Thursday, December 28, 2006

Seasons Greetings

Hello everyone!
Rather late, but I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy and Creative New Year.
No photos this time, but I am beavering away with a number of projects at the moment - completing the Black, Red and White Block of the month quilt; Paisley 3; catching up with Paisleys 1 and 2 when I can fit this in too. Oh, and then there's Serenity, my next figure.
I shall be a bit stuck after finishing the machine quilting of the quilt-as-you-go blocks. The fabric I intended for the sashing just will not do. I shall have to go and get something else. The red is just the colour I need, but it looks so dull!! I shall get something with more of a printed texture to it. The quilt would get far too "busy" if I added some embroidery to the red I have got. But that is an idea worth thinking about.....
Paisley 3 is an experiment on the Paisley theme. I should have started this after completing the felted versions. But I got this rather intriguing idea - all based round a stumpwork version of Sharon's rather beautiful paisley designs. I shall be placing this on top of an embroidered fabric decorated with an all-over free-machined design of paisley images. I've already finished the fabric - photos safely in my camera - but I now need to extend the area of the stumpwork piece. The whole thing needs balancing.
This is the link to Sharon's excellent website:

To see her gorgeous designs you will need to go to the entry for the 30th August. Yes, I know I do work rather slowly.... But I do get so easily side-tracked.
Serenity is another of my figures - see "Gard" earlier on this Blog. The last entry showing him is the 13th August. My little figure is now named after one of my mother's uncles. I really couldn't resist since it seemed so appropriate.
At the moment Serenity is waiting for her chair. I have the image of a chaise longue in my head, but whether it will turn out to be this I do not know. I need the chair so that I can plan how her clothes will drape. I have some pieces of silk noil, ribbon and other items which will make her clothing and hair. I really ought to start making figures which stand, it might be easier.
Thanks for reading my Blog this year. I hope you have a really enjoyably creative 2007.
My very best wishes to you all.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Encrusted Crazy Quilting 2.

I have fallen way behind with Sharon Boggon's Encrusted Crazy Quilting course - just finished "week two", and the course has already ended! No matter, I am enjoying myself and the beautifully written instructions mean that I am able to carry on at my own (snail-like) pace until both my pieces are finished. Thanks Sharon. It really is nice to find such well-written instructions and feel fully confident that you can finish no matter how long it might take.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

More exhibitions.

Went to the "Art of the Stitch" exhibition last weekend. What a wonderful selection of textiles. So varied too: From the body printing "Purge" with its amazing fabric and stitch details (by Colin Jenkins); to the stitched picture, "The power and the glory" by Helen Fletcher; to the truly amazing cartoon strip in applique with stitching, "Perseus Chapter One" by Zara Merrick.
I wish I could show you photos, but no photography was allowed.
The exhibition is a biennial presented by the Embroiderer's Guild (UK). It is a travelling exhibition which I saw in Birkenhead, at the Williamson Art Gallery.

On my way home, I popped in to visit the embroidery and craft shop, Voirrey. They had a small and interesting exhibition too - by the Chester branch of the Embroiderer's Guild. The following photos were taken in the car park. It was a beautiful windy day.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Cranford Exhibition and ongoing projects.

The Cranford Exhibition was held yesterday in the delightful surroundings of Knutsford Methodist Church. Many congratulations to all those who had work on show. The whole exhibition showed quilting of a very high standard which was enjoyed by all who came. Well done! The newly repainted building gave everything displayed a warmth as well as space, in which even the largest quilt could be admired to full advantage.
Many thanks are due to those who put this show together to such wonderful advantage. Thankyou so very much.

Now on to something far more basic.

My first felt picture. I decided to try out the paisley design currently part of a challenge by the Stitching Post. The next stage is to add the embellishment - I shall be adding quite a lot of stitching to this piece before it is complete.

And now an update on my other piece of felt.

I have added two paisley motifs, but have not washed the dissolvable paper off yet. Hopefully, with the rest of the motifs added as "ghosts" around these two, it will start to improve.
The next photo shows the back, giving details of the stitching so far.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Red, black and white.

Its been rather too long since I last added to this Blog. Sorry to those of you who drop by hoping to find something new. Work has been getting in the way just lately.
Never mind, I recently finished the ninth block of the Red, White and Black quilt. It was nice playing about with the blocks and trying out what they might look like when I finally put them together. The sashing will be red, unless I find it doesn't work as well I hope it will.
The final three blocks are now cut and ready to sew, but will have to wait for a few days more. I am helping out at the Cranford exhibition this Saturday, so won't have much time to sew this weekend. Never mind, it will be a lovely day with friends. I might even find the right red for the sashing I need.

These are the completed blocks for the quilt - nine of the final twelve.

These are nine of the blocks made for the backing, just to give a feel of what it may look like. The sashing here may be red or even black, rather than white. The red from the front would show through too much.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Encrusted Crazy Quilting.

I have been very lucky to be able to start this course with Sharon B.
As part of this I've had great fun playing with colour.

Its really interesting, looking at things in a very different way. Thanks Sharon.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


On Monday I had a great time trying to make felt. This was my first attempt and was great fun. I go to a Textiles class run on Monday evenings in the local Sixth Form College. Its a good opportunity to go and have a chat whilst getting to learn how to do new things.
Feltmaking is messy, wet and lots of fun. The piece of felt I made is nothing exciting or brilliant, but that doesn't matter. Ruth, our tutor showed us all how to do it and then away we went.
A lovely, chatty evening, being creative. Wonderful!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Too long.

Its been rather too long since I sat down and added some words to this Blog of mine.
Sorry anyone who is reading this. Work has been taking over and time has had to be used for other things.
The stitching still goes on, but slowly.
I shall get my work-life balance back under control somehow.
Meanwhile, anyone got any advice? Or have you found the perfect way of enjoying your hobby whilst earning?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Its been a while.

Hello there, sorry its been rather a while since I last wrote anything on this Blog. Been rather too busy even to sew!
The photos are of a piece of black work started recently, this has turned into a sampler and will have strips of different designs all in autumnal (Fall) colours - brown, red, orange, yellow, etc. I've started it in YLI Jeans Stitch thread, which is rather nice to use for handstitching. The work is being stitched on 28 count fabric.
The little book shows what happened to the sample I made to try out the motif. I couldn't waste it, so I made it into a little notebook. Not sure what I shall use the notebook for.....
The motif comes from a delightful book by Pamela Warner, called "Tudor treasures to embroider" (ISBN 1-86108-249-5).

Saturday, September 02, 2006

This is the eighth block I was planning to make the last time I wrote.
Next, I am starting a new bag. This will be another project bag - plenty of pocket space for bits and pieces.

This is being made in the same way as the fabric for my hussif and bagpurse. Lots of fabric scraps from my collection. (Can anyone tell me why it is that the more of these scraps I use up, the more I seem to have?) For this one, the colours are autumnal (Fall) - browns, reds, yellows, with some orange too. I have doodled daisies and leaves all over the surface to tie down the scraps.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

These are two blocks, part of a Block-a-month challenge which I have been steadily working on for Knots and Needles P & Q. So far I have completed seven of the twelve. The eighth is ready in my work-box waiting to be constructed.
I decided that half of the blocks would be on a white background whilst the rest are to be on black - the eventual quilt should almost look like a rather bizarre chess board. These are ready to be quilted since I shall be constructing this as a quilt-as-you-go. Typically, I haven't started doing this yet!
The original designs came from a local Quilt Shop called Calico Wagon. They call these designs "Beartown Blocks".

The following photo shows the reverse of each of the above blocks. I had lots of fun cutting up squares for this, just wanting a lively pattern for the reverse of the quilt. I have already made enough to back twelve blocks.

Friday, August 25, 2006

A photograph of one of those UFOs I mentioned last time. This unfinished object is the Round Robin I started with Cranford Quilters. Its now got the stage of having all the bits sewn together. All I need to do now is the quilting. I only hope that I can get it all finished in time for the group's exhibition in early November.

This second photo shows my original block. The centre was the first piece to be done, being sent off to be added to during the run of the Round Robin. The cats faces were taken from photographs taken by my younger daughter of our own two cats.
For this Round Robin, the strips were not sewn together as the work progressed. Instead the pieces were all returned to the original block-maker to be pieced and quilted. I have added the two blocks either side since the pieces were returned to me at the end of July. I have also added sashing with written statements between each of the blocks.
The writing beneath the block reads "Now who's the cats paw?" A cats paw being someone who acts at the bidding of another. I feel myself, like many cat owners, to be the cats paw in this household.
I felt really privileged taking part in this Round Robin since the other members have made such a wonderful job of each of the strips.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I have been rather busy lately catching up with some of my UFOs. Unfortunately this has meant not being able to keep up to date with this Blog. However, I have been able to complete one item - a bag.
It started off as an Origami Pocket Pouch. The design was one I found on this delightful site:

then add:


Part way through I decided that I couldn't bear to fold up the fabric square I had made and lose sight of some of the fabrics I had used. So a quick design change was made and this bag is the result. It has two small pockets inside a larger opening. I used cat buttons to fasten the handles onto the main body of the bag.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

These gorgeous flowers have been gracing my garden this summer. I just had to share them with you. My husband planted them and they really have made a glorious show of colour this year.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The figure is now complete, butI have still not decided on a name for him. He is my Garden Guardian, and sits on his chair in my dining room with a small friend. This is a pottery wren I was given several years ago.

And now, the chair I have made for him to sit in. The base is one of my large cotton reels, emptied recently. The flower was made basically like the "Bowl full of sunshine" article written by Ann Kirk in the current "Stitch" magazine. It is wired to keep in position on top of the cotton reel.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The top is now completed. I used some gauzy green fabric to extend the sleeves to the right length. The next picture shows the top of a sheet of water soluble paper being used to keep the fabric scraps together while I stitched. The stitching was intended to become a net making the cape for round my figure's shoulders.

The next photo shows the finished cloak - back view. I added bits to make it more interesting and in keeping with the figure.

The next piece being worked on is the chair - this will take a little longer to complete. The figure now has hair - but the photos will have to wait for some better light.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I have started on a new project. A figure. I have not made figures for many years, the last ones being a set of marionettes I made of the characters in the "Hansel and Gretel" story.
This new figure has a head, arms and lower legs made from self-hardening clay. Having left these to dry for some weeks, due to work commitments, I started the armature and dressing the figure on Saturday. The joints are movable, so that I can pose the figure.
The clothes have been made using free-machine embroidery decorations. The working name for the figure is currently "Jack o' the garden". A kind of guardian based on the old English myth of the Green Man, or Jack o' the green.
I'm enjoying letting his character grow as I work on him.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

This the Hussif I completed yesterday. There is a matching bag to. All the lettering has been achieved using free-machine embroidery techniques. (Dropping the feed-dogs and drawing along a predrawn tailor's chalk line.)
The fabric of the Hussif has been made by putting together a whole load of bits of red/ pink and purple coloured fabrics. I cannot bear throwing away even very small pieces of fabric so keep these in a drawer. This time I just used Bondaweb to stick the pieces onto a piece of poly cotton fabric the shape and size required for the Hussif itself. The whole piece was then stitched using a figure of eight, swirly pattern. Again, the feed dogs were dropped to make the whole thing flow more easily through the sewing machine.
The bag, which I have called bagpurse was made in exactly the same way. This was only completed this morning. Neither was made from a pattern, but I must give credit to Roxie at Stitching Post for her photographs.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Welcome to my blog. This will be a rambling, occasional series about my adventures with textiles.
At present I am working on a series of projects. I never can seem to concentrate fully on one thing at a time.
Projects ongoing at present:
Round Robin - this quilting project has just finished and I now have the enjoyable task of putting all seven of the components together to make a hanging. This will need to be completed by October for the groups Exhibition.
This group (Cranford) has also laid down another challenge which I couldn't resist, again to be completed before the Exhibition. This is to make a Crazy Quilted hanging using at least two of a given set of fabrics. I must be mad.
Two-stitch challenge - this was set up by Stitching Post, the online group. Just using two colours and two stitches this is hand-stitched- chain stitch and blanket stitch.
An ongoing block a month challenge with Knots and Needles, another of the groups I am associated with. I decided to do this in black, white and red. Rather dramatic colours, but I have never worked with such colours before. I like challenging myself.
There is also Face - a mixture of machine embroidery and hand embroidery. An experimental piece.
Then there are the UFOs lurking around the place - a blue quilt which needs me to sit down and complete the machine quilting. This was a very enjoyable make, since I got to cut up a load of my husbands work shirts instead of ironing them; a lilac jacket I started and still sits upon the shoulders of Aggie, my tailors dummy; a blanket quilt - a rather nice, but damaged chenille throw which I am tacking to a fleece blanket. The idea was to be able to reuse the chenille throw, when it was strengthened by the fleece. I was planning to decorate it too, but got bored....
There may well be others, but they can sit there for the time being. I shall enjoy getting back to them later.
Well, next time I shall try to organise some pictures, when I can get my digital camera to talk to this computer again.