Friday, 30 January 2015

snow patterns

We had a little snow yesterday, and it is gone today.

But I was intrigued by the patterns the roof tiles made.

Different angles, different looks although the same type of tiles. A couple of them remind me of houndstooth check fabric.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Another something fun out my window

There is a cherry tree behind our back fence. It has had random prunings from time to time because of the limbs knocking off tiles from the neighbour's roof. One day I looked out and thought I recognised its current shape without the flowers and leaves.

Don't you think it looks like Woodstock? The bird who is Snoopy's friend.

Especially the cartoon images of him or his other bird friends from when Linus pats them on the head and their fur/feathers are messed up on top.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015


The thought for this week on the daily bead project was to use bugle beads.
However, in practice I found it wasn't going to work. Or if I did figure out how, it would take a lot more effort than I wanted to spend.
It would work if I had beads exactly the length of the edges of the fabric or exactly 1/2 the length of the edges.

So, I have had a rethink and will re-use some of the previous beads and do them double like I did the tiny beads. I do have some very small cylindrical beads which I might try.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

And a few more flowers in the neighbourhood

The other day I noticed that there were some little white flowers blossoming on one of the shrubs hanging over a fence in our neighbourhood. So, while I am recording what is flowering at the moment, I thought I would get a photo of those too.

I can't quite work out what they are. I know they have had a honeysuckle there in the past, but not that colour. Also they had a winter flowering jasmine, but the flowers for that are a lot smaller. I should have smelled them to get a better clue. Maybe tomorrow.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Another type of Bloom

Last year around Remembrance Sunday and the time leading up to Remembrance Day, there was a very moving display of poppies at the Tower of London. You can see several photos at that link.

These were to commemorate the ones who died in World War I. (2014 being the centenary of the beginning of that war.) 888,246 ceramic poppies filled the moat, each one representing a British or colonial death during the conflict. It is made to look like a sea of blood pouring from a window in the Tower. It really put into perspective what that number meant...each one an individual.

There was an option for people to pay for one of the poppies. The money going to help wounded British Soldiers or the families of those who have died in service. So, the Thoughtful Man bought one. We understand that after the poppies were done touring you were to get your poppy back.

I had heard about some others receiving their poppies. But also from one of the volunteers who were 'picking' them and packing them. It was a very careful process, taking the poppy apart and packing the sections.

Well, last week our poppy arrived. I finally had time to take a photograph. It was taken in the evening in the near dark with the flash.

You can see that it has already spent time outdoors. For now it is stuck into a plant pot with a dormant plant. But when the better weather comes, we will have a think of where to put it.

I saw a clip somewhere about the making of these. As I noted above, they are ceramic. So there was a lot of moulding, firing, painting and hoping going on! I can't imagine how it must have been if, after all the work, a firing went wrong. It would be interesting as well to know how much clay was used.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

And the bead keeps going on...18-24 January

Week 3 January 2015

This week a size contrast
little tiny beads - size 15 and big huge beads - sizes 6 and 8







Saturday, 24 January 2015

Something on Saturday

So here is a funny story.
A Certain Young Man had an orange tree brought back with him from uni a few years ago. When he went to live in America for a while, I was tasked with looking after it. (Bring it back to life!)
So, I started feeding it and watering it and it grew and grew.
Then it got a flower and grew a tangerine size orange...which was eaten by A Certain Young Man when he was back visiting last January.

Fast forward. A Certain Young Man returned to live here in August. Around that time there were more flowers. A cluster of them were on the bottom branch. 4 of them set, and the others fell off.
As these grew, they were not really orange shape. But they kept growing past the size of the previous orange. While green, they looked like limes. (sorry, no photo.)
Then they turned yellow. Okay, so let's wait for them to turn orange...and perhaps they will start getting spherical? It looks pretty lemon-like.

So, I took a photo at that point because I thought I would get photos of the stages. Only there weren't any more stages. So, I gave it more water, more food. Put a shiny foil covered board under them to hold them up and help them get more light.

Then the other day I came in and 2 were gone. A swift search showed them under and behind a chair.

I put them in the kitchen with some apples to help them get ripe. and suggested a Certain Young Man should try one. Because if they fell off, they must be ripe.

Certain Young Man comes into my studio. Do I want to try this?

WooHoo! That is sharp! That is a lemon! (Well, it was trying to tell us it was a lemon all this time!)
one of the lemons
So, we had an investigation and came to the conclusion that there was a bit of a bump above the lemon branch in the main stem of the tree. And so we actually have a lemon/orange tree! Or orange grafted onto lemon tree.

Friday, 23 January 2015

More flowers in January

Several Polyanthus flowers bravely showing their faces.

I love England...Spring gives hints beginning at Christmas! We even have tulip leaves up about 5 inches! So, now that it is cold this week, they will just bide their time. But they still give hope of better warmer days.

Where I grew up, you didn't even see them til about Easter if you were lucky or if it was late.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Blooming in January

Last week I discovered the heather was in bloom! I haven't checked to see if it is liking this cold snap.

And in the front garden...
I love cyclamen. It was the first flower my husband gave me.

I think they are amazing how they are at first all twisted and pointing down right up to when they are ready to open. and then within a matter of minutes the petals fling back and reveal the 'centre' at the bottom.

Here is a borrowed time lapse video.

Isn't it amazing!!

The leaves are a wonderful heart shape.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Wednesday Wonders

Near the beginning of the year, I spotted an interesting dress on the weather lady on Sunday evening. Eventually I had to pause the TV and get the camera.

I'm thinking black fabric discharged in some way...


Dolman Sleeve

design carries round hip to back

design carries over shoulder to back

Do they look like birds to you?
Or are they just random and I am using my overactive imagination?

I never did hear what the weather was going to be!

Apologies to the weather lady, I didn't catch your name...just your dress and a few of your theatrical weather faces.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

CQ 2014 Journal Quilts

Today three of my journal quilts for 2014 went off in the post.

May - Rugby Run

July - British Cycling

and December - Goal!

They will join the work of other Contemporary Quilt artist to be exhibited in several places around the UK.

Creative Stitches and Hobbycrafts show, Event City, Manchester 5-7 February

Creative Stitches and Hobbycrafts show, SECC, Glasgow 5-8 March

Sewing for Pleasure, Fashion Embroidery and Stitch, NEC, Birmingham 19-22 March

Creative Stitches, Fashion and Embroidery, ExCel Centre, London 26-28 March

British Quilt and Stitch Village, Uttoxeter Racecourse, Staffordshire 24th-26th April

Their new owner, my son, has kindly allowed them to be on loan. I did mention they are worth more if they have been exhibited.

Earlier in the year January, March, and April journal quilts were on exhibit at the Spring Quilt Festival, Exeter. At this link, you can see all of the quilts together in order.

Monday, 19 January 2015

CQ-Kazakhstan Project - 10 finished!

And here we are! Bound edge and finished.
The Collared Dragon

And finally much more like the actual colour!

I haven't developed a story, other than when I went to think of a title. The collar seemed important to it. A subtitle is The Royal Pet. But I haven't added that to the work to send off. Especially if it is to travel, they will have to translate! Collared Dragon is sufficient for now.

So, to get the accurate colour, I turned off the light so that the only light was through the patio windows. (Patio windows are the only source of outside light in my studio. So, that is why the overhead lights are daylight tubes.) Then I took a photo with the flash. Problem is, I can't remember if it was on intelligent auto or normal photo. But it is an option to try again the next time!

The dragon is 'winging' its way to the collection point for CQ and then will go with the rest of the British pieces out to Prague and on to the rest of the journey.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

And the bead keeps going on...11-17 January 2015

Week 2 January 2015

no.17 is coming done! Slight delay.








Saturday, 17 January 2015

CQ-Kazakhstan Project - 9

Here is the dragon needing a binding.

Please do remember or use your imagination that the background is black! But even in real life, with the colours I used it does read as a very black green. So it is a good thing one of the options for backing was dark green. I haven't enough of that black to make the binding, so I will be using a matt black which may help with reading the colour correctly.

One more thing...I still had one more fabric I hadn't used. The purple devore velvet. So, yes, I used a small bit for the eye, but still. So anyway, I got the bright idea to make a velvet collar. Which works very well.
The dragon had an outing at the Thames Valley Contemporary Textiles group today, so has had much admiration already.

Now for the funny part. I re-read the instructions before trimming to the 50cm square. ..... says use 4 or 5 of the fabrics which were sent to you.
Well, I suppose if I had remembered that, I would have been less successful at 'making it work'.

I have learned that it will also be making a tour beyond the exhibition at the Prague Patchwork Meeting in the Czech Republic. "After PPM the quilts will be taken over by Bernina representative for a tour : Germany, Slovakia, Kazakhstan, Russia....."

Friday, 16 January 2015

CQ-Kazakhstan Project - 8

I am nearly ready to reveal this work. But today I am talking about solving issues.

First of all, I must say it wasn't just a matter of stitching the dragon to the background. It kept stopping like it was stuck on something and often breaking the thread.
I...used a different thread
...changed the position of the thread reel
...changed the needle
...changed to a single hole needle plate(thinking the backing fabric was catching)
...changed to an open toe darning foot (from the normal darning/free machine embroidery foot)
...eventually I realised that because of the chopping and fusing to make the fabric for the dragon and then applying it to 3 layers, that some sections were just a little too high for the foot to have good clearance. SO, I used the tool that is meant to make moving the machine easier and soldiered on (being glad it wouldn't be judged for the stitching).

Furthermore...I learned these things.

1 - when you stitch an appliqué dragon onto a background. Be sure you have taken all the pins out. This is the back.
I used a long pair of tweezers to manipulate the pin through a gap I made in the stitching.

2 - if you get poked with the pin, check to see if you have drawn blood.
I used dish soap on a damp cloth to get the most of it out. (I may write a dragon story and stitch it to the back!)

Thursday, 15 January 2015

CQ-Kazakhstan Project - 7

I had a meeting last night and another tonight. So, just another quick photo.

The background has had the clouds stitched on through the 3 effect quilting it. (the threads need snipped!)
I will stitch the flames down when I make sure the dragon is in the right position. That is what some of those pins are for, so I can get it centred right.
When I stitch the dragon on, it will also go through the 3 layers and since I am using felt for a wadding, it doesn't really need more quilting than that.

I hope to get the dragon on and possibly the binding this weekend. I have to send it off Monday at the latest.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

CQ-Kazakhstan Project - 6

Quick update on the might be a she!
I found a solution to the eye. and it comes with lovely lashes! A bit of the chiffon print surrounded by cream...and a bit of the devore velvet.

I am in the midst of the outlining and so on. But the rest of the day got very busy. So no time for more info today!

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

CQ-Kazakhstan Project - 5

Meanwhile... remember the fabric selection?

There were 2 pieces of velvet...the kind with a sort of acetate backing. They definitely could not be part of the chop and fuse desperate fabrics to make a dragon fabric.

So, clouds. Only they were about 9 in x 4in (give or take) which doesn't lend itself to many clouds! and they would need to be purple and green clouds.

Ah but what about these kind of clouds.
At the moment I am still considering how to keep them in place. Not sure yet.

And while we are at it, what about the flower print chiffon? You might have noticed in yesterday's photo that I cut a tongue from the red flowers in the print.

The chiffon was far too slippery to fussy cut anything out. So I fused it to a black satin, which also brought the print to life a bit somehow. After I cut the tongue, then I made some templates of flames from freezer paper. Very fiddly, but I cut them out and here is trying placement.

If you can believe this, the 'green' background is really a glazed black cotton. and the flames are scarlet red, not orange. The camera was not quite sure what to do with it!
Again, disregard the eye. I was trying to see if I could use the final piece of fabric in some way. It is devore velvet. It doesn't actually shine as much as that. I may stitch detail into it or something. Not sure. I don't know how else to use that piece of fabric.

Monday, 12 January 2015

CQ-Kazakhstan Project - 4

And here is what the dragon looks like cut out.

I rubbed out the background he was on so you could see what he looks like on his own.

He needs some definition. I have stitched him to felt in a grid pattern to hold the pieces together better. I used a toning rayon thread and it does not distract from the bits of fabric.

Here he is with a little work to give definition and to help me know what I need to do next for him.

Please disregard the eye for now. It needs more thinking!

Sunday, 11 January 2015

And the bead keeps going on...4-10 January 2015

Week 1 January 2015

Last Sunday I showed the beaded booklets and during the week worked out what to add to the 'pages'.
So here again are the first three with their additions.



And here are the beads for this week.