Monday, 31 December 2007

What a difference a stitch makes.......

Further to my last post..... I've stitched a couple of pieces onto some wadding and added some bits of embellishments.
I always find it pleasing when I see how different one piece looks from another just by choosing a different thread for the satin stitch edge.

Saturday, 29 December 2007

Look - no stitching!

I've been experimenting over Christmas (between cooking and eating!) with old dressmaking pattern tissue paper and paint. This is the result so far! I started by pasting some dressmaking tissue paper onto some cheesecloth type fabric (which was on a piece of plastic which was on newspaper) with very watered down pva glue. When dry, I painted it with crimson ink (posh word for left-over Procion dye I keep in jam jars) The yellow of the paper and the crimson ink made a lovely orange colour - which was my first surprise. I then added some pearly pink watered down paint which gave it a nice sheen when dry. Then came some old torn bits of lace curtain stuck down with more pva glue, then painted with some Yellow and Burnt Sienna acrylic paints. Finally I painted all over with watered down Copper Glitter paint.

I finished up with four postcards, an ATC and umpteen inchies and small tags. I am now awaiting inspiration to finish them off. I have actually started stitching the postcards onto wadding, which appears to be working well.

Friday, 21 December 2007


I received this lovely Christmas Postcard from my friend Doreen in Australia and I thought I would share it with you, and use this opportunity of thanking all the lovely people who visit me here, and in particular those who leave me such lovely comments. I wish each and every one of you a very Happy Christmas and also a most pleasurable and creative New Year. Many thanks, especially to Doreen. By the way, she says she used some soft tyvek, organza and felt, with gold thread stitching.
Unfortunately she didn't say what she did to achieve such a lovely effect - various green paints and a heat gun, by the look of it! MERRY CHRISTMAS!

PS. Further to the above, today I received these Postcards from two friends of mine, both of whom stitch, but neither of whom have made postcards before, but have each made me a postcard for Christmas. Isn't that just the best?

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Surprises in the Post

The Postman dropped two packages through my letterbox yesterday, one all the way from Sweden, and inside was this delightful Christmas Card from my friend Jeanette. The heart is formed from wire and is also beaded, and is just gorgeous. With the card were these wonderful Wristwarmers. The ribbons that form the flowers are so pretty and such lovely colours - all stitched onto fleece. Jeanette wishes me a wonderful white Christmas so I can wear them! I reckon I'll wear them all year round, Summer too, just to show them off. Do visit her Blog - she is so creative.

In the other package was this beautiful Postcard from Debbi in Australia. My scan of it really does not do it justice - it is so pretty. The writing on the background is a favourite stamp of Debbi's, and it has just a hint of angelina then the hand painted lace and the 'oh so gentle' picture, all beautifully finished.
Debbi also sent me this fantastic selection of paper napkins, with lots of writing on them! She uses a lot of napkins in her artwork and offered to share some with me, as I showed considerable interest in what she was doing (pestering with lots of questions - like you do!) There was more than a dozen in the package, all different. What a start to my collection.
While looking through all those beautiful napkins, and drooling somewhat, I remembered this Sampler Book I made, about three years ago. I attended a Workshop with a very talented lady called Josephine Edge for one day a week over a period of four weeks. The base of the Cover is maroon velvet, with napkin liners and Markal and chiffon and all sorts of other stuff ironed onto/into it, together with a PAPER NAPKIN, as you can see. I only used half the Napkin (the other quarter is on the back cover) and we first stitched a grid all over it, then we wet it! (the grid stops is falling apart) We then pulled it apart in places (hence the holes) and roughed up the edges (picked at them so they were no longer straight) When it was dry we stitched it onto the background, then, using all sorts of different threads, stitched into it until we were exhausted! Everybody made a different Book Cover as we all used different coloured velvet and of course different paper napkins.

Looking back, I can see now that this Workshop was my first introduction to mixed media (fabric and paper) and how excited I felt.

I am hoping to get to know Debbi well during the coming year, as we are both Calendar Girls and will be doing quite a bit of experimenting and swapping between all of us.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Cards plus a little Book

Further to the last posting, I took Susan D's advice and photographed the pieces on a black background - crushed velvet - with a much better result, as you can see.
I managed two Christmas Card, a Postcard and yet another little Book. This one has six paper signatures/pages, the edges of which are painted silver, and measures about 2" by two and a half inches.

Monday, 26 November 2007

The Snow Queen's Tower

I recently received the Quilting Arts Gift Book/Magazine, and got together with a couple of friends I hadn't seen for ages, and we each made one of Helen Cowans' Snowflake Towers. As you can see, I had an awful job trying to photogragph it, inside.......
and/or outside! Anyway the Tower measures 4" across the bottom and just over 12" high (haven't got a 'half' on my keyboard!) It was great fun to make, but took a lot longer than one day, of course, and it uses Bonding Powder (Super Mend) a tub of which I've had for yonkses and never known what to do with. Subsequently I've discovered a free Tutorial on Fibre in-Formation called Foiling Fabric with Bonding Powder - now there's a coincidence. The other coincidence is one of my friends, who came down from Yorkshire, is booked in for a Workshop with Helen Cowans, in the New Year, and she has an idea it is to make a vessel!
I have a few bits left over from the original 'background' we constructed, so will post again when I have made some cards etc. I don't suppose the pix. will be any better though, the light bounces so much off the light fabrics to get much detail.

NB Further to the above, Helen has dropped by to look over my Tower, so to speak. Thanks Helen - you've made my day!

Monday, 19 November 2007

Further to my last Doodle .......

Further to my last 'posting', Judy Rys left me a comment saying she could see a face in my Doodle, so I did a black and white photocopy and coloured in what she mentioned. I have not altered any lines at all - amazing! Thanks so much to everyone who left a comment for me. Can anyone suggest how I can intrepret The Face into fabric, stitch, paint or whatever. All suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Textile Challenges for November / Doodles

The November Challenge in Textile Challenges, a Yahoo Group I belong to run by Carol Taylor in Wales, is a design based task, to change the focus a little (she reckons!) Well, it certainly has changed mine, for the better I'm not sure......

Anyway, this is my first effort at drawing a doodly line randomly over the page, then colouring in some of the shapes. The finished A4 design piece looks rather like a typsy Christmas Party! After I had drawn the doodly line I then did wavy lines in a criss cross fashion, to break up the shapes a bit, and make it look more interesting?

I then scanned the image into my Paint Shop programme and using the 'cropping device'
made these smaller designs, suitable for Postcards or ATCs.
As a Design based Challenge, it has provided a jumping off point, and
I may even have a go at the second part of the Challenge. Glutton for punishment, that's me!!

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Before and After .......

I thought I would blog this picture of an experiment that was left mid way, sort of thing. When I was preparing the piece to make the Oil Lamp in the previous post last week, I made up two pieces in case I needed extra - like you do. (the one I used, and this piece) The textures were different, obviously, but the colourings were the same, as I painted both pieces at the same time.
The picture on the left is the result of stamping a piece of felt with acrylic paint, free machine stitching around, then blasting it with a heatgun, trying to make something lacey! I didn't think much of it, so left it to one side. When wanting something extra for the Oil Lamp I pulled it in half and stitched half to some felt and kept throwing paint and stuff at it, until it looked alright. The moral of this little tale is 'don't throw your failures away - throw paint at them until they submit' You can always make them into beautiful postcards to swap or ATCs or even Journal/Book Covers. The piece on the right will now form part of our A5 Experiments Gallery at our Exhibition next May, so nothing is wasted.
Click on the picture to see a closeup of the texture - I reckon it is unrecognisable from the picture on the left.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Textile Challenge/ October Challenge - Vessel

This month's Challenge for the Textile Challenge Group is to construct a 3D vessel. Well, still in my 'fantasy' mode (which I will be for quite a while) I decided to try my hand at an oil lamp! The fabric is built up from a piece of felt with painted garden fleece stitched into it and then blasted with a heat gun. Unfortunately it was the wrong sort of felt, and didn't melt, but the garden fleece did, which made a nice crunchy surface. I then painted it bright red (don't ask why!) then started attacking it with all sorts of other paints, and finally with a pearly paint. (click on the pic. to see closeup of the surface) I then ironed some fusibile web on the back, and stuck some crunched up dark grey tissue paper down, to cover up all the mess!! I then cut out the pieces for the lamp (four in all, two sides, a top piece and a gusset piece for the bottom) and hand and machine stitched it all together. Then I edged most of the seams with a hand dyed flat metallic knitting yarn, put some beads on the inner edge - job done! The little felt knob represents where the flame would be!
I thought I would include these Faery Shoes as well, as part of the Challenge. Well they are 3D, and could be termed as vessels! They are about 3" long, and made from a pattern by Annette Emms, published on Workshop on the Web way back in March 2005! Again, felt based, covered in Indian cotton fabric, stitched etc. and the soles painted, to give them rigidity.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Trade in ATCs

A couple of weeks ago, I sliced a piece from my latest experiment and made two ATCs to swap with Dianne and Barbara (pix above). Well .............
Today I received this beauty from Di (last of her dragonflies - aren't I lucky) it is just gorgeous. Thanks Di, well worth waiting for. And .......
This beauty from Barbara. It is a piece of Barbara's experiment with Lutradur, and is just wonderful. Thanks so much Barbara. Finally .....
this is what the ATC from Barbara arrived in, together with some pieces of ribbon and lace. This envelope is something else - as you can see!! What a work of Art!

Friday, 19 October 2007

Small Fabric Book

Having recently been inspired by an article by Ruth Rae in Cloth Paper Scissors Issue 14 Sept./Oct.2007, I have been making another little fabric book. This measures the same as an ATC - three and a half inches by two and a half inches.
These are the eight pages/signatures I made which of course finished up as four double sided pages. (click on pic. to see them close up) I used some of my rust dyed fabric for the background. When I stitched them together I inserted narrow lace all around the edge and beaded them, as can be seen in the picture above.
I made the cover from left over pieces of a previous experiment with lace, but of course to make room for the pages I inserted a half inch spine between the front and back. I haven't finished the edges of the cover yet, or decorated it in any way - I am waiting for my muse to give me a helping hand!

Monday, 8 October 2007

Paint, lace and other stuff

I've been playing again with bits of lace, but added some fine netting, broderie anglaise, cheesecloth and gauze. The method used is similiar to the post I did on the 13th September, but the base is paper fabric I purchased from a florist shop. I am sending this piece to my friend who makes greeting cards, after having sliced off a small piece for a couple of ATCs!

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Moon Magic - Kindred Spirits Exhib.2008

This is my first piece for our Exhibition next year under the theme Myths & Legends - and I am into fairies. This is a wall quilt measuring 2' x 3' (I have another three to do!!) I have tried to depict a night scene, with a full moon and a rather gothic flavour!
I dyed all the fabrics at the same time, at a 5 day Retreat with Patricia McLaughlin in January this year, when Patricia also showed us this technique of hand applique, where you apply the fabrics in a logical order to medium weight Vilene and then applique the whole piece onto the background. This is how the Gothic Castle was worked.
I also worked the Fairy in the same way, and both designs are from a Dover Publication of copyright free patterns. The fairy's dress is hand dyed silk using salt when the dye was still wet, and the wings are three layers of organza, made on the machine in a hoop, then cut out with a soldering iron (and I wiggled the iron on the wings a bit to make a pattern!)
The leaves are impressions of real ivy leaves I painted with opaque paint then pressed on the quilt. The whole quilt is free machine quilted, and there is quite a lot of metallic rub ons on the tree trunks. I've also used watered down Stewart Gill Galactica paint for the fairy dust!
I reckon I need a couple more 'bits' on there somewhere, perhaps along the bottom, but I mustn't make it too pretty, as it is supposed to be atmospheric and spooky like - hence the fairy's expression! Any suggestions.........?
And finally... I received this beautiful postcard from my friend Dot (who still hasn't got a Blog yet!) and she writes on the back "Have been trying my hand at printing, thought you'd like to see. Made the block from craft foam and printed with acrylics with some coloured pencil on top. Enjoy" The hand embroidery is just exquisite, and the poem at the bottom reads - Seasons come and seasons go but loving feelings stay, the treasures cherished in your heart can never fade away. Magic. Thanks again Dot.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Textile Challenges - September

This month's Challenge on the Textile Challenges Group was to make a 'Flexi-Bag' using Margaret Robert's free pattern published by Fibre & Stitch on line magazine. I used Mags. idea generally, but I did make up a 'quilt' with no raw edges, then free-machine quilted it, then stitched the edges to form the bag. I put the three layers together (wadding down first, then lining and top fabric right sides together on the top) and stitched all round, leaving the straight edge open. Trimmed all round close to the seam, turned right side out, turned the straight edge in and slipped stitched in place.

The free-machine quilting actually follows the shapes etc. of the various colours in the fabric. I used a commercial fabric and YLI metallic thread.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Lutradur and other stuff

Last week, Carol in Scotland sent me a piece of Lutradur and some other more gossamer coloured pieces, to experiment with......... Following Carol McFee's article in the Fibre & Stitch Zine (on line magazine) and using the Lutradur, I first stitched down pieces of lace (some beaded pieces) and gauze (previously painted for another project - couldn't find my white stuff!) then painted all over the back with mixed red and blue acrylic paint. Let it dry....
Then painted the front half red and half white. Let it dry.. then painted all over with a very watered down yellow pearl paint. Let it dry....
Then washed it all over with a watery red dye/ink, followed by a Stephens Ink watery blue wash, which I hoped would turn it purple. It didn't, but I am quite happy with the result!

From this experiment I have two postcards and an A5 piece, for the Kindred Spirits Exhibition next May.

This is a piece of the other stuff Carol sent me. As you can see it is mauve and very see-through (gossamer but stiff) I stitched bit of knobbly lace and gauze on it, as before, and painted the back. All same process, at the same time as other piece.
I went through the same process of colour stages, but painted yellow opaque on some of the blue, which gave me the green. As you can see, no traces of the original mauve colour (if it is there, it blends very nicely with the other colours)
I made two more postcards. This one has blue felt at the back, and the one below has green felt. The subtle change is very interesting.
The piece left over from this experiment makes a perfect first signature (page) for the Book Cover I made (Secret Garden) a couple of months back. I shall be using some other colours for more signatures. More stuff for Kindred Spirits Exhibition.

Many thanks again Carol for your generosity.

Friday, 7 September 2007

the Artist's Muse - Chapter 6/Challenge 6

I went to help my friend Carol set up her Exhibition at Lapford Mill last Thursday, as she is part of the Devonartworks 2007, which runs from the 8th-23rd September. Whilst there, I noticed these wheels leaning against the wall of the Mill, and took this photograph. Now you may be wondering what this has to do with Challenge 6 in the Artist's Muse Group, but one of the challenge choices was to take a photograph and create a piece of work using black and white fabrics, that is an interpretation of the photograph, either literally or in the abstract.
I changed the photograph to black and white on the computer, and printed a copy.
I traced all the interesting bits, drew an uneven grid all over it, then coloured in alternate black and white squares. I now have an abstract design, that I may work in fabric, or I could take just a section of it. Only time will tell..........!