Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sensational Symposium - Where do I begin?

I've been having such fun visiting quilts on Amy's Quilt Festival that its taken me a while to get back onto posting my own news. There are so many marvellous things to tell about the 2009 NZ Quilt Symposium, which we have just hosted here in Wellington over Easter - infact there are so many marvellous things that it has taken me a couple of weeks to recover from the excitement, the sensory overload, the people to catch up with, the great classes to attend, the wonderful exhibitions, and the odd glass of wine or two with friends at happy hour. In short it was great - and also exhausting.

We had over 1200 women here in Wellington for classes which were held over 5 days, with tutors from all over NZ, Australia, the UK, USA and even from Africa. There was 200 days of teaching done by our tutors. There was, literally, something for everyone.

I volunteered to assist for two days in classes, in the role of "Angel" - as I said to the classes I assisted with I was somewhat misnamed! On my first day I helped out in a class with Sandi Cummings - and I was delighted to be assigned to her as I have previously made two quilts from her book "Thinking Outside the Block" which this class was also named. I had great fun making those quilts for my sons and it was great to see her demonstrate her techniques of cutting and inserting fabrics into blocks to create something unexpected.Several of the samples that she showed used fabrics which changed in colour and tone across the face of the fabric which bought real interest to the blocks that she created. I know I have a number of these type of fabrics up in the stash which I have always tended to use them by cutting out the particular colour or tone I am looking for at the time. These gave me some great ideas for experimenting and playing with. I spent a lot of the day tearing around sorting out sewing machines, food and other things that can sometimes cause teething problems on the first day of the big event. Obviously I did enough to keep both the tutor and students happy as I was instructed to try and get myself reallocated to them the next day.
The Angel who was allocated to them on day two told me that when she arrived they all looked at her and gave out very disappointed sounds - she didn't seem so pleased when she met me, but on the up side she said I had them so well trained that they hardly needed a thing done for them. I snuck back into the class to see Sandi's slide show of her work (I'd spent quite a lot of time getting the projector set up and ready to go so figured I had earned the show). It was so worth it - her work was just stunning. If you aren't familiar with it you can see lots on her website.
My tutor on day two was Ineke Berlyn, from the UK. She was teaching a one day class on making recylced jeans bags and other bags. It was a very small class so it was quite the opposite from the day before with not so much for me to do. It really had my fingers itching for the piles of old denim that I still have stacked up in the sewing room, left over from all those curtains that I made for the boys last winter.The denim bags were great and the other bags she made, such as the next two photos, offered up a ton of ideas for trying. The fabrics on these were fused onto a heavy canvas to create pictures and then sewn over to secure and embellish them.Ineke is Dutch, but has lived in the UK for many years, so the bag with tulips was an obvious one for her to try out. I particularly loved this one and want to give something similar a try. I can see myself carrying it to work through the Botanical Gardens come next spring when the tulips and magnolias bloom - and the time frame might even be achievable!Come the end of the class Ineke told me I'd been such a good girl that she gave me a full set of her notes and patterns from the class so I could try some out myself. Maybe the name of Angel wasn't so inappropriate after all (ha ha)! You should also check out Ineke's work if you don't know it. She makes beautiful stylised landscapes and also does lots of work with sheer fabrics.

Probably the highlight from the day for me was the thermofax screen I bought from Ineke. She demonstrated it with one student in the class using it to print doiley like patterns onto denim for the bag she made. You won't be surprised to hear I found this completely irresitable. Stay posted for the pictures once I start the experiments. I'm thinking my old jeans will shortly be in for a major make-over!

Stay tuned - next time I'll post about the classes I did and what I made.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Blogger Quilt Festival - My Favourite Quilt

How exciting - a quilt festival that I can put my quilt into! We have just finished our National Quilt Symposium here in Wellington (lots of posts to come on that) and I can tell you that it was wonderful. My only regret (and it is a small one) is that I wasn't able to submit my quilt into the exhibition. Unfortunately it was just a few months too old to be eligible.

So I was very excited this evening when I found this quilt festival that is being hosted by Amy at Park City Girl. What fun. What a great idea.

I have posted about this quilt before, and it features on my banner, but it is very special to me as I made it in memory of my maternal grandfather, so I think it bears repeating. My grandfather was a fantastic embroiderer, but it was the family secret. He never wanted people to know that he stitched and would hide what he was working on if anyone ever came to visit - it was the 1940's after all. He used to stitch with my mother and my grandmother, who was also a wonderful seamstress. My mother has dozens of pieces of linen that he stitched and I regard them as priceless family treasures.
Its a large quilt - so not the easiest to get a good shot of it all, so I thought details would be just the thing....This quilt has one piece that was stitched by my grandfather - it was very worn so my mother had cut the cloth up a long time ago. His stitching really was perfect and in many pieces it's difficult to tell the back from the front. The other pieces in the quilt are ones that I have found in second hand shops or been given by friends.
"In My Grandfather's Den" has also started me off on a series of quilts which are similar. It brings me so much pleasure - and really, you can't ask more of a quilt than that.

Have fun at the Festival - I certainly intend to. Make sure you visit them here.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Must be time for....

another tea cosy - after all we haven't had one for a whole month. So here it is - the March ("I'm supposed to make a small quilt but I'm a rebel") tea cosy. I found these wonderful Nepalese wool felted flowers, made by Papoose and instantly thought I just have to put these on a tea cosy.It's to be a rather late birthday present for a friend of mine who is an avid tea drinker. When I last stayed with her she had the most beautiful small book on tea which included the quote that is on the back which just says it all...
Tea is drunk to forget the din of the world
T'ien Yiheng

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Red Letter Day

I have been so looking forward to it - and today it finally happened. I arrived home this afternoon, after finshing my paid work for the week, and there it was in the letter box. The new edition of Selvedge. It's been a long wait as they moved offices a couple of months ago and the edition was delayed so they could produce it up to their usual high standards. It has seemed like a particularly long wait, which reinforced for me that this magazine was something that I really wouldn't want to have to do without. Other things may have to be sacrificed in these times, but for me Selvedge won't be one of them.

There was nothing else for it. I immediatley abandoned thoughts of sorting out the sewing room, made myself a pot of feijoa tea, got out my favourite tea cup and one of my gransfather's embroidered cloths, put my feet up and lost myself in its pages.And it was wonderful. Each page better than the last, full of colour, georgeous textiles and inspiration.

I mean just look at these pages of 18th and 19th century samples of French mattress tickings. They are just begging for a quilt to be made based on the colours and stripes....

I think this may have to go onto the list of quilts to be made - someday...

Another fascinating article was about the tradition in parts of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina for women to prepare clothes that they wish to be buried in. Margareta Kern, an artist, undertook a photographic and video study of some of these women for an exhibition called Clothes for Living and Dying. The photos are moving and I was so swept away reading about them that I was late to pick the boys up from school.

Thank you Selvedge - you enrich my life.