Needles and contemporary quilts.

This was the sum total of my makes for June. Yep pretty unimpressive. Skye looks quite abashed at such a paltry offering. The needlebook is taken from Aneela Hoey’s book albeit adapted.  It’s been a dry June here in the UK not just weather wise but creatively. (Oh and the heat seems to have got to WordPress and there are no paragraphs showing in the preview setting. I’m hoping when published that corrects itself)


I’ve often wondered why when I worked full time I was very uncreative given that a few years on, with more capacity, it’s something I really enjoy. OK at that time I had three young children, a 50-60 hour working week, a husband who, not even his most generous friends, would call a modern husband but even in the little time I had, I never used it for making something. But having had a month of being in effect back at work doing something rather than my usual advisory role where I , well, advise and then leave the actual work to others, I find that it has sapped not just time but creative energy. And rather scarily I’m so preoccupied I don’t actually want to sew…..
So it’s not about motivation being lost but that desire to create being squeezed out by preoccupation about a knotty work issue. I hugely admire those who despite the pressures of work find time and energy to create. It seems I’m more fickle….
When we did have some time available recently Mum and I went to the National Needle Museum in Redditch.
It’s a small museum and quite quirky with really just one large room in a converted factory which once cleaned and scoured needles. I suppose the very nature of needles being so small means they don’t take up much space to display.  And sewing as I do (well normally) I only really think of sewing needles but in fact they made all sorts of needles for gramophones, medical use, fish hooks and of course the myriad type of sewing needles. There were some very fancy needle holders on display.
Now if I’m brutally honest it was an interesting display and watching the video on a continuous loop on needle manufacture was very interesting, but not life changing. The draw for me was the middle floor of the building which is an exhibition space for textiles and on at the moment is a juried selection of contemporary quilts from members of the Quilter’s Guild.
Please correct me if I’m wrong but contemporary quilts appear to be a peculiarly British and possibly European category of quilts. I’ve not come a rissit as a category of quilts in the US shows but I could be wrong. It sits between modern and art quilts and is  a category recognised by the UK Quilters Guild at the Festival of Quilts.
They tend to be quilts, which whilst modern, include a lot of surface embellishment like stencils, fabric paints, embroidery. They are decorative not functional and some are more like art quilts.  The theme for the quilt exhibition was ‘Imprint’ – yes I agree a bit odd but given a lot of these quilts include stencilled words, digital pictures etc perhaps it has more relevance as a topic for this type of quilt. Here is a selection of my favourites.
And our personal favourites…. Mum’s first
And my favourite
This type of quilting quite appeals.  But I think I would have to learn a whole new set of techniques and accumulate even more craft supplies.  I have in fact experimented with using fabric paints and stencils. This is a quilt I made probably  in the first six months of quilting for some free motion quilting practice. It lives in our kitchen and as you can see from the second picture placing it above the food processor was probably not the best idea!
Amazingly that beetroot flavoured purée all came off but the quilt is looking a bit spotted with grease and general kitchen life so it might need to be replaced. It’s not one of my favourites and perhaps getting on with making a replacement will spur me on!

3 thoughts on “Needles and contemporary quilts.

  1. Pingback: Review of Quilt Along Q2 and Plans for Q3 | The Lilac Cat

  2. I love your contemporary quilt – I haven’t explored that aspect of using fabric yet. I think I may be afraid of my house becoming overwhelmed by craft supplies and wall art! I too go on the occasional outing with my mother but she isn’t interested in fabrics/quilting – more interiors and gardening but it’s great to have a playmate!


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