Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Painted rubbings . . .

. . . from the Silk Museum, not sure its improved them! I just like brighter colours. Blame it on the nasturtiums.

This fourth piece is perhaps the most interesting - When I'm painting a piece of fabric I usually put either a bit of paper or fabric under it, to catch the colour that soaks through. Its also worth using a paint rag too to mop up spills, blot print blocks and wipe brushes. My current rag isn't 'finished' yet, needs a bit more mess to deal with before revealing to the public.

Monday, October 23, 2006

There are things in the garden . . .

. . . that fascinate me. The crocosmia seed heads for instance. These are what the flame-coloured flowers featured in a previous blog have developed into. If we don't get a sense of wonder from this sort of thing . . . . ?

And all the different shapes and textures?

No particular reason . . .

. . . for these pics except my amazement at the colours. And at the persistence of nasturtiums. The last few years plants from the original mixed packet have seeded themselves and would have taken over the entire back garden without ruthless weeding. And what I thought was one lone survivor, a rich orange, has now, late in the season, been joined by half a dozen more colours, taking over as much as they can of their garden world before the first frost turns them to mush.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Another visit to the Silk Museum . . .

. . . and a chance this time to take rubbings from some of their historic collection of print blocks. The wooden blocks (see the paisley rubbing) are rather worn, and dried up, and printing with them proved too difficult, so rubbings were the next best thing. I used mainly fabric transfer crayons, which I shall iron on to something suitable when I find it. But I also did rubbings directly on to some cream silk with oilbars (Markal / Shiva paintsticks) and rather like the results. I'll dye or paint the pieces as well eventually . I do like that paisley shape, so elegant.

The Museum is in Macclesfield (Cheshire, UK), and I wrote about the first visit on the StitchingPost blog, (Aug 21st), not this one. The Macc. branch of the Embroiderers' Guild had an exhibition there in the Spring, and this contributed to the development of a further, competitive, exhibition next year. Pieces are to be based on something from the large collection of pattern books, print blocks and design drawings held at the Museum and also at Paradise Mill, where they wove silk with jaquard looms. All part of the town's heritage as a leading centre for the silk spinning and weaving industry.

And a last boat trip for the season while the sunny afternoons keep coming, and some autumn pics along the Macclesfield canal, 15 mins from home.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Had a shock . .

. . . this morning when my sewing machine, which I love dearly, suddenly died, just stopped working, as though someone had turned the power off. But the light was still on. So, hunted out the manual, found a bit that said try the fuse, but that turned out to not to apply to my model (Pfaff tipmatic 1151, 15 years old). Cleaned out under the needle, drop of oil, still no good. Called in my husband, who though not an engineer is excellent at tracking down faults in electricals by logical deduction and who can often mend them too. He fiddled around a bit. The trouble seemed to be linked with the wheel going round, it had some patchy spurts of life in it still when disconnected as for bobbin winding. So he prised various bits of the cover off, squirted WD40, had it running again . . . for 5 minutes. It seemed reasonably clean, a few bits of fluff, but then you can't normally get at those parts to clean them anyway. So, must be the motor. Frantic internet search for UK suppliers of new motor for a discontinued machine. Emailed 'Colin', a spares man at Pfaff. Back to the machine to stare at it and think a bit more. Perhaps there was a component that had worn out? After 15 years pretty constant use, not unlikely. Perhaps I needed a new machine. Went to look up Berninas on the Internet. Came back with a shortlist to find the culprit was identified as badly worn carbon brushes, (bit cheaper than a Bernina). Back to Google to try and find some in UK. Husband turned up with an old carbon brush from the washing machine, found lurking in the shed, (never throw anything away) , thought he could cut some bits to size. Went on looking at Berninas! Half an hour later - its all reassembled and working again! Haven't heard back yet from Colin, but I think my husband is wonderful!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Pursuing Postcard Production

(Couldn't resist trying to prolong the pppppp's.)

It is so easy to sit and stitch them while watching telly, or any time when sitting around being sociable. For that reason most of them are hand-stitched.
Last pic is not stitched yet. last but one the edge is not yet finished

4 1/2" x 6 1/2" piece of felt or those kitchen wipes you can buy in packs of three, felt-like stuff but a bit thinner.
4" x 6" piece iron-on stiff interfacing (pelmet/craft vilene?)
Lay bits and pieces of fabric onto the 'felt' - may need a background piece covering the whole side, or scraps, crazy patchwork-style, Stitch down with stitch and flip method, or along the raw edges, as desired. Embroider the seams, add small beads, do further embroidery. Appliqué on motifs, or smaller pieces of embroidery (slips). Don't go too close to the edge because next you . . . . trim all round to size of interfacing and iron this on to back of worked piece.
Then finish the edges - bind, zig-zag stitch, whatever, . . . I've done hand buttonhole stitch round some in perlé thread.
If you don't like the interfacing left as the back a piece of plain fabric could be added with fusible web before the edges are done.

Other things can be added of course as embellishment. In fact it is hard to give instructions about what to make the cards with as the more you look at what other people have done the more posibilities you see. Do a search for fabric postcards and all sorts of styles and methods emerge. It is such a flexible thing. Now I've started it (bit late in the day, I know!) it amazes me.

Homemade books

A friend lent me a book by Shereen LaPlantz about making books. I already had one by Alisa Golden but hadn't understood the instructions so had done very little with it. The LaPlantz book made all clear and since then I've been trying out different types of construction using both books! I do quite a bit of colouring of paper by printing (stamping) and painting so some of these bits have been just right for covering board for covers. I've also found backing paper with iron-on vilene makes it easier to stitch over.
This, and different ways of treating the spine, with stitches, weaving and beads, needs developing a lot more, it's early stages yet.

I've used PVA glue to make cover boards with paper, but tried fusible web (e.g.bondaweb) for an embroidered fabric one, which seems to have worked. I've got the hang of stitching signatures (the groups of pages folded together) now, both for enclosed and open spines. so now I need to let the imagination loose a bit more.

Monday, October 09, 2006

? Quilting, applique, canvas work, cross stitch, crewel . . .

. . . are all possible ways of using these tile patterns in fabric and stitch. I found them at Gawthorpe Hall when I went to see the Embroidery in Trust exhibition held there by the Embroiderers' Guild branches in the central part of the North West Region. Now which one shall I choose . . .? None just yet, too many other things on the go.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

More colour in the garden . . .

. . . provided by 3 out of our 4 waterbutts, which collect water from pretty well every part of our roof. It's used for watering those perfect tomatoes (a few posts back) and is helping to save the planet. Seriously, if eveyone watered their patio pots etc with saved rainwater all those small amounts would add up to something significant. As with most domestic recycling efforts.

The chicken's not recycled. It was going rusty so I painted it and thought I'd make it look cheerful .

And the greens and reds are still catching the eye - a fallen cooking apple and autumn raspberries.

And some magenta somethings - might be a type of Michaelmas daisy? And the yew tree is at Gawthorpe Hall in Lancashire.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

In our garden . . .

. .there's not just flowers. Remains of the tomato string, and some galvanised binding wire (aren't you glad to know that's what it's called?) in the greenhouse.

And this tree trunk is not in our garden actually but down the Macclesfield canal at a place called Whitely Green. It looks like good inspiration for embroiderers wanting to overdose on texture.

And these are in the Orangery at Lyme Park (remember Pride and Predjudice, BBC version, UK viewers?)

And this is by the lake (not the one Darcy dives into but the one at the back of the house).

But this is in our garden, at least it was, till it got infested with greenfly, and if you enlarge the photo and zoom in you feel like you are in the Honey, I shrunk the kids film!

I'm fascinated by all the patterns and textural contrasts.

Picking up the postcard passion . . .

I tried making paper and card ones. These were done by sticking torn strips of magazine pages onto a background, painting it, cutting it up and re-sticking, repainting, can't remember how many times now, (3, I think, till it looked interesting enough anyway), then cutting up p/c size, machine stitching variously, mounting on card, zigzagging round edges. I used rayon threads and they kept breaking when doing the edges - frustrating! But they do add a bit of glimmer. There were 8 cards from an A3 sheet. I've given 3 away.