Monday, 29 February 2016

Refugees - hand work

So, I got the rest of the trimming done for the reverse appliqué part.

And did some hand stitching ... marking the days as a prisoner or refugee would.
And it is finished! But today I am getting the photos and submitting the entry. So, I will show the full piece and story tomorrow.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

And the bead keeps going on and on... 21-27 Feb

Week 8 February 2016








Saturday, 27 February 2016

more on the Refugee piece

Apologies for neglecting you! This week has been a bit full of things. I have been working on this and have been taking photos, but haven't had time to sort the photos for the blog.

Anyway. The small figures and the large figures were stitched down.
Then the cutting away began.

Here is the side with the 'brush strokes' revealed.
I was so pleased to see it because I had selected that particular rust dyed piece because of the rust markings.

And here is the background cut away from behind the large figure...
which can be the start of another piece!

Then the cutting away of the smaller figures.
This side was easier.

Then I did a sample and decided to brave cutting away from the large figure to reveal the backside of each small figure.
So, I have managed a double-sided after all! Some of the cut out small figures have retained enough of a recognisable shape to also use for another piece. So, I will be thinking about that and incorporating some of the thoughts I had whilst making this piece.

I think I am going with rust figure/black background as the front, should it be displayed one-sided.

I trimmed up the sides a bit and will scrub it a bit so the edge won't be a blunt stop. I had to trim as some of the fabric edge still had a selvedge, so would not do the fraying I want.

I need to make a hanging sleeve for it. I will add a bit to the top that is light coloured on the light side and black on the black side. Then it will blend and be part of the background.

There is a little bit I am working on with a bit of hand stitch if I have time. Monday is the deadline, though, so that will have to make me be restrained! I will need to get good photos and fill in the entry form then as well! But somehow I am not stressed about it because I have several other options for this piece if it doesn't get done in time or doesn't get accepted.

Monday, 22 February 2016


I talked about the progression of this work last week. But the issue I had looming in the back of my mind was hanging. These fabrics, back to back, do not have the stiffness you would have for a 3 layered quilt. They are pretty drapy.

When I tried seeing how this would hang...yes. my predictions were confirmed. The sack carried by the large figure would flop because nothing was holding it up.

I had begun to try an idea back when I was developing the look on the rust side of the large figure. I put a piece of the black fabric behind the head of the figure.
But a certain young man, who serves as my advisory committee, being asked about the little figures, declared it looked like her head was chopped off!

Here I tried it again with rust behind the figure in black.

To me, it seemed good, but not quite enough. So, I used another piece of rusted fabric to create a background.
It looked rather bare. Bleak I wanted, but it was too stark. So, more figures were needed. I had cut a pattern of these figures, but hadn't cut them out like the others.
I played with arrangements again, using just the paper patterns. and then cut them out.

But the little girl with the goods on her back was cut out facing the wrong way! So, this is where we are now.

I have pinned and tacked pieces in place so I can stitch them.

I am a bit sad to give up a piece that is shaped and not made into a rectangle. But that is where you work in a series. I can work another piece using that concept and other things I have learned from this piece.

However, I haven't given up on double-sided - yet! So watch this space to see how or if I can manage it.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

And the bead keeps going on and on... 14-20 Feb

Week 7 February 2016








Saturday, 20 February 2016

Refugees continued

So, yesterday we got to the pattern.
Here is the piece cut out with the rust side on the front.
Then I started auditioning the smaller figures I cut out a few months ago.
At one point I decided to try the large figure with the black side on front.
Different auditioning of the rust side of the small figures.
At the moment, we are still working with the large figure facing left - the black side up. But there have been other design thoughts happening.
Still trying to consider double sided, but not too sure.

More on this on Monday, after the beads tomorrow.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Refugee piece - progression

So I have been working on the refugee piece a lot this week. The internet wasn't co-operating, so I didn't get to post anything.
I will do some of my steps bit by bit to show how this one progresses.

First I did a sketch of a lady carrying something of what she had left. I sketch big things like this on pattern paper laying flat on my table. I do a bit of drawing and a bit of rubbing out until I can recognise it as what I was aiming for.
Then I put it up on my cupboard door/design wall and look to see what needs a bit of sorting. and continue with the drawing and rubbing out til I am pretty happy. At this point, I knew her upper body was too long.

Rather than redrawing, I used some pattern drafting tricks. (I do this a lot!)
I folded out the pattern in the places where she was not the right proportion.

Then after having it up on the wall to 'discover it a bit more', I realised she was too thin for the person her head was telling me she was.

So, another pattern drafting technique...
Slash and spread.

Much better. I saw her as a middle age to older lady and I think this works.

Apart from a bit of trimming on her head (because I was too close to the height limit for the work and I needed to make her a little shorter) and sorting a few other places, this became the pattern.

Somewhere along the line I also traced round the hand to give another bag/case possibility if I decide to do another one of these.
By the way, the aerial photos are made by me standing on a little chair and reaching as high as I can to take a blind shot...or several to actually get a photo that includes everything. Then I delete the discards.

Aren't digital cameras brilliant as a design tool?

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

back to the machine

Sometime in November when I realised I desperately needed a break. I stopped working on the refugee piece. Part of it was dealing with the pattern on the fabric which I hadn't seen to be a scene until I took a photo. That was not in my idea in my head, so I nearly went off on a rabbit trail to do something with the scene.

Anyway, I passed the date for the first call for entry that had to do with refugees, or where a work about refugees would work. That was okay, needing said break. Also because the venue was a one off and really wanted large or installation type another country. I knew I had pushed myself as far as I could cope and would never resolve design issues that would suit.

So. Fast forward. I have a better head on about this now. There are at least 3 possibilities this year. And as most are more of the size I am able to work, and as there are several repeats of the fabric. I have gone back to ignoring the scene for this piece. Phew!

So, that means I have been slaving away at the machine. Well, that was one thing that called a bit of halt... and prompted a rearrangement of my sewing/beading situation. The sewing machine at a lower position and not cluttered back and side area means it is so much easier to do intensive machine work. So, the slaving has not been so onerous this time.

And it is done!

At some point I also gave up on fretting about eyelashes at the turnings on the back. (because this was A. Lot. of. Machining. I was going too fast and out of synch.) I have instead embraced them and decided they are like brush strokes.

See? Brush strokes.

The whole point was to join the 2 pieces. The front doesn't show it and I have a Plan for making the brush strokes look less like poor machining.*

So, watch this space on the Plan side of things. but for now, I am going to work on the front side development and how in the world I am going to hang the work with the idea I have in my head. I still would like to have it double sided. But we will see.

*and also I am not entering it into a quilt police show.

Monday, 15 February 2016

A bit of perspective on the beaded fabric squares

The other day Kathy asked about the black beaded fabric squares for this year's project.
" I can't tell in the photos -- are the central beads stitched on individually or in a standing loop? give us a side view next time you post some."

She also commented about these being made into pins. So, I realised I needed to show something alongside for scale. and also a side view.

Here is the step where I begin to do the centre section.
(At first I was doing this after beading the edge of 2 sides. But it is easer to do the 3 sides that need containing...the foldy bits have a way of wanting to escape round the the centre and then go on to finish the side without foldy bits sticking out.)

Next is a photo of the first side
I put the bead/sequin pattern on the thread, laid it down to check where they ended. Then I pushed the needle through...

... to the other side. I put the alternate bead/sequin pattern on the thread and stitch into the layers of fabric...
...and come back to the corner through the layers of fabric.

I have used a penny (British!) to show the scale. As you can see, they would make very small pins! Since they are 1cm square without the beaded edge, they would probably make better earrings.

Hope that helps get an idea!

Sunday, 14 February 2016

And the bead keeps going on and on... 7-13 Feb

Week 6 February 2016








Saturday, 13 February 2016

Kamlaika - Seams at the exhibition

I have showed different photo versions of this work before. But this is the best one since it is hanging as I envisioned.

Sandy Snowden
inspired by gut parka from Alaska

And so we are caught up. But as I said, I have not shown them all, so you need to go see them for yourselves and read the stories behind the work.

The exhibition at Lady Sew and Sew in Henley-on-Thames is on until Monday, 22 February. Weekdays 10am until 4pm

The exhibition will also be at the National Needlework Archive Thursday 29th March – Thursday 28th April with a free demonstration Saturday 2nd April 10.30 – 11 am.

Friday, 12 February 2016

And the rest of the Worn Threads work

or at least the rest for which I have any decent photos!
(left) Clare Williams inspired by New Zealand culture
(right) Linda Seward inspired by a Hi-Low skirt she owns

Dorothy Crossley
inspired by a Shaman's costume

Jane O'Sullivan
inspired by her late mother's evening dress

Jenny MacKay Jones
inspired by a patriotic apron

Joyce Amirahmadi
inspired by 18th/19th century Iranian paintings

Ros Crouch
inspired by photo of Aunt Polly at the ball

Heather Brand
inspired by tights/pantyhose

Emma Courtnadge
inspired by dresses her twin daughters wore

See the exhibition at Lady Sew and Sew in Henley-on-Thames, Thursday, 4th February to Monday, 22 February. Weekdays 10am until 4pm

The exhibition will also be at the National Needlework Archive Thursday 29th March – Thursday 28th April
FREE Demonstration Saturday 2nd April 10.30 – 11 am

I have added the posts for the Worn Threads exhibition to Off the Wall Friday at Nina-Marie's

Since I have finally got a good photo of my stitched wax paper, I will show that tomorrow.