Saturday, 1 February 2020

If wishes were horses ...

It's the first of the month and the reveal day for the next challenge of The Endeavourers Art Quilt group.

The theme for this quarter was "Wishes", well that certainly taxed my poor brain! Once again the hardest part of the quarterly challenge was actually coming up with something in my head that would fit the theme, the second hardest part is then trying to create what is in my head :)

Fortunately, in all of my musings on the theme of "Wishes" I came across this old Scottish proverb "If wishes were horses, beggars would ride". The saying was mentioned in a collection of Scottish rhymes and proverbs in 1721, although it had been around in a slightly different form since 1628! For some reason I could not get the saying out of my head so I had the idea for the theme all I had to do now was create it!

And here it is, my "Beggars would ride" quilt response to the Endeavourers Challenge.

The quilt backing is loosely based upon a Bargello arrangement with the greys of the town/city home of a beggar gradually becoming the greens of the countryside where horses can roam. The greens were quilted with fan shapes to represent the rolling hills, whilst the greys were quilted in a squarish grid pattern to represent cobblestones. The darker greys were more intensely quilted than the lighter ones.

The horse is appliqued with two shades of hand-dyed silk (sadly not dyed by me!). I used an outline from a colouring book for the shape as my drawing skills are definitely not that good. Sheer luck resulted in the dyed fabric on the head resembling an eye, as the supplier only had a small piece of the silk shade that I ordered so there wasn't enough fabric to allow for any fussy cutting!

I tried to create the mane with hand embroidery but couldn't get the flow right as you can see here, one thread was too spindly and more threads meant the fringe was clumpy (!), so eventually I tried free-form machine embroidery to get the look that I wanted. I also wanted the horse figure to seem more solid nearer the ground so the tail was created with some textured embroidery threads, which were couched down after the silk applique pieces were raw edge machine appliqued.

There is some evidence that registered beggars in Scotland around the time of the proverb may have worn "Beggars Badges" that granted them safe passage between parishes and the right to beg for alms.

My "Beggars Badges" were created from empty tea light holders and an empty soft drink can! The washed and dried metals were embossed and then die-cut before being stitched to the quilted background. I like to think too that in recycling these tins I am giving a small nod to the times I have chosen to represent :)

As ever these challenges take me in directions that I cannot predict but thoroughly enjoy whilst taking them!

Head on over to The Endeavourers to find out how the rest of my fellow Endeavourers have interpreted this theme, I am sure that you will be amazed, I always am!

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Stepping out of that comfort zone

It is a new decade so time for some changes to this blog. Over the last year the New to Me posts were, for me, less about the link party and more about a nudge to post at least once a month. So I am still going to write posts about anything I have tried out because you know I love to experiment, but won't be hosting the link party as well. I rarely link up to parties these days so it is not very fair to expect other bloggers to do something I am not doing myself!

I have as the post title tells you tried something very New to Me this month and I may live to regret it:) At our weekly quilting group recently we have been encouraged/cajoled/exhorted to enter a quilt in the upcoming Scottish Quilters Show. The deadline for entry was originally January 24th, but was then extended to January 31st to give those of us who were procrastinating less excuse to chicken out, I suspect!

Well, as you can see I finally took the plunge and put in an entry.

I entered the only quilt that I have that has a hanging sleeve, my BOM quilt from Quiet Play's And Sew On BOM back in 2013! I have no great expectations of the quilt as far as the competition goes, as I used the blocks for FMQ practise and I am fairly sure that my paper-piecing was less than stellar in places :) However, I thought it would be a fun entry to the competition in general.

There are several categories for entries and I wasn't sure whether this was Contemporary
(Quilts based on the traditions of quilt making, but have an original approach. Makers may use non-traditional fabrics, fabric painting, printing, dying and embellishments. These quilts should have an original design and can be hand or machine pieced, or a combination of both) or Modern
(Quilts with a modern design, can be based on traditional design with a modern twist. Quilts may include the presence of the following features: minimal and simple good design with bold graphic colours and high contrast; varying sized blocks, exaggerated scale, asymmetry and simple graphic quilting).  In the end after some discussion with fellow quilters and show veterans I went for Contemporary. 

I opted not to have the Judge's comments sent to me as I have also volunteered to steward at the Show so will see the harsh truth soon enough :)

Would love to hear if you have used the advent of a new decade to accompany me in that strange place outside the comfort zone!


Friday, 24 January 2020

Small changes

Living by the sea it is hard to ignore the obvious signs of plastic pollution that washes up on the shore here.

We hear about the longevity of plastic straws

and plastic bottles and it is not difficult to find examples of them nestling amongst the rocks and seaweed of our shoreline.

Just before Christmas our youngest son's partner spent a happy couple of hours rifling through my stash cutting up fabrics that she plans to turn into beeswax food wraps. So, inspired by her I thought that I too could use some of that stash to make a part of my daily routine a little more environmentally friendly.

I have made some reusable cotton make up remover pads to replace the cotton wool pads that I have been using previously.

The source fabrics for these reusable pads were a waffle cotton dressing gown that has seen better days and a cotton business shirt that is no longer needed.

I simply put the two fabrics together and stitched them together with the overlocker. I had great difficulty stitching the circular shape in the overlocker, so next time I will make life a lot simpler for myself and make them square!

Our grandsons will be visiting us in a couple of months time so I am also thinking of making bigger pads for the little one's nappy changes but I will check that with his mum first :)

Have you made any small changes to your routines to help the environment I would love to know what else I could try?
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