Monday, 31 January 2011

dangers of playing with the dog

moaning monday?
Well, even though I took this on macro setting, the bruise from the broken blood vessel can just be seen. Believe me it was worse, but I put arnica cream on it.

I was playing with Pepper and 2 little friends who visited on Sunday. I had Pepper do her 'party piece' which is to catch the ball that has been balanced on her forehead or just on her nose in front of her eyes. She is good at it, but sometimes it gets away from her and one mad dash to catch it also caught my hand on her tooth...oww.

It has happened before, on a finger which hurts worse, so it is really my own fault.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

TV Offcuts

Some of the ladies from the UK sewing list decided last year to start getting together regularly just to sew. We had a trial in October, and Saturday was the first of regular monthly meetings. The name Thames Valley Offcuts was suggested which has been quickly shortened to TV Offcuts.

The get togethers will be held the last Saturday afternoon of the month. If you like sewing (and not just dressmaking) come along! It is £5 for the afternoon. From 12:30-5:00 pm at the Birch Hill Community Centre.

a lot of production going on stitching away...
Juliett and Gill C

Elaine, Gill G and Clare

alot of cutting out...

Caroline, Anne's daughter cut out 4 little dresses! pressing the fabric for another one.

I love how she made the whole corner her own!
Caroline and Anne

some even got something finished!

and for me a better fit for my jacket. A few more tweaks and it should be nothing like the old one! which is a good thing.

Sandy - happier than I look really!

The spacing out around the room was not because we didn't want to be together, but because the mains sockets are set in each corner!

Do come and join us!

Friday, 28 January 2011

Strange inspiration

So, here's a thing. Just to show that you can get inspiration from anything.
This morning I had an MRI.
from the internet

As I was warned, it was very noisy... sometimes very Noisy in one way and sometimes Very noisy in other ways. Even with headphones and classical music...but sometimes you couldn't hear the music. So, after a while of trying not to hurt but going numb because of trying to stay still while laying on a narrow metal bed, I needed some other sort of distraction.

I had told my sunday school children to think about me this morning when they were having their breakfast because that is when I was going to be in a sort of machine cave. some of them had seen an MRI shown on the telly. So, I tried to think how to describe to them what it was like when I see them again.

Some times the noise vibrated you so much it was almost like a chair vibrator gone wrong, but I didn't think they would know what that was. And suddenly I realised that sometimes it sounded like a giant using an electric toothbrush. and then I realised that Sometimes it sounded like the giant's washing machine was having problems with the bearings (and it might soon break.)

So, then I started thinking a story about the giant getting up in the morning to clean his teeth. I thought about how he had learned you had to clean your teeth because he had a bad tooth and a little boy helped him and told him if he didn't want to lose anymore teeth...I think he had only about 3 or 4 left... that he needed to clean his teeth. At present, I haven't worked out what they used to make a giant's electric toothbrush.

and then I guess he must have also been taught about washing his clothes so they don't smell, because he had also put on the washing machine and it was making loads of noise. Hey, maybe he had left some rocks in his pocket?

Anyway, the next thing I knew the lady was saying in my ear (through the head phones) that they only had 5 more min to go and they were going to move the table a little bit...I had gone to sleep!

So there you are. I will have to do something about the giant story in fabric sometime.

oh, I was in ALL the way feet first and nothing sticking out. I kept my eyes closed.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Blog award!

So, I was going through the Featured Blogs on my sidebar today. (I find it easier to keep up with the ones I am interested in that way.)

I got to Linda McLaughlin's blog - Thru Linda's Eye's and discovered she had passed on a blog award to me!

It is the Liebster Award. The idea behind the award's beginning was for appreciation to be passed on to blogs with fewer than 300 followers as a way of giving back for the enjoyment you recieved from them. It started in Germany, and so the name - Liebster Award - which means "favourite."

The encouraging part for me was with Linda's comment that I was one selected 'because of the variety of work she does'. Sounds good doesn't it?

Sometimes I think anyone who reads this blog must think I am a bit all over the place! But honestly, if it involves textiles and sewing machines I am interested. So it is nice to find that someone enjoys the variety. It is much better than someone might say 'she is unable to focus!' My focus is broader than some I guess!

Anyway, Thanks Linda. Some of the blog award stuff is a bit sugary, but I value this one because it was totally unexpected.

And I am meant to pass it on to 3 - 5 others.

So, since the award has recently gone to a few others in my blog list like Margaret Cooter and Kathy Loomis I have had to think.

One is Sarah Wyman. She may almost just qualify since I notice her blog says a little over 200 followers. But I love her work. It is so like the mood of the Mona Lisa to me and I will buy something one day. But I also like the way she shows the progression of her work.

Another is Sarah Jacobs. I have only recently put the link in the side bar, but I have followed her blog for sometime. I like the way Sarah thinks outside the box and makes it up in her head (even cooking) like I do. I like how she embraces 'mistakes' to make them design features. I like how she tells stories with her textile work. I like how the meaning of what she believes flows through her work. I'd like to get a bit more of that kind of meaning into my work as well. okay...go there and see.

and the last would have to be Ruthie in Scotland. As she describes her blog, A Faerietale of Inspiration, 'It is an eclectic weave of creations from artists and designers near and far that inspire, amaze, intrigue and fascinate me'. If she hadn't done all the searching I wouldn't have discovered all the many wonderful artists and craftsmen who are able to put their imaginations into their work. and the thing is, Ruthie shows the images and lets them speak for themselves in such a way that you HAVE to go look and then discover what else the person has done.

I will do Jackie Morris, too. But I won't disturb her for she is on a very tight schedule for the artwork for her next book. I am still in a bit of awe that such a wonderful children's author-illustrator opens up her life for people like me to peer inside. I love it that she shows the struggles of actually sitting down to do the work. And in light of that, I don't want to take up any of her valuable time with having to pass on awards and things. But go look there too, okay?

I am not sure if I need to tell these people or let them discover it. What do you think?

PS I don't always reply back to a comment, but I read them all.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

jacket reworking

I have been working on redeveloping the fit of my jacket block. I need to teach jackets next year and I know I skimped on mine when I did it at college. Well, not really skimped, but we weren't required to do a tailored jacket. In fact, that was a 1 year course offered after I left. But for the City and Guilds Programme I am teaching, the jacket unit is called "tailored" jacket and a few of the techiniques are not anything I have done before.

So, as with most things that get a bit scary, I have been making a hurdle out of it. But recently an online sewing group wanted to meet regularly to actually sew. (and with all the many things I do I said OH, we could meet at the community centre near me! and so we are but anyway it is not that much extra work.) SO, at our last meeting I made up a toile/sloper from the jacket blocks I had from college. (only 2004, so shouldn't have been too many changes.) I never was too happy with the fit.

Alot of the ladies in the group are veteran jacket makers and were immeadiatly shocked at how much excess there was at the back of the sleeve. Well, you can't really sort that on your own. So, one lady pinned out the excess. 4 simmineaters (centimetres)from the back of the sleeve and also 4 from across the upper back!

So, as we are meeting on Saturday, I thought I better get with it on the stitching and trying on. and it is MUCH better. So I have redrawn the changes and made a new pattern. and now to cut out a new toile/sloper to see if they think any more adjustments need to be made.

Results for confidence? Well, I am much happier about the tailored jacket idea now that I have a jacket pattern that will look nice on me!

and I met with one of my collegues at college who showed me some of the bits she is covering for her tailored jacket unit for her C+G course, which has made things like "what is a sleeve roll anyway?" much clearer.

I think I can do this.

Okay. I sort of have to because of a big project I have been asked to be involved with and I have set the goal for me to make a jacket as one aspect of the project.

Do you have to set goals and arrange accountability for yourself when you have let something become an overwhelming hurdle?

Monday, 24 January 2011

my silk paper vessel

From the workshop at the TVCQ day Saturday...
I used the silk hankies for this. I love the result!
my form was thinner and taller than the plastic cups. Vicki warned us that if it had paper on it, you would NOT be able to get it off...or at least not easily!
So I put a plastic bag over the spray bottle I had.

You can see how I pulled the edges down on the form so they would create a frilly edge.

Here is an idea of how the light goes through.

I think the silk threads add interest.

Hmmm. Now I can dig out the silk fibres in my cupboard and do something with them! All sorts of ideas!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

TVCQ meeting

We had a great day yesterday. It started with Gabrielle Forshaw talking about the inspiration behind the work she did for her recent degree. She is inspired by items in museums and did quite a lot of research on the history and development of the "cabinet of curiousities". This eventually came to be what we know as museums. In her research, she was specifically interested in the sorts of things that were collected having to do with everyday life.

This resonated with alot of us since we are looking at an eclectic mixture of items from households through history from the Slough Museum. Gabrielle uses a lot of intense stitch, but in a sparing way which adds to the antique feel of the pieces she has created.

Following a long lunchtime where members discussed the progress of the projects they are developing for the Museum Project, we had an excellent workshop led by Vicki Chambers.
There were a few demos of how to layer and what was needed to fuse the layers.
Then we got busy doing our own variations.

Some of which looked like this.

Some left the paper to dry that way, so they could stitch into it. Others followed the idea of draping over a form, pulling the fibres into shape and then leaving it to dry that way. The result can be used as a very ethereal vessel. you can put LED lights inside to give a lovely effect. And if the form was large enough, you can put a tealight inside.

Other variations on the theme of the day included this fascinating piece. We had been encourage to trap things between the layers. Many of us used coloured silk threads or coloured versions of some of the fibres.

Susan chose to cut words from her newspaper!

Here are the dried results!

What a great day!

I will show you my dried vessel tomorrow. I need to wet my paper again because the non-sticky fibres weren't mixed enough with the sticky ones, so it is not holding together well at present.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

and sketchbook...

Today is the Thames Valley Contemporary Quilt meeting. So, tomorrow I hope to have some photos of the day to break things up from the sketchbook!

The last 2 are from my design unit work for Folklore from my City and Guilds! That started the dragon explorations and when the chance to be a Bernina Designer came up, I jumped at the chance to carry on with some of the ideas!

Friday, 21 January 2011

sketchbook ...

a whole story!

I showed a few of my friends the book and said perhaps I should have typed the stories, but they all said they thought it was better handwritten. Hope you can read it!

Thursday, 20 January 2011


and more! I actually filled the book. I understand some who were putting fabric in needed to remove pages. Some have only got about 20 pages...or maybe they meant 20 spreads?

the little dragon's nose got chopped off because it was a photocopy.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

more sketchbook pages

I didn't include just the journal quilts in the Sketchbook. I also put in dragons I had made for other occasions.
You can see the techniques for each of them at the bottom of the pages.
I even included the dragon - and dragon gown from the Epic Quest of the Last Dragoness.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

scanners and sketchbooks and dragons

So, I found out that if you try to get the scanner working and if you get to the point that you can't go any further....if you leave all the dialogue boxes open as to why what you tried to do has failed...and then you leave a "please will you - if you have time - see if there is a solution - I have left the dialogue boxes open" note for the resident computer expert when you go off to teach...and sign it I love you...
well, when you get back the scanner will scan to the computer and you even get a proper security programme installed. Phew!

So, I am scanning the photocopies of the Sketchbook. (If I had done this note thing last week, I could have scanned them straight in, you see. But you can't have everything.) Some of the writing is obviously too light for it to think about and it chops off the edge. So, I am tricking it with a strip of coloured painted paper I had lying you do.

So, here is a link to some of the pages I showed so far.
And here is a look at a few more pages. I have reduced the size so as not to overwhelm the blog. I am hoping you can still click on these to read the stories. As I said before, some of the stories got edited some when I was writing them in the book.

If I can get my head round the pages bit of blogger, I will put them all on one page so they are all in one place.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Firestorm Feline

So, no online replies, but my friend said she liked Firestorm Feline for a name for the Wild Cat. By the time I discussed it with her, I had changed my own mind and was leaning to that one, too!

I think it also lends itself to a story, although after completing the Sketchbook, I am a bit storied out. However, I think the cry of the Firestorm Feline is used as a defense as it brings on a Firestorm. Fairly logical I think.

Anyway, I am VERY excited by this one!

(reworked image)
I realised the 2 ears looked like one and the 'bump' on the forehead looked like a misplaced ear, so I did a bit more shading with my drawing pens. The lighting is better, too.
(original image)
While most of my creatures are rather benign under it all, I have a feeling the Firestorm Feline has not got much that isn't Very Scary. I expect there is someone who will come along and find a good side, but I don't think I will spend too much time at present trying to find out who it is. - Probably a princess...(I said I am not going there!)

So, I think I have most of the dragons/fire creatures out of my head that were clambouring. I have a couple major projects I have to start focusing on now.

Mind you, there is a lady dragon who is about to go out shopping who is very sketchily drawn who keeps surfacing on my table. So, maybe she can be a bit of light relief from the big projects in a couple weeks.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Sketchbook sent!

Yesterday, I got my sketchbook, for the Sketchbook Project sent off! It will go to the Brooklyn Art Library.

To start with, it will be travelling across America with other sketchbooks beginning in February. People can check it out to look at (and to read the dragon stories!)
After the tour, all sketchbooks will enter into the permanent collection of The Brooklyn Art Library, where they will be barcoded and available for the public to view.
The books all have a'theme' mine is 'It Must Be...' So of course, that was perfect for 'It Must Be ...Dragons.' It has photos of all my dragon textile art and a few of the dragon sketches I have done. It also has the stories or thoughts that go with each one. There are 80 pages. plus I wrote in the front and back cover.

Here is a photo of the photocopy of the Front and Back Cover. (Well, one day I will get the printer to scan to the computer!) I developed the cover from a Flame Doodle I did.

I used up a fair bit of ink printing off copies of the pages. I think I will put it together as a mock up of the book. I wanted a record of the stories at least, as you don't get it back. Some of the stories have morphed a bit from when I wrote them here. and some have been made up on the spot. So, I wanted to have an accurate record. I hand wrote them in the book, so someday I want to type them up.

I signed up for the online version, too. But I don't know when they will scan and upload the images from the books for a digital version.

I have my own little library card if I ever go there to look at it! However, I will get information from them as well about when and how often people check it out to look at!

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Image Transfer

The recent post through from Cloth Paper Scissors about image transfer was timely, as it was the technique for last night's session in the Machine Embroidery class.

We tried a few different transfer media - one I got some time ago from one of those free catalogues you get through the door. A Dylon transfer medium, and Mod Podge, which I read could also be used.

We also used a technique for drying that I learned when I did my City and Guilds in college. Instead of drying the image with the medium on it, you lay it onto the fabric and rub it in. Then you layer it with baking parchment and press it with an iron on wool setting. you should also turn the piece over and press as well. The heat dries/cures the transfer medium and you can proceed with the bit about getting the paper wet and rubbing it off.

Here is a bit of what went on.

Applying the medium
beginning the rubbing
continuing the rubbing
but not too much!
and you get some images like these...

I love how some students can take instructions from someone who is not good at simple and who some find a bit vague about results ( They often hear. 'Well, try it, see what will happen.'and 'That might work, why don't you try it?' or 'I don't know, it depends, really. what do you think?')
anyway some take those sorts of things from me and still manage to come up with something quite simple and just right!