Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Inspiring Improv :: A Book Review

Well it was definitely worth the wait to get a copy of Nick Ball's book Inspiring Improv.  This is Nick's first book and was published by Lucky Spool Media and released in April 2019.  It is available from Search Press in the UK - head on over here if you feel so inspired!

I first met Nick whilst waiting to collect quilts at Festival of Quilts several years ago - it happened we were the only two waiting ..... we quickly realised we were in the wrong place! 

What can I say - I love this book!  I like the style it is written in - it is full of information but not dogmatic, which is the way I like to teach. 

There are three parts: Planning, Practice and Progress.  Each part is broken down into sections covering such topics as inspirations, tools, techniques, binding.  The Progress part contains twelve projects where Nick has talked about inspiration, fabric and quilting for each project.  As I turned the pages I would think "Oh this is my favourite"  before seeing the next one and thinking "No, this IS my favourite".

The section on techniques is very informative and can be followed as is or as a jumping off point for you to head in a totally different direction.

There is some great information in this book and it will really encourage you to have a go at Improv Quilting.  Sadly, due to an injury, I am not in my studio at all, otherwise I would have raced straight in there to get cutting and sewing.


To see other people's take on Inspiring Improv head over here.  Nick recently ran an Inspiring Improv IG Tour and there's some lovely projects going on.

Liberated Log Cabin
I really am on a journey into improv and the many books on this topic, including this latest addition, on my shelf can testify to this!  I definitely view them as resources and inspiration which I will delve into frequently over the coming years.

Nick can be seen at many quilt shows around the country demonstrating on the Bernina Q24 longarm machine and over on IG @quiltsfromtheattic.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

40 Shades of Red :: A Challenge Exhibition

As part of The Quilters' Guild Region 11, I was eligible to enter into their challenge "40 Shades of Red" which was to help celebrate the Guild's 40th birthday this year.  I thought I would share a few of  the quilts with you.

Red Moon by Jill Exell ....

The initial exhibition was held at The Weaver's Gallery in Ledbury at the end of May, but I was unable to see it. Luckily it came more locally to me and I was able to see it a few weeks ago in Ullenhall Village Hall.

  Crazy Red by Katharine Guerrier

I was surprised at the number of quilts that were hung and had a lovely hour or so taking it all in.

 Celebration Flowers by Jenny Hall

The challenge was to create a quilt with a predominantly red theme.  There are so many reds and it was wonderful to see so many used in these lovely quilts.

 Red Arrows by Ruth Dobbins

No two were the same, in fact there was huge variety on show, but the theme of red pulled it all together and made for a cohesive exhibition.

The Red Brick Road by Ann White

All different techniques were used ....

Lesley Conning 

And the sizes were all different ....

Red Sails in the Sunset by Amanda Wright 

I think my favourite was this one ....

They Threw Me A Curved Ball by Sheilagh Webb

but then it could have been this one ....

I forgot to get the title of this one but it is by Karen McIlwraith

or maybe I surprised myself and went with this very traditional Storm at Sea ....

Up The Reds by Jane Johns

You see, how can you ever choose just one?  I would definitely recommend taking part in challenges if you ever can.  They make you think outside of your comfort zone and that deadline date is always a motivating factor!

And my quilt?  Well mine was the smallest ....

This is called Improvisationally Red.  Yes, I was one of those sending it in right at the last minute and a name really escaped me!  This was my first foray into improv piecing and I love the result.  I realise I never shared any progress pics here so I will do another blog post all about this little beauty.

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Red Manor House Block of the Month :: Pattern Tester

So much has been going on in our lives and I have severely neglected this blog.  But why?  I really enjoy writing and I really enjoy looking back at past posts.  I plan to remedy this and in fact two things have just happened which have motivated me to get blogging again.  But more on that later ....

Rather than try to fit everything into one BIG post I am going to do little and often ... hmm let's see how that goes shall we?!

The first thing I have to share is that earlier in the year I was asked to be a pattern tested for The Quilters' Guild first Block of the Month.  The Red Manor House BOM has been designed by Jenni Smith and Kay Walsh and is based on the vintage coverlet the Guild owns of the same name.

The block I tested doesn't come out until 8 months into the BOM, but I can share my version of it with you now.

The petals were from a fat 1/8th pack from Sugar Bowl Crafts and the background is Kona
The BOM is to be launched at Festival of Quilts on Thursday 01 August at 11.30am on the Guild stand.  I hope to be able to pop over there for that and meet the designer and other pattern testers - I have been in great company for this testing!!  If you fancy seeing what other testers ahve made head over here.

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Intuitive Color & Design :: A Book Review

2017 was the first year that I worked at Festival of Quilts and I did not get much time to view all the quilts.  One gallery I did pass through numerous times, on my way to and from the stand, was that of Jean Wells.  I was just struck with how wonderful her quilts were - the composition, the colour choices, in fact just everything!  I know she does do workshops sometimes in the UK but have been sadly unable to make one yet.  So what's the next best thing?  Her book of course!

Intuitive Color & Design Adventures in Art Quilting was published in 2017 and is an updated version of her book from 2009. It is published by C&T Publishing, and is available in the UK through Search Press.  Oh the joy to get my hands on a copy to review!  Jean Wells is a an author of 30 books, a teacher and the founder of one of the first quilt shops in America, which is still running today in Sisters, Oregon.

What did I find inside this gorgeous cover?  So much inspiration but also the tools to create new works myself.  The subject is broken down into manageable chapters covering such topics as Inspiration for Quilt Design, Launching the Design Process, Nuts and Bolts of Quilt Design, The Design Process and the all important Tools and Techniques.

A photograph is just one of the journalling tools Jean uses to create quilts ....

I always enjoy looking at quilts, either in person, in print or online, but what I like even better is to know more about the quilt, such as its story or the design process or how it was constructed.  You learn a lot about the quilts in this book which I love.  I think that it is by knowing how someone created something that you are able to start your own journey taking the piece or the artist as inspiration.

The photo above is inspiration for an abstracted design below ....

This is a book you could flick through but I am actually reading it from front and back because the content really speaks to me.  It has already sparked a lot of ideas and has bought home to me the value of journalling and sketchbooks.  I have had the pleasure of talking to several world class artists and quilters and they all observe, record, sketch and draw almost constantly.  I don't view myself as an artist and very rarely draw anything although I do constantly observe.  I would like to start this practice and, as is quite often the way, I already have some blank sketchbooks to hand after being inspired by a quilter several years ago in a class!

Both the natural and man world world are referenced in the book and from both the use of line is discussed.  Breaking down the whole into its constituent pieces and sometimes finishing up with a piece that doesn't resemble the original inspiration at all but you can see how it has been influenced.  I have always been a avid photographer and have lots of design inspiration in them from the UK, New Zealand and from backpacking.  Now all I need is more time.  If any of you know how to get more hours in the day then I am all ears!

I always keep an eye out for UK teaching dates and still hope to take a class with Jean some day.  Until then I will be reading, re-reading and referring to this book as I continue my life long journey in quilting and creating.

Friday, 14 June 2019

Modern Quilt Series over on UKQU

My latest blog post in a short Modern Quilt series has just been published to the UKQU website.  Head over here if you fancy a read and lots of photos about asymmetry and alternate gridwork, with links to the previous posts in the series.

You can also see what I am making as a comparison between solids and read as solids fabrics.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

The Quilter's Negative Space Handbook :: A Book Review

It is always exciting to have a new book to review, but this time it's even more exciting because I 'know' the author.  OK well know is a relative term, but it feels like I know her after having various online conversations with her through Stash Bee involvement and then also longarm chat after she became a Handi Quilter owner.  One day hopefully I will know her in real life but I reckon I have to get over to the States for a chance of that!

So the book is The Quilter's Negative Space Handbook and the author is Sylvia Schaefer from Flying Parrot Quilts.  It is published by Stash Books, an imprint of C&T Publishing, and is available in the UK through Search Press.

My first impression was how it was so full of colour - oh that's got to bode well hasn't it?!

I actually received and read it through from start to finish in one day.  It is so much more than a book of patterns and contains such useful information for anyone interested in making modern quilts - either from a pattern or by designing their own.


In each chapter there is information on techniques to make quilts modern, for example taking a traditional block quilt and removing elements, varying sizes and inverting colours to name a few.  I really liked how Sylvia talks you through each process and gives examples along the way.  Some of these are computer generated images but there are so many lovely photos of real quilts that just make you want to touch them.

If you don't want to design yourself, each chapter has a pattern with full instructions for you to make the quilt.  I have to say I now have more quilts added to my ever-growing, or is that never-ending, to do list.

The quilt below features in the book as an example of disintegration but it isn't a pattern in the book -  I just included it here because I happen to love it!

All in all I think this is a fantastic book and a wonderful resource for quilters both modern quilters and those looking to explore modern route more.  Watch this space for upcoming quilts that will be made using some of these techniques.

Inspiring Improv :: A Book Review

Well it was definitely worth the wait to get a copy of Nick Ball's book Inspiring Improv.  This is Nick's first book and was publish...