Saturday, 27 April 2013

a little bit of everything

It's been a birdie week so I made a collage or 2 in honor of my first Swallows. I was sooo excited, they were flying over the next door's pond & as I stood & watched they swooped quite near me

They are CD case sized. I carved a rubber small enough to use for cards, below & thought I'd use it for collage too.

Quite sweet but I need to refine the initial drawing a bit so it doesn't look too much like a person flying about the place ;)

 I was looking thru my fabric for a pink to go with last week's squares & came across a skirt that I'd recently sorted into the studio from a pile that was waiting for alteration...if I told you I wore it thru my pregnancies you will agree with me that it was about time something was done, it was huge!
Above in it's component parts. Not sure what I'll do with the pockets or the boring white label but the rest will go into backing, loops & cords - the lacy bit is big but it can be peeping out behind something, I'm sure. It does pay to cut up an item of clothing as I find I just see clothes & not fabric if I don't, decision made! There's a piece cut to size for the 6 squares, more work to be done on them  & oh it's getting closer, the show ;( & to top it all, I've gone & organized what might turn out to be a fun creative day next week, I will make sure it does. The start of many I hope.

I made a mini 'cushion cover'  I suppose you could call it, bag holder, above, to keep sacs in for the B&B bathrooms, (well you have to when you have a septic tank) Couldn't stand the plastic bag with a 50's baby on it any longer, only taken me 7 years.  This one is to fit the blue bathroom & I have another one in the making for the sage green bathroom. I actually had some sage green cotton, where from I don't know.

 More birds; for a couple of days I have had 7 or so rooks around the bird feeders, most unusual. They must be very hungry, poor things for the amount of seed there is. The ducks from the next door pond visit for spring week ends ;)

A Reed Bunting visited for the first time, very exciting! Before moving here I'd never put myself down as a twitcher & now I can't get enough of the things. I read they like dry areas, not that dry & reeds usually go together, nor do Skye & dry till recently tho we're back to the lovely variety of sunshine & showers. It's definitely Spring tho as I heard the first Cuckoo yesterday. Birds, I just love them!

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Work in progress

I fancied some jewel colors. I've been looking at the wonderful winter colors for so long I needed a change. The DH thought I was meaning a dual, as in a fight (how do you spell that?) so I explained ;)

 hanging will be approx 14" x 8" each square nearly 3" x 3"

 Here are a few pieces waiting to be finished off when I get around to finding a machine with a little bit of Satin Stitch ;) It is on my list to do, just thought I'd get on with some work while sorting it.

 cuff 7" x 2"

a little button pinned at the ready. So I was thinking ahead re the colors; sea colors round the bay

 book 4" x 6"

 This will be a book, looks a bit naked without a button or cord.
 Think sea pinks, foxgloves. The emerald green of a duck's feather

 cards - motif 1" x 1 1/2"

think the blues in a mussel shell

 purse 3" x 5"

 think the burgundy of a sea urchin,

pendants on the left, no gold as yet, brooches on the right, size as cards

 think the gold of the sand & the sun on your back (just not today ;)

sample 2" x 3"

I'm loving doing the hand stitching & the sample above looks like a sample. Not sure how to avoid the 'hanging to be' certainly a work in progress, looking like a sampler, too. I guess most work is a sample of techniques but I was hoping it would be more, but what? I haven't thought it thru enough, no idea what kind of background, I'll get Gwen's book out & think 'rich color' while I'm reading it. When I was laying these out to photograph, some seem a bit blurry, sorry, the DH said the 'hanging' was very hairy, messy - he'd like them to look more like the 'cards' in the 4th pic, neat & well, sort of minimalist. now there's a challenge ;)

Saturday, 13 April 2013

In memory of my cat

A sad week watching our 18 yr old cat get worse with her breathing - the vet said last week that she had swollen Thyroid glands which were making her sound as tho she was constantly purring...or snoring. It came on quite quickly, tho she's been thin for a while so you can't help feel guilty. By Thursday I couldn't stand it any longer so took her back to the vet Friday morning & that was it, she was gone. No doubt in the vet's mind tho which is always a relief.

 cat cards

I feel pretty side swiped but really wanted to mark Sconser's memory so I carved a couple of little lino blocks, about 2 inches & used them for cards.

 sleeping cat

 I scoured the internet for 'how to draw a cat' info but it's tricky. Obviously you have to observe so I will practice on Willow. I'm so glad we have her here.

 small lino blocks

 I really wanted to draw a peacefully sleeping cat all curled up. Considering I've only tried twice I'm pleased with the piece above the lino blocks on gessoed teabags & papers ground.

If I'm going to improve I thought I'd better stick these few sketches into my sketchbook before I loose them. I will practice but oh to draw like Valerie Davide on Robyn's lovely blog post! End of an era, tho, Willow will start a new one.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

So long Husky, I knew you well

Well, I need to retire my trusty Viking Husqvarna. What to do? I think I mentioned that I was getting birds nests under my work with fme so I took it to a local sewing shop Kiki's Craft Corner over in Lochcarron where I'd heard that Keira & Bart as well as having a beautiful shop full of fabric, thread, felt supplies & everything else you could possibly need, they serviced machines. This thanks to Jenny of Skye Quilters. To cut a long story short there is a lot of play in the tension due to wear & tear in the bobbin case; this means i can't find the narrow window to avoid loops under my work, i did try, i really did! He'll look into searching for a replacement but the machine is late '70s at least.... so I got such helpful advice from Keira re a new machine - I need the obvious things, a darning foot, feed dogs down but a needle down feature would be good, the spool laying sideways & upright & a seperate bobbin case so that tension can be changed. Apparently I may be a little surprised by he new machines, how things have moved on & there is even a thing called a knee lever so you don't need to let go of your work! Keira is an accomplished quilter but I was delighted when she offered advice starting with 'for your kind of work' - so helpful - she knows I don't need a delicate quilting foot for example ;) so, Bernina, Husqvarna, Brother, Elna or Janome? What are your tips? (please ;)

I achieved some work this week despite the traumas. Above will be a textile collage with the drawing below. See the french knots in the bottom right 1/4? That was a 5" piece that just came from nowhere attached to the browny orange embroidery thread on my desk- I don't think I've ever seen it before - I mean I don't remember buying it, but it's the most perfect moss!

 I'll stitch some more of course, by hand, as I'm just left with straight stitch on my machine. How will I do without free or zigzag stitch?

Gwen Hedley's method is to make observational drawings, to look at the quality of line - there are lines raised or low relief, rough or smooth, thick or thin. You can see the photo below - I've tried to indicate the large areas of lichen with the angled lines, & smaller areas with a little scribble, the deep areas with dark lines & the shapes the cracks are making with vertical lines. I felt that altho the organza was quite a contrast to the subtly gessoed teabags that it did fit in using a small amount.

Gwen then makes a stunning collage/drawing on the altered grounds the teabags, book pages or maps in colored pencils & pastels. I jumped to stitching but I will do this exercise more. I mean, her work is just lovely.

 On my walk I found a 'mark making' rock in the perfect colors - it looks as tho it's suspended over the seaweed where I put it  to get it out of direct sunlight ;)

I also saw my first sailing boat of the year, this gives me as much as an uplift as the blackbird's song is giving so many but for me, it was also hearing the first skylark, my morning coffee pal but I've no idea where it disappears to mid summer. I'll enjoy it while I can.

 I was finally able to take a pretty unfocussed couple of pic of 'my heron', so exciting - he's normally across the bay before I even see him, let alone be ready with a camera.

More tea bag pieces - I don't know how practical a 'paper' cuff would be - I have acrylic waxed these pieces.

Lovely markings & 3 strips of organza, and HAND STITCHING all around - I zigzag round all my jewellery to finish, either I find an alternative method, quickly choose a new machine having not had enough of a season yet to be flush with spare cash & get to know it well, bearing in mind my exhibition is in 8 weeks or hand stitch it all instead of sleeping.........!  Again, what to do?

These might well be brooches

 & a purse, of course. Interesting stitching/mark making - a sign of my struggle with too much 'play' in tension. The zigzag on the right side of the top piece was great fun, too, lots of skipped stitches but love the effect to show little striations in the rock, I thought.

A couple of pendants

 & a book to be

I must admit to feeling quite stressed about the machine thing, Kiki's did their best when helping me retire my elderly machine.  I guess there's never a good time to think about buying a new one but just as the season starts & an imminent show? The feeling sorry for myself isn't helped by my poor elbow/s. I may have mentioned I sometimes feel as if I have Sciatica in my arm/s, quite debilitating sometimes. Well, I finally got my physio this week, having lost my place for the nerve thing due to not ringing for an appointment within 2 weeks, my fault but the letter came just before Christmas! So I 'self referred' waited 6 weeks, fair enough & it's not nerves to be stretched but tiny tears in the tendons to be treated, called tendinopothy apparently. I won't finish on a negative note, but a positive one as that's the new me since starting Yoga 4 yrs ago. Our winter Yoga teacher is away for a month in India so we've had a break from class but the summer Yoga teacher has returned from Spain & will start next week! To keep me going till then I will enjoy the new book I found in the 2nd hand book shelf for £1 called 'Yogacise' by Vimla Lalvani who wears the most beautiful lycra - turquoise leggings & purple top. I recognize most of the poses which is encouraging but I won't do any just now as I've just finished off the end of a tub of chocolate ice cream, delicious!