I took a notion to making a small quilted throw out of the screen-print dyed, large doily on linen with mitred corners. It took me a while to remember how mitred corners work and they are not the most co-operative when using velvet and stretchy linen. I did not actually have enough decent linen left so I had to rummage around and find some some offcuts. This small quilt was literally thrown together and backed with some flimsy Indian indigo printed cotton. I thought it would be fun to add a pompom border under the binding so I ordered some from Ebay – the size of the poms was good, although the quality was naffly acrylic but it looked OK;) The final (or not quite) item for my student exhibition was to print onto a ready made tote bag. The bag was not really big enough for the screen so the prints were not great. The answer was to sew on test prints and the best way to do this proved to be to unpick the bag which was what I should have done in the first place to get a nice, flat print surface.
I asked a Bernina UK colleague, Tracey Pereira, if she could help me out with digitising some Warli figures and spirals. She very kindly e-mailed over some DXF files but when I first stitched them out there were multiple stops and starts. She re-sent them as Illustrator files and I converted them into the Bernina format in the ArtnStitch program. This took me a while to figure out but all of the initial frustration was worth it as they all stitched out beautifully. I used a piece of hand-dyed yellow fabric that I did not especially like as I did not mind messing about on it but the test patterns looked great so I wished I had actually used a colour that I liked as I will probably make the quilted piece into something useful eventually.
Finally, I got around to attaching the sparkly Warli border squares to the quilt top but it turned out that the quilt was not 80” square as I had calculated/imagined. It was more like 85” ish. I had to make a few more squares and fit them to the border by surreptitiously shaving ¼” off the odd square until it worked. The resulting quilt top is LARGE. No surprises there then – it just means that there will be a LOT of quilting to do!
My latest obsession is learning German… I have visited a few times to teach longarm quilting for my friend, Regina Klaus and I know lots of random vocabulary but absolutely no genders or grammar so I cannot have a conversation. I managed a find a tutor who would come to the house and teach Nella and me using the BBC “Talk German” course. We have been most attentive pupils, quite swotty in fact – doing lots of practice and revision in between lessons. In addition, I have become addicted to the Duolingo phone app and have been battling it out online for the top of the league spot with a Russian student. Nella and I do Duolingo at every meal or snack time now and this week alone we have clocked up over 1800 points – at least it is not gambling! We are both keen to put in a lot of effort and try to become more confident with attempting another language.
When I was not conjugating German verbs I managed to complete 3 customer quilts, finished off the footstool and made a fabric basket from printed doily fabric to contain my business cards.
Nella has made her area in the workshop her own by decorating with paper leaves, fairy lights and pompoms. She now enjoys reading or crafting in her space which allows me to get on with some of my projects. I cut out 80-odd border squares from plain coloured fabric and all of the pieces for the fancy prairie points that I want to include under the binding. The T-shirt heat press machine came in handy for ironing a whole lot of small pieces in one go. I used the digital cutting machine to cut out 90 x 2 ½” tall Warli figures from glitter vinyl so I should be able to get the borders onto the Rainbow Warli Quilt soon. My next challenge will be how to quilt it?!
It is amazing what you can achieve in a week where you don’t have to be anywhere in a hurry. I dug out a pop-up design wall, pinned up the Warli blocks and labelled them once I had decided on a random arrangement. The tricky thing was to add side strips in order to get the blocks to fit together since each varied slightly in height and width. After considerable fiddling and fudging I had a quilt top measuring (more or less) 79” square. Yes, it IS another large quilt, especially since I have decided that it will probably be a quilt rather than a canopy AND it will have an additional outer border of squares and fancy prairie points.
I decided to crack on and start putting together my screen-printed pieces ready for the end of semester student show at Grays. I was originally going to chicken out and ask Mo to tackle the upholstery for me but it struck me that I should have a go myself if it is to be a showcase of my own work. I stripped the Ercol chair covers down and used the pieces as templates. I re-used the piping cord and the back cushion but the seat cushion was disintegrating into toxic dust so she found me some replacement foam in her shed. There was nothing too tricky to tackle and I even managed to paint and re-cover the popper straps that hold the cushions onto the chair. The original chair did not have zips in its cushions so I just made it exactly the same and sewed up the openings for cushion pads by hand. The chair is really just a prop to show off the screen-printing and the thin indigo screen-printed fabric is not at all practical for upholstery so if I decide to sit on it I will probably cover it with a sheepskin rug.
With some trepidation I screen-printed the giant doily onto a plasticky fake linen roller blind using opaque white ink. I would only have one shot at not smudging or flooding the print and to my relief it worked perfectly.
I had run out of linen (having made a few too many mistakes) to make a lampshade and re-cover a shabby foot-stool so I had to settle for heavy calico instead. The lampshade kit that I had bought drowned the small, cheap table lamp that I had bought for the purpose so I painted an IKEA pine standard lamp. I was impressed by how easy that project was!
The footstool was more fiddly as my side panel measurements were wrong and I had allowed extra fabric for the top since it was padded. My solution was to staple the top piece on and hand sew the sides onto that – pompom trim will finish that off nicely;) Now that my main exhibition pieces are done I might think of some smaller accessories. Should I make a chicken-shaped doorstop?!