Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Spending some creative time with my sewing machine and other projects.

Where have the past few days gone? It has been really busy here - a new print board has been put together, four cushion covers, a simple top, some zipped bag/purses and a new print board have all been finished and I have nearly completed a new linen dress for myself. I haven't bought any new fabric, just a couple of zips. Everything has been constructed out of my rather large stash of fabrics, threads and general "stuff". I wish I could say that my cupboards and shelves are less full as a result, but I really cannot see a difference just yet.
the felt layers of the new print board
 I decided to make a third print board since I shall be giving a print workshop in August and my two current boards will not be sufficient. I can improvise some extra space, but the third board will just make everything so much easier for everyone.
All three boards together
It was so lucky that I had plenty of acrylic felt and enough of an old cotton sheet in my stash to be able to complete this project. The board had seen occasional use as a drawing board, but will be so much more useful to me as an additional printing surface.

I'd completely forgotten, until I sorted through my photos, that I'd also been to a dyeing session. This time I followed some advice I found on the Kemshall's website about preparing fabric for dyeing. The resulting colours have been so much better, I shall definitely do this again. The advice gave specific quantities for the washing soda used in preparing the fabric for procian dyeing. I now have a solution in a sealed pot ready in the garden shed for when we next have some good weather and I can prepare some more cotton. I hadn't realised that the solution could be kept and used again and again.

 These cushions were not started by me. They were handed in at the last Pinfold meeting and I volunteered to construct the cushion covers. They are now ready for the cushion tombola which will be part of the group's exhibition later this year. The covers have been hand embroidered and look so beautiful. Each cushion is just twelve inches square. I hope that the embroiderer will be pleased when she sees them again.

Speaking of tombolas. This collection of zipped purses have been made for The Quilters' Guild tombola at Festival of Quilts in August. So far I have made nine, but I have a couple more which have been cut out ready to sew together.

Yet another cushion for the Pinfold tombola. This one started life as a miniature quilt block challenge which has been stuck in my unfinished pile for a very long time. It is twenty inches across.

the dress waiting to be finished
 The dressmaking patterns were found in a recent edition of Ottobre magazine. The dress still has to have the armhole facings stitched into place and also the hems completed. I really need to iron it too. It has been fully lined.
a completed top
The top is going to be rather useful in the warmer weather. It was made from a piece of crepe de chine I had in my stash.

So apologies for not having posted here for a few days. I have been rather busy. I still haven't started those cotbed quilts.........

Monday, June 06, 2016

Planned quilts and Whispers

The fabrics shown here are for two planned quilts. These will be for a baby not yet born. The nursery theme is a delightful mix of blue sky with white clouds as the wallpaper and a bright yellow sun as the lamp in the centre of the ceiling. Such a cheerful room.

I have plans to make two quilts - one with the bright blue and yellow "daytime" theme with a sun.The second, slightly darker, having the moon and stars as a theme. 

Sadly, I can't yet share the piece I have been working on this week since it is part of a challenge. It will be handed over to the owner on Wednesday when there will be a big reveal showing all the work produced. There is a plan to have all the resulting pieces displayed at a group exhibition later in the year which is all rather exciting. Perhaps I should say nerve-wracking......

The challenge itself is called "Whispers". The idea is rather like the children's game of Chinese Whispers where one friend whispers a word or phrase and then this is repeated by each child taking part. The fun being whether the word spoken aloud at the end is the same as the first word whispered at the beginning of the sequence. This challenge is similar in that each person taking part has found a photograph to be their theme. The owner of the photo then produces a small piece (in our case, A5 - 21cm x 15cm, 8.5" x 6"). This piece is then passed to the next person. The second person is not permitted sight of the photo..... At the next meeting, the first person's piece is returned and the second person passes their interpretation on to the next person who makes a piece based on their interpretation of the piece they have been given. It is only at the final meeting that all the textile pieces are displayed alongside the original photographs. This will happen on Wednesday, and I must admit that I am rather excited to see what we have all produced.
After the meeting on Wednesday we are expected to go and make a book of the collection of little textile pieces we will each have collected. These books will then be displayed at the group's exhibition.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Itching to stitch.

Fabric collage
An interesting workshop with Liesbeth making fabric collage. The idea is to put the pieces together without thinking too much about it. The fabrics are bondawebbed in place. The pins are there since I also added some scraps of fabric which had not had any bondaweb ironed to them. The idea is then to place L shaped bits of card to find interesting pieces for future stitch projects.

Using improvised L shapes to make mini stitched pieces
These small pieces are around 5" x 3" (13 x 7.5cm). In the end I chose a couple of other pieces to cut out since these seemed a little dull and "safe". So far I have just cut out two pieces to work on. There may be others.
Another mini piece
In case you are wondering, I improvised the L shaped pieces. These are actually cut from flyers I found at the venue since I don't have any such shapes of my own.

Charity shop finds - lace edging and cotton hankies.
One of my failings is that I really cannot resist going into charity shops and rooting through their textile items. I do try to plan what I shall do with each piece rather than just add to my growing collection of fabric. I had intended the lace edging and hankies to be used for nuno felt. However, the hankies are so pretty I think I shall probably keep them as they are for now. The lace edging will definitely find itself added to some nuno felt before long.

Cotton fabric
Now, this cotton lawn piece could become a long skirt. I think it was intended to be two long scarves since the design has distinct borders. Each shawl is approximately 1.5m by 1m (59" x 39"). This is after washing. Luckily, I chose to hand wash since the fabric was steeped in size and really quite stiff. It is a lot softer now and has shrunk slightly. I said it was lucky that I chose to handwash this since it lost a lot of loose dye in the process. I'll have to find a suitable fabric to line this with if I decide to make it into clothing. Any thoughts?

More vintage patterns
I found some really nice patterns too. I used to own a copy of Simplicity 9254 when it first came out in the eighties. I made a long sleeved version of the dress which I wore for quite a few years. It is one of those patterns that I really wish I had hung on to. The McCalls pattern is from 2003 and is for stretch knits, a type of fabric I really must get around to working with. The third pattern had never been opened. I've never heard of "Successful Sewing", so can only assume it came out with a series of magazines. There are no sewing instructions, but since it is quite a basic style that shouldn't be a problem. I see this as a potential pattern to use some of my own printed fabrics. I just need to start printing some much larger pieces...... Now that could be fun.
My only problem will be what to start first. Perhaps I should finish some of my UFOs first..... decisions, decisions.