A blog about making art and other things using cloth, paper, paint, colour, stitch, and all sorts of exciting techniques, some of which I'm sure I still have to discover! I hope that the joy all this gives me is visible in what you can see here.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Last Autumn's colour.

Last Autumn was particularly colourful, I thought. I took quite a few photos of the autumn trees, and leaves and decided to try and capture it all in the piece above.I made the background first, by meshing fabrics onto a base material with my needle felting machine. The leaves were then cut out of a selection of fabrics, appliqued onto the background and the vien details free machine embroidered. I then decided that the background needed to be darker, so I free motion machined heavily with some dark greens, blues and purple threads. I finished off by applying some more detail to the leaves with water soluble crayons, and some hand stitching.
Photos that I took last Autumn, and used as inspiration for the above piece.                                                  

Friday, 19 February 2010


I've been "playing" with my embellishing machine today, and produced this piece. I haven't used it that much lately, and really enjoyed just experimenting, and letting my intuition lead the way! I decided to make my Journal Quilt for March using a similar technique, but won't post a photo just yet. I'll wait until it goes onto the Yahoo cqg site next month.
I randomly meshed the pieces of fabric onto some white felt, and then outlined areas with either black or very dark grey wool. It does look a bit like stained glass, and when I held it up to the light, the colours really glowed. Maybe I will experiment further, and try to build up a simple image instead of just the random colours.                                                                                                                                            

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Dyed and pieced.....what next?

This is the result of piecing some of my recently dyed fabrics. I shall be taking it to my next Wet'n wild C2C workshop on 5th March. I'm not quite sure yet what I will do with it, but I would quite like to do some discharge work on the plain dark areas.                                                                                                                 

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Saturday 13th February 2010

Today I collected what was left of my work from The Corner Gallery.

It has been a really positive experience, and I've enjoyed having my work "out there" for people to see and hopefully enjoy.

I came home with far less than I delivered, and Jackie Khan who owns and runs the gallery has been fantastic, and so enthusiastic about it all. Thankyou Jackie for all your hard work and encouragement, I'm already looking forward to Trainer's Day at Epsom on 8th August when we will hopefully have another brilliant day.

Good luck with your launch tomorrow of the Jack Vettriano prints, I'm sure it will also be another huge success.

If you are in the area, check out The Corner gallery, 11a Beeches Avenue, Carshlton Beeches, Surrey.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

My finished February Journal Quilt. After weaving and stitching down the woven strips, I embellished the surface by using some textural techniques. These included couching down embroidery threads, stitching rows 1/4" apart, then slashing through between the rows, free machine embroidery, sewing on beads, using puff paint, and finally binding the edges with the backing fabric, and leaving the edges raw to fray for extra texture.

February JQ, The Making.

For February's JQ, I decided to tear up some strips of hand dyed fabric (I didn't particularly like it so thought it would be a good way to use it up!!) This was then woven together, some pale turqoise knitting wool included.
I finished weaving the strips, carefully placed the piece onto some batting and machined rows of stitching across and down to hold everything in place.                                                                     
Trimmed, ready to bind, I tried placing some snowflake sequins on the surface, but didn't like the effect so removed them.     I backed the quilt in white, bringing it to the front, and stitching down by machine, I          purposefully left a raw edge for extra texture.   I've also started to         embellish the surface to give a textured finish.                                       

Journal Quilts, 10th Feb 2010

I enjoy making Journal Quilts, and last year I made two every month. An A4 sized one using a new technique each time, which was a challenge set by the Popular Patchwork website. The other was a 6"x12" quilt which was set by the Specialist Contemporary Branch of the Quilters' Guild of The British Isles, and we were free to use any technique.

The cqg is running the JQ challenge again this year, the new size being 7"x10" I've decided that for the first four months at least, I will use them to explore texture. I was a bit stuck for January, and all I could think about for a theme was snow! While picking up all the threads and bits of snipped off fabric from the floor around my machine, I had a sudden flash of inspiration! They were all so colourful, with some glitzy bits of fabric and thread giving some sparkle, and too good to throw away. When I teased them out and placed them onto a piece of black felt, the first part of the quilt was there! I sprinkled over some star and snowflake sequins, covered it all with some dark net, backed it and quilted with some  free machine stitching. To finish off, I found some white snowflake buttons which I placed randomly and  stitched down. It reminded me of a dark, snowy night.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Still 7/02/10

On Friday we also started to experiment with Tray Dyeing. I must have been having a "petrol blue" day, because my first piece was pleated up in a cat litter tray and then dyed  this colour. My second piece, a whole metre was arranged in the tray by artistically scrunching it up. This time I decided to go for some punchy colours, so I used a combination of magenta and rust orange. Colours I remember being fond of using together in the 60's when I was at Art College. Today, I ripped half of the pleated piece in half, and have overdyed it in the tray again with three more colours! I've done the same with the metre piece, and divided it into three, keeping one as the original colour, but tray dyeing the other two with a different selection of
dyes. They are still sitting in their dye solutions, so I'm hoping for some exciting results this time. More later!

Results of overdyeing Sunday 7th Feb 2010

It was a difficult decision, deciding what colour to over-dye my fist nine fat quarters. The first colour was a mixture of royal blue and turquoise, in light, medium and dark. I did think about golden yellow which would have resulted in some greens going thru to blue/green and of course yellow and blue. Nice. Then again, I considered orange, giving me some interesting dirty greens, greygreens/blues and ofcourse orange and blue. Interesting. In the end I went for petrol blue with a small pinch of lemon yellow. As you can see this mixture has given me a range of teal blues, grey blues, very dark blue greys and ofcourse the original blues. I do quite like them, but I think I was playing a bit too safe.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Friday 5th Feb 2010

I've had a great day today, over-dyeing the fabrics from last month, (see below) and they don't look like that any more!! Will be washing them over the weekend, so no pics yet. Also did some tray dyeing, and I think it's going to be one of my favourite techniques, pics of those pieces too coming later! watch this space.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Thursday 4th Feb 2010 Committed 2 Cloth

I'm looking forward to tomorrow, Friday, my second Wet'n'Wild workshop with Claire Benn and Leslie Morgan of C2C. Last month we spent the day learning about dyes, how they react according to temperature, water softness, room humidity etc., and the use of chemicals such as soda ash, urea and salt.

We completed stage one of our family dyeing session, and produced twelve fat quarters, dyed to a colour of our choice, but in three values. That meant that we each ended up with four fat quarters in one of three values of our chosen colour. This process was done in buckets. I decided to go for a mixture of turquoise and royal blue, because I had this idea in my head of going for a range of seaside colours.

Tomorrow, we will be overdyeing some of these pieces, and to give me the seaside colours I want, I shall probably go for a yellow ochre shade, giving me, hopefully, some greens as well as the blues, and some sand colours. Watch this space! Left are the results of the first dyeing process.

We also dyed a one metre piece, and we had the choice of going for flat colour or texture. This piece of fabric will be used later to over-dye, print on, discharge, or paint on, so I decided to go for flat colour. If I had chosen texture, it would have meant that my dye bath didn't need the addition of urea, and wouldn't have needed any agitation. I decided to mix magenta and black, which has given me a lovely rich plummy colour.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

2nd February 2010 Baby paraphernalia bag

I wanted to make a "Baby Paraphernalia Bag" for our daughter's first baby, due in April. I mixed together a couple of ideas from two bags I saw in a magazine, and this is the result. Plenty of compartments for all those bits and pieces that todays Mums seem to need, and when the babe becomes a toddler, it can be used for storing games, small toys, crayons, books etc.

I must say I'm rather pleased with the result, all I have to do now is get it over to New Zealand!!