Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Post Cards

Today I received my gorgeous CG July PC from Doreen. It really is the prettiest pink BG and the flower petals are just wonderful. The blanket stitch around the outside is perfect. Thank you Doreen.

I struggled this month both with the imagery and the verse for the July PC above. In the end I decided to concentrate on the verse and think about the concept of friendship in the face of adversity.

I tried to think of a simplification for this to put into Google images and came up with friends in the rain. I found this delightful image and set about customising it.
Firstly I converted it to B&W. I then put a chalk and charcoal filter on it, in PS, to give it more of a painterly feel and then put a sepia tone on it, as I had decided to try and give the impression of one of those greeting cards that you can get, that look like vintage photographs.

And then I cropped it to size.

Now to the textile bit. I had 2 ideas in mind here, one was to use some of the Jacob’s fleece that I’d bought at the rare breed show and the other was to get some use out the embellisher. So I ended up embellishing the fleece mixed in with some Marino wool tops and a little bit of silk fibres to hold down the antique lace that I’d found at car boot sale.

I printed the image onto Bubble jet treated calico and embellished this down to the BG. I finished off with some FME just to hold those areas that were a bit loose after the embellishing. I then printed the verse on the reverse of the PC.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Productive weekend

Well!! This weekend seems to have been very productive for both my OH and me.
Our menagerie has been growing and during the week my very clever OH knocked up this poultry arc for our new bantam cockerel, Bertie. At the moment I think he would rather have the run of the garden, but his bodyguard has other ideas!!

In order to accommodate another pair, cock and hen, of chickens, my (slightly deranged OH) has built yet another mammoth coop, finishing it off for the new arrivals today, who are rather unsportingly hiding underneath it.

As far as my w/e was concerned I had a brilliant morning today at the local car boot and managed to pic up these lovely goodies for pennies, well almost.

Firstly I got 2 of these Ikea frames for £2.0 (normally £7.0) each and they’re 3-D so will be perfect for the next exhibition.

Then I found this great kit for £1.0, unused, must be a bargain for the applicators alone.

This lovely bundle of crushed velvets was 0.50p and I’m not sure but this looks like a bit of Santa’s beard, also in the stash bag.

And lastly this great book, full of wonderful easy to follow stitch sketches, 40p.

So I was a happy bunny with bargains, all for under £6.0

On the creative front, we had what we call a ‘dos day’ on Saturday , which means we do our own thing and I managed to get the third sample for the quilt nearly finished and my July PC for CG finished. I’ll blog both next week when I’ve written up the process.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Quilting experiments 2

Following on from the previous post, I decided that I wasn’t that happy with anything yet, so I went back to the computer and tried floating a few of the ideas so far on the back of the sofa and here’s the result.

To get the area on the sofa back I selected it in PS and then copied it to a new document, this then allowed me to paint in the stripes and also try some filters, and when I was happy I just pasted them back onto the sofa to see what they looked like.

Artistic- palette knife

Artistic-rough pastels

Artistic-coloured pencil

I didn’t really like any of these ideas so I went back to the original squares that I created when I did my colour study exercise (Sandra Meech) and selected an area I liked. As I wanted to soften the line I put the squares into PS and put the Liquefy filter on them to bend the shape a bit. I also went back to the idea of the composite and floated an image and some text over the top, and drew in some simulated stitch marks.

At last I was beginning to feel I was getting somewhere. I decided to go for graduated blocks of colour which would give me a cross between squares and stripes, and I had a quick go on in PS to see if the idea was viable.

Getting there! But too much purple and the design process on the computer felt too restrictive.

I now went back to the sketchbook and using this book as a guide I started to create ideas for stripes and lattices.

I worked to a size of 12x12 cm with the intention of scaling up to 12x12 inches, but due to a mistake later on this ended up as 12x10.5 inches.
The design on the bottom right is a WIP and the top left is the one I chose to work with, using my dyed fabrics.

As you will see from the picture above I got so carried away that I cut the bottom section the same as the top, hence the discrepancy in the sizing. I also managed to join everything back to front so the design didn’t match the sketch.
Still it’s all part of the learning curve.

As I didn’t like the new arrangement I changed the format to portrait.

I could now see that these bold colours needed knocking back, so I set about overlaying them with images printed on to ExtravOrganza and printing straight on to the fabric with the little printing blocks I made from Funky Foam. The bottom left fungus has been printed onto ExtravOrganza and painted over with Procion, (Koh-I-Noor) it worked very well. The other prints have been done with a permanent stamping ink.
I sandwiched this top layer with a layer of lightweight Warm Bond, a thermally bonded cotton batting, and a layer of soft pre washed calico. Lots of quilting stitches to finish off.

This is the first of 3 samples, the other 2 are still WIP’s which I will blog about, together with the throw binding and the sashing, next time.

Monday, 21 July 2008

The ‘Good Life’ weekend

As some of you will know our garden has started to resemble something akin to a popular TV sit com (from the 70’s or was it the 80’s? who knows they all run into one at a certain age!) about a couple doing the self-sufficiency thing in suburbia.

Anyway as my OH was keen to sus out the local vegetable growing competition so we went to our village show on Saturday. It was the usual ‘jam and Jerusalem’ affair with the cake, flower arranging and veg competitions. But just to liven things up a bit they also had a visit from the Red Devils, which was very exciting, considering they dropped into the field extremely close to us, so here’s a couple of amateur shots just to give you an idea.

There were also a couple of bric-a-brac stalls, which of course deserved a closer look, and I found these 2 little beauties. The journal has lovely thick pages with gorgeous little sketches, just perfect for an altered book project, not bad for £1. The scarf is a lovely soft silk, white on one side, great for dying, and a yellow print on the other, a very good 10p’s worth.

The ‘good life’ theme continued in the evening with a birthday BBQ for our DS and his lovely DF, involving lots of home-grown salad, pots, eggs, herbs etc, oh! and home made bread, shame we didn’t have a pig, we could have done the hot dogs too.

On Sunday we went on a jolly to the Weald and Downland Open Air Exhibiton for a rare breed show, and what fun that was. It took me about 2 minutes to spot this fantastic stall at the bottom of the field and guess what? The chicken stand was next door, karma I’d say!!
Well I had to have look didn’t I and here’s the result, the fibres are Marino wool and silk and only £2.50 for each lot, 50g, seemed very reasonable to me.

Of course my OH had to have a trio of birds, i.e. 2 hens and a cockerel, and here he is sprinkling them with talcum powder, the idea being that if you make the new birds smell the same as the older residents they won’t fight. It seems to have worked too.

There was so much to see at the show, not least this lovely little portable loom, I want one!! Only £130.

On that note I have to admit that I succumbed to buying this lovely Jacob’s fleece, the colours are wonderful and it was only £5.0. So off she goes again, I hear you thinking, my neighbour is going to teach me how to spin, and if that doesn’t work I’ll felt it.

But when you get really clever you can do this.

I took a few shots of some of the animals that were being shown, and was particularly smitten with this huge bull, he really was a beauty, and so placid, I spent quite a while stroking his head, behind the barrier of course.

And as for this chap I thought we were about to take one of his mates home!!

The smile of a champion

All together the perfect day, did I forget to mention the oak smoked cheese and ciabatta we had for lunch?

Friday, 18 July 2008

Quilt design..... tentative beginnings

As mentioned in a previous post I have been working on the final assignment of module 4 of my embroidery C&G.
The brief was to make 3 samples for a throw to be commissioned by someone for a contemporary studio-lounge.
As this is a colour module I decided to create my brief as follows:

My client is a single man in his late 30’s living in a modern flat in London. His passion outside of the work place is for Fungi. He is an authority on the subject, but treats it as a purely therapeutic interest that helps him unwind from the stresses of his work.
My client’s flat is in a large modernised Georgian house situated in a quiet London Mews.
The room is furnished in a minimalist style with cream walls and curtains, so he would like to bring some colour into the room, and have it reflect the shape and tones found in some of the fungi he has studied. He has supplied me with copies of photographic works that he has hanging in his study and would like me to construct my colour scheme and design from them.

My next move was to select a suitable photo from a decorating shade chart and float the pictures onto it to see how the room would look.

As I had decided from the beginning that I would make this throw into a quilt, as this is an area of textiles that I wanted to explore, I started working with the Sandra Meech book Cotemporary Quilts, Design Surface and Stitch, page 24/25, on a series of colour exercises to determine a colour scheme from the 2 photos.

The next thing was to assemble some colour swatches that might be usable for this project, although I already had in mind to dye my own colours.

I was now a bit stuck as to what form the quilt was going to take, all I thought I wanted to do was stripes, so I painted a couple of ideas with spent dyes that were close to the colours I thought I might use.

Needless to say these weren’t working for me so I scanned them into the computer to see what a spot of montage might do and here’s the result.

Still not right, but interesting. I took the name and info of the purple fungus and pasted it over the stripes together with the original photo. The little circles are the recorded months that the fungus can be seen growing.

By this time I was seriously doubting the colour scheme as nothing seemed to be working, but fortunately I spotted Pippa’s post and felt a bit better as her colours were close to mine and looked great. So I decided to go and dye up my colours and see if that made any difference.

I made 10 Procion colours and chose 10 different natural fabrics of varying weight and textures to work with, plus a range of threads.

After making up all these dyes I was reluctant to waste any so had some fun painting my sketchbook pages.

I used some funky foam to carve out the stamp for these pages, another useful tip from Shirley, and used the mop up paper towel on the right, which gave me the lovely paternation when I accidentally left a damp dishcloth too close. The brown paper is old packaging treated with a peeling paint stamp and the newsprint was used to blot off the pages.

And finally this is the page I posted up in a previous post, where I’m trying to break away from my desire to make everything look “beautifully executed” as my ex print tutor instilled into me.

So this is very much the first part of this project, but there has been a lot of development this week so I will post that when it’s all collated.

BTW thanks to Pippa’s continued support I’m feeling a lot happier about the loose WIP sample.