Sunday, December 30, 2012

Seasons greetings

This was my present from my younger daughter. She has made it herself which makes it all the more special.

These are details of the lettering and the fabrics used.

I went for a walk this morning. Such a lovely sunny, but chilly morning.

Don't these rose hips look wonderful? These are in my garden.

The weather has been so wet lately that I was really surprised to see that these bulbs are braving the elements. It will be nice to welcome the additional colour later.

No sewing being done at present - but I live in hopes of getting enough yarn untangled to get some knitting done. Sadly, my skein decided to get into a real mess. I am slowly disentangling it, but it will take some time to get it into a usable state.

Hoping you have a wonderfully creative and happy 2013.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Bookwraps and textile book pages.

The following photos are the first pages I have received in a book page swap I am involved in.

The first two pages are by Marion. It will come as no surprise that the them of my book is "Music". The mp3 player is particularly clever being made of felt with some plastic and cording. Unfortunately, I have yet to start the front and back covers to the book.

Hilda made these two pages above. I love the way she has highlighted some of the notes with hand stitching.

The last two pages were made by Brenda. She dyed the fabric for the background of the second page. She also specially designed the machine embroidery elements. So clever.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Time and the lack of it - a textile enthusiast's view

Where does the time go? It is over a month since I last posted here with all good intentions of posting regularly.

Mosaic footpaths on Madeira.

A beach on Nevis.

Amazing skies. 

I must admit that we have been away (for three weeks) and I have been trying to catch up with one challenge whose deadline was this week..........

Sadly, I can't show any photos of the challenge. I was in such a hurry I forgot to take a photo of my finished piece. It is a Chinese Whisper challenge. Each person taking part has to make an A5 (8.5inches x 6inch) small quilt based on a photograph. Each small quilt is then passed to the next person in the chain without being shown the original picture on which the small quilt is based. At no point is anyone else in the group to see the quilts or the original photographs. The whole thing is quite intriguing. I now have a small quilt made by Ros hanging from my bookcase on which I have to base my own small quilt. The small quilt I make will then pass to the next person in the list in January, (she currently has my first small quilt) whilst Ros' quilt returns to Ros.

I finished working on my last three Journal Quilts. I just need to get them trimmed and the machined satin stitch edging done. Then I can take photos.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bears, sewing and mending

A quick post this time. Roberta has posted about my quilt for the Mille Colori, You can read about it here.
Although the original post is in Italian, you can have it translated for you.
It has been rather busy here with some stitching being completed on the last of my journal quilts for this year. I still have the October one to post yet, since I've been busy with some hand stitching and haven't got around to adding the back, label or the satin stitched edging. Hopefully I shall be able to get that finished later.
Oh, the mending? Yes, even my mending pile is getting a look in with a skirt that really just needs the fastening redoing and a pair of trousers which need taking in.
How is the sewing going at your end? Do let me know what you are getting up to.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Where does the time go? (when you're busy sewing)

The first thing to show is this quilt. It is now on it's way to Roberta in Italy.

This is the back.

And this, the label.

Some recently printed fabric. I had such fun going along to the Textiles Without Limits day playing around with thickened dyes. This is one of the textile groups I go to.  It really is wonderful to spend time with like-minded friends. I am so lucky to have a good friend living locally who shares my interests and to be able to go along to a couple of textile groups to indulge my own passion for fabrics. It was a much needed respite from making costumes.

Costumes? Yes, I have been involved in making costumes for the local dramatic society's current production, "Blood Brothers". This is the original stage play by Willie Russell rather than the musical version.

The design above is for the character "Linda" as a young girl. I adapted a Burda magazine pattern to make a 1960s (ish) style child's dress out of a bright green gingham. Fabric from my own stash.

I removed all fitting and really just used the sleeves and the armholes. The following project was rather interesting since I was able to take the pattern from an original 1950s apron. Fabric again came from my stash.

Then, last but not least were four circle skirts. Very simply made with a slit in the back and fastening with velcro to ease a costume change. The fabric was a satiny lining fabric which I had in my stash. The colours used were a mid blue, bright red, mid purple and a maroon with white polka dots. I also made square scarves in the same fabric to be worn round the neck.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Being busy - sewing.

Well, it feels as if there's a lot to do. My first concern at the moment is to get this quilt finished.

Yes, I know it isn't my usual style. This is a child's quilt which will be sent off to Roberta in Italy at the end of the month. If I can get it finished in time, that is.

This is the true colour of the two fabrics used for the main part of the top.

I am busily stitching around each of the applique pieces. This will make the whole thing more resilient. The child receiving this quilt will probably be around 3 to 5 years old.

Another project which needs to be completed are the journal quilts for Contemporary Quilt. I have pieced the remaining four, but haven't completed the stitching yet. 

I have two quilts to complete for the Sky's the Limit group, some textile pages to complete for another group   and then there is the second blouse for choir which is waiting for me to sew it together. The list continues, but I shall not bore you with it. It is my usual problem - far too many projects to fit into the time I have available. I shouldn't complain, since it is far better to have a lot to do rather than nothing at all.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Festival of Quilts will soon be here

Time goes by so fast at the moment. I'm trying to keep on top of the different challenges I have going on as well as watching the garden. Here you can see the fourth of my yellow quilts for the CQ Journal Quilt challenge for this year. I finished it some weeks ago, but have only just got around to posting it on the group's Yahoo site. I have already started on the last four quilts for this year. They are all blue.

 The gooseberries and the grapes are looking good. I love gooseberries, so quite a few get eaten before they are brought indoors. The surplus we freeze to enjoy through the winter. The grape vine is a young one so won't produce many grapes this year.

The cats enjoy sleeping under the large leaves of the rhubarb when it is hot outside. They get rather cross when I decide it is time to cut some. Stewed rhubarb is such a refreshing dessert when it has been chilled.

I finished this just in time for the "Friendship through Sewing" (it used to be called the Machine Embroidery Group) meeting on Friday. It is a cushion cover and was our first round robin. I started it all off with the painted fabric with the calligraphy, the pile of books and the kindle. Other members of the group supplied the fascinating collection of items around the books. I had supplied the red background fabric, but added the word "books!" to the whole before adding the sashing and piping. I just fell for those cats- what a pair of characters. That just has to be Felix sitting on top of the books, with Coco smugly settled beside the kindle. The cushion is 18 inches square, and has an envelope fastening on the back with three buttons to keep the back closed.

The other item I had to complete for the same meeting was the first pair of pages for our new challenge - a textile book.

Karen's theme is the hymn "All things bright and beautiful". I was asked to produce a page for the fourth verse. We are each making a facing page too which gives our name. I have added the words of the fourth verse to this one. I hope you can read the words.

Sheer fabric bondawebbed onto satin. The words are printed onto Jacquard Inkjet Fabric sheets - the cotton ones. The handwritten words are made using fabric dye pens and permanent markers onto screen-printed fabric left over from "Dreams" (Sky's the Limit). The facing page has pictures made from sheers bondawebbed in place with machine stitching using rayon threads.

The book pages are 8 inches by 6 inches. Karen has chosen to make her book in the landscape format. Mine will be portrait and my theme is "Music", one of my passions. I have a plan, but have not put the pieces together yet. Hopefully I shall find time to finish it before FOQ................... it won't be shown there, but I would just like to get it done too.

 The last two photos are pieces which I completed at the recent NWCQ meeting in Frodsham. We were lead by Christina in a really interesting day looking at Free Machine Embroidery. The first is a piece using a metal bangle. The covering threads were hand sewn using buttonhole stitch in a variegated cotton. The vertical threads were then machine sewn, a really interesting technique. I managed not to break a needle, amazingly. The stitching in the middle is supposed to look like a fuschia flower - it really isn't quite right. It was achieved by using water soluble paper behind the bangle and using FME to make the flower.

The second piece isn't finished yet. It is the first of a series of leaves I am playing around with. FME on water soluble paper.

I must say that I am really looking forward to the Festival of Quilts this year. I missed last year and the year before..................

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Warm and sunny crafting days.

Its been quite a busy weekend so far. My younger daughter arrived on Thursday and we went into Manchester to the Private View of the 62@50 exhibition by the 62 Group in the Holden Gallery.
The exhibition was wonderful and I would recommend anyone in the area to go and see it. I shall be going again before it closes on the 17th of August. I'm pleased to say Rosie enjoyed it as much as I did. Favourite pieces? Sue Stone's delightful pictures of 1930's figures with modern day graffiti in the background. Really interesting. Then there was Alice Kettle's interpretation of "Guernica" - this is one of her huge pieces and is one we were drawn back to time and again. A disturbing theme. There was also the really amusing story of the 100 metre dash by Marilyn Rathbone.
Now why the letters? I treated myself to these when I was in Fred Aldous, one of my favourite shops. The letters are each barely half an inch tall. I intend these for use in my printing experiments.
The jacket is one I've just completed. It has taken me ages to finish this. All my own fault. I lent my little portable bright lamp to a friend to complete a project. Then, of course I needed it for all the hand sewing on this jacket, especially finishing off the lining. I've had to get on with this project in the last couple of days while the light has been good in the daytime. It is a black twill jacket which will see a lot of wear travelling to and from Choir and Recorder group concerts. I have to wear black for the performances with a brightly coloured top, so a smart black lined jacket will do very nicely. This is lined with a cotton-like fabric rather than the more usual rayon. It really feels nice to wear. Hopefully it will be fairly warm for autumn concerts.

The last three items have been ones I have been working on for a while, especially the hand embroidered felt bits. These are all intended for my last four Journal Quilts.

Each of my Journal Quilts this year have had handpainted fabric which I have written all over using the names   of the colours I have used for that quilt. These are all destined for my blue quilts (September to December). So you can see elements for blue-green, blue, light blue and blue-purple. It is rather unusual for me to be so far ahead of myself. I keep wondering what might go wrong with my plans for these.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Printing, painting and catching up.

With my two geriatric cats in attendance, I got the tables out and set up for a fabric painting, block and lino printing session. I also got some feltmaking done too.

The tables were groaning with equipment.

The sky was pretty full too. Well, the clouds were full of rain and rather threatening.

I work outside when doing anything messy, so I had taken advantage of an unusually dry afternoon last month. It has taken me far too long to post about it here.

You will see pegs attached to the various pieces of fabric. They are there to stop the fabric moving too much and getting surplus dye and paint in areas I hadn't intended it to go.

These are two large pieces of fabric ready to be used for the "Boundaries" / "Beyond Boundaries" theme of the "Textiles Without Limits" group. I haven't fully worked out how I shall assemble this quilt, but I have started..................

The bamboo blind at the other side of this washing line is the one  I use when making felt.

This is one of my favourite blocks at the moment - a grape leaf design which I bought from Colouricious. The fabric beneath is a piece I painted during a previous session. I'd tried painting indoors that time and discovered that it really was too much of a fuss since it was difficult to get as much done as I'd really wanted to do. This is why I prefer working outside - I have as much space to use as I like and it really doesn't matter  too much if I make a mess. I can easily wash the paving slabs before any fabric paint has a chance to dry, and the grass doesn't seem to mind too much. The cats just enjoy watching humans doing anything.

The really pleasing thing was that the rain only started after I had packed everything away. There has been so much rain since that I feel doubly lucky to have managed to get so much done in one session.