Monday, December 22, 2008

Back stitch . . .

. . . for the Stitchin fingers stitchalong.
If you follow the link above you will understand what this is all about. I'm very keen on this business of exploring surface stitches, and get on better with doing it in some kind of organised challenge type of thing. This stitchalong is ideal. A list of stitches is provided, there is free choice of stitch to work with and no deadline except the expectation of other participants that there will be regular examples to look at. So here is my first effort. I decided to work through the list picking a stitch from each letter of the alphabet. And have immediately broken my 'rule' by starting with B! Ok, ok.
I couldn't think of many really different things to do with back stitch, but tried varying length and thread, and also featuring the back of the stitch on the right side as it is rather interesting, like an untidy stem stitch. I've also done back stitch along chain stitch, and whipped and threaded lines of stitching, and put beads on. Haven't tried pekinese lacing yet. In the top pic I was seeing what it looked like working a lot of lines of stitching close together to cover the ground. I did one like this with running stitch (in an earlier post) and wanted to compare the effect. Some is a kind of semi-back stitch, taking the backwards stitch and then bringing the needle out at the end of the stitch instead of ahead of it. This has a slightly different look, kind of alternate bumpy and flat. (And saves thread of course. Back stitch does use a lot more thread than shows on the surface).
The second pic has a row of zigzags, still backstitches, but angled. I could pursue this to see how it covers an area.
I also decided to do these samples in postcard format. That gives the option of perhaps making them into some kind of book, or stringing them together in some way.

Friday, December 19, 2008

And yet another bag . .

. . . made by our 13 year old granddaughter at school in whatever it is they call the class these days in which they get to do a bit of sewing! It may be Technology, but my memory is so bad! She used an embroidery machine to do her name, and the suffolk puffs have beads on and something interesting tucked inside. The handles have black thread stitching down them and are stuffed with a thick yarn.
I don't think she found it all that easy, but she's done well! Its one cool bag!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Little kantha bags . . .

. . . made for the last Quilters' Guild meeting, Three Corners Workshops, in October. There were three workshops on offer and everyone circulated round the three, with about an hour and a quarter for each. I felt very honoured to be asked to teach one of them, alongside Carol Dowsett (my long ago C&G tutor) and Becca Balazs who runs an amazing shop in west Dorset. Something to get a good start on in that time frame is not easy to think of, and with Carol doing postcards I had to come up with something else!
Also we had to provide packs for everyone - about 50 people. So I dyed some fabric and found threads, and invented these small bags, supplying too the templates for the designs, and some beads etc.

It features 2 of the many types of kantha stitching; 1. the general background filling in, echoing the motif or in patches worked in varying directions, and 2. for the motifs, outlining them then filling in with the running stitch, again either following the shape, or just filling the space.
Becca did some lovely shadow quilted cards, using glitzy sheers as the overlay and some nice butterfly motifs under it.

Can't stop making postcards . . .

. . . or in this case, finishing off some that have been sitting around for a bit waiting for their edges to be done. I tried couching a textured yarn round one of these but didn't like the effect - the only yarn I had the right colours was too hairy, so reverted to default mode buttonhole stitch. I need to think of other possibilities.
I don't use browns much but the results are pleasing, so maybe I should try it a bit more often.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Latest Journal Quilt . . .

. . . on the topic 'Pots'. I hope the words are legible! Pots are stencilled on, the words written and machine stitched over. I don't trust myself to write neatly enough with o guide. Not that 'neat' is exactly a characteristic of my work generally! The shapes are taken from some lovely pots in a Normandy gite we stayed at in 2001.

Perhaps I shouldn't like bacon butties .. .

. . . when they start off as cute as this.
Gloucester Old Spot at a farm shop at Frampton Cotterell, seen last Sunday on visit to daughter. Well, it had been raining a lot, with flash flooding problems in Somerset, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire areas.

Friday, November 28, 2008

And yet more . . .

Daughter's latest, made for a friend's birthday. Two recent ones, need their edges doing. Not my usual colour choice, but I do like these fabrics, which include 3 African ones, 2 from Uganda and one from Togo.
These are quite old now - some embroidery over printed images, a metal piece marked with a flower, the finished 'wild' Dorset feather stitch card the beginnings of which appeared ina blog post last year, and a piece of felt covered randomly with running stitches, using up all those small(ish) offcuts of thread left in the needle when stitching things.

Clockwise - A finished horizontal strips landscape, machine stitching of scraps under net, sweet wrappers under sheer strips, and trimmings left from my daughter's efforts under net.
Sort of crazy patchwork, uses up scraps not long enough for the strip approach. The bue one is machine stitched, the others hand work. The pale one is unusual for me too. Postcards are very useful for trying something a bit different.
And that's it. I have got 3 or 4 more partly made, but will save those for another time!

Postcard fest continued . . .

Some I did a while ago but haven't photographed till now - small square scraps zigzagged down, under the sea - couched threads with beads and shells and a couched thread for the edging, scraps machine stitched over beneath net plus couched yarns and beads. Funny, in the pic you can see a shape like a mountain, I've not noticed that in the actual card! Some of the palm tree series - sounds grand!
More strips, can't leave them alone. Horizontal makes a change though, they are mostly vertical. On the right is an abstract impresion of Dorset, where I live. Sky, sea, sand, fields, woods mostly. Oversimplified of course, the Poole/Bournemouth conurbation where I live is huge, typical urban sprawl and the rest!
Some leftovers of nice rich colours and experiments with thread colour choices. E.g. bottom left uses only green and red threads, and bottom right the same variegated pink/green one.
Some cards have not had their edges done yet. I like to leave a few as when I am teaching people how to make them it helps to have something at all the stages to show.

Postcard fest . . .

I've just joined stitchinfingers started by Sharon Boggon. Its one of those forum things, with groups for different specific interests, and I always find it hard to describe them. Look it up and see! So I've linked up to hand embroidery and fabric postcard groups and thought I'd better update my postcard photos.
Here's a tip to start with - usually I find that when I have first laid out the bits of fabric I want to use it is all a bit confusing, hard to see what it will look like as a card. So I made a frame/window the exact finished size (mostly 6" x 4" for me) with the side of a cereal packet and I now lay this over what I am working on and it gives me a much better view of how the finished piece will be.
This is a card our 10 year old granddaughter is making: Here's one with just the fabric strips laid out:
And one that needs a bit more hand stitching and beads, and some of the orangey colour added to the right-hand side for balance, looking at it like this tells me.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Latest postcards

Made by daughter Claire on a family holiday last week, under my tuition! Star pupil!

I have made some more myself, but no pix yet.

St Hubert's altar cloth

In our parish there are two church buildings, one about 10 year's old, modern, light, beautiful space, and a small, very old one, a real traditional English country church. A group of ladies got together to make new altar cloths for the latter, St Hubert's. We made one for weddings, (pix on church website) and now this one for everyday use. Its design stimulus are the colours and some of the shapes in the roof bosses. 9 of us made one or two strips each, duplicated in mirror image, in techniques we chose. The whole thing was put together, stretched on a wooden frame, and hung on the front of the altar. Here some detail:
The three interlinked hares boss is of rather special interest. See the Friends of St Hubert's website for details and more about the building and the bosses.

Feeling lonely. . . .?

. . . and a bit skew-whiff? Nothing in sight but this pair of rubbish bins, the blue one for recycled items and the other for the more fragrant offerings. Whiff is probably right!

We had the use again this year, by the kindness of friends, of a beach hut at Sandbanks on Tuesdays in September. One of them was too wet to go there but the rest were pleasant. Its a shame the council has sited these bins right in the middle of the view from the huts, but they do have a certain charm.
There were some people about, to be honest, para-surfing from the beach, getting into difficulties with the high wind and being rescued by the lifeguards.

And of course, the Barfleur, on its way to France.

One out of three for level horizons!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

New JQ's and mirror hanging

The pix and details of the next four of the Contemporary Quilt group Journal Quilt challenge for this year have now been sent off. This is September's, painted outlines of leaves from a tulip tree at Stapehill Abbey (see earlier posts), so will wait for the next batch . . . . . . . but these two are July and August. This one has prints made using eucalyptus leaves, also from Stapehil, and the surrounding strips are fabrics from a swap with an Australian quilter.
Infinity, the small CQ group that meets locally has been having its own challenge and this next jq is doing double duty, featuring in both challenges. For the Infinity one we pick ideas out of a hat - this is Bicycles. Oddly, while in the middle of making it I went to watch a bit of the Olympics coverage and cycling was on. All those wheels, with black solid bits over the spokes! I really didn't see them till after starting the jq! Must have had the image in my subconscious somewhere. There is monoprinting on a dyed background, black felt, and free machine quilting.
. . . and here's my effort from WCE last Monday, plus some more work on it this morning. You can see it is a mirror in the centre one! Now I have to couch cord round the centre holes, stick all the bits together and put more cord round the edges. Oh, and musn't forget to attach a hanging cord before sticking the back on. There will be another pic in due course.

Ruby Lever I have discovered did these in a workshop in March 2003 for Workshop on the Web, the online embroidery website run by Maggie Grey. The actual workshop is only available for anyone who was subscribing to it then but the link is to the homepage (hopefully!).

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

West Country Embroiderers, September

This month Ruby Lever came and showed us how to make a mirror hanging. It involved making a sandwich of fabric and felt, free machining all over it, then embellishing with beads etc three small squares, the areas to be cut out for the hanging. I don't have a picture of a finished one yet, but hopefully soon there will be some. Like the pincushions (see below). One by one they appear.
At the Dorset WCE groups exhibition last month there was an 8" cushion challenge, with the winner chosen by popular vote. This was it, done by Anne Barlow from our group! This sort of 'casual canvaswork' was another of the group workshops, led by our current leader Pat Jeram, who made this:
I've a feeling this one needs rotating, oops. It's another lovely example of the pincushion plus needlecase Beppy Berlin taught us at WCE.

We don't get a lot done on the day usually, though most of us beaver away and manage to talk at the same time. It is just a slow process, stitching, that can't be hurried usually.

Friday, August 01, 2008

It did rain last night . .

. . . so I can't claim to be living in a desert, (- the water butts are half-full!) but these plants I imagine might be found in one. Actually they are in the greenhouse at Stapehill Abbey, and are such a lovely collection of shapes, line and colour that they had to be included here.

DH is stocking up on water butts, trying to collect all the (free) rainwater he can. It is not just climate change considerations - we are on a water meter. The rain brought out our solitary frog, that lives in the pond, and an army of slugs. A good anti-slug tip from somewhere was to spread orange peel around the plants. An orange a day and it soon mounts up. And it seems to be working. The little flashes of orange look rather interesting around amongst all the green.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Enough of the flowers . . .

. . . let's have some stitching. The next two 12" x12" journal quilts.
My work done at Lyn Prosser's workshop day with West Country Embroiderers . . .wet felting
and 'faux felting' , which is not felting at all really.
... and some stuff done with my embellisher/needlefelting machine. This one is done with wool tops, slivers of fabric and bits of knitting yarn.
This and the next pic are all one piece. I'm planning to make a bookcover out of it, with . . .

. . . a pocket on the back. The pocket was made just with wool tops and was punched into place. I've more stuff to put round it, then I shall stitch some felt pieces to the ends inside to make sleeves into whch the cover of a note/sketchbook can be inserted.Let's finish off with a needlefelted postcard.(You see, I don't spend all my time swanning round gardens.)