If Wishes Were Horses…

Today is another reveal day for The Endeavourers. How do these reveals come round so fast? Our theme this quarter was Wishes and, when that was selected by Mr Random Generator, I immediately thought of the line, ‘If wishes were horses, beggars would ride…’ but I decided to let it lie.

I was hoping for a more optimistic inspiration and we had lots of relations staying over Christmas, a party for about 40 on the 27th, a trip to the Sheffield from the 28th-30th and an amazing adventure to attend a wedding in Sri Lanka from the 31st – 10th January…It all needed a lot of preparation…

When I arrived back in dull, rainy England, inspiration for the Wishes quilt still had not struck and my Makery was, not only still a bedroom, but was now doubling as an office for my daughter (who is a Junior Doctor, newly returned from a year in New Zealand) to prepare for a panel interview and apply for locum work pending the next tranche of ‘real’ jobs, which all start in August. So there was nothing for it but to take down the Christmas Tree, take my sewing machine to the kitchen table, make a start and hope for the best. I always feel that artistic endeavourers should have more planning and research and rational underpinning them but real life (alas!) refuses to be so accommodating.

I knew I wanted to include some other wishing items like a star, a well and a birthday cake (which the beggars are pointing to), making three wishes and then I decided to add a genie in a lamp. It bothered me a little that four wishes are not quite right but I rationalised that perhaps the genie gave the other three…Anyway, I drew the main outlines of the picture with a frixon pen and quilted over the lines by machine. The remainder was done by hand, mainly so it could be more portable. The blue sky is the base fabric and everything else is painted except the cake and the well, which I appliqued at the end, and the black hat and candles, which are attached with fusible web. Finally, I added detail with hand stitching.

I chose the metallic paints for the horses and the incongruous assortment of wishing themed items as I feel there is an almost magical element to wishing – some kind of essential implausibility, which is more at home in the world of story than in Sussex or London on a grey Monday morning. And I wanted to convey this in my picture. Whereas many things can be hoped for in the everyday world, a wish worth making virtually demands some change to the general order of things and is extraordinarily unlikely to come true by mere chance or predictable means.

So just why the ‘If wishes were horses…’ rhyme is so well known after 400 years and the mere breath of a wish is more than likely to invoke some know-it-all to snap ‘Be careful what you wish for!’ baffles me. Do they really think that tomorrow morning everyone who bought a lottery ticket will have won the jackpot and the banks will crash and our current world order will come to an abrupt end?

But, sadly, they are in good company. Even if throwing a coin into a wishing well doesn’t land you on the wrong end of a witch hunt these days, we all know that rubbing an old lamp with a genie in or unstopping a bottle containing a djin won’t end well. We will always have to use our last wish to undo the other two :(

So do I think we shouldn’t bother with wishing or that wishes will never come true?

Of course not!

I think that, when things seem possible to accomplish, we must work for the things we hope for. And when we wish for impossible things we should work doubly hard. And, of course, if we happen see a star or a wishing well or have a birthday cake with candles – why waste it?

The old stories are all well and good but we mustn’t let them stop us writing new ones.

I hope all your wishes will come true and I also hope you will visit the other Endeavourers and see the wonderful quilts they have made for this challenge :)

Janine @ Rainbow Hare

Unexpected Bursts Colour

It’s been a while since I did a ‘New to Me’ post but, despite appearances, I have spent some time in the Makery this month and tried out a couple of new things.

The first was inspired by something Fiona at Celtic Thistle stitches did a while ago. I say ‘inspired’ because I did this from memory and it’s probably not the right way to do it at all. It’s a sort of trapunto technique using strands of yarn. You can see the stages below. It’s an improved version of the golden hare I made last month. I started by stitching the outline, then cut away the backing fabric and, finally, threaded strands of wool into the spaces I wanted to be raised.

After that, I painted with gold, as I did last time, and hand quilted the background. I also tried some lettering. The letters are about 2cm high so it was a bit fiddly but I was quite pleased with the overall effect.

Having managed to paint the edges fairly straight, I attempted some more ambitious fabric painting. I quilted larger shapes and attempted to fill them in with paint and you can see my straight line painting leaves much to desired! I edged the gold with threaded running stitch using metallic Anchor stranded thread, which I have never tried before and I found it reasonably easy to sew with (even through layers of paint, fabric and wadding) but separating the strands to sew was a trial. They kept tangling and I ended up having to tease them out one by one. Bizarrely, I also tried a silver skein and managed to divide the threads without particular difficulty.

With the other painted colours, I decided to leave the poorly painted edges as they were.

Lately, I’ve come to conclusion that sometimes you just have to go for the overall effect because getting too obsessive with perfecting details is a certain route to a UFO…

Something I couldn’t really leave, though, was an experiment to create a more water-colour-like effect. It seemed to me at the time that, however much water I used, the paint wouldn’t spread easily. The next morning, however, I discovered that, quietly during the night, a whole band had seeped past a line of stitching into an area that was meant to be unpainted :( I frogged the red hand stitching and then remembered there was a line of machine stitching under it. So I frogged the machine stitching and steamed and steamed to get the holes made by the stitching out but to no avail :( Eventually, I re-did the hand stitching, where the black frixon line is in the photo below, and added a strip of lace under it. If I had settled on doing that sooner, I could have left the machine stitching in but onwards and upwards!

A more cheerful New to Me was my garden when we got back from my daughter’s wedding in Rhodes. Before we went I had cut back lots of flowers (which were dead and hadn’t been great this year owing to successive heatwaves) for Autumn but whilst we were away it rained for a solid week and I arrived home home to an unexpected burst of colour.

Now we are back in GMT so the sun is in the middle of the sky at midday and the evenings are dark. All that bodes well for more time in the Makery. This year, that will be another ‘New to Me’ and a very welcome one :)

Janine @ Rainbow Hare

I’m linking this post with Fiona at Celtic Thistle stitches for ‘New to Me’

SUCH STUFF AS DREAMS ARE MADE ON

Slowly and intermittently, over this long time that I’ve been gardening, I have been pondering (and very occasionally working on) a new project and, at last, the nuts and bolts of it are starting to come together.

This is a smallish double-side quit. The dark blue is a fairly improv sewing together of night-coloured scraps, embellished with running stitch, darning and some buttonhole edged squares to created a patched together and mended look and the lighter side is a collection of vintage doilies hand stitched to an ivory background

And yesterday, since it was pouring with rain and I had an unusual and very welcome time at home alone, I made a similar sized quilt with light brown linen on one side and a grungy blue sort of fabric on the other. For the sake of speed and simplicity, I machine quilted with organic straight lines.

I’m thinking of these as backgrounds to display other sewn items and perhaps story scenes that could enable me to make something like the ABOUT TIME book but with reusable pages…

ABOUT TIME (blogged here) 2018

I really enjoyed making the fabric book and I love the idea of making quilts that do something more dynamic than lying in bed all day but, being so constrained by time, accomplishing that is a hard task. Since starting this blog, I think I’ve made two!

THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH (blogged here) 2017

EAT, SLEEP, SEW (blogged here) 2013

So the new venture I’m pondering will, I hope, be a sort of hybrid art quilt/book/puppet show. I found a cheap extending curtain rod, which fits in the alcove next the fireplace in the Makery and I’m planning to hang up the backgrounds and attach or hang or somehow or other display other sewings in front of them.

Mrs Hare and Fiona have kindly agreed to relocate their reading group.

Fiona reading (sideways as cats do) with Mrs Hare

Whether this will all work out, of course, is yet to be seen and I wonder if it’s quite sensible to blog about something that might well fail spectacularly but, as Mrs Hare often says, ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained’.

I hope you you are having a good week :)

Janine @ Rainbow Hare