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Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Straight Debate.

Here's the first of the pieces I talked about yesterday, waiting to be worked on ;

And here it is, finished ;
I think it's rather fun.  The cat button was part of a set by Button Mad, which my sister gave me for Christmas, while the boat and duck buttons were left over from clothes I made for my son when he was wee.  A family piece...I think it'll end up with Cara, my granddaughter.  Unless someone makes me an offer I can't refuse...

I showed it to Robin who said, it's nice...but the edges aren't right.  To me, the edges are Just Fine.  Most people, he said, would want them to be straight.   Now, I can get them to do flat, which is important, I think...but I'm not so sure about straight.  I like the country, primitive, sketchy feel that the frayed edges if this piece was a fragment of a larger piece.  It adds texture and visual interest.  What do you think?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Negative Thinking...

affects us all, whether we admit it or not, whether we're depressed or not (though depression does make it rather worse...).  One of my favourites is that I'm lazy, that I don't work hard enough.  And then, as I did today, I go to tidy the studio and realise that it's not strictly speaking true... I just get diverted a lot.  There is, however, a lot of work around...  I picked up these five pieces that had been kicking around the studio (out of a Rather Substantial Pile), waiting for something... In this case, I think they had been waiting for me to get back into hand sewing.

Clockwise from top left is a piece of silk, with yarns and other pieces of silk needlefelted onto it.  Then there is a piece of Evolon which has been printed using one of my hand cut lino blocks, then transfer dyed, then stitched.  Below that, there is a piece of transfer dyed lutradur, fused onto crinkled paper (I think that one is probably upside down in this image).  Fourth, is a piece of shibori painted nylon beneath a piece of transfer dyed lutradur, with a lot of stitch, and finally, a transfer dyed monoprint. All of these pieces need more stitch, except the fourth one, which needs embellishment, I think with tiny lutradur flowers, and maybe some three dimensional leaves... we'll see.

I like all of these pieces, but have a sneaky preference for the first one...though I'm fond of the monoprint, too.  Guess that's my Easter weekend sorted out....what with warping up the peg loom, and starting the rug, and possibly buying a couple of plants (well, it's traditional, right?).  If you celebrate it, have a very Happy Easter.  And don't worry; a girl (or boy) really can't have too much chocolate!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Helpful Cat

...always knows when  a job is boring, and tries to help.  Mollie being who she is, meant a lot of leaping up and down, trying to catch the warp pieces as I cut them.  Given that they are twice the length of a large, three seater sofa, and there were, at the end of it, twenty six of them, she had a very happy time catching and attempting to chew them.  Sigh.

Now, all I have to do is thread each one of the twenty six onto a peg, ready for the fabric strips I tore up earlier.

This afternoon, though, I'll be out in the garden, collecting these fellows (no, not the insect, the flower). They are scattered through the grass; a better gardener than me would dig them up, but I want the flowers for dyeing.  You can use the roots, too, so doubtless a bit of digging will be done later.

I've got a list of plants I'd like to add to the garden this year, purely for dyeing purposes, starting with a eucalyptus.  Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while, will know that at one point, there were several full sized trees in the garden, but high winds brought them down.  My intention this time, though, would be to keep chopping bits off, to dye with the leaves.  I'd like some St John's Wort, mainly because I like it as a plant, but it is useful too... not that I'm obsessed... yet... or much...

Sunday, April 13, 2014

My New Toy... proving to be great fun, and incredibly easy to use.  Several years ago at a craft fair, I tried out a peg loom, but did nothing about it.  Now, I am the proud possessor of one of these wee beauties, and I'm having great fun with it, as I expected.  Just goes to show that procrastination gets in the way of fun, right?

This is one evening's weaving, about an hour's worth.  I watched a couple of YouTube tutorials, and they both suggested starting with a scarf, so here it is.  It's remarkably easy to use a peg loom.  This is worked with sari yarn, and it's really very firm; I think I should have used the other set of holes, which are slightly wider spaced, and made something less stiff...but you learn every time you do something.  I worked it with all the yarn I had on the ball, and produced a collar sized piece which I'm quite pleased with.

Given that I'm a texture fiend, I love the textures this loom produces, and am already thinking about how to use it with all kinds of things.

Part of the reason I'm doing this now is that I want to use these at the Hub.  For those of you who don't already know, I volunteer two mornings a week with adults with learning difficulties.  It has been a real learning experience for me, both as a giver of workshops and as an artist.  Some of the people in my group have issues with manual dexterity, so I'm always looking for things that would be easy for them to do.  The premises we work from aren't the best decorated, so the plan is to make rugs using this loom to cover the worst bits of the carpets, and to cheer the place up a bit.  If anyone locally (or not so locally) has any fabric scrap they would like to donate to a really good cause, this is your chance...please leave a message or email me for more information.  We would all be really, really grateful.

And maybe now I'll get the other loom set up, the floor loom in the studio... procrastination is the thief of fun, right...?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Being Away From Home...

can be wonderful, but also a pain... the latter, when you forget your sketch book.  I had gone to the bus station to meet my friends Alison and Michael off the Inverness bus, had some time on my hands and...aaargh... no sketchbook.  Usually I have two or three in my bag.  Fortunately, I did find a card blank in there (no, I have no idea what it was doing there either).  That, a pen, courtesy of WH Smith, and fifteen spare minutes on a bench, produced this;

I've been mulling about shapes like these ever since I got back to painting.  Working in this format, though, made me wonder about making a book.  And some quilts.  So, an idea was born.  Notice that I write all over my sketches, just to remind myself of what the thinking was at the has moved on a bit from there, now.

I love the simplicity of sketches, and would like to make some stitched sketches in a similar vein... watch this space.  The series seems to have a title; 'Linescapes'.  These ones clearly tie up to landscape, but I think that overt marks like these will not last long; they come from one of my quilts, Norfolk Fields.

Although there is definitely a connection between the two, I think Linescapes is really about space, not about landscape per se.  It might be argued that there is no difference...but it feels like there is.Now to clear the decks so I can Get On With It.