Sunday, 28 February 2010

while looking for colour

fascinating seed heads to photograph in the rain.
I love the different shades of brown across the flower head.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Featured Blog

As you know, I do an Inspiration Monday photo each week.
On her blog, Thru Linda's Eyes, Textile Artist Linda McLaughlin has been posting a daily photo since the end of November.

I find them quite inspirational. It is good to see interesting things through someone else's eyes.

This is what Linda says about her photos.
"This blog was inspired by Jane Dunnewold's blog Daily Visuals, and my goal is to post a picture a day. This blog is also dedicated to my Mom who passed away five years ago today (Nov.30). When I received my first camera about fifty years ago, I was reprimanded because I took a whole roll of film of "nothing" and it cost too much to get it developed. Well I'm still taking pictures of nothing, it doesn't cost anything to develop them now and I'm going to share them with you."

And here is one of my own recent photos taken as I was out and about in my neighbourhood.
I am not very good at just posting the photo, though. I have to say something about it!
The above photo is of part of a gorse bush. I was looking for something colourful. The spring is taking too long in coming! The link to gorse says Between the different species, some gorse is almost always in flower, hence the old country phrase: "When gorse is out of blossom, kissing's out of fashion".

Sometimes you can smell the scent of gorse. It is quite amazing really, it smells so much like Cocoa butter suntan lotion that it can make you feel like a summer day even if you are on a windswept, overcast moor!

Friday, 26 February 2010

Wendy House

The other side of the house. Needs a few flowers of some sort on the climbing vine.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Wendy House

Here is a start on the side wall. the bedroom will be on the other side. I will be adding stitched grasses and so on at the bottom of these flower beds.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Little Purse Booklets

A few more of the little purse books from the session at the Great Hollands Library today.

and a bit more on the Wendy House.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Little Purse Booklets

Here are the lovely little purse booklets made by the ladies from the Crafts @the Library today at Birch Hill Library.

We had a great time with a bit of a laugh and a joke in today's session!

Monday, 22 February 2010

Inspiration Monday

dragons in the architecture
love the scrolled wings

Sunday, 21 February 2010


This Monday, the topic for the C+G class is drafting trousers. So, I tried on my last attempt at getting this right for myself, and made some changes.

This trial in brown linen will work well enough for a pair of shorts come summer...if I finish them off. Most of my trouser trials get to this point and then live on a hanger on the cupboard door in their unfinished state. I have been researching fitting adjustments for trousers ahead of the fitting session for next Monday, just to remind myself of what to try. I have seen some ideas which I might try to get my pattern one more step to wearable. I am happy with the fit on the upper part, but don't like the fact that the legs are so big. I feel it doesn't work on me with being short.

I do think it is easier to see how to help someone else with fitting adjustments than helping yourself. anything you do to twist round and see or to twist round and pin, etc messes up something else!

Now you know why I like to make skirts!

Saturday, 20 February 2010

fun night

Each year at our church we have a family fun night around pancake night. Pancake night was on Tuesday, but as we meet in the community centre, we usually do something on a Saturday instead.

So, my husband and some of the others made a big pile of pancakes each, and we had a great evening. My husband also thought up a lot of fun games which could be played by a wide range of people.

Here is a photo of him counting "rubbish". This was one of the games. We were being "naughty neighbours" and only had so much time to try to get the rubbish in the other person's garden. The team with the least amount at the end, won.

We also had to build a tall structure using spagetti and marshmallows!

We all had a good time together. and had some delicious pancakes.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Featured Blog

I haven't done a Featured Blog for some time, but there are several blogs I keep track of that I haven't added to the side bar.

One of those blogs is that of Celia Darbyshire, whose blog is called Cheshire Cheese.

Celia regularly posts images of the samples she made when doing C+G Embroidery. She is now doing the Stitched Textiles programme. I find it interesting to see how she interprets her ideas into a variety of contemporary embroidery designs.

If you want to get encouragement to do bits and pieces with your ideas, I would suggest checking out the Cheshire Cheese blog. Celia often visits exhibitions of textile art and embroidery, so I hope you will also find her comments about those visits of interest.

And to link with interests of my own, here is a photo from a page in my design research project I did on the Tudors. You may recognise this as a starting place for alot of the corded work I have done. It was also a starting place for the ideas which I developed to design the rust dyed skirt for which I won the award at Festival of Quilts in 2006.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Wendy House

The little group I teach at church has such a wide range of ages that sometimes there are problems after church when they are all playing freely in the hall while the grown ups have cups of tea. The big kids want to do kicking balls and throwing things and the little kids either run in the way and get hit, or steal the ball. Either way, something usually ends in tears...or mums getting fraught about who did what to whom and was it on purpose. (So glad mine is nearly 21!)

So, I thought it would be good to have something for the little ones to do that was more exciting than just playing with the toys in the small room. There is a table in there , so I thought if I covered it I could make it look like a Wendy House and the little ones hopefully will be so enamoured of it that they don't mess up the big kids games. (Cross fingers and a few prayers here! LOL)

One day when it was my turn to mind the kids during the crèche, I brought my measuring tape and got the big kids to help me measure the table. Then we talked about what it should look like on the outside and on the inside. So Amy and Gideon helped me design the Wendy House.

I was pleased to see this idea when visiting someone else's blog. It is a similar idea but specifically suited for boys. Sometimes it is nice to have confirmation that you are heading in the right direction. Ours won't have a pitched roof, as it has to be folded and put in the cupboard when we go home. (We meet in a community centre.)

Yesterday I got a chance to start cutting up a long length of calico which is just about right to make the cover. Here is the progress so far. This will be one side of the front opening. This is a flowering bush and a window box. It is just fused for now, but I will stitch into it to make it a bit more realistic. The "kitchen sink" will be on the other side. I am making it double layered. The window will be inserted between the layers... a piece of net curtain that I got from the charity shop today.

This is actually quite fun for a change. It doesn't have to pass some major rules for exhibiting or anything! Just make it up as I go along. I used to do scenery for kids plays that way in the past.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

another dragon! - 4

The dragon being blocked.

The dragon with a bit of finishing. I still need to stitch the binding in back, so some of the wobbly effect will stop when the pins come out.

Background -
Because this dragon is related to the Lightning Dragon I did on the Bernina Garment - The Epic Quest of the Last Dragoness - I started trying to think what green dragon on a red background would also be seen in the sky. Then I realised that this is what people are seeing when they see the "green flash at sunset" phenomenom! So, this is The Green Flash Dragon...a rare dragon, only seen when the conditions are right. You can read about the scientific explanation here.

and the story?

The ship's boy looked out over the railing to the end of the sea. He'd been told it would be lucky if he saw the Green Flash at Sunset...and if he saw it, he should make a wish.

He was just about to turn away thinking it wouldn't be tonight...
but Wait!

There it was! The green flash in the centre of the setting sun!

Quickly he made a wish and then it was gone.

With a grin spread right across his face, he headed to his hammock. He had to be up very early in the morning to help the cook.

That night, while the ship's boy slept, he started to feel an uncomfortable prickle of sorts in his side. He wiggled round a bit, used to ignoring disturbances as the sailors changed watch. Finally, though, he came awake sleepily and put his hand down to see what was prickling him.

To his utter amazement, he thought he touched something scaley. He quickly pulled his hand back.

It was very dark below decks, but he looked to see what it was...

There was some sort of greenish glow!

He rubbed his eyes and looked again.

It was still there!

He reached out and touched the prickly, scaley thing. As he did, the thing moved up his body, closer to his face. His eyes began to make out just what it was.

It was the most beautiful dragon he had ever thought to see.

And then he heard a very musical voice in his head. "I'm the Green Flash Dragon. I am here to answer your wish."

And what do YOU think the rest of the story will be?

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

another dragon! - 3

Okay, this dragon is giving me a very hard time. He is taking me alot of time in small bursts to get all the puckering into submission. I had to trapunto him severly!

I have not won completely yet. He needs a bit of blocking so I can finish trimming the left side.

in technical terms, I think
a-the yellow silk on the dragon claw that I thread painted and then quilted had more give than the cotton lawn this one is stitched to. Therefore, it was easier to manipulate. The backing was a looser weave as well.
b -I like the shine of the silk better than the cotton to go with dragons, but I don't have it in a reddish colour like this.
c- it is not wise to try to work on something like this when your black dog is shedding fine fluffy hairs everywhere. You discover that your cardigan or fleece sheds while you are working. So you have to have masking tape there at all times lest you quilt a fine black dog hair into the work. YIKES. I even put the fleece in the dryer to reduce the problem, but I forgot and petted her again later.

All this and email conversations about something else I said yes to means it is very late.

I expect all the troubles are because this is a very illusive type of dragon. I have discovered what kind he is and will tell you the story tomorrow...if I get it to edging and completion stage.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Inspiration Monday

i found the fairy lighting shop,
when the day was dull and bleak.
i saw a good selection there,
the design both straight and sleek.
the stem is firm, quite like a staff,
and lantern-like, their lights.
I'll place one near my garden path
to welcome young Spring nights.
sandy snowden

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Valentine's Day

Roses to me from my husband. Thank you so much. I love the deep red.
Polyanthus for him from me. He has already planted them in the garden. They are meant to be winter hardy.
And then he went to town and amongst other things came back with a yellow rose for the garden! He is special. He knows I like yellow roses.

Oh and we went out Friday evening and saw Avatar. WOW!

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Private View - 2

Just a few more photos of the Private View at the exhibition. Merete took these. They give a good idea of what the whole gallery looked like.
You can also see the Endless Possibilities piece on the support wall. See how well it fit the space?

We also got Eleanor the curator (the one in red in the top photo) to take a photo of us.
Merete, Sandy and Jane

And I think that is all! I won't bore you with any more for now.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Private View

The Private View of the Ideas Bank Exhibit on Thursday evening went well. Not as many people as we thought might be there, but it was held at a difficult time of evening for people moving round Berkshire in the traffic.
Here is a photo of Jane Glennie discussing her work from EquilARTeral's Zoom series. Hers is the felted work on the left. Mine is next and then Merete's colourful Sunflower pieces. You can read the artist statements and see closer images of our work on the EquilARTeral blog.

We also had the privilege of hearing about the work of 2 of the other artists.Vrinder Atwal and Mo Negm. In the centre of the room there were fabric and felt books with work by Annie Hamilton who has links with Lebanon. It would have been interesting to talk with her because of the textile connections, but she is visiting Lebanon at the moment. Shehnoor Ahmed also has work in the exhibition.

Some of Mo Negm's work
Vrinder Atwal's work
Shehnoor Ahmed's work
Annie Hamilton's work

The Ideas Bank 2010 exhibit continues at the Slough Museum in Berkshire throughout February. If you are in the area, do stop by. The museum is open between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm Wed - Sat.

Thursday, 11 February 2010


When it comes to a Private View with an artist talk in a museum, thoughts turn to what to wear.
I don't feel as though I want to dress posh, but I do want to dress slightly interestingly. Maybe I will look out of place, I don't know.

I went to the open evening for the event at the Barbican in London some years back. (It was an exhibit about the history and development of Computer Games. I was asked to make a large bird costume by description alone, which I later learned was a character in a computer game.) anyway, I made myself a posh waistcoat. My friend and I went along and then discovered the rest were in jeans and t-shirts! We felt like we really stuck out. Well, I should have known, my husband is a computer type.

So, back to what to wear tonight... a month or so ago I freshened up the paint on my jeans skirt. So, I thought, that would be interesting and say artist in a way. I put on a fuschia stretch top, which picks up some of the pink, and then I am wearing a chunky white zip cardigan over that. After I got dressed this morning, I thought, what I need to finish it is a funky sort of necklace. So, I dug out bits and bobs I have collected along the way.

Here is the result.

It is made of flat glass beads between cord wrapped bauble type beads, all threaded onto a silver cord which has 4 colours of crochet cotton plaited around it. I used an idea from a necklace I have from Ethiopia,in which they have finished the ends with a large hook and eye...very functional when you haven't got necklace findings. The silver cord picks up the silver in the braid  wrapping the large beads. It all works quite well together with the mixture of textures.

I think the various colours of blue picks up some of the colours in the skirt and balances colour of the fucshia pink top.

And all together, it will give me the feeling that it is just enough difference to say "She's a textile artist." without making me feel conspicuous.

I hope.
Later: The silver cord scratches. But it did work for a confidence boost. :)

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

another dragon! - 2

More stitching on the dragon today. I may do one or two more touch ups to the dragon.
When you do this sort of work, it usually causes the fabric around to pucker, even if you use strong stabiliser. However, if you build the stitched portion up with wadding or something and then quilt the background fairly heavily, it will even out.

This is what I did with the dragon claw study. and the fix.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

another dragon!

So, now it is half-term. I have a few places to go and things to do, including the Private View at Slough Museum. However, for the most part I have a week or so to do some things I enjoy.

So, today I read a book and started to stitch a dragon! Does life get better? (well, I am ignoring the routine blood test that started the day, but there we are.)

This is the start of my journal quilt for February for the Contemporary Quilt group.
I haven't yet worked out the story or who it wants to be. The design is similar to the one I used for the inside of the coat on The Epic Quest of the Last Dragoness.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Inspiration Monday

A bit Silly
This photo is from sometime back, but Pepper still does this. It makes me laugh!

I would like to use the idea for getting the placement right to do a dragon wallowing on a pile of jewels, but the dog is so black, it is hard to tell where the lines should go.
Any ideas?

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Slow cloth again

It is really nice to have a project to pick up when you have completed one thing, but haven't got enough time to properly begin on another. I did pull out a selection of fabrics for something else I will start, but this evening I just sat and did a bit of stitch patterning on the slow cloth piece. No particular rhyme or reason of placement, just the pleasant feeling of needling in and out of the cloth.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Fractured Wings - Glorious Flight

I have finished the piece for the Fast Friday- challenge no. 41, whose focus was on fracturing and wings. I decided, though to call it "Glorious Flight". It is meant represent a dragon wing and the joys of flying high in the bright sunshine, catching thermals and doing aeronautic twists and turns.

It was a real stretch for me. I am not sure I will ever attempt this style again, but I did learn from it. I think several of the others struggled with this one as well. Here is a link to see what the others have done.

One of the things I decided to do in finishing it off was to leave the blocks and squares that poked out of the edge as is, rather than trim everything up square. I think it works well. Especially with that style.

The size is approximately 19"h x 21"w.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Fractured Wings - stitch

I have made a few adjustments to the Fractured wing piece. The dark places on the wing are now not so dark. Also, there is a bit of shadow at the bottom left, made by a layer of sheer green "mystery fabric".
I have also started the quilting. I used a varigated blue/green/yellow to do the pattern on the dragon wing....whilst listening to an audio book of one of the books in the series of the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency. If you have never read the books, or listened to them, you ought to do so. They are detective fiction with a gentle difference. and though set in Botswana, they make me miss my friend in Zimbabwe.

and another thing I did today was to spend a fortune for new glasses. But, I desperately needed new long distance glasses. The place where I go, you can get a second pair free, so I had that one made into sunglasses.
I have never tried varifocals or bifocals, but I am trying a pair of those for teaching. I have to keep chopping and changing from sewing glasses to normal glasses. I can't see the sewing with the one and I can't see the students with the other! For now, I want to keep long distance ones, especially for driving. So, I took in a pair from last time I changed. Being reading glasses, the frames were still good, so I decided to have them put the varifocals in that.

So, all that came to rather alot of money. But, I can't go on as is, so we shall see how it goes.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Endless Possibilities

Thanks to Jane, Here is a wonderful shot of the detail on the Endless Possibilities piece that is in the exhibition at Slough Museum.
It really shows the ethereal quality of the delicate fabrics with the marks of the rust and the texture of the stitch.

If you haven't visited the EquilARTeral blog, you should go read about Jane and Merete's work and see the photos. I will be putting photos of my pieces up there tomorrow if all goes well.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Fractured Wings

What with all that has been going on lately, I am late with the fractured wings challenge for the Fast Friday Fabric group. I was finding it very hard to get my head round the whole thing. I have never quite been drawn to this style of quilt in the first place, so I have never bothered to work out how they might be done. I find them very confusing to look at...too much going on, in my opinion. But I have been trying to work it out and do a bit of mental design.

But sometimes you just have to start, so I finally had time to do that today. Here is a glimpse.
Not too sure where to head with this next, so it will percolate til morning.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Hanging the Zoom exhibition

Today Jane and I went along to the Slough Museum to hang the work as EquilARTeral's part in Ideas Bank 2010 . Eleanor Pulfer, the Curator, chatted with us about few things like placement, got us a cup of tea, and then let us get to work. We are really grateful for the opportunity she has given us.

The work looks really good together. It is quite something to see your work in a gallery setting. When it is just at home when you are working on it, or even when you pull it out to show friends, you don't seem to be able to see it as a whole. Hanging in the gallery gives it quite a special "authentic" feel!

Here is a glimpse of the Zoom pieces in place.
Jane Glennie's work Significant is on the left, then my work Communication, then Merete Hawkins work Sunflowers.

If you would like to view our work and that of several other local artists, the exhibit opens on 3 Feb. 2010. The Museum is open from 11am - 4pm Wed - Sat. Click here for a map to find out how to get there. You can also find out info about Ideas Bank 2009.

We had taken some other work because we thought we might be given space in the window, but there were already plans for that. However, the Endless Possibilities triptych was just right against a small pillar-like wall in the near the middle of the room. The white wall is great for revealing just enough of the mystery of what might be on the other side. We were able position it to stand slightly away from the wall. As it is very light, this will be a wonderful place for it to waft slightly in the breeze of someone going past. The position is almost made for it!

Jane took more photos, so when she sends them on, I will show Endless Possibilities in place.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Inspiration Monday

Over at ideas of inspiration, the current prompt is (un)boring brown. A lot of times people thing brown is boring, but in nature, it plays a strong supporting role. Feathers, fur, skin, rocks, earth, wood, and so on. In the kitchen things look so much better if they have been "browned" to perfection. And then there is coffee, tea, and don't forget chocolate!

So, here is my submission to show brown is not boring.

Some exciting carved beasties from the choir stalls in a Victorian Gothic Style church in Leeds.