Sunday, March 16, 2008


It's Chilford time again!

I cannot believe how quickly this winter has come and (I hope) gone.

Sue and I set off for our Spring visit to Chilford on Friday and had a perfect day for our drive. Blue skies and daffodils made everything so cheerful and fresh. For once, there was no long queue to wait and get cold in and we were able to walk straight into the building and get started on our shopping in very easy circumstances. This is always a great problem for me as within minutes, I had parted with a large amount of money for a length of the most beautiful fuschia pink silk dupion from The Silk Route. I have a new child sized mannequin (an early birthday present) and want to make an eighteenth century full length dress. Fortunately as children wore miniature adult dresses, I have been able to obtain an authentic pattern (from the USA) to enable me to make one which will include a quilted petticoat. Although the fabric was expensive, it will keep me occupied for the best part of six to eight months, although there is a lot more I have to do before I embark on that one.

There was a good selection of quilts on show from beginner to extremely advanced and my particular favourites were the collections of Jane Petty (who specialises in the Art Decco period) and Terence Gilbert who seemingly has received some very harsh critisism of his quilting style from some fellow quilters. I cannot understand how some people have such a narrow way of thinking. I found his quilts to be very well made and quite delightful. He hand quilts with large even stitches, which is unusual in this country but very common in Japanese sashiko quilts. This may have been the reason for the critisism but I wish I could sew large EVEN stitches like him. The star of the show was The Hope Quilter's Banner which was made by Sylvia Critcher and her friend Annie. It just brought a laugh to everyone who saw it and even a few tears to the eye. Think POLE DANCERS! Then think ladies of a certain age dressed in skimpy clothing, in various stages of painful contortion, wrapped around poles. It was amazing and I do hope that Emma Cooling will feature it in an upcoming edition of 'Fabrications' for all to see and then you will know what I am talking about.

The previous Friday, I went to Sew Creative to see how the bag making day was progressing. It is exhibition year again and it will be held at Wroxham Barns on 13th, 14th and 15th June with all proceeds going to the Norfolk and Norwich Breast Cancer Resource Fund. The workshop was absolutely full to bursting with ladies busy making bags which will be on sale at the exhibition. They were wonderful and by the time I left, I had managed to 'bag' one myself which started Ruby's fund off for this year. I myself had made a bag to auction at the exhibition, with a block design based on a watercolour painting my Uncle Ted did of a Lady in a Hat in the 1920's. I sent a photo of the finished bag to both of Uncle Ted's sons for their approval and already, I have received a bid for £100. So, if anyone wants to top that bid, you will have the opportunity to do so over the three days the exhibition runs. Since then, Emma Cooling has very kindly agreed to use the pattern as a project for a future 'Fabrications' magazine and my fee for that will be donated to the Resource Fund too. I will try to get a photo of the bag onto my website as well, so that you too can have a look at it.

I have been working on my competition pieces over the winter and you may have seen one of the results in the March edition of 'Patchwork and Quilting'magazine. The Lady's Jacket is now notorious as it has been picked up by Country Bumpkin (Australian publishers of 'Inspirations' magazine) and will be featured in their anniversary issue later this year. Also, they have asked to feature several other pieces of my work both in the magazine and a new book on Embroidered Quilts and have commissioned a crib quilt which I am working on at the moment.

For those of you who know Carin Saga, who lives in Tokyo, I am pleased to tell you that you can now keep in touch with her via her website . It is in its early stages at the moment but you can see photo albums of her work and hopefully soon be able to read her blog. Carin has designed the website herself and it looks great.

There is a busy year ahead as I will be off to Cambridge for the Quilters' Guild AGM and conference next month as well as The Festival of Quilts in August. I have also accepted some teaching requests this year and will be at the Weald and Downland Museum on Sunday 22nd June, the Aldwick Quilters on Thursday 26th June and giving a workshop and talk at the Quilters' Guild Region 2 Area Days 3rd/4th October and am looking forward to those enormously.

Last month I thoroughly enjoyed a day teaching a workshop based on the Carrow Waistcoat at the Castle Museum in Norwich for the Costume and Textile Association. 20 enthusiasts came and we had great fun in lovely surroundings.

I am off to Torquay with my family to have a little pampering over the Easter holidays and am looking forward to that. Perhaps the beauty parlour at the hotel might be able to do something about the state of my hands????? I shall also be sneaking out of the hotel to check out the local quilting shop.

I do hope I get to see some of you over the coming year and in particular at the Sew Creative exhibition in June.

Happy quilting,


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