One more attempt

I was severely told off this week – how can I read your blog if you don’t post on it. Difficult sentiment to argue with!

Last week, I spent two and a half days at Leah Higgin’s studios, Urban Studio North with a friend. We had an amazingly productive time, both producing endless breakdown cloth. Here are some of the the pieces:

Oh dear, WordPress has changed since I last used it – I shall have to practice more. The images seem to have a life of their own and random sizes!

It is a long time since I posted on my blog – 15 months. Sometime in the last year, my creativity took a nose dive – too much admin and other computer work, much of it for SAQA.

I have had a very productive time as co-rep for SAQA Europe and ME. It is has been hard but rewarding work and I have made many, many new friends in the quilting world. I give special thanks to Baiba Vagule, who for much of that time has been my co-rep. She has amazing energy and we have  worked together to make Europe a more active place for SAQA members. Thank you, Baiba, especially for your great newsletters.

The SAQA Board very kindly sent me this beautiful “thank you” bouquet of flowers.

Now, I need “to get back on the horse” and start making and using my stashes and machines – this includes my monster, the Q24 Bernina Longarm, I splashed out on last year. Most of all, I need to get back to the happy mojo of creating work I like and am happy with.

I did do some work over the last year – is it creative?  I am not sure at the moment. The designs are very simple and stark and difficult to execute. This has taken away the pleasure of making.  I have Instagram’d and Facebook’d some of the quilts during the making and afterwards but haven’t felt like blogging them.

Now I plan to spend some time just playing and making cloth – my favourite textile activity. I have already made up some breakdown screens and I plan to use them with formulsol on some of the failed greys that I have already over dyed to dark blues, blacks and greens.

I shall be at the West Country Quilt Show next week, Thursday 30th and Friday 31st stewarding for CQ West Unfolding Stories 3 and CQ In Print. Maybe, see you there.

I will now try to write more regularly on my blog – it is a good record of what I am doing and hopefully, you will enjoy some of my musings and photos.

In the past, I have made pieces that are so close to quilting – but always referred to them as embroidery because they were not traditional quilting and I have never actually made a traditional quilt. At the end 2012, I left the comfortable environment of Committed to Cloth, retired from the City, decided to start quilting and set myself a number of goals.

The plan – start improv cutting and piecing in black and white, introduce colour as I progressed. I now have over 40 quilts of varied sizes in this series. The series was named Pieces of Crow – I would have liked to go to the States and attend Nancy Crow workshops. This wasn’t practical as I needed to do 2 workshops back to back which meant a 3 to 4 week stay in the USA, hotels and a car, 200 metres of fabric (and I only use my hand dyed cloth) and so on. It wasn’t go to happen!

Christine Seager Pieces of Crow 4 - XLThe first one is badly stitched. one eight of an inch between parallel lines is hard to keep even. It needed a walking foot and doing such fine lines with a walking foot I find difficult. The second was slightly better.

By the time I got to number 4, I was cheeky enough to enter it into the Fine Art Quilt Masters as Festival of Quilts in 2013.  I called it POC XL as it was much bigBush Fire - Christine Seagerger than the first three.

The following year, Bush Fire, was accepted for FAQM. I had introduced colour by this point – actually, it is bleached IKEA black cotton. As well as FAQM, this quilt travelled to the USA with the World of Quilts shows.

A number of the others in this series have been accepted into various exhibitions.

Taste of India detail - Christine Seager


A taste of India (detail) travelled with Wide Horizons IV around Europe and the USA and finally to China.

Below are detail images of some of the other pieces in this series – the yellow ones were a mistake for two reasons, a quilt with lots of yellow is unlikely to be accepted for a show as it is difficult to fit into a coherent exhibition (lesson learnt) and the smaller horizontal slithers I added, broke up the design.

Next time will be about the mini-series within POC.

What induced the engineers at Bernina to design these bobbins —–


They are a nightmare. I am trying to complete a big quilt and my tension keeps messing up. First it loops underneath. I get it all sorted and the bobbin runs out. Change the bobbin and the tension changes and loops again!!


This is one of Bernina’s most expensive machines and …

  • The bobbins are temperamental
  • The upper thread sensor has to be turned off as it keeps stopping the machine
  • And the thread threader, even when clean, doesn’t always work

And the household wonders why I am bad tempered! Ugh, ugh

Back to Greys

Thanks to a Facebook friend, I have found some great grey dyes – Dharma Trading in the US have bought out a range of Hot Water Reactive Dyes and I now have a lovely range of real greys – not slate blues or greens ….

They do have a downside – they need more manipulation than Procion MX to stop blotching which means it is not possible to get the same level of texture I usually want. On the left is the blotchy effect and I has soaked the fabric in soda ash before dyeing – and on the right is the texture I get with Procoin MX.

I also bought some ebony black so I added a full tsp and a quarter tsp of ebony to the grey to get darker colours.

Although the image on the left looks like dark blue, it is actually grey -something to do with my ability to take photos on my phone!!

If anyone knows more about these dyes, I would love to hear from you.


In 2006, I joined the Committed to Cloth community and did a Wet and Wild Course. This included working with formusol as a discharge agent and using a needle nose bottle to doodle. I loved making these pieces. I have no idea why I stopped! Probably a difficult day job. After these doodles, I really lost my way – didn’t want to be a quilter, wanted to embroider, tried making unsuccessful whole cloth pieces and so on until the end of 2012, when I started to quilt. The next year I began properly quilting and working in series. But more on that later……..

Here are some phone camera photos of the doodle pieces.

The first three – design principles play no part in these!

And then some which reflect the shapes of a later series, Pieces of Crow and one which resembles a quilt!!

And then the wheels fell off and my work got somewhat random!! I started working with trees. It could never be a series as I had 11 meters of lovely cloth printed with a single motif of trees all done in one session. How was that going to develop as I worked each piece. The last one I pieced ended up in my UFO box when I saw no future for it and realised that the chances of my being able to sew neat nine patches was nil. When I do a talk, I take my box of UFOs and throw them on the floor – it makes people really happy to know that I don’t get it right all the time!! Someone asked for it and completed it for a charity so some good came of my misfortune

The rest of the fabric is waiting for me to make it up into cushions like the yellow one above – one day.


After the handbags, I did two Textile courses at Open College of Arts – then distance learning courses. I loved the first course and learnt lots of new techniques. During the second course, I started my second series which at the time, I called Bodies. In some ways, it is probably not a true series. Whilst the theme and the basic shape remained the same, the techniqueBleach Ladys changed as I learnt more about surface decoration on fabric.

I experimented with bleach and here is the first one.It is behind glass so photographs badly. I made two of these and gave one to a friend.  I often get asked about using bleach – these are over 15 years old and still seem fine. They will outlive me.

I also did did some of my first screen printing. My nephew kindly made me a frame to use.

The Gold Gold Lady.JPGLady was an improvement as my screen printing got better and the stencil didn’t disintegrate as it did with bleach.Fan Lady







Then the series  changed and I used very different techniques to produce the Fan Lady. The Fan Lady was my project half way through Textiles Two. The tutor did not want me to continue with my Bodies series for the rest of the course and wanted me to work on a very different theme – so I stopped the course and moved on.

I have a lot of small paper designs but only completed a couple more. However, I consider that the corsets I made on a C&G Historical Heirlooms course are also a part of the series – a bit of a stretch.


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