Archive for the month “February, 2012”

The Artist’s Rule

I am reading a book for Lent called, ‘The Artist’s Rule – nurturing your creative soul with monastic wisdom’:

The Artist's Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom

You can find it here on Amazon:

I started reading it on my Kindle, but soon realised that it was the sort of book that needed underlining and notes and highlighting and coming back to favourite pages (which you can do on Kindle, but it is not the same as with a book) – and so I got the paperback as well.

This book brings together several of the things that I am interested in. Overall, it is a book about about faith and creativity, something which I have been thinking about for a long time.

The title refers to the monastic idea of a rule of life – a pattern or way of living that you decide on to shape your life. This can be as simple as ‘I am not going eat chocolate for 3 weeks’, but is usually more like a thought about and written list of decisions about how to organise your time, money, work, prayer life and so on, to reflect the priorities that are important to you. An ancient form of this is The Rule of St. Benedict which is used  to shape the life of many monastic communities. This book uses the spirituality of that rule and applies it to the life of an artist. The introduction says that this book is about ‘demonstrating monastic practices as valuable ways to encourage and sustain a creative life.’ 

I will write more as I work my way through the book…


English Wedding Ring

This quilt is made of a single large block of a pattern called English Wedding Ring:

It is one of my favourite blocks and I have used it a few times to make small quilts like this one.

It works well as a baby quilt pattern based on 4 inch or 6 inch squares. I usually use 3 colours – light, medium and dark.


(This image is is from )

 Do you have a favourite colour for sewing with?

Do you have a least favourite colour?

I like dark, ‘jewel’ colours – red, blue, green, purple – and these are in most of my quilts. I don’t like yellow so much, and hardly ever work with it, except as small scraps in baby quilts.

I have never made an all white quilt, so that will be a challenge at some point.


Mennonite Quilts

I recently bought a book called A Treasury of Mennonite Quilts from a secondhand bookshop.

 Here’s the link to it on Amazon, where you can ‘look inside’:

I have learned that, although they share some religious background, Mennonite Quilts are nothing like Amish quilts. They include the whole range of quilting designs and techniques and use patterned as well as plain fabrics.

Treasury of Mennonite Quilts

Pink and Green

This is a pink and green quilt that I made in about 1997:

I had previously bought the pink cotton fabric and the floral brushed cotton fabric to make a wedding quilt for my friends Claire and Richard. That took a lot of work, as it was my first attempt at a double wedding ring quilt, and I think I would look at it now and see all the mistakes. At that time, we were all pleased with it, though. I do not have a photo of that quilt because it was made before digital cameras came in.

I put the pink fabrics with some strong green to make a different kind of quilt, and hand quilted it with a picture of a rose that I found in a pattern book. I remember showing the finished quilt to a friend, who looked at it and said seriously, ‘well, I can see the tacking; it will look better once you finish it and that dark green thread comes out’. I was not amused at the time, but it makes me laugh now.

A Box of Surprises

One of my Churchwardens has recently retired from being a lawyer.

This week he arrived at my house with a large cardboard box:

He said, ‘I have cleared out some of my old work shirts and thought you would like them for patchwork.’

Thank you –  for lots of worn and washed shirts, in good quality 100% cotton and lovely colours.

He had even ironed and folded them before bringing them round.

It was a lovely surprise and a thoughtful gift!

Blue Hexagons

Many people start patchwork by making hexagons. I learned to do that at school, and many years later I made this little quilt:

It consists of a blue and white hexagon piece, made over papers and appliqued to a dark blue background. There is some simple quilting around the borders.

The material for the hexagons started off as two pillowcases from a charity shop and a spare half metre of dark blue fabric. The backing fabric is a cotton sheet folded in half. The filling is 2oz polyester wadding off the roll.

I remember that I made the hexagons and sewed them together whilst on holiday and put the quilt together when I came home. The quilting is very basic – I sewed along strips of sellotape for the parallel lines and drew round plates and glasses to get the overlapping circles.

Emily Cat

You have met Cuthbert the cat on a quilt already. Here is the other cat who shares our home and our life (you don’t ‘own’ cats…).

This is Emily on a quilt:

It is not the best quality photo, because I snapped him with my mobile phone before he disappeared, but it is a very ‘Emily’ picture, both in pose and expression. Oh, and Emily is ‘he’ – it is a long story, but in short we were told we had a girl and boy when we got 6 week old kittens – Emily turned out not to be a girl, but we had all got used to his name by then.

You have seen the quilt before in an earlier post, so you can scroll back if you want to see the detail.


I had a lot of blue and yellow scraps of fabric left after I made a number of baby quilts for gifts and for sale last summer. 

What do you do with scraps? Sew them together and make another quilt, of course!

Here is the ‘leftovers’ baby quilt, sandwiched but not quilted yet:


After two very hard winters, we have had a very kind winter this year so far – but today it started snowing:

Time snowed in is time to get quilting!


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