Thursday, July 29, 2010

Traveling Page has arrived.

Cobi has recently received her June page from me. I had been lamentably late in sending it.

Cobi's theme was Art Nouveau. This is one of my favourite books on the subject. I just love the wealth of detail and the beautiful lines of Art Nouveau. The ISBN for this particular book is 978-1-84451-265-2. I find it an excellent source book for images. Published by Flame Tree Publishing, it is one of a rather useful series of titles, all linked to artists or periods in Art History.

I used this particular photograph as my starting point.

This is the information given by the book.

Now, my own interpretation. It is simply applique using a brown fabric over a beautifully marked printed fabric from my stash. The bottom fabric looks almost like water. I overlaid this with a fine gauze, then added beads.

For the reverse of the piece, I used another image from the same book.

Isn't this a wonderful screen? The book gave the following information.

My own version of a small section, looked like this.

It is FME over gauze. I used water soluble fabric to stabilise the piece until I appliqued it to the pocket on the back of the page.

I have now just posted my July page, on the theme of Windows.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Message from a friend.

I received this message from Denise this morning:

Hi Mandy,
Thanks for the email. I've just been into the Blog, a new experience for me. I shall forward your Blog address to Wendy. I have to apologise for not contacting you earlier than this. Have been a bit sickly for a few days, but fine again now. The quilt is gorgeous. I have always admired your work and I feel very lucky to now own this wonderful quilt, so full of good wishes and positive thoughts from the Hartford Quilters, which will hopefully take me through my treatment to a good outcome.
When I began quilting three years ago, I soon became addicted to it; little did I know then that it would bring me such supportive, loving friends, and the quilting itself allows me to focus on things other than treatment. Once agin a great big thankyou Mandy to yourself and all members of the Hartford Quilters Group.
With love
p.s. You can add this to your Blog if you wish

Denise is a lovely person, who makes some delightful quilts herself. She is right when she speaks of the "supportive, loving friends" she has met through quilting. I can quite happily say this of each of the friends I have made through this amazing craft. They have taught me so much too.
If you have missed seeing the Hearts and Flowers Hug, you will find photographs on the previous post.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The new, the old, and some plans.

Well, this was the sky as I packed the car to go to Hartford Quilters on Wednesday evening. The heavens opened after I had arrived, thankfully. The Hearts and Flowers Hug did not get wet. Why the name "Hug"? Well, don't we all need a cuddle at times?

Here it is, the project which has kept me really busy over the past few weeks. The white hearts and flowers have messages of support in them for Denise, whose quilt this now is. Positive and brightly cheerful, she is undergoing Chemo at the moment and we all wish her well.

The back shows a little of the echo quilting used round each of the flowers and hearts.

There is a bag too, an over the shoulder quilted bag to contain the quilt. I used the pieces left over from the main quilt. Still holding the quilt, it can be used as a pillow if the weather is just too hot to take the quilt out to use. There is enough spare space to hold a good book, or even a few magazines.

Denise was pleased with her new quilt and happily took it home with her.
It has been a really interesting week. First, I heard this podcast from Sister Diane at Crafty Pod. At first it really annoyed me, but then I began to understand exactly why it was making me so cross. The topic was planning ahead for Blogs and Podcasts. It took me a while, and quite a bit of soul searching to realise that, yes, I could really learn something from the ideas shared in the programme.
I must explain, that for some time I have been a little unhappy with this Blog. It is not as good as I would like it to be, but I have not been able to move forward and do anything about it. I don't have the knowledge. Being on a budget, I really don't want to spend money on lessons to learn either......
However, perhaps you can help. Just send me a message with ideas on how to improve this site. Perhaps letting me know what you would like to know more about, and see more about here. I shall try to get myself organised and incorporate some of these in the near future.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Stitching fun.

I am having a lot of fun with my sewing at the moment. Sadly, the projects are all those I cannot share with you at present!

Never mind, the quilt can be revealed after the 21st of this month. The other two projects are associated with the Traveling Pages project, so can only be shown after they have been received by their new owners.

Oh well, I can show you my knitting................... Look away now if it is just not your thing.
Yes, it is another Elizabeth Zimmermann Shawl from her book "Knitter's Almanac". It is wonderfully mindless knitting which is helping me concentrate on my other projects. My mind can wander freely and solve any problems I encounter. So refreshing.
Rosie's Quilt has not really moved since I last mentioned it. I have had to concentrate on the one I cannot yet show you. But here is some handstitching on Rosie's quilt. This is the sashing for the back, then it will be ready for quilting.
My quilt for mum is still languishing in it's basket - still a collection of fabrics. I look longingly at it from time to time, but I must get these two quilts finished first.
Rosie comes home again on the 23rd. Now, could I possibly get hers completed in time? Not if I stay here nattering away any longer..............

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Playtime - dyes, printing and more.

The past two weeks have been really busy here. I have been doing a lot of sewing!
But first, I had a lesson. My first sewing lesson to help me understand how to use commercial patterns properly and to alter them so that they fit.
It was a really interesting experience. Two hours one-to-one. I don't class myself as a beginner and there were no other local lessons available to me, so I thought it money well spent. I have another lesson in around three weeks time. I have far too much to do at the moment to fit another lesson in before then. Especially since I have some homework to do...........

The first pattern I am working on is this one. It is Sandra Betzina's Vogue 7903. The fabric was a lucky find on a market stall. It is a cotton-like fabric which will be just right for the long-sleeved version of this blouse. My homework? To trace off the pattern and get it all cut and sewn ready for a first fitting.

This is the second one. A semi-fitted blouse. Its an old New Look pattern 6134. Here the fabric is a heavy silk I bought some years ago in Hong Kong. I have loved this fabric, but never felt brave enough to use it............. My homework? To get the pattern traced for a tissue fitting.

My homework has to wait for a special quilt I am working on. Since this is a gift, the details are secret. But here is a photo I took of some of the quilting.

This weekend has been busy with a few experiments being completed. My younger daughter was at home and was able to join in and help.

Firstly, we did some screenprinting. This was fun and we worked outside until it decided to spot with rain. It is a two-person operation since one person needs to hold the screen steady whilst the other person uses the squeegee to pull the ink across the screen.

This is the first piece we did. The patterns were achieved by using cardboard pieces to cover part of the screen. Basically we were just playing to see what would happen. Next time, I shall cut the fabric pieces to be the shape of my printing board.

The next piece was printed inside the kitchen since it was threatening to rain. Thankfully it didn't, since the first piece was hanging to dry on my washing line!
On this second piece, we played with mixing the red and yellow screenprinting inks together. We only got one print out of the properly mixed medium, so for the next three played with putting the inks on the screen without mixing them.

I just loved the effect this gave. Magic. I must buy some more inks.........
While the fabric was drying, we washed the screens outside.

I must remember to wear wellington boots next time! My poor slippers got soaked.
The next experiment was to do some pole dyeing. I had read abnout this in a number of posts on the Contemporary Quilt Yahoo Group. I am new member of this section of the Quilter's Guild.
This was huge fun. A piece of fabric is scrunched onto a pole and fabric dyes and inks are painted on. Note for future reference - red silk dye does not come off concrete paving slabs however hard you scrub before it gets to dry!

This is the finished piece drying on the line. I think that next time I shall use a much smaller piece of fabric. That way I should be able to saturate the material thoroughly with dye. I shall work on this piece further. Sadly, it will have to wait for another day.
With all the activity, my poor workroom looked like............ well, it was a mess. Can you see the DVDs on the radiator? Its summer here, so they are perfectly safe there. It is part of my collection of Jane Austen films - BBC serials, as well as the box office type of film. These have kept me company while I have been busy quilting and working on the quilt mentioned above.
Well, I did get the room tidy again, ready for work on an improvised swift. I needed to get some lovely yarn ready for being knitted into a pair of Vinnland socks.

It is this lovely yarn. So soft. It will be delightful to wear this as socks in the Autumn.

Well, I had better get back to the quilting so I can get this quilt finished in time.