Sunday, May 29, 2011

Journal Quilts and sewing.

It has been rather a busy few days here. First, I managed to complete my April Journal Quilt. This shows maps of the village and it's location, close to the River Weaver. The cherry tree and blossom were taken from photos of trees I took very close to my own home in the village. The lamp post is one standing just beside a neighbour's gate. It is almost surrounded by his trees. The light looks wonderful at night, peeping from above the leaves.

The techniques used are - photos printed on Inkjet Printing cotton sheets by Jacquard; applique and free machine embroidery.

I also completed the May page. This one is called "Play Week". Moulton Drama Group celebrated their thirtieth anniversary with the reworking of a play by Robert Meadows. A local playwright, Robert lives, literally, just around the corner. The play is called "The Dawn of the Crows" and relates stories about the village in times past. Amongst the stories is that of the founding of "The Crows", a group which performs at the Crow Fair each year.

I was commissioned to make a second copy of my May Journal Quilt. This was mounted, as you can see. It was presented last night, after the performance had ended, to Robert Meadows as a present from "The Crows".

The techniques used were: painted fabric; applique and free machine embroidery. As always, two buttons were added to the Journal Quilt. These were omitted on Robert's copy.

Oh yes, I must not forget to credit Pat Bennett who took the original photograph I used to create the fabric "Crows". He was very kind in giving his permission for me to use the photograph in this quilt.

I also managed to start my blue blouse this week - I just got to the stage of basting the body together and checking the fit. Amazingly, the blouse fits first time. Such a wonderful surprise.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Dyeing and having fun.

I had a wonderful time yesterday playing with colours. In Frodsham for a Dyeing Day organised by NWCQ, we were being taught by Sandra Wyman. She talked about Procian dyes, and showed us all; how to use them. There were fourteen of us, quite a large group, but Sandra's instruction sheets were really informative. She was also able to talk us through each activity. Just as well, since I had never used this type of dye before.

Sandra provided the dyes, soda solution and a pack of fabric samples and threads. We could also purchase a pack of cotton fabric ready for dyeing.

I came home with a large collection of mysterious plastic bags.

Too tired to do anything last night, I set to work this morning washing out all the fabric and threads I had dyed. It was so exciting to see how each piece had turned out.

This first group was the result of my colour gradations experiment. I used a buttercup yellow dye and was thrilled to find these lovely pieces had been the result.

This next series is the result of the colour gradations, where I mixed a blue-black dye with the buttercup yellow. Aren't the colours amazing? I love those greens. Thank you so much Sandra for suggesting using the blue-black. I had asked her advice since I wasn't sure which blue I should use.

This amazing piece is my tray-dyed piece. We had to crumple the fabric in a tray and then pour the dye over the fabric. So exciting to find this piece of fabric coming out of it's plastic bag.

These bright fat quarters are the parfait dyeing result. Some dye and its soda solution went into a small tub followed by a crumpled up piece of fabric. After a little wait, the same amount of dye and soda solution went into the tub followed by some more crumpled fabric. This was repeated another couple of times until there were four pieces of fabric

This is the parfait just before I washed it. What amazed me, was that I had started with a mid yellow colour, then added a pale yellow, following this with red. The red was watered down. I used less than half the dye I used for the other colours making up the quantity required with water. The reason being that Sandra had mentioned that red was a very strong dye, and I hadn't wanted it to take over too much. It was really exciting to find that the red had dropped to the bottom of the tub like this, and that the yellow had risen.

The threads look rather a mess on my washing line. I had dyed them different shades of yellow. The green appeared when some blue dye accidentally leached out into my large yellow tray without my spotting it. I love the accidental tint of bright green which has appeared.

My threads now look like this:

They have all been wound onto spare cotton reels. Did I mention I seldom throw anything away?

The last set of fabrics were these - the samples of fabric. These included cotton gauze, viscose satin, silk taffeta and silk/viscose velvet.

My favourite was definitely the velvet. It turned out so beautifully........

Here they all are on my line this morning.

I think what I also found really exciting was the unexpected delights of accidental dyeing.

The sheets on top of my sketchbook are the kitchen paper sheets I used to mop up. I just love those colours.

Since the paper had looked so lovely, I decided to use a dye catcher sheet to mop up the tiny scraps of dye left inside the yellow tray I carried everything home in.

The result didn't disappoint.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Works in progress and those completed.

Firstly, those completed objects. I finally got all the hand-stitching completed on my Serger Quilt. This is the bright side.

Now, the reverse side - you can see the hand-stitched binding. Just to avoid misundertanding, the binding was attached by machine, and then hand-stitched to the reverse side to finish off. You can also see the FME on the border too.

My husband's reaction when I passed it to him after finishing it on Friday evening?
"Who is it for?"
I couldn't answer since I really hadn't made it for anyone. It now resides in the livingroom for snuggling into.
Oh, after asking the question, he snuggled up into it and promptly fell asleep............ The quilt is appreciated, even if the reasons for making it aren't fully understood.

I also finished a quick project. These bench cushions were made last week for our new garden bench. The covers are made from some cream vinyl we have had in the loft for over twenty years. Still in excellent condition, the vinyl had been bought to make some bunk mattresses for a boat we owned years ago. We had been lucky enough to find a roll of the vinyl being sold cheaply and made four bunk mattresses with it. After making these two bench cushions we still have plenty left...................

Oh yes, I shall be finishing a couple of quilted scatter cushions to add to the bench. The cream seems a bit startling a colour to my eyes, so some colourful cushions should help it all blend in.

One project just about to be stared is this blouse. I have some delightful pale blue viscose covered with black polka dots.

Why start dressmaking again? Well, I have my daughter's wedding dress to make later this summer. It seemed only sensible to get some practice in first.............