Friday, February 29, 2008

TIF - February - Memories - Jack Frost 2

Here's Jack Frost number Two. Made with the more 'experimental' fabric that I originally rejected.

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(I need to work on those noses!)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

TIF - February - Memories - Jack Frost

Here's Baby Jack Frost number One.

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I caught a bit of the 'sparkle' in this photo. I used knitting yarn with metallic strands for the hair and pearlescent paint for the eyes. I'm having real trouble with faces that are not 'natural' colours. I'm not too pleased with this one. It is something I will have to do a bit more work on. Have to get the sketch book and crayons out!

I decided not to slash the fabric on the back, but I put this back view in just because I think it's cute!

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(Arlee, thanks for the tip. This time I improvised a 'light box' with a white tablecloth and a transparent plastic coffee table - much better, but I could do with some sunshine!)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

TIF Feb - First Frost

Here's the first 'Baby Frost' body, all embellished. It's dark here today, so the photo isn't as good as I would like, but you get the idea?

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I've used white and pastel coloured threads, pearl and glass beads and pearly sequins. Unfortunately, the 'twinkle' doesn't show up very well in the photograph but in real life it is quite sparkly!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

TIF Feb - thought!

I've looked again at that messy body fabric. First I tried looking at it through a 'body shaped' window.

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and you know what? It really doesn't look that bad after all.

Then I turned it over:

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and that looks more like snow. So now I don't know which side to use....

And it looks as though I shall make two frost dolls instead of one!

Friday, February 22, 2008

TIF Feb - still thinking (sulking)

I went off and made some more Mer Baby bodies, and while I was doing that, I thought I would use a similar technique for a Jack Frost. This is what I did:

Front (click on photo for bigger image)

Back (click on photo for bigger image)

This is the same pattern as the Mer Baby, except it has a vertical line stitched for the legs. I was considering trying to add some pointed boots, but I like the baby all-in-one effect so I decided to leave it as it is.

I put a fine white cotton over a blue dish cloth and then used a selection of spiky preprogrammed machine stitches to 'quilt' the two layers together. The plan is to add some hand stitched 'frost' patterns over the top, and I think I will slash between the vertical patterns to show the blue underneath on the back section.

I'm still thinking (sulking) about the other body fabric I made..................

Thursday, February 21, 2008

TIF Feb - not much success with this mess!

Here's the first stage of making the body for my Jack Frost doll.

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I've used a blue dish cloth with different thicknesses of knitting yarn and a variety of spiky stitches to represent the lines of the frost pattern.

Here it is after running through the embellisher with added silk roving and lines of machine stitching:

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Frankly, it's a mess and not at all the effect I was after. Irritating, isn't it, when what's in your head doesn't come out the end of the needle???!!!

I shall go off and do something else while I think about (sulk over) it.

Monday, February 18, 2008

TIF February

I've been thinking about making friendship/spirit dolls for my table at the Llammas Fair later this year. I've made a start by adapting my simple doll pattern to make a 'mer-baby'

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I made the body/tail fabric by 'sandwiching' metallic sweet wrappers between a felt-type wasing up cloth and sone sheer fabric. Then I 'quilted' it with programmed machine stitches and hand embroidery and added beads.

while I was testing the pattern, I was thinking about TIF and Jack Frost. I've adapted the pattern again, to make a 'Baby Frost'. This is my photo reference:

The plan is to make the body of the doll in blue, with white stitching to suggest frost. White face and arms. Spiky white hair. Sparkle added with sequins and beads. Possibly pointed shoes.

A different type of design method to January - this grew from something else I was doing, with very little drawing or planning.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

TIF Feb - Memories - Later Years

A stitch in time: Signing up for City & Guilds Creative Embroidery.

I wanted something to occupy me while I watched TV with the other occupant of the house! Painting, my other passion, was too messy and needed too much equipment so I thought I would try some embroidery. As I got better and more creative I thought (in one of those Gestalt moments we have heard about) ‘this is not just a craft, this is art!’ I wanted to do it as well as I possibly could. When I saw a City & Guilds course advertised I went along to see the students’ work. In response to another of those light-blinding moments, I signed on in 1991 and I carried on going on and off, between work contracts, for the next eight years; purely for the joy of it. There were times when studying embroidery took precedence over almost everything else. Whenever I came across a new technique or a new idea I had to try it out immediately. Each new book or magasine had to be devoured at once. The house was a mess; every available surface was covered with snippets and threads and my hands were always coloured from the dye bath. Yet still I strove to be neater and more innovative. I was never satisfied. Nothing has changed!

At last I have my topic for design

All this reminiscing has finally given me my subject for this month's Take it Further Challenge. I can remember the days before central heating - tracing with my finger the frost patterns on the inside of the bedroom windows in the winter mornings. It was the first thing we did on those cold dark mornings at the beginning and end of the year - leap out of bed and rush to the windows to see if 'Jack Frost had been' and marvel at his beautiful patterns. Sometimes, to me, they looked like pine tree branches, or spiky barbed wire, and other times like curled acanthus leaves. This gave the name 'frosted glass' to the glazing material that was produced to give privacy to bathrooms and the like, now superceded by 'opaque' patterned glazing. (The old style frosted glass produces great rubbings - I wonder if I can find some?). My daughter has never seen frost on the inside of windows in the house, and nor have my grandchildren - they were fascinated when I told them about it!

Here's a nice link to some information about frost

and here's another

Lots of inspiration for me!

TIF Feb - Memories - Early Years

Now here's an odd thing. I've noticed that this month's challenge is making a few of us set to and WRITE as well as design. Enjoying these little snippets from people's past lives made me think of some of my own. So, unusually for me, here goes; just a few disjointed and very personal memories for no particular reason:

Thunderbolts and lightning
When I was a toddler, we lived right on the top of a hill. One night there was a terrific thunderstorm. I was very excited and I wanted to go outside and watch the lightning. My Dad caught me as I was on my way out of the door. ‘You see that lightning?’ he said, ‘well, if that hits you, you will sizzle up just like a rasher of bacon.’ I’d seen my breakfast cooking lots of times. I knew all about this. I have been afraid of thunderstorms ever since and even now, fifty years on, whenever there is a thunderstorm I can smell frying bacon.

Robert Danahaugh and the dinner queue

Robert Danahaugh was in my class at school when I was about six. He was one of a family of seven or eight children (even more than me, we were six!) He was shabbily dressed, grubby, with warts on his knees and a runny nose. Each morning the teacher called him up to the front of the class. She tore a piece from one of the board cleaning rags and presented it to him, with an admonishment for ’not having a handkerchief at all never mind a clean one.’ To add to his humiliation, Robert, along with a handful of similarly afflicted children, was made to queue up on the opposite side of the dining room to me and be served last because he qualified for free school meals. I didn’t understand why the teacher was so horrid to Robert, but I did know that the other kids took notice of it and teased him and he didn’t have many friends. I knew that this was wrong when I was six, and I did not like that teacher. (I didn’t like Robert much either, but so what?) Now I know that such treatment can affect a child for life - causing low self esteem, anger, resentment, lack of achievement.

TIF Feb - Memories - Growing Up

Confused by the tabloids

To understand this, you need to know about me at around 12 years old. I was a voracious reader. If it was printed, I devoured it. At 11 I had access to a whole adult library. I read novels, biographies, travel books about the places Dad was stationed during the war, and medical textbooks. So, I was well-read, unworldly, not at all street-wise and had what my Mum called ‘an unhealthy interest in my insides.’

This was the beginning of the era of the contraceptive pill (of which I had read) and sexual permissiveness (of which I knew nothing).

One day, Dad said there was something in the Daily Mirror that I ought to read. If I didn’t understand it, I should come and ask him. He handed over the centre pages. In those days, newspapers put anything you wouldn’t want Granny or the kids to see in the middle, so you could lift it out and hide it! This ‘middle’ was about sexually transmitted diseases, known then as VD. ‘Oh, this looks interesting.’ I thought and set to. (Remember, this was a kid whose idea of a treat was to be allowed to stay up and watch ‘Your Life in Their Hands’) Symptoms and treatment were plain sailing to a child with a taste in literature like mine. Confusion came with how to get it and how to avoid it. According to the ‘Mirror’ you got this from having sex, but only if you were not married. I knew all about bacteria, viruses, parasites, antibiotics and immunisations but ‘casual sex’ was not in my vocabulary (or the ‘Mirror’s, apparently). Consequently I reasoned that something must happen when people got married that prevented infection. Poor Dad, I don’t know what he was expecting, but to be asked why you couldn’t just have the vaccination BEFORE you got married completely floored him!

Friday, February 01, 2008

TIF Jan08 - Just a little bit more................

I couldn't resist working into this to a bit more to give it more definition and to tie the two motifs together. I think it's an improvment.

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I added more colour by stippling with ink and added to the texture with more hand stitching.

Here's a close-up:

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I haven't finished with this bit of design work. I have it mind that the pieces I did for this month's challenge will be samples for a much bigger piece of work.