Monday, 12 April 2010

Brighton and more blocks.....

Hello all you wonderful people!

I know that, strictly speaking, this blog is supposed to be about all things crafty but I'm afraid you'll have to humour me for a moment while I tell you about my trip to the coast on Saturday! I guess the reason that I am so ecstatic about it is that I managed to drive myself all the way there! I know, I know, this sounds ridiculous. But you must bear in mind that I am a terrible driver and suffer from a severe lack of confidence! If I do not know how to get somewhere then, 9 times out of 10, I don't go! I can't parrallel park (indeed, most of my parking should really be labelled as a form of vehicle abandonment), I can only drive into a parking space that is on my right-hand side (no idea about this one!) and, despite having completed an undergraduate degree in English literature, it seems that I cannot read road signs. Honestly - Chaucer, Bronte, Shakespeare, Keats, all no problem. Faced with a simple sign that says 'A23' and suddenly I'm f***ed, absolutely no comprehension! Sat-nav's were invented for people like me and Saturday was my first real opportunity to use one!

We arrived at around 7.30 am (I wanted to miss the rush!) and were greeted, of course, by this:

As you can imagine, Denny thought she had died and gone to Doggie Heaven. All she wanted to do was play and so Daddy Nathan was left in charge of entertaining pooches while I had a nice rest and enjoyed the sounds of the sea.....

We didn't stay all day long. We walked from the pier to the Marina and back, played with the dogs (Bruce is the only dog I know who believes that drinking salt-water is an option!) and gazed, open-mouthed, in some of the art shop windows (needless to say, we didn't go in. It is unlikely that Bruce would wait to be invited before cocking his leg against one of the frames. Indeed, rather worrying was the fact that most shops had several large canvases displayed outside, so I felt like we were an 'accident' waiting to happen).

Perhaps the main reason that I felt compelled to mention my trip here, is the artistic inspiration that Brighton provides. I accept that this may be something that exists in only my own imagination, but I always percieve a strong sense of nostalgia, I guess, whenever I visit a coastal town like Brighton. Take this image for instance:

Surely, I am not the only one that is struck by the disparity of what this view currently represents and what it stood for 100 years ago? I cannot help but imagine that Brighton is, in some way, aware of its own inability to ever attain the giddy heights of fashionability that it has previously enjoyed. I look at this and I imagine sweet little girls in pinafore dresses, corseted women in ivory coloured lace and delicate shawls and moustached men strutting the promenade with canes, the gold chains from their pocket-watches glistening in the sunlight. In previous years it would have been the height of fashion to spend time in Brighton, to enjoy the sights and sea air. Nowadays, a day trip to the seaside isn't often considered a noteworthy event and, while I believe it to be a positivething that everybody now has the time, money and freedom to pop along whenever they want, I still cannot help but feel that the place has lost something. You know, like Christmas has lost something since it became a collossus excuse for gratuitous commercialism? And the artistic inspiration that I mentioned? Again, maybe it's just me, but it makes me want to create something that captures both the 'then' and 'now' of the place, the whole history of Brighton. I assume this is why there are so many artists living in the area - maybe my observations are far from original?!

Not liking to spend too much time away from my sewing, I continued piecing my 'C' blocks for the Mod Sampler quilt when I got home. These are all finished now, so it will be on to Block 'D' next. What do you think?

I also made some decisions about the remaining parts of the quilt this weekend, which resulted in placing another hefty online order! I came to the conclusion that, although white would not make the blocks 'pop', I did not want to saturate the quilt by using a coloured sashing. My compromise is to use a creamy, ivory sashing and a light, fresh green for the binding ('Melon', I believe it was called). The backing will be another favourite Amy Butler print. Incidentally, has anybody ever used these guys to order fabric? They currently have quite an extensive selection of AB's older prints that are at the reduced price of £6.50 a metre. Pretty reasonable, I thought? Also, if you order before midnight tonight, you get an additional 10% off (and no, I am most certainly not on commission!).

My final comment today is about wadding/batting (whatever it's called). I've ordered a cotton blend for my quilt which, so I'm told, will shrink by 3-5% unless pre-washed. Now I love the idea of achieving a puckered, vintage look by shrinking the wadding after quilting, but I am a bit nervous about committing. Does anybody have any advice or horror stories in this area? Is it an accepted stylistic choice, or is it just going to make my work look like I made a massive mistake?! All comments gratefully received this time....

M xxx


  1. Yay - I can see your pictures again. Sometimes I can see them, othertimes it won't let me. Quilt looking fab - you really have lined the squares up well and good colour combo. Denny and Bruce looking cute too:-) Sorry not been in touch - crazy busy as usual made worse by school hols and a social life(shock horror!). Be back to normal next week and will let you know about courses. Haven't forgotten. Big

  2. Sounds lie a fun weekend! I like the blocks you finished! :)

  3. What a fun day in Brighton! Your quilt blocks are looking fabulous too, I bought some Amy Butler from Doughtys for my last quilt, although that was at the Olympia stitch show. But they are great, my Mother goes to their shop in Hereford - always really helpful.