well, it’s done…

… the ‘when will this ever be finished’ wall hanging for City & Guilds Patchwork & Quilting is now finished!

This was my first experiment using felt as the batting so it became an integral part of the design. The assessment was to make a piece using appliqu̩ techniques. It has three layers Рpainted silk organza, handmade felt, and painted silk pongee. The shadow appliqu̩ shapes are hand dyed cotton and hand painted silk, and the machine and hand quilting are in cotton.

I cut back the top layer of some of the shadow appliqué and machine quilted areas after quilting them. I finished the edges with buttonhole stitch and then needlefelted them to break down the stitches into the felt. The support is a piece of driftwood I found on the beach, and the work is 53cm x 78cm (or 76cm x 78cm if you include the wood).

applique hanging

applique detail

applique detail

applique detail

applique detail

appliqué in progress

I made good progress today with the appliqué wall hanging which is my first assessment piece for City & Guilds 7822. I got all the shapes laid out ready to shadow quilt. On the left of the pic is the overall design; on the right, how it will change with painted silk organza pieces laid over it. After it’s quilted I’ll be cutting back into it to reveal some of the coloured shapes and the felt batting again. I’m sure I’ll be tweaking the composition but this is about it. I’m going to treat myself to some variegated machine threads at the Festival of Quilts, so I won’t stitch it till after that, but I can get the pieces fused to the felt and think about the quilting for a few days. Now that I see the appliqué pieces on the felt, I’m not sure that I’d go on to add the top layer if it wasn’t for a quilting assessment, but I think if I’m careful with placing the stitching I can cut back effectively to get some interesting contrasts.


I tried a technique from Tray Dyeing yesterday – not with Procion MX dyes (as used in the book), because I don’t have everything I need for that yet; but I dyed some strips of silk with Javana silk paints. These bits were torn off the edge of one of them to put in my sketchbook – I sent the piece off to my daughter with some other bits, and forgot to take a photo. I used lemon, magenta, and cyan together – I love the resulting zingy colours. The silk was dry and loosely scrumpled in a small box before squeezing the colours on with a pipette.


I was reading a very interesting entry a couple of days ago on Karren Brito’s blog Entwinements – What people will do to wear red – about the effects of dyes on the skin – in clothing, not just while you’re using them. Food for thought, especially as I hope some of my dyeing experiments will end up in my wardobe. If you’re interested in dyeing there is some wonderful shibori including wearables on Entwinements.

feltmaking today

I’ve been making felts for the wadding in my wall hanging. The red is prefelted, the green – well, it’s done and the colours are what I wanted but I used some alpaca fibre and it’s very fluffy – I think I’ll probably use it for something else and do another, but first I’ll get the purple made. The fleece is mostly merino, space-dyed by Jan Hicks, with some plain colours (maybe also merino) I got from Reticule here in Kendal, and a little pink and red fleece I still have from a workshop with Jenny Cowern many years ago.


samples for hanging

I took advantage of the sunshine yesterday to make a felt sample outdoors, and spent most of this afternoon stitching it to sample ideas for my City and Guilds appliqué assessment – I wrote about the design in this post. I’ve changed my mind and gone down to two layers now and if I need a third (I’m not sure if this actually has to be technically a quilt), I’ll add it to the back – two layers on the front will obscure the felt layer more than I want. My roses have become more open as they just looked like blobs otherwise – not abstract roses – just blobs…


I’m expecting some silk gauze to arrive soon and hoping it may be a little more sheer than the silk in this sample, which is just some I had in roughly the right colours. I need to practise my machine stitching too as it’s ages since I’ve done any – I like freedom and a certain rawness – but only if it’s deliberate!

designboard done

I got my designboard together and emailed it to Linda. I scanned in the cuttings, sketches and paintings and added some text, so the board as a whole only exists digitally. I’m putting all the bits and pieces in a sketchbook so I can refer to them easily.

design board

the inspirational images are cuttings from Country Living

The hanging’s going to be in three sections. I’m thinking of the bottom layer in lightweight felt, maybe merino with some silk fibres for lustre, with two dyed sheer silk layers laid over it, so that I can cut back through one and both layers of silk and/or trap some shapes between the silk layers. Appliquéd ‘flowers’ on the surface could be silk organza/machine stitched slips/silk paper shapes. I want to keep everything quite light. Time to experiment and sample and see how it might work.

design in context