In the gaps between shows, and the tired moments sitting in my cosy spot on the couch at the end of the day, I have managed to work on a few smallish projects of my own over the last few weeks. The arrival of Molly Mae Shepherd at the end of April awakened a somewhat dormant desire to knit. And knitting little things is so much more do-able than big people sweaters. Molly's first Gabby-knitted sweater is being blocked as I write, and only needs one button sewn in place before I can present it to her. I've already given Nora her first knitting lesson, as you can see, and she was only too happy to get involved, winding the yarn around herself with great enthusiasm. So I've just started knitting a cardigan for her, to match Molly's.
Meanwhile I'm getting back to an African improvisational piece that's been on the go for some weeks. I've been using African textiles and crafts as my inspiration - making up the design after a few preliminary sketches. The plan is to make six more of these, then to hang them together, joined by brass beads from Ghana. Still a way to go. This project is collaborative. I do the piecing and quilting and then hand it over to my friend Joan Darling, who adds the beading.
And ever since my copy of Quilting Arts arrived on the doorstep about three months ago with a photo of one of Dijanne Cevaal's Travellers Blankets on the front cover, I have been seeing hand stitching everywhere, and am very drawn to it. While in Gibsons I started stitching some African indigo scraps in bright perle cottons. And I can't seem to stop. Someone asked me yesterday what it was going to be when it's finished, and I have no idea. I'm just enjoying the rhythm of sitting down and making up where I put the threads as I go. I put wool on the back of each piece to help keep it firm, and have loved needling through it. Now I wish I'd never taken the old family blankets to the Goodwill! I'll have to keep my eyes open for somebody elses castoffs.
And lastly, I've been doing some more screen-printing. I had some African fabric with guinea fowl on it last year, but ran out. These drawings are my own rendering of that fabric, and intended to be used with fusible web on the back, and then cut out and added as detail to a composition. I think I might try it next time on some brighter gold fabric, but there doesn't seem to be any of that in stock right now. I guess I'll have to put it aside and get to work on my piece for the La Conner show - "Abstracted". It's due at the end of this month, so no more procrastinating! So that's what I'm up to, and I plan to blog about the process for my abstracted piece, so stay tuned. And Happy Quilting until next time!
I am a textile artist and quiltmaker, a teacher and a writer. I have been playing with fabric for over 30 years, the last 15 of which have been spent creating original work and teaching design-based classes. I have a deep connection with the women of Africa, and since 2007 have spent part of each year teaching sewing and quilting to women in Uganda.