Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Bunny

Excuse me for not being able to think of a more creative post title. .I've been down with a stomach bug and my creative thinking brain isn't quite back up to scratch yet! Remember when I said that I only had my cross stitch WIP in the UK with me? Well I'd forgotten that in the bottom compartment of my stitching box was a pack of crochet hooks. Which came in handy when my sister-in-law came to stay last week and asked me to teach her how to crochet.

It was a bit nerve wracking for me, as I'd never taught someone before, but fortunately she took to it very quickly, which left me needing something to do with my hands and the practice yarn while keeping an eye on her progress . . .

Sometimes it's so nice to make something with no real purpose in mind! Toys are something I have to convince myself into, as I don't have any children to play with them/give them too. But this bunny was a simple enough pattern to keep my hands busy while not concentrating to hard, though at the same time it taught me a few new skills!

The pattern is Spring Bunny, by Stephanie Lau. I used just over one ball of Puppets Lyric 100% cotton yarn in ecru, as well as a scrap of green yarn borrowed from sister in law, some felt scraps and embroidery thread (bunny is stuffed with cotton wool). I think the face would have looked better with safety eyes, but my local hobbycraft didn't stock the right size. The limb connections are also less than perfect, but on the whole I'm pretty pleased!

Now to get back to the WIP cross stitch . . .

Monday, January 13, 2014

Progress on 'Tuscany'

I'm missing my sewing machine so much at the moment! We're all settled into our new home in the Midlands (still missing some crucial furniture, but we're getting there) and moving into a nice routine after the hectic Christmas period.

BUT I can think of sooo many things I want to make for the house and for the moment have no sewing machine (or supplies) to make them on (or with). The only craft stuff that came in my plane luggage from New Zealand was my cross stitch box and current WIP stitch. So in the mean time, I'm trying to put in a few stitches every day on said WIP, John Clayton's 'Tuscany'

Not looking to bad, if I do say so myself, though the green confetti I'm in the middle of at the moment makes me less likely to pick it up for long stretches! I have some hand embroidery patterns on my wishlist for upcoming birthday, so hopefully I'll have a bit more variety in my crafty life soon . . .


Book Review: Quilting with a Modern Slant

Modern quilting allows artists the freedom to play with traditions and take liberties with fabrics, patterns, colors, stitching, and the ways in which they all connect. In Quilting with a Modern Slant, Rachel May introduces you to more than 70 modern quilters who have developed their own styles, methods, and aesthetics. Their ideas, their quilts, and their tips, tutorials, and techniques will inspire you to try something new and follow your own creativity wherever it leads.

Quilting with a Modern Slant 

Rachel May (2013) 

Buy it on Book Depository

Thank you to Storey Publishing for an advanced reader copy of this title. All opinions are my own. 

Quilting with a Modern Slant is an exploration of modern quilters. It's beautifully designed and set out, with gorgeous use of colour and design within the book itself. Unfortunately that's probably the best thing about it.

Rachel May introduces us to 70 modern quilters . . . and that's it. Each quilter gets a page to two pages, which once combined with undeniably beautiful images and large quotations amounts to little more than two paragraphs. In such a small space, the introductions end up reading like advertising copy - a quick run down of what the quilter has accomplished. Often it's more of a plug for the quilter's latest book of their own. There's nothing new here, no in-depth interviews or insight into the quilter's inspirations. And with that in mind, I just don't understand what this book is useful for. The photos make it gorgeous as a coffee table book, but I suspect only the most die-hard of modern quilters would find the content itself interesting. As an avid all-round crafter, who tends towards the modern when dabbling in quilting, it just all felt a bit dull. I recognised about half the names introduced and felt with those that I didn't learn anything new, for those I didn't know the book didn't give me any incentive to find out more.

Quilting with a Modern Slant includes multiple projects (2-3 per chapter), but again I felt like we were breaking no new ground. Considering the book is really going to be of most interest to experienced quilters who have at least some knowledge of the modern quilting scene (if I wasn't a quilter at all, I'd feel totally lost in the never-ending name dropping.), many of the projects seemed a little basic - there's an introductory sections that explains how to make a quilt and what you need, the projects include a 'paper pierced pillow' and 'improv piercing with scraps.' Nothing that you can't find a good tutorial for online.

Overall it just felt like this one missed the mark. The projects are to basic for most intermediate-experienced quilters, but when the majority of the content is advertising copy for quilter's deep within the modern quilting scene with photos of gorgeous, professional level quilts, it's not really appropriate for the beginner quilter either.

2/5 stars