Wednesday, May 21, 2014

No sewing yet, but a play day instead.

Sirdar book 398, "Roman Holiday"
In town yesterday, I found myself looking for a pattern for a cardigan. I have needed a cream cardigan for quite some time and haven't done any knitting for months. So I walked into Crafty Stitches and picked up this lovely book. It has a number of patterns in it which I know I shall be wanting to knit over the next few months.
Sirdar 9428, top version
This pattern was the one which took my eye. There is also a shortsleeved version which could so easily become longsleeved. Some lovely cream yarn came home with me too. Sadly, I really can't knit with cotton, so I opted for a polyacryl/wool mix  which feels beautifully soft and should wash really easily.

New print blocks
Home again I decided I owed myself a play day so got out the print blocks, fabric paints and stencils. The large print board was set up in the conservatory and I was off. My new print blocks from Colouricious were the first ones to be used.
Flower - first prints

Flower - overprinted

After quite an enjoyable time with the blocks, it was time to break out the stencils. I do so love playing around with the fabrics and trying out the different paints, mixing them too.

Using a stencil - work in progress
More stencilling.
I think my favourite is to use fabric which has already been painted or dyed and then print over the top with something completely different. You can see this clearly with the photograph above. The base fabric had been painted for a landscape theme and I really cannot throw away anything which might prove useful. I have used the offcuts above.
Blocks, foam pieces and bowls drying
My printing table at the end of the session.
I really need to get on with some stitching now before finishing off the printing now that the fabrics and the blocks have dried out. If you are wondering about the toothbrush - well, it is brilliant for getting the paint off the blocks and cleaning right into all the little nooks and crannies of any design. Yes, those are children's foam printing blocks in the centre. I do use those too. I printed using my new heart block too, but will share those photos another time. I am going to overprint that fabric, or perhaps add more colour in a different way. I just haven't decided yet.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Here's hoping for more sewing this week!

Ella, wearing her back pack.
Well, I haven't managed to get any sewing done over the past two weeks. Once the costumes were finished it was time for play week. A brief weekend away and I am itching to get on with some stitching of my own. I've managed to fit in a couple of mending tasks - a tear in a trouser leg, repairing the hem of another pair. Nothing very exciting and not really what I want to be doing.

Bluebells in the local woods.
If nothing else, I did manage to fit in a daily walk with Ella. Being a Husky/Akita cross, she really does need a couple of good walks a day. My morning walks tend to be at least 3 miles in length, with the route changing each morning. We are very lucky to have some wonderful walking tracks around here. All are walking distance from my front door as well!
The Bluebells have been magnificent this Spring. A delicate bluey-purple haze. Sadly, they have all but finished for this year. However, I did manage to get some photos.
Just in case you are wondering, Ella is carrying her own water bottles and a collapsible water bowl in her "back pack". She does get rather thirsty when the mornings are warm as they have been recently.
I did have a lovely visit with a friend yesterday afternoon - we talked textiles. A really enjoyable chat. It really got me excited about the idea of getting back to playing with textiles once more. The soldering iron and heat gun I had ordered recently arrived in the post today ready for some experimentation. I am going to be playing with the effect of heat on fabrics, as well as getting some printing done. I ordered some new woodblocks for blockprinting, as well as restocking my collection of fabric paints. These have now arrived.... lots of fun to be had!
Bye for now.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Costumes finished......... I hope!

stitched birds
Play Week starts next week. This evening will be the dress rehearsal, with setting up the hall this afternoon. This morning saw me stitching the last few birds onto the jacket I made for the last rehearsal on Thursday evening. You can see the birds I made above this text. They are made from three layers of different sheer fabrics backed with stitch'n'tear.

stitching the birds
I stitched on the back of each bird following lines drawn onto the stitch'n'tear. The needle had a backing thread while the bobbin held the embroidery thread - a rayon variegated thread called Mirage by Wonderfil. A lovely thread to work with. I shall definitely be using it again.

the bird jacket
This is the finished jacket, a tulle base with cream satin bias binding at the hems. A very simple box shape since the main impact on the jacket are the birds. The dress beneath belongs to the actress.

the back of the bird jacket

It has been a rather hectic few weeks since my last visit to this blog. I have been mostly busy with the costumes for "Glorious". This is a play which will be performed by Moulton Drama Group for whom I am currently doing the costumes. Despite my pessimism in the last post here, I did manage to get most things done. I still haven't done anything for the Sky's the limit challenges, or either of the textile books I am committed to finishing. They will just have to wait. Since the end of March the following things have happened:
Prague - 4 - 6th April -  I took quilts to the 8th Prague Patchwork Meeting. There were 98 quilts in total. The main collection was the Horizons collection from the Contemporary Quilt Group, with 30 quilts from the Traditional Group (these were their Suffragette quilts) and 21 miniature quilts from the Miniature Group. A further collection of five quilts was bought along by Nava, my colleague who, with her husband and my own husband helped carry all the quilts and hang them. All the groups are members of The Quilters' Guild of the British Isles, and we were their representatives at the Meeting. A really interesting, and exhausting experience.
Portsmouth - 11 - 13th April -This was The Quilters Guild annual Conference and AGM. A very busy weekend, but so enjoyable to meet quilting friends again.
After this I got home and was able to finally concentrate on the costumes, stitching furiously. The palazzo pants and their waistband all got completed, but I forgot to take any photos. I also made two cravats which I also forgot to take photos of. These will probably be returned to me a some stage and I shall take photos then. I also altered an apron I made several years ago based on a 1940's nurses apron which had belonged to my aunt.

apron altered

I removed the original waistband since it no longer fitted me and did not fit the actress who would be wearing it. This has been replaced by a white waistband and some ties with the straps now attached to the ties at the back.
back of the altered apron

The spanish dress also got finished. There are 15metres of fabric in each of the lower flounces. Two sewing machines decided they had had enough during the making. One of these is now up and running again, but the second will have to go in for repairs!

The almost finished spanish dress shown in the last blog post. The pins have now gone and the dress is hanging waiting for use in the play.

The biggest project for this production was the white dress. This is for the final scene and is worn with a pair of wings made from cardboard, gold paint and gold tinsel. I forgot to take any photos of the finished dress, but this is the muslin. I made up half the dress to check the fit before starting on the whole dress. This has now been completed and is currently in the collection of costumes awaiting the dress rehearsal later today. Yes, it does now fit. The actress asked for the long princess style sleeves.

muslin of the white dress

I did manage to get my two journal quilts completed for the Contemporary Quilt JQ challenge. It was important to get these finished since otherwise I would not be able to continue with the challenge this year. I am not convinced these are completely finished, but will continue to work on them and also get started on the next JQs in the sequence. The theme I am using this year is "Journeys". My first two showed a walking boot and a map. This time I have continued with the map. The March quilt is intended to be seen alongside the February quilt so that this map is a continuation of the earlier one.The April quilt shows my car, another in my sequence of modes of transport used this year in my journeys.

March Journal quilt

April Journal Quilt
Apart from everything else, I have been spending some time in the garden during some really lovely weather we have had here. As you can see, Ella got into the spirit of everything, digging rather a large hole.

Ella digging
Lastly, some photos of the garden showing some of the flowers and the blossom on our fruit trees.


blossom in the garden

apple blossom