Sunday, 28 December 2008

The Cushions

I didn't realise it had been such a long time since I last blogged - I have heaps to catch up on. Anyway, here are some pics of finished cushions (I've no idea what went wrong with the lighting on this first one as they were all taken at the same time):

The reverse of the above cushion:

The Indian fabrics used were quite loosely woven but the use of folded patchwork and quilting has added some depth and, I hope, durability.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

More Patchwork

I've finished the other patchwork piece so have started on another one but this time with a different variation of folded patchwork - bit like faux pas "Cathedral Window"

I know sewing machine parts are always expensive but I do think that £4.80 for two little plastic pegs to hold the extension table on is rather extortionate. I actually only need one so as I can return the pile of books to the shelf but thought it might be useful to have a spare. Looking at the red on tha machine, I had better warn the recipient of the patchwork pieces that they might not be colourfast!

Following my being tagged last week, I selected 6 blogs that I look at often. I haven't heard from all as to whether they would be happy to be tagged but from those that I have heard from, not everybody wishes to be tagged or has the time right now so I am just going to post the list of blogs that I chose and say go and take a look at what these people are doing if you don't already read them.

Chris Gray
Maggie's Textiles
Maureen's Mixture
Sewing Rainbows

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

All About Me!

Well not quite but I've been tagged by Jackie to reveal 7 random facts about myself. At first it sounded a little daunting but before long I had too many facts so I've thought about what I want to share - there's stuff that I wouldn't mind sharing with regular visitors to my blog but not so sure about the whole of the www so .........................

1 - I have spent my entire life living in the same town in which I was born.

2 - I don't dislike meat but I just can't eat anything off the bone or with any sign of fat, sinew or gristle hence I don't eat much meat! I make a nice steak & kidney pie or pudding (even though I do say it myself) but when there's a remark like "I only had two bits of meat in my bit" I reply "well there was a whole pound of meat" without saying that there was probably only half of it left by the time I had finished dissecting! I ordered a sweet and sour chicken dish in a restaurant once - you can only imagine my "horror" when it came out as a whole poisson!

3 - I don't like alcohol - no religious or other reasons, I just don't like the taste.

4 - I am the resident spider catcher in the house and other creepy crawlies are no problem but I do not like rodents of/in any shape or form - even mention of or stiched pictures of little things in cornfields make me cringe, shiver and want to dance on the table or run outside! This has prevented me putting a catalogue outside like other readers of Maggie Grey's blog - the fear of what might touch it!

5 - Some of my favourite posessions - I like pigs and elephants (excusing the reflection of the doors in the first two photos!).

A painting that mum brought home from a holiday in China ...........

Cross Stitched pigs that I did years ago ...................

A little elephant which I originally bought for a great aunt when I was a child .................

6 - I love colour and am highly influenced by colour and texture rather than design. I don't like brown and don't very often stitch with it nor wear it apart from a couple of pairs of "brownish" colour shoes. I can remember well the kerfuffle in the outfitters when I discovered that the requisites for my secondary school was brown uniform. My parents somehow got me to agree to the school so of course I had to wear it!

7 - 30 to 40 years later, I finally confessed to my mum that it was me who cut the cuff(s) of my younger sister's anorak into a neat fringe only for her to say that she always knew who it was because nobody else would have cut that straight!

I now have to tag 6 people to reveal 7 random facts about themselves and think I might have a problem trying to find 6 who haven't been tagged already but I will do my best!

Back on topic - the patchwork now has some shisha............

Friday, 17 October 2008

Some Presents .............

It's ages since I blogged ................. not much to tell really. I haven't been doing much stitching but I don't seem to be have been doing much else either - the garden is crying out for attention but the weather being so warm for this time of year means the mining beas that have taken up residence in the flower bed are still a nuisance. I did add a little decoration to one of the bowls for mum's birthday .................

And I've been doing some folded patchwork which is quite fun but I won't show all of it as it's for Christmas and the intended recipient just might see it ............

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Picking Oakum?

I tried making a coiled handbag (somewhat similar to this in shape) but it didn't work out. I forgot to take a photo but it started to get a hood at one end (something like this)! One can't do much else but think whilst spending 5 hours undoing 6 hours of machine zig zag so was it therapeutic or more akin to picking oakum albeit I was in my own home and had the luxury of cottom materials? Anyway, I now have a lovely purple bowl and pot ..........

Many thanks for all your comments, encouragement & suggestions. In a way, I think you are all right. Yes, a clay type fastening would be more in keeping - I had thought of other materials but (if I'm honest) was being too lazy to go searching out other things and trying to use what was right next to me (slapped wrists!). Yes, simple might be best and, yes, I probably am being too hard on myself but then I suppose I wouldn't be me if I weren't would I? I'm trying to forget it for a bit as the more I look at it, the more I see that the binding around the top is very uneven on the inside ?????

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

One Finished ............

I'm very pleased with the bowl ............

but I'm not sure that I'm happy with the pot as a "finished" item ..............

All/any criticism welcome please. This is the second attempt at adornment - the first was button beads all around the top which didn't work out either. I quite liked the idea of machined cords but needed something to "tie" them together and now I'm not sure about it at all - I was really hoping to put these two "to bed" before starting on another. Not being in a class situation or in touch with like minded artists does have it's disadvantages at times.

On a different, more positive note, I am delighted to see that I've got a mention on Sharonb's "In a Minute ago" - that is exciting!

Sunday, 28 September 2008

A Couple More Bowls

Continuing to play around with shapes, quite a large bowl which I am really quite pleased with. My husband has tried claiming it as a fruit bowl this morning but it's not really my colours so we shall see!

I tried experimenting with a different sized stitch for the smaller pink/purple batik one but it's a mess and wish I hadn't used that fabric up now - still you don't know until you try do you?

Aside from these two bowls I don't really know what I've been doing since my last post. I did spend nearly a day wrestling with the sewing machine and cheap thread before finally admitting defeat and a day helping my mum with housework since she is recovering from a major operation but apart from that ............. time management springs to mind!

That chicken fabric that I bought the other week had a little too much print to wrap easily - still it's a bit too pretty to cut into strips really!

Thanks for taking the trouble in look in the chandlers for me Chris, I shall keep a lookout for other suitable materials whilst out and about and perhaps do a bit more experimenting!

Friday, 19 September 2008

A Pot!

Working inside the vessel to try and achieve the kind of shape I wanted was quite hard but (one very sore finger and a blunt rotary cutter later) worth it ...................

Embellishment was the plan although I quite like it how it is (apart from the scruffy stitching due to the awkwardness of the positioning).

Wednesday, 17 September 2008


The finished bowl ........

I'm impressed too (it is actually more circular than the angle of the photograph shows) considering that I never removed it from the machine from start to finish - so much so that I've been and got some more "line" (+ a small wallpaper seam roller that will be handy for working sprinkles of dye into fibres for microwave dyeing) .............

I've invested some of the Christmas present fund in some fabrics so I will now have to justify my purchase of them!

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Coiled Fabric Vessels

In a round about way, I came up with the idea to make some coiled vessels as Christmas presents. Being unable to source the cotton clothesline recommended in the book locally, I thought about experimenting with some cheap poly. stuff .........

Even though I haven't used anything else to compare it with I think it works really well - the bowl is well formed and not at all floppy (only problem being I broke one of the little pegs which attaches the extension table by leaning on it - still it's not the first time and they don't cost much thank goodness) ..........

As this one is something of a trial piece to see how things work and to estimate the lengths of cord and fabric required etc., I may just do a row or two more to finish it off - it would be a handy little bowl to keep by the side of the machine to house threads/feet etc. to save them falling to the floor during projects.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

From the Depths of Beyond

This morning we have been into the depths of beyond (well the cupboard under the stairs actually) and look what I've found ................. the hedgehog by Grace Christie! It is a photo I took with our 35mm camera at the V&A and had used for my History of English Embroidery

From my Indian research book, I spotted this little fish that I sketched (sourced from an old pen & ink drawing of Matsya, the fish avatar of Vishnu)


and also this illustration of a Kalamkari painting depicting the incarnations of Vishnu

Eager to get started on something, I'm thinking that these 10 images would interpret into textiles (perhaps pages) really well. I can see a pattern continuing here - too much thinking, zillions of ideas and not enough "doing"!

We didn't find my missing "Q Snap" frame though and have run out of places to look!

Saturday, 6 September 2008

The Road to Nowhere

This post is not really textile related and rather morbid so please don't read on if you'd prefer.

My grandad died suddenly on Wednesday and I've been reminiscing, like you do. As a child, many a Sunday would be spent fishing or rather "watching" grandad fish and, much to my despair at the time, his preferred location was "Dungey". Now Dungeness can be a delight to any adult, particularly those interested in the arts with wonderous photographic opportunities including extraordinary skies and lighting at times but, as anybody familiar with the place would know, for little girls there is nothing! For me then, unlike now, it was the "Road to Nowhere" - strong currents and steep shingle banks meant it wasn't even safe to swim! These photographs just seem so apt for this present time - The Road to Nowhere

Only the other day I was thinking about postcards or pages as some kind of journal but couldn't think of anything particularly significant to portray the current time in my life ................. now I have heaps of ideas.

I gave the postcard to my mum to help cheer her a little - she thought it was lovely so there was a purpose after all!

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Evaluating a Postcard

In my last post, I mentioned a fabric postcard swap over on "Stitchin Fingers" but I'm really not sure where I'm going with that now as there appears to be something of a split group and a choice as to whether to make one postcard or one for everybody in the group. I don't do grey very much and prefer to have some things black and white so I'm going to blog about this one whilst I think about it.


Colour - Earth tones are not really my thing but there are some wonderfully vibrant colours around us in Autumn.

Leaves and Trees - It's not quite here yet in South East England so no leaves outside for immediate inspiration. Acorns and conkers. Acorns in textiles to me immediately relates to 3 dimensional so that is out for a postcard.

Flowers that last until the autumn frosts - that would count wouldn't it?

Mushroom Picking

Hedgehogs - Googling autumn leaves finds a lovely pic of a hedgehog nestling in autumn leaves and then I recall the "pet" hedgehog I had as a child and a stitched hedgehog by Grace Christie. Regarding the latter, I thought it was a photo I took at the V & A but can't find one nor is it in "Embroidery and Tapestry Weaving" so I don't know where it is but I have seen one - haven't I?

Still thinking about childhood brings memories of the strings of onions hanging in our elderly neighbours lean-to. I have some onions in the fridge so onions it is!

Cut onions in half, draw round them to get a rough shape and then chop them up for a chilli before sketching any inner lines - artistic license for that bit then!

Machine embroidered reverse applique - metallic thread on twinkle organza burnt back to reveal gold foiled fabric below.

Bonded the gold fabric to pelmet vilene. Layering the organza over the gold fabric wasn't looking very pretty (I don't do murky) until I had four layers so four layers it was pinned to the backing (my Bernina prefers to work on a solid ground!). Thought about changing the needle before starting but decided to see how it went - the needle puckered the fabric so a new needle it was. Have I done this before - yes and will I do it again - probably!

Machining the outlines once, twice and then four times no problem. Then I decided to start machining more heavily in parts thinking that, given the size and what with the pelmet vilene, it wouldn't contour - wrong! Ok, carry on and see what happens. Started burning the organza out on one edge - bad move! Four layers of organza welded together is a bit chunky (a far cry from delicate onion skins not that that is what I wanted to particularly achieve) and my eyes are not what they were a few years ago when I last used the soldering iron (which could do with a new tip). Free and organic is acceptable but scruffy is out hence the "postcard" is now 5.75 inches across rather than the regulatory 6 inches!

More pelmet vilene bonded to the back and zig zagged edges .............. no more contours! Perhaps not quite what it was meant to be but it's something ................

Conclusion (not regarding design etc. but to me as a person)
I like working to this scale. Easily portable and storable when space is at a premium. Cost effective in that no huge outlay for materials. Not sure that two whole days stitching is very time effective for a postcard.
I love those citrus colours in that last post too Gina. Where I was going with them didn't quite work out so need to put my thinking cap on!

Monday, 1 September 2008

Idling the Time Away

Was going to do something with these but not done anything yet ................

Made some shells ............

Using publisher to trial out some suitable postcard backs in readiness for a postcard swap over on Stitchin FIngers ..................

Lots of thinking and some design ideas which I won't mention yet as possibly relevant to the postcard swap if all goes to plan (it isn't quite at the moment)!

Is it better to reply to comments on blog or as a comment? Terri of Stegart was asking about the stitches in the sun type motif. This shell? It is rayon gimp with a cotton core couched down with ordinary stranded cotton.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Some Magic Moments

In the very first creative embroidery class I attended when I learnt to stitch a flower like this (not this actual one but I do have it tucked away somewhere) ..........

During that first year of C&G when I learnt how to space dye threads (there's not much space dyeing showing here but these were to hand and there could well be something from that very week some years ago lurking in this box somewhere) .........

And today, learning how to use the camera in macro mode to take these lovely clear pictures ..........

My husband says that he did explain it to me when we first got the camera (nearly two years ago) ........... better late than never! The true colours are actually deeper than shown but they are the right colours!

Thanks for the html tip Gina - something else I will have to investigate!

Friday, 22 August 2008


Went to Hastings today and took quite a lot of pictures - those of the fishing huts weren't very successful but I quite like these ..........

Beautiful texture and folds in the cliffs

Lots of recycling in these old lobster pots

A selection of buildings cropped from a larger photo

And these boats - purely because it looks like I've (well nearly!) lifted the image straight from a glossy magazine (the sun came out!)

Am I the only one who has trouble with the spacing between lines/paragraphs/photographs with blogger (ie. inserting text between photos)? No matter how many times I edit, it has a mind of it's own and looks a mess!

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

More Cutting Up .........


Margaret was asking what camera I use - nothing fancy an Olympus FE-115 5.0 megapixel. Some days the pictures are brilliant whilst other times not so good. I suspect it may be something to do with the lighting (todays photos were taken outside and it is totally overcast) and it might help if I looked into using something other than the automatic mode at times!

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Cutting Things Up!

Although it was fun stitching "Sea of Stitches", I never was that happy with the finished article. Having no design plan and stitching whatever wherever didn't really work for me this time. I actually liked most of it but the composition just wasn't right to be of use for anything so I've started to cut it up!

He asked "Are you happy now?", I said "yes" and he replied "How long for?" ............... I think he knows me! I'm happier than I was so I think that's progress!

Monday, 18 August 2008

Kaleidoscopes from Stitched Pieces

Now this kaleidoscope tool that I mentioned yesterday really is what I call magic - my UFO is now totally transformed into finished pieces (well with perhaps just a little bit of tweaking here and there) .................

and it's picked up some wonderful depth from my little rock garden ............

and dimension (from one of my strawberry pieces) .........

and the clarity of felt, bead, paper, metallic thread and synthetic velvet from another strawberry piece ..............