Sunday, 31 August 2008

TIF August

This months TIF theme caused me quite a lot of hard thinking. Boundaries, there are so many of them both physical, emotional and metaphysical. The Olympics has seen many surpassing their own sporting boundaries coming together to overcome territorial, religious, social, and political boundaries. The technical and scientific boundaries are continuously being overcome.
Art boundaries are also constantly being pushed, textile artists in particular merge tradition with experiemental.

With the latter in mind I decided that my boundaries would be the non-boundaries of the universe, of space of imagination and of the freeing boundaries of art.
So here is my postcard made from heat bubbled synthetic chiffon, fabric paper painted with acrylics and sprayed with interference paint, fme quilted and beaded. My universal circles are free to wander without the constriction of boundaries.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Playmats on their way

Well here they are at last all ready for packing and posting. Grace's sophisticated sheep is finished at last and boy was I pleased. Have you ever wished you'd never started something. I used a wadding especially designed for use with nursery quilts, its polyester and has adhesive on one side I thought I'd use it on this play/floormat and it was horrendous. When I ironed it would stretch no matter how careful I was and as soon as it cooled down (which was seconds as I ironed it on with a cool iron). It took three attempts before I got it on without too many wrinkles. I was planning to quilt in the plain squares but in the end just stitched in the ditch round the squares as I was running out of patience. Oliver's mat on the other hand went together without any problems at all. I appliqued round the trains with a yellow thread on top and a red one in the bobbin so it would stand out on the yellow background.
When I'd finished these I made little bags for them to be stored and carried in.
Both bags were made with the left over scraps from their respective mats. I was quite pleased with these when I'd finished, they are fully lined and reversible.
In retrospect it might have been a nice touch if I'd put the quilt motif on the bags - too late now they're all packed. I just hope the great godchildren like them. Now life can get back to its normal hectic pace. Keith's now on holiday for a week, we don't have much planned well to be truthful we have more than enough plans to last a month but we'll decided on a day to day basis.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

What do you do when your modem dies...

We have been having increasing problems getting on-line, despite Virgin being adamant it was our router that was causing the problem. We did as they asked and uploaded the patch, even though ours wasn't model causing them problem. We continued be thrown off every five minutes or sooner. Finally Sy managed to get through to someone at Virgin who knew what the problem was (a woman!!!). Our modem had died of old age, say ahhh. It's been up and running constantly for the last six years but its finally given up the ghost. We were told it would be 3-4 days before we received a replacement what was I going to do without the internet? Well I actually did some sewing. These photos are out of order again but the purple and cream (yes its cream not lilac) blocks are the base on which my 100 stitches are sewn. I thought I'd keep the colours to a narrow pallet so all the threads and beads are in the purple, lilac,pink range with green as the one alternative colour.
So with several days internet free ahead of me I decided I'd buckle down and get the baby floormats finished, well on the way at least. The photos aren't too good Oliver's train mat has a yellow and blue backing it looks rather grey here. I created some applique trains using a child's colouring book as the pattern. I still have to stitch round these so that they will stand out. I did wonder whether to do the applique before putting the back on then decided I wanted the outline to show on the back. Just got to sew down the binding and as I said stitch round the trains.
Grace's floormat is in two shades of green with a black/beige border insert and it has sheep on it, well it will when I've finished them. This time I've put the applique on before the backing but I wish I'd put them on before I sewed the blocks together. The sheep are fleece and the faces cream cotton, lets the border print and I have to embroider some eyes on them. It's based on one of Lynne Edwards patterns from her Stack Buster book.
In addition I've been trying to catch up with my 100 Stitches challenge. I've done ten days and still have another ten to do before I'm up to date.

I also managed to get my July TIF challenge piece done. Not done the August one yet but have an idea of what I'll be doing. The challenge was to do something representing "The Halfway Mark". On the day the challenge was announced I read a BBC News article stating that the Human Genome Project had reached its halfway mark. How appropriate I though. For those of you not familiar with the HGP, several institutions have got together and shared out the 24 known human genomes. They are trying to fill in the gaps and correct any errors in them and at the beginning of July they reached the halfway mark. Twelve down, 12 to go.

TAST has also taken a bit of a back seat and this is my cross stitch sample I've used different weight threads and different size stitches. I'm not entirely happy with it and feel I could have done a better job if I'd given more thought to what I was doing. It sort of grew. I still have two more to catch up on.

More of my 100 stitches.
Well I got a special birtday present today (yes today is my birthday, its also Keith's,) Issue 5 of Fibre&Stitch came out. I can't print it out yet as my ink has run out and as my spares have disappeared I am assuming that Sy has taken them for his printer. Birthdays, it gets a bit expensive for the boys when their parents birthdays fall on the same day so we told them not to bother much. But naturally they did buy us something. I got a lovely little nail kit one of those made by the Swiss Army Knife company and I'm booked in to have my nails done professionally. I'm really looking forward to that. Keith got a box of real ale and two 3D jigsaws that should keep him out of my hair for a while. Keith and I celebrated our birthday early, while on holiday as we knew he would be on nightshift this week I expect we'll go out for a meal at the weekend though and as he's on holiday again next week we'll sneak in something special.
One other thing I've done for my birthday is have coffee with a friend I've not seen for a long time. It was lovely meeting up with Joan again, life just gets in the way sometime but we've arranged lunch with our menfolk on Monday so that's something to look forward to.
It seems such a long time since I blogged that I've forgotten a lot of what I've been doing over the last few days (apart from sewing). We took my mum to Redcar for fish and chips and she spent an hour in the arcades playing the slot machines. We hate slot machines but mum is an addict but she thoroughly enjoyed herself and came out only slightly the looser.
I can hear Keith moving around I guess its time to make a cuppa.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

TCosies for Charity

I started out this morning to make the baby floormats but when I took out the fabric I'd bought I didn't like them, so no baby floormats today. The shop where I bought was a bit dark, not improved by the rainy day. The fabrics looked dark and need something to lift them. I'm going into town tomorrow to meet a friend for coffee so I'll have a look round then.

The day though was put to good use, I finished off the tea cosies I've been making for an auction. A local (well 30+ miles away) fabric shop was having a tcosie auction in aid of the Air ambulance.
The air ambulance helipad at James Cook was almost outside the radiotherapy department and it obvious how much these helicopters and crew are needed.

This blue tea cosie was started quite a while back and is foundation pieced by hand. It's a strange shape, the teapot is placed in the centre and the arms are wrapped over it. leaving the spout and handle poking through the gaps in the side. There is no need to take the cosy off when you pour out the tea.

I made this one from fleece with hand stitching and hand appliqued pot. What you can't see is the lining that I made from a recycled Indonesian Kaftan, its very bright!!

These two were made from jelly roll strips left over from another project. I had lots of 2.5" squares but not enought to make a quilt but enough for a small cosie. I sewed them together randomly and embroidered the seams with faggotting.
This last one was just plain old jelly roll strips sewn together and machine embroidery down the seams, the inside is similar. I thought it a reasonable way to use some scraps up.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Arches and 100 Stitches

All the sewing in the last few days has begun to reap rewards, at last I've got my TextileChallenge August Arch for Carole finished and here it is. Carole likes garden related themes, this may not be a garden but it does have flowers and is vastly different from my first attempt at the August Arch (see below).

Its a background of machine embellished wool tops with more tops for the tree. The stone wall is painted and heated tyvek and the whole arch was then handstitched. The arch is again an embellished background this time chiffon over a cheap floorcloth and handstitched to resemble stone blocks. I hope she likes it. Now I did say Carole likes garden themes and this second arch was in fact my first attempt for her. I had intended it to be a garden but somehow my muse stepped in and it became a piece of the Pembrokeshire coastline. It's a bit like though not identical to Barafundle Bay on the Stackpole Estate nearby to where we stayed. It must have stuck in my mind but now its out I expect I can get on with other things. Does anyone else have these sort of problems? You know where you start out intending to make one thing and it somehow ends up completely different without any conscious effort from yourself.
I left my sewing stuff behind when we went on holiday, much to my disgust. I had intended to catch up with the 100 Stitches 200 Days Challenge on Stitchinfingers but this had to wait until I got home. Naturally they were even further ahead now and I was even further behind!!

I've only uploaded just a sample of those I've caught up with. If you are interested you can see them all on my Flicr account. All in all I've caught up with 9 days, so 9 down,8 to go then I'm up to date.
I've spent a very interesting morning with a fellow EG member who is organising table 'decorations' for our 30th Anniversary next year. I say 'decorations' as they aren't the normal flowers or candle type. I'm under secrecy not to let on what I'm doing but they look very interesting. Enough of the teasing now.
I have two other challenges to catch up with, gosh I seem to be well behind on almost everything these days. TIF and my CQ Journal Pages had to go on the back burner but now I'm bringing them forward. Not sure what I'm going to do for TIF I'm sure my muse won't desert me for long. And just to complicate matters I've signed up to do the second round of Kate North's ALQS but this time the art quilts rather than the traditional. I must need my head examining.

Friday, 15 August 2008

New additions

Well here he is - Henry James - born last Saturday so he's an 08.08.08 baby. Henry (I kept calling him James) is the last of the family babies to be born, at least I believe so at the moment. And this is big brother Louis who is two today. His grandparents (my brother and sil) bought him a Noddy train set which seems to have gone down veryy well. He's not at all interested in his brother but likes all the presents people are bringing him when they come to see Henry. He's had his first proper haircut and looks like a little boy now.
The Postman also brought me this card from Cindy which is her response to the Japan themed swap. I've just realised I've not scanned Christine's sashiko card must do that tomorrow.
These are my Japan theme cards they are based on the chrysanthemum, and take the form of a Kanzashi. Kanzashi are Japanese traditional hair adornments and were worn for formal occasions such as a wedding as well as by Geisha. Today they are sometimes used on business suites as accessories by Japanese women.

I think they are quite pretty and might make a few more. It took me quite a while to work out how to make them but think I've figured it out. The centres should be a solid circle with a hairpin pushed through but I just beaded the centres. I started with a 2" square and spray starched it until I could fold it like paper. I made individual petals and sewed them together. It probably isn't the correct way to do it but it worked.

I believe you can make lots of origami pieces with fabric if you spray start the fabric first so that you can crease it like paper. Must have a go at something else.

The chrysanthemum fabric of the Kanzashi (which was darker than the background one) didn't blend in as well as I wanted it to so I've painted it with gold paint and added a bit to the ribbons as well as they were a bit stark.
My mum had a new bedroom carpet laid on Thursday but when my nephew went to put her furniture right he found a big tear in her wallpaper about two thirds of the way up the wall. The carpet fitters had moved her wardrobe in front of the tear so she wouldn't see it until they'd left. I'm disgusted that they would do this to an old lady but my brother is on her case and will get it sorted out for her. If they'd told her they'd accidentally knocked her wallpaper with the roll of carpet she'd have been upset but not angry now she's both. I'll let you know the outcome next week.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Castles, castles and more castles

Well at last I've managed to squeeze enough time to blog about my holiday in Wales. the photos are not in any particular order. For some reason the photos when downloaded came down jumbled despite there being in the correct order on the sim, ah well I suppose that's another job - putting them in order. I haven't discovered yet how you move photos around in blogger without deleting them so I'm leaving the photos be. Monday was a was a wet day and we spent part of it in Tenby. The harbour is pretty with painted houses and a beach on either side of it. Although that day the beaches were deserted. The town is at the top of the hill I(where else would it be) was full of frustrated, damp, parents trying to entertain bored, damp, youngesters carrying buckets and spades and floaty toys.
On the same day we called in Black Pool Mill which wasn't really worth the visit and Carew castle. Pembroke is full of castles, I thought we had lots in Durham but I think they beat us, we have more accessible beaches though. As I said it was raining and by this time we were sick of it going down the back of our necks, Carew had an interesting history but gave us little cover from the rain which was getting heavier. We went back to our holiday cottage to put our feet up and watch telly.
Pembroke Castle on the other hand was wonderful, this was a bright sunny day and it could have influenced our opinion but not by much. It's every little boys idea of a castle and there were lots of them around running up and down towers, hanging over battlements, peering down the dungeons. Much of the castle was destroyed during the Civil War when Cromwell's army blew up its walls. However in the 1880's restoration was begun and today much of it is restored. It is possible to walk through lots of connecting rooms and corridors leading to more rooms and towers. This was great fun for the children that were there. I just wish I'd taken my two boys there when they were small, I could have left them and gone back for them in a weeks time. Apart from missing someone to give them a meal they wouldn't noticed we'd gone.
We were staying just outside of a village called Bosherston (it got its name from the once time Lords of the Manor who were called Bosher). Nearby is Govan Head where St Govan landed in the 6th century. History has it that he was being pursued by pirates when a cave appeared in the cliffs. These same cliffs closed around him and hid him thereby saving him for posterity. In gratitude he then proceeded to build a church on the cliff path and lived there as a hermit and converting the heathen (that's Keith outside St Govan's church, Ithink he's lookng to see if he can get a mobile signal!!).

Rumour has it that the steps down to the church cannot be accurately counted and I know I got 76 and Keith got something else. It was amusing to hear everyone coming up the steps counting them, all different totals.
This sunset was just after a rainstorm, the sun came out just to leave us again - typical.

A typical Pembroke coastline, very similar in places in Devon, Cornwall and North East.
I said these weren't in order - Whittingham Castle fwe stopped here for a break on the drive down to Pembroke. Whittingham is in the Welsh Marshes (border country) and was one of the castles where the Marshall tried to keep the peace - or something like that.
Lower Fishguard where herring fishing used to be the local way of life, now it's tourism and second homes for people with boats. At the top of the photos is FishgardFort this was built to defend the port from Napoleon. Apparently Fishguard was invaded by the French but they didn't get any further into Wales.
We did find a beach that was accessible without a long climb down from above and it wasn't too far from where we lived. We came across Freshwater Beach on the way back from diner at the Hibernia Inn in Angle. There were lots of people hanging around in cars just waiting so we stopped to see what was going on. They were waiting for the waves to build up then out they went on their surf boards. The coast around here was a surfers coast unfortunately we left our skateboards at home.
This I found interesting, though you might not. It was a triangular hut on the top of the cliff at Freshwater Beach. It's a seaweed drying hut, not in use now but it was up to a couple of decades ago. The wives of the fishermen would collect the seaweed, leave it on the floor of the hut to dry (they'd turn it over at regular intervals) then sell it to shops to be made into lavabread. Well I thought it was interesting, Keith just grunted.

Barafundle Bay - castellated walls again and another steep climb down to the beach. The beach was completely devoid of people but pretty. It's on the StackpoleEstate and you can walk from here back to our holiday cottage if you have the stamina, we didn't.
Stackpole Quay, the smallest UK quay in daily use. These men were unloading crabs from their nets, some of the crabs got away....
One of the best places we visited was Castell Henllys (don't ask me to pronouce it can't get my tough round those double ll's) Iron Age fort. This place has apparently been on tv and I think I vague remember seeing it. The large hut facing you at the top of the picture would have been the headman's hut as the doorway has the best view and faces out over the valley. There were three large huts and a couple of smaller ones and several marked out for restoration. They do activites for children, paint their faces, show them how to build a hut, take them hunting for their dinners, baking bread etc. They are dressed in iron-age woollen shawls and all seemed to be enjoying themselves, wish I'd been a kid.

There is a communal fire outside as well as inside one of the huts. Inside the huts were painted with patterns, there were beds, tools, looms as well as a really good herb garden at the back.
On the way to Wales we got misplaced (no not lost, just misplaced) and found ourselves in Llanidloes. We decided to stop for a meal and have a quick look round and guess what I found!!!
The Minerva Quilt exhibition where SIX (Bobby Britnell, Laura and Linda Kemshall, Edwina Mackinnon, Catherine Nicholls and Marie Roper) were exhibiting. I was blown away by their quilts and came away with a cd of their work. I also found a quilting shop in Narbeth where upon I bought the fabric for the baby floormats. As yet though I've not put hand to needle, maybe tomorrow.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Back from Holiday

We had a great week in Wales, bit of sun, bit of rain, lots of touring and some walking, what more could you ask, oh yes and great accommodation. I will post some pics later when I get round to downloading them onto the pc.
I caught up with a couple of TAST stitches, while I was away, the top picture is my Algerian Eye Stitch piece and
this one is my feather stitch piece. This is all the sewing I did as I left everything but these at home. After all my careful sorting stuff to take with me I left it sitting on the table.

When I got back I found these on the door mat,. This lovely brooch from Betsy I must ask her how she made it. It looks like several pieces of sheer fabric layered and stitched then charms, threads and glass beads added to the top. Its very pretty.
These are Brigitte and Jennifers Japan cards from the private group. Brigitte has made a lovely art jacket have a look at it here Jennifer's card wishes me good luck.

Before we went away I put my folder containing all the stuff I had still to do for different groups etc safe. Can I find it, no course not. I've searched the house from top to bottom but it just seems to have disappeared into a black hole. I'll have to trawl through the various group databases to see if I can remember which swaps I'm in and relist everything - darn why do I bother putting stuff away I always loose it.

As promised I'll upload some holiday snaps later, that is if I can get onto the web. Virgin have been disconnecting us until we upload a patch for our Belkin router. They say our router may be contributing to their server problems. Apparently our router keeps asking their server for information but when we asked what information it was asking for they didn't know!! The routers that are giving Virgin problem though is not the same as the one we have, ours according to Belkin doesn't have the glitch Virgin are complaining about. So its hit and miss whether I get connected or not, here's keeping my fingers crossed.