Monday, 30 April 2012

Memory quilt

I've been working on my vintage fabric piece. As I stitched and layered and handled the cloth, the phrase came into my mind - Like a thief in the night time slipped silently away.  It is a very reflective piece of work and it is throwing up all sorts of thoughts as I'm working on it. I aim to develop a series based on this piece -  it's nice to work in my comfort zone occasionally.

I must be careful not to overwork this memory quilt as the fabrics need to speak for themselves.

 The indigo fabric is part of the old quilt I'm using and the tray cloth and lace were part of the same purchase. I'm starting to picture them together in the next piece of work.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Fragile Cloth

This is part of the old quilt I bought in Cromarty last week at my favourite antique shop. It was at the bottom of a throwaway box of torn and worn textiles probably from a house clearance.  It is very faded and fragile in parts and as it is just a top and a lining I believe it was used as a tablecloth during it's long life. The bits of food clinging to it were a bit of a giveaway. I laundered it very gently and just let it dry without pressing it. Some parts were disintegrating so I gently preserved these pieces. When I took the tissue thin lining away I realised how many times over it's life this cloth has been laundered.

It is so worn that it has become transparent when held up to the light.
 Using very tiny running stitches I have attached a more robust piece of the cloth to some cotton organza and I'm carefully stitching some of the more fragile pieces to the surface

There are some beautifully faded colours in this cloth which I hope to exploit with some simple stitching.
It feels sacriligeous to be cutting into this piece and if it were hand stiched I would probably have left it to gently rot. It has very little skill in it's construction and is quite crudely finished - but all the more charming for all that! 

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

It Glows

 Came back from Ullapool late Sunday evening after a long exhausting drive. Today I feel recovered enough energy wise to finish off my 'vessel' which as you can see has turned into a lampshade. I wanted to preserve the warmth of the colours but lining it with two layers of sheer fabric took away some of the glow. It was when I held it up to the light  I realised it needed back lighting to show it at it's best. I only needed to lose an inch of the piece for it to fit an existing lamp base. I have used seven thin strips of wood under the lining to keep it's shape. I was going to use pelmet vylene but this would have cut down on light passing through the piece.

An energy saving bulb which keeps nice and cool has worked really well for this piece just looking at it makes me feel warm and cosy.

I bought some beautiful pieces of vintage fabric in Cromarty last week. I made sure that they were torn and worn so I wouldn't feel guilty at cutting them up. The next project will be a memory quilt using some of things I have bought in Ullapool and surrounding places over the past few years.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The Delights of Ullapool

This is why Ullapool in the Highlands of Scotland calls me back time and time again despite an eleven hour drive. I am here for a long week with the dearly beloved and my brother and his lady.

I had to check out Achmelvic beach first to make sure nothing had changed - it hadn't.

The light here was so powerful on Sunday that the sea and lochs took on an electric blue shade that was almost unbelievable. Brilliant sunshine and freezing temperatures means we have our fingers crossed for a glimpse of the Northern Lights.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012


You may remember this  book cover from last year, I have finally got round to filling the pages and finishing the binding. The cover is made from balsa wood which to my surprise is very easy to stitch into. It's a little book of self indulgence because it was made at a time when I should have been immersed in some more demanding work.   

I've used some of my painted papers and played with positive and negative shapes. 

I've added little bits of script from an old English lit. primer. 

Gel pens and stamped out shapes

Koh-i-nor dye paints ( love them).

Stencilled shapes and paper clay motifs.

These are very time consuming to put together but really satisfying once I've finished - not something that I can do easily or quickly, I know some people can make these very speedily but I take ages just finding the right little pieces of script.  It has to have meaning to me or it's pointless.
So a year in the thinking and making -  finished at last!

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Thursday, 5 April 2012


Needle lace is not for the faint hearted - fifteen hours of stitching to produce this tiny corsage ( just less than 4"across).
Because I chose a fine thread and worked it in the basic needlelace stitch (corded brussels) it looks almost like it's made from a woven fabric. To make it appear lacier a more open stitch would have been required.  This will be another technique to use for making components for my mixed media work. I finished making the leaves on Tuesday at a social stitching day at  Beecrafty.  It was good to leave the workroom and be among like minded people, it gave me the inspiration to finish off one or two pieces that were languishing due to my lack if motivation. I shall do this a  more often, obviously the peer group shamed me into action !

I'm stitching like blazes on my 'vessel' piece - I've bumped up the highlights,shadows and colour on this pic so that you can see all the layers. I intend to 'knock back' the couched lines with the felter once the main stitching is finished and then it will be randomly beaded and then ready to form into the final shape. I was beginning to get quite bored with this piece but as the stitching progresses I can't wait to see the final result so I will concentrate on this until completion.

We bought another water butt on Sunday and John added it to our existing set up on Monday - how timely - as if to order it then rained for 36 hours leaving us with 600 litres of rain water stored!
I'm worried that by being so organised we have precipitateded (pun intended) the wettest summer on record.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Intense Needlelace

One of our Guild members did a mini class on needlelace yesterday afternoon. We all started stitching at about 2 pm under the guidance of Linda and by the end of the class had a basic understanding of the process and we had finished most of one petal. I loved it so much that I carried on stitching when I got home and finished this little flower at 10.30pm. Except for the drive home and a break for dinner, that was almost six hours stitching for a piece of work of less than 2" square.
I want to do another one - now! Thank you Linda, my efforts will never be a patch on your wonderfully skilled and beautiful work but I will gain so much pleasure out of this technique.

My own tutorial on embroidered beads that I did for last month's Guild meeting has produced this lovely bead embroidered by Christine.  It sparkles! It will be the first one to go in the little display cabinet for our exhibition in October.  We seem to be accumulating lots of projects at the moment !

I'm starting to think about my visit to Ullapool this month - I can feel the excitement rising already!