Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Machine Embroidery

Sorry for the fits and starts posting lately. Teaching is taking up more time than I thought this year. And in-between, it is hard to do more than garner strength for the next session!

Anyway, here are a few photos of some improvisation going on in the Machine Embroidery course. It is exciting to see how they are taking the techniques and doing things with them on their own.

Here is a happy rescue. One of the other students tried the texture on the cooling rack with a black velvet the week before. However, you need to dampen the fabric so it clings into the grid a bit better...and well...the black velvet bled. While she and I were rescuing the cover of the table top ironing board which I think belongs the the quilt class (yikes!) Delia spied the interfacing and saw the potential (before I could snap it up!). So, the other student said she could have it, as she was going to throw it away.
And look how Delia has worked into it!

Also, Heather has made a wonderfully bright sampler of bobbinwork.

And last week she started couching strips of fabric down onto her broomsticked fabric...by the end of the class, she had started to add green stems for a lovely abstract bouquet. Can't wait to see the final version!

Some other fun stuff going on.

So, we shall see what happens tomorrow when we stitch on paper and metal!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Frosted Rose

I participate in a photo prompt by Christie in Alaska. This time it was yellow, so I got a few photos of the first yellow rose from my birthday plant. (I love yellow roses.) It came so late, that it won't actually get any further because we have a hard frost now. Some places have snow.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

bookmaking - my versions

Here are some photos of some of the steps for the books I made on Saturday...well I finished some covers this week.




finished books!

I really enjoyed this.
I think I will make some more...

shh - for Christmas!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010


Photos from Margaret Cooter's bookmaking workshop at the Thames Valley CQ group on Saturday.
getting on with it






Sunday, 21 November 2010


Yesterday was the Thames Valley Contemporary Quilt group meeting.
One of the great bits about a wonderful day was a workshop Margaret Cooter did about making books.

I will show you more as I have time, but for now...look!

All the books Margaret and others brought to show that they had made or had been given as gifts. We all seem to love them!

Friday, 19 November 2010

Fiery Dragon story

I finally got a chance to think of the story for the fiery dragon.
Here is a detail shot and then the story.

Out of the Crimson sky the Fiery Dragon comes, twisting and turning and shooting flame. Many fear him and yet in him beats the heart of a Protector.

While the Fiery Dragon is often the first type of dragon which comes to mind, and the knowledge shared about him has become legend; in reality, the truth is well hidden. Many through the ages have reported the fierce nature of the fiery dragon, but these are many whose intentions were perhaps less than honourable.

The fiery dragon, when set to protect a place of significance or a treasure beyond value, fulfills his role with great furosity. Those who approach for the wrong reasons should expect the resulting flames and fierceness!

I would suggest that the tale would be far different if told by those who have met these dragons out of pure motive, by those who are in need of sustinance or by those who seek protection themselves. Indeed the report of these noble hearted few show the Fiery Dragon to be an ally of considerable worth.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Fabric Manipulation

Yesterday's post was a glimpse of what we did last night for the Machine Embroidery course. We are developing surfaces to stitch into.

I didn't get many photos of what I call shrink texturing. The idea is from the Threads Magazine. Here is the start of one from a student who had been away last week.

But quite a few were working into a 'broomsticked' piece of fabric. Last week we twisted a piece of damp cloth very tightly till it turned right back on itself and then left it to dry for the week.
We unfurled it and set the pleats by fusing it to interfacing.
Then they worked into the surface.

We also had a go with a bubble texture technique.
I had tried it before, mainly on shiny fabrics (a pain to do and really should be left to dry before fusing) and on cotton. I had found a mention where someone used velvet, so a few tried that. Very effective.

Take a cooling rack, damp fabric and poke it into the holes of the grid.
Hold onto it and check the bubbles are as you like on the other side.
Then set them in place with fusible interfacing. (you could use fusible web.)
Yesterday's post was done with an awesome velvet print that was in the scrap bag. I almost wish I had discovered it first to take home! However, it made the most gorgeous bubble texture. and really, if it hadn't had the awesome print, it wouldn't have looked as stunning at the end.

Here is a photo of the bubble texture with cotton. Above it is Maria's work from last week with fine fabrics and water soluble film.

Some of the more advanced students are using the techniques to develop their own piece of work. Delia is making a "tile" for each technique. The fabric here didn't shrink as much as she wanted, but she has worked into it and is still turning it into something interesting.

Kate is trying different things to reproduce the look of wind carved bricks on Lindesfarne.

What a fun class. I love it that they are all willing to 'have a go'.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Ooo-ooh Look!

What is this about?
Pretty awesome!

Stay tuned...more tomorrow.

Have you tried stitching into your textured fabric? Glimpses of that to come.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Observation and experimentation

So, I have been a bit quiet because I was preparing for last night's teaching session when I was observed. Having learned from last year that starting people off with drafting on the night you are observed is NOT a Good Idea, I planned something alot more fun.
Here is a glimpse of how these evenings go...keep in mind this was all in a 2 1/2 hour session. Thankfully the head of the leisure course department who was observing (and who is also the C+G Internal Verifier) only stayed for about an hour or so.

So, the first years spent some time sorting through a big pile of different types of threads from my stash. They found several types they were unsure about and learned about thread sizes and what they are used for.

In the meanwhile, I set the second year students to explore some surface design textures. One of the girls really likes bling, so several of the techniques involved shiny and other terms that went with that.
The first thing was to paint some fusible web which we would be able to fuse to fabric later. I had got some cheap hemming web - 2 rolls for a pound. I told them about other types, but this was suitable for having a go.

Back to 1st years and the next step was to sort through a pile of packs of various types of needles. They were very impressed with wing needles and twin needles. We looked at the types of needles needed for the different types of thread.

While they sorted I went back to the 2nd years and showed them how to use fusible to do foiling.

Then I set the 1st years off in groups to set up machines to try stitching with a variety of threads and needles.

We had metallic thread with metallic needles,
embroidery thread with embroidery needles, and thick linen thread with a size 100 or 120 needle. They rotated round to the other machines to get a sample of stitching there.

next the year 2 ladies tried out angelina fibres and different things you can do with it.

A quick check on the year 1 group to sort out some interfacing to back the work to stabilise the stitches.
embroidery thread sample

and then back to year 2 where we fused the painted bondaweb.

Extras...some year 1 students started to try twin needle, but the one college machine which had an extra spool holder didn't seem to want to stitch with a twin needle. We tried a few things, but I will have to try when things are less fraught.
also the year 2 ladies had a go with puffy paint, which is now drying and we will see how it puffs next week.

Results from year 2 experiments

But I think they did alright. I was quite suprised I managed to get through everything!

However, today I took the rare occassion to chill in front of the telly with catch up TV!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Fiery Dragon finished

The Fiery Dragon is finished and the next one started. I am still thinking about what the Fiery Dragon's Story is about.

But the next one is based on a sketch of a medieval dragon in France from my Dover Dragon book. The images are copywrite free, but I have adapted him a bit to suit my purpose. Here he is being put together on baking parchment.

This one has a strong story to start with. I think he is a Deep Sea Dragon, which has had the reputation of being dangerous to fishermen. But I think that might have been a bit of confusion with creatures like Leviathans and Krakens. So, while I work on him, I will see how the story develops.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Sketchbook project

The sketchbook project hasn't gone out of my mind, although I haven't posted about it for some time. I needed to work out how to print out the dragon photos so they would fit in the book. It wasn't hard, but you know how it is when you think it might be?

Anyway, I finally got with it the other day and have started to print out the photos and write up the stories. I am glad I am taking photos of the pages because I have been embellishing the stories a bit, and as it is hand written, I won't have any other record.

For now, photos of the pages will do, even though they are a bit dodgy. But I think I will scan and save them at some point before I send it off.

The next 2 page spreads.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Flour in the Post?

Remember my husband and the space ship oven?

Well, yesterday we got this delivered to the door.
So I sent an email...
Why are we getting boxes of flour in the post?
Curiouser and curiouser.

Starting a cake factory?
It is a few of those Wright’s cake mixes.

Only a few?
Okay, I guess it saves him lugging them home from the shop. I guess they probably cost less from the supplier than in the shop.

At least he isn't driving across India or to Turkey and back on a motorbike like my friend's husband!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

teaching etc

Lately, with larger classes, I rarely get a chance to take photos of what they are doing.
Here is my demo bit for teaching ideas for using water soluble fabrics. This was the topic for this evening. Not too inspiring, but it was just thrown together a bit to show how to do it.
Sometimes it is called Confetti fabric.

Here are some other places to see the type of work that can be done or to find tutorials and projects.
Here is a link to a group of artists. Some of their work involves the use of water soluble fabric.

Projects and Tutorials

Linda Matthews open lace effects and using decorative stitches

Creating free-form lace, machine openwork and thread-painted motifs onto fabric. Sue Bleiweiss

Confetti fabric with silk roving Heather?

Free-form Embroidery Project- By Liz Kettle from Quilting Arts

The techniques involved are covered in many books on machine embroidery. One book which thoroughly covers the topic is Stitch, Dissolve, Distort by Maggie Grey and Val Campbell-Harding.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

in progress

another dragon
finally getting back to this one and pleased to be able to get some stitching done on my "day off".

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Uncle Stan's Bicycle

So the piece which has been on the worktable has finally got the beads, the sleeve and the label. I hope to post it off early this week. It will be part of the Suitcase Collection for the Contemporary Quilt group. The theme is Childhood Memories.

‘Uncle Stan’s Bicycle’
When Sandy, Kathy and Debbie went to Grandma’s house, they asked to play with Uncle Stan’s Bicycle. If it was upside-down and you turned the pedal very fast, you could make ice cream!

The pieces in the Suitcase Collection will be available for groups to hire to show at their Quilt meetings. I wonder what the rest of them will look like?

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Sewing session

I finally got some photos sorted from the sewing session last Saturday. The group is being called Thames Valley Offcuts. (TV Offcuts for short). The afternoon was a success, so we are planning to meet the last Saturday afternoon of the month starting in the new year.
A bit of chat
A bit of distraction

A bit of sussing out the latest upgrade of the pattern drafting software

A bit of cutting out

A bit of intense sewing

A bit of help

with patterns
with fitting

And glimpses of recent projects

What a great day! Can't wait to do it again.
I will get that jacket going... I promise!