Thursday, 30 April 2009

Wel the best laid plans etc. Just after dinner last night I got a call from the Intensive Care Unit at our local hospital. My friend Wendy had failed to recover fully from an operation to pin a broken shoulder and she had given them my number as an emergency contact. It appears that Wendy had had a stroke in the recovery room and they had had to put her on a ventilator. I had a very restless night worrying about her, she has no family alive so her friends are the next best thing. The hospital promised to ring me, regardless of time should they be any change for the worse. Luckily there wasn't. I've spent most of today sitting by her bedside holding her hand and talking to her. She has no movement at all on the left and limited movement on the right. She cannot speak but its still early days. They took the tubes out this morning and she is now breathing on her own.

I guess my sewing days will be limited for the foreseeable future, guess the challenge quilt will be one challenge I'm unlikely to finish. Just goes to show you never know what's round the corner.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

April Journal Page Finished

It's taken me ages but at last it's in the bag, so to speak. The background is space dyed velvet in burgundy,pink,green cut and reassembled between two different green silks several times to create a 'brick' affect. Stems were made from machine made cords and the flowers from layers of pink, purple and gold organza. The flowers were attached with beading. I've called it "Climbing the Wall" because that's how I felt when making the background. This is for the Contemporary Quilters 2009 Journal Page challenge. All I have to do now is upload the photos to their site.

I've just had a nasty fright though. Earlier this year I signed up to make a ChallengeQuilt based on the last book I had read. The aforesaid quilt to be 20" square. The deadline date I thought was end of May, nope its Friday!!!!! and I haven't started so I'm off now to begin, wish me luck.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Machine back at last

Don't know where the last week has gone, well I do its been a round of hospital visits and a trip to Leeds to pick up my newly serviced Bernina. At last I'm able to do some sewing. I did spend some time doing hand sewing but I was really surprised to see just how much I'd missed my machine. Mum's op went well and today she is ensconced in a nursing home for rehabilitation, so far so good...... This is Ruby the Second (well third actually as number one went to the bushfire babies). I made Ruby for a swap but my friends puppy had other ideas and he adopted her. We found him licking her enthusiastically and she was not in good shape for sending onto to my swap partner. So this is her twin all ready for the off and I have it on good authority that her 'sister' is well loved and is acting as a pillow in the puppy basket.

I've received a couple of swaps in the post this week too. The three little atc are from Anne, Pat and Susan of Mixedmedia_atc_uk fame. The card below is from Tracy Border in response to the swap on Surface Design "Anything but cotton".

These are my cards for the same "Anything but cotton" swap. They are layered sheers, polyester brocade burned back and appliqued onto a velvet background with metallic thread.

The private swap this month is on the theme of geometric shapes. I had fun creating the background with Markal sticks and then overdyeing with the markal acting as a resist. The shapes are layered sheers, which I made at our "Serendipity" meeting last week. I've had fun burning patterns into sheers and have one more design I've burned out but I have yet to do something with it.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

No rest for the wicked

and boy I must have been really wicked. Keith's shed has taken up all the spare time over the past few days and you wouldn't believe how much you can store in one small shed. Everything was taken out and spread across the garden and spread into the house. The shed was then inspected and a decision made to buy a new one. This meant extending the base which in turn meant digging up half my flower bed and relocating the plants. Luckily Sy took over here and bless him he's worked really hard laying the base again. Marc came up on Saturday and between the pair of them and several of their friends erected Keith's lovely new workshop/shed. He's a happy bunny and hopefully it will keep him out of my hair long enough to allow me to sew.
These two cards arrive in the past couple of days they are Jennifer and Brigitte's response to the theme 'geometry'.
Mine I hope will be completed tomorrow when we have a 'burning' day with Serendippity. We're taking a technique from Margaret Beal's book and seeing what turns up. I'll post about that later in the week.

I managed to get March's journal page finished, yes I know I'm late but I did start it in March. I scanned the page which was just a tad long for the scanner, hence the missing top and bottom barders. I really must take a photograph of it before I can post the photo into the group folder. I've also made a start on the April one but will show that when its complete. I still haven't got a theme for this years challenge and I procrastinate so much that the month is almost over before I decide what to do.

One challenge I've enjoyed doing is the house challenge on Textilechallenge. This month's house is Jan Lewis's "Country Cottage" theme. I chose to do a crazy patchwork background (well almost) and embroider the seams. I got a bit carried away at times and Jan's house was in danger of crumbling under the weight of stitch. The window is the inside of a tomato paste tube.
Mum had her hip op yesterday and is doing well but to say that this last week has been a bit hard on the old stress levels would be an understatement. At one point I thought I wasn't going to get Mum into hospital but in the end she went quietly. Between Keith's shed and Mum I really needed the calming effect of sewing the house challenge. I'm hoping that next week is much calmer.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Today's title is - spirals

I seem to have missed some of the 'Today's title' not sure how but did manage this new one. Spirals was the challenge and I looked up from my pc screen and this is what I saw. The spiral end of my watercolour pencil roll. Finally got around to cutting up the larger piece I showed last week and it now fits into a CD case. The challenge here was to created a stitched garden that would fit into a CD case. Actually it is just a tad too high but I doubt I'll leave it in there. I think I'll probably put it on an artist stretcher.
Closed inside the CD case.

CD case open.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Catch up

Yes Julie the word I was looking for yesterday was 'Kantha' I remembered it at 3am this morning. I usually wake around that time and remember things I've forgotten during the day or I get my best ideas at this time too. I keep meaning to leave a pad by the bed to collect them but that would mean putting the light on and waking my other half.

This is the Kantha piece I started at Ushaw, not sure it will get finished. Its three layers, the bottom one being a fine cotton, next a blue muslin on which the tree of life was stencilled. The top layer is yellow organza. I chain stitched round the stencil and cut back to the painted layer. The intension was to put small shisha mirrors in each of the tree branches but the mirrors are so small it was difficult to cut them. Plan B was to embroider in each branch and I may yet do that. Kantha running stitch was worked around the outline but I need to take it in another direction, perhaps stitch some shisha's to the background fabric and run round those. Whatever I end up doing the Kantha stitch needs to change directions or its at risk of looking odd.

The postman brought me two lovely Flower Pages from the Mixed-MediaATC-UK group swap. The red one is from Julie Mackinder who and is a riot of fabric colours. You'll find Julie here.
My second flower page from this swap is from Susan Monk and a lot of work has gone into it. My pages were far too thick and now I've got a couple of pages I can see where I went wrong. I love the flowers on Susan's page the beading is wonderful.
Another couple of swap from the mixed-mediaatc-uk group are the stripe atc one and the Blue atch one. These are my striped atc's ready for posting out. The background is painted paper, lace, beads covered in Golden's heavy medium gel. The edges of each atc are slightly different in fact each card is a variant.

These are my Blue swap cards from Maureen, Jeannine and Marie each one a mini masterpiece.

I've been to Leeds today to take my 730e in for servicing at MKC. I keep getting a rotary hook message and every few minutes it tells me my bobbin has run out or to clean the lint. It is a nuisance more than anything else but it has done a few thread miles so deserves a service. I won't get it back until a week on Friday - the day my Mum goes into hospital - so my son is going to pick it up for me and bring it back home. In the meantime I'll dust off my 1630 and do some fmeing.
We took the opportunity to go out for lunch today and I've eaten so much I can't move. All I want to do now is go to sleep so guess it will be an early night. I'll probably need the rest as tomorrow Keith wants to dismantle the shed, relay the paving under it, paint it, re-reroof it and reassemble it. Sy and Julie will be giving a hand which is just as well as he wants it back in use be Monday!!!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009


Jenny and I set off for Ushaw Friday lunchtime and returned home Sunday teatime, tired but happy having had a wonderful weekend amongst friends and fellow embroidery enthusiasts. Ushaw is a wonderful venue, a neo-gothic collection of buildings that was originally built in the early 18th century as a Roman Catholic Seminary for young men. It expanded into three schools with children (girls were accepted at primary level) covering the ages from 5 to 18. The main church is one of Pugin's and always astonishes me everytime I go there.

This weekend the daffodils were out in the grounds around the buildings.

View from the workshop window.Toni Handley our tutor for the weekend kindly stood for this photo and allowed me to post it and her embroideries on my blog. Toni is a wonderful teacher, friendly, knowledgeable and very free with her help and supplies.
This is a panel from one of her Indian treasures (bought in India for her). Its reverse applique a bit like mola work.
The weekend started with lessons in shisha work followed on Saturday by stamping and stenciling and ah.... the word has gone, quilting type running stitches.

Sample of Toni's shisha work.

Toni kept her shisha mirrors and other accessories in these little bowls which I thought looked very colourful.

This is my piece, well the only one I actually liked. I did do another couple of shisha samples but hated the rather thick yarn and crude look so I did them again in finer yarn.

One of the 'quilt' of stencilled and stamped pieces done by the class, mine's the black one at the bottom. I wasn't exactly sure what it was and was pleasantly surprised once I'd put the stencil on the black. Not sure whether I'll actually finish it though.
Vivienne Brown was the second tutor on the weekend, her class was experimenting with printing on fabric. There were was very exciting but I won't post photos as I haven't asked permission but I have got one or two ideas from them so might do something along those lines and show you that later.
Been a busy few days this week full of hospital/GP appointments for both me and Mum. Mum's hip replacement op has been brought forward to the 18th April and mine has (not hip op) has been put back until 10th July. The delay is due to lack of communication between two hospitals but this has now been sorted out. The delay also means I can go on holiday next month not feeling sore.