Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Season's Greetings

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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Tie One On November - Holidays

Here's my rather late submission for Tie One On November - Holidays. This is my christmas apron.

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It is made of odds and ends of furnishing fabric and decorated with christmas ribbon. I 'bagged it out' with calico, to make it nice and thick to soak up all that turkey/goose fat!

And here's a closeup

Tree Fairy 2

This is a new outfit for an alternative tree fairy, in case I use a different colour scheme!

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Sorry, the photo quality is not so good with the flash, but it gets dark early now.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Tree fairy

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Just finished making a new outfit for my top-of-the-tree fairy.

Tulle and scraps of silk. Metallic threads, sequins, beads and shiny wire.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Fighting Knights

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This is a piece that combines two techniques that were new to me; stumpwork with metal thread work. It is based on diagrams taken from a book on heraldry. I used a variety of metallic fabrics, 'goldwork' threads, metallic seedbeads and snippets of sari silk. The two figures were worked on backing fabric, cut out and applied to natural linen as 'slips'. I still haven't decided what to do with it next.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Hexagon Patchwork

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I don't do much patchwork, but occasionally I get bitten by the bug. Here I was trying to use traditional hand pieced hexagons in a different way, to make a pictorial quilted hanging. Its a pot plant! I quilted the pot and flowers by tying with french knots, or with running stitch. The blue at the bottom is hexagons too, but I tried to disguise the shape with machine quilting in squares. The rest of the background is hexagons of calico dyed in tea, disguised by machine quilting in diagonal lines. The colours used to match my bedroom wallpaper, but now they don't, so it is hanging in the wardrobe!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Bags of Fun - close ups

Just in case anyone else out there is as much of an 'anorak' as me about these things, here are some close-ups of my favourite bits of the bag.

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These are the very simple needle sculpture 'goblin' faces. Made from small amounts of polyester toy stuffing and old tights. I made a very small ball of stuffing first and wrapped the centre of a piece of tights over it to make the nose. Then I gathered the edges and drew them up together, pushing the stuffing around to get the shape I wanted, then stitched in the features.
Blending in the different fabrics using seeding stitch in stranded cotton, over the top of free machine stitching in rayon.
Seeding stitches in wool. I like this combination of colours.
Interlaced running stitch in wool.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Bags of Fun's Done!

I just scraped in before the deadline. My bag of fun is called 'Goblin Garden'.

Here's the front:

And here's the back view.

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Check out the other Bags of Fun on:

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Witch face closeup

I've tried to take a better picture of the embroidered witch face for Connie. Here she is in profile. This is about the best I can do with my camera.

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The idea for the split stitch technique came from this doing this sample:

followed by this one:

Because the witch was so small, I couldn't pad the features, so I drew two profiles, embroidered them and stitched them together. I tried to get an impression of relief for the sunken cheeks by using a darker colour.

The face for Doris was a scan of the embroidered witch face profile enlarged, mirror imaged to make two sides for the face and printed onto printer transfer paper.

I added stitched outlines, buttonhole lips, bead teeth and various warts, then stitched the two profiles together.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The witch I made before Doris.

Before I made Doris, I made a much smaller witch. I was playing around with tassels and I wondered if I could make a doll using just a wrapped tassel. This is the doll I made. She was made from a hank of knitting yarn. All her clothes come off. She is able to stand on her own on a flat surface, because she is so small and her legs are so tightly wrapped and she has cardboard soles in her boots. Here she is propped up for her photo-session.

This is how I made her:
Dolls made from wrapped tassels.
Wrapped tassel .
Here's how I made her face.

I drew the outline of the features and then traced it, plus a mirror image, on to calico. I embroidered it in split stitch in crewel wool and added warts and eyebrows.
Then I cut out the two faces with a seam allowance and stitched them together down the front and around the chin, hemmed in the rest of the seam allowance and stitched to the tassell head and added a wool wig.
Here's how I made the clothes.

On the left, scraps of fabric applied to fine black muslin. On the right fabric heavily free machined with additional hand stitching. Burnt in a candle flame. I made two pieces of this fabric. (Sorry for the poor
quality, photo of a scan, but I hope you get the idea).

I used one piece of the fabric to make the vest, adding 'eyes' and a ribbon for lacing. I used the other to decorate the bottom of the velvet skirt.

Here's the witch wearing her chemise and wig.

The wig is just a bundle of fluffy yarn. The chemise is made from black muslin with dyed nylon lace trim, has a gathered skirt and fastens at the back with press studs. The boots are made from stretch velvet and are just a simple darted sock with pointed toes. I put a cardboard insole in each boot and they gather up round the top with a 'lace'.

I made this doll in response to an assignment set by our City & Guilds tutor to design and make an item on the theme of 'Flight'. A witch was one of the 'flying things' I thought of and it was coming up to halloween!

As part of the design work, I made these sketches of repeat patterns using the outline of a cat, the witches most usual familiar.

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Tie One On - multimedia

This month's challenge for Tie One On is to use some kind of multimedia on an apron. I have used discharge printing, hand and machine embroidery.

I have enough aprons for the present, so I made this one for Doris. (May 2005 archive).

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The design was discharge printed using ordinary household bleach. The printing block was the piece of polystyrene shown in the photo. Usually it is used to fill in the gaps in the edges of wavy plastic greenhouse roofs. I curled it round and tied it with string to make the flower motifs. They are a larger version of the motifs on Doris's skirt. I outlined the design in stem stitch in stranded cotton, then added some decorative machine stitching.

Here's Doris modelling the apron.

I think it makes her look quite 'folksy'.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Bags and bags of fun

Here it is, the incredible expanding bag!

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I have added a section of furnishing fabric to the bottom to give it more depth.
Now I want to blend it in with the rest. Of course, that means more stitching. To speed things up, I have done some free machining to add texture, before the handstitching. More bits of chiffon to add. I have a kind 'carpet bag' feel going here now. Odd how these things evolve! I want to be able to use the front pockets easily, so I think I am going to leave them unadorned, for contrast and to make a feature of some of the original denim.

'Thar she grows'
Here is the back, with the flowers filled in and some of the chiffon overlapped from the front, ready for hand stitching.

It looks a bit of a mess at the moment. I plan to 'box' the bottom after I have sewn up the seam, so that will take up quite a lot of the depth. Loads more to do, have to get a move on!!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Disasters - a serious post

I've been sitting watching harrowing TV footage of the earthquake in India and Pakistan. A whole generation of children has been wiped out because the schools collapsed on top of them. And the situation is just getting worse as the rains come.

I am always affected by these natural disasters, but this one - all those children - has had me in tears.

Sketchbook - tomatos

Connie at The Scoop Score and Deal posts really excellent nature/wildlife sketches and photos.

The latest one is Jersey tomatos and it reminded me of some pages in my own sketchbook. This is from an exercise done during the design studies certificate for City & Guilds Creative Embroidery and was about different coloured pencil techniques. The bunch of vine tomatos was done in pastel pencil.

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The scrappy piece of paper at the bottom of page 1 has these explanatory notes.

1. graphite pencil and coloured pencil, overlaid colour.
2. contour drawing, coloured pencil.
3. contour drawing, coloured pencil and coloured paper.
4. coloured pencil, overlaid colour, burnished.
5. overlaid colour, pastel pencils, dark coloured paper.
6. stippling, pastel pencils, dark coloured paper.
7. hatching, coloured pencils.
8. scraffito, coloured pencils.
9. graduated shading, coloured pencil.

Here are a couple of ideas for repeat patterns. The first for a border, the other for a print.

Lots more mileage in these tomatos, thanks Connie for the reminder!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Tie one on - tea towels

Here are my bits for Tie One On, make an apron using purchased tea towels. I went browsing in our local warehouse while I was waiting for my puncture to be repaired and found these, one large one small, almost matching set. The small one will make the pocket. Just need some brown webbing for the ties!

And here's the apron.

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Month of Softies - September

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September's Month of Softies was to challenge yourself to try something new or difficult or unusual. I decided to use some wool tops I've had in the cupboard for years to make felt. I made these felt fish. I layered the wool and wrapped it around a washing liquid ball. Then I put it in the cut off leg of a pair of old tights and tied it tight. For one of the fish, I put small pieces of fabric in the felt layers. Then I put them all through a hot wash cycle in the machine, and left them to dry. I made a cut where I wanted the mouth to be and eased out the plastic balls. I buttonhole stitched around the slashed mouths and sewed on different sized buttons to make the eyes. The fins and tails are tassels in toning knitting yarns.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Bags of Fun - changed my mind!

I changed my mind and decided to redo the coloured butterfly pocket ! I have taken off the solid black detached buttonhole stitch and replaced it with running stitch to match the other pocket. I have also outlined the butterfly and pattern details in white. I think it balances better now. I have a sort of 'night and day' thing going on here, so I plan to fill in the black butterfly in more muted, moth colours.

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Here's a closeup.

I've added some french knots, that way I'll need to use less beads!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Bags of Fun - Stage Two (the back)

Here's the latest progress on bags of fun. I haven't done as much as I would like, because I am finding it so HARD on the fingers to stitch on this denim, especially on the pockets. Two butterflies now, one in colour in seeding stitch, waiting for beads to be added and one outlined in stem stitch in black. I prefer the look of the black stem stitch butterfly, but I can't bear to unpick the coloured one. I may have to give it a black stem stitch outline and remove the detatched buttonhole background and replace it with running stitch in black to match the other pocket. I'll leave that until the end in case I don't have time!

The plan is to create as much texture as I can, and to cover as much denim as possible.

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Below, the black stem stitch butterfly.

And here, the coloured seeding stitch butterfly.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Joan's Chicken Scratch

Joan has come across some of the 'chicken scratch' posts. She sent me this email and these pictures.

Hi Kay, happened to find your address when looking at'chickenscratch' references.I have made approx 40 different motifs in various colours of gingham and plan to make them into a patchwork quilt - the chickenscratch was the easy part! Got interested by starting first with tray cloths etc with 'swiss embroidery' roses, butterflies, snowflakes etc.Could send you pictures of cushions etc if you are interested.Regards, Joan P.S. I am 66 years old, no training, just an enthusiastic amateur.
Hi Kay, this is the front and reverse of a cushion I made with chickenscratch cat and star. You will see the design looks like lace on gingham. I have many more 9" square motifs which I will eventually make up into a bed quilt.Hope you get the pictures ok because I am new to this. Regards, Joan

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Thought you-all might like to see it. I like the way she's used different colours, and I'd certainly like to see some of those quilt motifs!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Connie's Hornets' Nest

Connie has posted a super but scary photo of a hornets' nest on her blog:

scroll down and have a look at her wildlife photos and nature sketches - lovely!
And if you haven't seen them before, take a look at her amazing Santas.

Connie's photo reminded me of my Honeycomb Box, details below.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Honeycomb Box

These images from my design files inspired a 'Honeycomb Box'.
The picture of needlelace comes from Threads magazine and is by V. Churchill-Bath. The red and white picture is from a car ad. It looks like a diamante necklace but is made up of small white cars!

The shot at the bottom left shows experiments using hexagons to make 3d shapes. The picture on the right is a mock-up using hexagons stitched together to make a bowl shape. There are four hexagons and one square for the base. I used two of these to make the Honeycomb Box, one bowl shape inverted over the other. This left gaps to look through. I also cut circles out of some of the hexagons. This box was one of my assessment pieces for City & Guilds Part II - a 3D Functional Object!