This is a depiction of a fellow with whom Josie is obsessed.  He goes to her local gym wearing clothes from the Soviet Union in the 60s, then touches his toes for half an hour.  Furthermore his sweat-bands are made not of towelling but torn strips of bandage.  mysterious gym fiance

Obviously I have never seen him myself, but in my head he looks like Mandy Patinkin in The Princess Bride which is apparently quite accurate.


DAY 10 – cathedral

December 13, 2007


there’ll be a whole lot more stonework and religiousness going onto this patch, I tell you. At the moment, there is just a bit of religiousness poking out the door.

Week 2 results

December 12, 2007

Here’s the quilt after nine shows. Rotate your head 90 degrees west and squint a bit and maybe you’ll get an impression…

quilt - week 2

DAY 9 – Buddhist monks

December 12, 2007

I didn’t have time to finish these fellows, which is why they have pins rather than faces. That is NOT intentional.

Buddhist monks

They are a pair of Buddhist monks as seen by Josie from the window of the no.78 bus: one of them has a camcorder and the other is pranking about. You can’t see from this photo, but he is flipping a V sign, Churchill-style.

DAY 8 – romantic graffiti

December 8, 2007

This is a bit of graffiti on a motorway flyover in Essex, and manages to be the most romantic graffiti Josie has ever seen (apparently people tagging railway sidings with ‘Soulja’ doesn’t cut it any more for her. WTF?):romantic graffiti

The writing’s rather lumpy because I made a poor thread choice. Live and learn, eh? I do hope I can make it look altogether better before the quilt is finished.

DAY 7 – Balloon race

December 7, 2007

Tonight’s applique was a bit of Josie’s childhood made out of felt:
Balloon race

It’s the Great Orpington Balloon Race! Or at least, the Orpington Balloon Race. Down there in the corner is the young Josie Long, watching her racing balloon soar into the sky, headed for pastures unknown. Or for the sharp branches of a tree fifty feet away. We will Never Know.

DAY 6 – Fairground

December 6, 2007

Tonight’s patch contains All the Fun of the Fair in highly condensed applique form:

There’ll be some more Fun of the Fair embroidered onto this before the quilt is done, to reflect Josie’s childlike joy at being all shook up and then winning a highly flammable toy.

And who’s that inside the tent?
fortune teller

Why, it’s a fortune teller, ready to prey on the vulnerable!

DAY 5 – snails

December 6, 2007

So, it’s a new week, and a somewhat laid-back patch to start it off:
snails in the rain

Snails in the rain, innit!

Here they are again in all their woolly detail:
snails in the rain close-up

Not sure why those guys chose to come out the right way round, but there’s probably some witchery in it.

Week 1 results

December 1, 2007

So here is how the quilt is looking at the end of the first week:
the quilt, end of the first week

Just tilt your head to one side and you’ll get it. (I give up trying to work out this pesky upload problem!)

DAY 4 – Josie’s stomach

December 1, 2007

It’s the end of the first week of Trying is Good at the Soho Theatre, and here’s the fourth patch (this one will ruin a very fine joke, so if you’ve not seen Josie’s show then GO AWAY).
Josie’s Marvellous stomach

Again, I don’t know why the hell these photos are uploading 90 degrees askew! However it’s a terrible photo anyway; really I shouldn’t be allowed a camera phone, or indeed anything more sophisticated than an Etchasketch.

Anyway, this patch represents Josie’s stomach, painted up like the sea to flatter it. In the middle you might just about be able to discern a button, ie her BELLY BUTTON. That, comrades, is an official applique pun!

DAY 3 – Alex Wuppertaler

November 30, 2007

Here’s the third patch from the quilt adaptation of the Trying is Good quilt. If you haven’t seen the show yet and don’t want the plot ruined like someone telling you that Bruce Willis is dead in The Sixth Sense, look away now! In fact, get away from this website entirely; it’ll completely give away the show.
Alex Wuppertaler rye bread

I don’t know why this fellow won’t come out upright. Perhaps because he is so angry, being angry Alex, baker of Alex’s Wuppertaler Rye Bread that Josie liked hugely in Melbourne. To counteract his fury, he is wearing a squeaky turban.

DAY 2 – Peaceable Kingdom

November 29, 2007

Here’s the patch from day two of Trying is Good. If you haven’t seen the show yet, Beware Spoilers!
The Peaceable Kingdom

It is a rendition of The Peaceable Kingdom by Edward Hicks, which Josie saw in a museum in New York. Mr Hicks painted the scene about 100 times, with slight variations, though apparently none with fuzzy felt in them.

Still to come in this version: 1. a lake; 2. a little child; 3. some more foliage; 4. more peaceable beasts.

DAY 1 – fancy dress

November 28, 2007

Here’s what I cooked up on the first day of the show. If you haven’t seen Trying Is Good, watch out! Here be spoilers!

Firstly in pictorial form:
Day 1 - Fancy Dress

Yup. It’s a terrible picture, as I have wobbly hands and a grainy camera-phone. There will also be some more stuff on it when the quilt’s all done, but there’s only so much applique you can get done in an hour.

This patch represents the bit of the show where Josie is talking about how disappointing it is when people shun the opportunity to express themselves through fancy dress. The man in the pink t-shirt has come to the party as Pink. He is dancing with a girl dressed as a cat, which is my own fancy dress bugbear. On the left is Elvis as a mermaid, which is Good Fancy Dress. You can’t really tell from the photo how sparkly his tail is and how snazzy is the silver embroidery on his jacket. On the plus side, you also can’t get as creeped out by his currently blank face.

the night before Showtime

November 27, 2007

Here’s what we’ll be starting with:

Trying is Good quilt - night before showtime

Unlike the photo, the quilt is not terrible.

Here it starts

November 23, 2007


For twelve nights from 28th November to 15th December Josie Long will be performing her show Trying Is Good at the Soho Theatre, which frankly is a good thing for everyone. Moreover, in a move not seen since the Bayeux tapestrists decided that needlework and reportage were not incompatible, I’ll be there committing the show to fabric to make the TRYING IS GOOD Quilt. It may currently look like a pile of jumble:
the future Trying Is Good quilt
but in three weeks it will be Bloody Amazing. In fact I predict it will be my best handicraft since 2006’s giant inflatable Boggle set.

Giant Boggle

So check back here once the show is under way as I’ll be posting pictures of each night’s achievements in appliqué; and of course hurry up and book tickets to see the show, which will be entirely awesome.