Friday, 25 October 2013

Mad but good

Another mad week!

First up, I survived the bike ride - even though I was the only one with flat bars, and didn't have little wet weather booties unlike some people.  Five women, two blokes - and it was the men who had the "mechanicals" with one puncture, and one £10,000 bike that wouldn't shift gears and then jammed completely....yup, you read that right: £10,000...and no, that wasn't his bike!!

Home in time for a coffee and some banana & walnut cake, and a spot of paper-painting ready for yet more samples:

and some playing with granite stitch

('tis a bit blurry, sorry....)

Then this week in the evening classes we finished our first piece, playing with all the automatic patterns on our machines:

and started to get to grips with free machining:

and using our workbooks:

and on Thursday we were printing and stitching our leaves (still!)

Today I met Alison aka Fibre Frenzi at the local Spinners Weavers Dyers exhibition.  Couldn't miss her stand, it was so colourful:

and I treated myself to some wild and woolly gloves, to wear when typing blog posts in the cold winter evenings...

Time for a holiday, hello half-term!

Friday, 18 October 2013

A little bit of time to play - and ride a bicycle

But only a very little bit...

First up, "my" new printer (it belongs to the college, but I'm allowed to play with it to see if we like it)

Yes, I think we do...

Then a little bit of time between endless faffing about on my new laptop typing up City & Guilds stuff, to stitch together a little piece for the cover of my records book:

And then a little bit more time to make a little feathered friend:

He is "Bird, Mark 1".  He is a prototype, as he has several "issues" not least with his legs...and definite "flatness"...

But in general, there's been mostly faff and prep around here and not much stitching for my own ends, which makes me sad.  And despite being mostly brilliant and super-whizzy, the new laptop is playing up, probably because it's not new but nearly new and I've probably just discovered why it's first owner took it back...sigh.  

I have done one good thing tho, I think, and that is start to ride a bicycle again. Fresh air and what-not. 

As his name suggests, Mr Gonecycling spends a lot of time on his bicycle and over the years I've done a bit too, but not so much since we got The Whippet.  For the last four years I've ridden a Pashley - a bit like riding a five-bar gate but with fewer gears.  And I've mostly ridden it on holiday, in sandals. And not very far.

Yesterday Mr G mentioned that the local bike shop was starting women's rides and that perhaps I would like to go, to meet some new people who have nothing to do with embroidery or textiles or teaching.  Fair enough, a good thought, thought I. 

The rides are supposed to go at the pace of the slowest, but as nobody wants to be that person, I thought I'd better dig out my slightly "racier" bike. So with much shameful dusting off and pumping up of tyres we took it up to the bike shop for an overhaul.  However, this in itself is not something done lightly - the owner is a very good friend of Sean Yates, and Mr Yates himself lives just down the road from us (I've just finished reading his autobiography). So it's all a bit blokey and lycra-clad around here. And when Mr G asked who was leading the ride and Mr Bike Shop said that he was as all the women were feeling a bit insecure and in need of a gentle shove, I suddenly got cold feet...and cheeky so and so has now invited Mr G to come along too, so he "didn't have to talk about knitting and fluffy kittens all morning".  Ha!  (Half right...machine embroidery and whippets...but still, cheeky).  So I may not get out of it.  I thought I was doing quite well with a six mile trundle, and felt quite proud to be able to get up the hill and out of town with only five gears. A 20-miler with people in lycra is another matter...

The weather is going to be appalling, Mr G will have to take a phone to keep in touch with the riders at the front of the pack, and a calendar to measure how long it will take me to do the distance, but I think I may have to give it a least I still fit into my shorts.  

Monday, 14 October 2013

Making a start

It's all very well spending ages planning what I'm going to teach, it's another thing getting the ideas out of my head to create samples, and another thing again asking the students to trust me and give things a go...

Here are some leaves I've been playing with, for the Fairwarp class:

And for the adult learning class, I seemed to spend ages last week mixing up paint (and gave myself blue fingers, natch)

The painting'n'sticking was still a bit damp for people to take home at the end of class, so I took it home to dry - it all looked amazing on my dining room table!

I don't think everyone was convinced with being asked to do this, so fingers crossed the stitching that will follow this week will reassure!

I topped off the week with the obligatory trip to this place:

Mixed feelings - I was very tired, but there were some excellent exhibitions and I took (fewer than previously) photos to use in class, and found a bargain box of 20 sponge brushes for £3.75!

Friday, 4 October 2013

Wonderful things

Wonderful things growing all over our vine...

A collaborative drawing exercise, to give us some inspiration for our stitching yesterday. Here are some details:

I think we all had fun!

And then onto the stitch, with added colour - paint and/or fabric scraps:

Di's birds, with fabric and stitch

Sheila's leaf sprig, with acrylic paint

Linda's birds (she almost scrapped this at one point - glad she didn't!) with fabric scraps, and watercolour pencils

Jan's flowers, painted with watercolour pencils

Kathy's leaves, with acrylic paint

Sue's bird and leaves - with paint and fabric. Sue had a hard time wrestling with a hoop she didn't like, but I think she did very well with only her second attempt ever at free machining!

And last but not at all least, Carole's bird and leaves...and caterpillar.  Beautiful!

I'm very proud of them all!

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Victims of our own success

Been a bit quiet around here. Sorry about that!  It turns out I'm teaching another class I didn't even know about this time last week, so I'm still stuck in Sample City...

Here are some paper strips, the beginnings of the first design/stitch exercise for two classes:

and here are lots of leafy things, for the next few weeks of another class!

The fourth class is only a monthly class, otherwise I think my head would's almost like being full time and that has never been part of the plan!  We've also had a major PC failure this week, with nightmare visions of losing all my Schemes of Work, the fruits of many late hours and much paper shuffling. Luckily this afternoon we have been revived and we're back online - hooray!

But while Himself was minus PC and at a loose end, he decided to make some muffins:

Here is the last one (we didn't scoff them all, some are in the freezer for Girl's lunch boxes) but methinks he may regret showing his culinary hand...