Last week, my sister and partner-in-craftiness came to stay as we had some hotly anticipated events going on on Friday.
Off into London we went. We are so lucky to live about 30-45 minutes from the attractions of the capital, depending on where you want to go. Before we went off to the V&A, we made a little pilgrimage to Liberty as I had been just the previous week and seen that the quilts which had been hung up in the shop as part of their quilt exhibition, had been taken down and were available for up close fondling, ogling and errm, purchase. If you're loaded that is.
You may remember that I fell deeeeply in lurrrrve with this one, an original 1930's quilt in the Dresden plate pattern which is one of my faves.
Imagine my joy at getting up close and personal with it then. For me, it's the fabrics I love. I just love looking at them and we spent some time admiring the quilt, having laid it out flat on one of the cutting tables.
The original price of the quilt was £1100. Eeeeek!!!
It's now in the sale and is a mere £836.
What I wouldn't give for that quilt but sadly, though I really feel like being rash and making it my own I know there is no way I can justify expenditure of that sort. Maybe if they reduce it by about 90% I can buy it?! For now, I just hope nobody else buys it so I can keep going in and fondling it.
In recent weeks, I had been indulging in a little Liberty love patchwork of my own, sewing hexagons wherever I went. I love doing hexys as they are the ultimate portable project.
I couldn't see myself making a whole quilt though, so it is just - yet another - cushion, tied again with vintage perle cottons, my current favourite way of quilting.
Liberty has a sale on at the moment and some good fabric buys, with metres of fabric being £11.95 instead of £19.95 and some nice older designs available too. Off you go then!
On then to the V&A. I love the V&A, it's just so fabulous, those Victorians knew how to do things in style, that's for sure.
In the entrance foyer, if you look upwards, you are likely to gasp sharply at the amazing Murano chandelier.
First, we bought tickets and went to the Grace Kelly exhibition. No photographs are allowed in the exhibition but this case was outside it so I was able to photograph it. Beautiful dress, don't you think?
Beside each exhibited outfit, there was a board telling you about it and a photo showing the Princess actually wearing the outfit. The exhibition was split into themes: Grace Kelly as an actress, as a bride, as a Princess and so on. There were beautiful dresses, many of them very understated actually, as was Grace's style. They didn't always look that amazing on the mannequin but there were two film reels being shown of footage of Grace in her films, her wedding and at various other events and that is what really made the exhibition come alive.
I treated myself to the book which accompanies the exhibition, I know I will enjoy looking at it for many years to come and it will remind me of attending the exhibition.
Ah yes, she was certainly stylish...
Such a beautiful dress...
I have never seen a wedding dress which looks so perfect so many years later. It's a dress which will never date.
This dress was made to a simple McCalls' pattern. Grace was unpretentious about her clothing and where it came from, and wore her favourite outfits many times.
I loved the exhibition, cannot recommend enough that if you think it is your sort of thing, you go along. It is only £6 to get in and I must say, I enjoyed it far more than the Quilts exhibition.
As if that was not enough (on top of the tea and cakes we had in the cafe), we were fortunate enough to have tickets to attend a lecture in the evening with our hero, Kaffe Fassett. It meant missing the England match but hey, I don't think we missed much!
Kaffe was a great speaker, I was so relieved as when we met him at the International Festival of Quilts a few years ago, he was disappointingly tight lipped. He spoke with humour and intellect about the projects he has designed and made, and showed many slides of them and the things which inspired him.
Afterwards, we were able to look at one of the quilts Kaffe designed. There was quite a crowd, I can tell you!
The quilt was in very pretty muted shades, Kaffe is perhaps more well known for his full-on brights, and it is made from many very small pieces. While Kaffe designs, he does not sew and the quilt tops are pieced by Liza Prior Lucy who is often featured in Kaffe's books.
We all went into the silver gallery and Kaffe was available to sign books (and we were all able to drink wine, whey hey!). Liza Prior Lucy is next to Kaffe, who seems to be chatting to a lady who looks like a fortune teller!
The only disappointment in the whole event was that having been told by Kaffe's partner, Brandon Mably, who gave a little introductory speech, that Kaffe loved the questions and answers session at the end of the lecture, the V&A employee in charge of proceedings only allowed about 5 questions which must have taken a max of 10 minutes before we were hustled out. We wanted to look at another of the quilts that Kaffe had brought along and we spotted a lady with it, half hanging out of a carrier bag, out in the silver gallery afterwards where the book signing was taking place. We asked to see it but she quite rudely obviously couldn't be bothered to get it out and let us see it. She had a V&A pass on (whether she was a visitor or employee I don't know) but while Kaffe and his merry band seemed in no rush to go anywhere, it seemed the V&A staff couldn't wait to round the whole thing off. At £18 per ticket, we were not impressed. All in all though, it was extremely enjoyable.
I have quite a few of Kaffe's books already, these being his two most recent ones...
I must confess that I have not made any of Kaffe's quilts yet, a situation I really must remedy. The new book, Simple Shapes, Spectacular Quilts, is not my favourite though it does have some lovely looking projects. Many of them, although being made from simple shapes as the title suggests, are made up from literally thousands of pieces!
Kaffe has deliberately had the quilts photographed in rather industrial (dare I say, "non pretty pretty") surroundings, all within a few miles of his Hampstead home.
The quilts are stunning and I admire him for doing something different but I'm afraid I am more of a pretty, pretty girl!
I do love the sections of the book in between the quilt patterns, which show you Kaffe's inspirations in designing the quilt. This sort of thing has really made me look closely at so many details I see when I am out and about.
On that note, being such a beautiful day, I happened to wash my own patchwork quilt for the first time today and it is now drying nicely outside. It's the first time I've taken a shot of it in all its full glory as I completed it just before Christmas in the dead of Winter last year.
I DO pretty!
This is a simple squares quilt like the gypsy quilt in Material Obsession. As I said, quilting for me is all about the fabrics really and I wanted to do a simple quilt which would contain all my favourite fabrics, vintage, retro, Liberty, embroidered cloths and so on, so that as I continue to use them up in the course of my crafty making, I'll always have at least a little piece of them in this quilt.
Whilst in the garden, I took the opportunity to cut some more stunning roses, so beautiful and plentiful this year.
Now I can enjoy them inside whilst I sew like a demon in preparation for the first ever Vintage and Handmade Textiles Fair taking place very soon on 3 July. I do hope many of you are making plans to join us for what promises to be a spectacular day...
(In the background is my newly found car boot sale embroidered cloth. Just stunning!)