Thursday, 30 July 2009

Flight of Dragons - part 1

I got most of the stitching on the Letter piece done. But we have decided to visit my husband's family, so it will have to wait to be finished. I stopped so I could get a start on this month's dragon.

The Fast Friday Fabric Challenge this month involves radial symmetry for the layout and colours of nature.
Here is my start. Because of the size limit (I do the challenges as part of the Contemporary Quilt Group Journal Quilts, too, which are 12" x 6" this year.) I can only do part of a circle. I kind of had the idea of having a flight of dragons in a similar aerial pattern to the Red Arrows. (warning, the link has the wing commander giving a blurb about the Red Arrows team, so you may want to decrease volume or something.) They had to be very small to get them to fit. With a bit of help from my son, I was able to develop some dragon shapes I was happy with.

I decided to use the elements for the colours of nature. But I also included a black and white dragon which I am calling the element of Word. So, from right to left I have water, fire, word, earth, sky. They are all made from hand dyed silks, except the black and white one, which is from a black and white silk tie. They all have a ball of fire in front of them. This is similar to the oriental dragons chasing a pearl. But you can decide if they are chasing it or if it comes from them.

Now I need to do the background. I think it needs some white clouds or something somehow, but I won't be able to work on it til the beginning of next week.

I hope to post tomorrow, but if not, see you next week.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Letter - more stitching

I have been working on Letter again. I finished the antique letters and then did a message at the bottom which says "A Letter is an element in an alphabetic system." Both of the other pieces in this Zoom series have a similar definition.

I quilted the flowers and shapes in the large L, and also with the lines on the people I did with burnt silk. I also made some faces to stand out from the sides of the golden shapes. I am now quilting a vine in and around the letters. Perhaps I will get it finished tomorrow.
I am not quite sure how I will finish the edges.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Inspiration Tuesday

My son's camping stove. Love the shape. A duck with antlers? or is it a crown?

Monday, 27 July 2009

Little Gems

I talked a bit about the Little Gems when I featured Margaret Cooter's blog.

Here is a glimpse of the ones I decided to send.
It is kind of nice to have a bit of a clear out and the benefit will be for the Quilt Museum in York. There will be a tombola at the Festival of Quilts.

So, I am finishing up labels for the ones which do not have them. I was going to parcel them to send, but I just realised that we are already planning to go to York at the weekend, so maybe I can deliver them in person! Save on parceling and postage! That will be one less thing to do!

I went to visit with Lynne's Monday night fashion class this evening. They will be meeting in the room next to mine when I am teaching the C+G course. It was good to see who belonged to some of the projects I saw when we set up for the EV. I am looking forward to doing the teaching. A bit scared, but looking forward to it. I am to go to London for a training day in September, since it is a new version of the course. That should be interesting!

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Special Weekend continues

Today our friends Dennis and Aimee stopped by church in a surprise visit. They have been living in Dubai since last June and have been missed much. Aimee is the one who helped me with the modelling of the Bernina Gowns since they were near her size.

They were on their way to somewhere else, but since we stood outside talking after everything was closed up and beyond when I knew the automatic dinner control had finished at home, I said just come have dinner with us. I thought there would be enough to go round. Besides, there was plenty of the lovely Birthday carrot cake my husband had made. I also had baked one of the huge marrows from the garden filled with a made up in my head sort of filling.

So they came! It was great to catch up with them and hear what it is like to live in the desert. And in 45-50°C heat!
However, I never thought to take photos. But they gave us some dates, and so that will have to suffice for something to look at. (They are much better than the kind we get here at Christmas, which have the texture of eating dried out scarab beetles...not that I have eaten scarab beetles, but you know what I mean.)

And now
for fun, you can see Pepper, yesterday, break dancing on the lounge carpet whilst playing with my husband's hankies. She pinches them out of the pile of laundry when we bring it down to start the washing. She makes a game of trying to get you to come get them off her. Then she lays on her back flopping back and forth from side to side and throwing them up with her paws.

When you get to doing the whites, you have to go searching round the house for where she has put them all.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Happy Birthday Day

I received some lovely yellow roses for my birthday today! Thanks so much to my husband!
I love yellow roses.

I took one photo with the flash and one without. I can't decide which I like the best, so I am showing both. the first shows how well they look with the colours in the dining room.

The second shows off the roses more.
Looking forward to a new year with loads of new things.

Oops the dog just came to say dinner is ready! Bye!

Friday, 24 July 2009

Student work - fashion

We had a very positive day with the new External Verifier for the City and Guilds Fashion work today. I am beginning to get quite excited about teaching the new course next year!
A few of the design students brought work in, so I took a few photos.

Louise had some great textures going on inspired by tree bark.

Nalini's design started with shapes from a stained glass window.
And the Lily inspired the colours for her necklace!

One of the students completing the City and Guilds Diploma this year has done exceptional work. We were so pleased that the E.V. recognised this by putting her forward for a medal of excellence! Well done, Gill! Best wishes for the presenting on the national level!
Gill has already been asked to teach corsetry and lingerie at New Directions college.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Fashion Show - a bit more

I told you a bit about the fashion show the college put on at the Novotel, Reading the 10th July. My friend, Pat, has sent me some photos, so I will share a few with you.
The red suit with black having fun the second time we went up and back I took the jacket off and flung it over my shoulder.
The dragon jeans and red blouse

Also, there is a place where you can see some photos the newspaper did, and a video on YouTube that gives a flavour of the evening.
Newspaper photos - If you look on page 2, third row down, farthest to the right, you can see my friend Gabrielle and I strutting our stuff with our day wear clothes.
YouTube video - The lady near the end with the 50’s feel orange dress is the head of college, Lesley Reilly. She had a dress that was her mother’s, which she wanted to alter to fit. Gabrielle helped her work out how to get some of the fabric from the hem to put a v shape into the back with a zip so it would fit her on top. The lady who had the flowers at the very end is our very
wonderful boss, Lynne Bush. She made 3 of the wedding dresses last year for her new daughter-in-laws, as her 3 sons all got married the same year!
We are getting ready for the External Verifier to come look at the student work tomorrow. It all looks really good when it is all together. Perhaps I can get some photos.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Letter - stitching

The Letter piece from the Zoom series for the EquilARTeral group has been on hold for sometime til I could get the confidence to do the stitching part.
I wanted to do letters from manuscript alphabets. However, I didn't feel I could do it freehand. So, I traced some onto tracing paper. But then, how to transfer it to the silk? My normal choice is pencil in alot of cases. But I have been told that pencil doesn't come out of silk.

So, I thought I would stitch through feezer paper, after hearing about someone who did something similar. But when it came to it, I couldn't face the possibility of having to pick out little bits of paper that wouldn't come out. (Can you tell I have stitched paper before?)

In the end, I thought I would at least start with placement, using the large piece of card I had started with for planning the rest of the piece. I traced on the back of the tracing paper, and then burnished it into place on the card. This worked very well.

I thought, okay, let's try thread choice and just see what would happen if I DID use pencil. It actually wasn't too bad. I tried rubbing out the mark, and it seemed it was possible. So, I went ahead with using the burnishing the traced letter from the back of the tracing paper.
AND Here are some of my first letters!! ( I started from the middle out.) I am chuffed to say the least! If you want to know how difficult it was to force myself to do this, I have been off and on the computer nearly all day time wasting! If I had not needed something to show on the blog, I would have procrastinated again for another day!!
When I have the letters done, I will do some freehand work in, around and between the letters...possibly in a fainter thread. I will also go round the fused and foiled sections.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

trousers - part 2

Yesterday I got my trousers sewn up. They just need a waistband and hems.
The photo is a bit boring...they are just basic trousers. I may put welt pockets in at some point in the foggy future, but for now, they will do.

I haven't done a fly for sometime, so I tried to follow the directions for a fly from the Armstrong drafting book but it really did my head in. Finally, I just did it by instinct. That always works better for me. Aterwards I remembered I could have gone to the Reader's Digest Complete Book of Sewing. It has quite understandable directions for construction techniques. It is what I will be directing my students to for the most part. When you first start drafting your own patterns, it is a bit intimidating to work out how to sew things together, especially if you have always had a pattern sheet to tell you the construction sequence.
Although there are updated versions of the Reader's Digest Complete Book of Sewing, it is combined with their Complete Book of Needlework. If you ever find either of the older books in charity shops or elsewhere, snap them up. They have clear, illustrated directions for all sorts of necessary techniques.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Charming Fabric Coasters

The next Crafts @the Library workshops will be on the 18th and 19th August. We are going to make fabric coasters. Here are a few I have been making for samples and some I made for the teachers of the teaching course. I also made one set I am going to use as a gift. I made a box using the pattern from the Christmas Boxes workshop.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Ascot Hat

Catching up with the Doodle Day prompts. Actually, Doodle Day and Today's Title are morphing into a Blog called Ideas Of Inspiration. The time between prompts is a bit longer. The current Prompt is Foxglove. I am still working on ideas for that.
The last one on Doodle Day was Ascot Hat. I drew something, but then thought, "Actually, I might make this someday!" So, it is reserved for the someday hat possibilities place in my head.

So, here is one that is just playing.

Sorry about the sunburnt lady. I haven't used those fineline pens for sometime and forgot how bright the peach really was! So, I had to go over it a bit with the pink again, just to keep it from being orange.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Featured Blog

Back to a featured blog again this weekend.

One of the blogs I have been enjoying a lot recently is called The Magic Onions. It is written by a young mum with 2 small children. I don't actually know her name. She also crafts and has an Etsy shop. Her little felted fairy friends are darling.

I enjoy reading about all the magical things the young mum does with her children. I had not heard of the Waldorf theory of education, but if all of the people getting on board do things like she does, it must be a magical way of learning!

Some of the activities they do remind me of some of the things we made with our Mom. We used to cook, make doll clothes, push the bed out to stand behind and tell pop up jokes... and much more!

The Magic Onion Blog also reminds me of some of the fun stuff I did with my son. Here is a photo of him with one of the many costumes I concocted for him. Making costumes for him is actually what really got me going with sewing, costumes and the like. I think I have mentioned all the things I ended up doing for his playgroup, then nursery, then the different primary schools!

Interestingly enough, as well as the discovery stuff we did that encouraged his Scientific mind, he also enjoys cooking!

Friday, 17 July 2009

EquilARTeral - Connect-Disconnect - A4

Tonight we had our EquilARTeral meeting. I had started the medium piece in our Connect- Disconnect series, so I worked on it this week. This time the connect-disconnect element is that it is held together with brass safety pins. There is some stitch through it, too, but it is loosely knotted, which also means it could be disconnected easily.

If I can find some brass beads or something, I may sew them to the sticks at the top, so as to resemble the top of the A6 piece. There is also a section which can be disconnected. All of this disconnection discussion is about the meaning as it is really meant to be displayed as it is. As you can see, I am also still following some of my ideas about transparent pieces.

I still have to stitch the Letter piece from the Zoom series. I know what I want to do, but I needed time to work out just how I would do it. The other day, someone mentioned using freezer paper ironed onto the work and then stitched through. I think that is what I need to create areas I want to quilt with different patterns. I am hoping to get to that next week.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Fabric Painting - again

Tuesday and Wednesday we had some lovely Crafts @the Library sessions. After quite a few months of wondering if the Great Hollands group would take off, we are doing quite well! Here is a glimpse of some of the student work.
Birch Hill Library - Norma, Dorothy, Sandy

Great Hollands Library - Shirley, Sui, Jean

I love the ideas for individualising the designs!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

A Wander Round Box

After we'd been to the 1 2 5 Studio on Saturday, we had thought to go to Bath. However, none of us could face the prospect of sitting in the queue of traffic we encountered a few miles out of Bath, especially when the result would be to drive round and round Bath looking for a place to park.
On our journey, we had driven through a quaint little village called Box and commented that it would be lovely to stop in a place like that sometime and wander round discovering things. So, we turned round, drove to Box, and had a wander!
Apart from the obvious Victorian Gothic architecture we could see, we learned about things such as Brunel's tunnel goes through the town, Rev. Audrey wrote the Thomas the Tank Engine books there, The village school was one of the Victorian charity schools, a Roman villa was discovered there, The St Thomas a' Beckett church had interesting features from 1600's as well as Georgian and Victorian period, A Blind House is like a little gaol where the drunk and disorderly were put overnight and Peter Gabriel has a studio there and owns several Picassos. (This was not verified, because although we headed down a steep path between walls, over stile and through a cow field, we got distracted and crossed a bridge over a stream and found a lovely little water garden!)

Here are a few photos of interesting bits and pieces. Great Day! Thanks for coming up with the idea Merete!

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Inspiration Tuesday

We loved this little roof over a bay window in the little village of Box.
Great Texture.
I love the mixture of shapes and colours happening here.

For this... I have "Ideas"! What do you think?

Monday, 13 July 2009

One Two Five Gallery Exhibition

As I mentioned, on Saturday, 3 of us from the Thames Valley Contemporary Quilt group went to the Exhibition at the One Two Five Gallery near Bath. There was work by Carole Waller, Gary Wood, David Gates, Beata Host, Dail Behennah, and Peter Hayes.

Here are a few glimpses for you.

I seem to have been quite taken with the raku work by Peter Hayes. It has such a timeless quality. Gary Wood's work had a textile aspect to it, but I didn't photograph it. I liked the portals element of some of the work. I am interested in portals, too, but it hasn't come out in my work ...yet. The work from David Gates and Dail Behennah both had a form of stitching or weaving as part of the sculpture. One with wood and the other with small pebbles and dowels. Beata Host's silver jewellery had an ancient feel. (My Danish friend said it felt "Viking"...then we learned the artist is Norwegian!) Carole Waller's textile work caught between UV glass and sealed so it could be displayed outdoors created vivid sculpture which changed with the light. I am sure I could have stayed much longer.

And...well...someday, maybe I would be rich enough to have at least one of the raku pieces!

I will tell you more about Saturday later in the week. I am teaching Fabric Painting for Crafts @the Library at the Birch Hill Library tomorrow and at the Great Hollands library on Wednesday. (As well as finishing up the teaching course! Hurrah!)

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Fashion Show

Well, here's a thing!
Yes, I am still here! As you know, I like to post everyday. But I was involved with the Fashion show nearly all day on Friday and got home quite late. On Saturday, I had already planned to go to a studio gallery event with some ladies from the Contemporary Quilt group. So, another day was taken up. But, I am back now.

The Fashion Show was exhausting but such a buzz! We had work from Students and tutors. Some had been beginner sewers and some were finishing up their City and Guilds Qualifications. We had vintage clothes that were being shown. Other categories were Contemporary, Day Wear, Golden Oldies (some of the lovely older ladies in the dressmaking class), Children's, Corsets, Evening Wear, Tudor/Restoration, and Bridal! Some of the vintage clothing was very small. There are several model size ladies who work for the Central offices of the college who could wear them, as well as some of the corsets and other small things. However, it meant that it got a bit frantic at times. They would go off in one thing, go up and down the catwalk, and then run back, some of us would be doing unzipping, pulling down or up and over. Often they would be stepping out of something at the bottom while pulling the next thing over their head at the same time! And it wasn't long before there wasn't even much fuss about getting out of bras and into the corsets then out of the corset back into the bra and an evening dress! We did try to keep the odd man from wandering in and out of the room, but it wasn't always easy! (We have one male student who had made his waistcoat, and he had purchased some vintage kneelength trousers that buckled at the knee, so he could show off his knitted socks!! Quite a few fancy patterns on them, too!)

We had proper themed music and the compere for the show was a man who presents the news show for BBC South Today. He has connections with the college because he took the British Sign Language course. We also were taught how to do the walk...which I think we all sort of managed in some fashion. It did quite help that the audience clapped ferociously as we came onto the stage. It did make you lift your head and strut forward! You really couldn't see much besides just what you were doing due to the lights shining on you!

I had my 2 Tudor costumes there which fit the 2 daughters of one of the students perfectly. So, besides wearing the lovely dresses their mum had made for them, they also wore the Tudor costumes. They loved it!

Here are some photos of the Tudor costumes from when I first made them.
This is from the Early Tudor Period - Henry VII... I made it when I worked with the children at a Primary School.
This is made after the Portrait of the Young Princess Elizabeth. It was made for my Formal Wear Project for City and Guilds.

Marianne asked me about showing more detail from the coat I made (and modeled!) which was inspired by Tudor fashion. You can read more about it here. But here are a couple closer looks at some of the embellishment. Some of the photos were taken during construction.

Tomorrow, I will tell you about our Day Out from Saturday.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Coat - Tudor Glows

While I am working on assignments, I will show you one of the garments that will be in the Fashion Show tomorrow night at the Novotel in Reading. You can still get tickets through any of the New Directions college centres.

I use the above photo for my profile. My friend Gill Gee was doing a photo shoot for me and I got in the way. I call it "me pfaffing about"...a British Term, perhaps not spelled that way, but I sew on a Pfaff!
Anyway, here is a better photo.
This is the coat I made for the Coat project for City and Guilds Part 2. Actually I was making it in similar weather to what we had last week! However, it is meant for winter and besides being velvet and brocade, it is interlined with domette. It is warm! I did wear it for a while in the winter. Now I am back to that size, I think I shall be wearing it this winter.

It is called Tudor Glows because it is inspired by the highly embellished velvet and brocade garments of Tudor times. I split each side - left and right, front and back into 6 parts. And then made a plan so that there are 6 embellishment techniques, but in different positions on each side. Also, the sleeves are made in one with the yoke.

Although it was warm work in the summer, I really enjoyed making this! It has been on exhibit at the Festival of Quilts and also shown in the -“Made To Wear” Fashion Show , Nov 2006, A Quilter’s Gathering, Nashua, NH, and featured with Student Work in the “Popular Patchwork Magazine”, October, 2005. Now it will have the chance to dazzle another audience tomorrow night!

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Red Blouse

Today I spent time trying to find buttons for the red blouse. I decided I like the look of the blouse so well as it is, I would only do a hint of decoration with the buttons. I dug all the red buttons out of my tin and found 3 red and white and 3 red, white, and blue. (I had some other red and white ones, but the red was on the outside and blended in so well that it seemed you just had white buttons.) I decided to alternate the buttons and create a unique look. As you may have noticed, I am quite into unique!
I think I have managed to have a good mixture of a classic look with interesting feature. I can wear it with other things than the dragon jeans.

One thing that makes me excited about this blouse is that it fits so well. And with the shirt collar, looks very good on me. It will be much easier to make another blouse when I know I have a pattern that works straight away.