Sunday, 29 April 2012

entries and exhibitions

a few ups and downs about my own artwork lately.

the Loads and Ladders piece wasn't accepted. Not surprised really. It is very dark and hard to get a photograph that really showed what it looked like.

However, that means I can enter it into the Art Category of the Festival of Quilts. It will mean I already have a piece done!

also coming up next week is the Henley Arts Trail. Lady Sew and Sew is one of the main sponsors. They invited me to display my Bernina Gowns. So I need to take those up on Wednesday and get them set up.

Apparently they have someone coming from a quilting magazine and also local reporters. So, there might be some good publicity! I guess the reporter from the local paper might contact me for a story. We shall see.Smiley

Also, I am hoping to put a wearable art entry into the National Quilt Championships in Sandown at the end of June. You might remember the Sky Princess coat.
Well I never was happy that I hadn't time to put many clouds on the lower part of the coat. So, that is my task this month. Here is a start to check placement.

I think it will go well in the Wearable Art section of the exhibition. and since entries for that section are usually few in number, there might be a result. You never know!

Saturday, 28 April 2012

another skirt

I layed out this skirt pattern at the TV Offcuts meeting in February, but didn't have time to cut it out or sew it up. But at last I had a few moments so have been making it up. Hopefully I will get the waistband and perhaps the hem handstitched at today's meeting.

I love the fabric. It is a light weight wool with a silver thread woven through making a plaid pattern. It just gives it a bit more elegance.

I am using a navy blue microfibre fabric for a lining. It feels luxurious. I possibly could make something else from it, but it is a bit too dark of a colour for me. It will keep the light weight wool from 'seating' or sagging at the seat.

It has still been a bit chilly around here with all the rain. But that means I can still wear it, rather than waiting til the autumn.

Friday, 27 April 2012

what is going on around here

This week I have had a few units submitted by a couple students.

I am very impressed by the presentation method for the drafting is not always easy to come up with something more than a folder for that. She said she wanted to present them pegged on a clothes line, but it wasn't going to be very easy to transport. So, she stuck them onto a trellis.

also, one of the skirt design units. This lady got herself in a bit of a muddle worrying that she wouldn't get it right. But after I got her to show me her idea and then encouraged her, she has pulled it off! Very stylish. The patterned blue is a flocked denim. She presented the backup work in the matching bag. I think it looks very good!

I always get excited when I see the work. I really believe they can achieve great things; and when I see that they stretch themselves even further, it really feels good.

Sunday, 22 April 2012


A few of my friends at church today. My friend Yvonne is going back to Zimbabwe soon, so I wanted a photo.

Also new friends from China. Our church is very small, but we have people from all over the world!

I also had Pat take a photo of me with the new embroidered linen skirt. I really like the style. But I have lost some weight in the last few weeks and already I have had to pin a dart in it to make it small enough at the waist!

Friday, 20 April 2012

20 Aprons

Well, while I have been sewing aprons this week, Blogger has gone ahead with their new format. Let's hope I can actually do everything I hoped to do today!

I finished the last apron today.

and nicely folded.

10 from the stash and 10 from the teddy baking fabric. Now to parcel them off.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Elizabeth Brimelow

Saturday I went up to London for the Contemporary Quilt AGM. It was good to meet up with some I have met before and to get to know some new members. The discussion about some of the current issues was very stimulating as well. A good majority of the committee members are stepping down (stipulated length of office) and we met new members. It will be interesting to see how the group goes forward from here. It is the 10th year anniversary and we have grown to 657 members!

The speaker in the afternoon was Elizabeth Brimelow. I had not met her, nor was I aware of her work. Although after seeing some photos, I do remember seeing cards at the Quilt museum with images from one of her quilts.

However, I was sooooo inspired by the various things she said about her artistic journey and by the work she has developed and made her own. It was fascinating to see how she developed a way of working in layers and with stitch to create work that is just as much a work of art from the back as from the front.

Here is a composite image of detail from 2 quilts showing the front and back of each.

Elizabeth has also created several works using transparent and translucent fabrics. This was exciting to me as I have several pieces I have done working with similar concepts. I was really taken with some of the techniques of placing cut fabrics between transparent layers to create depth and shadow. I have some ideas in mind for taking my transparent work further and some of Elizabeth's techniques would be just right for getting the look I have been contemplating. While Elizabeth takes inspiration from the landscape around her, I can see how I can use similar concepts with themes that inspire me!

Here is another composite image showing some of the samples of her experiments as she developed the transparent work.

All very exiting!! Now to get the time to begin to put into these ideas.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Aprons from my stash

these are the aprons I finished from my stash. The lady has sent me some fabric with teddybears baking, so I will make those and then send them all off.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012


I Belong to an online Sewing Forum. In the last couple days there was a cry for help from the sister of a lady who makes children's and some adult aprons to sell to raise money for prostate and breast cancer charities. She makes up a little baking kit to go with the apron.

However, there have been some family situations which have meant she is quite behind with getting enough aprons for an upcoming event where she hoped to raise money. So, the cry for help from the sister. And why not? I have a few more days before college starts back up.

The sister is sending some teddy fabric she had to those of us who said we'd make some. It is a good idea and also good reasons for selling. If we liked, we could make up some from fabric we have.

So, I thought I would make use of some of the novelty fabric I have which I didn't suit Christmas serviettes or fabric bags in January. The children's size takes a 'fat quarter' and a small adult or teen size takes 1/2 metre of fabric. Here is a completed dragon in the larger size.

and some in progress that might appeal to boys or non-girly girls.

I thought I could use up bias binding scraps as well. But actually, they take longer than you think if you use bias binding. I am tempted to get out the cotton tape which would be easier and take less time. Perhaps by the time the teddy fabric arrives, I will have worked out a quicker rethreading the overlocker?

by the way, the second photo also has the altered suit trousers I mentioned doing for a Certain Lad.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

more Journal Quilts

Also over the weekend, I managed to finish off the last 2 red journal quilts. Actually, I had made the tops before I did the strawberries, but I was still considering how to quilt them and whether they should be one off ideas and I should do fruits/veg each month.

So, I quilted them over the weekend and did the binding today. The aim for these was to try the concept of Notan a video showing the concept. I wanted to see if I could create something that looked like flames using the technique. Because the challenge says up to 25% of any other colours, I took 1/4 of an A4 page and used it to create the design. I cut one set of shapes out of yellow batik design and the other I cut the shapes from the red hand dyed fabric (from Farne Designs) and fuse it over a dark grey fabric. I have saved the red shapes - possibly to use in one of the future journals, but we shall see.

So, one is Red Flames

and one is Red Smoke.

I think this technique might be interesting to use for creating a background to stage a dragon scene.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Easter Weekend

Over the weekend we had several events on. A Good Friday Service, a Hot Cross Bun Event (like the Mince Pie event at Christmas) where the people from our church gave out balloons, hot cross buns and small Easter chocolate eggs. Just a chance to meet people from the community. And then the Sunday Services.

Since A Certain Young Man was here, I ended up doing alot more cooking. He went with my husband to the shops and rather than small tidy roasts, they came home with major beasts! So, we had Lamb on Saturday evening and Pork on Sunday. Then with the leftover lamb and being Bank Holiday Monday I made a lentil stew while we still had someone here to help eat it all.

At some point on Saturday I decided to see if I had any of the little food dye tablets left from a packet of Easter egg colouring someone sent me from America. As Someone had already eaten most of the eggs, and two out of the 5 left cracked in the pan, I ended up colouring 3 eggs. And since I didn't really want to waste the dye...I gathered up some silk scraps and put them in the cups!

Here is the tangle of silks after I put through a rinse in the machine. I was well impressed with the turquoise silk organza. It is interesting that the 'red' dye came out very fuchsia...the little piece of velvet is interesting. I don't think it is silk, maybe a rayon base. I have a plan for the green silk noil.

A Certain Young Man also had requested some alterations to some of his trousers/jeans...he has been weight training and suddenly things don't fit straight off the rack any more. I also took measurements for making a custom shirt for him. I am a bit nervous. He seems to want Saville Row quality at student prices. Yikes. but anyway, it will be a challenge.

Friday, 6 April 2012


I have also managed to complete another Journal Quilt. Still on the Red theme.

I had this red fabric which seems to be cotton woven with rayon or something. But I thought it would work for a punnet of Strawberries.
I was going to put beads on all the strawberries to make the little seeds. But when I did the first one, I felt that it would be enough and would help to create a focus.

what do you think? more beads?

Thursday, 5 April 2012


I did manage to get away to the Sewing for Pleasure/Fashion Embroidery Stitch event at the NEC before Pepper got too ill. However, I forgot the camera. A lot of very interesting exhibits - The Downton Abby costumes were interesting. The stills from the TV shoots were much more lively looking than the actual garments. Maybe because someone was wearing them? or maybe the lights, etc. I have never watched the show.

I have added a link at the side to my friend Helen Cowen's blog. She had a really good exhibit of her work at the show. I wish she didn't live so far away! It would be great to pop in and out of each other's studios. I am sure she would be great to bounce ideas off of.

And then on Saturday, I popped out for a bit to the TVOffcuts meeting at the community centre. Where I also forgot the camera, but was able to finish off the last bits of the Loads and Ladders piece. Everyone else had great projects, but my brain was a bit fried, so I don't actually remember them all.

also, a Certain Young Man was 23 on Thursday. My husband's nephew had travelled down from his uni to visit our Young Man, so they came over on Sunday. I did manage to get a photo of the 2 of them. The Nephew is off on adventures this year which sound exciting.

I was in my studio (hiding - too emotional about the dog) and The Nephew came to look in.
"So this is where the Magic happens." Just what I needed to hear...someone - male! - who was willingly interested in what I do.
"Grandma showed me a photo of you in the paper when you started to be famous." (Me? Famous?)
I tell you, that boy will go far! He knows just the right thing to say!!
So, I had a few pleasant moments showing him some bits including the dragons.

I also told him how special I thought his comment was about the Magic happening. I may make a sign or something to hang in here to encourage me when I need it. :-}

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Loads and Ladders

While looking after my little friend the last 3 difficult weeks, I managed to work on the 10 year CQ celebration challenge and get it done by the deadline...just.

The piece is very dark and so hard to photograph, but this photo does give a glimpse of what is going on in the layers under the black silk organza. A 20cm sample also went off with the entry form so they can tell just what it looks like.

Here is the statement.

Loads and Ladders
h-145cm x w- 52cm

The building in the original photo could be compared to the tip of the iceberg; fairly serene compared to all that was happening so far below ground. However, whilst researching, I was deeply moved by descriptions of the conditions for workers in the mines and especially by the realisation of how far down the miners had to go in order to work. Miner testimonials recorded in days prior to electricity lodged in my head as I read that it took approximately 1 hour to descend the rickety ladders to the work face and 2 hours to ascend at the fatiguing end of their shift. This long climb, for the most part, was done in complete darkness because the workers did not want to waste their candles. Added to these thoughts was the idea that this work had gone on for centuries! Romans, and possibly Phoenicians, sent men down these pits for the tin and other metals to be found in the rocks. Day on day, year on year men worked and lost their lives in the toil for the metal considered so valuable.

In making the work, I felt it was important to show the darkness, the depth and the endless toil. I used layers of paper fabric along with silhouettes of the men in various stages of the climb and the work. This was overlaid with black silk organza and quilted with a jagged stitch for the rocks and a linear stitch for the mine shaft. It is a side on view of the mine shaft, men working the layers of rocks and the overwhelming darkness overall. Amongst the paper layers, glimpses of tin are represented with grey metal tissue and geometric symbols for tin oxide. The white cotton backing serves to backlight the image so that detail is not totally obscure.
Here is a lighter version of the photo showing the men climbing and toiling.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Farewell to a friend

Pepper  2 April, 2012
Goodbye Special Friend

It is too quiet around here now. But she is not suffering anymore.