Tuesday 23 February 2021

New Improv Quilt

 I've been busy working on a new improv quilt but it takes so long to sew that I have to take lots of breaks. Sometimes, I don't sew anything for a couple of weeks then I get it down off the design wall and do a bit more.

Here's how I started.

Beginning my Improv

I haven't done a lot of improv so I am probably really slow compared to people who have done a lot of it. There is no pattern or plan, I just cut some fabric and then cut another piece next to it and sew it together.  I stare at the quilt and decide what to sew next.

Adding leaf shape.

Because I am using red, orange and brown fabrics, I decided to sew a leaf shape, then I have to work out how to add it to the quilt in a pleasing way.

The next photo shows the leaf sewn onto the quilt.

leaf added

Here's what the quilt top looks like now after many, many hours.

Improv quilt.

At the moment, I am thinking that this is the top left quarter of the quilt. That means there is a long way to go. I hope all this work is worth the effort. At least I'll be a lot better at piecing by the end of it.

I suppose I am slow at it because I am also busy with the portrait quilts, plus I am doing a colour course which is time consuming and I am doing some on-line painting classes.

I don't know why am doing these painting classes because I am not very good, but I am totally addicted to them. It's supposed to be good to learn new skills and keep your brain exercised! It will probably help with surface design in future quilts. Most of the classes I am doing are abstract and I am learning a lot about paint and mixing colour.

I am still planning to do another two weeks of classes with Nancy Crow next year. Who knows if that will go ahead. I suppose it depends on the Covid Vaccine and how well it works. The vaccine  has arrived in Australia this week but health care and aged care workers are getting it first, then people over 70. I'll probably get it in the third stage later in the year.

Anyway, that's what is keeping me busy these days.

Bye for now,


Wednesday 17 February 2021

Fresh Fish-SAQA

 Last year, SAQA (Studio Art Quilts Associates) put out a call for fish or fish quilts for an exhibition in Florida USA. It was actually more than textile fish, they also wanted poets to explore underwater life. It sounded like a perfect challenge for me, so I made a thread painted fish. 

My fish

I put him or her on a fabric to photograph but it is actually free standing not attached to a background.

You can read about it here.

A selected number of artists and poets were included in a book called Fresh Fish and I was thrilled to be accepted. My copy of the book has arrived.

Fresh Fish Book

Here is my fish on page 72.

My fish on page 72.

My fish is with a poem called Longshore Workers by Phyllis Wax from Wisconsin.

I received another book in the mail; every year I publish my blog posts from the previous year. It's actually a really handy resource for me as I often look up my blog books to remember how I did something or where a quilt was exhibited. 

My blog book for 2020 is here, I am amazed I wrote many blog posts at all because after my solo exhibition on March, we were locked down for most of the year. Somehow, I managed to carry on and keep busy though.

Blog Book 2020

Bye for now,


Tuesday 9 February 2021

Portraits in Fabric

 I have been doing an on-line class via Zoom with Phyllis Cullen from America. The class is all about creating portraits in fabric.

I wanted to work on portraits last year but I got too involved with my circle series and never got the time for portraits. When the opportunity for a class with Phyllis came up, I jumped at the chance. The advantage of signing up for a class is that it makes you actually do the work instead of thinking about it.

There are only 6 of us in the class so we can be free to ask lots of questions and she doesn't mind us contacting her at all.

This is the first portrait I made from the class pattern. We all made this one first. All the portraits I have done are A4 or 8" x 11"

Class pattern

We used four fabric values and I used batik fabrics.

Next, we had to use our own photo and Phyllis checked the pattern that we made to make sure it was ok.

I used blue batiks this time for my portrait of Adam, my oldest son.


It looks like him and I thought it was pretty good for a start.

Then I found a photo of one of my daughters to use.

Bec in Fabric

It does look like her but I used ordinary quilting cotton and it was much harder to get the fine detail, there are little bits of fayed fabric on her face. She wasn't very impressed because she thought she looked fat! I must admit she was 6 months pregnant, but it is really hard to get a photo to use. My family do not appreciate me coming up to them with a camera, snapping photos.

Next, I tried my grandson Jack and went back to using batik fabrics.

Jack in Fabric

I tried something different his time, I used coloured variegated thread for his hair. Once again, it does look like him but I am starting to understand faces and portraits better now and I know there is room for improvement.

Phyllis thought I was being too safe with my fabric choices and encouraged me to be more adventurous. She suggested that we do a pet portrait because pets don't complain about what colour we make them.

I couldn't find a photo of our cat so I had to take one. Poor Misty is 16 years old and has kidney disease and not really feeling her best these days, but she let me take a photo.

Misty the cat

Here is Misty's portrait and I think I was very adventurous with the colour.

Misty in Fabric

I am really enjoying making the portraits, we only have one lesson to go and we are going to learn a collage technique next, it's where you use lots of different fabrics instead of 4 or 5.

So, I have decided to continue making portraits this year and see where it takes me!

Bye for now,