Athens time

Monday, 13 August 2012

Bee finishes..

For Danielle

For Mary

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Textile Journeys - An Exhibition

This morning I went to a lovely exhibition. This was the announcement (for those of you who can still go along today and tomorrow all day, WELL worth it!!!).

"Textile Journeys is an Exhibition of the work by Village Textiles students, including those completing City & Guilds Levels 2 & 3 Stitched Textiles.

A trader is attending, offering a range of textile supplies. The Old School, Church Street, Minster, Nr. Ramsgate, Kent CT12 4BX.

4 - 5 August 2012: 10am - 5pm. Admission £1. Tea, coffee and homemade cakes available."

The coffee and cakes were absolutely delicious, eaten at tables on chairs resting the weary feet before going around once more.

The trader is Alison from Smartfrog (website; -click HERE for the link- email: smartfroghop at As those in the know will tell you, she has not only a great range in quality quilting fabrics(and the eye for colour and design with it, so you are getting invaluable advice) but also a range of materials which are beautiful in Art Quilts. An extensive Stef Francis range as well a many of her own hand dyed material which range from different textiles, to wool, to threads and more! (very innovative and exciting, give her a ring to make an appointment to see her at home in her in-house studio in Broadstairs, Kent, you won't regret it). Needles to say I was inspired and did not come away empty handed!

The two jewel coloured FQ's were purchased for the FQ EEP bee where Danielle would like jewel tones for her block. I seemed to have been turquoise/purple inspired overall!

Ok.. now for the photos.. I must warn you that it is a bit of a photo heavy post, but there was so much to see and the quality so high that I had trouble leaving things out!

The exhibition was roughly divided into Embroidery level 2, Machine Embroidery level 3 and unaccredited (but no less beautiful therefore) classes.

First and foremost I would like to introduce you to the work of Stephanie Syvret. Each year City and Guild awards Gold Medals and Highly Commended Certificates to students who show exceptional talent. These awards are given sparsely and incorporate the whole of the UK. Stephanie, only just missing out on a Gold medal, has been awarded the Highly Commended Certificate and rightly so! (although I would have given her the Gold, just sayin; :-)

This is a detail of her final piece for the level 2 course (yes, you read that correctly level 2!! In my humble opinion, her work was the highlight of the exhibition and, not knowing how the exhibition was divided would have given it a level 4 at the very least!!!) Just look at the tiny beads in the centre representing the seeds, and the tiny centres are raised (trapunto style) as well! Here is the entire piece;

Her sample piece on the wall;

..and in her technique books were amazing. I also loved several pieces in the books where different techniques were tried out, e.g. this poppy picture, using a selection of fabrics (silk, cotton and organsa on an open weaved base which has been coloured with wax pastels (from Stephanie's technique book). I asked Stephanie for permission to blog about her work and use pictures which she graciously gave. Thanks Stephanie! I am sure all my friends world wide will really enjoy your work!

This fish bowl has the seaweed and plants hidden under a layer of organza, which makes it look very watery with the fishes raw appliqued and machine embroidered on top.

Moving on from Stephanie's work, here a selection of some of the work that caught my eye also.

Sylvia Bowman made a book in honour of her mother, who had been a court dressmaker before her marriage. Starting with the family tree,

..and then each era had it's own page. Here the 1920's;

Another book that caught my eye was a magical fairy book by Sheron Richards. It proved hard to photograph but in real life it was beautiful and mysteriously golden..

I loved the combination of colours in this cushion by Rosemary Crippin;

and the texture and greens in this notebook cover;

Several lovely bags like this canvas work by Carol Boswell;

Irene Baldock going for colour;

Sylvia Bowman again;

and Margaret Whitakker with a lovely sunny little bag with beads;

A lovely notebook by Kay Horne;

and another by Joy Snape;

Framed work by Jan Worden;

I think I have to force myself here to stop, but if you want to see all this deliciousness (and much, much more) as well as buy the materials to make a master piece yourself, rush along today and tomorrow to the Old School in Minster, Kent, UK. The exhibition is open today till 5pm and open tomorrow from 10am to 5pm as well.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

I have been away...

and left the family plus dog at home! Now I have 1000+ in my Google reader so I think I will have to empty it... Hope I haven't missed too much !!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

The Olympic Torch in Ramsgate

Yay !!  There he is Steve Backley!!

carrying the torch through Ramsgate.

From the following summary for enquiring minds who wants to know;

Steve's nomination story
Steve is one of Britain's most successful and popular athletes, consistently ranked in the world top ten for Javelin every year from 1989 - 2002. To date he is the only British track and field competitor to medal at three consecutive Olympic Games; winning bronze in Barcelona 1992, silver in Atlanta 1996 and silver in Sydney 2000. Steve retired from athletics after the Athens 2004 Olympic Games where he finished a credible 4th. Since then Steve has been involved in a number of different projects, including coaching and mentoring up-and-coming athletes. He is passionate about using his Olympic experiences to help and motivate others to promote Olympic success in the workplace.

The entire convoy consisting of lots of lovely police motorcycles and squadcars plus buses came down the road at the historic harbour, hooting their horns and being cheered on by the public who lined the roads. See that little figure in white between the buses?  That's him.  If you look closely you can see the flame too.

Anticipation was high, people had been waiting long and finally he arrived....

Also see top photo - and was gone in a flash! (as he was actually running... not fast but it wasn't a walk either).  So he was here, and so he was gone....(flanked by deserving locallly selected people)

Muttering from those who did not manage a picture and contemplating whether they could outrun him to try again further down the road...  Not without a car you couldn't!!

Some lovely police motor cycles and a squadcar closed the procession.

A brief moment of Olympic fame, but for those who did miss it,  Here is the pic!! :-)

Friday, 13 July 2012

Summersville - The Sequel

Have you heard of 'Summersville' ? The great collection of fabric (Moda) by Lu Summers? I bet you have! It's a great line of fabric and very versatile.

How versatile became apparent this week when Lu tweeted she was 'over printing' but tantalizingly did not (yet) post a picture.

We did not have to wait long and the results are stunning! Just LOOK what came in the post today!

If you would like to snap up some of this exclusive fabric (limited supply hand printed by the designer herself) then go HERE to check it out.

Why am I sending you? Well.. out of the goodness of my heart! (and because I have just got my second order in already, so I managed to get some before they sell out! :-)

Thursday, 12 July 2012


If you were at the FQ London meet, you might have been lucky enough to see Jo's (Bearpaw) wonderful embroideries!

Well... the patterns are now for sale in Jo's online shop! Go HERE to buy.

And what's more... there is a lovely giveaway going on for a pattern and DMC at Blueberry Park !

Click HERE to go and try your luck. Definitely worth it !


Would you sometimes like to have a break? Would you like to get away from it all?

I would! and I bet you would too.

However, most of the time, I know I have other things to do and keep going and not having a break.. What's more... the occasional time I get persuaded to go and have that coffee or go away somewhere, I feel guilty doing it, thinking about all the things I actually should be doing, so they are foremost in my mind and I can attack them the moment I am back!

Some break huh !

Then there is the problem of the 'to do list'. Bills to be paid, house to be cleared, endless washing to be done, quilts promised for a deadline, admin to be done... Whatever I do first (and don't get quite done because there is simply too much of it), I feel guilty about what I am NOT doing... If I cleared and cleaned, I worry about not having gotten to the admin. If I make a dent in the admin, I stress about the not yet cleared up mess... If I walk the dog, I feel I am taking too much time away from the other chores.. If I attack the chores, I feel sorry for the dog not having been walked yet....


Bad thing is, all this guilt gets transferred to quilting too! If I buy the 'good' fabric (good quality, recent lines, really want it sort of stuff), I feel I can't quite cut into it till I find that 'perfect' pattern... (yep, still have that fq stack I got right before everybody else when it wasn't in the shops yet... 2 years ago...). On the other hand, I do buy 'bargains' where I get things dirt cheap (and soooo pleased about saving on the RRP) but they are not really the 'nice' fabric and then I feel guilty about not using it... BUT 'it'll come in handy one day' :-)

Sooo many quilts and sooo little time.... Really feel guilty about writing this too... as I should be sorting some bills...

DO tell me I am not the only one?

Maybe I need a real break....

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Lynne Quinn - an encounter

One of our local groups which organises events and speakers, had invited Lynne Quinne to come and visit and give a talk on Saturday afternoon. Lynne has quilted for a long time and talked us through a few of the many things she has tried her hand on to start with. She showed us journals, and nesting boxes, garments and many samples, but all we really wanted to hear about was the breathtaking quilt she had displayed at the front of the room!

Don't you? Yes, I thought so!

I was thrilled that Lynne explained the entire background, thought and design process to her quilt as, truly, the one thing we always think when seeing a quilt like this is... "oooooh... this is AMAZING... how on EARTH did she do that?"

This quilt was started as the final design piece to graduate on her City & Guilds3 course. You have to make a graduation piece and show your thought and design processes. Just the thing we were so interested in! If you are interested too, I will tell you a little bit about it.

One day Lynne was reading the paper and came across and article about Robert G. Ingersoll (11 August 1833 - 21 July 1899). He was an American social activist and agnostic, prominent during the Golden Age of Freethought. Being a non-believer,he proclaimed that "Life is no more than a pathway, between the peaks of two vast eternities, past and future". Lynne thought this was so depressing that she decided to record in the quilt an alternative to this and call the quilt "A Future and a Hope" (with reference to Jeremiah 29).

Here are the twin peaks with the path going inbetween them.

The other path is leading straight into the circle of light ( I am assuming heaven/eternity) which is symbolised by a mariner's compass. The mariner's compass being symbolic for God, as is the sun, leading into the light.

I particularly like that the path towards the light is paved with patchwork, a solid ground, whilst the path disappearing between the twin peaks is flying geese. Lynne did not tell me about that bit but maybe it is subsconscious symbolism ? (or maybe it was deliberate and she just didn't have the time to go into more detail...she went into incredible detail as it was!)

She quilted the Eagle in the corner as a symbol of hope. Isn't that amazing? I really really love the quilt and knowing a little about the background makes me love it even more!

Another thing I loved about the quilt was the professional finish and the incredible attention to detail. A lot of the very detailed (and tiny) quilting is not immediately visible from the front until you are very close up, but I loved the little touches like tiny birds quilted in the orange, and sneaking a peep around the back of the quilt, I saw that the little birds had been coloured in on the back, SO cute!!

And the colouring and quilting that makes the frame like a frame of a painting, with the picture literally running out of the frame to infinity (it feels) at the bottom end. It really almost just jumps out of the quilt into the room and gives the feeling of continuing. (It physically overlaps the edge of the quilt).

Another just amazing thing are all the colours in the quilt. Lynne handdyed each and everyone of them. She found a couple of pictures in which she really liked the colours, and then set out to dye just the right hues for the colour gradation from the darkbrowns through to reds to oranges and yellow into cream and white. It sound s so easy doesn't it? 'Just dyed it'... well, as Lynne explained, it wasn't all as easy as that, as she spend a lot of time dying, and overdying and dying again till she had just the right shades and gradation.

I could go on for hours and tell you lots more about the design process but I think if you are as enthousiastic as I am about this lady and this amazing quilt, you should look her up and ask her to come and give a talk, a workshop or a teaching course. On here website (click through HERE to learn more about her courses) she gives you contact details for booking and enquiries. She lives in Bristol so if you are near there it is well worth considering!!

Here are some of the many samples of other work she brought for us to see (and talked about as well);

I was totally in love with this tiny jeans jacket she made (was it for a 4 yr old niece? I forgot...). Just look at all the decorations (fabric paint and a LOT of quilting!) isn't it adorable?

here is some of the lovely quilting inside, and don't you just LOVE the colour? It goes so well with the jeans material outside making a great outfit (there was also a tiny skirt with it... bless...)

I could go for hours but I think this post has probably been long enough by now!

So here is the lovely lady herself! She was a little shy of having her photo taken (as I would be seeing a nutter with a camera clicking away requiring you to smile on top of looking straight into a lens! enough to send you running!) so I have put this last (for those of you who have made it to the end) and also (ahum... photographers error) coz it's a little blurry... but Lynne looked so lovely and bubbly in it, as she does in real life, that I preferred it over the perfectly sharp but more formal pic I took. Thank you for so kindly agreeing to pose Lynne!

We all have to choose our paths in life and I for one am glad that Lynne's path is a patchwork one that led her straight to this amazing quilt!

Do you know what I mean?

No, the picture hasn't got anything to do with my post, but what is a post without a picture? :-)

Now normally I am a very organised person. I do things in certain ways, and that makes sure that everything gets done, if you only follow the system. When on the net and reading mails, there is a LOT of information to go through and very little time. So when I'm on the hop, I use 5 mins here, 10 mins there to scroll through Google reader and when I feel I want to comment, or bookmark, or print or generally keep track in some way of the idea, page, quiltalong or person, I make a new tab and continue scrolling. That way when I make some time to comment, write emails, bookmark and print out patterns, I can just go swiftly to the tabs. Deal with each one and give it the time it deserves and delete tab. I then know what the 'workload' is (I indent as of course it's a great 'workload' to have :-) and have oversight rather than 1000+ items in the reader of which you don't know how many you want to deal with...

Do any of you do this? For me, it works like a treat, until browsers start to play up... Yesterday, Chrome decided it had to close down unexpectedly. Now, as has been suggested, that might be because I had too many tabs open and it got tired (so to speak for lay persons like me, one could also say memory overload due to too many life feeds). I could understand that if it were the case, but.... it does it even when I have only about 4 to 6 tabs open. Firefox is even worse... closes down all the time! that is why I went to Chrome in the first place.

Now comes the worst bit, Chrome does not have an automatic recovery process of tabs open when it closed, unexpectedly and without your permission. So no way to recover all the tabs! History doesn't help, as history tells you each and every page you've been on, which was all the thousands you did not want to comment on as well as the ones you did.....

SO, if you were expecting a comment lately and I haven't (lovely quilts Lynne, I remember you being up there twice as your avatar stands out so much) then please do forgive me, or drop me a line. If I was due to answer to a quiltalong question and I didn't, please ring the bell! No way of recovering all those pages I looked at (non blog related) and wanted to know more about, look into the company or website some more, etc etc etc.

It feels a bit like you have an in-tray where you keep important post (like bills to pay and letters from friends you want to answer) and the cleaner (before you ask, I should be so lucky!) has emptied it all in the waste paper bin!

Maybe I should change my ways.... just answer straight away (which would mean maybe one blog in those 5 mins) and be uncertain just how much there is to deal with still in the rest of the stream? It would go straight against my desire of having an oversight of what I want to do...(not to speak of not being able to prioritise the more urgent responses) I hate uncertainty and surprise of that kind... I'd rather know and plan!

I know that Firefox does have a previous tabs recovery when it shuts down unexpectedly (yay Firefox!), but as it shuts down every other minute, it's virtually unusable (and yes, I have downloaded the latest version and updates)

If you got this far, thank you for reading it all. If you know a solution, thank you even more! and if I haven't got back to you... thanks for your patience and yell!!

Anybody know a solution? That'd be awesome! :-)


Saturday, 7 July 2012

Giveaway at Lily's Quilts... quick!!

What would you say to this amazing FQ (FQ!!! not F8!)box full of colour generously donated for the give away by Oakshott?

I'd say run to their sites and give it a whirl! (my answer would be "yes PLEASE" !!!)

Click HERE for Lily's Quilts

And HERE for Oakshott

HERE for the Fat Quarterly site

(no giveaway at FQ today but worth marking as there often are giveaways on their site and if there are not; it's a treasure trove of news, patterns and just pure quilty goodness.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Seeing stars....

Once upon a time, there was a girl who took part in a bee. It was a wonderful bee and all the participants started out with energy and good intentions. Unfortunately, some of the girls had 'life gettting in the way of sewing' problems, and had to go in the middle of it all. The ones who remained did their best to make extra blocks so nobody was short for their quilts when it was their turn.

This girl had also some "stuff" happening... but didn't want to pull out and disappoint people so was late with blocks... time and again... but... managed to hold out till the end. When it was her turn at the end, there was no time to find a pattern or fabric and she was happy to just leave it and forego her turn.

In came the amazing bee mama Julie, she would have none of it and suggested that if a pattern was set, each bee member could make a block out of stash and their own design. The girl mentioned she would have made a star quilt, had she had her turn and Julie asked everyone to make some stars with cream/white backgrounds. Very soon Julie sent not one, but THREE stars!! An amazing start to the quilt. Cat, also send a star, but it got lost in the post. Having in the end a total of three stars, the girl put them away safely for a future project and decided to forget about the quilt. Who better than she herself knew that when life gets in the way, blocks are late or not made at all! She wasn't upset or unhappy, just one of those things, totally understandable.

As you have guessed, the girl was me! And the bee was the Fresh and Funky bee. Phew... it's harder than you think writing in the third person, and probably a bit boring with it, so good job I am a quilter and not a writer!

I really wasn't unhappy or upset with anyone. After all, it was a lovely bee with a great bunch of people and we certainly had great fun getting to know each other and making all the blocks. I really enjoyed getting to know each and every one of them. I know what it's like when you aren't in a position to send and so totally understand!

But then Cat swung in action! Unbeknown to me, she contacted lots of very kind people. Most of which I didn't even know! and asked them to make some star blocks for me. Can you imagine my surprise when I saw the above photo (and quite a few more) on her blog and realized these stars were for me?

I couldn't stay dry eyed when I read this post which Cat wrote. Cat is such an amazing and compassionate lady... THANK YOU Cat!! For organising all this for me and thank you from the bottom of my heart to all those wonderful quilters who have been making these amazing stars for me!

There are simple ones, complicated ones, big ones, small ones, bright ones, two tone ones and really all you would ever want!

I am SO looking forward to getting my parcel from Cat. It will be a blast putting this quilt together and I will have it forever with me to remind me that, in spite of nasty things in life, I have friends in far places who will help out and look after me in difficult times!

THANK YOU to ALL of you who have sent stars. and also THANK YOU to all who have supported me in the past difficult times and sent emails and prayers and parcels to cheer me up. Bless you all, you are very much appreciated !!!

Monday, 2 July 2012

Siblings together

Lily's quilts is taking part in the 100 quilts for kids Siblings Together Campaign.

Go to her blog to read the full story! Often kids who end up in care lose contact with their brothers and sisters. Therefore it is amazing for them to spend some time at summercamp with their siblings and take good memories home.

We all would like to have a quilt for each child to take home to remember their family time and if you can donate a quilt to reach the target, it would be great!!

HERE is the link to Lynne's post. And HERE the link for the Flickr group she set up where you can see lots of the marvellous quilts that have already been donated!

Click through and read more!

Friday, 29 June 2012

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Hexie Quilt Along

Have you heard? The lovely Katy from Fat Quarterly has organised a hexie quilt along for her quilt Hexie MF ! She is going to do a version with Lilly Belle by Bari J Ackerman for Art Gallery Fabrics.

(photo totally taken from the FQ site)

If you want to join us; HERE is the link to the FQ page for this beautiful quilt!

I just can't seem to decide on the fabric to use...

What do you think of Love ?

It's a contender....