Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hi Honey!

I've just waved the children and their Mum off on their way back home, so once I have got all my stuff out again, hopefully I can make some more progress on the bee!

I now have what is clearly a very dead frog partially submerged in water with its head resting on a pile of leaves in a tray on the back steps and a nicely handwritten list of instructions, including putting it in the shade, pouring water over it every hour and getting flies from the spiders' webs in the runner beans for it to eat. Apparently, some sign of life was seen when it was poked! The big question is - does it have a miraculous recovery and joyfully hop away - or does it have a quiet and dignified demise from frog flu?

I wasn't allowed to whack it under the scanner for future reference!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

It's a BEE!

I'm hoping to take part in the Hand Embroidery Network On-line Embroidery Exhibition starting on 1st September. I'm a bit behind schedule so I'm not sure if I'm going to make the deadline.

This is what I've been doing.

First make the fabric:

This is black muslin (scrim), needlefelted on the embellisher machine with dyed wool tops (roving), in approximate bee colours and an approximate bee shape.

Then make a pattern:

and cut it out:

Then sew it together with a plain underside, stuff it, shape it and begin to add embroidered detail.

(Click on photo for bigger image)

This is likely to be a rush job, so just a few simple stitches - cretan stitch and bullion knots, and some hand needlefelted eyelash yarn. (You can't see it very well in the photo, but that's trellis stitch around that eyelash yarn!)

This is as far as I can go at the moment, because it's coming up to the August Bank Holiday here and I have a house full of very small people. All my sewing has had to be put away for both their safety and to preserve my stuff!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Stitch explorer - July - one I prepared earlier

I'm taking part in Sharon B's Stitch Explorer Challenge. Find out all about it here. This month Sharon was thinking about contemporary embroidery and asked us to use something unusual.

I've been busy lately, so I haven't done much 'serious' embroidery. I looked back at some of my previous work to see where I had used unusual materials.

These pieces are all based on the same design.

Here, I used tissue paper. The background was ironed on to interfacing. I rubbed a wax candle all over a piece of baking parchment and ironed it on. Then I added cut out motifs backed with bondaweb (wonder under) and waxed it again. Finally I added more cut outs and finished it off with some simple machine stitching. This made a richly coloured, pliable sheet.

In this piece, I ironed pieces of plastic tablecloth and cellophane in a baking parchment 'sandwich', then stitched the result to a synthetic felted discloth. I added some motifs cut out of a different type of dishcloth, applied some shot taffeta and embellished with beads. Very messy!

Here I used dishcloths and bits of plastic tablecloth to make this reverse applique piece.

This is one of my favourite pieces. It got quite complicated. I layered woven strips of hand dyed muslin and giftwrap onto iron-on interfacing. Then I applied the motifs. Some were cut from a discloth. Others were cut from a dishcloth layered with a nappy (diaper) liner marbled with oil paints. The nappy liner was bonded to the dishcloth with bondaweb (wonder under). I like the look of this piece, but the paper giftwrap makes it quite fragile.

Just lately I've been playing with stitching over needlefelting, both by hand and by embellisher machine. Here are one or two examples:

Monday, August 03, 2009

Summer festival

This weekend was the Llammas Festival. I was sharing a marquee with some other Creative Co-op members. Well, we called it a marquee - it was jerry-built in the English allottment style from two pop-up gazebos and six spare sides. The sides didn't fit very well but we tied them on with string, clamps and clothes pegs.

Here we are setting up, with people already trying to buy although there was at least an hour to go until opening time - perhaps they thought it was a car boot sale!

Leave us alone, we're trying to get ready. Some-one tried to buy my shopping bag. It had my waterproof and a cardigan in it!

Finally we get it sorted out. Here's Rosie's earrings and Sharon's beaded jewellery.

People start to arrive:

Then come drummers and giants:

and Morris Men start to gather, ready for their displays:

The Darkside clothing emporium, with the proprietor in his every day attire

contrasts with a fairy and her friend collecting for the Lifeboat Institute, the very deserving beneficiary of this annual fest.

It's all going so well. But then the English weather does what it does best, it rains:

Our makeshift marquee just wasn't up to the job!

Ah well! tomorrow's another day......................

Summer Festival Part 2 - a better day!

Sunday and the weather forecast is much better although the wind is getting up. We set up again, in a slightly different arrangement, and once again people want to look around before we are ready. You can see one half of the makeshift marquee beginning to blow up in the wind.

That's Alana, sitting there by her table of driftwood pieces. You can just see Suze in the opposite corner, trying to finish setting up her table amongst the browsers.

The sun comes out and crowds start to arrive. The Hunters' Moon Morris begin their display against a backdrop of the sea and the South Downs, the Grand Hotel catching the sun and looking like a wedding cake in the background. (You can just see our makeshift marquee, with the green top, blown up like a balloon in the wind!)

More crowds arrive. There was some excellent musical entertainment. People had picnics on the Western Lawns, browsed the stalls selling exotic and colourful clothing and bags, sculptures of dragons and strange mythical beasts. They examined all sorts of interesting books, crystals and knickknacks, listened to tales in the story telling tent, watched the Punch and Judy show and inhaled the scents of coffee, incense and bacon butties wafting on the wind.

Footfall is good. We had a constant stream of browsers all day. Lots of people stop to look at my dolls, ask lots of questions about them, say some complimentary things and take away my leaflets, but no-one is buying; not even the little things I made specially. I overhear many nice comments but, human nature being what it is, the one I remember most is "Well, they're way over-priced for what they are. It's not even a craft fair. I certainly wasn't expecting this!" And the runner up was "Sixty-five quid. Jesus"!
(Just look at that green top, it looks ready to take off!)

More crowds arrive. Everyone is having such a good time. The catering wagon runs out of food and the icecream van runs out of 99s. More customers come and finally someone buys one of my brooches; a present for a friend. A rather elderly gentleman does a rather bad Michael Jackson impersonation in front of the band and is easily upstaged by a group of small children. (We wouldn't have known had it not been for the white gloves and back hat!). Then, suddenly, it's time to pack up our things and go. Most of the group had sold enough to make a profit - but I made the princely sum of £15.50! Am I making the wrong things, or selling them in wrong place?

Remember that windblown makeshift marquee? Well, although we had constant problems with the wind, it lasted all day. As we were packing our things away one of the sides blew off, left literally hanging by a thread!

Anyway, it was a great day out!

(I had so many photos I wanted to use that I wrote another post about our weekend here featuring more of the Creative Co-op and their wares!)