Tuesday, February 06, 2018

A messy play day with friends.

Title page to "Woolly Thoughts"
A few things have been completed since I last posted a blog here. I went along to a really enjoyable Messy Play Day at Meryl's last Wednesday. Such fun. I'll show you what we did later. I felt I really ought to get my challenge book cover completed before heading off to the dyeing session. I wanted to prepare it ready to hand over so that it could be taken along to the next Pinfold meeting. Sadly, I can't be there since I will be giving a mini workshop at Quiltfest. I added a title page as well as a cover.
Front cover
The cover is made up of dyecatchers which have been drawn on using permanent markers in various colours. This has then been quilted over a thin iron-on wadding.
Full cover
 These are the original pages I completed ready for the challenge. Hand made felt, printed and hand stitched with dyecatchers which had been free machine embroidered.
My pages inside the book
After handing over the book, it was time for playing. For the Messy Day we first dyed threads and cotton fabrics using procian dyes.

Dyed threads awaiting rinsing out
Dyed fabric drying
threads drying on the rack
The fabrics were dyed inside plastic pots whilst the threads were painted with dye. Such a lot of fun.
Dried and ironed fabrics ready to use.
The dyed threads wound onto bobbins ready to use

Dyed bias tape wound round cardboard after ironing. Hopefully this will keep the tape flat
As you can see, we actually completed a lot of dyeing - bias tape, threads and fabric. All of these are going to be so useful in various projects.

The afternoon found us playing with different materials to make decorated papers. We used stencils, Brusho powder, spray inks and Pixie Powder. Spraying the different media using a fine water spray brought out such a variety of different effects. Even the kitchen paper used as masks has been kept since it can also be used in different projects. Thanks Meryl for a really exciting day.

I've put my decorated papers, fabrics and threads away for now while I get on with the quilts I really ought to be sewing. Unfortunately, the quilts really aren't of quite so much interest. However, there are deadlines to meet, so I really ought to get moving with them. Hopefully there will be some progress to report next time.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Quilting and finishing things

I got the latest page of the Pinfold Book Challenge finished in good time for the Fabric Sale in Nantwich yesterday. I will show you some photos of the Pinfold stand at this show a little later in this post. This page was for Rosemary's book "By the Silver Stream". The bulrushes are free machine embroidery over a fine soft tulle. This is then hand stitched in place over a background made from various colours of dye catchers. The frog on the left is a line drawing in permanent marker onto a further piece of dyecatcher. This one had turned a lovely patchy green - a really useful colour.

The NWCQ quilt is now almost finished. I just need to add borders. Sorry about the dull photo, I shall try again in the morning to see if I can get a lighter picture. There are FME trees added, stitched over fine tulle this has been handstitched in place with a few sequins colouring one of the trees. A little train button has been added beside the tunnel, just as a bit of fun.

One item which has been finished is my Scania shawl. As you can see the fringe has yet to be trimmed and the whole thing could do with blocking. It should be really cosy to wear. Aggie is wearing it at the moment.

I did mention the annual Fabric sale in Nantwich. The Pinfold members provided such a variety of items to show on the stand that it proved very popular with visitors who really enjoyed looking at what we had made. You can see more photos of the show here. If you are on Facebook, the show has it's own Facebook page here.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Getting back into the flow

The elements for my Scania Shawl arrived on Saturday. The yarn is Cloudborn Fibers Highland Superwash Sock Twist. I wasn't sure what to expect from the yarn since I had never seen it anywhere before ordering this kit. It is rather nice, 80% Superwash "Fine Highland wool" and 20% Polyamide from Peru (via Craftsy in the USA). It has travelled rather a long way.........

The colours are: Black, Charcoal Heather, Grey Heather, Oatmeal Heather and Ecru. The pattern asks for two colours to be knitted together for each section making a marled appearance. Yes, I haven't knitted much. I started late on Saturday night after a very lengthy time trying to work out what the pattern meant. It is written more like a recipe than a traditional knitting pattern. It certainly challenged my "little grey cells". Yes, I do rather enjoy watching Poirot / Miss Marple or Agatha Christie stories on the TV. So relaxing since I know the stories relatively well and they do not interrupt the thinking behind working out a technical section of pattern.

I've rather given up on the cardigan for now, but can pick this up at any stage to carry on. The back and left front are complete and the ribbing for the right front is well under way.

The NWCQ quilt is coming together. The background has now been quilted and the bits and pieces for the applique are being auditioned ready for the next stage.

At Pinfold this week, I picked up these two silk shawls from the sales table. Not sure what I shall do with these.The one below the floral patterned shawl is actually to printed shawls side by side. They have never been cut apart and hemmed. I need to think about whether to use this for nuno felt or to make these up as gifts. The one on top I shall keep for myself and wear. It is rather a pretty shawl and I can always use it for nuno at some future date. For now it will be washed and then put aside to be worn.

I took my husband out for lunch during the week and we explored Blakemere. After looking round the antiques, we visited Peepultree where I picked up these lovely blocks to add to my collection.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

A New Year, new plans

Another scrappy piece being stitched
I've been busily free machine stitching some more of the scraps. Not sure what these will become, but they would make useful little projects bags to give as gifts. This time I tried out my ideas as a doodle before starting stitching. I didn't draw anything out this time.
A doodle for the stitching design
The finished piece.
I didn't start off the year stitching this piece. I used a much smaller piece to "warm" up with first.

For some reason this one seems to have collected all the Christmassy fabrics. I see this one becoming the pocket on a bigger bag. I just need to search my stash for some suitable fabric.

 This week we had our Pinfold meeting. At our Christmas meeting we had been given a small collection of eleven fabrics to make a small Japanese Salt Bag. We didn't get instructions, so this one was made from a sketch I had drawn from the original shown at the meeting. I added iron on wadding to the outer fabric pieces so that it could stand up. Why eleven pieces? Well, five are needed to make the four sides and the base with another five for the lining. The last piece is cut up and used for the tabs which hold the string which is pulled to close the bag. The completed bag stands just five inches tall and will make a lovely project bag for something small. Sweet.

The next pages were completed for the Pinfold Book Challenge. The theme this time was "The Rustic Farmyard". The pieces I made were based on the following two photos I took recently.

I love traditional methods of making fencing. This one is hedge laying. The idea is to cut through part of the base trunk of each young plant and wrap these round upright posts. The hedging plants (usually Hawthorn) are not damaged by this. The resulting hedge is really dense and stops sheep or other animals pushing their way through. In the spring the Hawthorn will throw out plenty of leaves and new shoots which will also be woven in later in the year. This sort of hedge gets thicker and stronger each year. Sadly, fewer hedges are grown like this since it is quite time consuming.

Free machine embroidery on my own dyed fabric.

This next piece was handstitched onto a piece of dyed scrim (bought before I had tried dyeing), and a piece of my own tea dyed fabric. It is based on this photograph. I find it fascinating that farmers do not waste old items, but incorporate them into a barbed wire fence. This looks to have been an old gate post with part of the original gate still in place. This field currently holds a flock of sheep.

I'm back knitting again. A cardigan again. This is the yarn I bought from the Knitting and Stitching Show. It feels lovely. I have completed the back and am now working my way up the right front ready to start the neck shaping.

The knitting pattern for my cardigan.

I showed a photo last time of this needlecase being started. It was a secret santa gift for the Pinfold Christmas party. It has a little felt needlecase within the pyramid with ribbons to fasten a pair of scissors and tape measure. 
It is made out of my own felt with some thin bought felt for the lining. In between the layers is some pelmet vilene to make it stiff. I couched the edges with piping cord.

The finished needlecase 
This year, I plan to try to organise my dressmaking projects. With this in mind, I have signed up for the Colette "Design Your Own Wardrobe" course. This will last four weeks and starts next month. I got to hear about the course since I subscribe to the Seamwork magazine published by Colette. This is a digital magazine for sewers and I really enjoy reading it each month.
Other plans? Well, I have started a quilt ready for the NWCQ meeting later this month. It is the one based on maps which I have mentioned before. I have two more quilts in the planning stage and will post photos once these are started. I am also taking part in the Scania Shawl Knitalong organised by "Off Our Needles", a Craftsy video podcast.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Finishing projects - or trying to.

Cushion cover - reverse to show the construction
It has been another busy week here. Not a lot to show for it, since some items cannot be shown since they are gifts to be given on Wednesday. However, a lot of work has been put into this cushion cover. 

It all started some months ago as a challenge to myself and then got left as other projects took over. You can see my original post about this project here. I find it quite a shock to realise that this has been under way for some seven months now. Hopefully it will not take too much longer, although I do plan to knit a back. The back is going to be striped rather than anything else so that I can use up the remains of the yarn left over.

Cushion cover - the front under way
As you will have noticed there still rather a lot of ends to be sewn in, as well as patches for those holes between the sections.

Needlecase under construction
One of the projects completed is this needlecase. I can't yet show the completed item since this will be handed over on Wednesday. There are also some handmade cards. Like an idiot, I forgot to take photos of these before sealing up the handmade envelopes. Never mind, I shall take my camera with me to the Pinfold meeting. There will be a collection of handmade needlecases which will be handed out randomly as well as cards. It will be interesting to see what others have made.

Adding piping
Another completed project is the "Trees" page for the Pinfold book challenge. This will be shown to the owner before being handed over to the next person to complete their page. I will come home with another book and will have another page to complete before our January meeting. I must be mad, but I do enjoy these challenges.

Almost completed Pinfold book challenge - Trees
Another challenge project is now under way. This is for NWCQ. I mentioned the project at the end of this post about a month ago. Nothing is sewn at the moment with pins holding all my bits and pieces together. It is nice to be able to get under way with this one.
NWCQ challenge under way

Monday, December 04, 2017

Messing around with felt and stencils on paper

Quilting the bag sides
This week I finished the bag I showed last week. You will recognise the photo above from my last post. I handed the bag over on Wednesday. It was part of a Christmas present from the Recorder Consort to Kathryn who leads us admirably.

The pattern is an adaptation of the Stowe bag by Grainline Studio. I first made the pattern here. I have fully lined the bag and added a single zipped pocket instead of the collection of small pockets of the original.

Finished bag
 Now you can understand why the music fabric was important. Kathryn was delighted with her bag and her other presents too. These included some fruit cordials which she supplies us with during the break during rehearsals and a gorgeous music decorated set of notelets.
Zipped pocket inside the bag
 I've also been playing with nuno felt using the techniques taught by Vivienne Morpeth. It remains to be seen just how successful I have been.
Starting to add the fleece round the silk pieces
 As you can see I have used the same colours I used for the felted top I made during the workshop with Vivienne. I have added some scraps of sari felt from my stash.
The back of the nuno felt before work starts

The finished nuno piece - front
 The nuno felt is still wet at this stage and the colour may well lighten by the time it is fully dry.

Nuno piece showing the back
 The squares are caused by the pieces of felt added beneath the sari silk. I decided to see whether using squares would work.
Messing around with stencils into my sketchbook
 After a lengthy session making two pieces of felt - the second piece I can't yet show you since it will become part of my pages for the Pinfold Challenge. The theme this time is "Trees", hence the following experiments.
Stencil onto paper using fabric paints

Trial run using an acrylic spray

Kitchen paper used to clean the stencils
I had a lot of fun messing around with a couple of my stencils. I really like the patterns left on the kitchen papers used in clearing up. I can see these being added to my sketchbook when they are dry.