Monday, 28 February 2011

around and about last week - 2

you know its Spring when...

the crocus carpet shows up under the oak tree at Birch Hill Shops.
Cheerful bouquets from Spring herself.

I thought I better get some photos while the children were off school. They are pretty good about not trodding on them, but some can't resist plucking some and they begin to look scratty.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

around and about last week - 1

I take part in a photo prompt on a blog written by Christie in Alaska. They are starting letters soon, so last week when I went to visit a certain lad, I thought I would look about Guildford for an A that would be of interest for the blog. most of them are in America.

and sure enough, near the car park we went to I found Alice with her sister. Alice has just caught sight of the white rabbit.

Here is the 'why-are-you-photographing-a-sign?' which tells about it.
Sorry for the blurry it was quite rainy photo.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

progress - toiles and patterns

One of the things I found to be helpful for having a blog was to record the things I had actually made. It helped me see I Was accomplishing something. I see that I need to get back to doing that more.

So, the minute changes in a toile are unremarkable and shapeless garments on a hanger out of fabric you would not be seen in public wearing are not the most inspiring.
However! a try on of the little tweaks yesterday was very encouraging. So it wasn't made to look good on a hanger, it was made to look good on me. It does. but you will have to take my word for now.

And today, I sewed the cut out trousers from the autumn to see what they needed. I see the pattern says 2009. and I know the 2009 version fitted, but I do hate the loose back leg that happens when you draft for a padded bottom! I think it just makes the whole leg look bigger. So, I found a solution somewhere (should have written it down) and then lost confidence, or life happened after having cut them out. So, anyway, the new version was so nearly right I couldn't believe it. Why did I wait? and now I have made the odd tweaks needed to the pattern, but even these will be wearable!! no photo. I will put in the zip and waistband first.

Working with garments is a lot more of a lengthy process and quite less exciting at this point than making dragons. So, tonight I decided to bluetack the results on my cupboard doors. very good reminder that I have made progress during this half-term break.
From left to right
corset/bustier, trousers, dress/bodice block with sleeve.

I took a few photos of some tweaks for the dress in case it might help someone else.
The shoulder seam was too far back at the sleeve and too far forward at the neck. So, I glued them together with another bit of paper underneath. I made the marks for the changes and drew a new line between.
While I was at it, I redrew the curve at the neck. Even when you draft it, I always find you end up with something like a sharp angle. And now that the seam was not anywhere near the original curve, I redrew it so that the front and back will join smoothly at the neck. (Click on the photo to see the new line of the curve) I knew I needed to lose some at the top of the back neck, so that helped with getting the new join right. I did a bit of adjustment on the sleeve edge, too.

another adjustment I wanted to make was just a bit of ease in the bodice. snug is okay for some things, but you want to move in it too! when I looked in the mirror, I realised I needed more on the front in the bodice, but more on the back on the skirt. So, I did a similar thing that I did to the shoulder.
First, because it was a side bust dart, I folded it out. Then I added the amount I needed* to the front. Then I laid the back bodice portion next to it to check and to make sure the balance marks/ notches would be accurate. Again, while the 2 pieces were together, I made sure I got the curve right where the new portion had been added.
Then I cut along the new line with the dart still folded out. When it is unfolded, you can see that you get the triangular shape which pokes out from the side on the pattern. This is needed so the dart can lay along the seam properly and can be anchored into the seam after it is sewn up.

yes, I could have drawn the line with the dart open and just add the same amount on the different angles of the dart. but I find you often lose the precise points where the angles change.

*I worked out how much to add by how much the seam was pulled out of line. so it was about 1 cm to the front bodice and so on.

Tomorrow I am off to visit a Certain Lad and if possible go to Fibrecrafts for some things on the wish list. I might get to post til Thursday though.

Sunday, 20 February 2011


and I should have added that I finally finished the baby blanket. (I won't insult quilters and call it a quilt)which happened early in the week.

and I snapped this up at Aldi for less than £20. Sorry for the blurr. I have always wanted one of those little wooden articulated men. I think they are nearly £10 on their own. This also has a little easel, 4 tubes of paint, sketching pencils, 3 blank canvases etc, etc.

bit of a break

well that was a bit of a break. I guess if things get to where you have to list glad things, then you are due for a break. so, having had one, I am starting to feel a bit better.

in the meanwhile...
Pepper's stitches out. the lump was cancer and the teat had to go too, but they got it all.

New friends round for dinner one day who are now better friends

old furniture exchanged for new! the old was 19years old. there was 2 - 2 seaters and one chair. the frames were still good, but I am not really a soft furnishings person, so the cushions and arm bits had got worse and worse having been through a growing boy and his dog.

New furniture - bigger than we thought! the ones in the shop were so much bigger. can you imagine trying to fit it all in? we got 1- 3 seater, 1- 2 seater and 2 chairs (some sort of deal) and they added an ottoman sort of footstool. (see also the valentine roses!)

so, now we have room for more people who we have been having round lately. I am also glad for at last having got the wallpaper and the furniture to be less of an insult to my artistic sensibilities. (well, lest just say that the original set fit the 'it-must-be-sturdy-and-not-something-you-have-to-climb-out-of' criteria, so there was not much effort on the part of one person to look further.)This time I was a bit more verbal in my requirements and adding cream/oatmeal coloured to the list has turned out very well.

The dog wanted to choose the 3-seater. after 12 years(and just having been poorly), it is a bit of an insult to be told you can't get up, when you were always invited before. So, I had a cream colour flannel sheet that is now on the 2-seater, so now she knows she can go there.

and also a dress toile - well, I am off to try it on in a minute. but I basically did it from the blouse block and a bit of guidance from the skirt block. Sure, this is NOT what I would choose to wear for a dress, but I hate the idea of cutting something out and not doing something with it. so, it is sewn with a long stitch and when I have worked out if it works for a dress and what needs sorting, I will put a few godets - perhaps gussets or whatever and make a summer nightie. I had been given this fabric - sort of lawn, but I am not sure it is pure cotton - in white with purple flowers...a WHOLE bolt! So, I gave some away, then I gave some more away. Then I tore off 3 lots of 3 metres and died them different colours. So, here is pink. I also have blue and purple. Purple will also be a nightie, but blue is nice enough for a proper blouse.

and furthermore - 1 jacket drafted from scratch. I sort of gave up on the botch that the other one had become. I still have no idea who approved the fit of the one I made in college! So it needs sewn, but it took me all day to draft, what with having to sit down periodically through the day when the legs started going numb. (which is happening far too frequently...see top of this post. Note to self...nag the hospital again tomorrow about the MRI results.)

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Glad things 3

1 - progress on the baby gift. I found a gingham in the stash that works nicely to cover the seams. And since the fleece is too stretchy to want to try to force it into submission, I remembered these massive buttons which give it a bit more cheerfulness and holds it all together. I wouldn't normally use buttons due to the choke factor, but I don't think a kid could try to swallow these!

I had hoped to complete it, but another rather rare glad thing happened.
a Dear Man asked me to come out to explore Holme Grange craft village and have lunch. SO, guess what
2 - went out to lunch!
So, the baby will still need quilts/blankets next week and I can give it to her then!

Friday, 11 February 2011

Glad things 2

So, I lazed about today, and life seems more managable.

So this evening I started to make a 'quick' fleece blanket for a new baby I hope to meet on Sunday.

I had strips of fleece from when I did the scarf activity at the library. So, I started stitching 3 colours together and chopping. then I thought 'Why don't I do the disappearing 4 or 9 patch trick. so, I went to refresh my memory...and discovered I was already beyond doing it by the directions. So I added another strip of another colour, thus making two large pieces of 16 squares.
Above is the start and below is the finish

then I proceeded as if it were a disappearing 4 patch. and from there proceeded to do my own thing. Are you suprised?
So, here it is in the being chopped stage. you can compare with some of the directions online to see how I adapted it.

and now to finish stitching it together, trim it and see what to do about the seams at the back which I thought would be a feature, but are not too inspiring. I might make a backing and then take some left over squares from the fleece strips and stitch them down through the layers to 'quilt' it.

So now you know why I don't do patchwork? I can make even an 'easy' thing harder!

Adding a photo of how I did a leather binding for reference.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

glad things 1

some weeks would get on top of you if you didn't do glad things.

So, Glad Thing for Monday
The book my son ordered for Christmas but got stuck in the post due to snow and was delivered to uni anyway and I only got it because Sunday was Pepper's birthday and my husband took Pepper there and they all went for a long trek. (sometimes run on sentances are the only way to express the ordeal of something)
Anyway, it is a Very Glad thing.

Glad Thing for Tuesday
Following on from the blouse fit, I have made a corset toile which will be the basis for the inner construction for a garment of which I can not go into detail yet! So now I will decide whether I want traditional boning or my favourite corded boning, but either way I have to order some because I haven't enough for the cording and no actual boning.

It doesn't fit Madame as well as me, but you are NOT seeing me in it. :)

(This project kept me from worrying about Pepper who was having a lumpectomy, therefore it is classed as a Glad Thing.)

Glad Thing for Wednesday
Several Glad Things, including a prescription for a vitamin the doctors have realised I am lacking. So, here is to hope for some things improving on that regard.

Wednesday was the last night for the Machine Embroidery class. They have been a wonderful group of ladies, very keen and very imaginative. And see...very appreciative. This is a special bouquet of flowers and a card they gave me.
Besides being an obvious Glad Thing, this was all inspite of a very odd evening in which the electricity went off in the terripin where our class is held. We managed to make do, and finished off the rest of the class in the main building. but I have been fretting all night whether the power cut has damaged any of the computerised machines. (YIKES)

another Glad Thing from Wednesday
One of the ladies had been sounding me out (which I hadn't realised) as to whether I had the book below. When she found out I still had it on my wish list, she decided I needed her copy!
This is a VERY GLAD thing indeed!! Thank you Maria.
I will truly enjoy this!

Glad Thing for Thursday
The exciting project I have been alluding to has 3 parts. and today the silk arrived for part 1.

This is so wonderfully zinggy it has quite cheered the day. so, it prompted the Glad Thing post. So, even though I am feeling the first day of the holidays exhaustion that comes because you finally let yourself stop doing, I can at least think about some Glad Things and perhaps get motivated to get on with the exciting project tomorrow.

But I will go look at Dragons and Stitching Metal today...and pet my friend who is feeling a bit sorry for herself but is healing nicely...and put 1 or 2 or 3 things away in my Studio so I can actually think about doing anything tomorrow.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

ft and fitter

well, a blouse toile fit and fitter, not me. although I live in hope.

While I have been sorting out my jacket toile, I thought I would revisit my blouse just be sure. I had got to a certain point about 2 years ago, which produced something wearable, but just a bit 'ehhh' in certain areas.

and being that I didn't remember if I had written down the changes then or not, I thought I better see what was up. The main goal being a dress block without going through as many fitting steps. I will probably use my skirt block (which is now right) combined with the blouse block.

So, here, having made small adjustments(meaning I HAD changed the block at the time - since to start with it fit like the ones in the wardrobe upstairs.)is the main portion sans sleeves.

(By the way, when you are actually getting down to sew after a frustrating week of everyone needing you to do admin stuff, it is easier to rub out the background in PSP than to clean it up. which explains the strange shaped arm. I got a bit exuberant and didn't notice it til it would be too time consuming to undo/redo. pity PSP doesn't have a 'clean mirror' button!)

And here with sleeves! well, the piece of fabric had a fault I had to work round, so I cut them to the elbow. I will shorten them now when I finish it off. I wanted it to be at least that long because one of the problems was the arm was too snug.

My friend Sarah has just been writing about how she feels she has won the lottery when she has set a sleeve in. Well, I feel that way about this. AT LAST! I have got the sleeve head and the armscye to look like they belong to the same garment. It takes alot of guts to keep shaving off the sleeve head till you can put it in without wadges of fabric needing to be eased in. It looks nothing like the 'normal' shape of a sleeve head - as it is quite flat. but it fits ME and that is what counts.

Now that I have the sleeve right, I can use this block as a starting point to make other styles, including making a tall sleeve head and gathering or tucking the excess in to make a puff shoulder.

So, I am thinking to lighten the mood of this wearable toile and to break up the diagonal look which has developed from the print, I might do some pink piping on the front edges?

oh, I HAVE written the changes!

Friday, 4 February 2011

machine embroidery projects

Here are a few of the exciting things beginning to happen in the Machine Embroidery Course. The students are finding ways to use the techniques in their own work.

Kate has been working on a piece inspired by a wall on Lindisfarne. She is going to insert little pieces inspired by the 'carpet pages' in the Book of Kells.

Delia has been making little embroidered 'tiles' inspired by images of Medieval tiles.

Gaynor is working on a piece which evokes the feel of the sand and the sea through a Maori symbol.

Heather is working on a piece inspired by a design set into the pavement in Slough town centre.

Here Leslie is auditioning a feathered fabric which can be used as 'hair' for the women in her Klimpt inspired piece.

It is hard to believe the course will finish this coming week. I have really enjoyed working with these adventurous ladies! I hope they keep me posted with the results of their designs.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

book pages

I was reviewing the stitch on paper and metal for a few students who missed it. This time, instead of fusing the whole page of my vintage Brazilian dictionary to paper, I tore it up in bits and fused it to a scrap of calico that was there.

I am VERY impressed. I have a feeling this just might be one of the things I am looking for in developing the layers in my piece for the Slough Museum.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

weird things

So you are busy computering and suddenly you get an enlarged section.
Rather strange.
It might come in useful for looking at detail on some art stuff on websites, though.

I eventually discovered it was a button on the side of my mouse. So why didn't it ever happen before?

I scrubbed the email addresses, but it was DH, DS and I having a strange email conversation about numbers and strings round the earth. I only understood part of it. LOL

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

alcohol inks

when I was in America I bought some Alcohol inks, as I had heard alot about them. Apparently they make it easy to 'paint' on metal.

So, tomorrow we are covering the stitching on metal again for a bit as several were away the day we did it before. I had told the others I picked up something which might be fun on metal. So, I thought I better have a go.

However, of course in looking at internet videos about how to use them you need all sorts of applicators and blending solutions and whatnot. Well, I could leave them in the cupboard, or actually see what I could get them to do.

I dropped a few drops on the metal shim trimmings.
-for one I spread it around by blowing on it.the darker one to the right
-for another I tried to put it on the freezer paper and then press the metal onto it. It was not too effective so this step is not too obvious I think it would work better with greaseproof paper.
-and then I dropped some on one piece and placed the other onto it and rubbed them around.the colours blend a bit better.

I can see potential. They are much more expensive than I thought they would be and I don't think you can get them here.

Some people use rubbing alcohol instead of the blending solution...but of course you can't get that easily here either. However, I have been told the new fad for anti-bacterial wash lotions means you are basically getting a bottle with the main ingredient being rubbing alcohol (or something). So it is worth looking into. Then I might be able to try the idea of putting drops onto felt adding some blending solution/rubbing alcohol/hand wash and then apply it to the metal.