Monday, 22 June 2015

Flowers and Happiness

Well so much for posting a regular blog. There are always so many things to and family to support which have to take priority.

I have been pottering in the garden for the last few weeks. My gardening style is haphazard to say the least. I pop things in where there is a space so I get a very jumbled look but nature doesn't plant in neat rows and breaks the rules so I do too.

I love this heuchera tucked at the back of the border.
The willow tree trunk is very beautiful.
The ceanothus positively humming with bees.
Self seeded aquilegia pop up all over the place. I just love these flowers swaying gently in the breeze.

The ultimate show offs!

Even the slugs are happy!
An extra bonus of planting green beans last year and not bothering to pick them left me with these wonderful dried pods which have set my creative brain into gear.

This is a leaf of the cucumber plant which was also left in its pot all winter. It has a lovely texture and colour to it.

Not a very interesting blog but I shall persevere.


Friday, 17 April 2015

Quilt, bags and cpper!

Well here we are in April so I think I had better record what I have been up to before I forget!

I spent a weekend pulling all patchwork fabrics out of various boxes, cupboards and drawers and sorting it into piles. I then auditioned each pile to decide what should stay and what should be passed on. I was VERY good and parted with nearly a whole carrier bag full!!! It has now all been put away in bags and takes up less space as it is tidy. I shall have to live to at least 150 to be able to use it all.

Here is the pink and white quilt I am making for a young lady who is now 7 months old. I am stuck for the backing hence the sorting out of all fabrics exercise to see if I had anything. I  may have to wait for the Malvern Quilt show in May to get the right fabric.

I found some very random fabrics including some with courgettes, spinach, asparagus and sprouts on. I have made these into shopping bags so will never need a plastic carrier again.

This is a small piece of my procion dyed silks hand stitched together. I am trying to get a worn, washed out effect and will be adding more stitch, snippets of threads etc

These are copper sheets which have had pieces waterjet cut from them. I am now trying to decide how to use them. I think I will get the top one bent so the uncut piece becomes a base. I may bend the middle one down the centre and use it to display stitched pieces by hanging them over the horizontal bars a bit like an old fashioned clothes airer. I like the idea of the pieces overhanging one another with all sorts of torn and frayed edges mixing together. It would also be changeable and I can add to it over time. I think the lower piece needs to be curled around into a sort of wave shape after weaving it with 'things'.
and finally:

Here is the cake I helped my son to make last night. It is a Hulk coloured Minion with a Captain America hood, a hologram H a la Rimmer from Red Dwarf and will have a Captain America shield made from gingerbread! 

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Textile happenings

I have been busy since the last post stitching like mad to get my work ready for the Experimental Textiles stand at the Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch exhibition at the NEC last week. The show was brilliant with so much inspiring textile work on display.

Here are all the sketchbooks on display with a selection of our work on the walls.

The other stand had all the black and white painted journeys from the beginning of the course.

Here is my colourful fabric version of my journey with the black and white one underneath. This took me two months of stitching to get it this far and there are many more hours of work to go before it is finished. I will post sections of it at a later date and give details of the techniques used. As we didn't need to man this stand I have no idea what other people thought of my work which is probably a good thing as I won't be influenced to change it in any way.

I am now working on a pink and white baby quilt for a very special young lady. The top is nearly finished so I will just have to layer it up and quilt it. Pictures to follow.


Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Good heavens it's 2015!!

I cannot believe it is 2015 already. it doesn't seem like 15 years since everyone was gearing up for the year 2000 and my children were not adults!
Since my last post I have made two pirate outfits for Tori and her friend consisting of trousers, blouses and waistcoats plus a frock coat for Tori which were accessorised with cutlasses, blunderbusses, tricorn hats, a jolly roger flag and a parrot called Claude! Judging by the photos of the Christmas party the costumes were much admired and Claude had way too much fun!

On a company day out to London with Rowan to spend a 'lovely' afternoon on top of a seven storey building inside an air handling unit (very dirty and freezing cold) I saw this wall outside the back entrance of Claridges. It was just concrete but the shapes gave it a wonderful texture. This was the highlight of my day.

This would make an amazing quilt. I am thinking of felt or silk shapes on a thick cotton curtain interlining background.

The Experimental Textiles weekend in November was spent dyeing natural fabrics in plastic bags. A very simple process with minimal mess and good results.

This piece of stitchery is about 12 inches square and has been made using a selection of dyed silks, cotton and lace which have been stitched together using a tiny running stitch.

This is the back of the piece which is equally pleasing. I will go back and put more stitches in. Sometimes it is better to leave a piece which you have been working on for a while and come back to it with fresh eyes at a later date.

This is about 6 inches across, again main with scraps of dyed fabrics making used of frayed edges to give it texture and interest. I intend to stitch a couple more pieces in these colours and then join them together somehow.

This little piece is only 2 inches across and is made with all the dyed scraps which end up at the bottom of the pile. I find doing these tiny pieces very satisfying as they are relatively quick to do and I can play about with stitches. I have made quite a few of these and intend to keep them as a source of inspiration.

We also spent some time using transfer dyes. The dye is painted onto plain white paper and left to dry. The colours of the wet dye are quite dull and boring but when they have dried and been ironed or heat pressed onto synthetic fabrics the colours are very bright. For this piece I applied the dye to the paper with a piece of old sponge.

For this piece I splodged the dye onto the paper and then patted it randomly with my fingers. It reminds me of an underwater coral reef and I keep expecting a couple of fish to swim past!

This piece was made by ironing the dyed paper onto one fabric and then another. Each time the paper is ironed the colours fade. The brighter fabric was ironed onto Bondaweb and then shapes were cut out using a soldering iron, the paper backing removed from the Bondaweb and then ironed onto the paler fabric to give a very interesting effect. I want to stitch into this but need to be sure of my stitching because the fabric is shiny and will not be forgiving if any stitches have to be undone as the marks will show.

The January weekend of Experimental Textiles saw us spending a day playing with metal - foils, mesh, wire, washers, nuts and bolts etc. We then spend a day playing with painted Bondaweb and Tyvek. These pieces were made using Tyvek which had been cut and then heated with an iron so it bubbles and shrinks.

Happy New Year to everyone who may read this blog of mine.