Friday, July 30, 2010

Bragging Rights

Last month I made a journal cover which I entered into the monthly challenge on the FAMM site.  The theme was 'the sun'.  I did give a more detailed account of the project in an earlier post - details here

I have the great honour of announcing now that my entry was chosen as the most creative, and today my little prize package arrived.  To say I am overwhelmed is an understatement, as many talented ladies share their work.  

You can see the site announcement here

The challenge for July is Stars and Stripes, but unfortunately, time has beaten me this month, and I won't have an entry.  I most certainly hope I can contribute again in the coming months.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Paper Play Day

For some time now I've been reading about the ability to use brown paper in one's textile/mixed media adventures.  I haven't actually tried using it in anything involving textiles to date, but after playing with this great project, I'm up for a bit more with this.

Last week I downloaded an 'instant lesson' via Sue Blueweiss' site.  The project involved using old brown paper bags that had been used for store purchases.  You can see more information about the lesson here

Of course, my first effort is nothing as professional as the finish Sue accomplishes, but I'm thrilled to bits with what I've made.  I did only use what I had in the house, hence the colour scheme.  Somewhere at a weak moment I must have purchased a packet of pale blue rose metallic A4 card stock, so it was as good a start to the project I could find, plus I had some Sapphire Treasure Gold that I thought might make an excellent highlight to the roughed up surface of the paper.

I managed to find a suitable 'blue rose' image using Clip Art, so I could decorate each section of the book.  I can't recommend this lesson highly enough.  The purchase and download was over in an instant, and I was ready to get to work with something new and exciting.  I now have my very own journal ready to record my thoughts on future projects.  I will most certainly be exploring this further, using different colours/papers etc.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Pleasant Dreams

This post has really nothing to do with stitching, but I wanted to share this cute photo.  Well, I suppose there is a stitching story.  The bedding is my very first piece of patchwork..........end of stitching story.

This is one of our dogs [at last count there were eight].  He celebrated his 13th birthday this month, and has been a hard and faithful worker for my husband.  Thankfully, now he is retired, and spending some quality time dreaming about the last round-up.

Hope this makes some people smile for the day.  The quality of the photo isn't excellent.  I had to take it through the glass in the back door, zooming in quite a bit [didn't want to wake him].

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A 'Nice' Reminder

Two years ago today I made an unfortunate error with my footing, fell, and broke my right [good] arm, very close to the shoulder.  It was the first time in my life I had ever broken a bone.  My friends know all about it, so I hope I won't bore them to death AGAIN.  It was impossible to set it in a cast, so I was sent home from the hospital with the arm in a sling, plus a packet of painkillers.  I often wonder what might have happened had I needed a pin inserted.  I had visions of me with a bottle of whisky and bone to bite on prior to surgery, a la John Wayne!!!  Ah well, it was a time to sit and plan I suppose.  The reason I'm offering this information is simply to share something I did during that time.  I was unable to stitch for a long time, as I had obviously done much more damage to my shoulder and shoulder blades than anyone had thought.

This was my first piece of very fine lace knitting [#40 crochet thread].  I could knit and crochet, as both use forearm movements, which I could manage, about at the three week mark.  I knitted, and knitted and knitted some more.   By the time I had enough knitted to make a good sized edge, I could also embroider, etc.  I had the linen, thankfully the exact colour as the crochet pays to be boring sometimes.  I also had some candlewicking thread.  

I did the hemstitched holes myself using my Bernina machine and a wing needle, then worked a row of double crochet into the holes so that I had a good foundation on which to stitch the lace.  This is one of my favourite pieces, and knitted lace one technique I just never do enough of.

Although this was a trying time, I'll always have this lovely mat to remind that there is always something positive to take out of every situation.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Revisiting the Weaving Issue

In an earlier post I shared some wavy weaving with everyone.  Some people have since asked how it is done.  I have tried to find some reference and instructions via Google, but have come up empty handed.  I feel a little reluctant to say too much here as this is not my idea, but I will share a little of my play with you.  When this was first brought to my attention [via a patchwork friend], the method explained was pretty sketchy.  I was told to take two fat quarters, place them together and make wavy cuts in them, both identical of course [and to make this easier one could purchase a special wavy ruler!!].  Then take each one and place them side by side, giving one a quarter turn.  I actually didn't want to make a big item [the other ladies were making a cushion top].  I wanted to use the technique in a much smaller way.  I used two nine inch square pieces of fabric, and cut lots of wavy lines in each.   I was afraid to deviate from the 'instructions' for fear of retribution by some far away weaving police.

However, yesterday, I decided to take two pieces of paper, both identical in size, but both rectangles.  I cut one into wavy pieces on the short side, the other on the long side, just cutting where I felt like it.  I can now tell you, this works, ie any wavy lengths seem to weave into one another, so if you feel like being a bit rebellious, get out your paper and have a go before you move onto vliesofixed fabric...............

As you can see here, I have quite an attractive piece of wavy woven paper.  

Since playing with this technique, I've been reminded of something else I saw in a magazine some years ago, but to date have not tried.  If any of you buy a magazine/booklet called Magic Patch, you may have issue #19.  There is an article and instructions in this magazine for a technique called Mesh Work [Japanese].  It's essentially to promote Clover products, but I am leaning towards trying this technique using vliesofixed fabric strips.  I have seen a book available for purchase, so will include this link for The Craft Mailbox.

I hope some of this has been helpful, and please don't be afraid to play.  I'm off to do some embroidery, and next week I must try this Mesh Work, it looks like having possibilities.......

Monday, July 19, 2010

Scrap Quilt

I had to wash one of my quilts on the weekend, so decided I might share it with some of the ladies who visit my blog.

This scrap quilt was adapted from a pattern I saw in an American Quilting Magazine [dating back to pre-2000].  I love scrap quilts, and really should make another. The biggest drawback is that machine quilting for me is becoming too hard, and I refuse to have them quilted by someone else.  The original design had the blank areas quilted, but I had not long purchased a sewing machine with the embroidery unit, so decided to give it a really good try.  I had to hoop this up 247 times!!!!   It may have been easier to embroider the fabric prior to assembly, but to be honest, I didn't think about it until I was actually confronted with all of those blank squares.

Each of the machine embroidered motifs has been stitched with randomly coloured rayon threads for the flowers, and the same green throughout for the leaves/stems.  It is one of the prettiest quilts I've made, and I don't think I'd change a thing if I were to do it again.  The floral fabric used for the outer border is also the backing fabric.  This design is so simple, and it's just the off-set placement of each square that forms this zig-zag effect.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Easily Distracted!!!!

 As previously mentioned, I've signed up for an online course hoping to improve my photo enhancing and design skills.  I've received two 'lessons' so far, and still feel rather overwhelmed with the terms and commands.  To be honest, I think I just freak out and find it hard to follow the set tasks!!!  I was sent a lovely photo the other day, so decided to use it for the exercise in lesson two. This pretty anenome was perfect.  I like open faced flowers for this purpose.  I just thought I'd share what I had achieved.  Now, don't think this is supposed to be what the lesson stated.  It's so totally NOT.  I got distracted when my cropped image wouldn't fit into my 'new' window, and when I saw only a portion of the flower, in a small rectangle, well......................  All I can say is I'd love to transfer the 'purple'  image to fabric and play a stitching game.   Having not long received a parcel containing lots of lovely purple fabrics, I think I'm finding it hard to get my mind off that colourway.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Camel Hair Scarf

It seems ages since I've posted anything.  Family has been keeping me a little busy of late, but I do have a little something to show everyone.  I love working with this lovely soft baby camel hair.  This scarf pattern is very easy to do, nice when you just want something to do in front of the TV at night.  It is almost long enough [had a fitting on the weekend..................LOL.........yes, we have scarf fittings at our house!!].  I'm knitting this supposedly 8ply on 6.5mm needles, just to have a slightly looser tension, keeping the feel a little softer.  There will be a tassel at each end.  This pattern was in an Australian Knitting magazine, and is a simple garter stitch, increase one, decrease, and so on, which makes a 'chevron' effect.

I have become interested in the many and varied fibres on the market today, and can't believe how many exciting products we have at our finger tips.  I saw this site some time ago, but had forgotten about it:    I can see some time wasted [??], and money going out of my account!!!  After knitting with bamboo fibre a few years ago, and more recently using bamboo quilt wadding, I'm quite keen to try some of the newer products available.  I hope you find something interesting on this site.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Needlebook Winner - Congratulations

Well, ladies, for me July 7 is almost over, so I'll put the winner up here tonight.

Congratulations to Robin Mac whose name was drawn out of the hat.  Robin I will contact you regarding your address, etc.  You stated that you were drawn to the March needlebook, so I hope you are happy with it when it arrives.

Thank you everyone for taking such an interest in my crazy 2010 challenge.


Stained Glass Applique

Today I finished a piece I'd started a long time ago.  This is a long wallhanging panel done in the stained glass technique.  The pattern was in Australian Patchwork and Quilting [Gina Burgess design].  From memory this was started in 2003.

Now that it's finished, I am so happy.  I still like it as much as the day I saw it in the magazine.  Much of the fabric I have dyed myself, the exception being the pale lemon [window], and maroon border pieces which are commercial fabrics, and the striking purple/orange window border, which is a Dianne Johnston hand dye.  

I had some difficulty deciding on a backing for this.  I knew I needed to quilt using black and maroon, so required a dark and busy piece in order for the quilting to be 'lost'.  I had a piece of Liberty I'd bought from a small swatch, but on it's arrival decided I would just not wear it for the blouse I had in mind at the time, and so it sat in my cupboard [since 1999!!].  It seems to work, and all I can say is why did it take me so long to have this on my wall.

Tonight I shall be doing the draw for the needlebook give-away.  Blogger has decided that it is not yet July 7, so it will be better to wait.  I will post the name as quickly as possible.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Using the Stash

Thank you all for commenting so favourably on my last few posts.  I think I'm addicted to weaving!!!  Yesterday I decided to try 'straight' weaving and use some of the many things I have in my stash.  You may recall  the post where I showed the slightly altered rose photos.  I printed the orange rose onto some Inkjet Printable Silk, the image not filling the whole A4 page, but almost.  Of course, it wasn't as vibrant as I wanted, so I fused it to a piece of my orange hand-dyed fabric which did intensify the colour.  I trimmed the edges to the photo, and also cut the same sized piece from a lovely little snippet sent to me by Dian [Beach Textiles]   Each of the pieces were then cut into half inch strips ready for weaving.  

After stitching, foiling and trimming I am happy with this little address book cover.  The stitching is done with an elongated serpentine machine stitch, the foiling is a bronze, and surprise, surprise, I had just the bead I needed, some copper wire for coiling, and a few more round orange beads to add to the end of my coils, not to mention some distorted orange crystal organza that needed a home................   Now, all of this has been done by one who not long ago confessed to 'not really liking orange'.  Yeah right!!! 
I hope these close-ups will show the beading, and curly wire treatment, as well as the inside of the cover showing in part, the lovely pattern on the fabric that Dian sent me.  It was only a small piece, but I'm thrilled with how it has given this altered photo a more pixellated look.

Tracey asked where I'd seen the wavy weaving technique.  I was introduced to it by one of my patchwork group friends at our sewing day.  To do the wavy weaving, you need both pieces to be an identical square.  I must Google it and see what other pretty ideas I can find. 

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Wavy Weaving

Not long ago I was introduced to this technique - wavy weaving.  It's a simple process, but creates an interesting background.  I used black and white silk dupion for the weaving, then free machined with black/silver metallic Madeira thread.  I always wanted to make the trim a different colour to the background.  I found this rather 'loud' fluoro pink polyester organza in a little store, so thought it might work, as I had a rather glitzy hot pink metallic thread in my stash.  I fused two layers of organza with Gossamer Fuse [The Thread Studio], hooped it and made three little five- petalled flowers.  After cutting these free, they looked exactly what I wanted.  I knew I had some rather bright beads left over from something my daughter made a few years ago.  The metallic pink stitching gave it a bit more movement, but it just needed something else.  Thank goodness for feathers!!!!!  This ever so soft pink maribou gave it a party feel to me.  I have fallen in love with making these little pieces of 'art', but have to admit to taking far too long to achieve my goals.  There was enough of the weaving to cut two pieces for ATC's, but I might shelve them for a while so I can finish some other projects.

Fabric Dyeing/3CS_TOM

The girls over on 3CS have us experimenting with fabric dyes this month.  They always come up with achieveable and interesting projects.  I have done this type of work before, and now I really should make something from some of my pieces to show I actually USE 'stuff'.

All of the pieces I have pictured here are dyed using Procion dyes.  I mostly use white homespun, washed to remove the sizing, then soaked in a Soda Ash solution, prior to adding to the dye bath [fabric damp].

You can see some colour gradation pieces, as well as an assortment of various colours.  I have not taken the time to weigh and record anything I've done, which in some instances is a shame, as several colours I'd love to re-create.