Monday, 31 August 2009

Water Dragon

Today is the bank holiday, so I worked on my piece for the Fast Friday Challenge. I was the host this time. I wanted to get it done before the week got going, since I have several meetings and a training day this week. This will also be my next journal quilt for the Contemporary Quilt group. Here is the Water Dragon. He lives in a lake that surrounds a particularly bleak castle. Some people think he is guarding treasure, but no one has ever been able to get near enough to find out for sure! Some people say his fins sting in a similar manner to the stings from a jelly fish. I wonder how they know?

I used a fabric I have been calling a mystery fabric. It is very thin and paper like. I used silk organza for a base and laid on various layers of different colours, fully covering the organza. Then I fused them in place with a light grey blue piece fused with Misty Fuse. The dragon is made using a metallic organza of blue shot with silver. His flowing fins are not caught down. The quilting is done with transparent thread. the windows of the castle are cut out with a soldering iron.

I tried to get a shot to show the transparency better. The top photo is taken laying on white paper. Here the piece hangs in front of a mirror and you can see the back as well. I thought I would try doing horizontal layers. So, there is the lake shore, the line where the castle hits the water, and the castle crenelations/towers.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Digital Cameras

So after singing the praises of digital cameras, mine has finally died. I don't know how long I have had it, but I know I was using it to do photos for my folder work when I did the City and Guilds Fashion qualification! I think I had it at the start, so it has been since at least 2002. I have used it A LOT!

Just to show you what it is is a photo of the ivy my husband was taking off the wall. I wanted to get a photo of the root system from the back for a future Inspiration Tuesday.

Not Nice. If it had better definition, I might be able to pretend I did it in Paint Shop Pro.

However, My son recently got himself a posh camera and left his other one here when he went to uni. He has been trying to get me to get one with more mega pixels. My husband has been using it a little. So, I have pinched it off his desk to use. It has a few more advantages, 1 - the view area is much bigger. This is great, since I need reading glasses to see close, and I am likely to have better photos if I can see better what I am taking the photo of and then what it looks like. 2 - It is lighter, so when I take it places to take photos, I won't be struggling with the weight of my bag so much. 3 - It only uses 2 batteries rather than 4. So, it will be easier to make sure they don't run out when I am trying to upload something late at night.

I have got the outline quilting done in the "border" area of the Letter piece. I will wait till I cover the edges of the silk and do the border before I show more photos.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

FOQ - CQ journals 2008

Just a photo of my journal quilts from the Contemporary Quilt group last year which were at the Festival of Quilts. The area where they hung was actually quite good. They were all on a special wall. It was near the eating area, but not in danger of food smells.

Here are the journals from the other members of EquilARTeral. Jane Glennie and Merete Hawkins. Jane likes to work with felting. Merete is very good with colour.
It was a real stretch to get a good photo, as all of ours were at the very top of the wall! I just had to reach up and point and shoot! Good thing for digital cameras which you can delete the rubbish photos before downloading them.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Letter - more progress

A view of the progress so far on the Letter piece. I have begun to do the stitching in the side portions now. At some point I will cover the edge of the cream silk and do a binding on the whole piece.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Letter - letters

Here is a detail of what I am doing with the letters quilted into this piece.
They are basically coloured in with metallic colours. I did copper with gold on made more of an antique gold.
I hope to get more done tomorrow. Some days are difficult when you here difficult news of people you love very far away. Then I get on the computer for something ( a teaching form thing) and wander off to other places and find I have escaped so long I don't get much done.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Letter - more quilting

Today I got back to working on the Letter piece from the Zoom series for the EquilARTeral group. The vine has really taken over. I decided to go over the hidden antique letters in gold. I think the piece is beginning to have a life. Well, what I mean is that now it is becoming interesting.
We will see what happens over the next few days. I would like to get this finished!

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Vote for Pumpkin Mouse

Pumpkin Mouse - by Fairyfolk

I don't normally post 2 times in one day, but I thought I would tell you about a voting going on for a sweet little mouse in a pumpkin made by Fairyfolk from one of my Featured blogs - Magic Onions. I have borrowed the photo from her blog so you could see it.

To vote for Pumpkin Mouse in the Etsy Kids Halloween Challenge pop on over HERE and cast your vote. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the VOTE button. Voting will be open through midnight EST on Thursday, 27th August .

I don't normally do the voting sort of thing, and I don't go overboard with the Halloween thing, but this little mouse in a pumkin would just be a very special little thing to start a story for a wee one, wouldn't he?

Flight of Dragons - finish

And finally here is the finished Flight of Dragon piece. And just in time! The new Fast Friday challenge starts at the end of the week. I am hosting this time, so I know what the challenge is, so I have to start working out what I might do for it!

I have been thinking of all sorts of ideas for challenges for various things I saw at the Festival of Quilts. I have no idea how I can do those AND the college courses. Maybe I can, maybe not. but I have a few good ideas.

The Contemporary Quilt Group is having a selection of this year's journal quilts at a stand at the Creative Stitches and Hobbycrafts Show at Exeter, 24th - 27th September 2009. Those participating are sending 4 of the journals. So, now to decide which ones to send.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Flight of Dragons - part 2

I made a bit of progress with Flight of Dragons today. It has taken a while to stitch round the swirly clouds and cut them back with a soldering iron. I am now going round the clouds again...the one on the right has been done. The next thing is to work out what is best to do about the edge. I need to do something that will draw attention to the colours of the dragons.

Just a bit of a notice: to vijayanand who seemed to think they could use my blog as a news commentary on certain cricket players and umpires... You are wrong. This blog is not the place for your attempts at reporting items concerning your own agenda. Therefore, I have removed your notices. I may have viewed things differently if you had actually commented on my post. I also refuse to get embroiled in controversy or speculation. I merely wished to write about my enjoyment of the game itself.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

FOQ and Cricket

Just stopping in for a quick post after getting back from the Festival Of Quilts yesterday. It was a very great time. I met up with loads of people, saw some great quilts, and visited some interesting evidenced with the layout on my table above. One of my friends won the Miniature category with an Art Quilt entry!! Cool!

This summer I have been glued to the telly and radio listening to the Ashes Series Cricket Test Matches. In the evening on the telly in the bar/restaurant on Friday I was sooo exited to see England had managed to get Australia out all in one day. But I started to worry they would be finished before I got home!! And then to hear the score on Saturday as the Festival of Quilts was close to a hope. Could they carry it off?

So, today I sat and listened as Australia seemed to be making a comeback. But not to worry, England won! And a day early as well. WOOO HOOO! So, here's a snapshot of one of the wickets from the telly in order to mark the occasion!

I think this may have to get into some textile work in some way. :)

Thursday, 20 August 2009

3D studies

I mentioned a while ago that the Doodle Day Blog and the Today's Title Blog have merged. It is now the Ideas of Inspiration. There is a bit longer to reply to the prompt and you can work in whatever media you desire. Because of all my other commitments, I can't do major projects, but I do like the idea of using this as a way to prime the pump, so to speak. It starts off ideas, which my brain then can mull over and possibly come back to in the future. So, I am basically doing little things which in themselves will be a reminder of the idea when I come back to it.

The first prompt was Foxgloves. My reply was to do a quick little bit with Easter egg foil. Here is a link to the Foxglove posts.This gave me the idea to use the prompts to practice some 3D ideas. I want to explore 3D a bit, possibly next year. So, if I can do a little 3D treasure in reply to the prompt...without stretching it too much...I am going to do so.

And so the next prompt was Distortion of Memory. Comnplicated...but finally, I did a piece of pumpkin pie with pepper on it. Why? read here.

And the new prompt? Monotone. Okay, these are possibly not going to be easy. But I like a challenge.

While I am away at the Festival of Quilts tomorrow and Saturday, perhaps I will come up with A Bright Idea.If you are going to be at the Festival of Quilts (Birmingham, UK) stop and see me. I am on the Contemporary Quilt stand Friday 3-4pm. And I am at the SAQA stand on Saturday, 2:30-4 pm. I am also going to the Regina Benson and the Jenny Bowker lectures on Saturday.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Charming Fabric Coasters - Student work

Here are some of the coasters made in the Charming Fabric Coasters workshop for Crafts @the Library this week. Being August, the groups were very small, so we only had 1 at each group. However, there were actually quite a few people actually using the library. Lynne was able to start a coaster, but no time to finish. So, I left her the thread and the directions for finishing. The diagonal version above is one I tried.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Inspiration Tuesday

I find the patterns discovered from past architects fascinating. Often you see quite a lot of detail that people can't be bothered to do now days. Maybe it is the cost, not so many people know how to do it, so those who do are at a premium.

Anyway, here are a few designs from floor of the choir in the church my sis-in-law is connected with. I took the photos when we were in Yorkshire a couple weeks ago.

The church was built in the Victorian Gothic period, so their designs were inspired by churches from the Middle Ages. This is fascinating to me. It is like a continuation. I get inspired by what I see from them and they are looking back to someone is likely some of the designs in the Middle Ages went back to Anglo-Saxon or Celtic, and so on. This floor in particular reminds me of floors found in Roman Villas. And being in Leeds perhaps Roman finds from when they were in York influenced the designers. And of course, much of the influence is from nature, too. So, we combine bits and pieces from different periods in the past with what we see around us now and create something new. Love it!

Monday, 17 August 2009

Cushion 4 - centre

Not much progress on the cushion, but I found a butterfly at the market which was just the right colour. It just had the sequins, so blended in a bit too much. So I sewed the beads on over the sequins on the top set of wings.

Here is a detail. I will sew the butterfly on after I finish the cover so I can centre it better.

Today I have been writing up the research for the Fast Friday Fabric challenge for August, as I am the host this time. Of course it is secret til the 28th of August, but should be interesting! How I will get a dragon in there and in 6"x12" size is the question though!

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Out and About

Last week, on Tuesday, I went to a coffee morning put on by Region 7 (British Quilt Guild). The speaker was Jenny Bowker. Joan, the lady whose house the coffee morning was held, had come to a private workshop I did for some ladies in my home. She sent an email inviting anyone from this region who wished to come, so Shelagh and I took up the offer.

I have followed Jenny's work for a while and had the privilege of meeting her when I was at the SAQA evening event in Houston in the Autumn. She is also going to be at the Festival of Quilts this week, and I have booked a ticket to the lecture she is going to deliver there, as well. The coffee morning talk was about her quilts and the lecture will be about the work she has done with the tentmakers.

Jenny is from Australia, but has spent a great deal of time in the Middle East with her husband's work. Until recently, she was in Egypt. Quite a few of the quilts she showed have been inspired by the people she met while living there. Jenny has a unique ability to do very realistic portraits. Seeing the original photos of some of the people and then the quilts depicting them, you feel as though you would recognise each one if you met them on the streets of Cairo. Several of these quilts can be seen on her blog. The first post on this link shows the development of a few of them, including the one being shown here.Jenny is often travelling round the world, so the blog is not updated frequently, however, it is fascinating reading when she does!
UPDATE: Jenny just posted about her latest wonderful quilt called Sand Storm over the White Desert. She was unable to bring it with her to England, as it was still hanging in Canberra when she left. It is amazing and no wonder she won a prize. Well done, Jenny.

Jenny also showed some of her other quilts. Here is a link to the one she is showing in this photo.

If you ever get to see her work, I would highly recommend it. Jenny is also a very down-to-earth lady. I think if I ever get the chance to take one of her classes in doing portraits, I definitely would!

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Featured Blog

This month some of the regular features like Inspiration Tuesday and Featured Blog are a bit hit and miss. With it being the holidays, I am out and about and doing different things than usual.

However, I have a Featured Blog for you today that is quite unique. It is Resurrection Fern, written by Margaret Oomen.

Margaret does some very interesting arrangements with stones and other items, often out in nature. She crochets covers for stones...which may sound strange, but in some way, they become quite ethereal looking, especially when arranged with wild flowers and the like. There was a recent article about her work in Crochet Today, where she is referred to as an Eco Artist. A very good description, I think.

Here is a link to one of her posts with crochet covered stones in the forest. Margaret also has an attraction for various mushrooms and fungi. Her nature photography is stunning!

Below is one of my many photos while out and about. Maybe one connection with Margaret's stones and photos is my interest in old ruins and walls which often have nature claiming them. The other side of the coin?

Friday, 14 August 2009

Bookmark Break

Today I popped into town this afternoon for thread, zips and loads of other things. Somehow, I left the thread! and the couple of bits I thought I would try for the centre of the cushion! I will have to go back tomorrow. I decided to wander into a charity shop to see if there were any decent curtains I could chop up to use for cushion cover samples. I was so surprised to discover a pair of curtains in the same fabric as our settees and chair! I found a remnant some time back and stretched it enough to recover the seat cushions well at least the worst side of each one! So, some of them need help again, and the arm cushions are going. (We still like the frame, but I haven't got around to wanting to learn how to cover the whole thing. I never have been totally fond of the print, but having green scatter cushions will be better than the dingy peach ones.) Now, with these curtains, I can chop them up and should be able to get a bit more life from what is there.

Today for some reason we both woke up very early. My brain was running a mile a minute with plans for the costume course. My husband got up and went off to collect some ebay treasure before work, and instead of trying to go to sleep, I finished reading a kid's adventure book. However, I still was in my studio before I normally get there! So, I made notes about the ideas I had for the costumes. I also actually tidied up some and moved a few drawer sets around to make a place for my growing pile of plastic boxes full of workshop and course supplies.
And then, instead of working on cushion 4, I developed my bookmark samples for the September Crafts @the Library.Lynne at the library thought it might be helpful to have a little piece of paper with the info about the next Crafts @the Library to give the people who come. Then it can be easier for them to remember the date. Trouble is, I am often just getting my head round what I am going to do next time... or if I do know, only just have time to make a preview sample to take to show them!

So, as the workshops are next week and I was still trying to work out the best way to do a bookmark under the circumstances we have, I was feeling a bit pressured. I had originally planned something else, but as time went by, I realised it was a bit too ambitious for the sessions. But what to do instead? So, it has only been a couple weeks that I settled on bookmarks. I wanted to incorporate fabric and stitch.
I am please with these. I think these will work with the skill levels we have. The learners can either learn blanket stitch or refresh their memory. Also, the materials will not take too long to prepare . I decided to put pelmet vilene inside to make them sturdier. However, the kind they had in the market was a bit too stiff for novice stitchers to stitch through, so I got heavyweight sew-in interfacing instead.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Cushion 4 - start

I have an idea of doing a sort of fabric manipulation with the folded cushion cover concept, but at present, I have been trying to get my head round the maths of how big the fabric has to be to go round the cushion. I have finally worked it out, but only after a bit of trial and error. I have got a zip inserted into a cushion back, though!

However, I have also ended up with pieces that DIDn't work. So, I have stretched the brain a bit to use those pieces and come up with something I like even better. Here is the start. The square has been cut in quarters on the diagonal, and then turned to match the corners. I already had covered the inside cushion on one side with a piece of olive green silk from a charity shop shirt sleeve! When I sew the print fabric together, I can insert the cushion through the diamond aperture. I am thinking of sewing the green ribbon along the stitch lines for hemming those long edges.

I think the olive green wants some sort of black motif, but I haven't worked out just what yet. I need to go to the market tomorrow for thread, so, perhaps I will find something that will work to show in the opening.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

cushion 2 and 3

Cushion 2The cushion I had started to cut out from the green brocade is finished. I was trying an idea I saw in a book for an envelope style cushion. They called for a button and button hole, but here is my version of a fastening. The cords wrap round the wooden disks like the old fashioned manilla envelopes. The fabric is decorative enough in its own right, so I thought I would make a feature of the fastening, instead of other embellishment.

For some reason, even though I measured properly and followed directions, the cushion ended up quite a bit more rectangular than I thought it would. There were a few places where it took me a while to understand the directions. So, I will be doing another one to see where the diviation occurred.
However, it looks pretty good. The light bounces off the brocade a bit too much in the photo. My husband thinks it will be uncomfortable to sit against! But I think the wooden bits just push back into the cushion when you sit against them.

Cushion 3
I also wanted to do a cushion with an inserted panel and piping. So I took a piece of dupion which was nearly big enough to go round the cushion form, and then made a ruched panel which I inserted. I also put a zip in the side seam. I am not fond of that method, but I intend to do one with the zip placed differently and thought I could show the difference. Some people need help visualising.

The ruched panel is habotai silk which I tie dyed. It is laid over a leftover piece from Cushion 1, which I showed you yesterday. I am thinking about catching the ruches down with beads, but at present the bumps are just flattened with the iron.

I am actually quite pleased with this cushion. I actually think I do better with things I make up in my head from the available scraps I can find! And maybe because of that, I find it easier to show someone else how to do it. Maybe it is the practice from doing City and Guilds and the work we did about giving construction information for the things we made.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Cushion 1 - finish

Here is the finished Cushion. I used a thick gold thread to stitch long broken lines across the main part of the design.

I won't be teaching this one. I had heard about a Japanese cover technique which involved simple folding and just a few seams. In theory, you should have to unstitch the long seam, should you wish to wash the cover. I thought I would try it out, but of course tried adapting it to see if I could make the back seam into something which could contain a fastener. Although it looks pretty good. It needs more work. I ended up stitching the seam anyway and decided to just leave it for a trial piece. It can work for an example of surface decoration though.

The folding of the corners on the ends of the long seam need some adaptation which I may try to get right sometime in the future. My adjustments also meant that the short seams didn't meet. So, that needs worked on before I feel confident about showing someone else how to do it. Maybe I will come across an article which shows the concept a bit better than what I invisioned from the description.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Cushion 1

A glimpse of what I have been working on... Cushion Samples for the Designer Cushions course. This cover has foiling and paintsticks rubbings. I may do some more linear elements to bring it together, but I will leave it a bit on a skirt hanger on one of the cupboards to see if it wants anything or not. I used a shiny piece of fabric I had that already has a sort of snakeskin effect embossed into it.

The bottom piece will become an envelope cushion cover. I am using green as it will work in my lounge and so I can replace the worn cushion covers I have while having samples.

the one above is a bit posh for my lounge, but perhaps it will be alright when I get the other green ones done.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

A bit of stitch

In the last post I mentioned the embroidery from Tiny Happy. I have also been noticing alot of other hand embroidery going on. For instance, Jude Hill especially finds ways to stitch the events around her into pieces she refers to as "Slow Cloth" (look in the Featured Blog list for her most recent post).

I have done quite a bit of embroidery in the past. Mind you, alot of it ends up having beads, but not all. There was a hope that I might teach it at the college, but there wasn't enough interest. I do love the feel of the hand motions and the needle going in and out of the fabric.

And so, last week when we went away, I made up several layers of rust fabric to which I am stitching pieces of a green fabric...for now. It might get something else when the time comes. It is something I can do when I need to be companionable! Well, I could easily park myself in the studio and never come out!

This weekend our son has gone back to uni...even though it doesn't start til nearly October...because he is in a house with friends this time and doesn't want to pay rent on the house if he is not using it. (wise, I think.) So, it is nice to sit companionably with my husband in the evening while I can before I am right out straight with classes and what not. He likes to tape the Poirot films and I have read most of them, so I can sit and stitch with my reading glasses and still keep up with the story.
And here is a bit of a start. Not so obvious the reasoning behind the stitches, but the first bit is about roads and the lines of travel we had going up to York. Then the next bit is about the rain and now I am doing a bit about all the walking I did. We will see how things develop.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Featured Blog

The Featured Blog for this weekend is Tiny Happy. The author of Tiny Happy is a lady who recently returned to New Zealand from living in Norway for sometime. ~i am not sure of her name.

What I like about Tiny Happy is the way she takes inspiration from the simple everyday flowers she finds, and translates them into free embroidered motifs. I love the clean and simple lines of the items she makes which reflect natural colours. Sometimes stitched on felt, sometimes a motif on a child's dress, and so on. A real calmness and peace about them.

Her photos are priceless as well...just as if they are right out of a decorator's magazine!

Tiny happy also has an Etsy shop which you can see here.

And just a glimpse of some stitching I did when I was part of a Crazy Quilting round robin in days past.

Friday, 7 August 2009

I'm Back!

Well, we actually got back on Monday, but I have taken a few more days off to just read, get together with friends and putter about. Today I got back to work.

I am starting to plan the Designer Cushions course. Quite a bit of research, digging out fabrics for making samples...But nothing to show yet.

Instead, you can see what I got at Craft Basics in York. After I delivered my Little Gems in the pouring rain, I trudged across town...stopping in shoe shops as that was also on my list...and eventually arrived at what I consider to be the best shop ever for beads. It isn't a very big shop and the bits and pieces there have changed somewhat over the years, now reflecting the knitting and card making trends a bit more. However, they still have the big wooden former printer trays with all sorts of unique beads.
You may recall I was thinking about getting some brass ones for the latest Connect-Disconnect piece for EquilARTeral. I started out with just a few, but there were so many interesting ones, I got quite a selection, and then double the number of the one I think I might use. I also got a few more brass pins. I used up all the others I had, and the law of averages means that I will want to use more in other pieces, so I thought I better refill the stash. And of course, I had to go for the pack with copper ones, which also prompted a selection of copper beads as well. I have a drawer full of copper bits and pieces and a section of my head is dedicated to of these days I will actually make something from it all. The subconscious is still working on it.

As you can see, I also got a pack of felting needles. I tried it once at my friend's house, and although I do not intend to get into felting, there was something I made recently that I thought would have been easier to do if I could have felted the little pieces into the background. Can't remember what it was at the minute! But anyway, these weren't too dear and now I will have some if I need to attach something small or fluffy again.

On Sunday, we were in Leeds. So, I have some interesting photos from the church my sis-in-law is connected with. So stay tuned for a few select photos on Inspiration Tuesdays. I also got to see some of the embroidered vestments, which was rather interesting. I have made some stoles for my sis-in-law in the past.

What have you been up to lately? I do appreciate the comments now and again!