Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Journal Making Day

I've had a great day finishing of my TIF challenge September piece. This month's TIF challenge theme was 'Lists'. If you have a look at the TIF blog you'll see that there are some great entries but the first one I thought of 'list as in ship's list' had been done already. I had to give more thought to the matter. There are so many different types of lists, shopping, travel clothes, tasks to be done (who hasn't made lots of those) and couldn't make up my mind what I wanted to do. I thought of making paper using lists, then I thought about the letters in the word List and decided to do some digitizing. Using recycled painted tissue and brown paper and a piece of left over marble fabric I made a small book. I embroidered directly onto the brown paper which came out okay. I was a bit afraid it might tear but I'd put some acid free tissue paper underneath as a stabiliser and bonded the whole thing together. The inside pages are again recycled from one of my C&G sketch books - I'd painted too many pages. I believe they are painted with Moonshadow Inks. And a piece of marbled fabric I'd had kicking around for a bit. I shall use this book to make lists of art products I still need to buy.
I also finished Lesson one of Sue Bleiweiss's 'MoreJournalMakingCourse' Lesson 1 was to make a trifold journal which I enjoyed making but am not really a great fan of trifold or concentina type books. However I enjoyed the technique and the novelty of it. Next lesson is on Friday and I'm waiting with anticipation to see what we have to do.
I used two Liberty fabric pieces one for the front and one for the inside. Both of these pieces have been in my stash for quite some time now. The band round the middle with the pen holder came about because I'd cut my fabric to the USA A4 size, which is slightly larger than our UK A4 size. When I trimmed the piece to fit the paper I had this bit left over and was loathed to waste it so I decided to use it as fasteners for the journal.
The inside of the journal uses a brown and pink Liberty fabric whereas the inside is pink, blue and pale green (green doesn't show up on the photo too well). I decided to bond a piece of the outside fabric across the middle of the page to hide the stitch lines of the band.
I'm not keen on the concentina effect of trifold journals so my journal has two fastenings. A velcro one on the back to allow access to the middle signature. Whilst the front opening has a thread and tag fastener that slots into a loop on either side of the journal. So now my journal can be opened either side allowing access to either one set of signatures (in the middle) or two sets of signatues at the front. I told you I didn't like wasting bits.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Day out with Mum

Mum's been a bit down in the dumps lately, her nose has been giving her problems again. On top of that the weather has been dreadful and she hates the Winter. Saturday though broke bright and sunny lookedas though it might be a lovely day . We thought we'd take mum to the Lake District, always a favourite with her and try out her new portable scooter.

We set off towards the Lake District and thought we'd go the long way via Mickleton and Grassholme Reservoire rather than stick to the busier roads.

We used to have a static caravan and this is what we looked out onto every morning. The clump of trees on the horizon is reputed to be the stone age burial mound of Kirkcarron, leader of one of the Brigantes tribes who lived this area of the Pennines before the Romans arrived in England. I got out of the car to take some photos and was mobbed by the ducks who were must upset when we didn't have anything to feed them. Once we left Grassholme we continued over the dales until we reached Rheged Centre where we stopped for lunch. After that we headed down towards the Lake District and Ullswater. These photos were taken from the woods at the edge of the lake so don't reflect just how sunny it was.

This is the top of Kirkstone Pass we were now heading down towards Windermere. I've walked this a couple of times but I must say I prefer to drive these days. Kirkstone is one of the highest passes in the Lake District and the main route between Ullswater and Windermere.

Mum tried out her new scooter three times (that is we assembled and dissembled it three times) and was very pleased with it. This was despite the fact that she nearly demolished the table in the restaurant by backing into, ran over a man's foot who was stupid enough to stand behind her and took out several racks of clothing that were inconviently placed where she could back into them. As you may have guessed Mum does not believe in looking behind when driving. I have very mixed feelings about these scooters and think perhaps it might not be a bad idea if some sort of competency test should be taken before they are allowed to drive. It has given mum so much freedom and independance but I seemed to spend the day saying "watch out" or "look behind you". She was a very happy bunny when we took her home but I was shattered.

Friday, 26 September 2008

The Bermunda Triangle

There's a little known fish called the Bermuda Triange that lives in the bottom of the wool basket and only comes to life under the needles of an embellisher. I caught this one lurking this afternoon. I was playing with my new embellisher making preflets and this 'Bermuda Triangle' fish emerged. I thought I'd enter it for the September challenge of Yellow and Triangle on the Machine_embroidery_machine_felting_ fme group.

I love my new 12 needle machine, I still like my 7 needle one but this one is much faster when making pre-felt. The first prefelt I made was made from several shades of green with a bit of yellow. The second one was made from several shades of yellow. I used the green one as a background then cut the yellow one into triangles and felted to the background. The fish shape came to life without much conscious involvement from me, a real mystery. I was playing around with the shapes to see how they would fit on the background piece when I realised I 'caught' the elusive Bermuda Triangle fish. A bit of handstitching round the shapes and beading emphasised the triangles further. I do hope you like my twist on the Bermuda Triangle.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Recycled Wallhanging

I was really pleased this morning to receive Christine's beautiful wallhanging. We swapped hangings in the TextileChallenge 'Recycled Wallhanging" swap which I was pleased about, not just because I got this great wallhanging but because it kept the postage down. I feel quite a miser sometimes but postage can become expensive. Christine has bonded flowers and fabrics and machined and beaded the piece. I'm really pleased with it. Finally got my September arch done for Anni, again a TextileChallenge swap. This one is
machine felted wool tops. I used my new 12 needle Babylock embellisher to do it, the wool tops felted really quickly. Threads were felted on top and I cut leaves from the off-cuts to make leaves. Beads, sequins and hand embroidery were added at the end. I must say I'm quite impressed with my Babylock but haven't given the ribbon threader or thread guide much of a challenge so I'll have to address that later.

I have two challenges left to do this month one for the Machine-Embroidery and Machine-Felting group on the colour yellow and the shape triangle. My September TIF piece is still to do the challenge this time is 'lists'. I have an idea of what I want to do but not sure it will work out, we'll just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Colour Me swap

Its unusual for me to blog in a morning but I'm off to attend a friends funeral in a few minutes. I may not be in a mood to blog later on.

Yesterday I said I'd post my contribution for my private group swap. 'Colour me' was Septembers theme, meaning make your card in your favourite colour. Now I have a confession to make, I don't really have a favourite colour it tends to change constantly. However I am, like many others, very partial to the colours of Autumn (Fall) so my card reflects the golds and greens of that season, which in this corner of the UK is now upon us.
Each card is pieced with irregular fabric strips, then machine embroidered over the seams in a metallic thread. One or two patches were further enhanced with metallic thread embroidery and finally I added green crystals. While the cards are similar, being made from one piece of pieced fabric, each is individual and will be posted later today.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Goodies from the Postman

I've received two arches recently and both are stunners. This blue arch is from Dotti Cullen and was her swap from the Surface Design group challenge. She's given it the title of "A river runs through it". The photos don't do any of the arches or cards justice they are much brighter in real life. Dotti's card has been made using that Angelina type fibre in a thin strip, I've forgotten its name. She layered the fabrics, free machined circles , and distressed it with her heat gun so that the background fabric shows through. The beading and stitching really set it off and its now on my wall of fame. Anne-Marie arch is part of the Textile Challenge group swap and she also has named her creation "Burnt Offerings". Unlike the burnt food you normally throw out this arch is incredible and has gone onto my wall of fame. It consists of layers of fabric, sheers, paint, heat distressed fabrics, beads and a beautifully swirly thread spiral with a tail on the end.

The first two of the ArtnstheMail swap "U is for" arrived over the weekend. U is for Umbrella from Leslie and U is for Uncle Sam from Priscilla.
The private swap group theme for September was "Colour Me" based on your favourite colour. Cindy's is Blue and her card has a lovely sisha mirror in the centre of the flower for effect. Brigitte's favourite colour is Red and I love her red feather in the corner.
Jennifer's colour me card is based on green and entitled "The grass is greaner on the other side" It has a felted background in two shades of green and a neat little fence to show 'the other side'.
Christine's card is a mixed media card of painted, stamped and stencilled paper with stitch and shows her favourite colour of blue. My cards I'll post tomorrow once I've got the backs on them.

I had a lovely surpise today, I won the Surface Design 'Recycled Wallhanging' challenge with the piece I blogged about the other day under the heading of "Going Mad". So I get to pick which wallhanging I would like from all of the great ones and I chose Christine Davey's "Flower Power" hanging. I can't wait for it to arrive.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Manchester Ship Canal

We have wanted to go down the Manchester ship canal for some time now and when we saw an advert for a trip there we immediately booked our passage. We left early on Saturday morning and after several failed attempts by our driver to find the coach park in Chester we were finally pointed in the right direction by a passer-by. Chester maybe large but the old walled city is quite small but very distinctive with two-tiered shops a lovely place to spend a couple of hours. These two buskers under the market cross looked as though they needed the money to buy shoes.

Our driver again had problems finding the hotel but in the end we got there and drove in by the exit gate. A wedding was being held in the hotel so the celebrations went on until quite late and we didn't get to sleep until the early hours of the morning. At five to six we were rudely awaken by the fire alarm.
Here we are all standing in the car park waiting for the fire brigade to give the all clear. It turned out to be a fault on the alarm board. Didn't bother to go back to bed as we had to be up and out early for our trip to Salford where we were to get on the boat that would take us down the Manchester ship canal.

Again our driver got lost and here he is asking for directions, note the how he's telling the person on the end of the microphone where we currently are.

Once on board our boat we left Salford and set off down the canal on a voyage discovery. Our industrial past is everywhere around us in ruins now, gone but not forgotten.

Here we are just leaving Salford.

Rust dyeing is very popular at the moment so anyone looking for a bit of rusty metal there should be enough for you all here.

Railway bridges abounded on the canal.

But wildlife was also abundant, we saw lots of swans, cootes, moorhens, cormorants (flocks of them whirled round the boat), heron and lots of other wading birds not to mention the ubiquitous seagulls. The amount of wildlife shows the high quality of the water in the canal.

And of course these intrepid two legged high flyers who were absailing down the bridge in aid of charity.

After five hours cruising we arrived at the end of the ship canal. We took nearly another hour to travel up and across the the River Mersey to enter Liverpool.
Two very well known landmarks are the two cathedrals. The square one in the foreground is the anglican cathedral and the light coloured (wigwam) in the background is the roman catholic cathedral.

And of course the Liver Birds on top of the insurance building.

We thought we were home and safe with no more mishaps but we were wrong!!! On arrival back at our coach it was found that several people were missing. They were still on the boat which had set off back across the Mersey.
It had been a very hot journey down the MSC and we were all hot and tired. However we had another hour to wait before the boat brought the missing people back. Finally we all climbed back on the coach and went to sleep.
When we arrived home the postman had left a lovely pile of goodies for me but I'll blog about them tomorrow.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Going Mad

I must be going mad, I was absolutely sure I blogged this recycled wallhanging two days ago but when I logged on it was gone!! I tried the edit mode to see if I'd hit the wrong button but it wasn't in the edit posts bit either. Ah well I must have been dreaming.

The challenge on Surface Design group was to make a wallhanging, any size, any design but it must be made from recycled materials. My background fabric was made from two mini quilts made some time ago and gathering dust. I cut the mini quilts into pieces slightly larger than an atc and edged them in an open satin stitch by machine.

The surface was sprayed with Adirondack Colour Wash 'Wild Plum' dye. I just love these spray paints/dyes the colours are so lush. Using a couple of stencils I painted the leaf and the leaf veins then hand quilted round the leaf shape and rubbed on small bits of Treasure Gold. Hand painted washers joined the pieces together. These were laced with machine wrapped threads left over from another project. Finally the bronze leaves were added, the leaves were recycled from some artificial flowers thrown out by my mother. I hope however adopts my wallhanging likes it.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Purple fingers and green nales

Today we'd decided we'd have a burn, shrink and paint day and naturally we took everything ,including the kitchen sink to play with. We had enough stuff with us to cover a trader's stand. In the end we decided we'd concentrate on shrinking plastics and tyvek and try out the Adirodack Colour Spray fabric paints.
Jenny had brought along some samples she'd made earlier and one she'd turned into a beautiful piece for a bag. She only needs to put it together now.
Of course we started the day off with coffee and a long long chat!
Then set up the 'heating' station. Although we all had heat and glue guns the hall only has a couple of sockets. We were a bit concerned about plugging them all into the extensions we brought. We didn't want to short circuit the hall electrics. We decided to set up one heat gun and one glue gun and take turns to use it. Jenny showed us how she makes glue gun swirls and adds embossing powders to them and as she was also the only one with black glue we delegated her as demonstrator.
Meanwhile as each of us made our glue and embossing powder squiggles the rest of us tried out the colour wash sprays. There are some really fabulous colours in the range and can be heatset. We had Lutradur and cotton fabric to colour. The Lutradur was placed on squares on a cotton backing as we knew the spray would go through the holes in the Lutradur. We tried both black and white Lutradur but the black wasn't successful I think you need a thicker fabric paint and probably a lighter shade.
This pieces is where I ended up with purple fingers and green nails - I forgot to put on my ruber gloves!! You can see where we've had the Lutradur but there was enough paint sprayed onto the fabric to cover the space once it was given a brush over with plain water.
Here's Jenny making a black glue squiggle.
We tried the coloured cellophane you get round flowers, that bubbled nicely. We tried both heat gun and iron and checked out the way the bubbles are created depending upon which way up you are holding it.
Black Lutradur background with embossing powder on. The powder was first sprinkled onto bondaweb, heated until it was melted then lifted off. The Lutradur was very slightly warmed and the bondaweb piece placed on the Lutradur and reheated. It went into holes but didn't burn through the fabric. I'm going to try this technique again later. Not got a photo but we painted someTyvek with the colour spray paints. I used wild plum and terracotta and the then heated it with the heat gun. The colours faded and merged into each other but the piece was very attractive so I think this will be used in the future.
We tried several weights of Tyvek; we had mailing envelopes, builders Tyvek and a Tyvek coverall. As expected the envelope shrunk quickest and went into holes (like those in the hand). A couple of these thinner pieces were stitched onto painted pelmet vilene and embossing powder added (purple piece) and reheated.
From the samples we've made today we are each going to make five atc's, one for each of us. It'll be interesting to see just what we all come up with.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Another 100 stitches block finished

I thought I'd just upload the finished blocks with the 100 Stitch challenge stitches rather than show each days work. As I've said before the pallet I'm using is very limited, deliberately so as I want to force myself to ignore all those other wonderful colours and try and do something that is almost but not quite monochromatic. There are almost nine days of stitching here, on a couple of days more than one seam treatment was given. I haven't stitched them in any particular order just put them where I thought they would fit the space. I'm now two days behind again but will catch up with them tonight. I like to have some handstitching to do when my 9 oclock curfew is reached and I go and join dh.

I've been busying trying to do my 'recycled wallhanging' for the Surface Design group and its almost finished. As its a surprise I can't show it at the moment but I'm reasonably pleased with it I just hope the recipient is.

Tomorrow is the second meeting of Serendipity and I'm really looking forward to our playday. We've decided on a burn, melt and paint day. I've been digging out all the stuff I want to take with me and before I go I thought I'd do a couple of samples to remind myself of some techniques. Can I find my UTE, nope its been stored somewhere safe, also want to find where I've put my Friendly Plastic so guess searching my stores cupboards is my exercise for the afternoon.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Journal Pages

Don't think I uploaded July's JP so here are my July and August Journal Pages for the Contemporary Quilt section of the Quilters Guild challenge.

July's page is Boney M's "Brown Girl in the Ring". The rhythm of this song always reminds me of the playground skipping games we played. I find myself bobbing around whenever I hear it. That's what i wanted to create, something with the playground feel and memory.

I knew exactly what I wanted to do, Dresden Plate type pattern with gingerbread ladies in a ring. I finished it fairly quickly then went to bed. When I came down in the morning and looked at it in the morning light I thought "Oh no!! it looks like a christmas tree skirt!!!". I was really disappointed and thought I'd have to start all over again. I was about put it away to become another ufo when the thought came to me, try Linda Kemshall's paint trick. I took my courage in my hands and painted the whole thing in metallic white acrylic paint. And it worked!! It took on the oldfashioned memory page look I wanted for this journal page.

My August page however had been pushing at me for quite some time and it couldn't wait to be born. It was all my son's fault he set me off...... he came in singing "I see a red door and I want to paint it black" and I just couldn't get rid of the song. I thought journal it, it will go, so here it is The Stones "Paint it Black" my entry for August.

I used Adirondack's Colour Wash sprays to colour the fabric background. I used sticky labels to mask the fabric and create stonework around the archway and on the wall. I then removed them to paint them grey. The door, paint tin and brush were all cut out and painted with acrylics separately and appliqued onto the background. I finally drew the picture using fme. However, the song still won't go away its driving me mad.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Harrogate Quilts

No photos today as I have left my camera in the car and now its nice and warm in its little garage I don't want to disturb it (well that's my excuse). We've had a very busy couple of days, I don't seem to have stopped but can't for the life of me tell you what I've done. Thursday was my brother and sil's wedding anniversary and we went out for a meal with them, our anniversary was on Friday so we shared the celebration. As I'm an insulin dependant diabetic and my daily alcohol allowance is one unit I was the delegated driver, whoopee.

We took my Mum to the Quilt Show in Harrogate as she really enjoyed it last year but we only stayed a couple of hours. By that time Mum had enough and we'd had enough of Mum. At one point I left her with dh while I went to the loo and came back to find both missing. Keith's back was giving him problems and he told Mum he would sit down for a while. She said she'd be okay she would just "go over there" (she was in her wheelchair at the time). Keith thought she meant to look at the quilts but she quickly disappeared. Not being able to find her and his back getting worse he went off to the car to rest.

I finally found mum barging her way through a group of ladies completely oblivious of their shins and ankles. She was getting annoyed as she felt they should just part, like the red sea, and let her through. I rescued them and took her to eat and while she was busily chatting to two ladies at our table I tried to find out what had happened to Keith. He in the meantime had recovered and was looking for us. And so the day went on...........

I think the rain put a dampener on the day, the journey down was horrendous, as was the journey back. We also had a voice in the back of the car telling us how wet it was outside.

The hall was dry but crowded and it was difficult to get to the traders with a wheelchair in tow (I will not be taking her next year). Despite that though I did managed to pick up a few new books among which is Sheila Smith's new "Embellish, Stitch, Felt" book and June C Barns Stitching to Dye in Quilt Art book.

Best of all though Keith bought me a combined birthday and wedding anniversary (38 years) present - the new Babylock 12needle embellisher. I've had a play with it after a few false starts got the hang of the ribbon and yarn feeder. I want to make more felt backgrounds and it will become one of my favourite tools I'm sure.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Catch up and recent treasures

I've managed to almost catch with TAST, this is the barred and alternate barred chain stitch piece. Don't ask me how it came to be a snail, it just sort of crawled into the picture. Now I only have this weeks which I've forgotten already, my mind these days is a seive. I have put individual day pictures on my Flicr account but decided just to put the finished block photo here with the last nine daysworth of stitching. I've got six blocks almost finished, just the odd strip to be decorated not really sure what I'll do with them when I've finished. It's surprising how heavy they are when held together. I did think of a wall hanging but I'll need to reinforce the backs of each block so the stitching will hold under pressure. Nothing is set in concrete at the moment thoughand I still have 60 days worth to go!
Now for the goodies, just look at this beautiful arch sent to me by Dotti Cullen. Dotti said it ended up different from what she had in mind and I smiled. How often does that happen to me. I love it. Dotti followed the technique used by Francis Holiday Alford in the June/July issue of Quilting Arts.
Dawn Ulgen sent me this card, yo-yo carnations. We swapped cards and I think hers is even better in the flesh than it was in the group folder.
I've been thinking of something we can do at our next meeting of Serendipity and have read much recently of gelatine printing and thought we might like to do some. Linda Germain has 'How To' instructions and videos on her web site which is here have a look but be prepared to be fascinated so make a cuppa for yourself. We could have a monoprinting day and try out as many types as possible. One thing I'd really like to do is some screen printing but I'm not sure about the equipment. Might have to sweet talk Keith to see if he can make me a screen.