Thursday, February 28, 2008

Coral finished?

I think this is finished. The colours simply don't replicate properly, even though I've fiddled with this pic. The background is a sort of dark purple and there is some electric purple/blue at the bottom under the glass bits which simply don't show up on screen. You can't even see the hologram turquoise free machine stitching at the top. O well...

Here's a close-up of the glass bits. I used Cretan Stitch to attach them.

And I turned in the ends of the treillage piece which now looks like this.

Arrrggghhh! Come on March and the new challenge - things I fancy trying next: a bit of goldwork, something with the screamish orange, trying to figure out how to bead like some of the pieces on the Bead Journal Project, free machine embroidery using the cone of gold passing thread, saori (freestyle weaving), teaching myself torchon lace, finishing the book cover for the "green book" - but I don't want to start something new until I've had a go at the challenge. Nah, forget that - there's two whole days so I'll just go ahead and start a new design. Maybe something inspired by medieval research I've been doing.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Screamish orange

Here's the treillage piece finished and mounted on the orange - in a way, it's a continuation of the colours for February's challenge. I'm not sure what I want to do with it now, so I've pinned it up on the wall in the studio. I kind of like the threads left over but I'll probably tidy them up and make an envelope-type clutch bag with it.

When we visited Malta some years ago, we had a day trip around the island and stopped at a glassworks. The artisans had cut these bits of glass off the lips of some vases they were making and I thought they were fascinating and asked if I could have them - they sold me the lot for 10 pence.

I remembered them as I was struggling to finish the coral piece and unfortunately you will have to wait for the next post tomorrow to see it as the batteries in the camera need recharging. It's also pinned up on the studio wall as I'm not convinced the piece works yet.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Blossomed out

Here are close ups of the almond blossom pieces. I was so excited about them when I started that I did two in a row and I'm blossomed out now.

I just finished the second this morning, and am impatiently awaiting SharonB's March challenge.

Meanwhile, I bought a metre of this shocking orange satin fabric at the market on Saturday for 1Euro. It is truly screamish and makes me feel energized to embroider it.

I've had loads of ideas for it, but found this almost finished piece of treillage and thought I'd complete it using some purpley-blue Colinette in my stash, then mount it on the orange satin.

As ever, the colours are not quite what they are in real life, but you get the general idea.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Exact Almond Blossom

It's not often that I get the exact effect I want in embroidery, but I'm really pleased with how this almond blossom is coming along.

I did the sketches yesterday and prepped the background satin (iron-set the colour, added a calico backing and overcast the edges). I wanted to print out more photos but the ink cartrigdes ran out.

Then I dug out some Texere yarns. They are sold like this, in hanks of related colours but all different textures. I just cut off a length, then used the individual threads to fly-stitch the branches.

Finally I was able to start using the variegated knitting ribbon to do the French knots for the blossoms, which is the bit I originally "saw" when we went for our walk: not trees, but cream and pink French knots against sapphire satin.

Unfortunately, the light is going so I had to stop, but I'm so excited with this piece that I'll try to finish it tomorrow - watch this space!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Coral and Almond Blossom

Here are two close-ups of a coral piece I'm trying to finish. I did a lot of machine embroidery on it this morning using a reel of - it's not thread - I think it's some kind of plastic film that has been treated to have a turquoise hologram effect on it, then sliced into a thread-size strip and rolled onto a bobbin.

It breaks all the time if you use it in the top on the machine, but it works a treat if you use it in the bobbin, except that you have to stitch upside-down. It doesn't photograph very well, and the stitching I did is at the top of the piece, not shown in these pix. This piece started last year using "goodies" my friend Cyn sent in the mail - silk coccoons (upper left in the first pic), purple ribbon, etc.

Here is a pic of almond blossom from my Van Gogh book, "Vincent by Himself", edited by Bruce Bernard, Orbis Publishing Limited, London, 1985, giving an idea of the new piece I want to do next, except I want to use sketches I'm planning to do tomorrow based on observation of the almond trees outside the kitchen window and the pix I took the other day. Although I like the mistletoe in the trees around here, I'm not sure I'll include it in the embroideries.

I used my Pebeo Setasilk Gitane blue and Cyan blue silk paints on some pale blue satin I bought at the market last year for 1Euro/metre, and had to be patient while it dried. It still wasn't dark enough to get that sapphire feeling of a Springtime sky, so after ironing it to set the first layer of colour, I applied the washes again. Unfortunately, I took the hairdryer to it to try to speed up this second wash, and it shifted the colour around unevenly. O well, sigh, I guess it will add character to that piece.

I have to sketch the skeletons of the trees first and figure out how to represent them in stitch & fibre, so it will be at least another day before I can start stitching the French knots with the cream coloured knitting ribbon to represent the blossoms, which is the bit I really want to get to...

Finally, here is a pic of the beaded gussets I did on the little bag that makes me think of almond blossom - the very one that I blogged about earlier in the month.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Finished February TIF Challenge

Well, here it is finished, the concept being memory itself, using SharonB's palette of colours which were light and medium blue and orange and dark blue.

On the left-hand side, the colours are more intense with more beads signifying the intensity of my thoughts when something happens. As I am a visual person, there is also an eye shape there.

In the middle section, the visual stimulus has entered the brain signified by the shibori-technique light blue organza. The beads and sequins in this part represent thoughts about the original stimulus and the trails of fabric leading off represent neurones and synapses. So the brain "digests" the stimulus and saves the experience in short-term memory.

Finally, on the right-hand side, the thoughts trail off into long term memory but the beads are lighter in colour because the original experience has been transformed by the brain and by being in short-term memory. The plain orange organza of the background has also been replaced by that shot-metallic organza that I wet and wrinkled, representing the gold tinge we apply to happy memories and also aging (wrinkles). In this section, there are also rips in the orange fabric representing gaps in memory as I get older.

All around the basic shapes are concentric lines of machine stitching to give the effect of ripples in a pool, and the sense of time passing as you "read" the piece from left to right.

I enjoyed doing this piece and the thought processes behind it, but as usual, now that it's finished I have to put it aside because I don't like it very much. On the other hand, the piece I did for the January TIF challenge is back on my worktop, ready to be made into a little bag and I like it again. Go figure.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Almond Blossom

Went for a walk this afternoon and remembered to take the camera! The almond blossom has already started and is gorgeous against the sapphire sky, with its decorative balls of mistletoe.

The little purse now has some lines of kantha quilting on it and looks a bit like the almond blossom. I'm definitely going to do some more embroideries based on the photos I took today...

Meanwhile, back at the Februray TIF challenge, here are two more tasters taken with the macro setting on the camera - the colours aren't too far off from reality.
I "read" SharonB's palette for the February challenge as light, medium and dark blue and light and dark orange.

Went to the market in the Bastide St. Louis on Saturday for fruit and veg, and was surprised to see the mimosa already on sale.

These orange peppers made me feel springtime and happy.

As did these bright bouquets. It seems I have bright colours on the brain.

I did this "book cover" for my notes and sketches for the courgette flower bag and just thought I'd put them here to show that I sometimes do sketching and painting before leaping into a piece.

I found a slideshow thing on MSN, so I've put more almond blossom pix on that blog if you wish to have a look, together with some old pieces. You just click on the album and the slideshow cycles through all by itself ... MixPix

Friday, February 8, 2008

February TIF

The challenge this month is EXCELLENT, as the old brain cell is really working. The question is very subtle in its phrasing. I started with the same ideas as KnitsOnTheBus in her Feb.5 post, having grown up in Canada about the same time.

I did a mindmap, breaking the question into lines:

What are you? which gave me fashion and lifestyle; this gave platform shoes, hot pants, mini skirts, etc., for fashion, and double glazing and throw-away plastic shopping bags for lifestyle. This gave the idea of a window with the panes done in shadow-work embroidery illustrating the fashions, windows symbolic of looking out on the past. For the bags, I thought I might cut up the plastic bags into strips and use them in needlelace techniques to make a paper shopping bag, but it just didn't appeal.

Old enough? which gave me age, youth, experience. This gave lace because I'm young enough to still be able to see to do it, it's something I don't think the world should lose because I'm old enough to have learned it from some of the world's experts in Honiton, and the clematis was ready to come off the pillow anyway, ready for designing how it would work with the rose.
So: I am old enough to remember Honiton lace making.

Here are some pix showing the finished clematis and rose...
which will eventually be one fall of the jabot instead of the clematis over the rose (or vice-versa) in two falls, which didn't work...
I've pinned both the pieces on my Brugges pillow and now have to decide fillings - I keep thinking of Four Pin for the negative spaces in the interior, using plain old Trolley Net to connect the whole shape to a horseshoe shape that will surround the composition. Needs more thought.

To remember? which gave me memory, forgetfulness, Alzheimers, senility. As I worked on the lace, I kept thinking of memory and became more and more drawn to that as design concept.
I'd read this book years ago (The Making of Memory, From molecules to mind, by Steven Rose, Bantam Press, 1992, ISBN 0593 021800), then using Sharon's palette of colours, I did a collage with organzas using naff orange bling fabric underneath, and here is a taster of where this is going - I can't stop working on it, it's so exciting I'm "in the flow" with it...The pic was taken just as I was losing the light and the flash was off, so hand shake made it a blur, but I think it works well as a taster. ...I got out the embroidery threads to select some bright orange, but decided on beading instead. I keep my embroidery thread stash in an old damask table cloth onto which I've sewn some strips of duvet poppers. It keeps the colours fresh and dust-free.

Courgette Flower Bag

As a new blogger, I was well pleased to receive comments on my Courgette Flower Bag, so here is a post explaining a bit more.

I started by making each petal separately using Corded Brussels stitch and including the odd bead here and there. I'd taken photos and did some watercolour sketches first, to get a feel for the shapes and colours.
Then I attached them together using a simple cordonnette technique. Then, I finished the tops of the petals with Cinq-Point-de-Venise, and laced the yellow ribbon through holes I'd left in the Corded Brussels at the waist of each petal.
Here are some links to needlelace resources...


Doreens Needlelace-dot-com

A bit of history and technique

Or you can simply Google "needlelace" and work your way through as I am doing now... Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I've been tagged

Eye candy today is a pic of a little bag I made last year, inspired by courgette (zuccini) flowers. I'm going to do a separate post for the Feburary TIF.

I've been tagged by Vivian-in-Stitches . I'm not used to blogging, so I hope I do these things correctly...

1. Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post THE RULES on your blog.
3. Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog.
4. Tag 7 people and link to them.
5. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

7 random facts about me...
1. Childhood in Montreal, moved to Toronto, then Bermuda, then England and now live in France.
2. I'm not a pet person - probably because of travelling.
3. Taught myself to knit & crochet from a magazine.
4. Enjoy cooking, photography, scuba diving, aquagym, puzzles and quiz shows.
5. Would love to visit the Grand Canyon, Painted Desert, west coast national parks in the USA, the Great Wall of China, and cruise on the Nile to see the pyramids.
6. Am becoming a morning person - was always a night owl.
7. Almost always take photos on low resolution because they are faster to email or upload.

Here are 7 blogs that I like a lot...
1. posts gorgeous pix of middle and west coast Canada, amid her fibrework.
2. gets me inspired to bead.
3. is always interesting and shares different techniques.
4. is a wealth of information and challenges.
5. is varied and incredibly addictive - you just want to check it out every day to see what's new.
6. makes me smile and shares inspiration.
7. is inspiring and takes my breath away.

I think I have to go on to these blogs now and add a comment.