Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Like driving someone else's car……

My plan today at Morley was to free-motion stitch some of the tree outlines on to the dyed  cloth from last week.  It is sue time since I sewed using a machine other than my own, and it was not a resounding success.    After trying 3 different machine, breaking 3 needles, continuous thread breaks, I did manage to get in tune with a machine.

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Stitching on organza- ignore the quality of the stitching please

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My brain can't stitch these shapes as well as it can draw them.  This tree looks too much like seaweed, or some odd anatomical protuberance.

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This one looks like a set of tube worms.

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Stitched organza overlaid on the printed cloth from last week.

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This could be going somewhere now, but my tutor recommended that the trees need roots  to ground them in the design more effectively, so lots of stitching practise needed at home.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Morley morsels

Busy day today on the heat press, testing out the painted papers prepared last week.  The top one shows fingerprints and drops of water in lower left and cling film applied to wet dye on the top right.

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I was pleased with the colour mixes and with the effects of some of the papers.  These prints are all on a lovely drapey polyester.

Underlayers of orange dye, with overlay of dark teal dots ( a serendipitous result of a an error - painting the dye on to greaseproof paper)

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Overlays of dark turquoise on orange explosions

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Turquoise lines on orange explosions

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Trees cut out of painted papers and then printed over orange explosions and dark turquoise dots

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Whole pieces taped up for contemplation of next steps

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Pollarded trees in the Morley gardens seemed to be fitting in with the theme today.

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Out tutor also referred me to the work of  Sally Greaves-Lord to study for homework, so lots to do.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Must sees for me in 2014

I scraped in to several exhibitions at the last moment in 2013, so I'm attempting to be more organised this year.  Four of note for the first few months will be:

Sensing Spaces, Architecture Reimagined at the Royal Academy.  I love grand scale installations, so this should be wonderful

Dale Chihuly, Beyond the Object at the Halcyon Gallery.  I'm a long term fan of Chihuly's colours and shapes, os this will be total indulgence

Artist Textiles, Picasso to Warhol at the Fashion and Textile Museum.  The exhibitions there are always beautifully curated and there is an opportunity to see more beautiful glass on the same street at the London Glassblowing Studio.

White Light/ White Heat, contemporary artists and glass at the Wallace Collection.

Fingers crossed I make it to them all.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

From the mundane to the sublime in one weekend…..

Like the cobbler's children who have no shoes, mending is very low priority on my list of sewing projects.  However, when it gets to the point that every double duvet cover has some sort of textile-related problem, it is time to act.  The only way to get through it  was to promise myself some more interesting textile time in the afternoon.

Duvet reclamation, apparently, this Ikea design was designed by Cath Kidston before she was "Cath Kidston".  It's the closest I'll currently get to any Cath Kidston and it hasn't worn very well.


Now a single duvet cover - female guests only as the boys refuse to have this on their beds, I guess the non-gender -based parenting has failed.  I love seeing the sewing machine whizz through the repeat button holes.


Like 95% of quilters, I have a load of unfinished projects.  This year( !) the aim is to finish at least half of them.  This one has languished for over 3 years and only needs 2 blocks to finish.  It  was supposedly an exercise in using a neutral top with curved piecing, but it morphed in to something else.  I wish I had room for a design wall!


Lime green sparkling in the sun.


and then of course, I decided that some of the existing blocks don't work as well as they could, and that I could make a more interesting back, rather than just use one piece of cloth.  

When does a pieced back become another quilt on the back? - when it takes all afternoon to plan and put together.  The paint squares fabric has been stored for over 15 years, and that is part of the finishing resolution.  If it has larger than 1metre, and has been there for over 10 years - use it, swap it or give it away.


And finally some real hand stitching, preparing a piece of American smocking for Morley on Tuesday.   There are several tutorials on the web, and I followed the instructions in the book by Colette Wolfe, " The Art of Manipulating Fabric".  I think my cloth is too sturdy as there are more folds in this piece than in a previous version I attempted.  I deliberately used dark thread in this as I need contrast for the experiment I hope to try on Tuesday.



Front - there are two different patterns on here, lattice and lozenge, which is why it looks a bit irregular.


Hoping to get the quilt basted up tomorrow night at Richmond and Kew Quilters sewing evening.


Thursday, 9 January 2014


Not traditional blackwork by hand, but machine quilting using black thread on white cloth.   I've been reading the book "Freemotion Quiltng Handbook" by Judy Woodworth.    That, in combination with the drawings on the site of Lu-ann Kessi, and an exercise to be done for next week's Morley class, inspired me to do free motion stitching in black.  Very tricky, as the black shows up every wavering line, but very good to see where those lines come in each shape, and perhaps find a creative solution ( other than just more practising) to adapt the design to cope with the wavering.

Piece of 30cm square sampler


Rose detail


Feather detail



Blask quilting strips

This middle one is my favourite triangle ( without the dog hair!)


And finally, the binding is on the scrap quilt, sewn to the front, folded over, and stitched from the back with the machine serpentine stitch.  You can also see the wavy line quilting in the border here, where I deliberately set the tension such that a bit of the cream thread from the bobbin shows where the stitches interlock.  I thought this added a bit to the quilting, and also allowed me to keep the cream thread on the back really clear.


Back - yes there are shadows today.


Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Could I have an ice cube in this coffee?

On my way to Morley today for the start of the new term, and i was caught in a downpour.  I needed a cup of coffee to warm up.  Ordered my coffee, waited for it, and a very large young man hovered behind me.  Eventually he spoke, in an American accent, " Excuse me, could I have an ice-cube for this coffee?  I'm not British and I really can't drink coffee at this temperature".  Perhaps he was in a hurry, but it did make me laugh.  Anyway, those words made their way in to some of today's work with heat press ( transfer)  printing.

An exploration of the tree motif from last term, on a much smaller scale, with an overlay of a piece of the large scale, printed on polyester fleece.


Large tree motifs, positives and negatives - I really struggle to get my brain round this I think due to the inversion of the image at the same time.


Could I have an ice-cube……printed to try to hep me understand the inversion  and positive / negative aspects of transfer printing when using a photocopy.  Printed on polyester satin.


Printing one piece of painted paper to exhaustion, on fleece, 8 consecutive samples.


Summary of the day - it is wonderful to be back.


Wednesday, 1 January 2014

From the scraps of 2013 to the horizons of 2014

Last year I kept all of my minuscule scraps to try to pretend I was a "real quilter" - you know, one who uses old fabrics and recycles them into something glorious, rather than one who starts with glorious fabrics and just turns them into something else.   I randomly  stitched these scraps into blocks ( crumbs they are called by some) and used the strips left over form the Dr Who quilt to make sashing.  On this miserable, rainy, blustery day, what better time to show progress so far.  Photos need better light, but that's not going to happen today.  Blocs are about 7.5 inches finished.



Back - fabric that it is at least 10 years old.  This year's resolution is to use really old stash fabrics  - as that then assuages the guilt at purchasing items like this.




I have layered this with hi-loft wadding for a different look and am finding this really tricky to quilt evenly - choosing circles doesn't help either.


Happy 2014 to all.