had seen them all. When they got home Gwyneth's husband asked her why she hadn't taken the pastels shirt quilt seen here - he'd completely missed it!
The high point of the exhibition for many people was our group quilt. It not only looks fabulous, but epitomises the ethos, not only of our group, but of quilters everywhere. Quilters are very supportive of each other, and celebrate others' efforts, no matter whether they are beginners or experts. We are all devotees of this wonderful craft, and happy to be so! Here's to the next exhibition in 2011!

Stop press!

I have just heard whose quilt was the Visitors' Choice 2009. It was number 35, which was a beautiful autumnal quilt by Liz. I can't believe that I didn't take a decent picture of it, although you can see the whole quilt in the photo under the one with Sylvia's coffin quilt in it, appropriately enough with the explanation about the Visitors' Choice! Luckily Ruth had a better photo of part of it, and here it is.

The block itself isn't complicated, being a stack-and-cut block. It's the fabulous colours and the machine quilted leaves and branches which make this such a stunning quilt. Congratulations, Liz!

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Trip to Chilford

Ruth has kindly organised another trip for us. It is to visit the quilt show at Chilford and is on Saturday 7th November (unfortunately my husband's birthday, so that counts me out!)
Quilt shows are always muh more enjoyable if you go with like-minded people, and if you don't have to drive, it makes for a very enjoyable day!

An exhibition at Chilford Hall

This is a view of the hall - looks great! There are still a few places left on the coach (and the more people who go, the cheaper it will become) so if you would like to join the party, please leave a comment on the blog, or contact me. The coach costs £15.50 at the moment, with entry to the show as an extra charge. Pick up points will be in Lutterworth and Market Harborough. You could be lucky enough to pick up some Christmas presents - what a great idea!

Monday, 21 September 2009

Evening to dye for!

September's speaker was Linda Rudkin, an expert in using natural dyes. Now, I have always been very happy with using Dylon dyes for the bit of dyeing I do, but Linda was so inspirational that I wanted to go out into the hedgerows (and supermarkets) straight away and have a go!

Here she is after her talk, giving Chris some advice about using dyes for her forthcoming art foundation course. All the different substances Linda has used, from the ubiquitous onion skins to osage orange bark, have been carefully documented and the results mounted on beautiful boards to display the effect on different fabrics.

I thought that using non-commercial dyes required lots of equipment and chemicals, but apparently you just need a large pan, a spoon or stick, water, alum and then plant material. Good results can be obtained from onion skins and marigold flowers and for those wanting to really go back to basics, she had some packs of woad seeds on sale.

She brought copies of her book as well as other goodies, which were eagerly snapped up on the night.

Show and Tell was as varied as ever. Stephanie showed a quilt she had made for her daughter. the patchwork Irish Chain was quite straightforward, but it was the cross stitch motifs which took her three years to complete! It was well worth it though, as it's a beautiful quilt.

Stepahnie has made her Flutterwheels challenge of curves and circles into a cushion. It looks stunning.
Chris also had a cushion, but this was made from the blocks made with Jenny Raiment. Each one was different, and beautifully embellished with mother of pearl buttons.
Chris, Beverley, Sylvia and some friends have been making quilts for injured servicemen. This one so simple, but striking.
Here is another one - a kind of grown up I-Spy, with novelty fabrics!
Ruth had used some recycled fabrics (shirts and pyjamas) to make this quilt for the charity. It looks very sophisticated.
I spent time in the holidays making this French Roses quilt which is the first time I have used raw edge applique. The results were very attractive.
I also finished a quilt from my UFO box. I made some Elly Sienkevicz Baltimore blocks a few years ago, and have finally layered and quilted them. I quilted feathers all round the borders - all good fun!

Carolyn had made some items for the exhibition sales table. Aren't they cute?

Doreen showed this Sudoku quilt made from squares of fabric. Very effective.

Ann treated us to another showing of this wonderful old hexagon quilt. it had been made in the 1920s but still looked fresh and pretty. The planning of the design is clear and beautifully done.

And, last, but not least is Elaine with her piece made at a Pat Deacon workshop called 'Working with irregular shapes'.

What a masterpiece!