Sophie Standing workshop

11 03 2017

Last weekend I had the privilege of attending the first-ever workshop held by textile artist Sophie Standing. And what a workshop it was! Sophie (originally from the UK, then ten years in Kenya, and now living in the Seychelles) was an absolute delight, so helpful, and just an all-round lovely person. And her art is AMAZING! The four days just flew by, ably helped by the hospitality of Michelle and her team at Handcrafters House in Midland, Western Australia. Thanks must go to Michelle for working for more than two years to convince Sophie she needed to share her skills with the quilting world. I’m sure a new world has now opened up to Sophie, and I expect to see her moving from strength to strength as her work and techniques become more widely known.

Now, to the workshop…

We all worked from the same photo (provided by Sophie) of a shell on a beach, but the variety of work produced by the 20 ladies in the workshop was as different as they were.

Sophie started by talking about some of her pieces and the techniques she used for choosing fabrics, thread, and stitches. Then we were off on our own, choosing our fabrics and getting started on cutting out, pinning, and stitching. I think we all needed a little help from Sophie with our fabric choices — I know I did, and I was really pleased with the fabrics she helped me choose. I didn’t use some, added others (the lizards on the body of the shell, for example — I figured if Sophie can put flowers on a gorilla, I can put lizards on a shell!), but basically used the palette she helped me with.

The photos below show the original shell, some of my work in progress, followed by a section of Sophie’s work, and then some photos of some of the other work done in class.

My interpretation – in progress

(click on a photo to view it larger)

Others’ work

Sophie and her work



Huey, Dewey, and Louie

11 03 2017

A couple of months ago, I made some baby quilts for a relative. I purchased a duck applique pattern when I was at the New England Quilt Museum’s shop (Lowell, MA) last October. The pattern was for 9 different ducks on the quilt, but after cutting out the pieces for three ducks and knowing I was making three quilts, I figured cutting out nine ducks in total was enough, not 27!

I always make gender-neutral baby quilts, even if the recipient knows the gender of the child (she doesn’t) — I just have a thing about the stereotypical pink for girls and blue for boys, and so I make baby quilts in yellows, greens, oranges, and purples instead. For my niece’s quilts, I chose various shades of purple and of course the yellows and oranges in the ducks.

I started by cutting out a wide strip for the ducks, then fusing them in positions where they looked inwards to the centre of the quilt, with the middle duck looking straight out (I call them Huey, Dewey, and Louie). After fusing them in place, I satin stitched around them in matching colours. For the top section of each quilt, I did some improvisational piecing with strips of purple fabric, interspersed with flashes of yellow and orange. I then separated the top section from the duck base with a strip of yellow or purple fabric (the ducks on the darker background were separated by the yellow strip). The backing is some purple sheeting I had.

I quilted the top section of each quilt differently — for one I did a large meandering stipple, for another an open headband motif, and for the last one, a spiral motif. For each I used a variegated purple cotton thread. Each of the bottom sections has wobbly vertical lines, emulating rain. (On one, I’d done a heap of tight McTavishing in the bottom section, then because the tension wasn’t right, I decided to unpick it and do the vertical lines instead. Fortunately, I was on a retreat at the time and one of the other ladies helped me out — between us, it took a total of 10 person hours to remove that stitching!!!! Thanks again, Carol!)

I bound each quilt with the dark pink/purple fabric, stitching the binding to the wrong side of the quilt, then pulling it over to the right side and machine stitching it down — I liked the effect as the stitching line is straight on the front and doesn’t need to catch the back as it’s already stitched down.

(Click on an image to view it larger)








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And in situ: