Wednesday, 30 September 2009


No, not for a part in a play or for X-Factor, or anything similar. This is linked to the thoughts about samples.

One of the ways I work involves "letting the piece tell me what it wants". Or to be a bit more specific, often I have an idea in my head. I start thinking about what I have that might work to come up with the picture or concept. Then when I find a suitable background or what I might need to make the background I lay it out on my table.

Then I start looking for what I have that might go on the background to make up the idea. I pull bits out of cupboards or boxes and Audition them or to put it another way, Introduce them to the work. Some I really want, but they end up being a spring board to a better idea. Or, I realise I want them because I like them, not because they will work.

Sometimes things come into place straight away, but usually I leave them in the open so I can discover if it really does work or if it needs changes.

The new Fast Friday year is started with new sets of challenges based on Themes from Nature. The new challenge went up last Friday.
Nature Theme: Outer Space
Techniques: Different materials and embellishments
So I have been thinking about it and started the process above this morning.

Here are the pieces that seem to want to play in this work. At this point the actual position and sizes are not determined. And here are the pieces that were rejected.
Having said that, the piece in the very top of this photo might manage to make it's way back in somehow. The other pieces are silk and that one is cotton, so it doesn't play well. But the colours are great. Maybe it will be small pieces scattered somehow.

I want to explain something funny. You must have noticed all the large bits of card laying all over the table. Well, sometime ago, I realised I was designing all these things by laying them out on my cutting mats. and because I was auditioning items on a background which was laying on the teal green mat...everything seemed to get a bit of that colour in it! or at least, the combinations which were chosen were influenced by the mat, which acted like a teal green border! Often, then when the design was sorted, and sometimes even when I had got it nearly finished, I would put the piece on a skirt hanger and hang it on a cupboard door (innovative design wall!) to see what else it needed to finish. And somehow I would find the piece had lost life in some way.
At last it clicked that I was designing with the cutting mat surround! So, now I lay paper or large card down so I am not influenced.

By the way, I am a bit sad not to be trying to fit dragons into these challenges again. Last year's challenges , running from Sept '08 to Aug '09 were to be a theme, and the dragons were mine. However, because I was also using them for the Contemporary Quilt Journal Quilts, which runs from Jan '09 to Dec '09, I think I will still make dragons for those. I really only need to do 3 more. Because the size is 6x12 in, I might be able to do a dragon from similar items to the current Fast Friday challenge.

Can't you just see a Deep Space Dragon?

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Colour Activity-2

Here are the results of the colour activity I told you I was going to do with the Monday night C+G fashion class. Everyone was quite impressed and it was very enjoyable as well. What I liked, too, was that some took the initiative to place some tints further in and totally without discussion, the multicoloured items like the shoe ended up in the centre! Although the centre is generally for white, where else would you put a multicoloured piece?!

We had some great seam samples brought in, which had been done at home...some already mounted, and with the illustration for the directions mounted next to them...well done!

Hopefully, this week they will all be having a look in shops, magazines or websites to see what is being done with colour in skirts this year. Should be an interesting discussion.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Inspiration Monday

Lace pillow photo from the camera I inherited from my son after he visited the Pitt Rivers Museum with dad.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Colour Activity

Tomorrow for the C+G Fashion course we are going to do a version of the colour activity that I did at the C+G training day. The students were given the assignment to bring a coloured accessory or coloured pair of shoes.

Coloured accessories - (the books in the background don't count.)

Because it is a smaller group, I have collected various accessories to take to supplement the ones the students bring. 2 things... 1. I don't really do coloured shoes. Apart from black, brown and white, I have blue...well, I have some spotty red flip flops, but they aren't fit for public viewing! 2. I don't wear scarves much. So, I have gone round and collected winter scarves, scarves my friend from Ethiopia brought me, some ties my husband doesn't wear. (He is definitely a play-it-safe-with-colour-and-don't-draw-attention-to-yourself tie wearer.) So, I rang up my friend, who found she doesn't really do coloured accessories either! But she brought a few things to fill some of my major gaps. A skein of orange wool, which we can pretend has been knitted up and a yellow towel, and one or two other things.

Actually, I may see what I have for a length of cloth in some of those colours, and they will do. It is about the colour really, not so much what it is.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Sample and Experiments

Back to thoughts of sampling -
Another kind of sampling comes when you are experiment. As you know I frequently experiment with this and that. I usually take photos at some stage as well. Here is a photo of my experiments with Kool-aid dyeing on wool.

But for me, I also try to find a way to use the experiments. You may recognise that many of the pieces on the washing line ended up in the Journal Quilts for 2008. See some of them here, here, here and here. They were experiments themselves about combining colour, playing with shape, and getting confidence in Free Machine Quilting.

If you have some recent samples you want to tell me about, I can put a link to your blog in a post sometime this week.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Things to Investigate - wanderings on the web

Have a bit of a wander with me...

On India Flint's blog, she has posted links and a photo to an interesting care label.

Links take you here, where Leafcutter Designs has developed a clothes tag that crafters and sheep-raisers could sew into their handmade woolen items.

and then of course, you want to see more about Leafcutter Designs, so you follow the trail.

So, you click on the Art Blog, and find what she was interested in investigating.

A cool ice cream plate with a snowshoe image on it!

Curious vintage items being sold on ebay. I'd love the vintage fabric ruffler! and My dad has one of those toothpick dispensers! I see one currently on ebay is already up to about $20!

and so you think, enough of that, and you go back to find more about Leafcutter Designs

and you discover her projects. Now this is fascinating.

All sorts of global community online type projects to participate in...all of which are tempting. but the one that catches my eye is the Changing Clothes . A series of sculptures that explore the everyday world of producing, wearing and discarding clothes. OKAY...this is something I plan to explore further. I like the idea.

How about you?

And here is my attempt at the Miniture Map shirt - the link is at the bottom of this page. I think the Crafts @the Library Students would enjoy this! You could use them for gift tags for men's parcels or whatever comes to mind! and for the C+G design, the students could fold up any papers they had! Whatch think?huh?

And what if I hadn't gone on the investigation?

PS This is sort of how I discover cool things on the internet...(and waste time, I know). However, if Things to Investigate - wanderings on the web works, I may make it the feature for busy weekends rather than Featured Blog. (I was running out of sewing/art related blogs with frequent updates!)

Thursday, 24 September 2009

EquilARTeral -Connect-Disconnect

The EquilARTeral art group I am in with Jane Glennie and Merete Hawkins will be meeting on Friday evening. With the best will in the world, I just didn't get to work on this more in the summer. I need to finish the 3rd in the series.

I did buy some bits to add to the middle piece for Connect-Disconnect. So today I added them. I am also stitching the binding round the A1 piece from Letter from the Zoom Series.
The other delay this summer, apart from making cushions and all sorts of other things, was that I have used commercial pattern paper for the smaller pieces, but I haven't got a large enough blank piece for the A2 size piece. Originally I thought I would do nearly blank, but the way things have worked with the first two, I don't really want the strong black lines. Merete kindly gave me some white material she picked up somewhere which is actually sturdier than pattern paper, but could work. It is somewhat like thin interfacing, but more papery.

So, I thought perhaps if I dyed it with coffee, it might turn out a similar colour to the pattern paper. Of course, I forgot to photograph it before starting! But I did a sample first(See the strip in the photo above).

I have some out-of-date coffee. Can't remember if it was given to us sometime back and not having a coffee maker we never used it? When I found out my husband was tossing it because of the date, I rescued it for dyeing purposes (like you do!). I am talking years now. The sell-by date is 2002!

So, anyway, I made up a bucket of coffee and after finding the sample strip worked well, I put the fabric in.

Now to get it out to dry, and work out what else I will layer it with. I am thinking buttons and straps for the connect-disconnect part, but you never know! Sometimes I do the extreme plan bit and other times I do the "let's see what it wants" auditioning process. This is one of the latter situations. And while I have a bucket of coffee, I am overdyeing this flour resist piece. It may end up in a piece for the Contemporary Quilt challenge - Breakthrough. Yeah, I know the deadline is in a few weeks! We shall see.
But I can alway count it as an experiment of overdying flour resist on calico. Can't I?

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Sample and Illustrations

Yesterday, Marianne left a comment with some valid points about illustrations for instructions for making samples. "I find that these days a great addition to the books or boxes of samples is a photographic recording of all the steps."

I think she is right. with digital cameras nowadays, it is easy to take step by step photos which you can look back on. Perhaps just the completed sample and the instructions can still be a bit lacking if you come back to it some years on.

I use photographs of steps for constructing the garments I design. It means more to me than to try to write the correct words which someone else might hopefully understand.
Below is a photo I did when doing the construction sequence for the blouse I did in C+G Part 1. As I made the toile...a sample garment where you work out the problems before making it in the final fabric...I took photos. This photo shows how to do what is sometimes called reverse tucks. The tucks are made (I also have photos of how I worked out how to do those.) and then you sew back along the centre, making sure to turn the centre of the tuck back on itself. On a larger piece, you can let it happen naturally, but on a narrow piece like I was doing, I wanted it to be more uniform, so pulled each tuck back so the foot could then hold it in place until the stitches catch it down.
Another point Marianne made is that "With time a lot of samples deteriorate considerably (I started C&G 17 years ago) especially if dyes are involved ..."
It is good to consider this. Often, when you develop the ideas for design, you are using experimental techniques which may not have been proven to be lasting. And as Marianne points out, if you make a photographic record of the samples - and especially step by step, you can still see what it was you did.
Some of the ladies whose blogs I read will post photos of samples of techniques they try...particularly those who did embroidery. Celia, whose blog is called Cheshire Cheese. Often posts photos of inspirations which she then samples. I enjoy seeing some of the samples she made when she did C+G embroidery. Lynda Monk, whose blog is Purple Missus also does samples as she works through books. She co-authored the book Stitching the Textured Surface with Carol McFee.

I think I will use this idea of using photographic evidence for recording to help my students. As tutors, we have to do this type of thing in order for the college and any Ofsted inspectors to see as evidence that the students are achieving. You can't always hold onto the student's work and produce it when they want to look. It is called RARPA (the education world's love of acronyms!) which means Recognising and Recording Progress and Achievement. I think it would be a good idea to pass the photographic evidence back to the student, so they can benefit from it as well.

Any other thoughts about the topic?

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Making Samples

One of the requirements of the City and Guilds Fashion course is making samples. Samples of techniques, trialing design ideas, and notation about the things you learn. It helps you to build a resource and provides evidence for those who assess and mark your work.

So, for my students, we are starting with seams and seam finishes. Because they are supposed to have an intermediate knowledge of sewing, this means they are starting with something they are familiar with. From there, the samples go on to other techniques which are needed for making garments. It helps to fill in gaps in their knowledge. For instance, if they are confident about buttonholes but have never done an invisible zip, they refresh their knowledge on the one area and learn something more in the other area. The samples need to be in different weights of fabric relative to the type of project they are working on. then when they get to the point that they are actually sewing on their garments, they already know what tension works best and so forth.
Seam Samples

Although the college has handouts prepared with instructions for the techniques needed for the sample folders, good instructions can be found in basic books about sewing. One of the best books for techniques and other dressmaking knowledge can be found in the Reader's Digest Complete Book of Sewing. It has excellent instructions and illustrations which clearly show what is meant in the instructions. Newer editions combine the Complete Book of Sewing with the Complete Book of Needlework and can be purchased from places like Amazon. If it is at all possible to find one of the of the older editions though, the dressmaking is covered more thoroughly.

If you are not in a place where you can take City and Guilds Fashion courses, you can still benefit from doing samples. In fact, you can get a book like the one mentioned above and work your way through it. You may wish to start with seams and other things you already know, and perhaps do them on different types of fabrics than you normally work with. You can find out what you need to do to use the technique with fine fabrics or bulky fabrics and so on, and then be prepared if you should decide to make a particular project in the future. It also frees you to do something different than suggested by the pattern instructions because you already know you like the result. If you build up a portfolio of samples, it is easy to get them out to look at again. (I always get the invisable zip sample out when I need to do one.) You can build on your existing knowledge, fill in gaps in your learning, and gain confidence with tricky techniques.

If you find there are techniques you can not get the hang of through books, then you can look for someone you know who sews well or ask advice in an online sewing group. Perhaps someone will just take an hour or so to help you learn that technique or you may be pointed to a video online that shows it being done.

Believe me, it is a worthwhile thing to do. It really saves a lot of grief when it comes to making your projects. They go together more smoothly, and you can get the sample out an look at it again for a reminder if it is something you don't do regularly.

I'd love to hear your comments about this!

Monday, 21 September 2009

Inspiration Monday

As I said, Inspiration Tuesday is now on Mondays because I am teaching.


of confusion? where is the road narrows bit if there is a roundabout a few yards ahead?

But apart from the symbols on the signs, which could make for the start of an interesting series, I like how the triangle signs point ahead to the circle shape. Perhaps another example of rhythm? But I think I would like it with one more sign beyond the road narrows one.

What do you think?

Sunday, 20 September 2009

further thoughts to yesterday

some of the exercises we did in Judy's workshop dealt with focal point. I found this to be very useful. First of all we looked at magazine advertisements and tried to work out what methods were being used to create a focal point for the product. Mood came into it somewhat, but generally there were things like enlarging the product compared to other parts of the advert, having the main portion of the image in neutral colours while the product was highlighted in a colour, using line radiating from or pointing to a product...sometimes combined with the highlighting of colour by having various accents of the same colour throughout a scene which would lead the eye to the product.

This to me was something so simple to do but something that could really be a useful tool if you were looking to ensure you brought the right focus to the right part of your work. I can see looking for adverts that represent those principles and then doing compositions in which you tried to create similar effects in materials and subject matter relative to the way you work.

Some of the ladies let me take photos of how their exercises had gone. Here the one darker stamped image stands out because it is slightly different, so it becomes the focal point.
The other key principle I at last began to understand was rhythm. We were told to draw a line and stamp images along the line, but in different positions. We tried straight or curved lines. This photo of the work by this lady already looks so interesting and it is just an exercise in a workshop!
The analogy Judy gave that helped me to understand what was happening was the analogy of music. After all, music is where one normally finds rhythm. The exercise above helped things to click, because I could see the resemblance to notes on a page of music. The flow of the notes as recorded on paper echo the up and down movement in the tune. and the repetition of images in various positions relative to a real or imagined line gives that same effect.

Further to that, Judy used the analogy of musical notes and the difference of value. For instance, if you had the opening notes of Beethoven's 5th Symphony...da, da, da, DUM. There is a specific pattern of rhythm that works. Even in writing the sounds above, you can see a rhythmic pattern. And so too, if you were to repeat images in a similar way, you would create a visual rhythmic pattern that works. For instance, Judy suggested using stamped images. So, in the case of the opening notes of Beethoven's 5th Symphony, you would stamp 3 images of one size and then one which was larger/ or even for more emphasis, a larger one of a different colour.

That is just a very small explanation of the concept but the mind boggles at the potential! I am so impressed! I have generally managed to have things which work after much auditioning because I have finally got them to the place where "they look right" but to be able to have an idea ahead of time of what I already know would look right, could bring benefitial changes to the way I work.

Wow, I am going to have fun considering these things and seeing how to use them!

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Thames Valley Contemporary Quilt Group

Another excellent day with the ladies who came to the Thames Valley Contemporary Quilt meeting today. It is just so special to be able to meet with people and have something in common. So often, you feel like you are working in a vacuum.

There were several new ladies, and I always enjoy finding out about the interests of others. So, we did an icebreaker which involved getting yourself into groups as they were called out...categories such as favourite season, favourite colour, favourite fabric to work with, and so on.

The first major item on the agenda was a talk by Margaret Ramsay about being a Contemporary Quilt blogger. There was a lot of interest, and I think we may be seeing some new bloggers in the coming months. Margeret has found that the blog is more than just a record. She has had opportunities open up from being asked to write a lesson for Workshop on the Web to being offered Colour Catchers from the company who make them because she uses them in her work alot. She has also found the interaction and helpful critiques from followers of her blog to be useful in progressing with her work. Following on from that, we broke into small groups for informal critique sessions. Some had brought a Work in Progress and were asking advice about various issues or confirmation that they were heading in the right direction. Here Margaret Cooter is talking about a piece she is developing. After a pack lunch which included an interesting discussion about the success of the Little Gems project and the various uses the monies would be to the Quilt Museum. Everyone wanted to know what the next project would be... but I guess it is a closely guarded secret at present.

In the afternoon, Judy Fairless gave an excellent overview of the concepts of design elements and artistic principles. The examples from the art world as well as from contemporary quilt artists were great in helping to make the connections in the realm of art in which we work. The presentation alone would have given plenty of food for thought, but Judy followed it up with some very useful excercises which reinforced the ideas for each one personally. I think it would be a great workshop for her to offer to others, because she helped to make some quite abstract ideas a lot more concrete for each individual. Even those who had some knowledge of the ideas previously found it helpful because of being able to think about the concept in a fresh way.

Here is a photo of the ladies hard at work on their exercises. I combined 2 photos so you could get an idea of the whole atmosphere.
Tomorrow, I want to talk a bit more about some of my thoughts and discoveries from the workshop.

Friday, 18 September 2009


Not too interesting, but plans have to be made. I have been told there are 8 signed up for the C+G Fashion course. Sounds like a good number to me!

Looking forward to the meeting of the Thames Valley Contemporary Quilt group tomorrow! Should have some fun photos for that. Margaret Ramsay will talk about blogging and Judy Fairless is going to do a presentation and workshop about design and sketchbooks.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

3 wonderful things

Today had 3 wonderful things in least. 1 - actually from yesterday...I found a book on Fashion at the Oscars in the Library...the cover is flocked!

2 - I have been looking for blue/silver metallic silk tissue for ages. Hilary at Silk Route phoned my a few days ago to say she had finally found some. She hadn't seen any for years either. It is made in India and they prefer mixing with gold...silver is not valued. So, I got all 4 1/2 m of it! And went to collect it today. I also showed off Midnight Dance by Midnight, since the long silver train on the coat was made from fabric I bought from them. She had some other gorgeous colours which were tempting. Maybe when I have filled the purse back up!

3 - I was looking at Sally Bramald's blog, Feather on a Wire and saw she had a very long quilter's ruler. I find 24 in just a bit short, expecially as I also use it in pattern drafting. When I asked where to get one, Sally said she had got it in a sale - discontinued? Sale prices were so reasonable, she got 2. But she only uses one. Did I want one? Yes, please. So as it was in the same general direction from here to both places, I also went to collect the ruler! Thanks Sally. you are a star!

oh and 4 - my son actually willingly went along to navigate. I am not bad at all with maps, but now days I have long sight glasses and reading glasses. It is NOT easy to refer to maps quickly when you have the long sight glasses on! He didn't want to go in and talk to anyone, but it was a help to have him work things out for me.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Bookmarks Student work

Here are some photos of student work from the Crafts @the Library. We did Stitched Bookmarks this time.

Because the groups were small, I made one at the same time. The library seems to have got busier and busier, so the librarians haven't had a chance to join in.
Bookmarks from the Tuesday session with Norma. Bookmarks from today's session with Sheila and Dorothy.

Very good work!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Inspiration Tuesday

After today, Inspiration Tuesday will be Inspiration Monday because I will be teaching on Mondays.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts...or something like that.
Awesome anyway.

Monday, 14 September 2009

30 minutes at a time

Summerset Banks has a way of organising her sewing time so that she can get some quicker projects done while working on larger projects. She calls it 30 minutes a day. So, while she works on a major garment she also manages to make clothes for her children and some quick projects for herself.
I decided I would try to do something similar in amongst all my rushing around I may not always get to do it, but sometimes, if I actually did something in the 30 minutes here and there
between this thing and that, I could make some of the garments for me on my list.
So, here is a start. I want a white skirt...even though it is nearly deep autumn, I still wished I had one this summer, so if I make it now, I will have it next summer. Also, I have some forest green gabardine. there is enough to make trousers and a maybe a skirt if I want. It would go with a patterned linen jacket I made some time ago.
Before I can cut them out, I needed to prewash. So, it may seem that wouldn't take 30 in. But the linen would shred and the gabardine is a very large piece. So, I overlocked the ends together. It took a bit longer because of the overlocker becoming un-threaded. Grrr. But, anyway. I should be able to get to this later in the week. I still have a lot of prep for my classes to start next week. So, I am not going to push to incorporate the 30 minute plan every day till I can get used to the teaching schedule.
I do actually do something similar to this when I do my textile art pieces. But the clothes keep being put to the side. So, I am hoping this might help me to accomplish the tasks on that list.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Spicy Hot Table Mats

Today I worked on the development of the project for the October Crafts @the Library...Spicy Hot Table Mats.

You can find directions on how to make these in various places on the internet. As I have mentioned before, we have to do hand stitching, so I had to work out a plan for making them without using a sewin machine.

Basically, these are filled with a mixture of rice, cloves and cinnamon bark. You can add more spices if you like. One of the instructions I had mentioned that you wouldn't be able to wash the mats if you had spills. So, I had to work out how to do a little sachet for the inside, as well as a reasonable way to get it out to wash the cover.And here we are! I made little muslin bags, which has the mixture inside. Then the outside is made from linen scraps I had. They are stitched with a large running stitch with linen thread. The sachet is inserted before stitching all the way closed. Where the ends meet, the thread is tied in a bow. When you want to wash the cover, you can untie the bow, pull out a few stitches, or even unloosen them in a similar way to loosening shoe laces, take out the sachet and wash the cover!

Here is a staged photo of bowls setting on the mats. If they were hot bowls on your table, the heat would release the aroma of the spices!

Now I have some to take to the Tues. and Wed. Crafts @the Library sessions when we do the Bookmark workshop. It is good to give an idea of what is happening the next time.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Suncatcher Kids

This month at the Library there have been several extra events as a way of celebrating the Library's 30th birthday.
Here are a few photos from a Suncatcher workshop I did with the children today. It was a nice sunny day, which Simon says usually means people are out enjoying it rather than coming to the library on a Saturday. So, we mostly had small children today.Some of the kiddies worked with their parents.

I also had a young lad helping, who is working towards his Duke of Edinburgh award. The photos at the upper right are of his Suncatcher. He has drawn Sports symbols.

The pictures on the lower left show Logan's work - with Razza's help. Logan even tried to do a plan, but was not finding it easy to draw on the CD's. So, Razza worked with him to do some of the characters from the Cars film. The other side has a road for them to drive round.

Friday, 11 September 2009

out of the box fashion

I came across this great adaptation of the idea of a corset the other day.
Nifer Fahrion works in construction out in the desert. She has found a way to show her femininity in a useful way while staying cool in the desert.

After she built the corset, using fabrics from a well known maker of work wear, she added industrial strenght poppers/snaps for holsters for her tools. That way, she hasn't got to wear a tool belt. The construction of the corset holds the tools right where she needs them!
photo borrowed from Nifer Fahrion's site.
She even adapted a jacket into a shrug for those times when the desert cools down!

Oh, and by the way, check out the felted wool dreds! I guess no one will mistake her for one of the lads!

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Costume Patterns

Even though the first Fancy Dress Costume course has been cancelled, I still want to be prepared if the others run later in the year.

I found a great costume book at the Library called Quick Costumes for Kids, by Deborah House. There is a section at the back with a fold out page of costumes to trace off. It was a great find, because the costumes we are going to make will be developed from a very simple base. Some we will do from the basic squares and rectangles idea. But I had planned to draft things like trousers out myself. The trouble is, I haven't got a ready-made kid at hand anymore to try things on to. So, when I saw that this had already done basic costume pieces, I decided not to reinvent the wheel...this time!The book presumes you know how to trace off patterns. (I never did that before, as I have never used Burda or similar pattern companies. Before I learned pattern drafting, I generally swapped bits and pieces of existing patterns around to get what I wanted. Or I used the chop-chop-sew-sew method!*) However, I did see someone tracing a Burda pattern, so I had the general idea. It took a while to work out what to look for, but I have managed to trace off nearly all the patterns today. No wonder they layer them. I am already onto my 4th sheet of pattern paper which I would say was about a metre square!

Anyway, what I wanted to say was, if you see this book, do get it. Besides the patterns, which are drawn in 3 generic sizes, they have instructions for sewing the majority of kid's costumes you might come across. Then of course, you use your imagination for the special character costumes or the slightly off-the-wall costumes, but you have enough resources to be able to pick and choose the pattern pieces that will best make up the look you want.

* the chop-chop-sew-sew method goes like this. Hold the fabric up to the kid. Decide it wants folding about here and chopping about there. go and stitch. come back and try it. either chop more or resew more. repeat until it is right!
PS I didn't invent this method. It is as old as the hills.
PPS. sometimes you don't think about the kid needing to raise their arm and you have to unpick the under arm area and put in a gusset. kids don't mind. and the Gingerbread man costume will last longer.

Have fun. Have you made any fun costumes lately?

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Cushion 5

Among other things today, (like arranging some interesting plans for future events for the Thames Valley Contemporary Quilt Group), I also made another cushion.

I am not really pleased with how well the cushion fills the cover, but the zip I used in the centre back was a bit shorter than practical. So, it meant that I had to really compress the cushion to get it in. I might stick it in the dryer to see if it fluffs it up.The fabric strips meet by way of a ring in the centre. It looked a bit plain next to all the other cushions, so I tied on the ribbon. I may not leave it that way.

I took a photo of the other cushions next to the curtains and carpet mainly because I decided to use the photo for an example of monotone (not strictly monotone, but I played with the photo in Paint Shop Pro). But it is also an example of how they look together in the room. My husband gave me a bit of a backward complement about them. He said they are too posh for our lounge!

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Thru Others Eyes

Here is another photo that was on my son's camera. I don't know if he took the photo, or my husband, but what an inspiration! I think I may have a series of posts now and again I will call "Thru Others Eyes".

Monday, 7 September 2009

Church walk

Last Sunday for the Bank Holiday weekend the people from our church brought a pack lunch and we went along to a local park for a picnic and walk. Apart from the tail end of the hurricanes in the Atlantic bringing chilly weather, we had a good time.

My husband likes to arrange a bit of a visual treasure hunt for these occassion. Here are a few of the things the children (and some very excited adults!) had fun looking for.
I think they are all interesting for the visual inspiration as well! Perhaps it would be interesting to have a challenge of working with images taken by someone else...particularly someone who is not thought to be artistic. I particularly like the image of the cycle path! Great lines.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Busy Busy!

I had a very long day on Saturday going into London to the City and Guilds Headquarters. It is near the St. Bart's Hospital. It was a very informative day. We did several activities as well. There were a few activities which helped to get an understanding of ways to meet the requirements of the Design unit of the new programme.

We all had to take a pair of coloured shoes or other accessory. Labels for the 12 step colour wheel had been laid in a circle on the floor and we had to place our items in the colour position we thought they went. It was a great icebreaker as much as anything! But then we went back and looked at the logbook to realise just how much that one group excercise had covered!

A bit heavily weighted in the red spectrum!

I also was able to see some of the teachers I had for City and Guilds Fashion at Hemel Hempstead. It was actually quite helpful to sit with someone you already knew in order to discuss some of the issues that came up. One of the ladies is now our External Verifier. So, she had a bit more insight as to interpretation of some parts of the requirements.

Now I need to communicate all that info to the others at the college. I have been waking at night with my brain running at 100 mph!

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Journal Quilts - 2009

Here are the 2009 journal quilts I selected to go to the exhibition at the Creative Stitches and Hobbycrafts Show at Exeter, 24th - 27th September 2009. If you are down that way, do stop in and have a look.

We were asked to send 4, but had to select either 4 horizontal orientation, or 4 portrait orientation, or 2 and 2. I decided to send the horizontal ones. So, it isn't particularly the once I thought were best. But it helps to give people an idea of what they can achieve.

I wonder what comments the dragons will get. There isn't space to send their stories.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Cushion 4 - finish

After sitting on my table in a nearly complete state for weeks, I have finally completed Cushion 4.
I am really quite chuffed with this. Not the least because the cover is a pattern I developed on my own...from a not quite right try for a different idea.
The light green is actually the cushion covered tightly with light weight fabric. This one has lining fabric at the back and silk from a charity shop blouse at the front.

The cover is 2 rectangular pieces cut the same for the cover - one for the back
- one for the front which has been cut into quarters diagonally.

The the long edges have been overlocked and turned in about 1/2 in and sewed down. I also sewed an accent satin ribbon along the edge.

The raw edges have been placed, right sides together, along the raw edges of the back piece...matching the corners and overlapping in the centre of each edge as you go around.

Pin and sew, and overlock the edge.

Turn through and press to neaten.

Insert the cushion which has the lightweight fabric, making sure the silk side shows through the aperture.

Choose a motif to go with the cushion colours. Find the centre of the opening and stitch the motif to the silk covered side of the cushion. ( catch the original cover of the cushion pad so that there will not be too much stress on the silk.)

If you have bits of ribbon left from sewing along the edges of the opening, you can stitch them onto the back of the motif to make streamers. I did this to help tie all the colours of green together.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Bernina Fashion Garments are Home!

Yesterday, Epic Quest of the Last Dragoness and Midnight Dance By Moonlight came home!

The Epic Quest of the Last Dragoness

Besides being shown at the International Quilt Market and Festival in Houston, Chicago, and Long Beach, the Epic Quest of the Last Dragoness also went to a few other places including Brisbane Australia!! How cool is that? Now I can say I have exhibited work world wide!

I was very pleased to see the condition of the garments. We had been warned that they might have a few wear and tear problems because of the speed the models have to change into the next garment. After doing the fashion show at the college, I can understand that! I opened the very carefully packed pieces (it was just like Christmas) and carefully looked, and they all seem to be very lovely!

Midnight Dance by Moonlight

I have already been asked to come do a talk about being a Bernina Fashion Designer for a group...but in October 2010! If you would like to get a group of people together who want to see the garments and hear about the process of making them, please contact me. Just click on my profile in the sidebar and you should be able to access my email address.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Letter - finally at last fini!

Well, that is, I am still stitching the binding at the back, but here you see the full piece.

You may recall that this is the large size piece from the Zoom challenge from the EquilARTeral group.

The sentance at the bottom says "A letter is an element in an alphabetic system." a quote from Wikipedia.
I am VERY pleased with this. It has taken a lot of time, a lot of deliberation and even learning how to do what I needed to do next, but I think the final result works very well. Woo hoo!

Now a question for you. I really wanted the medallion pieces to stand as medallions. But because there is no quilting there, they kind of pop out. I think I have to put a bit of quilting in there somehow. Any ideas?

So, now to work on the final piece for the Connect-Disconnect piece! and a thousand other things I would like to do as well as prepare for teaching!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Letter - very nearly!

The letter piece is nearly done! Actually, it would have been if I had made the binding wider. It is just a bit tight to finish wrapping round to the back. So, I am going to put another bit of binding from a plain fabric which will extend it enough to catch down easier.

You can see the braid I used to cover the edge of the silk. The centre portion is actually green, but blue works better, so I sewed it on with a blue zigzag and it is perfect. I have not been happy with the blue foiling I did on parts of the L. I was going for a lapis lazuli look, but it was too bright and fake. I discovered I could cover those blue bits with the braid. And suddenly the whole piece works well as a whole. I am very pleased with it!

Here is a little reminder of what the blue foiling looked like. If you compare with the top photo...even though the photo is a bit can see how it works better.