Busy Bee May 18, 2013Posted by George in Sketchbook.
I have had it pointed out to me on real Planet Earth, by a real Human Bean, not you cyber-beans, that I ought to post. That Human Bean is absolutely right (and gorgeous too!).
Like all of you, I have been busy! Some of the stuff I have been doing it would be impolitic to post at present so I thought that as sketch-booking is the new Kinky Boot, I would entrance you and delight you or, failing that, disappoint you, with a few clipettes from my sketchbooks.
This is a piece on a theme of the Tudor rose and is layers of acrylic ink and print with foiling. I worked up some applique from the theme including a piece using silk and sheers with some copper sheet and copper foil. The shield is of bondawebbed sweet wrappers.
Another theme is the Funfair, specifically Margate Dreamland, (shame on some of you Margateers for being mean to Mary Portas!). You can’t not love the Merry Go Round horses (double negative – oops)
Silhouettes backed with the kitchen towel I use to mop up Procion dyes, and the silhouette I used as a carrier for oil-stick pigment to stencil this:
I am working on a textile piece and I promise to blog it soon!
Ooh – get Me!! February 5, 2013Posted by George in Fame at Last!, Quilting and Patchwork.
City and Guilds February 1, 2013Posted by George in City and Guilds Patchwork and Quilting, Quilting and Patchwork.
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Busy busy busy.
I am setting up a Level 2 City and Guilds programme for my employers – The Quilt Association, so to keep myself up to date I am also taking a Level 3 Cert. Loving it, but my home is suffering! Never much used to getting scrubbed and gleaming, it is, nevertheless, groaning at me as I spill dyes all over the place. Glue and I do NOT get on….. I am a butterfly worker and flit from aspect to aspect until there in not one inch of space on the work table. Then I regroup! Here are a few pics from my portfolio for Module 1 of the compulsory design units – Line.
Patchwork samples do not have to strictly adhere to the module theme, but I love a theme!
During the snow I did some snow dyeing, just for fun! My first attempt was very bland. What worked for me, when I tried again, was to pack the snow down quite hard onto the scrunched up, soda ashed, cotton (an old sheet!) and pour liquid Procion MX onto the snow. More of the crystalline ‘splitty’ effect achieved. Hurrah!
I haven’t seen it myself yet, but I am reliably informed that my Woman on a Turtle quilt is pictured in March’s edition of Popular Patchwork magazine. She won runner up in the Large Wallhanging section, and first in the Surface Embellishment group at The West Country Quilt Show! Chuffed!
Wibbly Wobbly Teeny Tiny Quilt November 6, 2012Posted by George in Miniature Quilting, Quilting.
Not faffing – I promise! This is for a talk to my local quilt group – not a lecture, a peer to peer sharing of information! It all started with Dorian Walton exhibiting her tiny, perfect works of art at The Minerva exhibition in 2011. Here is a pic of Dorian’s work, but it is difficult to do justice to miniatures.
I was utterly enchanted and also intrigued – I have two hands, each with four fingers and an opposing thumb, but I don’t think I could ever manipulate such diminutive scraps of fabric in that way! But I wanted to try.
I came across Thangles, basically pre-marked foundation paper for half-square triangles, which range in size from 3.5″ finished squares, down to – and here is what got me going – 1/2″ finished squares.
Just to satisfy myself that it is difficult, I tried the speed piecing method and it is not impossible, but it is hard. I tried making bigger and cutting back – again possible, difficult and, in addition, very wasteful. I tried the Thangles – what a joy! I do like to do things the hard way, and I am not averse to getting out my Stitch’n Tear, ruler, and propelling pencil (don’t you just love a propelling pencil! One of those things I would be proud to have invented!), but going so small, Thangles made it easy and accurate, plus they gave me the confidence, and trial running, to keep going and I eventually made a few Flying Geese by speed piecing with more success than the first try. The end product is wibbly, and wobbly and whilst I remain intrigued and enchanted, I am not ‘hooked’.
What deterred me most was quilting the thing….. hand-quilting seemed nicest, but was very difficult, because the thicknesses change so often, the seams so close together. I used my Black Gold needles which are super strong, lean and mean and have an easy to see tip, but are a trial to thread, but when one broke I tried going back to a big eye needle. It felt like going back to using a fish bone! I think that lots of miniature quilters have programmable embroidery machines so they can place motifs accurately. I could have had a go at FMQ, or just straight stitching and that might have given a better finish as this is so uneven because of the different methods I tried: in the frame, and out of the frame, traditional rocking method and stab stitching. I did get a little hooked on the French Knots which seemed a tiny and delightful accompaniment. I should have blocked before I bound, but I have a Wednesday deadline and lots of other things to do, (Ahem yes, previous post not dismissed).
What struck me most about the whole process is how little there is in the EtherInterWeb World about miniature quilting. Google almost anything and there will be a tutorial on it, if not several, but that is not the case for the Gnostic practice of making a miniature. It is NOT the same as making a mini quilt. The basic skills are the same of course, but some tips on how to hand quilt would have been most welcome, and the Thangles definitely help to get your eye, and hand in!
The next important (to me) quilt and a special request that you look under your carpets! October 23, 2012Posted by George in Quilting.
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I have been faffing about long enough – the faffing I always do before I start an important (to me) quilt. It isn’t purely wasted time as a lot of thinking goes on during that time, and a lot of mulling over things like colours and materials, proportions and possible techniques. That is not to say that all those things are set in stone now, but the idea is strong enough in my mind, to begin.
Dreamland in Margate is going to play an important role, as is my Nana
I had this turned into a photograph, from a slide that I thought I remembered from my childhood. However, I thought it showed Nana alone on the beach with just a wall behind her. I love all the old-fashioned goings on behind though, especially the lady pulling up either a jaunty red swimsuit, or some rather louche bloomers! Cor! Changing on the beach was a challenge in those days!
My Nana I am proud to say is a model of decorum, and I want to catch something of her elegance amidst the vulgarity.
I have some Oakshott cotton collections – Earth, and Atlantic, plus a quarter of Gabbro, and I have added some textural elements – some satin scrim, some gold flecked something or other, chiffon, and Angelina Fibres, but I am aware that I must keep it balanced. The sea is such an exciting element I mustn’t get swept away! I know there is no sea in the image – but it is there in my imagination.
I have doodled in the sketchbook, and am ready to start mapping out the cutting plan.
I am short of one important element though – so if you would all like to look under your carpets I would be most grateful! I need to get a Thermofax screen made and I need a really good image of the horse racing pages from an old newspaper. My dream image would come from a 1964 copy of The Daily Mirror, or the Racing Post, just a high quality snap of the 3.00 from Kempton race card, or similar….
I can’t believe that Google has let me down on that!
My Nana loved nothing more than to spend the day at the bookies. She was the perfect Nana, living as she did, at the seaside, and every morning she would get my brother and I to pick ‘our’ horses. Whilst she carefully studied the form, my brother and I went for the best names and our method was obviously the best, as every teatime without fail, there would be half a crown beside our tea plates – our ‘winnings’ Nana told us. It is a wonder that we aren’t both gamblers – although I must admit I find it hard to walk past a Penny Shove (okay 10p shove these days), on my rare visits to touristy seasides!
My Bookie-wookie October 21, 2012Posted by George in Book Art, Quilting.
One of the reasons I like belonging to art groups is the theme-setting that gets me focused. For the Marches Book Arts October meeting, the theme is ‘crepuscular’, which I had to look up in the dictionary, but having done so I wanted to incorporate a few of the animals that walk at dusk and dawn. Then, as the theme was picked for its Halloweenishness, I wanted the book to be a bit creepy. Then, because I have been so textile orientated for a long while I thought, (with fear and trepidation) that I would try paper work again, and also to practice for the first time in an age my traditional book making…..hesitate to say skills as once glue is opened I can make one doosie of a mess without much effort!
So – here is my book, which depicts the food chain of the evening forest, through the medium of Lickle Red Riding Hood.
Red Velvet cover, Birch trees of layered papers, inked and foiled, plus some real lichen
First watercolour for several years
Titled with a line from Tolkien ‘In the Forest Singing Sorrowless’
Damn, those mozzies
The cottage with the Wolf
On the textile front, I just have to add some beads to the sample/practice piece from the WIT (What If Textiles) group theme of found objects. I just cannot do UFOs so everything I start must be finished. This will not be finished to a high standard, but it will be a finished piece!
A sad not an angry, rant – but a rant nevertheless October 14, 2012Posted by George in Life, Quilting and Patchwork.
I have to say before you read on, as the DH has told me that I seem very vehement, (and may well be barred from membership of the QG anyway!) that I truly love the idea of a Guild of quilters who though they may come from many directions, all meet at the point where quilts are loved. I want to belong to a happy, welcoming, thriving guild that members benefit from, and contribute to…….
So……in contemplation of rejoining the guild, I was leafing through a friend’s copy of The Quilter today, and of interest to me was an article about another quilting group who have done just the same as ours, by extending into an art-quilting offshoot. That was an enjoyable read. Less enjoyable though was the small piece about Sanderson Star Members.
Before my mother became very needful of my time, I was in the Quilter’s Guild. I supported the Guild enough to become the website editor for region 12. I can’t honestly say that I found membership particularly stimulating, useful, or enjoyable. I am really lucky to have a very active local group that is not, however, affiliated to the Guild – we were, but many members were not individually Guild members, and after much debate and input from them, we could not justify spending their money on something they could see little benefit from. During my membership, I tried to promote the Guild – comments from non-members were hard to argue with – “I would rather spend £50 on fabric“, “nothing ever happens in Region 12 in Mid Wales, it’s all down South“, “York is a long way to go and The Guild never send their quilts nearer“, “The magazine is too academic, and seems elitist” – and I would add to that my own dismay at being continually barracked by the editorial of The Quilter to promote membership and to fund-raise. The focus always seemed to be on The Guild existing to be supported, rather than to support.
However, as I am now working in the quilting world and have more time to devote to my own quilting, I am thinking of re-joining. However, I now, and with sadness, very much doubt that I will, because of the article on Sanderson’s Star Members.
In these times of economic harshness, and the growing awareness of the cruel division in society based on wealth, I am not exaggerating when I say that I was repulsed by this new level of ‘star’ membership. Those people already fortunate enough to have more money than others, can now show off that wealth to ‘second-class’ members, by donning their Sanderson’s Star badge and thus showing the quilting world that they can afford at least double the financial commitment to the Guild, that some others (i.e. me) have to think long and hard about making. I can’t express fully how vile I find this. If the finance of the Guild is precarious, then the trustees need to look at encouraging wider membership, through greater engagement with the thousands of people who quilt rather than the few who are wealthy. It seems so feudal, so old-fashioned, so out of step with the zeitgeist, and so darn mean.
Perhaps I am over-reacting. I would love to know what others think…….
Two FOs Two WIPs October 6, 2012Posted by George in Book Art, Knitting, Life, Quilting and Patchwork.
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I told y’all that I spent a day with DD dyeing – here are the results. I know I should have taken pics for the ‘before’ shots, but I didn’t! They were both plain undyed Merino.
This is a Sirdar pattern called Bramble and Garter Stitch Collared jackets on Ravelry. I knew the green I wanted, but couldn’t find it in a yarn, so I bought undyed Merino from the excellent Yarn-Undyed – what a nice clear business name! It is lovely to knit with and it dyed like a dream. Like flying, for me, the magic of dyeing never wears off! I used acid dyes in Emerald Green, Bottle Green and Light Brown to get the shade I wanted.
A Rowan pattern – Frances – from Yarn-Undyed’s 4ply Merino, and dyed with a mix of Orange, Emerald Green and Light Brown.
A knitted WIP is a currently unphotogenic plain grey cardigan, from unplain yarn – a Posh Betsy called Turn Your Back that is as soft as the silk it contains.
Another WIP is the beginnings of an art book, inspired during a night of insomnia accompanied by the gentle drumming of the rain on the roof.
Another WIP is a play with ‘found objects’
I was astonished by the amount of elastic in my mother’s workbox, and it serves well as a metaphor for the tightly bound mores of the past. The work, still very much ‘in progress’, was started for the meeting of a new group, an offshoot of The Welsh Heritage Quilters. A number of members are becoming increasingly interested in more experimental work with textiles, and we now meet on the last Wednesday of every month, to share with, and support, each other on our journeys. To get us going, we are themeing the meetings and Found Objects was our September topic. In October we will be looking at printing on fabric.
Summer 2012 September 22, 2012Posted by George in Knitting, Life, Quilting and Patchwork.
Busy summer, and we haven’t even been away anywhere. When you live in beautiful Mid Wales, every day is like being on holiday!!
In brief, Mum had to move from a small care home that was very nice, but not able to deal with her, to a large home, nevertheless equally warm in atmosphere, but very much more organised and professional in managing her rapidly declining mental state. She has regressed and often asks where her mummy and daddy are – but she is fairly happy and safe and well cared for.
I joined in Herefordshire art week aka H:Art, by putting the previously posted Woman on a Turtle quilt plus various handbags into a textile exhibition organised by the brilliant Drusilla Cole, for Aardvark books. Met some fabulous artists and can’t wait for the first meet of the Marches Book Art group for inspiration and fellowship in what is becoming a growing interest of mine.
Now that Mum is cared for by others, I have a job – I am now Education Project Officer for The Quilt Association. It is a brilliant local charity who collect and conserve Welsh quilts and other quilts, has an amazing exhibition every year that displays both antique and contemporary quilts in delightful contrast, and is now extending its brief into education. We run our first introduction to patchwork and quilting next month and hope to progress to offering City and Guilds level courses.
I have been having a year of not buying fabric – I am not keen on building great stashes of unused anything and piles of fabric induce guilt rather than pleasure, so I feel more than happy in using up leftovers, or lengths that I have had too long and, quite often, no longer like anymore. It is a strange thing that at one time you can love a fabric so much that you don’t use it because you are afraid that the project is not ‘good enough’ for your best beloved – and then next time you look, it fails to please – good job I don’t feel like that towards my husband!
Anyway, at the beginning of the summer I decided to do a user-upper. It’s done and I am very happy with the way that a little bit of lots of different fabrics makes each one work with the others and even fabrics I actively dislike become a shimmering part of a greater whole. Trouble is, my scrap box doesn’t seem any emptier.
The scariest bit was the layering as I had decided to make a pieced back and I thought it would be really really hard to line up back and front. It went together strangely easily…
Knitting wise, I have just been to the DD base in Liverpool where I can use her proper ginormous dye vat to play and have now to finish off before I post, two jumpers knitted from undyed yarn. Not undyed anymore – but more of that in the future!
I made another shawl using Posh yarn – Catherine in Summer’s lease
The pattern is an entrelac variation called Dianna, and a jolly good knit with stitch interest and speed! Just finished the knitting of a Paper Moon hat in anticipation of the winter - will post when stitched and buttoned.
Normal Service Will be Resumed as Soon as Possible…. June 19, 2012Posted by George in Life.
I have never been a daily blogger, but I used to post a lot more frequently than I have of late. I have been otherwise engaged. The situation has eased, so I hope to post more often.
My mother has been declining, with dementia, for the past three years. Things came to a head over the past two months. Despite having carers coming in three times a day, she began wandering and it became clear that she was no longer safe living alone at home. We had no help from the powers that be. Once the words self-funding are uttered “You are on your own” – this is a direct quote from a member of the Elderly Persons Mental Health Team in Andover.
Mum is now in a lovely home, and is relaxed for the first time in an age, because, despite having a one sentence memory, she was aware of being unaware and she was very afraid of being alone whilst also being equally scared of leaving her home.
She did not want to go, she was terribly upset, and it was very, very hard to be the big bad daughter who made her, but it was the right thing to do and she is now safe, and as happy as she is able to be. The worry of the past months, and the stress of having to make the most difficult of decisions has, I feel, aged me by ten years, as well as leaving no headroom at all for creativity. I am starting to settle into this new phase now wherein worry is diminished. I haven’t sewn, knitted, written, (creatively – copious notes have been made about the events relating to Mum and I suggest anyone experiencing similar keeps a record) drawn, painted, anything – anything at all – for an age. I am ready to now.