Thursday, January 31, 2008

Inspiration in the mail

Received this lovely bunch of embellisher experiments from my friend Cynthia yesterday in the mail, and immediately began playing with them. First, I layed the lengths of the wool mixtures along the piece of blue felt and used fusible interfacing to hold them in place so I could sew them down using automatic patterns on the Bernina.

These pix show the piece before and after stitching.
I'm reasonably pleased with the result except for the residue of the fusible interfacing, so I'm going to try soaking it in boiling water, and maybe even go at it with a nail brush.

Then I started to play with the silk fibres. They made me think of fan shapes and papyrus plants. I guess there must have been a residue of purple in my head from the January TIF challenge...
I tried variations of turquoise and purple ...

including turquoise net over top which I didn't like at all, eventually ending with the screamish turquoise metallic knocked back by the purple organza.
After machine stitching, it looked like this. I tried laying it on some dark green satin but didn't like that, so I decided on a pale sky blue satin for the backing.
But before I could sew the backing on, it told me it wanted some hand stitching, so I added this.
And here's the front of what will be a little purse...
And the back... I may still do a bit of kantha quilting in concentric lines around some shapes, not sure yet. The piece is simply folded in half along the bottom. Oooo - maybe I could even do a bead fringe? A beaded cord?
I may also do gussets in a treillage technique, using the purple and green threads which are too twisty for pulling through fabric in embroidery techniques but show up wonderfully in needlelace techniques...
I really admire Cynthia and these colours sort of match the challenge, so I guess this piece counts as a second TIF for January...Thanks Cyn - a bit of Cyn-chronicity there...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Gorgeous sunrise

Gorgeous sunrise this morning, illuminating the rags and tatters of clouds, making me feel that winter isn't so bad and I can get through it. Is that what is called a mackerel sky? Enjoy.


I was feeling grumpy over the weekend because there was housework that had to be done, we went to the market on Saturday which is always nice but takes daylight time away from lace making time, and my bobbins needed bowing so I couldn't finish that last leaf at the top of the clematis piece. The first pic on this post shows my bobbin trousseau with the bobbins separated into piles of runners and passives (or knots and nots if you like). The second pic shows the trousseau with the bobbins bowed into pairs, which I did after I cleaned the house from top to bottom, ready to go again Monday morning, ungrumped.

Ha! I figured out how to put the pic where I want it it the blog - I found both ends of the appropriate tag in the html and copied it where I want it, making me feel inordinately proud.
Anyway, this third pic shows the clematis piece as Work In Progress - you are looking at the back of the lace as it's worked so the face is towards the pillow for readers not familiar with Honiton lace making.
I just need to finish the flower on the right, under the top three leaves - you can't see the pricking in the photo. And just to show you what it looks like as I work on the lace, when I've dressed the pillow, this next pic.

As you can see, I decided not to do a beaded piece as I said in the previous post, prefering to do Honiton lace instead. I'm thinking this piece will be the top fall of a two fall jabot, with the centre of the bottom fall being based on this rose that I did last year, from a pattern I picked up at a Devon Lace Teacher's Day at the Priory School in Exeter.

I haven't done all the buds and stems coming out from the central rose, because I want to finish the clematis first, to determine how the negative spaces will look. It's a bit complicated to describe this creative process...
Speaking of which, I have come to realise that I'm not really a planner type artist: I very seldom do the mindmap and sketches first. What usually happens is that I get inspired by the colours and textures of the materials and they speak to me, except of course with white lace, where it's the lines. In fact, I usually get wildly enthusiastic and leap right in, resenting any preparation time at all. Pinning & basting - bah humbug - just hold the pieces together and feed them through the machine.
Here's a pic of the lavender sachets I made using my stash of Liberty lawns (which have a gorgeous hand and are pure pleasure to handle). I used up all the lavender I collected from this year.
So I guess I've been reasonably productive for January - only two days to go until the February TIF challenge - and my good friend Cynthia sent an email saying she's put a surprise package in the post for me - can't wait to see what arrives...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A word about TIF

I've been looking at other's wonderful work by following the links on SharonB's website and I'm very impressed with people who sketch and do mindmaps and match the colours. It makes me think I took the title of the challenge too literally - o well, sigh - as there is still some time left before the February challenge, I may have a go at doing a small design for a Bead thing - page or postcard - I like the idea of the Bead Journal Project - something like that - still using Monet as the object of admiration, still using those colours.
Eye candy for today is a beaded landscape of the parasol pines at the bottom of the road that I did at this time last year. Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Between projects

It's that terrible time in between projects, so I'm noodling around on the internet enjoying looking at all kinds of embroidery - it's like being in heaven.
Here are some pix of finished works just to add a bit of eye candy to this post. The first pic shows some woven beading I did on a loom I made and the second is a piece of Branscombe lace I worked from an old DMC pattern book.
I still haven't figured out how to add pix in sequence within the blog - maybe cut & paste the html? It just looks like gibberish - I'll figure it out later...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Last batch of TIF pix

First pic shows the Corded Brussles stitching complete, second pic shows the start of the crochet edge to hold the horizontal threads in place, last pic shows the finished piece - I stitched a backing on to pull the loose edge threads to the inside. Now that it's finished, I don't like it, so it's going in my experiment portfolio.

More pix in TIF challenge

I think I have to add pix in separate posts - anyway here's some more showing a closeup of the work in progress and a thread I missed on the back, followed by the finished piece with some chenille on top for the branches of willow hanging down...I tried to use the chenille in the needle, doing corded brussels stitch but it's too fragile and the fluff comes off, so I decided to use it separately at the end. I had to unpick to go back to the missed thread, something I really don't like doing, but in this case it was OK because there was too much green in that section, so I took the opportujnity to change thread. I also had to take the piece off the frame to use longer sidebars as I thought the original square format was too short.

Discovering Embroidery Blogs

I've just discovered embroidery blogs and now spend happy hours in the studio on the internet checking through Sharon B's Take It Further Challenge blog/website . Although I'm too late to enter the challenge, I thought I'd do it anyway and post progress on this blog.

January challenge was the concept of admiration and a colour palette that included mauve and a sort of an olive-y green. I thought of Mom, Grandma and Monet but it was the colours that made me choose Monet. Here are pix of the work as it was completed. I can't believe how fast I did it - I just couldn't stop stitching and it grew itself - I hope the rest of the year will contain challenges that are like that... Now I just have to figure out how to add the pix...

So the picture above shows my stash of Colinette wools and various threads, and the book The Colour Of Time Claude Monet by Virginia Spate, published 1992 by BCA by arrangement with Thames & Hudson Ltd.

This pic shows the technique I used: I decided to wrap some of those tubular embroidery frames with the variegated cotton/rayon "Giotto" thread (by Colinette), then buttonhole over the cords in a take on needlelace's Corded Brussels stitch, changing threads from time to time. I was that taken with the colours and the technique that I didn't really take the time to figure out how to turn at the end of a row until I was about half way through....

I admit defeat for now - pix are showing up all together at the top, and not in the order that I'm writing about them, and I have to start preparing dins now, so I'll just Save Now and Publish Post and figure it out later...