Sunday, 30 December 2012

I've been making the most of the Christmas break to complete some UFO's.
This is another 'Cosy Quilt' to add to the collection.  It's 50"x50" approx. and features 16  crazy blocks in hand dyed fabric.  The panto quilting pattern is in a bright pink thread to create a visual link to the pink in the central blocks.

Basting to hold the layers in place while hand stitching.
I've used DesignMatters compressed sponge and Laura's poppy seedhead shapes for this simple cushion design.   The gorgeous visual texture is created by the airholes in the sponge.  A fine calico fabric, Madeira variegated Lana thread, a touch of copper sparkle thread and a ' frame' in rayon satin stitch work well together.  

Saturday, 1 December 2012

I did manage to get some stitching done during this latest stay in the Ariege!

I used a piece of folded paper to cut out a stencil of a simple motif for the central design of this cushion and then used it with red and gold paintstiks on black fabric.  A layer of fine red tulle enhanced and harmonized the colour palette at the same time as adding substance and extra texture.   For the first circuits of echo stitching around the motif  I used quite a heavyweight hand dyed thread and for the outer circuits I used a pale Lana thread (part of the Madeira Linda and Laura collection) to ensure the shape showed up well against the dark background.  Closely worked machine free motion vermicelli in black along with hand-dyed variegated thread tassels at the corners finish it off nicely.

Another simple stencil, this time cut following the shape of a leaf from the banks of the River Ariege, makes the central design, again using paintsticks. The red tulle layer enhances the colours and machine stitched echo quilting in dark variegated thread shows up well against the terracotta coloured central square.  One circuit of hand stitched pale Lana thread (available from the DesignMatters online store) and a final circuit of machine satin stitch gives a solid outline to the shape.  Lana hand stitched 'veins' and tiny bead 'droplets' provide a pretty embellishment for the leaf.

I've used DesignMatters wonderful compressed sponge (available from the DM website store) as a printing tool to create a motif for above.  The mix of gold and black fabric paint contrasts well against the bright red background and although it looks very basic in this initial state, the stitching to come will totally transform the whole thing!  It will become a bag in due course.

OK Merens horse, so do you find it all funny or is that a yawn of boredom?

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

It's wonderful to see butterflies still soaking up the sun in November.
Sunlight shines through the delicate wings highlighting the markings beautifully.

I haven't yet checked my birdspotting book to identify this magnificent rapace dominating the skies overhead.

These lizzards basking in the sun have fascinating markings too.  
I love the neutral colour palette of the background rocks and lichen.

While I was capturing these stunning autumn colours I heard a rustling and this blue-eyed beauty appeared out of the foliage!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Another warm and sunny day in Tarascon sur Ariege.
Nature works its wonders with yellowing leaves against a cloudless sky and delicate-looking fluffy seedheads!
Sunshine shining through these ivy leaves highlights the veins beautifully.
Very tidy tiny ivy!

 One of the views from 'my' bench along the chemin des papillons.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

 I've been trying out my new camera this week in lots of lovely locations in the Ariege.  The crisp shadow of this pretty crocus would make an ideal stencil for a quilt design, wouldn't it!  The photo was taken going along in the car, up a steep and bumpy mountain road towards Roquefixade.
Below - from Roquefixade looking across the valley towards Les Monts d'Olmes.  

Above - the gorgeous view from Le Col de Port looking south towards Tarascon sur Ariege.

 The pretty church in the main square at Massat has some stunning stained glass windows.

There's a sprinkling of snow on the peaks beyond Plateau de Beille but not on the plateau itself yet so cross-country skiers will have to wait a while longer!

 Below - looking down into the River Ariege from le Pont du Diable, between Tarascon and the turning for St. Paul de Jarrat.

Another lovely door!

On the rock in the middle of this lake at the Port de Lers is a cormorant waiting to dive for his dinner.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

 During this week's flying visit to London I managed a quick look in the V&A museum and found the Tristan quilt on display (room 9 in the Medieval section).  It's difficult to photograph through the highly reflective glass but the quilting is nevertheless a joy to behold!
 This huge bed cover was made in the late 14th. century and depicts episodes of the adventures of Tristan, one of the heroes of medieval romance literature.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

The calm, elegant exterior of the Royal Albert Hall gave no hint yesterday of what was about to happen within.  
Several small posters next to the entrance and the unusually high percentage of French people in the vicinity gave a clue as to the evening's entertainment.
It was a colourful night!
Johnny était magnifique comme il l'est toujours!
Quelle soirée -Bravo Johnny et toute l'équipe!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

 This counterpane (50" x 50"approx.) has calico front and back, a lightweight cotton batting and matching thread.

I did it as a test piece for the work in progress queen-sized bed quilt below.

 I used a Frixion pen to mark out the design.  The marks are erased by heat once the stitching is complete.

This is my first baby quilt for Amelie.  Bright and cheerful!
 I've used a lovely Longarm panto pattern called 'Texas Fan' in a 7" repeat.
 It's look good on the reverse too!