Sarah Payne’s Quilt School, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782217305, price 12.99 available from www.searchpress.com
Simple projects, simple steps using pre-cuts for the novice quilter. For the novice one would expect greater detail about sewing machines, tools and materials, yet this section is brief. The book gets straight into the ‘lessons’. Each lesson teaches a simple skill with a simple project. The projects are useful and practical, the instructions clear and well photographed. There are 15 projects in all. However not one of the projects is made with care – the quilting is not lying flat or not in straight lines or not quite matching in most of the photos and it is very obvious. It just does not look like professional work. This poorly executed work is throughout the book and spoils the aim of the book, which is supposed to be to teach you to quilt with accuracy.
Quilting in Practice – Fabric, Stitch, Pinning – yes I am talking about what really matters this week – the devil really is in the details when it comes to quilting. It takes a lot to get it right every time. Starting with good fabric is a very good place to start.
Quilting in Practice
Fabric – so many times I see people mention cheap fabric and I cringe. Honestly it makes me ill. Quilting takes hours and you enjoy it for sure, but quality is much better than quantity when it comes to quilting. I had a tingle down my spine when last week, for the first time, I actually saw some fabric in that famous supermarket that begins with A. I took one look at it, and left it on the shelf. Just not quality fabric and therefore not something I would quilt with. Having said that, price, whilst usually an indication of quality, is not always the case when it comes to digitally produced fabrics. I was rather disappointed with some I bought from the USA a while back. If you are not familiar with the brand of fabric, go somewhere you can see and feel it. My favourite brands? Liberty, Moda and Kona solids.
My quilting still does not live up to what is in my mind. Piecing, I have my accuracy pretty good except when I am tired. But top quilting, the bit that matters, the bit you can see? It is a learning curve. I still get my quilt sticking on the corners. I also get so tense it is unreal. After an hour of quilting I feel like I have gone ten rounds in a boxing ring. Confidence is everything. I have improved so much in three years. Concentration is a must. What? You mean I have to make even more and more quilts??? For all my existing work, click online here
How important is pinning! When we gain confidence, we happily piece straight pieces and even binding without pins. Pins go in sideways too not lengthways as in dressmaking. Seams need to be nested too, correct pinning helps immensely. For top quilting, it’s definitely a case of the more pins the merrier. I have pins that are long and thin and bend like Beckham, pins that are long and thicker and leave big holes and oh, those stick in your fingers and thumbs curved quilting pins that I really loathe. It is like doing battle with a thorny bush, you never escape without bleeding fingers.
The Art of Annemieke Mein, hardback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782217657, price 25 gbp available from www.searchpress.com
Marvel at the textile skills of Annemieke Mein in this wondrous book of her work. Find skilful and amazing use of fabric, stitch, paint and embroidery to create imaginative flora and fauna that is sheer delight. Her subjects come to life, Mr. Frog is so textured you can almost feel his skin. Annemieke uses textiles as a sculptural medium to portray insects and other wildlife in natural settings. There are no less than 60 works of art shown in this book. Step into the world of a wildlife artist, outstanding in her field. See the detailed drawings and notes she makes. Discover how she selects fabrics and stitch to convey her subjects. She reveals the progression in her work, from early flat works through relief work (I am certain that Eastern Water Dragon’s eye just blinked) to the more sculptural work. Backgrounds blend, as they do in real life, as camouflage; the colours being very natural. Stitch just flows along leaves or quietly in the background. Even intense stitching just seems to blend at one with the fabrics and subjects; like a symbiotic relationship. In the high-relief wall sculpture, ‘Cup Moths’ the background shapes and colours are repeated in the leaf work, the cocoons blending beautifully; the moths themselves in relief but beautifully camouflaged. Other subjects include birds, beetles, wasps, gulls, branches, sea urchins, barnacles, mussels and kelp, seed pods, gum blossoms and grasshoppers. Each piece is accompanied by a description and often by drawings. Note the size of the panels, they are reasonably large wall pieces. Annemieke has also worked on costumes. She captures Australian wildlife like no other textile artist, detailed work to marvel at and admire. There is so much the textile artist can learn from this book – how to approach work, how to instil a feeling of reality, how to use colour and stitch to give form. This book was previously published in Australia in 1992. Highly recommended.
Creative quilting and textiles are two of the loves of my life. Knitting and photography are two others. Everything is an inspiration, it’s just the way you see it, or often don’t see it that makes all the difference. Learn to look anew.
Creative Quilting and Textiles
Often with a subject such as quilting and textiles, it’s all about interpreting that source of inspiration. Taking something ordinary and turning it into the extraordinary. It’s not about copying, it’s about you. What speaks to you? This is the essence of my latest ‘Creative Textiles’ programme that you can join here
A 12-month inspirational ecourse to learn wherever you are. Discover how to interpret your world and be more creative. It will help you build your own style by exploring different methods of interpretation. What could be better?
I have written a lot about inspiration from patterns to the more unusual sources. As well as ways to interpret those sources from drawing, photography, painting and more. For me it usually starts with a photo and I like to play with photo manipulation. However, the same source can be interpreted in so many ways. It’s all about seeing and working with what you have. Let’s look at this church doorway.
You could interpret it in many ways – play with a photo, slice, collage, manipulate, draw, paint, embroider and so on. What do you see? The columns and Norman style are obvious.
Pick up on the pattern on the doors. Isn’t that a glorious pattern? What could that become if we play with line? A few ideas follow from my half hour playing this morning in Photoshop.
The final is never truly final. I could change colour, placement, the central piece of work, the background, the size, shape and so on. This was just a 30 minute exercise to demonstrate the possibilities. I could now start to draw, make paterns, think about colour and so on.
I have written many books on inspiration from gardening to textiles, available as pdf ebooks to download. My latest ebook is about ready to launch looking back at the sources of my quilting inspiration, more next week.
On the theme of this particular topic, is Inspiration Book Seven, which can be purchased along with the other Inspiration ebooks here
They make excellent gifts. Doors of Tunisia is also of interest if you love doors.
Learn more about photo manipulation in my ecourses, the shorter photo techniques ecourse is now on offer. These and more ecourses can be purchased here