Sunday, 30 November 2008

November Journal Page

I might have got the hang of putting in the photos so they show in the correct order. Yahoo puts them in backwards so you have to pick them backwards, well that's the theory.

I was late with my October contemporary quilt journal page challenge because I redid my September one. But a bit of cold weather brought on my asthma and kept me indoors so I actually got Novembers JP done in the nick of time. For this month I've chosen song is "Tie a Yellow Ribbon round the old Oak Tree". I don't actualy know who originally sang this song but its been around long enough for people to recognise it. I thought a lot about how I was going to represent the oak tree, I could have fme'd it but I've been wanting to try out transferring an image using inkjet transparencies. Maybe I should have done the quilting after I'd transferred the image because it missed in the dips (which I should have thought of) making the whole thing look a bit hazy. It also made the fabric feel hard and difficult to hand sew through. But hey that's what the challenge is for, to try out new ideas so I've left it as it is.
Actually on second thoughts I like the hazy tree image it gives the feeling of that early morning mistiness you get at this time of the year. I digitised oak leaves and using several layers of sheer fabrics in different colours sewed them out and burned round them to be sewn on by hand. I decided to trap some in the binding and layer them on the bottom to accentuate the autumnal theme. Finally added a ribbon round the old oak tree.
It didn't take too long to make this JP as I'd had the idea in my mind for some time but originally it was going to be a village green background. We've been out and about quite a lot recently and it struck me that the plainer the background the more you see the trees. So the background was drawn from the pattern of fields seen this time of the year. All in all it took me a couple of days to make and I enjoyed doing it. Now on to December's JP the last one in this challenge.

The postman has been good to me again, two 'Medieval" postcards arrived yesterday one from Brigitte who also has used the inkjet transparency method to transfer an image onto fabric. Brigitte's image has turned out much clearer than mine. Jennifer has created a card using machine embroidery then covered it in a medium resembling glitter glue. This has given it the look and feel of the stone carvings we find on posts on the moors around here.

I don't think I showed my November arch for Gabriela, its part of a year long arch exchange on TextileChallenge group. The background is a techniqued used by Maggie Grey in her latest book Textile Translations Mixed Media. I painted pelmet vilene with gesso, made marks in it, sprinkled salt in some areas then sprayed it with Adirondack colour wash paints. Once it was dry I machined stitched it with metallic thread and gilded some areas with gold and silver leaf. Finally I stamped flowers on it and painted them with gold glaze from CraftyNotions and added a glass bead to the centre of each flower.

This is my November arch from Anni in Denmark she's made a wet felted background and then felted pieces of lace into it. Anni's added buttons and embroidered flowers to the background. The whole piece is soft - soft touch, soft colours I keep wanting to stroke it. Its a beautiful piece Anni, thank you so much.
One other challenge that I've been keeping up with but haven't posted about for a while is the Stitchinfingers 100 stitches in 200 days challenge. I think I'd finished day71 the last time I posted and I'm now up to day 90. I'll post photos tomorrow of the completed blocks containing these seam treatments. I find it boring scanning in each day's seam treatment. I personally would prefer to see the finished article rather than the individual stitch. So tomorrow more on that challenge.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Quilts, Journals and Workshop fun

This has been a really busy week trying to catch up with outstanding challenges, shopping for christmas, various appointments and going to the Knitting & Stitching show in Harrogate and on top of that my asthma decided to kick in and has left me feeling tired. I've done absolutely nothing today except take the car for its MOT, luckily it passed with flying colours. The postman delivered Cindy's 'medieval' card today. She has tried printing on fabric for the first time, I think its come out really well.

Talking of printing on fabric Serendipity met yesterday (we've called ourselves 'the dippies') to have a playday printing on fabric. Number 2 son Simon (known as Sy) came along to set up the equipment we'd taken along (3 laptops, 2 printers, a large monitor and a router). We scanned and edited photos then printed them onto various fabrics all day long. It was another really enjoyable, successful day, working together with lots of laughs and we managed to get enough samples to take home to turn into pieces of artwork later.

My friend Judy and I took Sarah Lawrence's 'art doll' workshop at Harrogate, which was another fun day. This is my doll which I've named 'Ariel'. I had intended to put a bit more decoration on her but somehow she resisted all attempts. Sarah had mounted her art dolls onto small boxlike frames (artist stretcher type rather than hollow boxes) and they looked really go so I think Ariel might find herself on one. It was a really enjoyable workshop, Sarah is a great teacher and I ended up buying her latest books one on art dolls and the other on silk paper.
I didn't buy as many books as I expected to, apart from the two mentioned above I bought Angie Hughes new mixed media book. Most of my cash went on silk screen dyes and Jane Dunnewold's "Complex Cloth" workshop dvds. I seem to be buying more dvd's than books these days. I was really pleased with my purchases and intend to have fun with them once I find some free time.

I received my art quilt (Kate North's ALQS swap) from Wil Opio Oguta who lives in the Netherlands. I'm over the moon with this quilt its so well quilted and the daisies are devine.

I can now reveal that my swap partner was Lynda Monk of PurpleMissus fame. I was a bit in awe of her and worried about my quilt not being good enough as she's such a talented lady. But she very kindly said she loved it, that it was just up her street phew!!!
My quilt was based on the 'chaos theory' where something small is dropped (such as a stone or leaf) and its ripples run round the world. The background is black cotton and yellow cotton cut in circles. Rectangular shapes of painted bondaweb were bonded to this background and finally overlaid with organza and quilted in a random square pattern. When that was done I burned back the organza with a heat gun with the black areas being given most attention. This gave the piece a distressed appearance. Finally a blue agate and blue rhinestones were applied to represent a dropped stone and ripples of water radiating from the centre outwards.
The top picture is a close-up and the bottom one is the whole quilt. I haven't got the angle right as I laid it over the back of the settee and its curved at the top. Unfortunately I was running a little late with it and wanted to get it in the post so didn't have time to photograph it again.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

TIF November Challenge

This month's TIF is based on text, Sharon's challenge was to do something with text. I wanted to digitise some text to go on my Black Magic Woman journal page (see previous blog). I can't for the life of me remember the font I used now but I tried several, some worked others didn't. This was my final effort.

I typed in the letters for WOMAN separatedly then twisted, duplicated, flipped, flopped, transformed sizes and generally moved the letters around until my 'Woman' came to life. After all that I decided not to use her on the journal page but she was perfect for Sharon's TIF challenge. I backed and bound her and now I think she'll keep my cup warm as a coaster.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

October Journal Page

Hmm looks like the photos have come in backwards so I'll have to start at the end and work forward.

November's theme for the private swap was 'medieval' and my postcards are based on illuminated letters . However they are taking much longer that I anticipated and so far I've only finished the letters 'B' and 'C'. I have another C and a J to do, not to mention an A for me.

Yes it is a 'C'even though it looks a bit like a lowercase 'a'.
I've been really busy this week catching up with sewing that over the past couple of weeks has taken a back seat. This is a taster of my art quilt for Kate North's 'ALQS - another little quilt swap', It's called "Chaos Theory" I really hope its recipient will understand what I've tried to protray, fingers crossed. I'll show the full quilt once its new owner has adopted it.

Black Magic Woman is October's Journal Page for the CQ 2008 challenge. I had to remake September's Lily the Pink so its pushed the deadline back a bit. I now have two months to do in December, no pressure there then. I've had the JP hanging around a bit trying to get inspiration for the blank bit in the left-hand corner. I tend to have my "moments of inspiration" about 3am or on the bus on the way home from town but so far my moments have all been blank.
My work in progress for this month is getting smaller I now only have the TIF and TextileChallenge Group November Arch left to do. The TIF challenge this month is to do something with text and after giving it some thought I decided to digitise some text. I've got it sewn out but need to finish it off so will put in a piccy next time.
In addition to the above pieces I've done more work on the 100 stitches challenge but again haven't scanned in the last batch. Hopefully I'll get them done this week and will add photos to the blog.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Time to reflect on the week

It's been a busy week and ages since I blogged. Good news though is that Jan my mil has had her op (boy was that a long day!!) and the results are very good. The problem turned out to be a very large polyp which they removed the majority of and that should resolve the problem of her pain. She was a bit distressed when she was in recovery and they sent for me to calm her down. I spent nearly two hours holding her like a baby but eventually all was well and she enjoyed her cuppa and toast. Within a very short time she'd forgotten everything and was full of cheer.
On Saturday I went to a workshop held by the Spinners & Weavers (I'm not a member but my friend is) on Japanese Bookbinding run by Sue Foulkes. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day and I came away having made 7 books - 1 small one and 6 mini ones.

I covered the small/medium sized book with some fabric paper I'd made previously, it has much more gold in it than appears in this photo. (Opps where the photo gone? it was there).
This is the inside of the book (photo missing) and three of the mini books so you can get some idea of size.
Here's all six the book fronts are made from bits of advdrtisements, the green one is a picture of leeks and the blue one at the back fish.
Most of the rest of the week has been taken up with trying to get samples made for a craft class I'll be leading next year for the U3A. Its a bit difficult seeing the members are all ages and skills. One of the things I thought we might do was tapestry and as I also had to make a card for a swap with Stitchinfingers the theme of which is "autumn colours" I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone.

Close up of part of the postcrd I painted the fabric gold before starting the stitching.

The whole card and nothing but the card - this is for Maggie Robinson, Maggie if you are reading this I'm sorry its a bit late but I held it back to show the members of the U3A this morning. Its gone in the post today.
Keith's back has been playing him up again, think he wanted to run before he could walk so I got him to help make some samples for me. This is Keith's tissue box made from plastic canvas, I love him.

Finally but certainly not least is this Arch I received from Aynsley as part of the Surface Design Arch Swap. Aynsley has done quite a bit of painting ont he background but not all of it shows up too well in the photo.

Friday, 7 November 2008

If at first you don't succeed

I've been playing with lesson one of Maggie Grey's on-line class for those of us who have bought her latest book "Textile Translations: mixed media". As usual Maggie has given us a lot to think about. I had all the ingredients except Quink but I did have another brand of black ink so in my usual impatient way I jumped in with both feet. I

Following Maggie's instructions I created the surface from which I would make a lovely little Wigwam book (my name for it not Maggies) In the morning when everything had dried it looked nothing like Maggie's. It had very strange big orange blotches where the undissolved salt lay and I'd put the gesson on a bit think, it remained white.

I was very disappointed with it and about to throw it in the bin. But I didn't, I tried again. I wiped off the excess salt, sprayed the whole thing with Colour Wash paint and left it to dry.

This time it turned green and orange, better but a still a bit odd. Another try, I painted it again this time with the ink and then wiped most of it off with kitchen paper as it had turned completely black!! When this layer dried it looked better a bit like rust and verdigris but not the blue/grey or Maggie's piece.

I tried rubbing aqua and gold wax onto the surface to highlight some of the green and gold but they just got lost. I painted a mixture of aqua and gold acrylic paint with a dry brush, just touching the surface lightly and then decided to leave it alone or I could really ruin it. When this all dried I quite liked it all I had to do now was sew the edges and put in the papers.

After all this paint etc the surface was sewable but only with difficulty. My fingers get sore enough testing my blood four times a day and I was reluctant to try sewing by machine. In the end I decided to lay two sides together in the order they would be sewn and using an awl poked holes at regular intervals round the edges. I used these holes to do buttonhole stitch round the edges. The pieces were then laced together and I sewed in the signatures that I had created from swiped and stamped distressed ink pads.
Finished wigwam book forgot to mention that motifs were added before all this mixed media bit began.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Not a lot to blog about today its been a quiet weekend. One exciting thing happened, Maggie grey's first tutorial on the CatalogueKillers group has been posted. Its a group for those of us who bought Maggie's new book "Tantalising textiles". My catalogues are sitting in a cat litter tray on the windowbox rack gently stewing in water. I haven't managed to make a start on the tutorial but hope to tomorrow, I need to buy some Quink ink (I was certain I had some but it seems to have disappeared).

Been for a walk this morning, very muddy and we were tired when we got back but I feel justified in eating half a box of chocolate covered turkish delight!! Spent the rest of the day trying to get to grips with Photoshop. I do simple stuff with it but have decided I really out to try out some of the more adventurous stuff. Normally I use Paintshop Pro which is a bit more intuitive but I'm not giving up everyone tells me Photoshop does so much more.

Booked a weekend in Edinburgh for the end of this month and a weekend in Lincoln for the Christmas Market at the beginning of December. Perhaps it was not quite such a lazy day after all.