Monday, November 28, 2011

Old.....or New??? [and a bit of blue]

I have been totally engrossed in texture lately.  Yes, I'm still playing with my texture workshop from Fibre in Form - it's more fun than I can explain!!   This is my latest textured piece, made into a triangular vase/vessel.  I found a bottle to fit inside which gives it weight.  Unfortunately, the artificial bloom is all I have at the moment to add to the setting.  This piece is supposed to look like it belonged in another century, so I hope that is the case upon viewing............LOL..........

This group of photos might show some of the steps that have gone into making the vessel.  I began with an A4 sized piece of the green cotton duck.  After that, well, there was Gesso, texture paste [pushed through my own hand cut stencil], mulberry bark, writing ink, bleach, gold acrylic paint, stitching, scrunched up painted metal foil, glitter, and some very sore fingers after the final stitching up stage!!  I can't recall how many times I went back to this, but it was a LOT.  I have made a pact with myself to at least have some sort of plan next time, before I start plastering stuff all over a piece of fabric and hope I can make something out of it, ie it would have been much easier to stitch together without the mulberry bark so close to the perimeters of each piece.  I've used stitched felt and pelmet vilene for the lining, and some wireform inside each piece to make sure it is really firm.

And now for the 'bit of blue'.  This is a small art canvas, textured and painted, overpainted and embellished.  I've called it Shining Seas.  Some of the under colour is showing through, with an iridescent turquoise on the top.  The heavy texture to one side is formed with scrunched cheesecloth.  It was just a bit of fun, and gave me an excuse to add some bling!!

I hope this will be of interest.  I still have more textured work planned, so watch this space..............

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

De-stashing Projects

I'm still in a mind to reduce the various materials I have 'acquired' over the years, and have managed to make a few small things to keep in the cupboard as gifts for whenever.  The little cardigan above was done with the remaining few balls of white baby wool I bought from Pick-Up Stitches earlier in the year.

This close-up should show the little cables that are worked into the pattern.  I had never done this before, and really like the look, and will be trying more patterns like this in the future.  I feel the little rectangular MOP buttons look quite alright for this.  The pattern was one I found and purchased via Ravelry.  The designer has a website too:-

Of course, I am still working on the 10+ kilos of yarn sent to me by my sister.  Another knee rug is in progress, but some of the yarns are quite thick.  I decided to make a few coathangers with some of these bulkier yarns.  I am always in need of these myself, so they've gone into use already.  They are nothing special, but feel really quite soft.  One is done in crochet, the other knitted.

And, continuing along the ever present baby theme I seem to have going at the moment, this fabric has become a double sided summer wrap.  Easy, peasy, two lengths right sides out, bind with the last little bit of fabric.  I've been carting this length around with me for years and years.  When I had babies, I always carried these with me.  You never know when you need to put your baby down 'somewhere', and that 'somewhere' might be a surface that is a little bit suss in my opinion.  Not that I'm any sort of clean freak I have to say, but at least the wrap gives you some peace of mind.  I have to add that my babies hardly ever had illness of any kind.

I am still quite busy with the watering duties, but as I type, I can hear a slight drizzle, and can smell that wonderful smell of rain on dry earth!!  We have been told to expect some rain this week, so bring it on I say.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Busy Days & Good Friends

I have been so very busy lately, mainly because the heat has set in here, and I am looking after my neighbour's garden as well as my own.  I can tell you it's a big job, and I don't remember when the pump was silent!!  We are fortunate to have the water to use on lawns and plants, so for that I am most grateful.  I hope it lasts, as we've had several days already with the mercury just reaching the 40°C mark.   Apart from that, I've had a few outings with my patchwork friends - the craft market, and our final meeting day for the year.  We had a wonderful day yesterday, lots of members present, lovely luncheon, good cheer, and wonderful sharing of each others' projects.  The collage above was one I thought might be of interest to those who follow my blog.  This William Morris applique quilt was done by our most prolific patchworker, Neitta.  Not only does she put us all to shame with the quantity, the quality of her work is amazing.  Neitta had this quilt professionally quilted by Robyn McHardie [].  The intricate quilting has to be seen to be appreciated properly.  It certainly enhances the wonderful applique that Neitta has done.  The quilt is very large.  It was difficult to include it all in one photograph.  Neitta had lots of other quilt tops to show us, so she has been a very busy girl this year.  Sadly, a number of her beautiful quilts [family gifts] were ruined by floodwater, and she has set about replacing them. 

Neitta had also been extremely busy getting things prepared for our craft market.  It was a nice day, with steady sales.  I bought these four rooster potholders [made by Neitta of course!!], for my DIL, as she just loves anything 'chooky'.  They aren't large, but just a good size for each hand [in my opinion]. 

Another article that took my eye was this quite large scrapbook/journal with rather an organic feel.  It had been done by one of our newer members, at a weekend workshop in Brisbane.  The pages are very thick and have a rather rustic feel.  I plan to use this for pasting pictures/drawings of ideas, etc., yet another art/ideas journal.  It appears to have been made using leaves, open seed pods, and lengths of organic matter.  The 'lizard' shape is recessed, and to be honest, I didn't even realize there was a 'shape' there until I took the photograph.

I am currently trying to do a bit of crochet in between my watering duties, but nothing finished of course.  I hope the work of my friends will be of interest.  I am always in awe of the talent we have in our small group, despite our isolation, and difficulties securing goods for most projects.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hand Made Trim & A Hat

A few years ago I found an interesting braid, and how-to instructions in the Australian magazine Stitches.  I needed to make a simple outfit for something, so a short, fitted, navy frock was the answer, trimmed with this handmade 'braid'.  I also thought a small cocktail style hat covered, and trimmed with the braid might work for the function.  I am not sure if you can actually see it in the photograph, but the pink fabric has silver flecks in it.  The navy is just a blotchy, unevenly dyed fabric.  I used to do a little bit of hat making when I was sewing wedding outfits [well, technically not hat making, more covering/decorating buckram shapes].  I have included a shot in the collage showing the inside lining in the hat.  The braid on the hat has been made using smaller cord, with some fine millinery wire inserted inside with the piping cord, so I could bend the trim and have it sit up where I wanted it to.

Sadly, I don't have the instructions anymore, but I thought I might try to replicate what I had done.  It's a simple matter of making two lengths of piping, in different colours.  Then one is placed on top of the other, and the two are stitched together along the extended edge.  You then trim away three of the edge fabrics, leaving just the one.  Trim it back, and then turn under and wrap it tightly across the back of the double cording.  It is blind stitched so it is not seen from the front.  The double corded length is then overstitched with a length of metallic cord.  To achieve the twisted effect, you need two identical lengths - stitched together at one end, and then twisting each length.  It is quite firm, and rather fiddly if using small cord.   Placing some invisible stitches along the twisted length will ensure stability.   I didn't really plan to make anything, but after I'd finished the twisting, I decided to cover the ends with jewellery bell caps, and attach a toggle clasp.  It's seems to have made quite a nice little Christmas bracelet.

I hope this little trim is of interest to some readers.  Sometimes it's difficult to buy a trim that suits your fabric, and making something simple might be the answer. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Autumn Fantasy

I know it's not autumn here in Australia, but the colours of a tradtional autumn are some of my favourites.  Not very long ago I purchased and downloaded online lessons to do with creating texture on textiles.  You can see the lessons here  I have not actually worked through any of the lessons in their entirety just yet, but this little art journal cover is a start.  The above photograph has been taken outside in the shade, but is not actually showing the colours as they are [more 'red' than pink].

I've called this Autumn Fantasy simply because I don't 'draw', and much of the time squiqqly lines and leaf/petal shapes are my limit, so all I can do is fantasize that I may one day magically be able to 'draw'.  Perhaps this photograph will show the little lumps and bumps that are on the surface of the fabric.  There are so many layers on this, gesso, texture paste, paint in various colours, little snippets of linen, machine stitching, glitter, and yarn [it was originally a piece of loosely woven calico].

The back view is showing the leaves/petals being blown along by autumn winds, scattered on the ground, piling up along paths, etc.  Stitching this very stiff, rubbery 'fabric' was rather a nightmare, made worse by the choice of metallic thread.  You don't want to know how many four letter words were used during the process!!

Some of the colour inspiration came from this piece of fabric that I received as a little gift from a friend some time ago.  I'd often admired it in some pieces she'd made, and she was kind enough to send some to me.  And, no, I have not used it as an inside lining for this - that is just black wool felt.

I am looking forward to working through my PDF lessons in due course, as soon as I purchase a few more provisions.  I have uploaded the last photograph which was taken out in full sun [please excuse shadow in bottom right corner!!].  It does show the colours a little differently, much brighter, and closer to how it is in real life.  Digital cameras don't photograph metallic all that well.  In case you are interested in the size, this little art journal is A5 with lots of good quality water colour paper.  I hope to make the effort to record some of my thought processes from hereon in.

Thank you all so much for actively taking an interest in my attempts to amuse myself..........LOL......