Monthly Archives: April 2016

An Honourable Mention!



I was surprised to wake up on Monday morning and see that I had been sent an email from AQS congratulating me on receiving some sort of award at Paducah for “Tartan Tattoo”! I had to stay up late on Tuesday night and watch the awards ceremony live to find out what sort of rosette that might be. My name was announced as one of the Honourable Mentions chosen by the 3 judges: Ricky Tims, Karen Kay Buckley and Donna Wilder.


LARGE WALL QUILTS: Longarm Machine Quilted sponsored by Nolting® Longarm Quilting Machines

1ST #625 JUDGEMENT OF OSIRIS, Georgia Spalding Pierce, Seattle, WA

2ND #624 ‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, Linda Neal and Jackie Brown, McKinney, TX

3RD #636 A QUILTER’S GARDEN, Kristin Vierra, Lincoln, NE

HM #634 TARTAN TATTOO, Linzi Upton, Banchory, Aberdeenshire, United Kingdom 

Andrea Brokenshire kindly send me photos of TT hanging very nicely. It was well lit and the colours looked bold. I think it is a fairly understated quilt with no paint, sparkles or clever binding so I am really pleased that the judges decided it was worthy of the HM ribbon.


I loved seeing all of the Quilters’ Facebook posts from spring-like Paducah and will certainly make a return visit there some time, hopefully when the Quilted Yurt is ready for display.


I had a pretty busy week with DIY quilters, private tuition and a day in school but I was determined to have a go at making a cube shaped zippy bag. It is a fun shape but could do with being made of stiffer stuff so it holds its shape better. I learnt a new way of making neater box corners courtesy of Hunters Design Studio’s blog so I might have to buy some more long zips and play around with those. A fun workshop could be to use woodblock stamps to decorate the fabric then turn them into zippy bags. Obviously on a bit of a mission with zips, I watched a Youtube video on making a zip with lining, which I thought was quite impressive. When I have time I may have to invent a new version of my wee bag project.


I roped Mo into helping me come up with a hanging system for the Purdah series. We were going to cut down an existing curtain pelmet but decided to go to B&Q and custom make one instead. Due to Health and Safety nonsense they would not cut the plank of wood so I could fit it into the VW Beetle. We bought a cheap saw and hacked a bit off in the carpark. I should have taken a photo for the comedy value of using a shopping trolley as a saw-horse in the rain. A tin of black spray paint made the net-curtain-rod-contraption look quite professional. Now that it has been strung up with a bunch of IKEA curtain clips, it will only need a couple of screws to hold it to a display batten, making it relatively easy to hang at a show (with the help of an annotated hanging digram).


I spent some time at the weekend hashing around with Purdah’s artistic blurb. The FOQ entry form only allows 50 words of description so I will have to précis my essay considerably. The other tricky matter is that I can only submit 2 entry photos so I will have to think creatively how to send in a detailed picture that somehow shows off the hidden layers. I took the photos outside in good light but I am worried that the shawl looked a bit wrinkly. I just need to complete the entry form, post it then wait and see whether the FOQ FineArtMasters judges “get” it.


The Impact of Moving Just ONE Piece of Furniture!


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The impact of moving just ONE piece of furniture was not foreseen by me when I decided to swap a redundant chest of drawers in my workshop to make a space for my quilt cupboard which in turn would give Fergus more room for his drum kit. The cupboards had to be emptied to be shifted and their contents sorted and reorganised. It became an opportunity to tidy up shelves and make a new space for my wadding so the whole operation took longer than anticipated.


I made a pleated potential pelmet for Purdah which I might not use and I made the skinny inner sleeve so the next task will be to trim and paint the wooden pelmet hanger.


An oversized circle of life stamp arrived from India which spurred a desire to make a circular purse with a zip around the edge. My initial attempts were not great and I realised that the neatest way to make a round purse would be to treat it like a biscuit tin but I would still like to make a zipped pancake shaped purse just for my own satisfaction. My next challenge will be to figure out cube shaped purse. I have absolutely no idea what I intend to do with all of my perfectly functional purse prototypes.

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Considering that it was still the Easter hols and we had a day in St Andrews for Freya to ask students whether she would need a bike, I still managed to fit it a couple of DIY quilters and a small customer quilt made from a great selection of African fabrics. The automated quilt program that I sometimes use for simple quilts had gone a bit haywire so I had stern words with it and quilted several pantographs on top of each other until it got the bug out of its system. I did not like the twee turquoise backing fabric that I used for the sample so I dyed it arsenic green and decided that it could be used to manufacture a multitude of pouch prototypes;)

As a reward for getting things done, I allowed myself to sew up my “quilt as you go” African circles. I don’t suppose I will be able to leave them alone now that the whole pile is ready to quilt and attach…


If there was a Prize for Perseverance…



If there was a prize for perseverance then Purdah would win every quilt competition for that very thing. I am to be congratulated on keeping going with it all week except for a slight dalliance with peapod shaped pouches using just one half of a zip. I rather like the way the zip folds around so there is only one awkwardly bulky end. There was also a mini project that will be a birthday present for one of Freya’s friends involving beads and I managed to keep my hands off both of the quilts that I have sitting waiting temptingly in kit form!

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Back to Purdah… I took a photo of it during the week where it just looked like a wrinkled mess. The plan had been to stamp paisley shapes down both long edges of the shawl using black embossing powder but I changed my mind and printed seed pod shapes instead which were barely perceptible. This made me decide to blanket stitch around every single almost invisible shape then sew black beads down the centres in the same style as on the felt purdah screen section – which took much longer than I thought.


I consulted Mo on her opinion on how to hang the finished piece and initially I considered curved curtain poles. We discovered a shaped wooden pelmet frame in her shed so that looks like a promising way to go after trimming it down and painting it black. She tried to persuade me to add a splash of red onto the black shawl but I stood firm, insisting that the front shawl has to be absolutely black. I looked at images of burqas and chador shawls online and was convinced not to start adding any more embellishment as they are so plain. When I originally thought of this project, I intended to hang everything behind an unadorned shawl but I realised there would have to be something to see, leading to examining the layers beneath.

I triple stitched around the entire shawl using the dual feed lever, carefully making sure that the sides did not gather in too much under such a heavy duty stitch. The mindless job that took almost 10 hours to complete was pulling away the threads from the cut edges to create a neat fringed edge all of the way around,  which was more than 332 inches to be precise. Because the wool suiting was a close weave this took ages and my fingers ached.

I think I am finally in sight of finishing Purdah after months of work. I have to make a simple black sleeve to attach the 3 quilts together which will reduce the bulk that has to be attached to the doubled-up shawl. It will take some time to ensure that there are no more stray threads and bits of fluff but I won’t really be happy until the label is sewn on and I can take the submission photos. Oh…and just one more thing will be to write an amazingly highfaluting artistic statement that will attempt to explain what I was thinking!



lamp  menfraz

It has been a crazy week! I had 3 DIY quilters plus a day in school. It was Freya’s 18th birthday and the Landy was put into service taking sound equipment to the Junior Prom, organised by the sixth years.

I tried to sell more than buy on Ebay, encouraging the kids to have a similar purge, which resulted in several trips to the Post Office;)

I have managed to find a buyer for my Elna sewing machine and table so I was on the lookout for a small table to fill the gap where I could put my laptop and notebook. I could not believe my luck when I laid claim to a drop-leaf table and anglepoise lamp left out in the rain in the rubbish skip outside the junk shop. After 48 hours drying off, a squirt of WD40, a new fuse and bulb – the lamp worked!

lucyq  lucycush


I introduced Freya to thermofax screen printing using images from her art project. By the end of a very productive weekend including a 7am Sunday morning start, her portfolio has increased substantially to include several items exploring colour and print techniques.


Rather weirdly, the kids have just started their Easter holiday – a week after the Easter weekend. I expect there will be plenty of driving practice in “Angela”, the VW Beetle, lots of catering, exam revision, and maybe even time to sew some more black beads onto the Purdah shawl…