Saturday, March 31, 2012

Art Journal Cover done!!

I've been fiddling and messing around with a piece of 'fabric paper' for ever so long.  It was just not telling me anything, but the last few days saw me finally put it all together to make a little slip cover for an A5 sketch book.  

It began as a piece of unryushi paper, fused to lutradur, rusted with steel wool/vinegar, then overpainted with some weak turquoise dye.  You can see the unryushi paper here.  I purchased it from Amazing Paper last year, and wish I had some more.  After the painting, I sprinkled some coarse sea salt over it.  Unfortunately, some of the salt seemed to be trapped within the fibres, and every time the weather was a little damp, well, that's what happened to my fabric/paper.  I think I may finally have managed to get it to dry out, but I've put a sealer over the finished cover, just in case.  This photograph shows it before I've added the stitching - you can also see below that the sealer has added some warmth to the colours.

Sadly, the warm glow isn't shown so well in the photographs.  The little specks of foil do shine, but it's really hard to get a good photograph.  This is the back of the cover.

I've added a little decoration to the front.  I simply hate picking up a covered book without something to identify the front!!  I've used real copper shim, forming a diamond, with a little window, added some metallic machine stitching, as well as some little copper metallic beads.  The copper shim has been stitched to the surface using an open machine zig-zag.  I felt I needed to cover the edges/points, as it is quite sharp if you touch it the wrong way.

Before attaching the shim, I distressed it a little, using a ball stylus.  This was sufficient to take that 'new' look away from it.  I used a little glue to keep it on the work while I stitched.

Lastly, I managed to find a piece of fabric in the stash, just enough to use for the inner sleeve/lining.  This was fused to pelmet vilene, the slip pockets added, and then the two pieces were stitched together using a very close wide machine satin stitch, in tan rayon thread.  It has a lovely feel about it too.  I'm really happy with it.  The design is simple, not overpowering, but enough to draw one's attention to it.   I've really enjoyed working with this, altering one surface so as to render it almost unrecognaizable.  I have been playing with these surfaces since purchasing the book 'Fabulous Surfaces', by Lynda Monk.  The purchase of this book was also followed up by some online lessons, further adding to the fun.  These were conducted free, via the site  I can fully recommend the concept to anyone. 

Thank you as always for all your support.  Your comments are always welcome.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

TAST2012 - Page 3

Thankfully, I've caught up on my TAST samples.  I don't want to get behind if at all possible, and of course, I only want these samples to be a simple teaching aid, nothing fancy, just the basics.  Well, what you see on Page 3 will reinforce that attitude because that is what you get, plain and simple...........LOL.

Week 9 saw us working couching, something I've done without really thinking about it.  It's always just been a means to an end, ie get the thick/bulky thread onto the background!!  Of course, it comes into it's own in Jacobean work, where all sorts of patterns are created by varying the laid threads.  Mine is VERY basic.

We then 'progressed' to running stitch, and another adventure with so many possible variations.  In my sample I worked a section using two shades of the one colour.  This particular 'pattern darning' is called damask darning.  We often take this very easy stitch for granted.

The whipped and woven wheels are always most exciting.  I really should have worked my sample in a hoop prior to cutting out the little piece.  I didn't do much with this, simply because time has not been kind to me lately.  I like whipping, and I adore weaving, and like to use both in my work.

The last stitch was something new to me, albeit a variation on twisted chain stitch.  It is called barred or alternating barred chain.  It's lovely to work, and I can see I'll be making use of it in the future.  These lines by themselves form quite a nice pattern, useful for borders, thorny stems, and such.  I even admired the way the thread looked at the back!!  If you would like to see how the stitch is executed, there are some examples here.  You will also be able to view some of the more creative ways the TAST2012 participants have used it. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Books, Babies & Birds

Thank you all so much for embracing 'the purple bag'.  I'm thinking it may be time to actually use it - everyone has been so supportive, so perhaps I'll be brave.............LOL..........   My sewing group met last week, with ten members present, and everyone had a pleasant and productive day.  Some ladies made a start on their premmie quilts, and some have already finished a number.  I hope this isn't boring everyone, but I managed to finish another little one, in crochet this time - 8 ply acrylic.  It's very soft to the touch, and should be a nice keepsake for someone.  I like this little pattern, starting in one corner, and working on the diagonal.  It gives a lovely relief design on completion.

My friend Neitta gave me a box of old books and patterns.  It was amazing to see so many that I have myself, or have had over the years.  I am very interested in this one, which has some detailed instructions on several different stitches.............well, the names of the stitches are 'different', but they seem to have been given new names now.  One that comes to mind is 'Alston Stitch', an elaboration on chain stitching, and another called 'Flake Stitch', which we know as thread painting/long and short.  I find it interesting that the terms have changed.  There are also some lovely crochet and tatting patterns in the latter part of the booklet.  I would be interested to know if anyone else has, or has seen this publication.

As it had started to rain prior to my leaving for home, hubby phoned to let me know I should return via a slightly different route [the Council has been working on part of our road].  For some reason I kept my eyes open just in case.   Brolgas turn up every so often, and I can't help but stop and watch them for a while.  I couldn't watch for too long, I was parked on the road, and it was starting to drizzle a little heavier.  I thought I'd share them again with readers.  I know, I can't help it, I love birds, and especially brolgas [in case you hadn't noticed].  They made a good day even better.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Purple Bag

I thought I'd share this little bit of textile mania with readers.  This was made for an art exhibition at our local gallery [a few years ago].  There was no brief, other than a word, and my word was 'purple'.  This is a combination of fabrics/threads/beads/ribbons/buttons.  I had no basic pattern other than the idea for six segments, similar to how one would cut the skin of an orange.  

  I've given it the term 'Purple Lotus' because it makes me think of a flower that is closing and opening.  Each of the petal points has been adorned with beads - no rules, just stitch and bead!!  They are attached to the sides, to stop them pulling up.  This also helps act as a casing for the twisted thread drawstring.

This bag is made up of the six segments, three different treatments, two of each.  I've used snippets of braids, threads and trapped beads.  There is surface machine stitching, and couched cord.

Some of the segments have a small amount of simple hand stitching, and each boasts several layers, the final [outer] layer being transparent.  I've used fairly stiff net sandwiched between the layers in order to give it some body.

And of course, the lining is a lovely purple/shot blue dupion silk.  The firm covered circle in the bottom helps hide the necessary gathering stitches.  I've never used it!!  I don't wear purple much at all, so have never taken it to any sort of social function.  I can say that I had lots of fun exploring different options when I was making this, and got a good response to it at the exhibition.

This last photograph was taken to show the side of the bag, so I hope you can see that it has been sewn up with the seams exposed.  It's purely an 'art' piece, and I really can't repeat what my husband has to say about it.  Oh well.................  

Perhaps one day I'll make myself some long dazzling earrings, and a purple silk dress.  Then I'll have a reason to use the bag.  Oh, and I'll need some purple shoes...................    

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cheating at Patchwork???

Today I managed to finish two little quilts for our group project.  I have to confess to taking the easy option, ie finding fabrics that have the look of being pieced.  I had this one in my cupboard, just a little bit of it, and the lovely pale blue chambray made a great border and backing.  I'm happy with it.  I also have a plain 'wedgewood' blue which I'm using with another square of this fabric.

I was on a roll with the mock piecing, and managed to find another off-cut lurking in the bottom of one of my storage boxes.  I think I used this one for a blanket backing some years ago, and felt it might be okay to use.  I'm actually thinking I can use some of the little 'pictures' to applique onto other fabrics or felt, possibly for some mini needlebooks.

One more photograph and I'll have to be off to feed some animals.  I've stitched the bindings by machine, as I do not think hand stitched bindings are sturdy enough for repeated washing.  I am also quite chuffed because the fabric I have used for the binding on this quilt was almost perfect.  I bought it at a totally different time, from a totally different store, and it's not even from the same manufacturer - and guess what, I've got heaps of it!!!!  The little quilts are 20 inches square.

Tomorrow I think I'll make a start on a little one done in crochet, using some of the yarns I have 'inherited' from my sister and niece.  

Thank you all for taking an interest in such things.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lots Going On

Things have really been busy for me so far this year, and I cannot see it changing any time soon!!!  Thankfully, we had some time for relaxation last weekend.  We decided to visit our son and DIL, as well as attend their local Show Ball on Friday night.  Our DIL has been very community minded and co-ordinated the Show Princess competition again this year.  We had a lovely evening, dancing almost non-stop.  It was also a good chance to catch up with her family, as we do not see them often.  Now that we have the dancing bug again, we are planning on another outing early in April.  Looks like the glad rags are going to get another airing!!!!!

When I signed up for the TAST2012 challenge run by Sharon Boggon, I really hadn't much else planned for the year.  Things seem to have changed, and I find myself becoming further and further behind [with everything].  I am progressing with the little quilts for our group's premmie baby gifts, and will hopefully find some time later in the week to try some more needle felting.  I am so grateful for the lovely comments and encouragement I received from my last post.  Thank you to all who keep cheering me on.

I have also been invited to participate in an event later in the year.  I have contributed to this in the past, and will find some time to make and send my wares.  You can see a little about it here.  The ladies run this event very professionally, and I am really hoping that I'll get down to see it 'in the flesh' this year.  I think it's been about five or six years since I've contributed.

The icing on the cake in the scheme of 'jobs for Linda' will undoubtedly be more baby things.  Apart from babies arriving in our extended families, we are also to be blessed with one in our immediate family.

Our group is also planning a large raffle later in the year, held in conjunction with the local hall's market day.  A new lady to the group has kindly agreed to make and donate one of her dolls.  It seems I will be making something 'beautiful' for the doll to wear, and my friend Neitta will be working her magic with a quilt.  You can see some of the dolls here.

Somehow I don't think boredom is going to be an issue in 2012................  

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Needle Felting Experiments

After days of felting/stitching and deliberating [more the point procrastinating], I'm able to share some little samples with readers.  I like the little attachment, and after a few teething issues, I think we are both ready to kiss and make up!!  It is a fun process, simple, but interesting to see how the barbed needles work to mesh the fibres together.  I really don't have a lot of carded fibres at the moment, and will see to that in due course.  But, I did manage to try two different colourways.  The first trial was using the lovely random dyed felt that Isabell sent me.  I had a small piece of blue/mauve wool which I tried to felt into a sort of flower.  Now that it's done, I've completely changed my mind, and it has now been named Jellyfish_1.  Don't laugh - not many months ago I went to Google in search of 'abstract jellyfish', and this site came up.  I adore this picture, so it has been my inspiration for the Jellyfish Family.................  The postcard pictured above is 'father jellyfish', in all his glory.  I've also managed to use our TAST2012 stitch for this week - running stitch.  The tentacles are made up of the running stitch, the herringbone superimposed over the felting, and trapped Angelina fibres.  I hope you can visualize him blobbing around in the depths looking for his 'bride'. 

Of course, the next in line is another postcard - Jellyfish_2, which can loosely be called 'the bride'.  For this piece, I've felted some embroidery wool, as well as some lovely soft mesh yarn I purchased from Pick Up Stitches [for knitting scarves].  I was given some paua shell pieces, and this particular one looked like it had possibilities.  Anyway, for the purpose of this experiment, the 'bride' awaits.   The soft pink mesh yarn felted quite well, and I'm quite happy with the result.

And the saga continues with the arrival of Jellyfish_3, little jellyfish [an ATC].  She [it's pink] doesn't look much, but she'll grow on you.........LOL...  Again I've used our week 10 stitch, running.  I'm a little disappointed with my satin stitch edgings on these cards.  I think the felt is very soft, and seems to roll a little in front of the needle as you stitch.

I managed to cut one more ATC out of the mauve but decided it just might look like something totally different.  It appeared to me to look like a little sweetpea bud, ready to emerge and give this little bee something to savour.  I added a few double cast-on stitches, and some drizzle stitches to the top, plus a small line of stem stitch .  This has just a little bit of wool embroidery yarn and a tiny snip of purple chiffon felted to the background.

I have one more ATC that is different again.  I have some acrylic/nylon knitting yarn that is easy enough to spread apart, and wanted to see how well it would felt.  This yarn is just the two colours, a golden yellow and a salmon/reddy pink [photo not showing quite the right colour].  I think this felted beautifully, and hope to make a bigger project with it soon.  Our TAST week 9 stitch was couching, so I've simply added some fine gold cord couching made into a spiral, with the pretty button in the centre.  I think the future project will have the gold cord couching done by machine zig-zag!!  I like this one very much, it has a sheen to it.

Thank you for so many encouraging comments regarding my needle felting attachment.  It's not a quick process, but then, nothing worthwhile ever is I suppose.

One last note - I was pleasantly surprised to see a post on another blog which mentioned, and shared my little pincushion worked with the Chiaramonte stitch.  You can see it here.  I was very happy with the instructions I found for this stitch, and wrote to the people after the pincushion was done.  I think it is lovely of the blog owner to post about my experience.  

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Because I'm worth it!!!

I have a little surprise, and am very excited about it.  I've just purchased a needle felting attachment for my Bernina sewing machine.  It wasn't cheap, but not quite as much as a dedicated embellishing machine.  I honestly don't have the space to accommodate another machine, so this will introduce me to the wonderful world of needle felting.  I've watched the CD supplied with the kit, but still haven't really had the time to sit down and use it.  

When I first mentioned it to my hubby, he thought I really wanted the embellishing machine.  He said he remembered how in years gone by when I wanted a new sewing machine I'd talk about the 'top/new model', but I'd only get model such and such.  He'd tell me I was silly to not buy the most up to date, and I'd end up coming home with the 'newest' one................LOL.........  I assured him that was not the case with this little bit of machinery.  I just want something to play with, because I'm worth it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I hope I can find the time soon to learn how to use it.

Thank you all so very much again for such positive comments regarding my TAST samples.  Your comments really do give me the enthusiasm to continue in this way.