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All the Midnight Deals – is done

Hey everyone!

Finally this quilt is complete. I need to make a mental note that it takes at least a day to square up, trim, press, bind, hand finish the binding and put the sleeve on. All those little jobs that are so important and always take longer than you think they do.

I’ve posted more finished photos of the quilt in the Portfolio section of the website. Here’s a link if you’d like to check it out.

This quilt will form part of my exhibition of work at Festival of Quilts this summer. I do hope you’ll be able to come and see it in person.

Love Laura x

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The quilting is done, nearly

Hello again, welcome back to the diary of a quilt!

I’ve really just had to knuckle down this week and get the hours in on this quilt to get it finished. I can’t have it going into next week or my schedule will go to pot and it’s too early for that. Having told a lot of people that I don’t listen to podcasts, I’ve given in to the idea that they are the only way to pass them time when doing this sort of quilting. So two series and a few odd episodes later and the quilting is almost complete. Here’s how it looked photographed on the studio floor earlier this afternoon…

The face on this one was a little tricky to quilt. There are areas with lots of loose mark making that’s suggestive rather than explicit in its drawing, and then there’s areas of nothing at all. The continuous line of freehand quilting doesn’t always sit so easily. I decided that the best thing was to match colour so I’ve worked with black on the black lines and a grey that matches the plain areas as closely as I could. I’ve outlined the black lines and then scribbly contour filled the plan areas.

There wasn’t much to go on in the t-shirt area. I outlined the black lines and I’ve voided the circles. My plan is to put some hand stitch into those, they are too baggy just left as they are. For the plain areas of the t-shirt I kept up the idea of the scribbly mark making and tried to mimic some of the line work that I’d done when I made the initial monoprint of the face.

Next came the satisfying job of trimming the quilt. I gave it a quick steam press first as it was a bit wobbly, lots of stitch on this one and it’s been screwed up on my lap as I’ve done the hand work. Here it is with the white bits trimmed off and the whole thing squared up. I didn’t have to trim off much more than a sliver so that was good.

Just to show you in this photo how the quilting looks on the back and the cut edge of the quilt. Obviously I’ve sliced through the quilting so I will get the binding on as soon as possible so nothing comes undone.

So final steps are to do the binding, the hanging sleeve and to add a bit more hand quilting to some areas. Then I think I can call this one finished.

Thanks of following along so far.

Love Laura x

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Some hand stitch

Just a brief update on the quilt today. I’ve added some hand stitching to these black shapes. They’re cropped cross shapes so I thought some hand stitched crosses would be a nice idea.

I’m using a hand dyed bright pink thread and just spacing them randomly to control that area of fabric. I like that they’re adding some texture, colour and a mini motif.

I’m going to machine quilt that bit of fabric around the shape and then it really is on to the face.

Back soon, Laura x

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More Quilting

So after having to spend quite a lot of time this week on other projects and the never-ending monster that is Admin, I made up for it yesterday with over seven hours of quilting on the Midnight Deals quilt that you saw in the last post. I set myself the goal of trying to complete the left hand side.

Above and below the text are these sections of scarlet orangey red with charcoal circles. I threaded up with a neon pink and have worked quite closely spaced lines to flatten the background and make it look brighter and pinker than it was before.

In this area of the quilt I don’t need to be adding any new shapes or pattern with the quilting, it’s more just about modifying the colour and managing the fabric so it’s evenly quilted.

In some other areas I switched to a checkerboard fill pattern. I’ve used this on another quilt which will be hung in this exhibition, and while they might not even be hung near each other, I think to have some continuity of mark making across the series will make sense.

This checkerboard is stitched with a black thread. Here I’m just trying to darken that area and make it drop into the background. Everything is quilted very closely so that the lettering which is unquilted appears to pop forward more.

In the photo below you can see I’ve continued with the same linear fill around the poppy seed heads that I used on that orange area. It’s just perfect to flatten the fabric without adding anything that distracts from what’s already there. Here I matched my thread to the fabric colour, again to limit the distraction of the quilting lines.

The colour of the section near the face was a bit greyed out so I used the quilting to make that look richer and pinker. I am stitching this bit by hand with a seed stitch. Spent about three hours on this bit last night and it’s still not done! I think it’s worth it though, this is a focal area of the quilt and the texture from the hand stitching provides a nice foil to the face.

Sometimes it’s hard to photograph the quilting from the front and I thought you might find it fun to see the back, so here it is!

I really like the back of this one! I know it’s a little messy, I never bother with neat knots. I like the back to show a little story of how a maker was here making.

So for now a couple more hours on that seeding and then the face.

Back soon, Laura x

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Quilting on Midnight Deals

I think when I’ve got lots to do there’s always the danger that I don’t know where to start and then end up doing nothing. I’ve got lots of pieces on the go for this exhibition already but it seems more sensible to focus on one at a time.

This is how the quilt All the Midnight Deals is looking today.

It’s a wholecloth piece and the design is a digital collage that I made using elements from my sketchbooks. I digitally printed it onto cotton fabric and I’ve layered it up with wadding and a cotton backing. As you can see from the distortion on the left I’ve started the quilting there. Once all the quilting is done the quilt will shrink more evenly and hopefully be flat-ish again.

Here’s a close up of the quilting on that lettering section. You can see it’s a mix of hand seeding and freehand machine quilting.

The seeding takes hours but I hope it’s worth it. I like the larger mark that the seed stitch gives and the crunchy looking texture.

There are some areas that I’m enjoying already, like this one where the lettering looks like it’s layered up, appearing and disappearing behind sections. Look at the difference between the quilted side and the unquilted fabric!

Working on the machine today I’m starting to tackle the blue lines of these poppy seed heads. I don’t think there’s much option other than to stitch along these lines which will visually reinforce them. I’m using a blue thread to make the seedpods seem even bluer.

Thanks for dropping by today to check in on progress. Hopefully there will be more to show you very soon.

Bye for now, Laura x

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The Countdown Begins

Exciting news! I’ve been given a gallery space at this years Festival of Quilts. I’m really thrilled to be part of this show again in its 20th birthday year.

You can find all the visitor information and ticketing details on their website. 

I’ve called my exhibit Everything We Are. The idea is that it’s basically an extended self-portrait, one that’s more than just the face, but all the other things that contribute to who we are, family, location, etc. The organisers asked me to write a few words about what the work will be. Here’s what I said:

Laura’s exhibition is an illustration of everything that can’t be said in words or out loud. The places we’ve been, and we find ourselves in, the sound of the birds, the swallows and the house martins, the nest and the cage. The black thorns against the cold winter sky, the hollow tree and the open field. The glass and the screaming colour of nature on a black background. The stories we tell, and we hear, the thought and the memory. The dates and the times and everything that flows in between and unmeasured. The page of the book, the pencil line and the paint. The smudge, the spill and the scar. The stitches and the unpicking. The people we love and the ones who love us, the ones who we stay awake for, the midnight deals, the lace, the sound of your guitar. The life you hand me down, the maker and the made, the one I hold in my embrace, the freedom and the fear. The question and the answers. Everything that you made and gave to me, everything I make and give to you. These small things, this tangle of knotted threads, that make us everything we are.

I do find writing those words quite tricky. I prefer to let the work say what it needs to say, but I understand that’s not very helpful for organisers when they are trying to create advance promo for an event! Anyway I hope it sets the scene somewhat. There is a bit of vaguery involved as obviously, me being me, the works doesn’t all entirely exist at this point. I can see it all in my head of course, but again, that’s not quite enough! The photo above is a detail section of one of the pieces that will be there. This one’s called All the Midnight Deals.

I’ve worked out this morning that there are 159 days left before everything needs to be finished, and that would be taking it right to the wire. I do love a deadline though, even if it is quite scary. If it were all paintings, prints and drawings then that would be one thing, but this is a quilt show so I need to show quilts and making those is going to take a lot of time. I think my next step is to work out exactly the pieces I’m going to show, many are started, some are nearly done, some are just ideas. Once they are quantified I can start some sort of plan on how to actually get everything done. I thought I’d blog here as I prepare for this exhibition and I hope that you’ll enjoy coming along with me.

bye for now!

Laura x

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Draw with Me

My new drawing course Draw with Me is now open for enrolments over at DesignMatters. I’ve really enjoyed putting this course together for you, most of all because it’s allowed me the time to do lots of drawing!

The aim of the course is to develop our observational drawing skills so we’ll be working from everyday still life objects. I’ll suggest objects to draw that you’ll hopefully have to hand, but you can also work from the reference photos I provide if you prefer.

As with all our online courses you can work entirely at your own pace. In each session I’ll guide you through making a drawing sharing tips and techniques to make a successful piece of work. I hope that you’ll relish the opportunity to grab your pencils and paper and draw along with me.

Included in the class is access to our Community page on the DesignMatters website. There you can post photos of your work in progress and finished drawings, ask questions or get advice if you need it.

All the information about the course is here, but if you have questions do just email and I’ll be happy to help.

So looking forward to working with you on this course.

Bye for now,

Laura x

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Quilter on Fire Podcast

Just a quick post to let you know that I’m delighted to be the guest on the Quilter on Fire podcast this week. Hosted by Brandy Maslowski, the podcast has a guest each week talking about their work and inspiration and this week it’s me!

You can listen to the podcast for free via the Quilter on Fire website, or search for it on your usual favourite podcast provider.

If you’re new to the Quilter on Fire podcast you’ll see you can catch up with previous episodes too.

Really hope you enjoy it.

Thanks for dropping by, Laura xx

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Finishing things

This time of year is traditionally about fresh starts and new beginnings. I’m a big fan of starting something new, which probably accounts for my huge pile of work in progress projects.

I dragged out the main quilts that I have underway at the moment and it looks like this on my work table…

A heap of partly quilted projects as far as the eye can see! There’s actually just four quilts here but when I think about the hours they’ll take to complete it’s quite a daunting task.

The only answer is to work smarter so I’ve got my embroidery machine set up doing some digital stitch while I work on another piece with freehand quilting.

The quilt you can see me working on below has already had some lines of quilting put in so it’s very stable and is essentially as quilted as it really needs to be. Over the top I’m now working some stitched lettering which will be decorative, but as I’m working through the quilt sandwich it’ll add further quilted texture too.

I’m using a range of white and cream threads on a white background so the stitching is all quite understated, even though there’s a lot of it. The idea is that this will form some sort of background for something else. That something else keeps changing in my mind!

All of this work will be part of a new collection that I’m creating for a special project later in the year. I’ll tell you more about that as soon as I can.

Thank you for visiting today. Talk to you again soon,

Laura

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Applique Remix and Christmas Classroom

So at first glance it would look as though I’ve not done much this week, but truth is I’ve been working on top secret things that are now wrapped up under the Christmas tree.  I’m not sharing those makes just in case the recipients spot them on the blog and it spoils the surprise! I hope you’re able to find some time to make some handmade gifts too. It’s not too late for some quick projects. We have a number of free classes and project ideas over at DesignMatters…

If you click on the image on the left it’ll take you over to our Christmas Classroom where most of the content is completely free to access. You’ll also find a downloadable and printable version of this lovely original painting by Linda. This is our Christmas card to you this year and you’re welcome to use it to make your own handmade cards if you’d like to. There’s a class to show you how to do this, along with last year’s painting which is still available for you to use too.

On the pinboard I’ve just added this sample. I’ve been experimenting with digital stitch for the new course that I’m launching in 2023. I wanted to try an applique idea that I’d had in mind for a while. The concept is to remix a single piece of hand dyed fabric into an applique block by using one area for the background and then fussy cutting other areas for the applique shapes. I used a digital applique design from the MySewnet Library and stitched this in the hoop with my embroidery machine, but you could equally try the idea using conventional bonded applique instead.

There are four of these skulls so far and this latest one is by far my favourite. It’s got the closest feel to the original drawing in terms of the mark making. Below you can see the original drawing and a close up of the stitched version.

I’ve written a more detailed project post on how I’ve done this over on the DesignMatters website. Please head over there to take a look where you’ll see more step-by-step photos from the process.

Thank you for visiting today. Talk to you again soon,

Laura

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