Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Busy not sewing

Pattern of frost on the conservatory roof
We woke this morning to a frost which quickly disappeared as soon as the sun came up. These photos record the patterns on the roof panels of my conservatory. Really pretty.
Pattern of frost this morning
No sewing in the past few days, although there has been some preparation. Firstly, the book has started to take shape. The first few pages have been linked together with ribbon. The ribbon will eventually be hidden away inside the front and back covers of the book.

Book pages - showing the brown paper backings

I described putting the individual pages together here. The pages have all been trimmed ready for this stage. As you can see, the bright colours alternate with the brown paper backings.

Book - showing the coloured pages, each is different.
The first page - it still needs some lettering and some actual pattern.
The theme of the book is "Pattern". This is the theme this year for the NWCQ group, so it seemed rather appropriate. I sat steadily working on this book at a meeting when most people were working on altered books. It was an interesting meeting to attend, but I really have a problem with altering any book. In my mind I see it a defacing the book rather than enhancing it. Hence my making a book out of what might be termed rubbish.

I also worked on some designs based on flowers for print blocks. These will be used for the next four of my journal quilts for this year. I just need to find a little space to get on with some printing. The print blocks have been made from foam sheets stuck onto foam board using double sided tape. The centre block used part of the foam backing from a ready made pizza, backed onto foam board to give it more strength, My last four journal quilts can be seen here.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Felt making and dyeing.

The past two weekends have seen me taking part in very different workshops.

The first of these was a workshop with Edwina MacKinnon. Here we dyed with indigo and also Potassium Permanganate. This gives a delightful brown shade which goes well with indigo.

Dyeing samples drying on the grass.
We had to leave the samples to dry for a week before rinsing out. As you can see, my samples were wrapped around sticks, clamped with bulldog clips and rubber bands. I tried some Shibori too (the 
fabric is stitched and the fabric gathered firmly before dyeing.) All this was great fun.
Dyeing samples after being unwrapped and rinsed.
The fabric was eventually washed out yesterday and hung out to dry on my washing line. I have still to iron it and put it all away. I think my favourite has to be the blue and white piece to the left of this photo. This was the cotton piece which  I have bound up with bulldog clips. You may see some brown marks on the cloth. These occurred because a couple of the bulldog clips decided to start rusting. Really interesting results.

Turkish felt.
I had some fun during the week playing around trying to make another piece of Turkish felt. This was the result. The fibres used for the back are all orangey brown and yellow. The fabric was first rust dyed before being used for the felt. It really wasn't a very good piece of rust dyeing, so I was quite happy to use it here. It hasn't felted quite as well as my first attempt, but I am quite pleased with it.

broken crockery and tiles
Taking Ella for a walk, I found some really lovely pieces of broken crockery. I couldn't resist picking these up since I could see some possibilities for their use.

the reverse of the same tiles and crockery pieces.
I found the reverse sides just as interesting as the coloured tops, especially those printed marks. These may well reappear at some time in the future. I haven't quite decided how to use them yet.

Felt made using bits and pieces of discarded samples.
Last Friday, I went along to Friday Felters where we made felt to make into twiddlemuffs for alzheimers patients. I am not sure that my piece is going to be good enough since it would need rather more elements to fiddle with. I will need to play with this piece rather more.

Following Friday's felt making session, I returned to Frodsham, once again for another feltmaking workshop. This time it was with the International Feltmakers Association. We were making felt using prefelts, pieces of partially felted fabric. The pattern was based on a skyscraper scene which we were given to use. Pieces of prefelt were cut to shape before the whole piece was felted onto a background of wool tops. 
My skyscraper scene
As you can see, I had a lot of fun playing around with colours. It still needs a little bit of finishing off, but I am really quite pleased with this.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Finished!! Some completed items.

Completed sweater - front view
Well, I eventually got my Dolmanesque sweater completed. I found I had to rip out and start again with the collar since I just couldn't make it the pattern version work. It gaped far too much. The pattern is a delightful one to knit with plenty of interest, so well worth the trouble.
You can find our more about the design in this post. It is comfy to wear too.
Completed sweater - back view
One project finished, I have been working to complete two quilts for the Region 13 challenge, "A postcard from...." The challenge comes from The Quilters' Guild of the British Isles. Region 13 covers most of North Wales, Cheshire, Lancashire and a lot of the North West of the UK. The challenge asked members to complete a quilt, A4 size (roughly 11.5" by 8.5") on the subject, "A postcard from...." NWCQ also challenged it's members to take part, using the town of Frodsham where we meet.

Messing around with brick patterns.
Well, mine started off with this pattern of bricks. This is it:

A postcard from ..... Frodsham - The bee emblem. 
 As always, completed just in time since I need to hand it over tomorrow. Last minute? The brick pattern has been printed on cotton sheet, it has been bondawebbed in place onto a piece of my own rust dyed fabric. This has been free machine embroidered. The design on top was taken from a gorgeous stained glass window above the Frodsham Library front door. The design comes from the fact that the emblem for the town is a bee.

A postcard from....... Moulton - the Crow Dance
Well, I'd foolishly decided to also do one for my local village - Moulton. The emblem for the village is the crow. There is also a rather unique dance performed each year by an anonymous group of local men. Hence the strange figures and the crow watching on. The photos have been printed onto cotton and bondawebbed in place onto a piece of my own dyed fabric. The figures have also been printed and hand coloured before being bondawebbed in place. Free machine embroidery keeps the layers together. Why the cenotaph and the street scene? Well, the dancers usually parade down this particular street towards the cenotaph.The scarecrow and the farmer are all part of the dance.

I think I'd better give my room a good tidy before starting anything new. I really need to get on with quilting the African Crosses Quilt next. It is all layered and ready to start, but I need to work out what patterning I am going to use. A few sample trial pieces will be worked on first, I think.