Friday, August 28, 2009

Felting, finishing off and fun!

The past few days have been really busy. One highlight of this week was a long walk I had with my husband. It had been really wet earlier in the day, but we set out fully equipped in our waterproofs and walking boots.

It was such a lovely walk though. Everything smelt so damp and fresh.

Clearly this snail decided it was better off above the ground.

I've been busily completing projects this week. This skirt was finished a couple of weeks ago, but needed the waistband tightening up a little since I had made it rather too loose.The pattern is one I have used a few times, but never in crepe de chine. It is Simplicity 5459 and long out of print. I added pockets at the hip line.

The next project was a little experiment. My first use of jersey fabric.
The pattern comes from "Sew" magazine and came free with their second issue.

Now I just have to complete another skirt - this one is waiting for me to do the waistband and add buttonholes, then I can get the hemming done. It is all pinned and ready to go. However, I really must get my white cardigan finished first. This is nearly all sewn, the buttons are in place, the sleeves sewn in, just the side seams to finish.

Just completed this morning is my green cardigan. Now sewn up after a marathon session last night listening to podcasts, it waits for buttons and a ribbon for the waist.

Last Friday I had a glorious afternoon making felt with my friend Hilary. We took ourselves out into my garden so we could get really messy without any worries at all.

This piece of felt now hangs on my wall waiting for inspiration to strike. The colours are brighter than they appear here.

Then earlier this week I finally got some fabric printing done. I used the lino prints I cut several months ago. Instead of using fabric paint (it dries too quickly to use) I mixed some acrylic paint with some block printing medium and printed with that. It took a couple of days, leaving the prints to dry overnight in between sessions. (Sorry, but Blogger will not let me include this photo the right way up!)

To cap it all, I was really naughty the day before yesterday. I couldn't resist these wonderful fabrics in the sale at Cheshire Needlecraft.

They have been washed, ironed and stroked and are sitting on my windowsill. I shall put these away when they have been admired long enough.

The last piece is one for a challenge. Its the August callenge of the Fibre Arts Mixed Media group (see the link to the right hand side of my Blog). I call it "3s and more". It has been made from all sorts of metallic shiny things. The base is a lovely cream cardigan which I managed to felt by accident.

The orange is a piece of very lightly felted wool. On top of this I have added Angelina fibres, some metallic fabric, metal braiding, wire things I found in a shop in the section where the wrapping paper is usually found. The strange hand like shape is a piece of machine embroidery I did some years ago. The number three used to be partof one of those tubes that hold tomato paste. The small leaves used to belong to a pair of ear-rings I found in a lucky bag the last time I went into one of the local charity shops. (That bag cost only £1 and was full of wonderful oddments which I shall be using in future projects.)
The next photo gives a close-up of those odd wire things. I pulled the gold ones out since they were tightly curled. The silver metal balls came like that.

Last weekend, I went to the Festival of Quilts. What a wonderful show that was. I bought a screen and some screenprinting materials. Guess what I shall be trying next............?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Free Machine Embroidery.

Well, "Tree" got finished this week.
Do let me know what you think.

Friday, August 07, 2009

A walk and a night visitor.

Well, the walk happened last Sunday. It was a lovely day and my dear husband had bought a "new" camera on EBay. A good opportunity to go and try it out. I took my own camera along. Far less sophisticated, but I find it so much easier to use.
We went to Tegg's Nose. This is a beautiful Country Park in the hills above Macclesfield.

The paths are quite steep and can be challenging, but the walk is so beautiful. I put on my walking boots since I knew it would get wet at some point along the way.

Here are some of the drystone walls surrounding one of the farms adjoining the Country Park.

Quite often, as they grow, the trees nudge into a wall, gently knocking it down over time.

The walls look so lovely when the moss has started to grow on the stone.

This was the stream we needed to walk across. You can just see the edges of the stones used as a pathway across.

Further along, we saw these old railway sleepers being used as a reinforcement to a bank.

I just love the way the ivy creeps up this tree. It will need to be removed at some stage so that the tree doesn't get damaged.

We walked between two small reservoirs. This rather nice detail was part of the overflow which is part of the pathway between the two. The higher reservoir can overflow using this section of the path, if the water level gets too high.

I just loved the patterns that the plants made growing in the concrete.

The walk was quite strenuous, but we have decided to go walking again next weekend. There are so many good choices for a walk round here, that it will be difficult to choose which one to try next.

This was my night visitor. A rather handsome moth. It stayed on a post-it note I had stuck to the wall above my desk. The angle-poise lamp was illuminating the paper, which is probably what had attracted the moth. It stayed for some time, allowing me to take quite a few photos.
I then left it in peace and went off to my bed, shutting the door so that the cats would not become interested in it's presence.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Exhibitions and textiles.

Well, I have been to a couple of exhibitions in the last two or three weeks. The first of these was in the Town Hall in Macclesfield. This dreadful photo above was all I could take of the beautiful installation by Claire de Ruiter. It was so delightful to see a very accurate dry stone wall (there are so many of these in the hills above Macclesfield) with a tree - made entirely of felt. For a more accurate photo, please go to Claire de Ruiter's website.

It is only with hindsight that I realise what had inspired me to go ahead with "Tree". Of course, it was the tree standing alongside the drystone wall in the same installation.

This is where I have got up to so far. I have added some leaves using fabric scraps and free machine embroidery. I have been posting about the progress of this piece on my page in Stitchin Fingers. (My name there is Mandy.)

As I have mentioned before, the felt is my own - made from scraps of merino fleece. I had had these bits and pieces left over after I had done feltmaking with my class at school. Taking inspiration from the way the children had used the colours, I had decided to just have a go myself and not worry too much about putting colours together. This piece of felt was one of the results.

Then I visited a building from my past. I used to live opposite Christ Church in Macclesfield, leaving there at the age of twenty in 1974. How time passes! I had parked my car nearby and seen that the Church was open - sadly, it is no longer being used as a church, but is a venue for concerts. The ten bells are still in regular use by a team of bell-ringers.
Inside, the building looked much as I had known it. The choir stalls are no longer there, having been replaced by a stage.
There was a small exhibition in some of the pews of work by the "Goodwin Weavers". An American company, sadly no longer in existence, although it later continued as "Buffalo Creek Weavers" until recent years. The exhibition showed some of their woven throws.
The family firm had originally been founded in Macclesfield in 1812. The pews chosen for the exhibition had been those used by the very same Goodwin family, before James Cash Goodwin decided to emigrate to the USA in 1837.
From the small amount of research I have done, it sounds as if Buffalo Creek Weavers itself no longer exists. However, here are two further articles I was able to find.

I have been getting on with knitting again. This time it is a white cardigan with lace panels. I first knitted this in 1987! The pattern really hasn't dated and is such a useful and comfortable shape. It even has pockets!

It knits up quickly too.
Well, I must get on. It looks as if we are going to have a better day today, at least as far as the weather goes. I am determined to get out and about.