Thursday, 26 July 2012

Felting again... spirals and cuffs

While I've been juggling sorting the studio and working at home I've found pieces of work "in progress", a few of which I've now taken a stage further. I created 2 felt panels a long time back with a view to making book covers in  gorgeous oranges and purples... but I changed my mind and shall make matching wall hangings instead. They were half felted as a first stage so ready for cutting.
This is what I did on Sunday- using a template I cut spirals simultaneously and reinserted them into the opposite piece.

I tacked them in place with orange thread which disappeared nicely once it had been felted... how nice it was to take it all outside and felt in the sunshine!

I had to adjust the semi-felted sizes to match and cut some off the purple one... this was fully felted too and I spent the evening decorating it with previously crocheted flowers, beads and embroidery silks... I love how it turned out and might have to make a few more for the studio shop...

and then on to the next layer of the hangings... collage and embroidery....


Well, I can't say we haven't had a taste of summer this week! Actual sunshine, blue skies and B-B-Q's... hooray! And the rain promises to hold off... until the opening of the Olympics! Humph, isn't that just typically British weather! It is virtually guaranteed to rain on Bank Holidays and special events...
I have not seen much of it though, because I have been stripping out, repainting the walls and floor and rearranging my studio in the art gallery.... so much stuff, you just don't appreciate how it accumulates till you move it... and that's obviously not including the room of materials etc at home!! If I ever needed to give it up I'd need to rent a house to store it all....
It's looking so much better now, before they were only allowed to be working studios, but everyone is now  displaying work so I've created a mini gallery area by the door. Hopefully this will encourage more visitors all round and more sales throughout.
So here's what we look like now...

mini gallery end

first view

my wall opposite

a bit for-shortened, but better arranged inside
We're back to putting on regular exhibitions in the main gallery, which is huge, and I'm feeling a bit stronger and able to spend more time there again, so hopefully I can get some bigger work finished rather than the small scale work at home. Feels like the sun came out just in time!!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Crochet Conumdrum...

You know what.. after all these years of crocheting by learning from my mum visually, it has just dawned on me that I am now utterly confused!!
WHY? You might ask, if I've been creating things for  ha-hum decades.... well, in trying to write  little tutorials to help others have a play, I started doing a bit of research, and bought a couple of contemporary funky books to help me format my patterns. And then it struck me!
I had to keep double-checking what I was reading, eventually realising that 2 books called the same stitch different names... how did that happen? And now I am struggling to make sure that what I write is accurate. Why on earth would one stitch have 2 names- the second being the same as a completely different stitch!
I'm going to have to go on a marathon fact finding mission to get this sorted out... for my peace of mind as much as anything...
I'll keep you posted, but in the meantime I will add instructions for the way I've done each stitch since I was a kid so that my patterns work correctly for you all. 

Wednesday, 11 July 2012


Having spent several days creating tiny flowers and butterflies (see post below) I needed to complete my heart for July's Heart project

July's theme is transparency... working within a construct of acetate sheets. I had an idea a long time back at uni that I never found time for and this was a perfect opportunity to revive the idea.

I cut 3 pieces of acetate to match my other hearts... but I wanted a semi-opaque background so dug out some of the paper-fabric I created a while back.

 I sprayed that with clear gloss till it was saturated and semi-transparent then weighted it while it dried to the back layer of acetate. The idea was to ensure that some areas would remain clear and glassy.

The rest was fairly straight forward, I love nigella so painted that up in pearly paint. Once dried they were glued to the base layers. I inked July in the centre with pigment inks.
I also coloured the centres of the flowers and butterflies with my Promarkers. I blended some of them using surgical spirits. These were attached to the middle layer with gel medium, then sequins added in the centres.
I inked Sweet Summer onto this layer too. Next time I will use a darker ink... I wanted subtlety, but in handling these have smudged and all but disappeared. I think I need better inks...

Here it is completed... I gelled the edges together, punched holes in all around and did several rows of crochet to echo the flowers. All in all I'm quite pleased with it, but will be working out the ink issue... If I could redo it I would, but after all that crochet I'm not cutting it open!!

Thankyou Thealie for you prompt- it gave me the chance to revive old ideas and play with new ones at the same time. I've enjoyed this months challenge.


I have carried on creating my flower embellishments this week, but changed medium... to cotton. A while back I was crocheting wool flowers and butterflies, but as I had just bought some white pearl cotton thread I thought I'd see if it would work small scale.
The lustred cotton is about the same thickness as embroidery skeined thread, and after a few trials with different sized needles I settled on a 2mm. I ended up spending 3 days playing and making a selection of flowers and butterflies... I've just started on hearts. It seems that a wool crochet pattern will translate nicely into a dinky cotton equivalent- great for journals, hats, jewellery, blankets... so many uses!
I chose white because I want to start colouring as required, rather than have to buy a supply of every colour I like  in a wide variety of material... I've done the same for satin ribbon, bulk white in several widths- it's so easy to colour as you need it.
Here are a few of the flowers and butterflies...

A few variations in stitch and pattern will give you a huge range of petals and designs. I'll put a pattern over in the pattern tutorials section
The basic pattern is several rounds worked from a circle of 4 or 5 chains. Any stitch can be used in any combination...that's the fun of it! 

The next thing is to find a use for all your wonderful mini creations.... as it happens I had a project that could use a handful of flowers... see the following post for the finished project. A hearty project...

This white thread is pearlised, mercerised, which means it has been chemically treated and takes dye really well! You can dye with Procion dyes or similar, but I also use something much quicker and just as effective for crafting- alcohol markers such as Sharpies or Promarkers. The colour will naturally run along the fibres so a small amount is recommended to begin with, and you can always spray with neat alcohol or surgical spirit to dilute and blend the colours... have fun experimenting!

Friday, 6 July 2012

I HAVE BEEN BUSY...honest!

Shock horror- it's been a week since I posted! I must admit it was my birthday on Saturday so the weekend was fairly off limits for crafting.... but I did spend earlier in the week turning skirts into summer tops for me. I had several indian skirts that I barely wore and decided to get some more use out of them... I didn't take pics but I can do for the last one...

I have been busy since then having a huge tidy up and in-depth sort out of my home studio space in lieu of shuffling disciplines between here and my studio in town... I shall concentrate on textiles and crafts at home, and my art/sculpture/ messy work at the studio. Isn't it amazing how much stuff you accumulate- yet you never have what you need! How is that? 

Continuing with my monthly fabric postcard swaps over at stitchin fingers I had two to create: Trees; and Hats and Bags

Here is trees

I've only done the zodiac wall hanging as a quilting project, and that's more applique, so this was an exercise for me, working out how to make a pattern, cut and sew to make it look right. I think I need  a bit more practice- how do you make sure it sews flat? I'll get the hang of it...
I also played with some embroidery stitches and added sequins for the leaves. My new machine has been great for the altering projects, but this is the first time I've tried satin edging on it... not too bad, a bit of tweaking and it should be perfect- saves me blanket stitching everything- woohoo!

Hats was suggested really early in the month so I jumped on that, and then it expanded to hats and bags... oh well, never mind. Like my previous shoe FPC I wanted to make this a postcard version, rather than an image of a bag. So here it is with pockets, flap and fixings... getting the hang of that edging too!

They've been sent off now- I hope they arrive safely...

I've also been beading my BJP blocks for my zodiac wall-hanging, Cancer, Leo and Virgo... pics and things are over on the BJP 2012 page  Enjoy!

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