Cold Feet

It is the last day of February and have been working for 2 months making my patchwork wall coverings. When I started this blog I vowed to show the journey of the work that I design and make – to explain the problems and possibly the solutions……but this latest project has been keeping me awake and I am still not certain that I will get it sorted and onto the sitting room walls. I am suffering a severe case of Cold Feet!

After I had stitched a wall full of the original design I kept feeling that there was just too much going on – all those colours and stripes and collisions of patterns (all the things I normally love) just looked like porridge – multi coloured porridge – something had to go….What went was the yellow stripes – leaving me with Mauve, Blue and Green strips – this took quite a lot of grief and several days ( and nights) to decide to change things – somehow the well-honed critical faculty I use for all projects, professional as well as personal, has deserted me during lockdown. But once I had pulled apart the original piece and made another wall-full, things started to look possible. I made another design chart this time with repeating patterns built in – once a textile designer…….

the new highly coloured “working drawings” for the main sitting room walls

Things get back on track by mid January – the first panel is on the studio wall padded and quilted using the new walking-foot on my favourite old Bernina sewing machine.

By February the work gets properly underway – a whole stitched wall – full – but still very uncertain about this entire idea.

I try these first panels around the room seeing how the whole thing will look – trying to imagine it without those brilliant pink walls is hard…and how will it look behind all our pictures – yikes – it really needs to accommodate paintings and other art works that cover every other wall of this house…I start to realise that what it needs is more GREEN.

Trying the panels on other sitting room walls – it needs more GREEN to reflect the garden

back to photoshop to play with a version of favourite “Green Blue” or is it Blue Green” by Farrow and Ball which is used throughout the house

I decide that if all else fails the patchworks will look lovely in one of the bedrooms. But this still leaves us the problem of the damp disfigured walls and meanwhile the rest of room is being demolished …. did I mention we are cutting and making verdigris copper tiles for the fireplace?

Lockdown Patchwork Project

Determined to make the most of the new year 2021 winter lockdown in the UK, I decided to cover my damp (although supposedly cured) and now ruined sitting room walls…….with patchwork!

And with real fabric. the left-overs from my work organising quilt making in the UK for Kaffe Fassett‘s books of patchwork and quilting designs. Below are 2 of my favourite quilts from previous books that I have worked on and which I referenced for both colour and patten.

Patchwork is part of my professional textile practice and I have always used it for all types of furnishings, from wall papers for Heart Space Studios to my old but still glamorous dining room curtains.

Now I chose fabrics that reflected the colours in the rest of the house: basically turquoisey blues, buttery yellows, mauves and greens – I like colours to blend through the rooms. I had painted the hot pink walls for a New Year’s Day party 2 years ago….as you do!

I really loved the first fat version on my studio quilt wall above, but seeing it in situ was another thing. I wanted to cover the whole room and suddenly I felt totally overwhelmed by colour and pattern – the photoshopped version confirmed my misgivings…..it just hit me in the face and made me feel hot and sticky!!!!!

photoshopped version of sitting room walls!!!!!

The larger size of the fabric pieces, 21inches in length, made the patterns fight one another; in the smaller pieces used for quilts the patterns meld together as the eye sees so many at once AND there is only 1 quilt per room. Here there will be at least 6 large quilt sized pieces from floor to ceiling on all walls. Back to the studio.

And back to the oldest and simplest way of softening and unifying coloured fabrics – dip them in brewed tea. Above see the different shades to be had using: top = 1 bag, middle = 2 bags, lower = 2 bags boiled. It is a shame to kill the brilliant singing colours of the Kaffe Fassett Collective’s fabrics but hey ho! These wall coverings will take months to make and mount on the walls and then we have to live with them for ever…….I am not doing this again!

Back in my studio sorting out newer softer colours. Meanwhile the Kaffe Fassett Studios had kindly sent me lots more fabric strips based on my original sample….dipping a few of them in week tea I placed them on top of the quilt wall – wow this looks like a mad Japanese kimono design! Should I introduce stripes?

I am now 3 weeks into this sampling phase, I am still uncertain about the design on the wall. My Christmas star light reigns over chaos.

Time to get a grip! sort out the separately coloured triangles and tidy up

I set them all out on the table ready to start work – tomorrow. Looking at the fabrics the next day they appeared to look so calm totally unlike the design on the wall. Maybe it is the Covid experience of the last 10 months but now I seem to want calm from my colours. I looked at the table and my eyes just glided over the strips of colours – back to the quilt wall again – to organise the diamonds into stripes.

Now my eyes tend to glide up and down rather than dotting about to see other diamond combinations. But that is as far as I can take this designing phase: there comes a time to every project when you just have to commit, and we are now into the first week of the new year. So I am simply sewing one single coloured strip at a time, and when I have finished them I can start to play with the design again – it should see me through until I get vaccinated.

4th July 2020: My Corvid Birthday Look

my corona virus uniform

Today is my birthday (no need to say which one). I am celebrating with a party for a very few neighbours in the garden in a style permitted by the loosened lockdown rules in England, starting today,

And here is the dress I am wearing ( Yacco Maricard -my favourite design company) bought at great expense back in March when I knew shopping was off the agenda for months; reasoning that it cost less than all those little buys necessary to seasonal adjustments, this year they include a mask and sunglasses. I admit it is one of my favourite photographs of me – ever!

I also thought that I would prefer to wear something lovely to enjoy everyday, even if I saw no-one else but my husband and my dogs, while continuing to work busily in my home studio.

How wrong I was – as further posts will illustrate……