Tuesday, 28 February 2012

I'm back!

I hadn't gone far, we just lost our connection due to a 'stale session' at the BT end fixed in 2 seconds by Scotnet..but not till Monday am...then I went to work.

I hadn't done much, just 'made' some curtains up.

When I say 'made', we were looking in Debenhams, 2 pairs £180. Neutral, lined. They were fine. Of course we 'popped' into a charity shop, knowing we wouldn't find 2 pairs the same, but did. Talk about the absolute opposite to neutral! They were 2 huge pieces of hemmed fabric so I folded them to make them lined & added curtain ruching tape stuff. One long pair & one short pair. ... perfect & a snip at £3 a pair ;) The bathroom floor tiles were a ittle more expensive but a floor is for life not just for Christmas. We've had painted chipboard for 11 yrs & it worked out £10 per year, a bargain & the clever DH & Youngest laid it themselves. So we're almost sorted for the second room B&B. I think they might inspire my next painted background! I haven't done triangles yet ;)

So I'd made a ground from Maggie's Stitches Straps & Layers.  Her samples are delicious, using yarn, tape, sari silk, silk carrier rods, or stitched border patterns cut from felt. I couldn't do them all so I chose a mix of yarn, the knitting tapes Maggie had kindly sent me & some of  the miriad of stuff I've spent my life collecting (this book so justifies my way of life!) It's time consuming laying out the yarns over lightly foiled velvet, needlefelting a bit & stitching down with zig zag & straight stitch in various colors, but worth it. I made a small piece from silk carrier rods & combined the 2 as per Maggies sample. Not sure if you remember that I borrowed this book from a friend & my arty buddy Jo said it was so good for me I should have bought it myself. But I've had amazing fun actually working thru the samples  & I'm so grateful to Lesley for lending it to me...I've so nearly finished!


As we had no internet I was able to catch up & make some cuffs with beads  & cord loops out of the new fabric. The middle one, I think, will go into my Etsy shop soon.

And I finished the second gauntlet. Slightly bigger so less of a gap & cords instead of ribbons. Scuse the flash.

Jo lent me a book about Zandra Rhodes. I had no idea I'd be so interested!

cover, studio

screen printing, sketchbook

pattern, cloths

Sorry there are so many, couldn't resist!
Forgot her wonderful quote!

"I am  tired of good taste. I want to do everything wrong & get a result that is of value & valid as well"
Zandra Rhodes

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Some cuffs & brooches

In between the hail showers I took some pics of the cuffs & brooches I've been making this week.

The one on the right is a  request from a customer & I made a couple of bigger ones, one in the same fabric which will hopefully be in my Etsy shop soon & the top one in last weeks gauntlet fabric.

She wanted a couple of different shaped brooches, too.

Those are the 2 at the top, then I made a couple for the studio. I'll stitch the backs on while bonding with my boys (the DH & Youngest) while watching Day & Night. The preview looked silly but fun.....what more do you want in life after a hard day's work?

I decided to start another gauntlet in the sea green Neptune colors, just so Pam has choice. I like to give a bit of choice, just in case.....trying to please everybody all the time... huh. Oh & started another cuff, too.

Here's the finished gauntlet

I had a lovely card from my DH & put my engagement ring on for the day - we found it on February 14th 25 years ago in Portobello Road Market, London. It's wearing thin , the gold bit, so I don't wear it all the time, now. It's done well!  ;) Mine to him is left & he cut the heart shape out for me ;)

Look what I found in my compost bin - look away if you're squeemish!  I've nearly finished transferring one bin to another, exhausting work but it's got the juices flowing & I must start a plan of action in the garden, just a little at a time ;)

Sunday, 12 February 2012

I'm on holiday!

Well, just not going to my 'weekend' job this week, which means 2 whole days extra in the studio ;) So of course that made me a day later than usual posting with no threat of a 9am start. I momentarily lost my 'sieze the day' attitude! Well, we did unusually have  B&B guests, great weather for them & very welcome indeed, so there's my excuse.

So, a while ago I got a commission from the landscape artist, Pam Carter - she has a lovely holiday home a few doors down from us - & thought it was about time to stop provaricating (sp?) & get on with it. Thing was she asked for a gauntlet cuff & I haven't done one of those before so lots of thought & procrastination necessary before getting down to it. Glancing at the very gory Sparticus that the boys were watching - the Middlest came up for a visit - I was inspired by the Gladiator's leather gauntlets! Then I couldn't find the measurements, Heaven's sake. That meant picking up each item on my desk & table in the studio, putting it in it's place (& a place for everything!) & about 150 items later, after the Youngest said it would have been clever to have clipped it to the bundle he was holding, but never mind (he's so PATient! The DH came in, took one look & left again!) He went over to a box & I said it would unlikely be in there but wondered if I HAD  been clever enough to actually put it in the box (my tidying off the shared table to give the DH space box) & there it was.

In the first pic I fused purple silky fabric to an old guest towel, the likes of which people of my mothers generation would have put out when they knew guests were coming - my interpretation of batting. Then I laid whispy yarn all over, then I tried to get between the yarn with bits of magenta silky fabric & poked at them with the tip of the iron to fuse them down, then tried to get between all that with little bits of bondaweb that I could stick I mean fuse gold foil onto. I know, a about t but that's how I work;) Otherwise how whould I know what went where? ;) The pic immediately above had a piece of pink organza laid over & I've stitched along the yarn & around the magenta oblongs. I started the piece as one big piece before I found the measurement & would you believe that a guest towel, lightly trimmed each side is the exACT width required for this cuff? (bearing in mind I wanted the stitching to go top to bottom) cool, huh? It's a good thing I made a paper template as I'd no idea a gauntlet would be this shape, surprising how much fabric a 'tube' takes up.

Not so cool was that when I decided to free motion embroider some little circles here & there, to balance up the linear feel of it, garnet stitch I believe it's called, just before I got down to making some loops out of the magenta 'ribbon' & 'buttons' out of the spare fabric, I dropped the tiny screw that changes the feet of the machine, onto the floor. Well I just wasn't going to go there & came in to talk to you guys, instead. I will find it.

In my clearing up parts of the week I wondered why I had so many plastic bags in a large pile. I realised they were for ironing into 'paper' & figured if I got on & did that the pile would shrink dramatically &  could be stored in the 'paper' drawer. Result ;)

I mentioned to the youngest that life was about moving things from one place to another & he found it a rather depressing thought. I must also mention to him that it's what you do inbetween times is the important thing. I think he knows that. He was cheered up by the rugby - in this house where we're English, Welsh & Irish by blood, live in Scotland,  honeymooned in France & also love anything Italian, we don't really mind who wins ;)

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Magggie's Patches & a winner

First, welcome to my new followers. I'd love to visit but I can't see a link, if you comment I'll be able to ;)

Second, I was one of the winners of Maggie's book giveaway! I chose Dale Rollerson's 'Let's play with Sari Ribbon' which is a sweet little booklet giving you ideas of how to use sari ribbon. In with the book, Maggie had very kindly sent some of her own precious flat woollen tapes for me to use on my 'applied yarns' samples, which she was enjoying on my blog. I was delighted, thank you Maggie!

So this week I was struggling with making this....or that, my usual weekly problem ( my list is so long, I know I'm not alone there!) I had already decided the next sample from Maggie's book 'stitches, straps & layers' would be Patches.

such exciting little things! Maggie uses them as borders & edges around her pieces, horizontally or vertically. The basic way to make them is with pelmet Vilene, bondaweb & crumpled tissue painted with walnut ink. You could use card, felt, painted papers or book pages & tea bags for dyeing instead of ink. Anything, really.

I made an A4 ish page & cut into the above strips. This gave me straight edges of course except for the one on the far right, above as I had a small piece of vilene already cut. I like both, but the cut edge means you have to paint or tea bag dye each edge...which is fine, worth it to get rid of the white. You can stitch or burn the edges (I've wanted to get my lighter out for ages!) Then you can use embossed foil, little pieces of painted papers, fabric, beads.

From left to right (top pic) I used a rusted razor blade, sweet foil with stitched raffia, painted paper from my drawer, newspaper on a tiny patch with other found paper edged in metallic paint, & finally, a copper roof tile nail - they don't make them like they used to! with verdigris colored gimp french knots , the extended kind. Couldn't believe it when I thought to myself, bet I haven't got any verdigris colored thread anywhere,  to match that wonderful nail - got these when  Jetta, who I gardened for, had her roof reslated. I was picking up these little beauties for weeks ;) -  & there it was in my ribbon & thread drawer! Kind of a 'gimp' sort of thing I think.

Well, I loved making these & decided to make a little book, inspired by Maggies 'The Little Book of Walnut Ink' which she was using to demonstrate how to use the patches on the cover. Beautiful, I really want to look inside! I found one entry on google, just one delicious page!

This is only about postcard size, with 3 signatures made with brown paper used on the worktop, handmade paper & book pages. (there's lots of work out there using book pages - finally we can use the pages we tore out of reclaimed, altered in some way, books) I bound it using phamphlet stitch, the only one I can do with ease.

Inside front cover - you can't quite see copper & gold highlights. I made the patches on the front cover quite symmetrical, for me & used book pages as well as the painted paper from my stash.

The writing on the back is from the dressmaking tissue paper I used. I'll put this in my Etsy shop next week - I only manage to add heart cards for Valentine's day last week. Well, we need a heart all year, really ;) Oh & did I mention I got my first sale? Thank you....so exciting!!!!

I showed the DH my book & patches, expecting him to say 'what're you going to use them for?' or 'they're a bit hairy' but no, he said it looked like an ancient book, reminded him of the Book of Kells. Well, you can't get better than that!