Thursday, 31 March 2011


shapeless on a hanger - again. But it is PROGRESS!
TA DA - the lining for Secret Project no. 1.

and more ordering. This time the bulb for the sewing machine which I forgot stopped working when we had our sewing meeting last Saturday.I am using an anglepoise light behind the machine. It is difficult with shiny fabric and it also reflects off the foot plate, but it gets the job done.

I am getting 2 new bulbs. I prefer to put in a new 'whatever' as soon as you discover you need it. Of course, we aren't talking about scary to order ink cartridges, you know. but 2 of those came today, too.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011


well, I talked about printing on the ink jet printer. I would do that, but I have run out of black ink. So, instead, I order some - or actually I do the 'I don't really know how to work out the best place to order it' thing and so DH orders it. Well, he can do that in moments when it takes me all evening dithering.

and so here is thread which I also had ordered for the secret projects.

It is hard to tell if thread will match when you are matching it with a monitor, so for some colours I got different versions. I got 2 of each colour. The blue did turn out too dark, but I can always use blue. I did know the colour of turquoise I wanted. and the pink was just right for the fuchsia.

As you can see, the bit of a zing I was considering for secret project no. 1 is this yellow. I think there might be just enough for what I want to do with it. and one of the choices of yellow thread is just right.

So, now I can stop dithering about stitching the lining with the right turquoise or making do with a light blue because no one should see the lining. But I would know.

In theory, I can stop dithering about cutting the silk. but we shall see.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011


I decided I better get on with the journal quilts for this year as I am already behind. I had thought to do something which would help me get more confident about drawing faces.

However, when the new challenge size was set - 10"x10", they also added more strictures like the 1st four have to have a circle, the 2nd four have to have text and the 3rd four have to have at least one button.

So, I had to think a bit. and I came up with a bit of a plan for the faces and the other bits.

For the first 4 I decided to do a face in front of a circle in a sort of nod to icons. I have ideas for the rest of the year - text and buttons - but I have time to refine them a bit before I get to them.

So, tues I played with a photo of a clock I rescued from the bin at college. One of the faces I drew is not the most wonderful drawing of a face - I need to work on noses. But at the same time, it has more of a realistic expression to it. It makes me think of someone exasperated. Which is quite like I have felt recently! You feel like all the people running around in your head have quite got out of order.

So, I when I thought of the face in front of a circle, I thought of a clock and the people are running round the outside.

I scanned in the face and layered it over the clock in PaintShop Pro. I decided I wanted to use the image transfer method where you put transfer medium over the photocopy or laser print and then iron it onto fabric. Having already learned that you have to mirror image text or numbers, I did that to the clock and to the lady, because I liked her looking to the right for some reason.

Whilst on the drop down menu in PSP looking for greyscale to see what it would be like, I saw negative, so I tried it and was quite impressed at how it set the lady out. (I keep calling her clock lady at the moment.)

So I went with that plan.

I painted on ModPodge because I can't find the image transfer medium (I think there was some left from doing it with students, but I think it is in a safe place. Hmmm)

I thought it would look impressive on black, but I had a feeling it might not show well. but I turned it over and pressed it onto the black fabric using baking parchment. You can just let the transfer medium dry, but it takes ages. Ironing it works. (the Modpodge stinks, so I will buy more transfer medium next time I am in HobbyCraft.)

And after wetting the back of the paper and rubbing off the excess, sure can't see it. well, it will do for a moon at some point.

So, repeat those steps but put it on a linen-like fabric remnant I had.
and it works much better.

I am working out whether to draw or stitch the people running round. or draw and stitch.

I think I might get on with the other images for at least three of the circle journals and then do the stitching on them all at one go. I think I might do some printing out on fabric with my printer which is ink jet ( DH has the laser printer with toner that I used for clocklady.)
More tomorrow.

Monday, 28 March 2011

weekly review

so things lately are going much more slowly than I like. firstly, Monday takes me all day to prepare for teaching Mon eve and then Tues is mostly spent all day recovering from Monday. but at last a long awaited letter from a hospital for another test has come through for later in April - which hopefully means that when they have had the results, they will begin to do something which helps me claw back a bit more productive time.

But anyway, I am post dating the next few posts to show what has been happening this week.

Monday - new books!
I have had the Art of Manipulating Fabric book on my list for ages and finally when getting books for a certain lad's birthday decided to go ahead and get it! It is considered the definitive book about doing things to fabric. what I actually like about it is that the photos are black and white or at least greayscale. so it shows you the shadows and light that happen when you do tucks and pleats and so forth. although you can do these things to fabric with colour, when the photos haven't got colour you actually see what is happening. It gives you a better idea how it might work with your own project, whatever colour it might happen to be.

And while there ordering I thought I would get another one I had on my list. The review of the Freestyle Machine Embroidery book sounded great. It is!

I have quite a few machine embroidery books, all of which have their good points. I find them especially useful for students. But this one is actually good for me. By which I mean that it goes to the next level for someone who is already confident about Machine Embroidery and is looking for more of a challenge. I am looking forward to getting inspiration from it.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

inspired by books

I have been collecting links to websites about books for a while. Sort of inspired by my friend Margaret Cooter who is doing a Book Arts degree.

So, follow these links and have a little wander through these images of work by one of the book artists - Brian Dettmer. Click to see his website.

One of his works called the Log.

Here he is called The Book Surgeon and here is an interview showing a few more books.

Friday, 25 March 2011

finally a fit!

yet another shapeless on a hanger photo, but you do not know how much effort went into this! It is version 3.5 and I think final toile of the basic jacket shape. Today I have done so many chopping and changes to the shoulder and armscye that I can't tell you how many. But I have been through several audio books in the past couple days!

So, it is very late. I will put what I have for sleeves in tomorrow and see if the things I have done to them still work with this. It should, or at least if there are slight tweaks that won't be a problem. I do have just enough fabric left to make a pair of slightly shorter sleeves if the tweaking is too much.

I might feel confident enough to get a photo of me in it if the sleeves work.

and then from there I can adapt the pattern to put in shoulder pads and to make the style changes! HA. Wish me luck.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

and fabrics discovered

While I was on the adventure of getting lining (For which I ended up being out of it for the rest of last week) I discovered this, which made the being ill part worth it.

So I could have ordered lining, but it is hard to trust your monitor on things as subtle as matching turquoise.
However, I would never have imagined I could get a fabric so close to what I had in mind for a portion of Secret Project no. 3!

I will not say anything about dragons having anything to do with it.

I will also keep the rest of the fabrics (all from the stash and most upcycled!) and the colour as part of the secret for now.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011


Here is a bit of a tease on Secret Project no.2

I hope the lining does really go with the dye when it actually gets dyed, but if not, oh well.

This is still an idea in progress. There was a previous idea, which is now the backup plan if this doesn't work. This one fell out of the sky one Sunday and I had to see if it worked. well actually, it was a combination of things that I had thought I might do, but the techniques weren't going to result in colours that look good on me.

This, I hope, should.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

summery dress continued with wintery

So, here is a look at the point these two dresses have got to.

Remembering that the whole point is the secret project, these have gone up on the cupboard. They were wearable toiles. although the blue one looks a bit frumpy on the hanger, again, it looks better on me and will be even better when I do something interesting to it when finishing it off.

and here are the fabrics for Secret Project no. 1.
I had a turquoise lining fabric, but it really was a bit blue for this. okay, I know in the dress it won't be seen, but in the jacket it will. This lining goes very well with both of these colours.
Don't you love the zing of these dupion silks from The Silk Route?

I have an idea for even more zing, but I will keep it to myself for now.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Sorry for the delays

I went to Reading last Wednesday and walked a distance from a free carpark to the Fabricland for some lining fabric for my Secret Projects. I was already a bit not too well and then became quite a bit not too well.

anyway, I am doing better and have somethings to show, but I am teaching tonight. so photos and updates tomorrow.

What I would like to do though is point you in the direction of Tanya Watanabe's blog in the side bar. She posts about life in Japan regularly, so it has been interesting to read about her life and processing all that has been happening in the last week or so.

She was actually down in a quarry! when the earthquake happened, as she had a guest staying with her from Australia.

Start with this post and then you can follow the events.

Our church is collecting money up to Easter to send to some other people we know of in Japan so they can use to help people there. Some are working near area with the nuclear plant.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

summery dress continued

So, I have got the dress to the place where I will put the buttons on. I am deciding what to do at the neck. Yes, normally you plan first, but this is basically a wearable toile for part 1 of the secret project, so I am making up the aspects of getting it wearable as I go along.

one thing I decided about the fit is that I think I would prefer the princess line to be more towards the CF. I had just used the existing waist darts for the position.
princess line v.1

But now that I have considered it, I realise there has to be some relation to the distance between bust points, so I am adapting it.
changes being made

I also decided to take in the flare a bit at the side hem. I realised I had a slimmer skirt silhouette in mind. and the secret project dress will mainly be a stand around in dress, so I don't have to worry to much about how short it goes when I sit down.

I have cut out the new version. I hope to get it tacked together tomorrow to check before stitching. I have some lightweight wool that another friend was getting rid of. So, I thought this might make a nice winter dress. I generally do skirts and blouses, but mostly because I hadn't got a dress that fit! however, if I do find that I am back to the concern about it getting too short when sitting, I can put a couple godets in the princess seams and side seams, as I have alot of this fabric left. I might even use the rest for a more final trial jacket,(to try out the gubbins that go inside a jacket) since it can be steamed into shape, being wool.

If it is okay, I might even pipe the seams!

Monday, 14 March 2011

Contemporary Quilt

On Saturday I went to the Contemporary Quilt AGM. unfortunately, my camera did not.

But it was a good day and I was quite pleased that I managed the day without the legs causing great difficulties.

It was good to see some of the ladies I had worked with for the CQ Coffee Morning last summer.

CQ Coffee Morning last summer at the Festival of Quilts
The talk was by Jo Budd. Her work was quite amazing really. not sure I followed her manly/womanly analogies, but there we are!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

something fun

Do you ever "go on a Read?"

Recently I caught up with the Septimus Heap books and got a bit further along with the Charlie Bone books. (I love juvenile adventures.)

I am also reading the rest of the Spellsinger books. I also like the sort of Adult Fantasy/Sci Fi where the person from this world ends up in another.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

summery dress

options. As I was about to cut out the summery dress, I thought those large buttons from the baby blanket project would be interesting. However, I wasn't sure I had enough that would work. I also couldn't remember which show I bought them from and who made them. I had intended to keep the packet. I am almost sure I did, but I am not at all sure I want to move the mountains of things to find it.

(I have been marking student work and also getting caught up in a family tree search because my sister found a site with my maternal grandmother on far with a couple late nights I have gone back to early colonial America and then back to England! Well I could have just clicked links, but I decided to write it down to pass on to my son.)

Anyway, back to the dress. So, here are the buttons I have in colours I think will go. I am not too sure if the mixture of shapes will work with the fabric. (another batik my friend was passing along)

The colour of the fabric may not be the best to suit me, but I am thinking of it as one of those dresses you can just pop on when you want to be cool in the summer. I think it could be cool, but also look nicer than shorts or something. I am planning it to have a button front opening like a shirt dress. However, I may permenantly sew the lower portion together, especially if I use the big it will be more like a shirt waister.
Here I am looking at how much I need to add for a buttonstand. I think I will do a grown on one.
So what do you think about the button shapes/colours and how they will work with the fabric?

Sunday, 6 March 2011

blocks sorted

So, the bodice blocks have been transferred to card. I always do up one front with a shoulder dart so I can do princess line and yokes if I want...and one underarm dart because it is the one I use most often.

I also worked to make the one piece dress from the bodice block. So, I traced the lower skirt portion onto this card. I had run out of pink, and had nothing with more than one colour (except yellow, which I want to use for my jacket) so I combined the pink offcuts with some pale green.
Now I have traced off a dress pattern and adapted it to princess line. I am going to make a trial run dress in a summery fabric. I need a summer dress. Then I can proceed with part 1 of the secret project.

Friday, 4 March 2011

more Spring

What's this in the flower?
A very busy Bumble

Another clue that Spring is here at last. I am SO glad.

I never thought of crocuses being sought after for their nectar.
Soon they will fill the cherry tree at the back of the house. It is nearly ready to start blooming.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Machine Embroidery Course

I realised I never did show photos of the final session for the Machine Embroidery. Part of the reason? the electricity went out part way through the evening and so there was quite a bit of exitement!
We had to move to another room. Some of the students left their work in the other room so I didn't get photos.

I have put the photos I did get on the Machine Embroidery page at the top. SO, if you have read it before, if you scroll down to the bottom, you will see the new photos.

There were not enough students interested this term, so it had to be cancelled. We would have been starting this evening. I miss it, because it was so fun, but it might give me just that much more time for working on that secret project...if I stay off the computer!

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

around and about last week - 3

and then there were the trails of paint (for some digging that was soon to happen around a couple of the streets) that seemed to need varying comments attached.

This is only a small selection of marks I could have taken photos of!

mark making

Stop treading in the paint!

Don't crowd me!

Tie Fighters ahead

Can I join your game?

Colouring outside the lines.

and finally...

Someone really likes his job!