Transforming a Pillow

The mention of shoddy in my previous post, reminded me of a pillow I rescued from the bin when sorting out things at my parents’ house last summer.

shoddypute

I think it originally came from our grandparents’ home, and I remember sleeping with that pillow when I was a little girl. It was very lumpy back then, and even worse now. Nobody else wanted it, and my first thought was to toss it, but then I rather liked the two fabrics it was made of, and since it would also be good for supporting the breakables during our drive back home, it went into the car instead of the bin.

shoddy

Back home I opened it up and emptied the filling into a plastic bag. This is what shoddy looks like after it has been inside a pillow that has been used for more than 60 years. Very lumpy indeed.

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Shoddy is made from old woolen garments, like the socks in my previous post, which have been shredded and carved into fibers, and then carded and made into fillings for pillows and duvets. Close up, one can see some of the original threads and many different coloured fibers.

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I washed the fabric and put it away in a plastic bin.

Then we bought a new sofa, and I needed a couple of new pillows. I had seen one in a recent quilting magazine which gave me some ideas, and when looking through my stash for some background fabric, the old pillow came to mind.

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I brought it out, and decided to use both fabrics, and I could even keep the old seam. I cut it one ruler width from the seam on both sides, and then cut the length into two parts, one for each pillow.

Then I added strips of a blue cotton damask fabric, which I had dyed myself many years ago. The two backgrounds are a bit different in size as the inner pillows I had available were of two different sizes. I also turned the stripes horizontally on one, and vertically on the other.

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Then both backgrounds were layered and quilted with a wavy, on point, grid.

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Next, I drew lots of circles in three different sizes on paper backed fusible web. They were ironed on to the back side of many different yellow, orange, red, and some purple scraps.

 

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Then I placed my “flowers” on the green and blue background. I moved them around till I was satisfied with their placement, then ironed them down.

 

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I sewed around each circle using the satin stitch on my machine. Since the background was layered and quilted, there was no need for a stabilizer.

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I drew some stems with chalk, and then sewed them using a wider satin stitch.

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In order to make some leaves, I ironed strips of different greens onto fusible web. Then I drew some leaf shapes in different sizes, and made some templates which I used to draw on the paper side of the fusible web already ironed to the strips. I cut out lots of leaves so I would have some to choose from when distributing them on the background.

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When I was satisfied with the placement, I ironed and sewed around all the leaves using the satin stitch.

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Then I only had to make backings for the pillows. Since I did not have zippers available, I made the envelope style backing. I use that a lot.

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And onto the sofa they went.

:-)

Eldrid

Old Socks

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Recently I had the chance to see some of the old socks that Annemor Sundbø rescued from the ragpile at her factory Torridal Tweed. The socks and other old and worn knitted garments were going to be recycled and turned into shoddy.

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However, when Annemor took over the factory and went through the pile of rags, she noticed the beautiful patterns on the knitted garments, and they became more unusual as she neared the oldest layers at the bottom of the pile.

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She decided to save many of these old rags in order to document older knitting patterns and traditions. Her work resulted in several books and a collection of garments for exhibitions. What I got to see, is the sock collection.

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All the socks have different patterns, and it was also interesting to see how they had been worn and mended. If one part of the sock became totally useless, usually the foot part, it had sometimes been cut away, and a new heel, foot and toe had been knitted onto the old rib and leg.

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Sometimes it also looked like and old sweater arm had been used for the rib and leg part with a new foot knitted onto it.

These rags are a legacy of harder times, when people had to turn every shilling, turn bed sheets sides-to-middle, and turn one garment into a new one to make do. It is not all that long ago.

 

You can read more about the salvaged rags at Annemor Sundbø’s website.

 

:-)

Eldrid

 

Edited: In my next post, you can see what shoddy looks like.

The Four Seasons Embroidered Frieze

This summer Kaffe Fassett’s exhibition “50 Years of Colour” has been on show at Hadeland Glassverk here in Norway. I finally got to see it during its last week, and it was indeed glorious. But I also got to see a lot more.

Since we had travelled a long way for this, and stayed a couple of nights, we also decided to visit the nearby Blaafarveverket in Modum, as we had heard they usually have some good exhibitions there during summer.

blaafarveverket

On arrival we were presented with the options of buying discounted tickets for any two of three sites, or all three. We thought that we had time for only two, and when hearing that one of them had some embroidery on show, we decided on that one, in addition to the main site, – which showed paintings in blue colours and also lots of blue glass and china, linked to the former production of cobalt mined in this area.

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The second site, Nyfossum, used to be the director’s dwelling. The old house and gardens are being restored to former glory, while the log barn in the photo above has been turned into a gallery to house the annual summer exhibitions.

What a surprise to step into the barn and discover that the embroidery on show was actually THE Four Seasons Frieze, also called the Life Frieze, made by Torvald Moseid during the years 1961-1977. I had read about it in some magazine many, many years ago, and I think I also may have glimpsed it on tv at some time, but had never seen it in “person”.

Impressive is an understatement. It is 62 meters long and 58 centimeters tall, and all in one long piece of linen fabric, embroidered all over, mostly using the couching stitch with yarn spun from wool from the double coated Norwegian tail-less breed Spelsau.

The whole piece was hung around the walls in three separate rooms and a hallway. It was not possible to see all of it at once, – you had to move from room to room.

 

Below are more photos showing details from the frieze. I have put them into four groups, one for each season.

For every season there was also a small text explaining some of the scenes. As they were only in Norwegian I have tried to write up an English version, but I fear the poetry of the texts got lost in translation.

springtext

Spring
Early spring starts with naked trees and dead leaves.

The break through is like a powerful gust of wind. Flocks of migratory birds are carried by the wind. They fly with their heads stretched out towards the spring, and the wind is playing in groves and thickets.

The woods turn green, and flowers spring. The tree of spring spreads its glory like an open fan.

Flowers and plants are grown and tended to. Two who are enthralled with each other stand in the middle of them, as if they are part of the flowers’ beauty and vitality.

 

 

summertextSummer

Summer starts with the big wedding feast. Flutes are played, and in the flowering fields there are undulating rows of dancers.

The summer bride has got her finery on. She has a classic profile, she is pale, and a myrtle garland is tied around her brow. The summer breeze is playing with her long hair. A knot of glorious summer flowers is tied behind her neck, and the wind blows her bridal veil into the wedding feast.

The wedding feast is like a flaming bonfire which turns into cascades of colourful midsummer plants.  The midsummer sun shines in bright red and yellow.

Midsummer blooming has a boundless lavishness of shapes and colours. Large flower bowls are opening up, and children are playing with pollen stamens.

 autumntextAutumn

The birds bring the first signs of autumn. They pull golden threads across the earth. The threads turn into light, golden veils which are pulled over the woods.

Nature closes down towards the winter time. Colours and shapes change the trees and plants. Large, brown, knotty plants with filled seed pods are contrasting with the blue.

 

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Winter

The winter opens with the stormy wind hitting the trees, and dead leaves in brown, yellow, and red are blown into the air.

Through winter cold and frost the death rider on his wild horse charges into the night. Nature is desolate and silent.

The wind plays with light snowflakes, and they are dancing around like pearl embroidered suns.

In the darkness of the winter night a flaming ice rose shines like the fiery northern lights, filled with hope.

 

Needless to say I was above impressed when walking along the frieze, trying to take it all in, – and even more so now, when working with the photos for this blog post, and I really got to study the details.

One cannot help but wonder about the drive and stamina that the artist would need to finish a piece like this. And even so, when comparing the beginning and the end, one can almost get the impression that he did not want it to end, as the sheer masses and density of the stitches are ever increasing towards the end.

Still, the artist has produced two similar works of art after this one. His second frieze, the 50 meters long Orfeus and Euridike (1978 – 1985), was also displayed at Nyfossum in the neighbouring rooms, and was almost as impressive as this one, although a bit different.  I took lots of photos here as well.

His third and last work of this scale, is the 70 meters long frieze based on Draumkvedet, a Norwegian medieval ballad often compared to Dante’s Divina Commedia.  This was finished in 1993. I should like to see that one as well, – maybe I will be so lucky some time in the future.

:-)

Eldrid

ps

“The Four Seasons” and “Orfeus and Euridike” will hang at Nyfossum till the middle of September this year. There are still two more weeks to get to see them.

Silversea

It is time for the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival again. Since I am working on commissions which can not be published yet, I will enter an older quilt into the festival this time.

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This wall hanging was made in 2004, and is one of a series of quilts I made using old photos taken on and around the island where I live.

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The photo I used here, was taken sometime in the 1920ies during the cod fishing season, which is usually in February till April. It is probably early in the season since there is still snow.

The photo is taken on the fjord, which we have a good view of from our house. As you can see, there are lots of small boats on the fjord, each one hoping to get their share of the valuables still swimming deep down underneath, – hence the title I assigned to this piece: “Our Share of the Silver”.

Some women owned their own boats and gear, and traditionally they occupied the innermost part of the fjord, which was then called “Kjerringhavet”, – meaning “The Women’s Sea”

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I manipulated the photo so that there are a lot more boats with women in them.

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Then I designed some blocks, which would look like a swirling school of fish when put together, and placed the photo in the middle. I also turned the photo blue to better blend in with the fabrics I planned to use.

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I thought it was a bit tame with only the blue colours, so I added some sunshine, – which I am also sure these women had in their lives from time to time.

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The photo was printed onto cotton fabric, and the rest of the quilt has both cotton and silk fabrics in it. The quilting lines follow the movement in the blocks surrounding the photo.

The quilt was eventually bought by an organization who then donated it to the old people’s home in our neighbouring village Kalvåg, where it now hangs.

This is entered in the Art quilt category of the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival. Be sure to go over there and have a look at all the beautiful works that have been posted, and also make sure you visit the other categories while you are at it. You can also vote for your favourite of each category from May 21st to May 29th.

This is my 13th time participating in the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival. My previous entries can be found here:

Spring 2009

Autumn 2009

Spring 2010

Autumn 2010

Spring 2011

Autumn 2011

Spring 2012

Autumn 2012

Spring 2013

Autumn 2013

Spring 2014

Autumn 2014

 

:-)

Eldrid

 

Annual Spring Report 2015

May 1st has come and gone, so my annual spring report is overdue, but here it is.

spring15a

I guess there is no such thing as a “normal” spring, but if there were, this would be close, I think. At least this is very close to my memories of what spring used to be.

spring15b

Since we were going away on May 1st, I took these photos in the evening the day before, and nothing had changed much overnight, so I think they count as May 1st photos.

We have had a relatively mild winter with little snow here on the coast (inland dwellers will tell a different story), but the spring has been quite cool, especially April. The leaves on the birch trees have just started to come out, but very slowly.

spring15d

 

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The daffodils are budding, and a few are in bloom.

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The exceptions are the ones by the walls facing south, they have been blooming for some time. The crocuses are all finished, unlike the very cold spring 2 years ago, when they were still in full bloom on May 1st.

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The flowering currant bush is also in full bloom, ….

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…. but none of the rhododendrons have shown their colour yet, – not even the early ones.

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The tulips by the wall are ready to bloom, and were opening up when we arrived back home two days later.

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The rose bush has got some green leaves, but the spirea bush only has a hint of green on it.

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No leaves on our old rowan tree yet, but it is budding. We still have snow falling now and again.

As we travelled into the fjords on May 1st, we could see that there was still a lot of snow in the mountains, and the greenery varied from quite green to none at all, depending on whether the slopes were facing south or north, and on the altitude. Some high lying farms inland still had their fields covered with snow.

 

 

:-)

Eldrid

Bags

vesker

In between commissions and sewing for the grandchildren, I have managed to get a few bags done this autumn.

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I drew a mosaic leaf pattern which I appliqued using a variety of cotton fabrics, plus a few bits of gold lamé scattered in between.

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Then I quilted a few leafs on each side and did some ecco quilting around each leaf.

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The main fabrics are linen and linen blends.

The green bags have appliqued mosaic leafs on both sides, while the neutral coloured one has one applique leaf, and only a quilted pattern on the other side.

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I also made a couple of purple bags similar to this one using my fabric prints. The original bag was made from silk noile, but the ones above have linen blends as the main fabric.

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Both bags have one square and one oval fabric print motif.  The square fabric print motif is the same on both bags…

… while the oval fabric prints on the other side are different on the two bags.

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All the bags have a lining with pockets and a zippered pocket.

These bags will be for sale.

:-)

Eldrid

Unexpected Treasure

 

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Thanks to a family friend, this lovely book found its way to our home this Christmas.

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I have not read it yet, and know nothing about the content of the book.

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But I saw that it was beautiful the second after it emerged from the wrapping paper, and it felt good to hold it in my hands.

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Of course, I also saw that it is not new, as it has some wear to it both front and back, but that adds to its charm.

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When opening the front cover I discovered these lovely endpapers, which took me back to our childhood school library.  The first leaf has come loose, and I am debating whether to tape it or not. At the moment it has been left as it is.

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Also, the old fashioned pattern reminded me of tone on tone quilting fabric.

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On the next page was another surprise: the year of printing. This is one of the reasons I think paper books are superior to digital ones: someone can still hold them in their hands and enjoy their beauty 164 years after they were printed.

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As I mentioned above, I have still not read it, but the first page looks promising. It has only two sentences, – the second one even continues on to the next page. There will be a lot of untangling to do, and I will probably expand my vocabulary as I already see a couple of words I will have to look up.

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When closing the book, I also noticed there was a pattern of very fine blue and red lines on the leaf ends.

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According to Wikipedia, Tauchnitz was a Leipzig based print business and publisher, providing a series of affordable reprints of works of American and English authors. The books were like mass market paper backs of their time, although paper back is not something that comes to mind when handling this book.

It will be treasured.

:-)

Eldrid

 

Festival of Quilts V – Russian Gallery

As I happen to look back into my computer’s photo albums, I find that there are more treasures I would like to share. In this post, the quilts are from the Russian Gallery at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham earlier this year.

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This time the Russian gallery was a one person show by the artist Elena Folomyeva.

She had hung an impressive body of work, with all of the quilts having a nature theme.

Here is a closer look on the quilt that is behind her in the portrait photo. It is called “Tales of the Forest”.

“At the Fountain” was the first one that caught my eye. I liked the mixture of patchwork, applique and “line drawings” in the quilt.

I also especially loved the “Chameleon”, and the technique that was used to picture this elusive animal.

“Portrait of a Woodpecker” and the Owl quilt (sorry, did not get the full title of the last one), both capture their motifs in a more “painterly” manner. Love the small details.

The many layers in “Goose” appealed to me, – both the pictorial rendition and the flying geese borders. Also love the background details.

The study of this Birch tree trunk is very well done.  The diagonal shifts in quilting patterns and sewing technique add interest without disturbing the serenity of the motif, I think.

elenafoymyeva9breakfastonthegrassI really loved the humour in this one: “Breakfast on the Grass”. I had to smile at the very appropriate holes.

This one is called “He Who Woke up the Sun”. Solar energy really shows in the background quilting.

Here are more gorgeous quilts with plants in them, – each one very different from the other, yet somehow similar.

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This one is my favourite, I think. It is called “November”.

The two quilts above were a bit different from the others in that they were in black and grey tones, but the theme is still nature. They are called “Cool Lace” and “The Night Garden”.

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Above is the artist’s statement that was hung with the quilts. Here are the links to the artist’s website, and her blog. Enjoy!

 

:-)

Eldrid

The Pokemon Quilt

Last year I made a quilt for our youngest grandson based on a drawing that he had made. Then the older brother got inspired too, and wanted a quilt made from his own Pokemon drawings.

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He made four drawings which I copied and mirrored, drew the different parts on fusible web, and machine appliqued them to a background fabric.

 

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The four blocks were then framed and joined to make up the centre of the quilt. He had chosen all the fabrics for the quilt, and as you can probably see, he loves orange.

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I then made strip sets from the rest of the chosen fabrics, cut them into different widths and distributed them around the quilt centre.

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When the top was finished, the most exciting part (for me) started: I got to try my hands at longarm machine quilting. I spent two days at Sølvi Quiltestudio, first doing a test piece to learn how to use the buttons and other essentials, and then quilting the top on the second day, – and getting lots of useful tips along the way (plus some unforgettable apple cake).

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Quilting a quilt in one day, and not getting a stiff neck and shoulders afterwards, weighs heavily on the YES-side when considering whether to buy myself a longarm machine. The jury is still out on the subject, though.

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Here is the recipient adding a final touch to his quilt. Granny, in her total ignorance about the world of pokemons, had put in one of the figures upside down, so he decided to make something else out of it by drawing a face with a pigma pen. Now there’s a lesson: If you cannot hide a mistake, be creative and make something positive out of it, – embellish it and show it off!:-)

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And here is the final result, shown off by the proud owner …..

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….. before folding it to take it home with him.

 

This quilt is entered in the ROYGBIV Quilt Category at the Blogger’s Quilt festival.  Please head over to Amy’s site and have fun checking out all the other entries there. You can also nominate quilts for the Viewer’s Choice awards.

 

So far, I have managed to participate in all the Blogger’s Quilt Festivals, and below are the links to my previous entries:

Spring 2009

Autumn 2009

Spring 2010

Autumn 2010

Spring 2011

Autumn 2011

Spring 2012

Autumn 2012

Spring 2013

Autumn 2013

Spring 2014

 

:-)

Eldrid

 

Festival of Quilts IV – Quilt Creations

I am still enjoying my photos from the Festival of Quilts, even though this is not exactly news anymore.

They have a competition category called Quilt Creations, where you may enter every quilty thing that is not exactly a quilt or a wall hanging.   It can be clothing, wearable art or 3 dimensional pieces, which must have length, breadth and depth. This post will cover some of these.

The coat above was made by Marijke van Weltzen from The Netherlands, and was called “Once in a Blue Moon”. The inspiration is the story about the crane daughter: A girl who turned into a crane and secretly wove beautiful cloth, and who flew away when she was discovered.

citrinesque985

This ensemble named “Citrinesque”, was made by Kathy Knapp from USA.

It was inspired by the citrine gemstone which has a beautiful yellow colour.

devotion978Here is a little beauty: “Devotion” by Judith Anderson.

Using the knowledge gained from a class in faux taxidermy, she made this piece from old and new wool, net, lace, and other embellishments.

diaghilev993This “outfit” was called “Diaghilev Comes to the Party”, and was made by Sally Hutson.

The artist writes: “Inspired by the extraordinary theatrical performance of Diaghilev’s Ballet Russe from the early 20th century, this garment captures the art of modernism and the fun of the party!”

firelight979“Firelight” by Jane Appelbee.

The artist had a new wood burning stove installed, and was told that she would be watching that more then the TV, – which she did. The flames licking the logs inspired this piece.

henge953“Henge of Celtic Seasonal Totems” by Linzi Upton.

Circle of nine mystical Celtic Totems inspired by votive trees and stone circles found in Ancient Britain.

Linzi is also famous for her quilted Yurts (Mongolian dwellings).

holst973“What on Earth would Holst think?” by Liz Clark. The artist calls these 3D-off-the-wall quilts. Motifs and colours are chosen to represent the seasons.

Another coat, “Homage to Hundertwasser” made by Catherine Lawes. Inspired by Hundertwasser’s paintings and architecture.

This lovely creature was made by Claire Crouchley, and is called “Naiad”. It received a “Highly Commended”.

The artist says: “The doll was created with sequin scales and beaded embellishments, including seaweed and jewellery to reflect her vain nature. She sits on driftwood which is being slowly claimed by the marine life which surrounds her”.

splash955“Splash” by Linda Turner won a “Judges Choice”.

The bowl is made of organza layered between soluble stabilizers and is free motion thread painted to illustrate the action of water when an object or raindrop falls into the water.

takeabreak972“Take a Break” by Ulrike Tillmanns.

An old teak bench, covered in fabric using weather proof glue and lacquer.

tigersandgoats957c“Tigers and Goats Game” by Gillian Travis.

The artist’s interpretation of a game that is very popular in India.

woodlandfantasy965This one is lovely, – “Woodland Fantasy” by Helen Alexander Bristow.

Lovely free machine embroidery on felted fabric. Beautiful colours.

My own quilt, Rosemadonna, was also shown in this category. I did not get any good photos of it on the location, but it can be seen in this post.

bedtimemonster995This is one of a “Collection of Quilted Monsters and Bedtime Beasties” made by Daisy May Collingridge.

The artist says: “The quilt monster is a beast with a fickle permanence. Its presence only captured in the blink of an eye. Yet, it is always there, under the bed or wrapped tight around you”.

The one above, along with the two other “Bedtime Monsters”, and many other outfits were shown at the “Fashion Show” on the Friday night during the Festival. Some of the outfits were also in the competition, like the one above, but not all of them.

Below are some photos taken during the Fashion Show. The photo quality varies as I was sitting near the back, the models were moving, and the lighting varied across the stage. I did not take notes during the show, so I have not got the names of the various makers.

:-)

Eldrid

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