Friday, September 28, 2012

Quilt Guild Exhibition

I don't often talk about the Guild I belong to but we have just opened our biennial exhibition and it would be great to see you there, if you happen to be in the neighbourhood.

We are back in the Academy Gallery for the exhibition and our quilts are looking wonderful hanging on the gallery walls.  Its' a great spot on the waterfront in Wellington and very close to where they hold the WOW show each year (if you don't know about WOW do have a look - it is a veritable visual feast and brings a whole new meaning to creativity!).

Above is a view of the gallery - the quilt in the front is by my stitching buddy Marilyn, Scully Series #4 Protection Blanket. A wonderful quilt that I keep mentioning to Marilyn that I would happily own... Marilyn won a merit prize in the Upcycled category.

Behind it is a quilt that you may recognise of mine - Gateway. I made it early last year and I am thrilled at how fabulous it looks hanging. It's been quite a while since I made it and gifted it to my friend for her birthday so it is lovely to be able to spend some time with it again.

And here I am - the proud maker, out from behind my peg apron. I was incredibly lucky and very surprised to also win a prize - Best Contemporary Quilt. Such a thrill.

If you in Wellington I hope you will be able to drop by and see many of the other lovely quilts - the exhibition is on until Sunday 7 October. I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Lovely, lovely lace

So here's a wee story for you - a couple of months ago I was the monthly speaker at our Guild. They were doing me a favour really. I wanted to do a dry run through of a presentation I was due to give at the Costume and Textile Symposium in Nelson (another story, for another time).

The talk I gave was about some research I did last year into a donor to the textile collection at Te Papa, our National Museum. The donor was Mrs Phyllis Cousins who, in the 1960s, donated well over 200 items of mainly women's clothing, dating from the late 1800s through to the 1930s, to the Museum.

I'll tell you more about Mrs Cousins and her collection another time, but as part of the presentation I talked about how struck I was by the decorative laces on many of the garments and how dull our modern clothing often seems in comparison. The item which caused me to trail off into this side observation was, I think, this one.

A morning jacket from around 1900 it features a particularly stunning lace with what I can only describe as thread balls featuring on the lace edge of the sleeve. The jacket is thought to have perhaps have been a maternity jacket as it has fullness at both the front and back to accommodate a pregnancy.

Then again it may have been this 1905 morning jacket that set me off - both are firm favourites from among the Cousins collection and I felt very privileged to have been able to study and work with them.

However the really unexpected part of this tale occurred a few weeks after my presentation when a parcel appeared in my letterbox containing this lovely silk and lace handkerchief. It was accompanied by this note:


Did I hear you say at your presentation that you like lace? I do hope you did because I am sending a small treasure for you to be custodian of -----

I know it is very old, the team at the identification day at Te papa a few months back indicated that I should look after it. I know that I probably won't but thought that you might.

It came to me via an op shop collection of linen a few years back. No provenance I am afraid. Comes with no attached strings - has been rattling around my linen cupboard for years.

Kindest regards

So I wanted to say a big thank you to my unknown benefactor. It is a treasure and will be looked after and, from time to time, bought out and admired.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Absent but Active

I've been away for far longer than I ever intended but I'm pleased to say that this time it's not due to stitching inactivity. In fact, I've been steadily working away on my Kimono crosses and now have most of them stitched and up on the wall while I play with layout ideas.

This stage is always fun, if a little challenging. Somehow it never quite looks like I imagined it would. I started off thinking I would alternate all of the crosses against blue kimono squares, so it would look something like this

Then last week I had another thought - maybe I could also use red squares and do one half red and one blue, so it would look something like this
Now I'm not so sure - I think maybe it needs some central sashing to divide the quilt visually

Maybe some of the red kimono squares are too loud, too patterned and demanding more attention than I want them to

Maybe.... I need to just keep playing. Any thoughts???