Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Starry Eyed

I've been stitching through 16ml plywood for the past two days. These stars were cut with a jigsaw painted, stencilled and waxed. I made the holes with my trusty dremil (actually my husband ended up finishing the drilling) and I threaded a large bodkin with red wool and stitched. They may end up hanging or just spread around the house, we made 16 altogether ranging from 18" to 4".
 It's starting to feel like Christmas.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Business as usual

I feel so much better having something to focus on, stitching was what was needed. I'm not stitching in an embroidery kind of way but using my needle to make marks and to try and inject some dynamic into this very static and geometric layout I've made.

It looks completely different with the hand-stitching. I am going to add some beading once I have machined all the black areas

It's quite a big piece (as usual) 20"x 30" so it will keep me busy over the next few days.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Good Friends

Not much blogging lately, I have been absorbing bad news and planning my response to it. The hospital results came through as bad as bad can be. That is the only reference I'm going to make on this blog to being ill. I plan to go on stitching and crafting as long as I am able because that was what I started the blog for in the first place.
So.... this piece I'm working on is a linen background and transfer paint printed Evolon. You will recognise the plant shapes  from previous work and drawings. I have made acetate stencils from my plant drawings because I know I will use them over and over again.

 Today was spent in the company of friends from the Calico group I belong to, it was good to catch up and be with like minded people. We met at the John Clare museum in my village and started the seasons festivities over lunch.

Just have to find my stitching mojo again!

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Transfer Paints Sampling

Yesterday my friend Paula came round for a crafty morning, transfer paints were on the agenda and some pleasing results were achieved. I am in love with this pressed Geranium leaf that had been eaten by bugs in my garden this summer, luckily I pressed quite a few of them and if I can only remember which book I stored them in I will be able to repeat the design.

I've used pelmet vilene for some of the samples, the transfer paint is very vivid on all of the vilenes.

I took these photos today after a morning spent at Addenbrooks Hospital, nearly three hours to travel 44 miles during rush hour. It felt like the world was trying to get into Cambridge this morning, I can't imagine what it must be like to commute on a daily basis - nightmare!

I just needed to calm myself with colour after such a stressful morning. 

These gossamer like pieces were done on Zeelon a very soft and delicate synthetic similar to Lutrador.
When I track down some Evalon I will make a few more samples I know that it will be the perfect fabric for transfer paints.
Health issues are ongoing, full scan and more blood tests next week, I will craft my way through! 

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Paper Fun


I was looking through back issues of 'workshopontheweb' on my kindle on Tuesday, trawling for inspiration. In the early days of textiles I learnt a lot of techniques from this site. I still subscribe and look forward to every edition. I noticed they were offering a taster session to attract new members and I wondered which workshops were on offer. A picture immediately caught my eye - a workshop by Sue Dove, torn papers and colour. Of course I've adapted some of the instructions and creating is taking place with minimal effort.

These first two are my own painted papers, some shapes from my cricut stash, and oil pastels. Just the colour hit I need.

I decided to do something a little subdued after all that saturated colour. These papers were torn from my ancient stash of Elle magazines and I've used graphite pencils and Inktense. I sealed the finished page with hair lacquer because graphite gets everywhere.

A pleasing two days work and now I've started I'll just have to fill the whole sketchbook up with variations on this theme.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Dodgy Computers

I managed one out of the two days at Steph Redfern's workshop, I wasn't very functional whilst I was there but I did absorb a great deal of imagery. Lots of wonderful printing on the first day which I photographed to show on here but my good laptop decided to malfunction in a big way. So out with the steam driven PC (which is ancient and slow) to try and post.

Steph has such a distinctive style that I struggled to find my own 'voice' but the way she layers up is quite unique and was useful to see in action. After I had rested at home for a day I managed to come up with this piece which I think demonstrated the outcome of the workshop.

Had I been well I would have loved this workshop however next stop Addenbrooks for some tests that only they can do and a scan at Peterborough after that, not looking good but I remain optomistic and I'm still creating.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

A Little Domestic Stitching

I have been busy making cosy cushions, my summer ones were looking a bit tired and I want to make the house look it's best for the Christmas celebrations. I have a huge stash of tweed and cashmere remnants that were just ideal for what I had in mind. Another two to go and that will be it.

I've used running stitch to put a wintry word on the front of each one.

I will put 'family' and 'friends' on the last two.

On Friday, husband and I had a day out in Grantham, we went to see the E.G. exhibitions at the Museum. Very enjoyable, I even sat and embroidered a little motif on the world's largest embroidery which is taking it's turn in Grantham. We also popped into Stitchcraft - what a lovely shop, venue for classes and a delightful cafe on site.
I shall be taking a little break from blogging for a week or so. I have a few medical appointments to get through and a class with Steph Redfern at Bramblepatch to look forward to. Be back soon.  


Thursday, 24 October 2013

Transfer Paint

Finally managed to have a Trident meeting with my friends Jean and Jackie.  I'm really struggling health-wise but it has been such an enjoyable  day I don't care. We had decided to have a play with transfer paints today. These have been around for many years, in fact Jean had some in her stash that were over 20 years old. We also had some of the latest versions to use and compare.
I'm still in herbal mode so I slanted my experiments towards ways of producing yet another sub layer for my work.

I was looking for ways to make a subtle print that could take further work on top.

This method may crop up in my next piece of work only it needs to be toned down to just a whisper instead of a shout.
It was good to catch up and talk about exhibitions and contacts, we are building quite a network of crafters and textilers in this area.
I'm going to attempt an outing to Grantham Museum on Saturday to see the Guild exhibition, I hope it is still on.

We ended the day with some thread dyeing, I said I would leave them to take overnight, I don't know if I can last that long!  ( I can't).

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Tarnished Stitches

I've missed a Guild meeting or two lately and one I really wanted to attend was Alysn Midgelow Marsden's Tarnished Stitches workshop. However my good friend Biddy bought me the kit round with written instructions on how to use it.

My first sample turned out ok so I thought I would try something a little more ambitious

I used an old stitched sample piece and added lots of tacky lace, beads, buttons and little stitched elements and then burned the edges.

This is it 30 mins after I used the  metallic paint and ageing solution, it takes several hours to develop completely. I will stitch and paint into it again tomorrow (and may be a bit more burning) and use it for a book cover. This is a real playful piece of work, just what I needed today.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Process Day 6 Completion

I finished Harvest Moon yesterday and by teatime it was up on my bedroom wall. I completed it  by giving it the curtain treatment, loose lining and a flat dowel in a channel along the top. It has the drape and weight I wanted it to have.

The finished piece.

The bedroom is the only ship free room in the house (my husband makes incredibly large model sailing ships among other things) so I have some pieces of my work on show in here. As we overlook fields and countryside my John Clare piece seems appropriate.

Including this blast from the past, a knitted wire, rubber and organza lampshade I made for my A level textiles some twelve years ago.

So  - a large piece of work completed in six days. I really recommend process sharing, it has motivated and organised my efforts. I was feeling a bit dithery about what to do next before I started this, but one thing has lead to another, as it often does and I'm envisaging my next project already. However before then I need to make some little 'pretties'.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Process Day 5

This has been my view for the past two days, it feels like miles of stitching has been achieved going round the edges of all those shapes.
Because my work is eclectic to say the least every piece is a learning curve (I like it that way).
I really had to grapple with some of the shapes , particularly the synthetic ones. The problem being that I couldn't use the iron at a high enough temperature to fuse the bondaweb to the background, slightly too hot and it would melt the synthetic. I resorted to a combination of bondaweb and tacking stitches on some of the shapes.  It was difficult sewing very close to the edge on some of my fabrics so where my needle wandered in, I cut back any edge that was visible. The sewing would have been much easier if I had backed my work but I wanted the option of having a drape to the piece.

All the machine stitching is complete. I need a day or so of looking to decide the next part and  to let my neck recover from such intense sewing. 

This  will hang in my newly decorated bedroom on a south facing wall. What I anticipate happening is the black linen to fade over time and the harvest moon will stand out more and more. 

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Process Day 4

After gilding my extended moon I have spent the day cutting the last shapes. I think this may be enough but I won't know for sure until everything is in its place. After ironing down in just the right position I have stitched my centre motif by free machining as close to the edge as possible, this took two hours. I console myself with the fact that I have done the most complex shape first. I decided not to back the work because the linen has quite a bit of body and I don't want it to look quilt like, when all the stitching is done I will add a backing of the same fabric. I have options then for stitching the two pieces together.

Now I can start to lay out the other 'stems' in relation to this focal point.

This will change I have no doubt, I need to put another 'mask' stem on the left hand side. It's almost a pity to have to flatten the stems with stitching, it has a wonderful 3D quality at this stage. When I am satisfied I will photograph for reference then remove all the loose pieces and start the process of pressing each one down, stitching it then move on to the next one. I will use matching threads except for any stems that need a bit more emphasis. This will keep me amused for a few days.

Monday, 14 October 2013


Two posts in one day but this one is only a little bit related to the process pieces I'm posting at the moment.
Most Mondays I spend in the workroom with my friend Paula. We have a go at anything and any technique that captures our imagination, I enjoy the break from whatever I'm currently creating. This week it was plastic. I have used a garden sack and a piece of pea netting,  a muesli packet and a little bit of a Sainsbury carrier bag. 
A smidge of printing, machine and hand stitching, a tad of burning and some careful ironing. I like the spontaneity of this piece.

What fun to use some throw away items, it stopped me being concerned about the 'preciousness' of the materials and forced me to concentrate on design stitch.

I loved the piece that Paula produced, her art background always shows in her work and we spark off ideas continually. 

I thought as I'm also running the harvest moon piece at the moment I would confess to an amendment to the work in progress. As it is such a big piece of work (36"x 60") I suddenly decided the moon was out of scale. It has only taken an hour to re-cut the mask and paint the under colour, when it is dry I will gild the extension and hopefully problem solved.

A harvest moon is meant to be big!


Process Day3

After I had cut all my shapes out I had to peel off the bondaweb backing paper, they came off easily and in one piece. I didn't want to throw them away because I thought they would make some lovely masks. The paper is very fragile and would fall apart the first time I used them so I painted each one with gel medium to try and give them some strength.

It took a couple of hours to dry out and then I pressed them flat. At this point I was going to store them for another project when I realised I could use them to make another layer of interest on my cloth.

I sprayed the shape with spray mount to hold it firm on the cloth and then using a Markel Oilstick (white) I coloured in the shape. Then using an old brush I stroked the pigment all round the paper shape. The spray mount held the mask perfectly.

After removing the mask I was pleased with the result. I have heightened the colours so that you can see the outcome, it is actually more subtle than the picture suggests.

I can start laying my fabric shapes over these stencilled areas tomorrow. I'm enjoying this part of the project, the hard slog will be when I start stitching all my shapes down.