Tuesday, April 25, 2017

More sewing, knitting and planning

Offcuts from the workshop packs
I'm still working on getting as many packs as I can prepared ready for the workshop in November. Yes, I am rather ahead of myself, but it takes rather a time to get all the fabric packs set up. There is a lot of ironing on bondaweb, cutting fabrics and so on. The collection above is my growing pile of scraps. All the bits that are just that little bit too small. All useful since they have been bondawebbed. Hence the growing collection of made fabrics where I am collecting the scraps together to make useable and useful pieces which could make something.
Green-yellow fabrics
Yellow - blue fabrics
The resulting fabrics are a little too stiff to use for much. project bags and bookcovers have been made before. Perhaps some cushion covers.  All of the three made so far need to be stitched to reinforce the surface. I think I will probably add some fusible wadding to add some texture when stitched.
Green - blue fabrics
 I must admit I really enjoy the stitching bit, although it does take rather a time to complete. Speaking of stitching. I finally completed the sketchbook cover which I mentioned last time. I chose a piece of fabric which I had painted, bonded to fusible wadding and then stitched,
Completed sketchbook cover
Almost completed Colibri jumper


 The Colibri jumper is now almost finished. I just have a few ends to sew in. Next, I shall need to find a young friend to wear it. One of the things to be completed after finishing a test knit is to complete a questionnaire to give the designer some feedback about the design and any errors before the design is finally published. It has been a really interesting process.
Almost complete Lanesplitter
 I've also been getting on with this skirt. It has languished in my project bag for a few weeks. I have never made a knitted skirt before, so it has been quite interesting making this one. The design is a free one from Knitty which you can find here.

The fabric pieces below belong to a challenge which I need to get on with. I still haven't decided what to make yet.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Not much sewing going on, but plenty of knitting.

The sketchbook with possible fabric cover materials.
For one of the textile groups I go to there is a sketchbook challenge. My book has been hanging around for some weeks now. The fabrics beneath may become the cover.
The front page 
Some dyed kitchen paper has been stuck onto the front page ready for a caption. This can wait until I really understand what I will be using this sketchbook for. The challenge is going to be an interesting one since I don't normally work from a sketchbook. I sometimes draw things out first, but then it is usually only elements rather than the whole design.

The first stage of our challenge is to start the sketchbook before our next meeting. Then we will learn from Debbie, one of the members, who will be leading us through this topic. After the front page I have used some of the more interesting pieces of Orizomegami, placing a large sheet under some holes cut in a page.


"Portholes" showing part of the following page.
The portholes page was inspired by a comment made in a Blog I read last week, I just loved the idea of cutting holes in one of the pages to show part of a design on the following page. It might be something worth pursuing in fabric at some stage. So far my sketchbook seems to be a collection of ideas which might be used at some time.


Pear blossom
The garden seems to be very busy at the moment with a lot of blossom on all the fruit trees. It will be interesting to see whether any of this turns into fruit later in the year.

Apple blossom
Sadly, the local weather forecast seems to be predicting frost. Ah well, I can enjoy the blossom while ti lasts.

Plum tree 
The little garden building down at the bottom corner still hasn't got it's windows. Perhaps this will happen at some stage this year.

Test knitting under way
The knitting has continued during the week with the first sleeve to be started later this evening. It has knit on circular needles. The stitches for the sleeve are currently waiting on the same circular needle. The jumper has been knitted from the top down. I'll let you know when the pattern will be available. I really love the design around the shoulders. This size is age two years, so is only small. Quite an enjoyable knit.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Its been a while - trying something new


Workshop packs - showing the booklet
This last fortnight has seen me developing a workshop pack for the paper and fabric weaving samples I have been working on. It has taken far longer than I thought it would in terms of the time spent thinking about how to do this. Putting the packs together is also a little time consuming, but has been an interesting process. I'd not had to consider how much such a pack would cost before, so had to spend rather more time than I thought in working out what exactly was going to be added to the pack. It is important to cost everything carefully since it would be rather silly to give lots of materials, paper and fabric, away. It could cost rather a lot to replace everything, especially if the workshop does happen and I need to repeat it.

Materials enclosed in the pack are bondawebbed fabric; pieces of plain calico (muslin); paper; all cut to various sizes. There are a couple of pieces of fabric which have been bonded to another fabric making it double sided. There is also a booklet which I have designed and printed myself. Yes, more costs to consider. I just hope I have managed to include everything.

I now need to get my family involved in testing the packs and my instructions to see if they do make sense and if this is a doable workshop. The one thing that bothers me is that it might all be too complicated. Do let me know what you think. I do have alternative ideas for the workshop, but this is my favourite for the moment. I also need to discuss a pack and some samples with one of the group who have invited me to give a talk and workshop. I need to know whether this type of workshop will work for them.

Don't worry, I have been playing around with something more creative. I can't say I was too impressed with the results, but I can see myself trying this again with fabric dyes and fabric. They might just make for interesting backgrounds.

Samples of Orizomegami
The samples are various papers which have been folded and then Indian Ink has been applied to the edges using a paintbrush. I forget where I found this idea, but you can see some of the work made by experts here. Do look the word up for yourself, there are some very interesting photos to be found as well as instruction. Mine are extremely basic and nothing to be proud of. I'm glad I had a quick try though and will have another go. Personally speaking, I am far more interested in the effects which might be achievable with fabric than I am with paper.

Quilted cushion - 5" square challenge
Here are photos of the 5" square fabric challenge cushion which I told you about last time. I used all the 5"squares in making the blocks for the top and also the piping for the edge of the cushion cover.

Cushion showing piping
 The remainder of the fabrics used all came from stash. The buttons were also in my button collection. I'd bought them some time ago with no project in mind - always a big mistake I make time and again. I have some gorgeous buttons which I just can't part with, but have no plans for....... at the moment.
The buttons fastening the back of the cushion
I finished my last knitting project some time ago and was feeling withdrawal symptoms. I didn't have another project planned, so took up the offer of a Test Knitting project.

Yarn waiting to be used
 These lovely yarns are going to be used for my project. It is a jumper knitted from the top down with a gorgeous hummingbird pattern around the shoulders. The size is age two years. I just couldn't resist.
The first stage of this top down jumper
The colours used are a light greeny-blue shade with the panel in french navy onto cream. I'll probably have to wait to show you the design when it is finished. However, the deadline for the tests is quite soon, so hopefully once all the test knitters have finished, the design will be available for sale. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Messing around


Messing around with 5 inch squares
 It has been rather a while since last posting here. Unfortunately, a heavy cold put paid to most of my textile related activities for some days.

More playing around with squares of quilting cotton
Since I haven't been fit enough to concentrate, I have been playing around with a five inch square challenge. There are two sets of squares involved here. One is basically cream and red. The twenty squares in this collection has now turned into a quilted cushion. I'll have to post photos here another time since my camera has decided it needs to have a battery charge.

Inside showing the quilting
The next collection is basically twenty five inch squares in a cream and blue colour scheme. This is turning into a drum shaped fabric bin. Far from finished at the moment, some squares have been quilted for the main shape of the bin and some have been turned into little triangles for decoration. Just a bit of fun.
A lot still to do
It needs some form of stiffening and a lot of pins need to be removed.

Camellia
The garden has been drawing us outside since the weather has been really Springlike here. A chilly wind, but lots of sunshine has drawn out the bees who really love our baby weeping willow. It is covered in pollen at the moment.

Weeping Willow
I must get back to finish some sewing. I have been spending rather a lot of time outside enjoying the weather, and playing frisbee with the dogs.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Completing UFOs, making plans and plodding along

Daffodils in the garden
Everything seems to have started growing in the garden. It is lovely to see some bright colour outside.

Crocuses
Work has continued over the past few days on the weaving theme. You will see a sample of a woven pocket in the next photo. The sketchbook belongs to the challenge starting soon for the MEG group. I am looking forward to getting this one started. I don't normally use a sketchbook, preferring to jot things down in my notebook, so it will be interesting to get some guidance on how to put one together and then begin to use it.

I treated myself to a sewing magazine this morning, so will probably end up tempted to make something else. Unfortunately, my list of things to sew seems to be getting longer. I have now cut out the lining pieces for my Cocoon coat, but it has got no nearer to completion. I keep getting tempted to do a bit more with the weaving project. The first draft of the instructions has been written. It remains to be seen whether the directions and illustrations make any sense. 

The pdf pattern belongs to this design from "Sew Now" issue 3. I need to find some nice denim or fine corduroy to make this. Years ago I had a pair of dungarees which I really loved wearing. This is a more practical item of clothing for me these days. I just love those pockets.

Pinafore design in issue 3 of "Sew Now".

I did mention finishing UFOs in my title. Last time I mentioned a piece of embroidery but didn't show it. 



This is it. I only have the scissor keeper to embroider now, then I will be able to get the whole thing assembled. It has only been in my UFO pile for a few years. Embarrassingly I cannot now remember exactly how many years it has been languishing. The finished size of the closed Etui will be 3.5 inches square, so it really is rather small to have lain unfinished for so long. The brown felt shown behind the embroidered pieces will be used for the lining and the needlecase pages.

The designer, Sue Hawkins is a very talented and her work is really colourful. I couldn't resist it when I saw this little kit, which is why I am getting on with it now. There will be a needle case inside, and somewhere to stash a small pair of scissors inside the back cover, also a neat little thimble case which is to be attached to the scissors on a long cord. A rather useful item for my hand-stitching projects. I just need to find a nice sharp pair of embroidery scissors to keep inside it. 

My idea this year, is to get on with the rather large number of unfinished projects which have been lying around. Some may end up being drastically redesigned. My interests have changed rather a lot over the years. I'd like to use up at least some of the yarn I have collected, and then there is my rather too large stash of fabric.............. I must check to see if I already have something I could use up for that pinafore dress.......... Now that really would be sensible.

Do have fun with your own projects.




Thursday, March 02, 2017

Working on things


Paper sample
 I haven't got any sewing done this week, some embroidery, but mostly messing around with paper. The idea is to turn the paper weaving into fabric weaving.

Playing with paper
There has been some success with the fabric weaving, but it all needs more work.
Fabric samples
I do agree, it does all seem a little odd. I really ought to be getting on with my Cocoon coat. I realised the other day that the fabric I had was too thick to also be the lining, so had a hunt through my stash and found some nice thinner weight red wool mix fabric left over from a pair of trousers which were made several years ago. Hopefully there is enough for the lining and the pockets too.

Why the experiments with paper? Well, I will be giving another talk in November and was asked to give a workshop too. I've been thinking hard about what exactly I could do. I don't want to be boring. My current thoughts are based on this weaving idea. It still remains to be seen whether it will work out or not. I still have time to think about something else, haven't I?

Thursday, February 23, 2017

A busy few days

1972 - The Miner's Strike
As promised, here is the completed piece. The Miner's strike from 1972. This is now ready to be added to the panel. 


Magazine article detailing the sweatshirt design.
The past few days have been rather busy with a lot of sewing. I have been getting on with some dressmaking which I first wrote about here.
Sweatshirt with lace insert - my version.
I started off with the sweatshirt you see here. Found in Love Sewing Magazine, issue 34, it really is nice and cosy, and can be worn with thin polo neck tops underneath. My version has a slightly different neckline to the original design since I wanted the cuffs and neck to match. The lace fabric came out of my stash since I didn't need very much.

Vest
After this, I started making up some patterns of my own. I hadn't been very pleased with my first attempts at making polo neck tops out of jersey fabric, so decided to make a pattern from a top I already own. It fits much more snugly than anything I had previously made and I rather liked the style. I also made a pattern from a useful vest I also already have. I added some length to the sleeves which were rather short on the original and made it out of some cotton interlock remaining in my stash. I must admit that I am not very pleased with the neckline since I should have slightly stretched the fabric as I was sewing. Still, it is a really nice and warm addition to my winter wardrobe.


Grey stripe polo neck - neckline


Striped polo neck
The first polo neck made from my own pattern was this grey striped one and I must say I was really pleased with the stripes on the shoulder line. This worked really well, so I went on to make two further tops, completing the last of these this evening. As I write, I am wearing the flying birds top.

Leafy polo neck
Flying Birds polo neck

Tomorrow, I really must get on and get my cocoon coat sewn up ready to wear. It has been sitting beside my chair, waiting rather patiently for me to get other projects out of the way. The weather forecast doesn't sound very nice tomorrow, so a day spent indoors sewing, sounds rather pleasant. The pattern is one I bought at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate back in November. You can the pattern here. I bought some lovely woolen fabric some time back, a bright red on one side and a tartan pattern on the reverse. I fancy playing around with the possibilities offered by the different sides of the fabric.

Oh yes, the "1001 Nights" quilts are now safely back at home with me after their exhibition at Quiltfest. They will soon be heading off to Bramble Patch for their next outing.


Monday, February 13, 2017

Finally!

Exhibition at Quiltfest
Last week I was a little later than intended in posting to this Blog since I had been busy taking the "1001 Nights" quilts over to Llangollen in North Wales to be exhibited at Quiltfest. I have been involved with this collection of quilts for some time. They are on show at Quiltfest until the 19th February. After this they will travel to Bramble Patch to be exhibited there over Easter this year.

My title stems from the fact that the following quilt should have been finished some months ago. It is finally ready to be handed over.

"1972" being stitched.
The background is built up using pieces of dyecatcher stitched onto fusible wadding. The other fabrics used are thin felt and a sheer fabric which I cut round using a soldering iron. This was to stop the fabric shredding.

More stitching showing the water soluble fabric I use 


The topic of the quilt is the year 1972. It will become part of a Millenium embroidery along with other pieces denoting events from that year. My theme was the first Miners Strike which took place that year trying to stop the inevitable closure of the coal mines around the UK. When I was training as a teacher I found myself observing the lives of the miners and their families since I was based in Doncaster, Yorkshire.

The piece is A4 in size - 7.75" x 11.75" 

Do you ever get the feeling that you have spoken too soon? Well, I suddenly realised whilst writing the above that there was something that didn't look quite finished......... So I will be going back to my sewing machine a little later to get that done. Photos of the completed, fully finished piece next time.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Now to get started

Newly purchased jersey fabrics
 I am determined to get on with sewing projects to make some clothes. At present I have a coat and a lace insert sweatshirt to complete. They are cut out and ready to stitch, but will have to wait for another project which is wildly overdue.......... I'll tell you all about that one another time. I'm prevaricating at the moment. I really need to get on with this A4 quilt, but am having doubts about whether it will be good enough. Yes, I know. I really should shut up and get on with it.

Planning for future dressmaking projects
The lovely fabrics shown above are currently drying. I always wash fabrics before use, and have been delighted with the quality of the fabric which has arrived. I have bought these online from a company I have used before. Fabworks. They use a delivery firm who are very prompt and keep their customers informed about when their parcel is likely to arrive. I do appreciate it when companies give a one hour window in which a parcel will come to my door. The drivers, so far have also been very pleasant.

What got me started on planning a collection of clothes was a Blog post by Maria Denmark. It got me thinking about what exactly I need to make to replace some increasingly shabby clothes in my own wardrobe. Hence the notebook. It might keep me on task............. Unlikely, but it might help.
I plan to turn the two leafy designs into versions of the v-neck cap sleeved dress hiding behind the notebook. The other three patterns are not suitable for use with jersey, but will be used to make use of fabric I already have in my stash. I've wanted a tunic like the Merchant and Mills design for a very long time, so that will be something I should start soon. The grey stripe and the swallows design will be made into summery tops. I am not sure what to make with the purple flying birds fabric. It asks to be made into another dress, but I'm not sure which pattern to use yet.

Recent purchase from Lidl
In the local Lidl over the weekend, I found these thick "pens". The description on the back says "Highly pigmented, water soluble crayons with a creamy, soft consistency.
The brilliant, colour-fast paints blend easily for vivid colour gradients. Mix with water for water colour effects. Use on paper, canvas, wood, etc..."Intriguing. I plan to play with these soon.

Another recent purchase
The previous week I found these. They are acrylic sprays for use in mixed media projects. Again, I can see a play session in my future.