Monday, June 06, 2016

Planned quilts and Whispers

The fabrics shown here are for two planned quilts. These will be for a baby not yet born. The nursery theme is a delightful mix of blue sky with white clouds as the wallpaper and a bright yellow sun as the lamp in the centre of the ceiling. Such a cheerful room.

I have plans to make two quilts - one with the bright blue and yellow "daytime" theme with a sun.The second, slightly darker, having the moon and stars as a theme. 

Sadly, I can't yet share the piece I have been working on this week since it is part of a challenge. It will be handed over to the owner on Wednesday when there will be a big reveal showing all the work produced. There is a plan to have all the resulting pieces displayed at a group exhibition later in the year which is all rather exciting. Perhaps I should say nerve-wracking......

The challenge itself is called "Whispers". The idea is rather like the children's game of Chinese Whispers where one friend whispers a word or phrase and then this is repeated by each child taking part. The fun being whether the word spoken aloud at the end is the same as the first word whispered at the beginning of the sequence. This challenge is similar in that each person taking part has found a photograph to be their theme. The owner of the photo then produces a small piece (in our case, A5 - 21cm x 15cm, 8.5" x 6"). This piece is then passed to the next person. The second person is not permitted sight of the photo..... At the next meeting, the first person's piece is returned and the second person passes their interpretation on to the next person who makes a piece based on their interpretation of the piece they have been given. It is only at the final meeting that all the textile pieces are displayed alongside the original photographs. This will happen on Wednesday, and I must admit that I am rather excited to see what we have all produced.
After the meeting on Wednesday we are expected to go and make a book of the collection of little textile pieces we will each have collected. These books will then be displayed at the group's exhibition.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Itching to stitch.

Fabric collage
An interesting workshop with Liesbeth making fabric collage. The idea is to put the pieces together without thinking too much about it. The fabrics are bondawebbed in place. The pins are there since I also added some scraps of fabric which had not had any bondaweb ironed to them. The idea is then to place L shaped bits of card to find interesting pieces for future stitch projects.

Using improvised L shapes to make mini stitched pieces
These small pieces are around 5" x 3" (13 x 7.5cm). In the end I chose a couple of other pieces to cut out since these seemed a little dull and "safe". So far I have just cut out two pieces to work on. There may be others.
Another mini piece
In case you are wondering, I improvised the L shaped pieces. These are actually cut from flyers I found at the venue since I don't have any such shapes of my own.

Charity shop finds - lace edging and cotton hankies.
One of my failings is that I really cannot resist going into charity shops and rooting through their textile items. I do try to plan what I shall do with each piece rather than just add to my growing collection of fabric. I had intended the lace edging and hankies to be used for nuno felt. However, the hankies are so pretty I think I shall probably keep them as they are for now. The lace edging will definitely find itself added to some nuno felt before long.

Cotton fabric
Now, this cotton lawn piece could become a long skirt. I think it was intended to be two long scarves since the design has distinct borders. Each shawl is approximately 1.5m by 1m (59" x 39"). This is after washing. Luckily, I chose to hand wash since the fabric was steeped in size and really quite stiff. It is a lot softer now and has shrunk slightly. I said it was lucky that I chose to handwash this since it lost a lot of loose dye in the process. I'll have to find a suitable fabric to line this with if I decide to make it into clothing. Any thoughts?

More vintage patterns
I found some really nice patterns too. I used to own a copy of Simplicity 9254 when it first came out in the eighties. I made a long sleeved version of the dress which I wore for quite a few years. It is one of those patterns that I really wish I had hung on to. The McCalls pattern is from 2003 and is for stretch knits, a type of fabric I really must get around to working with. The third pattern had never been opened. I've never heard of "Successful Sewing", so can only assume it came out with a series of magazines. There are no sewing instructions, but since it is quite a basic style that shouldn't be a problem. I see this as a potential pattern to use some of my own printed fabrics. I just need to start printing some much larger pieces...... Now that could be fun.
My only problem will be what to start first. Perhaps I should finish some of my UFOs first..... decisions, decisions.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Postcards, books and printing on felt

Completed Apache top
It has been an interesting week. For once I have quite a number of completed, or nearly completed items to share. 
Firstly, a photo of the completed knitted top which I talked about last time. As you can see it has a really interesting closure in that there is a knitted tab which is pushed through a buttonhole in the right front of the waistcoat. This should be handed back tomorrow.

Printing on felt
On Friday I went along to a workshop at Friday Felters. This was with Val Hughes, a very talented textile artist. This was a really interesting session, although I must admit to not liking the block printing medium which I used for my sample. The felt is still sticky today. I shall have another go and print using my usual fabric paints. The blocks shown above were made at the workshop using foam board as a backing with thin foam. As you can see, I cut the foam so that I could use a positive and negative of the same design. I haven't used the second block yet, I found the idea of printing on felt had a lot of possibilities and will definitely be doing it again.
Completed book cover
 You may recall this post, where I showed an earlier stage of working to put this book together. Since March, I have been steadily adding bits and pieces to my book, deciding yesterday that it really now needed to have a cover. So, here it is. I still haven't filled all the pages, but will continue to add bits and pieces during the rest of the year. Tomorrow, it will be travelling along with me to the NWCQ meeting where other members will be showing their altered books. I didn't join in with that topic, preferring to make my own book rather than use a printed book. I really don't know what they will make of my version.
The cover is part of the old sheeting on my small printboard which I replaced earlier. Shocking to think it has languished in my fabric stash for so long before being used. However, it was perfect for this book cover. Just the right size too. It won't be too long before I need to replace the current printboard cover on that same small board......
The cover is stretched over a piece of foamboard which was left over from making some exhibition notices last year. Useful stuff. It is quite sturdy and stops the book becoming too heavy.
A few of the pages
 The next two photos show some printed bits and pieces which may well end up inside the book once they are completely dry.
Some material to be added to the book
 The lettering was printed using a set of children's wooden letters which I have had since my teaching days. Rather nice to be able to use them. The block pattern at the top of the above photo is another of my home made blocks made using foam board, double sided tape and thin foam. Like the earlier blocks, this also has a negative block which I haven't yet used for printing.
A sample to try out the lettering
This scrap of fabric is all that remains of the printboard cover which I used for the book cover. So useful to have a piece like this to use to try out different things.
My postcard - "Wish you were here"
Last week, I went along to a Pinfold meeting where the challenge was to complete a fabric postcard on the topic, "Wish you were here." I decided to revisit the design I used for my Horizons quilt, "Caribbean Memories". The original design was 0.5m wide and 1.5m long (19.75" x 39.5"). You can see it here. This piece still needs to be trimmed. It uses scraps of sheer and satin fabrics with some woven silk over a backing of calico. The detail of the leaves has been free machined with a small amount of paint used for the coconuts. The size of this piece will be 87mm x 139mm (3.5" x 5.5"). I will be taking this to the beading group in the morning since they are considering this as a challenge.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Printed fabric and introducing Humphrey.

Newly printed fabric drying
More fabric drying
These are the fabrics I printed using some of the fabric I showed last time - I have used fabric paints to print these. I wanted to collect together some samples using different types of print media ready for a print workshop I am giving later in the year.

My print board
 I just love the patterns collecting on my large print board. It gets more interesting each time I use it. The small board wasn't required this time since I was working outside. However, that is collecting some interesting patterns too.
Printed dyecatcher which had been used to clean up after another dyeing workshop.

Another printed dyecatcher. Having a paperlike texture, they print really well.
This piece had been printed before being dyed.
I have added the same design over the top using a thermofax.
I really enjoyed the session and managed to print quite a few pieces, The last one shown above is one of my favourites since it is going to be such a useful background for something one day.

I need to introduce Humphrey, a small dog made during a short workshop with Alsager Creative Stitchers. Such fun. Rosemary, who lead the session made a small butterfly for each of us to attach to our little figures. You can see the other creatures here.

That butterfly. So sweet.
Humphrey is barely 2.75inches tall (7.5cm) and the butterfly is just one inch (3cm) wingtip to wingtip.

Rowan Apache
At the meeting I was asked if I could complete this project - the design is called Apache and is by Sarah Hatton for Rowan. The yarn is Summer Tweed. Since the back had been completed and the two fronts only needed a little alteration before completion, it really didn't take long to complete. The top is now finished and ready to be returned. Hopefully, I should be able to hand it over next week.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Dyeing to print

The first of my dyed pieces. I have shown the tied piece and then when I unwrapped each piece, taking the photo before rinsing. Disappointingly all my fabrics became very pale after rinsing them out...... Not sure why.

It is really interesting to see the befores and afters. These will all be used for overprinting. Hopefully I shall be able to spend some time outside later today with my printing boards.

This piece of cotton start life as a muslin for a costume, hence the drawn lines.

This piece was calico and the dye just didn't penetrate as well as I'd hoped. Still, the fabric is interesting.

This was another thin strip of cotton. Rather pretty, I thought.

An interesting piece of shibori.

This probably didn't work so well since it was another piece of that calico.

I was rather pleased with this piece. A strange shape as most of my bits seem to be.....

This looks quite faint even here, but an interesting piece which should print beautifully.
These were all dyed using Procian dyes during a day spent with the MEG group at Brenda's house. I must be feeling braver since I really feel keen to have a day spent trying the dyes for myself here at home. Thanks Brenda, I've only ever tried dyeing as a member of a group before......
Ah well, off to get set up outside and get some printing done. These are going to be samples for a workshop I am leading later this year.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Meet Frankie the felted fish

I finally got round to finishing Frankie my felt fish. You can read all about the making of the fish here.
Showing how much the felting process has shrunk Frankie
I looked out the original paper shape which was used as a pattern for the resist inside Frankie - you can see it underneath the fish. The resist was made from a plastic tablecloth. The pattern here doesn't include the fins or tail since they were added later in the process. Frankie is hollow with aluminium disks for eyes.
Free machine stitching on my August journal quilt
I finally started work on stitching my next four journal quilts this week. The flower patterns were drawn onto water soluble fabric which was then stitched over. I'd started work on these some weeks back. You can see the work starting here.

Seven journal quilts showing the sequence
You get an idea of how the journal quilts will look when they are all completed in the photograph. I now have to start work on the last four of the sequence. The ones seen above still have to be cut to size, labels added and an edging stitched in place. I'm really enjoying working on these.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Dyed fabrics, bought fabrics

The folded fabric - 1
You may remember the collection of freshly dyed fabric which I mentioned in the last post? Well here they all are, taken out of their plastic bags and about to be washed. For each of these I have posted a photo of the bundle itself and then the freshly unwrapped bundle before washing.

1 - the unwrapped fabric
The bulldog clips have added some marks of their own here, so I have now thrown them out. They are rather too rusty to use any more which is a little sad since I rather liked the added marks.

Folded fabric - 2

2 - the unwrapped fabric

Folded fabric - 3

3 - the unwrapped fabric

Folded fabric - 4

4 - unwrapped fabric
 The fabrics are all rather gorgeous. It was a really interesting way of dyeing cloth, brushing the dye on instead of putting the pieces into a dyebath. Definitely an idea to try again. I think next time I might use a different set of colours.
Dyecatchers used to mop up  any spills.
I do like keeping any fabrics used to mop up. They can be really useful to add to a textile piece.

Bought fabric- freshly washed
These wonderful fabrics were bought from The African Fabric Shop. These are Kola and Indigo fabrics and I really love them. Do visit the site to read more about these fascinating fabrics. If you are in the area, there is a World Textile Day coming to various parts of the UK. These should be really interesting events.