Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August is finished

I am thrilled to share my August needlecase [and August is still not quite finished].  Another 'A' word had me puzzled until one day whilst browsing StitchinFingers, I noticed a beautifully worked bookmark stitched by one of the members who I am now pleased to call my friend.  Cindy Brown showed us a piece worked in Aztec Stitch which I had never seen.  You can see some of Cindy's work on her blog here     After a little Google search, I was fortunate to find a PDF download with suitable instructions.

Basically, you are working on a withdrawn grid.  Again,  the only 'new' purchase for this project was the wool felt.  Somehow, in all of my stash, I found just the right shade of evenweave to match the shading in the multi-dyed fabric, and I knew I remembered buying some lovely NeedleWorX overdyed threads at some stage.  It just took me a little time to find where it was hiding.

I hope these photos do the lining fabric and the stitching justice.  This project really didn't take me long to complete.  I am extremely happy with it and would most definitely use this Aztec Stitch again, as I found the wrapping/carrying quite relaxing.


I must thank Cindy for sharing her work and bringing this to my attention, and I really have to think about making some sort of start on September's effort................

Saturday, August 28, 2010

New Family Member

There has been great excitement this week.  I won't make this a long post, but thought I'd share this photo of one of the foals which arrived a few days ago.  Our son and daughter in law are very much into country horse racing, and all that goes with it of course.  It keeps them very busy, but they enjoy it so much.  They both have full time jobs, and I honestly don't know how they keep up the pace.  Not sure on this little one's 'racing' name, but it appears her 'stable' name will be Zara.  This photo arrived via my Inbox this morning.  I believe another is expected any day and may have arrived overnight.  Don't you just love baby animals!!!!!!!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fabric and Paper Collage

I have to show off this little box that I've just completed.  This was a fun project and I have more of the 'fabric' left over to make a journal cover and some bookmarks.   You can find a free PDF download here

I am enjoying some of these paper and fabric projects, and can't speak highly enough of the excellent instructions given by Sue Blueweiss in her notes.  This little collage was created by printing out images of old maps, which were then torn apart and fused to wool felt.  I then covered the 'fabric' with a small amount of crystal shred, covered with a fine blue chiffon scarf.  Some straight stitching was done to represent 'roads'.  I didn't make as many layers as Sue stated in her free project sheet.  The lining is a crinkled polyester evening fabric that I had from my dressmaking days, and I thought I should put the little spiral sequin trim on the top, as it looked a tad bare to me. 

I do hope you enjoy seeing this, and I shall try to make up the remaining fabric soon into the above mentioned projects, which of course I will share.   

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Paint, Glue, Glitter & More

I've been wanting to try my hand at textile bead making for quite a while, so yesterday I decided to just do it, and continued with some more this morning.  Those of you who know me, know I really don't like anything to do with glue, so it's not easy for me to get into this sort of thing.  However, I have to say, I had some fun, and I've made a few little textured pieces that might be useful for some mixed media projects.  I took the easy way out and made some paper ones first.  These are made from heavy brown paper [almost card stiffness], which I coloured with crayons, painted with metallic folk art paint, with glitter added after rolling.  They have been sealed with ModPodge.  I think a much brighter result might be achieved by using lighter coloured paper, where the colour will be stronger.

The next experiment was using Kunin felt, stitched with metallic thread.  It was then rolled onto a satay stick with some purple silk dupion.  I like the broken/crackled surface, which was also painted with glue prior to rolling in glitter.  These are really cool.

Okay, so now I'd found my sea legs, I was off!!!  The next thing to try was Tyvek.  I painted several strips with iridescent folk art paints, and Lumiere metallics.  This batch was done using Lumiere Pewter on the Tyvek, and rolled with black wool felt, later rubbed with Sapphire Treasure Gold, and the obligatory glitter to finish off.

The last batch I'm quite pleased with because I managed to be much more judicious with the heat gun.  These little gems are painted Tyvek, rolled with purple silk, distressed a little, and rubbed with Rose Gold Treasure Gold, but I stayed away from the glitter this time!!!!    They are a much tighter and neater roll for my liking. 

I want to try more with Kunin felt stitched prior to rolling with contrasting coloured silk.  I like the look of those, the way the stitching is left after the felt is pulled away by the heat. 

Monday, August 16, 2010


Once again the ladies on 3CS organized an interesting experimental technique for us this month, well, in a day or so we'll be onto the next one!!!  However, this sunprinting was fun.  I'd never done any of it before, so welcomed the opportunity to play.  This piece was painted with a yellow/blue Setacolor mix, then masked with a thread doiley and some string.  I have to confess, I didn't really like the shade of green, but hoped I'd manage to camouflage that when the time came to use the created piece.

The first thing that came to mind was crystal fibre and black tulle, which I do think has worked to some degree.  By using my postcard 'window' I thought I could 'see' a flower lurking in the background, waiting to be enhanced by some stitching.   I am forever in need of dimension when doing these projects, can't make anything without just another layer.  After stitching the flower centre circle, it just needed a little bit more.  These little spidery 'centres' were created by stitching onto stretched, ie hooped Solvy.  I only actually used one of them, as the three looked far too bulky, even for me.  But, as with all of these experiemental pieces, the other two little green/black 'spiders' will go into the tomorrow jar and live to work another day.

And, now to the end result.  A few well chosen beads, yet another shade of green for the satin stitch edge, and here is a very green postcard with just a hint of a flower sitting quietly in the background........................

Thank you too ladies for your comments regarding my knitting.  I am only knitting for something to do at night.  I have lots of leftover balls of wool and thought some small items might help pass the time instead of nodding off to sleep in front of the TV.  I must find out where I can send these little things, perhaps a childrens' hospital might be able to use them.   We have a very active Ladies Auxilliary for our local hospital, so a quick phone call one day will point me in the right direction I'm sure.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I'm still around!!!

This week seems to have completely disappeared on me!!!  Thank you all very much for the positive comments on the July needlecase.  I am pleased to report the grey felt turned up, along with the lovely apple green ordered at the same time.  Somehow it just disappeared.  I have to say a special thank you to Catherine [Catherine's Place] for getting to the bottom of the dilemma and organizing a second order for me.  She has some very nice products and I will be putting in another order ASAP.  I have to admit though, after the grey felt arrived, I am happy that I used the black felt in the July needlecase.  I think the contrast is more striking.

I have made a start on August's needlecase, but I find I've been needing something to do at night, something that is not so taxing on my eyesight.  These little toddlers' beanies are quick to make and use left overs. 

I thought I might also share this pram cover with everyone.  I knitted this using homespun wool.  It's not the 'softest' cover I've ever come across, but it should be very warm.  This little 4-row pattern creates a waffle effect, and was very easy to knit.  I do hope the close up is clear enough.    Both this and the beanie pattern are in a book I've had for years - All you can Knit and Crochet for Babies [Golden Hands publication].  I really like the styles in it, despite it being quite old. 

Monday, August 9, 2010

Jasper & Janina..............

I have finally finished the July needlecase.  It was always going to cause me concern, these J months have been rather difficult for me to decide on a theme.  I purchased a fat quarter of fabric earlier in the year with the needlecases in mind, and when it came to finally using this particular lining, I decided grey might be the go.  To brighten up my journey, I kept making up little stories as I planned/stitched.  Perhaps this one could quite easily be the start of a childrens' book in years to come, as I've given it the title 'Jasper and Janina meet Jasmine in July'............  I know, it's weird!!!  Why??  Well, I love the semi-precious stone Jasper, and one of it's forms is Mexican Zebra Jasper which conveniently shows black/white/greying.  I've been trying to use a stitch or technique that starts with the same letter as the month in which I'm working, so the story was born.  I've used Janina Stitch, which is just another name for Roumanian Stitch [it is.........it says so in Mary Thomas' Stitch Dictionary!!!].  Janina is more of a 'band' stitch and doesn't really lend itself to shapes well.  Okay, enough already................. 

The Jasmine flower [it's my flower so I can call it a Jasmine......LOL] has been done by fusing two layers of grey crystal organza together prior to satin stitching around the petals.  I then padded the centre with felt circles, over which the Janina stitch was worked, and finally the Jasper bead was attached.   The 'stamens' have also been worked in Janina stitch, and what piece would be complete without some beadwork.....

I very much wanted to use grey felt for the 'pages', but alas my grey felt parcel just hasn't arrived, and I really needed to have this finished.  The black piping on the outside has possibly given me permission to use black felt for the needle pages.  Using these bland colours and one stitch in particular was a trial, but I think it has added something to the mix of needlecases I've been working on.  I must now move on to the August one, and possibly a little more colour.  

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Mystery Quilts

I thought I would share some mystery quilts I have done over the years.  This first one was from an Australian Patchwork & Quilting magazine.  We were given only fabric requirements, and a little information on which fabrics might be used where, so I was buying a tad on the 'blind side'.  Thankfully, yellow is a colour I really like, and this quilt turned out to my satisfaction.  It was fun to work along with each month's magazine instalment, and I regret not buying enough fabric to make the quilt bigger.  I machine quilted it myself on my Bernina, with the yellow area being stitched with all over stippling.   The block used has been a favourite of mine for many years, but I didn't realize it was going to be so until the final assembly.

This pink/blue quilt is not finished as yet.  I keep wondering if I should add another border with some applique to make it a little larger.  I have a lot of the blue, and a plain, pale blue chambray fabric that goes very well with the quilt as a whole, so that might work for a second border [with applique], using the already used blue as the last border...................  I didn't buy anything for this one, preferring to use fabrics I found in my stash.  If I had my time over, I would not put the pink in the same place, as I feel it overwhelms the quilt. 

On close inspection you can see the pattern resembles a log cabin with 'corners'.  Again, it was a fun day out with my patchwork friends, but I'm a tad disenchanted with the PINK.   We really don't need quilts here in SE Queensland, and most of the time my quilts are folded up in the cupboard.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Nature's Inspiration

I can't help but marvel at the unusual and interesting forms we see in nature.  As each of us strive to make that perfect bullion rose, or evenly stitched leaf or tree trunk, I wonder why.  Sometimes beauty in nature is not always because of perfection, and sometimes it's there when you least expect it.  I have this photograph to share showing 'beauty'.  I had never really LOOKED at this rose much.  It blooms well, has no perfume, and I don't know it's name, but a few days ago I was searching for something to 'snap', which gave the opportunity to LOOK at it more closely.   The morning was quite foggy which always yields something interesting.  On close inspection I could see that the centre of this lovely rose seemed to have the petals forming a spiral.  Thinking this might be something interesting to work with on my photo altering gig, I zoomed in on the rose, and then zoomed in again.  The very fine droplets of moisture took on a life of their own in the zoom mode, reminiscent of pictures I've seen where violets have been brushed with egg white and sprinkled with castor sugar.  Perhaps you may see something different in them.


I also found another interesting object with great potential.  This piece is probably more in tune with the not so perfect or beautiful.  The cactus plant abounds here, taking some time to be destroyed by the cochineal bug.  When you see the sick and dying plants, you notice the fibrous tissue that makes up the inside of the plant.  I picked up this small piece and photographed it because it seemed a great source of inspiration for some machine lace stitching on water soluble fabric.  I can't wait to hopefully stitch something as interesting and delicate as nature has produced!!!