Monday, 20 February 2023

We have a new member!

 Welcome Beth.  Beth is a friend of Phil's and lives in Durban, South Africa.  I will let Beth introduce herself to you all, but here is a lovely picture of our newest member.

Incidentally, how are your Book titles progressing?  Mine is yet to be started, but I do have a title and 'a cunning plan' (apologies to Baldrick).


H xx

Thursday, 1 December 2022

Through the eye of a needle and a camel...

 I have been on a 'trip around the world' procrastinating trying to decide on a subject.  Started with Great Zimbabwe - Great Zimbabwe | National Geographic Society , then closer to home with Stonehenge (obviously popular as two of you have chosen it), followed by pyramids and/or the Temple at Karnak with hieroglyphics before finally settling on Petra.  Dianne, I see you agree with me that it is spectacular and what a way to encounter it!

In my usual chaotic way, I have left it to the last minute.  I am heavily involved with two craft groups and the run up to Christmas means extra work.  I started my piece yesterday morning, had to break to go out for lunch and all the best laid plans etc, mean that I haven't finished it completely.

From the beginning I knew that I was going to print the facade of the Treasury Building.  I was really surprised and encouraged to find I had a large stash of fabrics that suited rock faces but when I started to use them, I realised that I needed so much more time.  Also, that they would work better in a much larger scale of piece.  So, I abandoned that idea and went with the simplest and most dramatic presentation.  But when I took a photo I realised I had made a horrible mistake with the left-hand edge of the passage floor.  Aaaagh!  It needed urgent surgery, hence being a day late to put it right.

Although it isn’t how I imagined the piece, I am quietly pleased with the result.  I used Prymm Fabric Printing Sheets and raw edge applique bonded down.  It will be machine quilted with a satin stitch edging.  The piece is small and measures 14.5” x 10”.

Through the eye of a needle and the camel

Architecture has been a fascinating and challenging theme, but I have enjoyed it.  After the Festive Season we will start again and have a serious discussion on the next series.


Wednesday, 30 November 2022


  The second quilt that I made after joining the group in 2014  was inspired by the neolithic site of Gavrinis in the Morbihan, Brittany: 

I decided to use the same source for this quilt, as I am still fascinated by the 5-6,000 year old carvings. I used a lino block, that I had developed from one of the motifs, to print the fabric.  I thought that it would be difficult to match up the black and white prints as they are handprinted, but it was a lot easier than I thought. I drew the menhir shape on tracing paper, overlaying it where I wanted it to fall on the background fabric, then  I traced the printed pattern and matched it on the black fabric before cutting the menhir out. I appliqued the menhir to the background, cut away the background beneath it, added batting and then quilted the menhir and couched the two motifs in silver. I added more batting and then quilted the background, so that the menhir would stand out from the quilt. It's not a very 'pretty' quilt ' (but then who says quilts have to be pretty!), though I like it, mainly because the texture makes me think of the carved stone: I keep running my fingers over it!
The site that I gave a link to in 2014 no longer exists, but you can find out more about Gavrinis here:



I am sure the moai of Easter Island need no introduction but what may not be so well known is that, in early October this year, many moai were irrevocably damaged by fires believed to be the work of an arsonist.

I have always found moai and the conjecture around their history to be fascinating. Now, looking at the damage caused by the fires, I feel quite emotional. They look burnt, sad and alone. 

For the sky I used a piece of ice-dyed linen that I bought (has anybody tried ice dying?) and the rest of the fabric from the many fabrics I inherited from mum. I did a bit of machine applique and tried FMQ. I got off to a roaring start with the FMQ - well, the machine kind of went by itself almost, and by the time I caught up and realised I was doing more of a water pattern than grass, it was too late! Anyway, I only started yesterday so it was a bit rushed but I am happy with the outcome all the same. Just had to resist the effort to give more definition to the face which fire had destroyed. Photo colouring not good but will replace if daylight produces something more accurate.

And, well, that was my swan song. I think I said all my thank yous etc when I notified my intention to finish at the end of this series but I will do a brief recap. Rosemary, I can't thank you enough for inviting me to this group. I have truly become more confident and creative as a result. Thank you to all members for encouraging feedback over the last 3 years and, finally, I wish you all the very best with your creative endeavours whether you are staying in the group or channeling them elsewhere. 

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!


I found this challenge perplexing, but keep coming back to the idea of the very first monolithic example of architecture that I could think of - Stonehenge. As this is my very last piece for this group I also wanted to carry on my personal objective of using images that I had taken myself, or that were very meaningful to me. Stonehenge satisfied both objectives. My mother (94 next month) went for a day out on her birthday, the year that my father died, to Stonehenge, and the photograpgh I have used was one taken on that day.
I pieced the background, deliberately making the colours more vivid than the photo (after my piece last time ended up far too drab) then fused the rocks on the top. There is a small mark in the centre which was a person in the background in the original photo. I included it to give an impression of the scale of these ancient stones. I'm looking forward to seeing what other people have managed to use for this challenge. And, finally, thank you all for being a very inspirational group over the years since we first started, and for putting up with my very late postings for the last two challenges. I shall continue to follow the group with interest, and look foward to seeing where your next set of challenges will take you.


 I researched Monolithic Architecture and in the end decided to create something of my own.  I found some hand dyed fabric which was suitable for my background, and then drew an elephant, as I wanted to depict it as a "carving" coming out of the background rock..  I cut some batting out of the shape of the elephant  and then attached the various pieces of the elephant's head onto the batting which I then glued onto the background fabric.  I did this to give the impression that it was standing out of the rockface and didn't look too flat.  The next step was to stitch it down.  It was then appliqued and quilted to give it more depth.


 Petra is an amazing place to visit to see all the rooms dug out of the hillside as burial tombs.  This was done by the Nabataeans during the period 30BC to 7AD.  To get to it one walks along a path that descends into a canyon with the walls getting ever closer together.  Then all of a sudden ahead is a shaft of light and you begin to see the monument called the Treasury glowing in front of you.  It's quite dramatic.   

I quilted the design on a white piece of fabric and then dug out my fabric paints which haven't been used in years and needed a little coaxing!  I really wanted to get the depth of this monument with shades of paint, but it was not easy and I decided at a certain point to leave well enough alone.  I have a shaky hand and I didn't want to mess the whole thing up with the fine work that needed to be done.  I hope that I have achieved the glow of the Treasury as one emerges from the canyon. 


I have gone back to nature and used a monolithic architectural structure found freely in our open spaces the ant hill. In the Kruger National Park where we are off to tomorrow you can find quite large structures which in time become homes for other creatures such as hyenas, warthog, mongoose.  These mostly becomes large mounds as they age and are hammered by the weather and animals. Further south in the country in the more arid areas you will find the taller red earth examples which is where I have gone with my inspiration.

Whole cloth, quilted, free motion embroidered and then I went in with gesso, paints, and wool beads. As I was getting near to the completion of the piece I realized the beads were probably the wrong texture but it was too late. A case of less is better. I can live with it and it is growing on me. 

Tuesday, 29 November 2022

Monolithic Architecture This piece is based on designs which I found on pillars in monolithic buildings



 Finally, it's time for the final piece in the series, and I chose stonehenge. 

This time I used the same color pens that I used before to roughly paint the background (sky and grass) and then blurred it. 

Because the fabric is a silk kimono, I was very happy with the effect of the blurring (especially the color change of the sky and the clouds), and the theme Stonehenge is embroidered. The only thing that I think can be improved is the sky quilt part, do you have any good suggestions?


Sunday, 16 October 2022

Millau Bridge

Finally I have managed to finish my bridge piece. Sorry it's taken so long. After our trip to Romania I started thinking about which bridge to choose, but knowing we had a trip to Norway and Sweden coming up very shortly I waited as I knew we were returning across 'THE Bridge', the Öresund Brudge which connects Sweden and Denmark and is over 8 kilmetres long. It was a great experience to drive across, but like many bridges, the best views were always going to be taken from any other view point than the bridge itself, and we didn't have time to detour to look at the bridge from any other angle. So, on our return, I went for my second choice, the Millau Bridge in southern France. This is a multispan cable-stayed bridge and is (unless a taller one has been built since September 2020) the tallest bridge in the world having a structural height of 336.4 metres. Even better from my point of view is that the mororway that crosses it has a services close to the bridge that doubles as a viewing point. We crossed it in September 2016 on our way to Barcelona on yet another car trip. Its hard to see the scale of it but if you look closely at the photo you can just see the tops of cars on the bridge itself.
I decided to keep the work very simplistic, and to attempt to give the idea of it's scale by using neutral colours that imply you are looking from a distance. I'm not sure I suceeded - it has just ended up looking rather dull. I also had forgotten the challenge of using rayon threads - despite several extra stitches at the end of each section they still tend to unravel.
And perhaps more stitching in the background would have helped! One last challenge for me, monolithic, then I shall goodbye to this group. I will be sad to go, but I know I'm unable to commit to completing work on schedule at the moment.