Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Machine Embroidery

For the past few weeks 2 ladies have been coming to my house because they wanted to learn machine embroidery. Today was the last session. It has been very good to have students that are keen and who go away and practice/do homework through the week.
Here are some examples of some of the things they have made. It is interesting to see the progress.

cords and edges
water soluble
fabric manipulation

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Here I am! again

Reading Chronicle from last week...
and there I am at the Big Arts Picnic at the sewing machine!

Today it is Beaded Brooches at the Birch Hill Library. There was a little blurb about that in the Bracknell News...maybe we will have a few more come to the workshop.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Inspiration Monday

Because life is so much more interesting if you use your imagination.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

and more exhibition

A couple of photos of dream like art work that caught my eye at the exhibit at New Directions for Reading Arts Week.
I loved the dream like state of these...maybe because we recently watched Alice in Wonderland?

I am not generally drawn to pottery, but I did like this one.
I really like the texture.

I had a good afternoon showing a few more of my various journal quilts from over the past few years and demonstrating machine embroidery. I started another dragon, which will actually be a bit bigger than journal quilt size. At present there isn't enough to photograph.

I got to catch up with my friend and colleague, Caroline Quin who did the teaching qualification with me. We are never teaching in the same centre or even at the same tutor meetings, so I haven't seen her since last summer! I really would like to take her book illustration course. I absolutely and utterly love her work. and her imagination. Click on her name to see her illustrations. She also has a head full of dragons! :D
Click on the photo to make it larger.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Arts WeekExhibition

More adventures today for Reading Arts Week. I am demonstrating Machine Embroidery again at the New Directions - Caversham centre.
Here are the pieces EquilARTeral has entered. (pity about the notice board!)

Last evening at the reception, I made some really good connections with Jenny Kiehn, a lady who stopped by my "tent" on Wednesday right at the end of the day. I really liked the artwork she had entered into the exhibition.
Jenny's "quilt" piece - made of blocks of ephemera embedded in PVA and stitched together
I am thinking that Jenny might fit in with Thames Valley Contemporary Quilt group, perhaps giving insight to installation work and photography.
Jenny's translucent work - glass, photography, and wax

I should be able to get some other photos of paintings today. The lighting wasn't too great last night. However, I really loved the Garden Pot project!
especially the tree!

Friday, 25 June 2010

more alteration

Tonight I went to the reception for the Exhibition at the College, part of Reading Arts Week. I will show you photos of some of the other art work, but for now, here is a photo of the dragons safely ensconced in a glass case.

And here is a photo of the Solar Optics pieces along with a few of the other pieces donated for the Canvas Project. These are being sold for £25 to raise money for supported learning at the college.

and earlier today:
Along with sorting a bit more of my studio, I finished off the hems of the other pair of linen trousers.
... a little like the turquoise pair, but on an angle.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

mending and altering

After such a long day yesterday, today was a bit of conserving strength sort of day, since I have quite a few other things going on in the next week.

So, I mended a hat for a Certain Lad going off on adventures for a couple weeks.

I also shortened some crop trousers to a length more suitable to me. I did this a few weeks ago to a white pair I bought. The resulting length still left it with a rather wide finish, which I wasn't happy with. So, on the white pair, I just tucked out the fullness at the side seam. There was 2 extra buttons which were meant to replace the one at the waist and one of the buttoned pockets (slightly smaller), should they go missing. So, I shortened the buttonhole length, put the small button at the waist, and stitched the 2 larger ones on the tuck at the hem for a feature! They are very comfortable. I have been wearing them alot and have them on now!
So...a photo in a very unclean mirror.
I hadn't got around to shortening two linen pairs, so started that today. This turquoise pair has been taken in slightly at the inner seam near the hem, but it wasn't quite enough. Or at least it looked rather plain. So, I tried a few horizontal tucks. I think they really help make them look alot better. I plan to wear them to the exhibition at College on Saturday (Caversham) when I will be demonstrating Machine Embroidery again.
I still have a natural linen pair which has been chopped now, but needs to be hemmed. I shall have to think what I might do to the hem of those!

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Big Art Picnic

Some photos of my stand at the Big Art Picnic at Caversham Court today.

I had a lot of interest from all ages. Little boys who liked the dragon stories, young ladies who loved the Bernina Garments, and men and ladies who were fascinated by the idea of doing work like that!

Some seemed to be very interested in doing the course. I also met a gentleman who came to Reading today from Oxford by boat on the Thames. He saw the event on the banks of the river and found his way over to see what was going on. He repairs sewing machines, does a bit of sewing and was very keen to see how he could set up his machine to do a bit of free work!

Some of the students from various fashion courses also did an informal fashion show. I managed to snap a couple photos.

It was a great day. There were loads of other events, like singing groups, dance groups and so on. A real nice atmosphere as people really did bring their picnic and sit around on the grass listening to what was going on.

Oh,I was visited by the Mayor of Reading and his family as well as having even more photos from the newspaper photographer! It may get into the Bracknell News this time.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

chopping and changing

Tomorrow is the big day ...the Big Art Picnic at Caversham Gardens. I am demonstrating all day, so I have been getting ready for it. As I am taking the Bernina Garments to display as well, I had to dig out M'Lady and Mademoiselle.

And since I have been meaning to shuffle all the cupboards on that side of the studio along about 15 inches so I can get to the book case, I decided to make a start. So, the whole desk set got emptied and moved. Things are being sorted and put back. Then next cupboard will be another day, but here is a before photo to tide you over till I get one of the changes.
Well, this is a rather false before, because it is seldom, if ever that tidy! Anyway, imagine a 15 in gap between the desk portion and the cupboard. and a table full of bits and pieces that need sorting.

Yes, I do know I am meant to be working on FOQ entries. =-{

Monday, 21 June 2010

Inspiration Monday


Sunday, 20 June 2010

Sandown again

Today I went to collect my quilts.
I did actually get a bit of work done on Sky Princess on Saturday. I am not sure if I said, but she wants some copperish highlights. So, I kept thinking it really has to be the silk metallic tissue like I am using for the body of the coat.

So, I got to the show about 45 min before closing and went over to Silk Route's stand and found these pieces in the top of the photo. I think there is enough to do what I want.

I also stopped at Simply Sequins and picked up a large reel of copper thread and some interesting copper sequins (and some gold in a colour I am running out of). These varigated pearle cottons caught my eye as well, since I have just been showing my machine embroidery students how to stitch several strands together to make a cord which brings out the colours of your work. So these will be good to add variety in the choice for making cords.

Because there aren't a lot of shops around where I live that have these sorts of things, I have learned to buy up what I will use at shows and create a mini shop of my own at home. Mini Shop, in that I can just go look in the cupboard and select what I need for a project and get on with it rather than driving up and down the country or waiting for it to come in the post. I find it works for me!

Saturday, 19 June 2010


I have been looking for some fabric to enhance with stitch like this. It seems all I have been able to find is smaller prints or already detailed. I wanted something with large geometrics, but I guess that is not in fashion at present.

Anyway fri at the show, I found these, which I think will be fun to work into.

I got quite a selection because I can split them into smaller pieces for students to purchase for a small fee. Then they don't have to go on a search for a year and a half like I have done in order to try it out themselves.

oh, the bamboo print...I have been looking for a bamboo print ever since I did this piece and haven't found any to do something similar!

Friday, 18 June 2010


So, I didn't get much done on the Sky Princess yesterday because I am not feeling 100%.
Today I did want to get to Sandown. (National Quilt Championships)Not just to see my quilts in situ, but to pick up one or two things I needed, including a bulb for my overlocker.

So, I finally managed to get out of the house, after getting my head in enough shape to drive. Posted my SAQA auction piece at the PO, and then realised I left my free ticket to Sandown at home. SO, went home and got it. Then went to get petrol and almost got out of the garage shop w/out my credit card! :-{ At this point I thought maybe I should just go home to bed.

However, I managed to get to Sandown, wandered around the sellers and bought this and that. Finally got to wandering round the quilts. and Lo and Behold I got round one corner to see my "Communication: Letter" piece looking like THIS!

So, I was in shock! 3rd place small wallhanging!

and then I had to try to find someone I knew to tell about it! First I told some unknown-to-me ladies who were brave enough to say something to me about someone else's quilt... :D Then I went and told Judy from Lady Sew and Sew, because she sells fabric in Bracknell Market and I sometimes buy stuff there.

And finally I found a lady who has been to the Thames Valley Contemporary Quilt group! So, she came and looked and was suitable congratulatory! LOL

and not long after that I found a collegue from College (the one who is passing on the Machine Embroidery course to me.) I grabbed her hand and dragged her all the way through the crowds to see it! And so managed to get a lovely hug for my efforts! Sigh.

That is the first time I have won anything for a textile art piece!
So, I think I feel a "bit" better! and perhaps tomorrow I WILL have the motivation to work on Sky Princess after all!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010


The latest challenge with the Fast Friday group was about fungi. The constraints this time are:
Theme: Glorious Fungus
Concept: Abstract/Stylized
Color: Complementary or Split Complementary
Techniques:embellish or manipulate fabric to show dimension.

I have been so busy, I didn't get to do more than just pull out some bits and pieces that I hoped to use for it. I came across trimmings from one of the sleeves of coat from the first Bernina Fashion emsemble I did. So that helped me to get started.

Today, after the ladies came for the machine embroidery class, I started putting those bits together. Most of it needed hand stitching, so I did that while watching Alice in Wonderland with my husband. It was a quick break of sorts before I get back to working on my Festival of Quilts entries.

So, this is my abstracted, complementary colours take on a Jack-O-Lantern tree fungus. (Omphalotus olivascens)

I just need to go round and give it a satin stitch edge. It works for the purpose of the challenge, but I have ideas to turn it into something that I actually suits my purpose.

and of course, I am thinking dragons here! I have cut it to the size of this year's journal quilts. I am behind one month on that, so if I can turn this into a story about dragons, it would not end up stuck in the back of the cupboard!!

So, I didn't need a quilt about fungus
so here is what happened after the satin stitching....

2 little dragons came along and found it was a wonderful place for playing hide and seek from their friends in the forest. As soon as the counting to 100 finishes, you won't even be able to tell they are there, as they will pull their heads right down into the pocket of the fungi.

Sometimes the little dragons hollow out tree fungi to use as a sort of hanging sleeping bag when they go camping out with their friends. I am sure you can imagine what fun they get up to while they are out there! Of course, they are completely safe, because one of the parents is usually curled up behind bushes not too far away.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010


busy day yesterday getting items together to deliver for the Reading Arts Week:
-hanging apparatus for Dragon Claw, Rainforest Dragon and for Ancient and Wise Dragon
-Cord and labels for EquiARTeral's 3 Staffordshire Hoard Pieces. All will be at the New Direction Caversham centre exhibit on the 25th and 26th. Merete's piece, The Hoard, has also been chosen to be at Battle Library on Tuesday and Caversham Court on Wednesday!
-deliver all of these to Caversham on a circuitous route to West Reading to teach last night.
Merete Hawkins - The Hoard ('They gave to the earth')

Jane Glennie - Unearth

Me - Lay Not Up Treasure

- labels for Communication: Letter and Endless Possibilities...also make sure Endless Possiblities can be easily hung in a quilt show...added a small piece of organza between the panels of the triptych.
- delivered to Sandown for the National Patchwork Show this coming weekend.

and also delivered a bag of fabric trimmings, empty spools, etc to the Rainbow Guides for collage!

off to a meeting tonight...

Monday, 14 June 2010

Inspiration Monday

Seen on a fence near the car park.

no need for subtitles.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Bits and Pieces - finished!

At last! And I am quite pleased with it!

Today I manhandled the quilt in sections under the machine and got everything attached to everything else. Much measuring and lining up in between manipulating it under the machine. Because the technique I used makes it very stiff, it was much easier to do it this way than the way you would do a normal 3 layer quilt.

I need to make a sleeve for it now. Please note that this is hanging over slightly opened cupboard doors (from the skirt hangers over them), so it isn't hanging flat against the wall.

If you want to see this in person, you will have to look out for it in the contemporary section at the Festival of Quilts.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Solar Optics

Quite some time back I made a series of pieces called Solar Optics. At one point, they were on display at the library.
I have given them as gifts to various people and have 2 left.

A few weeks ago, the college made available some small art canvases which they are going to sell during Reading Arts Week. The money raised will go to supported learning at New Directions.

I decided to participate, but with so many other deadlines, I was feeling very pressured about the idea of creating new work. I thought of the Solar Optics pieces and realised they would work just right mounted on the canvas. I realised it would look better to spray paint the canvas gold. It sets off the work nicely.

And, here they are!
Solar Optics: Radiance            Solar Optics: Blaze

I am not sure how much they will be selling them for, but they will be on display at the various events all week.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Beaded Brooches

I finally got a chance to make a sample of the Beaded Brooch for the next Craft @the Library. I am not sure how long it will take the ladies to make. I may make a simpler version if they feel these will be too complex.

Edit: I made another little Brooch. So, here is another photo.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Bits and Pieces - connectors

I did a bit more rearranging of the blocks on Bits and Pieces. In doing so, I realised I needed a few more pieces to use as connectors. As I had a few pieces I had used for samples, I was able to finish them off in the way I did the big pieces.

The photo of them gives a bit more detail showing the way the sheer fabric shrinks back when you zap it with a heat gun.