Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Journal quilt January 2007

The pic promised in the previous message, plus a couple of close-ups:

Contemporary quilts

This is one of my activities that hasn't had a mention on this blog so far. I belong to the Quilters' Guild of the British Isles, and to a special interest group within it - the contemporary quilt group. This year the group has a journal quilt challenge going, to do one A4 size quilt a month for 2007. We can use any inspiration, theme, technique we want, particularly though trying to stretch ourselves and experiment a bit.

I've decided to work through some techniques that interest me, that I've seen in books or at exhibitions and meant to try out. And I want to link it to the month each time in some way - colours maybe.

So here is how I arrived at January (but a pic of the completed piece will be in the next post because I forgot I've not put it on the computer yet!!!!)

1. Sketch of the view I see from my workroom and the kitchen all winter - a hedge of hawthorn along the towpath side of the Macclesfield canal, at the bottom of our garden.2. A simplified version which got traced onto vilene . . .

4. This base fabric, hand dyed, was placed on some domette . .
5. . . . and overlaid with various fabric strips.

6. . . which were stitched down with horizontal rows of machine stitching.

7. I painted a piece of calico. This was laid on the background, and using the vilene pattern I stitched the design outline from the back of the work.
8. Last stage was to cut back the top fabric to reveal the shapes and do some more stitching to 'paint' the trunks a bit more, adding a backing piece of black cotton.
9. Trim to size, stitch round the edges with several rows of a decorative stitch, (I wanted to try an alternative to binding it) and it's done - but the pic is in the post above!.

Filling a gap . . .

I've just discovered a post I prepared earlier that didn't get published, lurking among the drafts. So look in december 06 in the archives and find 'doodlestrips' 19th december for some riotous stitching!

TAST 4 cretan stitch first instalment . . .

. . . which I tried to put on the blog at the weekend so that there would be something for Sharon's roundup, but blogger wouldn't do it. The green bits are strips of net, couched down by the row of stitches, and the orange is a scrap of organza. I like stitching one row on top of another, in different colours. But I'm not much good at putting the stitches close together to make a solid shape. Meandering fairly freely seems to suit me better. There's some more experiments coming by the end of the week.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

new version blog

Well, this is the new all singing all dancing version of blogger. Fine, except that it's taken me half the day to find a way to sign in and get to the dashboard to do a new post! I suppose all this technological 'advance' is really necessary?
Well, I'll stop grumbling and load a pic that amuses me - beach huts at Sandbanks on the Friday before Christmas. The splash of red adds a certain je ne sais quoi.

Another sewing machine adventure.

My versatile husband has 'saved' my sewing machine again. The long fabric strip I'm using for the TAST samples keeps fraying, the stitches will be starting to fall off the edges soon, so I went to my sewing machine to do some zigzags down the sides in a bid to save it. I found as I turned the wheel something was hitting against something somewhere. Great mystery. Anyway, after much staring, listening and exploring its insides, he found a pin had somehow slipped into it, and was blocking the turning of a bit that sticks out from the drive rod connecting wheel and needle mechanism. However did it get there? There must be a gap somewhere on the top of the machine that it fell through. I shall keep all pins well away from there in future.
You've got to have a picture in a blog entry, haven't you, so here's one from our epic journey south for Christmas which featured in an earlier entry - a shop with an intriguing name in Bradford-on Avon, taken as we drove by, hence a bit fuzzy.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

TAST detached chain . . .

I found it hard this time to think of variations with this stitch for myself . Except for the curvy line at the top where I was thinking a line in basic chain is obvious, but how could a line be done with separate stitches? And then I tried flowers, using the stitch both ways round, and one with long tie stitches. Also the textural 'jumble' of different threads. Then some couching. Also Sharon's padded flower. Then I resorted to Google and came across Velvet Stitch and an interesting sampler of detached chain, from which I have copied some ideas.

I still want to try some of the variations of chain stitch done as detached stitches e.g. twisted chain etc.
And if anyone please could give me advice on how best to work a 'jumble' of stitches? I found it more baffling than I expected, and I'm usually not bad at random!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

New buttonhole sampler . . .

. . . completed this Sunday evening, 19.15 GMT. Looking at Sharon's counted thread samples I was struck with how different the stitch looks worked on that sort of cloth. I tried counting threads on my sampler strip but it proved to be too small for comfort and my eyes were hurting with the effort, so I gave up after two tries. Other bits are buttonhole wheel, done both ways round, couching, appliqué and a small detached stitch piece.

I particularly like the twisty lines top right, the filled areas, the laced back to back rows, the buttonhole bars and the eyelets below the bars (yes, they do have a hole in the middle, hard to see). I've also decided to try and use each stitch in a complex seam, as an interesting exercise , but I think this one could be nicer really.

The last rose of summer . .

. . . is still hanging on, surviving last night's slight frost and the gales of the past 2 weeks. It's beginning to brown a bit round the edges, and I'm not sure if the buds are going to open, but I can't believe it has been there on the end of a long shoot that has grown since the summer! And as for these, camellia and lavatera, have just bloomed in the last couple of weeks in our front garden! We don't live in Australia, someone ought to tell them!

Buttonhole stitch . . .

I've had a bit of a rest after last week's marathon - these pics were not done for TAST but for a hands-on session at the Macclesfield Embroiderers' Guild meeting in November where we could choose one out of five different stitches to play with. I was in charge of the buttonhole table and did these samples of a range of possible variations. So I haven't worked them again for TAST, but in my next stitchy post there will be a smaller sampler with some further interesting applications.
Using buttonhole to fill a space is interesting. If you work from the bottom (here, right), of the space, each following row will come over the ridge of the stitch and give a smooth effect.Doing it the other way round, from the top of the space down, you keep the ridges. These were circular pieces because they were in a small round frame. Obviously need finishing. One day! And this one, just 2 lines of buttonhole, but I like the effect of the space between them.

Herringbone update . . .

I added a bit more to the freeform herringbone sample for Sharon b's TAST challenge. Around the mirror top right and at the bottom of the piece are some of the extended stitches I was talking about in the last post.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Take a Stitch . . . .

I'm not going to be able keep up this speed, you can be sure, but, while the going is good, here's my first response to Sharon Boggon's Take a Stitch Tuesday. Each week she is putting up a stitch to experiment with and over 100 people are participating. The first one this week is herringbone:
I've chosen to use a long strip from a curtain fabric remnant as my main 'sampler', hoping to end up with a long scroll of stitch experiments. Usefully for this particular stitch the fabric is woven with countable threads and heavier lines in the weave across the strip which form stripes of varying but regular sizes. So for once in my stitching life I can get straight lines and even-sized stitches!
I've worked the stitch in, mostly, regular fashion, laced it, repeated it to make overall patterns (which remind me of chicken wire!), tried it close together, stretched out, doubled/trebled /quadrupled. And I've worked a line as if it were a seam treatment in crazy patchwork.
It all looks very sedate for me, but I have broken out with some very irregular stuff on a separate piece, below. The idea is to create texture, varying threads, length and angle of stitch, but keeping to the essential movement of the stitch where the needle is being pushed in backwards but the thread is taken forward to advance the line of stitching against the direction of the needle (if you see what I mean?)

I also remembered seeing herringbone used to sew on mirrors. This is a large holographic sequin. If pushing the needle under the grid of threads that hold the mirror in place counts as the top part of the stitch, then I guess it would count .

I've seen a lengthened form of herringbone used in Indian work, in a copy of Stitch (with the Embroiderers' Guild) magazine, which I shall try out when I can find it.

Later in the day, have found a small picture, in Stitch issue 33, Feb/March 2005. There are 2 articles in the mag., one a project by Surjeet Husain, and one about her and her work. On the link page the last small pic of all shows this stitch. Best I can do.

Latest shell collection

Two kinds of oyster shell - one smooth, flat, thin, the other thick, chunky, multilayer, could be mistaken for rock.

I like the deep ridges on the shells in the middle picture.

And there are a few tiny shells trapped in the holes in the ginger-colured stone. Nothing alive in them!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Completing the red and green story . . .

Confession - the 'Lowry' in the previous post was taken on a foggy Boxing Day morning 3 days later! Sorry.

But back to stitching, and the red and green sampler quilt I mentioned in an earlier post - it was the daughter who got it off me we were spending Christmas with, so there was a chance to take a digital photo , plus Clyde the cat for colour contrast! The quilt fits a king-size bed. It has 25 x 14" blocks and a border.

I followed Lynne Edwards' measurements and basic instructions from her 2 books on sampler quilts, used blocks from them and some magazines, and some I invented.

I used the 'quilt-as-you-go' method, making up each block sandwich and quilting it, by hand, or by machine, then joining them.

We got there in the end

5 minutes to go to our destination, and the sun is trying to come out.

And the next day, on yet another visit to the beach, at last real full winter sun . And chance for a few arty photos - I especially like the 'Lowry'!

Journey south part 2

Continuing the epic trip - when we left the M4 for the A46 down into Bath the sun was shining. We had actually climbed to above the fog! The frost was a surprise - was the weather really more severe here in the south than in Manchester? Descending to the town meant going back into the fog.

We stopped overnight with one of our daughters then continued next day, in fog and frost again!

but back in the sun where the road climbs higher.

An interesting trip!