27 April 2007

Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford

An old-fashioned museum - crowded with artifacts, and rather dimly lit. An amazing, wonderful place! Several people from Contemporary Quilt went there to see the Treasured Textiles exhibition -- not realising that there would be an easter-holidays activity in the exhibition space. We photographed as best we could, then went into the main museum to do some drawing. I was allowed to take one of the sheets the kids were colouring in -- and have used fabric to "colour in" this measley creature --

25 April 2007

April sewing challenge

Every month the UK Sewing group has a challenge - which might be to finish off something, or make something new, or get to grips with a technique. Acting on Sue's advice that "now is a polkadot moment" I planned a skirt to use some fabric from my stash. It's a light cotton so I decided to interline the skirt with some silk organza from a thrift-shop find.The hard part was getting going - I tried to analyse this reluctance, and a lack of confidence in the pattern came into it. 5 1/2" ease seemed a bit much -- and was -- I took it in a lot. Once the zip was in it went more quickly. All in all the project took 8 hours, including adapting the pattern - adding pockets and facings at top and bottom.
A closeup of the stitching - the wavyness is an interesting "feature" that emerged from using two threads at once. (The dark one shows on the light areas, and the light one shows on the dark areas.) I've found that using two threads is rather unpredictable - even when they are the same type of thread.
The silk interlining makes it feel so good to wear!

24 April 2007

Art chocolates

All the way from BC - designed by a native artist. Amazing.

The Rose in Winter

This quiltlet is for Contemporary Quilt's "suitcase collection" which will travel round for three years. The quilts in it are A3-sized (11"x16"), and the theme is "Figure it out".
The silk background was quilted first in a thorny pattern, then the leaves and those blue things were applied. The blue things are the "figure it out" component - some surreal rose hips, done with handstitch and machine embroidery on watersoluble fabric. When I took them along to while away the time on a train journey to a CQ meeting in Birmingham last autumn, I had no idea they'd end up actually being used in something. So much is made just for the hell of it, or to see what will happen if....

Burnham Beeches

A beautiful place, especially on a warm spring morning with the leaves just coming out. An ancient woodland, with a moated area, Hardicanute's (Harding's) Moat, surrounding an ancient settlement (12th-14th century). The moat kept the animals inside.This gnarled tree inside the moat might have been a sapling when the area was inhabited --
Animals are still grazed in the area, and we reckoned these enclosures might be there to protect the young trees. The Corporation of the City of London, which manages the woods, is also pollarding some of the trees - apparently a lost art, so they're experimenting.
They also build "habitat piles" of logs for hedgehogs etc and insects to inhabit, and are planting new trees - which gives aldermen a chance to have their names on a plaque. This plaque, however, commemorates the "mossy slope" that inspired Mendelssohn, who came here several times, to write some of the music for his Midsummer Night's Dream --Lots of people walking dogs, and even a contingent of riders --
And ants everywhere, scurrying about their business. A metaphor for the City of London?

18 April 2007

More hot dots

Once you get started on these little quilts (magazine-page size), it's hard to stop! They are quick to finish, so one leads to the next as ideas bubble up.This one is too regular (quite apart from the wavy top edge) and is also a lesson in what will happen if you fuse over a seam. Because of trying to be precise, and drawing out the circles, it took a long time to do. In the others, the circles are cut freehand.This is my favourite so far, with the french knot inset. It now has all its "seedy" quilting (though I quite like it without the quilting too). Another bonus of this size: it can be carried around and the handwork done on trains etc.
Just as I was running out of that intense shot-turquoise fabric, I found some more at a car boot sale, in the form of (allegedly) designer label trousers. Expensive at £1.50! Now I need to dye some more orange, and get this out of my system.

Car boot sale

The car boot sale that provided the turquoise fabric also had on offer salt and pepper shakers for collectors (note the evil pink rabbits), disused neon signs,
and displaced wildlife.

13 April 2007

Hot Dots I

The idea took root, and fabrics lay on the worktable all week while Life took over - frustrating! - but on the morning of Good Friday I was finally able to get to them -
The small triangular bit fell onto the background - happy accident - and needed another for the other bit. The background is leftovers of some chintz that was used for cutting bias strips. (I love using up leftovers....)

Here's the back - again I've cut up the batting and used it as a "template" for the piecing.
In the end, that upper triangle needed "something" ... More Hot Dots have already been made. This is about colour, and about the pleasure of sewing round and round in circles.

07 April 2007

A flash of finches

A pair of goldfinches flew past the window as I was idly gazing out, and sat in the budding tree. Their flight left an after-image of a streak of yellow. I immediately gathered fabric.A little research to get a closer look at the birds, and some "branches" free-machined onto silk crepe.
A few pussy-willows embroidered onto the branches, and starting to foundation-piece the "flash". It went on to be faced and turned inside-out.
Not sure about the background.....or whether to add more detail....
This is better:
Many changes between experience, sketch, trials, and the final version.

A walk in the park

We came across some "found art" - it says: Hole I, 2007. Roc Sandford. Air, earth, tarmacadam, water. Dimensions variable. Objet Troue. Provenance: studio of the artist.

There should be an accent over the e in Troue. Careful proofreading will uncover the (multilingual) joke.

The park was Kensington Gardens/Hyde Park, and there was a nippy wind ruffling the water on the Serpentine and moving the boats about.
The swans were unperturbed among the daffodils. Ah, spring!

Another notice

On Hampstead Heath, haunt of dog-walkers - a sad poem commemorating a Schnauzer who died in November. Despite some achingly memorable lines ("There came the time when you had enough/ And I must say you were looking rather rough") this really is a sad and heartfelt tribute.

04 April 2007

"Chaos breeds life, when order breeds habit." (Henry Brooks Adams)

02 April 2007

Kilim 2

The starting point, a photo in a magazine (Hali - which has many scrumptious carpets and ethnic textiles).When it came time to start sewing, I couldn't find the photo, so worked from memory. Already you can see from the layout my memory was rather vague on this. The A4 bit of backing was cut into areas, to be covered by bits of fabric.
Here are the pieces of batting on their bits of fabric. A dab or two of gluestick holds them on.
First the patches are sewn together, using the edges of the batting as a guide; the seams are pressed open, and then it all gets some handstitching.
Then the machining - in various combinations of white, grey and black threads, two at at time in the needle.
The edge, deviously hidden from view, awaits ... leave it raw? bind it somehow? In a real carpet, the fringe would be at the bottom, ie the warp; but here, the "main threads" go across the piece. An example of how different techniques have different necessities and different limitations.