Well, I can’t carry on calling it Beardie Quilt, can I? And every artist, at some point in their life, produces something called ‘Untitled’.

It turned out all right in the end. I like the back, too:

I’ve added this to the ‘work for sale’ tab at the top of this page.

WordPress informs me that this is my 499th post.

Better start working on something spectacular for the 500th!

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Keeping calm

Still quilting

Still embroidering

Still bearding.

Keep calm and carry on.

Posted in art, In progress, quilts, textile art | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Scraps Quilt 2

This is Scraps Quilt 2, which will be a gift and should be finished by the end of the year. This one will be very slightly different from Scraps Quilt 1:

This time it’s 7″ blocks. I didn’t like the even numberedness of the 8″ block, which was prone to dividing itself rather too neatly into four equal quarters. A block made of odd-numbered inches seems a little more interesting. This time, as you can see, each block will have a little accent of something else in the centre(-ish).

They won’t be going together in this order; this is just the total number of blocks completed so far. I hope that the whole quilt, when all 110 blocks are pieced together, will read as effectively in real life as it does in my imagination. Bear in mind that these are just scraps, and this is just evening-and-spare-time work, and it really is surprising how much you can achieve with a few spare minutes here and there. To date, 8 down, 102 to go.

However, I think it’s more like task avoidance, since I’d rather be making these blocks than working on beardie-quilt. Tomorrow, I keep saying. Tomorrow I’ll tackle the tough beardie quilt. Really. I will.

Posted in art, In progress, patchwork, quilts | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

the spirit of perseverance

I wondered if embroidering this quilt might be easier than quilting it.

It wasn’t.

Embroidering cardboard is just as difficult as quilting it.

Posted in In progress, patchwork, quilts | Tagged , , | 17 Comments


On the table today, an unfinished quilted piece that I rediscovered recently while tidying. Sometimes it can be interesting to revisit something from the past, just to see the difference between then and now.

This is from several years ago and was based on a woven paper collage:

Unusually, for me, the cloth version is machine pieced. Hand quilted, of course.

Most of the fabrics are commercial prints masquerading as hand-dyes, though some are actually hand-dyed. I quite like it, and it took me a while to realise why it remains unfinished. Having spent a few hours with it today, I know exactly why I gave up.

Usually I prefer wool batting, or occasionally 20/80 poly/cotton blend. The batting in this one is 100% cotton, the first time I’ve ever tried it.  Quilting it is mostly like trying to quilt cardboard, but the worst thing about it is this:

Non-stop, relentless bearding. I will persevere this one time, but I will never use 100% cotton batting again. It’s quite possible that there will be more batting on the lint roller than there will be remaining inside the quilt.

Posted in art, In progress, textile art | Tagged , , , | 15 Comments


Begun on 1st January 2012; finished on 15th July 2012.

Ninety-nine 8″ blocks, hand-pieced from scraps, hand-quilted, joined and bound by hand.

Originally I was not going to use binding on this quilt. Many historic and traditional English quilts do not have binding; the front and back are simply stitched together around the edge. Binding is mostly an American innovation. However, it just didn’t look right without binding of some sort. In the end I went for a very narrow (half-inch or so) binding, just to finish the edges and to provide a boundary that unifies and frames the patchwork.

The back is almost as interesting as the front:

You can at least see the (admittedly, fairly minimal) quilting better on the back.

I estimate that this has taken somewhere over 600 hours from start to finish, which equates to about a month of my life. Given that I am likely to spend a total of around 26 years of my life asleep, I think this is a pretty good achievement.

And, of course, my next question is naturally, ‘what am I going to do now?’

Since life provides me with a seemingly endless supply of scraps, the answer is – well, another quilt. The next quilt will be a gift.

It has been an enjoyable and productive break.

Posted in patchwork, quilts, textile art | Tagged , , , | 23 Comments


No, I’m not totally here yet… but today I belatedly turned over the new page of the Paul Klee calendar that hangs in my workroom, and I couldn’t help thinking…

…wouldn’t this make a marvellous quilt?

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Taking time

A few stitches on the first ‘Time and Space’ quilt:

I found that very fine crochet cotton (the long yellow stitches you can see here) is perfect for basting.

This area will be quilted in squares eventually, so there will be more quilting lines perpendicular to these.

And a little box of time in the lower corner:

And now I’m stepping into – or outside – the box of time for a while. I’m taking some time out for some time away, then I’ll be giving some time and thought to other things.  I may need a week or two, or I may need a month or two. I’ll be back when everything is sorted.

No need for concern! See you later.

Posted in In progress, Reflections, textile art | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments


Slow progress, piece by piece, on putting the scraps quilt together.

It’s about half done. A pessimist would say half not-done.

A few people were asking about the quilt-as-you-go method and some interesting questions (and answers) were raised:

  1. Does the batting beard through the seams (because paper piecing effectively presses seams open rather than to one side)? – No, it doesn’t. Not in the least.
  2. Do the spaces between the squares (where the batting is joined) feel any different? Is the quilt any thinner or less ‘quilted’ at these parts? – No, it isn’t.
  3. Does the quilt ‘bend’ more readily at the joins between squares? – No.
  4. Does it feel in all other respects just like a ‘normal’ quilt? – Yes, I think it does.

the back

Really quite amazing what you can do with a few evenings and a needle and thread.

And practically no social life.

Just the way I like it.

Posted in patchwork, quilts | Tagged , , , , | 24 Comments

In print

A big thank you  to Jennifer of Sew Somerset magazine for featuring my mixed media samples book in the current issue, out today.

This is little a cloth book I made a couple of years ago, when I was still using the machine and experimenting with various mixed media techniques. The pages are about 7″ square. You can see some of the cloth pages printed in the magazine article, but I thought it might be helpful to post pictures of all the pages here to give a better overview.

back cover

inside front cover and page 1

page 2 and 3

page 4 and 5

page 6 and 7

page 8 and 9

page 10 and 11

page 12 and inside back cover


Posted in art, Cloth books, mixed media | Tagged , , | 25 Comments