What I did at the weekend

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You may be familiar with the phenomenon of saying yes to something which seems in the very distant future only to find it coming up very quickly indeed.  Well, flicking through my diary last week to see what was coming up, I stumbled upon an engagement to address the Bristol Quilters at the AGM.  Which is fine, except they have heard most of my ramblings and I never want to look like a complete wassack in front of them as they are my home crowd.

So, I thought I would develop an idea which has been brewing for some time about friendship quilts and album quilts and giftgiving in particular.  I thought I would turn to the quilts that my sewing group, St Andrews Quilters have been making for each other.  This would form the foundation of the talk, which is great except the first one we made has gone missing.  The theme was hens and chickens so I thought I would put in some other quilted chicken stuff, which would mean making some.  I made a start at the weekend and here is a preview of one piece:

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Which on reflection bears a striking resemblance to this one which I think Mary made at the workshop:

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Mine has some hand embroidery in Madeira Lana thread which is wool and nylon and gives a nice distinctive mark.  The second piece is done with heavy furnishing fabric as the background:

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I thought the sky was a bit louring, but I love using up these samples of very expensive furnishing fabrics rather than throwing them into landfill.

I think I might have been heavily influenced by the quilting history books I have been reading lately, because even though I wanted this to be a sort of Hans Christian Andersen fairytale chicken girl, I seem to have channelled some very hard-working prairie pioneer girl:

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Her skirt is a piece I fished out of the bin at the Janet Clare workshop.  No piece too small for my grasp.  I am interested, though, in her face.  I loved the part of the workshop where Janet advised us to start drawing faces and see who turned up.  She doesn’t have a little sweet face, and cutting her blouse freehand in reverse (because it was on bondaweb and needs to be cut backwards) gave her this folky feel.  The hair in her eyes also contributes to the look of someone too busy on the windy prairie to be fixing up her bangs.  Plus those hands look like they might have red knuckles from the lye soap.

I intend to make a couple more panels and then to mount them on a larger piece of fabric, possibly stretched over a block canvas.  Incidentally, I quilted/embroidered these while watching a tribute to Bruce Springsteen which only contributed to the feeling of Americana.

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