Thursday, 31 January 2013

January - 'And the Bead Goes On...' finished

I didn't get much done today as I was out and about with friends for a change. Well I wouldn't have got much done then anyway as we woke up to no electricity! By the time I was back, it was on, but I had other things to catch up on. So, I will get back to stitching skirts tomorrow.

So, even though I plan to show the rest of January's beads on Sunday, I will show the collection today. I have been doing a sample of what I hope to do for February. But you will have to wait til Sunday for that!

Don't they look fun? I almost don't want to stop with January!

And to be honest, although 31 sounds like a lot, when you see them together, you realise there are not quite enough to do something with - or at least if you are thinking of them in the lines of embellishing a quilt or garment with them. But I think it will keep it fresh if I plan on doing the fabric beads on alternate months. I have made a little list of other things to try, and there seem to be about 6 main ideas, so those will work for inbetween months.

I will come back and link this to Off the Wall Friday at Nina-Marie's tomorrow when the links open up.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Wool Skirts

Driven by the cold, and in need of a project for the Offcuts meeting on Saturday, I did a marathon cutting out session of wool and wool blend skirts.

Now that I have the Still Life pieces entered, I have started the sewing for the skirts!

Yes, I have a lot of skirts. I do like making them. Some how though, I find myself wearing the same 2 or 3 all winter. So, now I can chop and change. I do really need to get with it on making blouses though!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Still Life finished

I got the quilting - heart beat on the yellow piece
and the binding done on both of the Still Life pieces.

And here they are.
Still Life: Feel the Beat and Still Life: Moving On

I am in the process of working on the entry now!

Statements -

Still Life: Feel the Beat
Recent changes for my Mother-in-law have reminded me how often the elderly become marginalised because they depend on assistance of one format or the other. Yet needing equipment doesn’t mean they have stopped living. There is Still Life … often a very vibrant one!

Still Life: Moving On
Recent changes for my Mother-in-law have reminded me how often the elderly are disregarded because things take them longer to accomplish. Perhaps they are slowly moving while the rest of us whiz by, but it is Still Life. Slow down and enjoy it with them!

Monday, 28 January 2013

A Special Speaker on the 23rd of February

Do you remember when I mentioned the blog 365 Dresses? Blog author Jeanne Crockett is coming to talk to the Thames Valley Offcuts sewing group about the daily project which she has just completed!

The Final dress

Put February 23rd in your diary. The talk will start at 1:30 pm at our normal venue - Birch Hill Community Centre in Bracknell. The cost is £10. (For the hall hire and for paying the speaker.) There will be a mini-workshop to follow the talk.

one of the earlier dresses in the project
This is what Jeanne says about her project:


In December of 2011, I found myself at the end of one of those character building years. Wanting to take the initiative to pull myself up, I searched for a “project” that would interest me and allow some creativity along with some defined structure. Somehow, I stumbled upon a book titled, “365 Make Something Every Day and Change your Life” by Noah Scalin. Before I even finished the book, I’d decided that I would do a year’s project. I will complete my 366 day project on January 27th, 2013.

I’ve always loved designing and sewing and wearing dresses was my signature for years in the workplace. I discovered that making these miniature dresses is a step beyond a sketch and is a great designing tool for real-life garments and accessories. Issues of scale, color, and coordination can be attempted and the results evaluated quickly. Not to mention that the mockups are adorable, and fun to make.

I learned so much about myself, my creativity, my passions, and my world with this project. More than just making little dresses, it has changed my life for the better. I’ll be sharing my experience with the project, and my plans for future development with you on February 23rd, 2013. We’ll discuss the dresses, the lessons, and the ideas, and follow the discussion with a hands-on workshop with you making your own sample.

A recent idea

If you want more information just leave a comment, or click on my profile and you will find my email address. Other groups have been invited to join us. We'd love to have you come along. Bring a friend!

Sunday, 27 January 2013

'And the Bead Goes On...' 20 - 26

2013 - Week 4 Daily Beads








no. 20 and 21 - finishing the hand dyed sunset from last week

no. 22-26 - bluey yellow hand dye (shown in the tutorial about making fabric beads) using sequin and bead combinations left from a mixed pack.

I am carrying on with the bluey yellow hand dye (more on the yellowy end of the scale)to the end of January and will start a new format in February for putting beads onto.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Something on Saturday

Last week before the snows came, a bit more progress was made with the Cedar Tree Project. They had to stop on Friday when the snow got too much.

But we have the start of a pretty convincing snake
and on top the beginnings of an owl.

Friday, 25 January 2013

How to Make Fabric beads

I have chosen beads as my daily project for 2013. I will be using them in a variety of ways. The project is called 'And the Bead Goes On.'

For January I have been making fabric beads and embellishing them with beads, tiny buttons and sequins. The results of each week are posted on a Sunday. Come back at the end of next week and see all the January beads together! and the start of the February version for the daily beads.

Since I have made 31 of these fabric beads this month (and a few in November when I was trying out the idea), I thought I would give a little how-to about things I learned about making them easier.

The first ones were made using scraps of pre-fused fabrics. All of these were fused with Misty Fuse - some white and some black.

I used the same idea of making paper beads and cut long triangular shapes. If the shape is short, you get a short fat bead. If it is long you get a wider bead.

After cutting the fused fabric into the shapes, I roll them on a thin knitting needle. The one I am using says 2 1/4 mm. (No, I don't knit, my friend gave them to me for purposes like this!)

The photo above shows me rolling the bead on a white surface to make it clearer.
But it is actually easier on the ironing board, as the surface grips the fabric a bit and you can control the roll. I try to aim for the point of the triangle to end in the middle, but I don't always fret about it.

The iron is hot, and after the bead has rolled to the end, I touch the bead with the iron here and there - rolling as I go. As you can see, no worries about burnt fingers!
Often, the tip of the triangle will not have fusing on it because it was near the edge of the fabric scrap. That doesn't matter if you are embellishing because you can hold it down with your first bead.

The first set I made I was careful to get it all fused. But with so many fused layers, it was really hard to push a thin beading needle through the layers. I also tried some hand dyed silk habotai. Even with tapping the iron on it to fuse, the thin fabric made it pretty solid.
One that was so solid I decided not to use it!

So, now I just use the iron enough to get it to stay together long enough to get to the point where I sew the beads on. If you were going to use the fabric bead alone with no embellishment, I would recommend being more thorough with the fusing.

I have some other scraps of thin fabrics with fusible on them. I think I will probably cut thin strips and lay them on plainer fabric triangles prior to rolling and fusing. Here is a set I made where I tried the idea.

This week I have tried the idea of collecting 'left behind' fusible from another project.
With Misty Fuse, you need to fuse fabrics between two layers of baking parchment. If you have already cut out the shape you are fusing, you often have a 'halo' of the fusible left on the paper. Especially if the shape is irregular.

I know a lot of people fuse great swathes of fabric and then cut from it. I seldom do that because I don't want to have to buy more just in the middle of a project because I used it up on fabrics that are now back in the stash. So, anyway, as you can see in the photo above, I laid the scrap I wanted to have fusing on over the fusible left on the baking parchment, pressed it with the iron and lifted the fabric when it had cooled. The leftovers stayed on the fabric! and then I kept repositioning the scrap til I had collected it all. I think it will hold it together enough to stitch into.

Because the finished bead has layers, it is easy to bury the beading thread
knot between the layers when you start. When I finish, I draw the needle out from under the edge of a layer, make the knot, and then pull the knot back under and up where I cut off the tails. (Like when people bury knots when they quilt.)

I usually wait til I have finished the embellishment to snip off any little fraying edges of fabric. Not that you can tell when you look at it in person, but if you take a photo...well they look pretty shoddy at a magnified focus!
a bit furry!
(This is the thin silk. You can see it does work if you aren't too forceful with the fusing. Because the fabric is thin, the same length of triangle as cotton will result in a thinner bead. The knots need to be a few more layers down or under a set of embellishments so they don't show through the silk.)

Another tip: Stitch the embellishments onto the fabric beads while it is still on the knitting needle!!! It is a whole lot easier to hang onto it!

I generally make enough fabric beads for the week, rather than heat the iron for one wee bead everyday. This would make it easy to take beads with you to work on if you were going away.

If you didn't want to embellish with little beads, you could stitch into it with embroidery thread, use embossing powder on them, wrap shiney threads round or touch it up here and there with metallic paint.

I am linking this post to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday.

Let me know if you have a go at making some fabric beads!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

winter skirt

Because the weather has been cold, I felt the need of something just a bit more warm for church. I remembered a very thick corduroy skirt in my refashion box. I can't remember if it was a charity shop find or not, but I have had it ages. I had already cut off the waistband - which was way too tight. and discovered then, that it was way too big. Don't ask me how they got the big skirt on the small waistband. But anyway. I had already stolen the zipper one time when I didn't have the right one for a different project.
So here is the start photo.

I was just going to work with it as it was, but I didn't fancy trying on/trying off because of said cold weather. So, I cut it out using my a-line skirt pattern. Pretty much following the lines of the skirt already.
I thought I might need a little extra to the waist section of the pattern. And after I sewed it up, this worked pretty much, but I found I still had to take in darts front and back. I used the existing hem for the hem.

I used a strip of brown linen that was laying around to make a faced waist. Basically you sew it on right sides together and turn it to the inside.
I just thought it would be a lot less bulky than trying to make a waistband with scraps of the thick corduroy fabric of the skirt. I usually use petersham in waistbands like this because I like the security of the firmness. It keeps them from twirling round on my waist.

Here is the final result. It fits me really well and is warm. I decided not to try for a photo of me wearing it. - something about the fact that I am already wearing longjohns under my trousers!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Snow Works

The green near the Cedar Tree on our road had a lot of activity on Monday. I guess the children were still off school.
There was a snow man with a really cute expression.

And some pretty complicated effort going into this fort.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Snow Dyeing

Since the snow has stayed a few days, I decided to have another go with snow dyeing. I put some failed fabric experiments into a few plastic boxes. (the original contents are in piles now!)

Then filled with snow and poured left over dyes on top. Now to wait and see!

while I was getting rid of dyes, I thought I would have another go at parfait dyeing.
A random choice of fabrics layered with dye.

For both of these experiments I have used dry fabrics this time. The dyes are old to start with and with the snow especially they don't need to be diluted further.

Cross fingers! Most of these weren't wonderful fabrics to start with, so maybe there will be an improvement.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Still Life quilted

Through one of those thought connection processes that you can't really explain, I found the perfect motif to quilt on the background of the other Still Life piece.

My friend Margaret left a comment and then we had an email conversation after which I somehow remembered her Thin Blue Line piece in which she had used the life line heart beat from an ECG.

So, I realised it would be a perfect motif to say more boldly what I want to say with the group of elderly with wheelchair, walker and hospital bed.

I was going to wait to show it here till Friday, but some of the things I was doing today ended up taking more time than I thought it would. I wasn't ready to show them. So, you get to see the quilting step.

I need to fuse the people down and machine applique.

So hopefully for Friday, we can have both finished with their thin black binding.

I have a few title ideas...not sure which to choose yet.

Still Life with Heartbeat

Still Life: Beating On (as companion with the Still Life: Moving On piece)

Still Life with the Beat (?)

Still Life feel the Beat

Any other ideas?

Sunday, 20 January 2013

'And the Bead Goes On...'13 through 19

2013 - Week 3 Daily Beads

 mixed shape buttons

 mixed little flower buttons






top 2 are purple cotton
the rest are hand dyed 'sunset colours' cotton
I am liking the mixed beads and the dimensional aspect

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Something on Saturday

tracks - little birds perhaps starlings or the blackbird.

like writing in the snow

Friday, 18 January 2013

Still Life: Moving On

Sometime back there was a call for work for an exhibition with the theme Still Life. I had the idea to do something of a social statement about 'disabled' or 'differently abled' people arranged as the focus. I wanted to call it Still in They still have a life or This is still Life!
However, as a lot of things in the past few years, I had more ideas than time.

So, when the SAQA Metaphors on Aging call for entry came up, I decided this was the time for those ideas to come together.

So, for this piece I took some of the international symbols used on signs for disabled or elderly. Here they are walking across a zebra crossing.
Still Life: Moving On

I thought the stripes in the background made it feel like the rest of life is whizzing by. But also in my mind I thought the parade of people crossing the road alludes (faintly!) to the famous photo of the Beatles crossing Abbey Road.

I haven't done the edge yet. I think I am going to use my satin stitch method using a blind hem foot. But I just need to try a plain black or a variagated black and white thread on one of the trimmed pieces to see which would look best. and now seeing it as a photo on here, I am wondering if it wants a border of sorts. Thin black?

I have another one I am developing - still trying to get the positioning right. Just need to think about the quilting for this. I have a small idea of quilting flowers and call it Still Life with Flowers. But I think that would be too contrived!

Anyway, I'd love your comments on either of these. I am linking to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday.
All the silhouettes have been cut from screen printed fabric - the same I used for the cows a few months ago.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Moving on

Starting the quilting for this piece today. Just straightforward lines across. The darker strip will become more obvious tomorrow.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

What if Wednesday

Starting to look at ideas for SAQA's Metaphors on Aging.
I have an idea of what I want to do in my head, but just need to find the backgrounds that suit the vision.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

and a few more skirts!

I have been working on these in a bit of a production line method. Last night I finished off joining the elastic and stitching the gap.

So these are skirts 8,9,10,11,12,13,14.

There are two creamy ones with pale green print in the middle at the bottom.

I am putting a few of these in the wash just to soften them up a bit. I need to work on a piece I hope to enter into an exhibition, so this will be it for a little while. Mind you, this is just the right kind of thing to do when you are at a stuck place on one project and need a bit of time to think. I need to work out how many of these I can get into a parcel less than 2 kg. That would come to around £26. With not having a 'proper job' at present, I can only just afford that size parcel.