I have been away to the Contemporary Quilt Group Winter School at Alston Hall. What a treat.
On the way, I visited the Yorkshire Sculpture Park to see the work of Ai Weiwei , Ursula von Rydingsvard and James Turrell. Wow, on all counts. The works by Ai Weiwei are as thought provoking as ever, the scale of Ursula von Rydingsvard's work is astonishing and the Skyspace is a mesmerising experience. The Yorkshire countryside was at its autumnal best, so the sculptures were seen in glorious light. This park is on such a scale, it is worth planning a weekend around it.
Iron tree, Ai Weiwei
Ursula von Rydingsvard
Nature provided its own shapes and colours
Blue and orange
Toadstool - thanks to my brother, now identified as a shaggy inkcap.
Then on to meet over 30 textile-obsessed women, all there to learn. Seventeen of us crammed in to a rather small room, with voluminous quantities of equipment, to learn about machine trapunto with Philippa Naylor. Philippa is a generous, encouraging and inspirational teacher, so if you ever get the opportunity to do a workshop with her, grab it immediately. Her new book , Appliqué Mastery, is full of tips, as well as a full size pattern for her award-winning quilt.
The view from my bedroom was inspiration in itself, changing as the light of the day changed.
The trapunto was a surprisingly straightforward technique, and I managed a whole weekend without breaking a single size 60 needle - Philippa's recommendation. This needle made a huge difference to the quality and density of the machine quilting I could achieve on my machine.
I have of course come away from the weekend with another object to finish, so the "unfinished list" has just got longer.
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