Saturday, 31 December 2016

Last stitching of 2016 - and a diversion in to clothes making

A quilt to finish the year with. “ Proper” patchwork made from two worn out shirts,  a discarded calico curtain from a charity shop and backed with a fabric picked up at the bric a brac stall at a quilt show.

No photos of the full quilt as the light is too low today.

I have not made many quilts this year as I have been diverted back to clothes making. My younger son has difficulty finding shirts to fit his narrow shoulders and long, slender frame so I volunteered to make him some. Unlike women’s clothing, there is a little choice in patterns for men’s shirts, but several bloggers use Burda 7045, however I anticipated having to make many pattern adjustments, after reading an account of making it here.

Commercial patterns are not like quilt patterns. They are never perfect and always have to be adapted to an individual  because human bodies are too variable. The instruction sheets frequently do not take account of modern sewing methods and advise cumbersome techniques and outdated interfacings.  There is so much help on the internet to address these commissions and I followed tutorials about shirts from here and here.

The test shirt, with cotton lawn, digitally printed,  bought several years ago from M Rosenberg and Son, went down well.

Version 2 is now cut out, with a longer armhole, removal of the darts on the front and a collar that extends further in to the open neck of the collar band. 2017 could be the year of the shirt.

Happy stitching everyone.

Friday, 30 December 2016

Grey, but rainbows to follow

So the day I decide to take my camera out is the one where the fog doesn’t lift

but there are great textures to be seen up close

Luckily the sun was shining when I took these photos of the back the heart quilt







Friday, 23 December 2016

Christmas baking finished.....

Thank you The Bountiful Hunter for teaching me this recipe and solving gift-giving for ever.

 Time to give them all away

Merry Christmas all.


Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Land of plenty - meat - vegetarians, go no further

It is a very long time since I have seen so immediately the realities of eating meat - butchered carcasses on display at the organic butcher in Oxford.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Land of plenty - cakes

So much sugar in evidence at “The Cake Shop”.  Great to be able to watch the modellers of sugar paste and marzipan through the window - they all had very steady hands!

Monday, 19 December 2016

Land of plenty - fruit and vegetables

A weekend in Oxford, with a visit to the covered market.  Colours, shapes, textures - too cold to draw! Music everywhere, with so many brass bands, it was like being in the midst of a brass band championship.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Reflection 2

A weekend near willows and water.  Gloomy light, but perfect for capturing reflections.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Reflection, 1

Again, not yoga, but the last drawing class of the year , where 5 of us clustered around a still-life set-up on the floor, on top of a sheet of Mylar reflective film. Very challenging, particularly as I chose to work with chalk and charcoal on a ground pre-textured with a rubbing of charcoal. The green paper at the side was added by the tutor to re-balance the composition, after I realised how long and thin it was going to be.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016


Not yoga, but inverting black and white in drawing, such that the dark shadows become the brightest whites and the brightest highlight becomes the darkest dark.  This was last week’s mind-boggling exercise at the drawing course.

Still life - different tones and textures


Charcoal drawing in progress, starting with a mid-grey, charcoal-rubbed ground, and then using the rubber to add the light and adding back more charcoal to draw the darks. The eyes were playing tricks with the mind and that light bit on the right hand side of the cylinder should be very dark.




This was a fascinating exercise, but I doubt I will have the quietness of mind in the next few weeks to try it at home.  Researching the use of tone only after the class, I came across a  wonderful etching by Tony Cragg, “Laboratory Still Life No 4”.

Tony Cragg, 'Laboratory Still Life No. 4' 1988

As recently as two years ago, I would have skimmed past a work like this, now I can start at it in wonder, and seek it out the next time I visit the Tate.  Education is a wonderful thing, particularly when you are old enough to enjoy and appreciate the gift that it is,

Monday, 12 December 2016

Wet weekend quilting

Our family have agreed that the Xmas madness is to be curtailed this year. Everyone has more than enough of what they need, so limited budgets, edible or readable items and imagination are to be the watch words for gifts. I am therefore finished Xmas preparation, except the cooking.  A wet weekend gave time for machine quilting. mindless stippling and lines, just the thing to allow mental relaxation.
A gallery visit this week to the Victoria Miro Gallery in Mayfair, to see the very mad and puzzling work of Maria Nepumenco. If you do visit, don’t be put off by having to ring the bell, and then wait for the inner, white sliding screen to reveal the gallery beyond. Feeling emboldened, my friend and I then rang the bell of Trinity House and were welcomed in to look at some wonderful paintings - above our budget - starting at £22,000 for a very modest drawing by Henry Moore.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Cluny cartoons

I am in Paris,

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with my lovely husband, visiting our son who is working here.  Much needed by both of us. We spent today walking, walking and walking in the autumn sunshine, ending up at the Cluny Museum, home of the famous Lady and the Unicorn tapestries. The tapestries are really as beautiful and enigmatic as I expected, although I think my husband found my explanation of how tapestries are woven, a little convoluted. The layout, lighting and labelling of many of the of exhibits however seemed very dated in comparison to museums such as the V and A.

The museum is being refurbished, so hopefully this will be addressed. Perhaps it is just a difference between UK and continental museum-keeping and curating. In contrast to the ponderous approach inside, the panelling outside the museum, hiding the building works, has some witty cartoons showing the exhibits being carted off for storage.

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