Saturday, 28 March 2015

A worthy creation

I love expressing myself ( or trying to) by slapping paint, fabric & stitches about but I sometimes feel a little guilty that it might be considered occasionally to be a frivolous pursuit.

So I was delighted to be asked by one of my customers to make her a functional, useful & well, worthy, padded gauntlet to protect her Ulna bone when playing the guitar .

You'd have been proud of my measurements & trying to think in 3D - the main padding is in the middle panel, above; 2 layers of soft batting & thin foam in the middle. One side has just 2 layers of batting & the other I thought of thinning the whole thing a little & cut one layer of batting out before I sewed up that side. I'll just have one layer each side next time.

Of course, it never occurred to me, this being my first heavily padded item, that the padding would add over an inch to the measurements so I added a panel, above on the right to which I stitched the 3 strips of Velcro (easier to manage than buttons & loops & not noticeable if worn under the sleeve). Amazingly I thought of the solution to this problem  (I know, obvious to some) while laying in bed the morning my customer was to arrive for a fitting - I don't usually think in the morning - & true to form (I did have B&B prep) I was putting the last few stitches in as she arrived. She was delighted & I really felt I had made something very useful.

A warm welcome to new followers, it's been a while so I'm delighted! Do leave me a comment so I can visit you at yours.

I've been making cards, too.

 Above turned into these, below, ready to mount (the colorful background papers needs stitching)

 I thought I'd photographed the flower stamp I made but I did take a pic of the dried seaweed, below that inspired the stamp I cut out of foam. Fiddly tho. 

 I've been watching the wildlife on the shore in front of the house, geese & deer, while getting the place ready for the start of the season.

 I even managed a trip up the Island to Skyeworks Gallery last week with a top up order

 Isle Ornsay lighthouse

& had to get my camera out to take these pics on a bright clear day with fresh snow on the hill. 

Cuillin Hills

then a delicious lunch in the Isle of Skye Baking Co below the Gallery  (& cake ;)

Sunday, 1 March 2015

A sprinkling of snowdrops

I've been working on some textile pieces around the theme of snowdrops. I am enthralled by them & I was trying desperately to finish them before the snowdrops disappeared!

Above is a narrow sketchbook given to me by a friend - I gessoed the brown pages & will use it as a flower book, as they come out in my garden, helped hopefully by the inspiring DMTVvideos by Linda & Laura Kemshall that I subscribe to, small bite size clips that I plan to work thru.....

All the rest of the photos are looking decidedly sepia - I guess they are that color & I don't always have access to good daylight ;) Above I layed out & loosely stitched down some varying textures of white, gold & lacy recycled fabrics - I didn't use bondaweb as it's getting hard for me to stitch into.

 I'd been round the shops in Edinburgh when we had a stop over picking up the Youngest for our journey to Wales for Christmas & found this wonderful collection of lace for a very reasonable price

Above is a 'small hanging', about 5" x 13" In the middle, not desperately clear, is a sprig of Pussy Willow using scrim & bits of tea dyed silky fabric for the 'whisps'. I may need to define it somehow & also add a couple of stems to make the snowdrops 'nod'

Above is an abstract version, needs more hand stitching, (about 5 x 5" as are the next 2)

 I made a total of 15 little drop petals, using the miss shapen ones for my sample piece. I learned to use a stablising fabric for the 'silky' ones as they obviously just curve in - I did stuff the one in my sample piece, a little bit of stmpwork! I've used lacey bits too in the willow above.

 I left the middle petal half free & knowing someone might take a peek used a textured fabric for the underside.

 There's gold organza for the top or crown  of the flower.

 A couple of small brooch sized patches & all the bits I cut the petals from I turned into a flower

Here it is in my 'main' sketchbook page - a drawn & gold painted layout - oh how I love that gold acrylic! a ref pic from a mag - I'm trying to sort my piles of gardening mags useful for reference but I reaslise you just don't need to keep them ALL ;) & my sample piece about 4 x 4 so good to be able to touch what you've made in your sketchbook when the 'real' pieces are either covered up or sold, what a favour I did myself when I started to make samples!

I'm off the the Creative Stitches Show this week at the Glasgow SECC, which they've changed to the Quilting, Stitching & Sewing show or something  like that, can't wait, books to buy, stitchers to see, it'll be fun!

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Winter Snows

I had my first 'snow day' of the winter off work & got such a lot done! I looked out for the gritter but for a very small road down to my house on a Sunday it wasn't very likely. ;)

I've been playing with a lovely book lent to me by a friend - Stitched Textiles: Flowers by Bobby Britnell  The 2 pics above were made based on her samples, not actually an 'exercise' like the drawings below - I think I just jumped right in there! I've also been involved in artchain & used these images for my first day.

BB has you draw a flower/seed head (or both, of course)  observing everything you can about  it - she used honesty & as it's one of my favorites I drew the dried sprig from my studio.

Here I've used my non dominant hand, must press harder! Scuse the bleed from the next page, they are very absorbent pages in the sample sketch book I'm using. I'll come back later & do an ink wash & a charcoal as suggested.

These 2 pages are changing the white ground in various ways. I've done most of them before but hadn't used my gold acrylic (top) or ink (bottom) till now, just delicious on top of wrinkled tissue paper & getting a sketch book together based on a borrowed book makes you actually do these things.

I had a great time during a power cut early this year making a lovely mess with acrylic, stamps pastels & spent dyes a la Hillary Beattie  (why do I have to wait till the lights go off?) - I'm enjoying her book The Gentle Art of Gelliping on mono printing but I haven't succumbed to a 'Gelliplate' yet - my gelatin plate lives in the deep freeze!

Here's in finished form one of the many cards I enjoyably scraped together - I do batches for my family & friends birthdays, so quick & accessible & you can't see it very well but there are a couple of stitches in there. Some even end up on the studio shelves.....

I also got a small hearts order finished, must make some more for my Etsy shop for 2 weeks time!

Sunshine above this morning

followed by a mini blizzard a few minutes later & on & off all day.

Snow drops in the snow where they should be

& even a little deer at the bottom of the garden searching for something to eat earlier in the week, hmmmmm...

Friday, 5 December 2014

Where have all the leaves gone?

It's amazing the time passing thing, one minute you've got your nose to the summer season grind, the next you look up & all the leaves have gone & there's a sugar dusting of snow on the hills. That's why it's so important to look up I do

I so wanted to be involved in the Workshop on the Web sketchbook auction, a fundraiser for Teenage Cancer Trust but I had a craft fair or 2 to finish (& start!) things for. Every spare moment had to be for making, only because I'd left just a few too many things till the last moment......

 Then I slipped down the wooden stairs, only 4 of them, in my wooly socks.... bruised below my bum & bruised above my bum but I seemed to leave my arm behind & gave my shoulder such a good wrench! Missed my coxyx, which was good, didn't break my ankle in 3 places or my back, even better (the stories you hear... I carry my sock with me now ;)

 One week on & lots of pain killers later I got the 'coughing your guts up' leurghy, goodness, more painkillers for the splitting head & chest! & more reason not to make a sketchbook.

At last, a real day off no pressures at all! Inspired by the beautiful books I saw coming in to the WoW fb page & the fact that I wanted to be part of it, I started to make one.

I had to repurpose an already made cover - I would never have been able to start from scratch with 2 days till deadline...... I had thought I would need to make myself a copy, another impossibility! I found myself sorting thru bits & pieces in the studio, as tho I was really making a sample sketchbook, by tidying up, really. I thought, don't pressure yourself with brand new creations, use what you have & look at your own sketchbooks.

 & I'd always wanted to make a hairy messy dangly jangly fabric ribbon spine on a book. My fingers are starting to complain about even a simple pamphlet stitch so I just tied the pages in with a mix of ribbon, pulling the needle thru with pliers - it WILL go thru! Then & found & made a couple, of buttons & beads with big holes that big ribbon will go thru & tied lots of knots & I seem to have done it!

I colored a few pages, added a textile sample, drew some flowers. I found a gelatin print, stuck it in & drew some of the shapes I could see in the print. I'm always printing with Acer leaves - which reminds me, when the DH was in Ireland recently sorting our his lovely aged uncle, he sent me a pic of the Acer in his garden, just so vibrant & I asked him to bring me back some leaves. He kindly dried them out on a wood burning stove for a couple of hours, bless him & later phoned for advice ;)

on the fabric leaf print I stitched gold veins & on the paper print I drew black lines & stitched in an organza swatch. I found a 15 minute heart collage I'd made ages ago ( so much sketchbook stuff tucked away in my studio!) left a blank space boxed in with oil bar coloring & as I turned to leave the studio I saw on the floor, honestly! the perfect row of cut out hearts & thought that would fit nicely.

I've called this book 'things I love'' so I can put ANYthing I love in it & I couldn't do with out flowers. I carefully, just with straight stitch, made a shiny silky flower & on the opposite side drew 3 simple flowers in black & gold. I found part of a lino print which would only fit sideways, but that's ok,  thought about a piece I'd made before with grasses & drew a few strands. I filled a double page spread with a wildly colored circle piece - it could have been cut into lots of cards but I could spare it. then I found a little experiment of a commercial stamp on fabric, tidied one up with a thin marker & even tho I thought it might be too complicated & detailed I drew a version on the opposite page. Probably because I'd already made a mess with water soluble crayons I was able to do it, just simply

 hearts & birdies, I finally got to make a bird for this winter's craft fairs, really cheered me up after being in the wars!

There's nothing like the feeling of having no pressure, just for once, to get on & do something you love. I missed the actual auction but I might have my sketchbook  added to Maggie's blog over the weekend, what an honor that would be, to be part of something that helps others. Feeling better now.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

A Dyeing Day

Following on from my last post I finally drew the honeysuckle, the very last one of the year.

Quite subtle, a little tentative but I'm pleased. I asked the DH's opinion & he said it was very good but didn't know what flower it was when pressed, but he reassured me he wasn't a gardener. Does it become a bad representation if someone can't tell what it is or can they enjoy it anyway? I'll go with the latter I think.

 my very first dyed threads!

What a fabulous day I had last week at Jenny's 

When I mentioned at the beginning of the year that I'd never dyed anything, was terrified at the idea of mixing chemicals & how could I possibly manage it she kindly said we could have a go at hers.

Of course being busy peeps, its taken us this long. We live on the same island but being an hour & a 1/2 & about 55 miles away didn't help. Above is the sign to her wonderful patchwork & quilting shop, a real treasure trove.

What a view even on one of the wettest, mistiest day of the year!

Jenny had got EVERYthing ready, dyes, spoons, tubs, newspaper, pfd fabric (oh, hark at me!)

most importantly lots of bags in which to put the dye & the fabric in ready to agitate & stew...or is it batch?

above, Jenny's rich selection.

 No 4 left had better mottling on the underside so I cheated & turned it over ;)

Well, I was taking this quite seriously & was determined to keep a record of the 'Exchange Dying' session.We'd done wonderful some warm up exercises of scrunching, dripping & folding, random & so quick! But this was serious stuff, something you could repeat & I was determined to listen & have at the end of it the start of a sample book the same quality as Jenny's. So, exchange dyeing is starting with 2 colors - I just chose my favourites, turquoise & pink (Magenta Red) totally forgetting they'd make an amazing purple when mixed. What I wasn't prepared for was the stunning colors in between.

There are probably many measurement mixes but the first & last color is the pure color & you gradually add more of one & less of another & half way thru you add less of one & more of the it? Exactly, that's why I had to be shown first hand & taken thru slowly by an excellent teacher. So I numbered my pieces, just to be sure I was correct as to which they were when they came out of the wash the other end. Best way that I thought would really be pemanent was to stitch the numbers on ;) a nice rest from rinsing - oh, goodness, the rinsing , I'd heard about that..... The right hand side of the above 2 pics is the 'flat' color, the first in the bag that sucks up most of the dye then you put a second piece in & get the ghost color, well of course those are my favourites, delicious mottled resisted parts of fabric.

some of these are wipe up cloths & I promise I didn't nudge that pot over on purpose....!

I love how the flats & the mottles go together, one of the main points of the exercise, of course

I can't work out which is my folded piece but we did sprinkling, painting & more dripping after the exchange dyeing. Then I nicked some of Jenny's colors & got fabulous lime greens, quite delicious!

 I've long been inspired by a piece I won in a giveaway from Linda Stokes, some years ago & have been constantly impressed with the work of my blog buddies who dye & now I feel I'm nearing really making my own hand dyes! So exciting.

I couldn't let the 'spent dye' go to waste, as I poured the first bag down the sink I thought...paper!

I got flat color, drew with the lid of the containers & smooshed, patted & rolled the crumpled fabric & threads about (will I ever untangle them!)

saving some for later

My stack, my very own stack of hand dyes. Can you tell how grateful I am to Jenny?