Saturday, 31 January 2015

Snow Day

We planned a day of stitch, a day with no teaching, just a day to come along to the village hall and catch up with each other, and catch up with work.

But we didn't reckon on this! We woke to a very light dusting of the stuff, but then it turned more serious. 


This was the carpark by 9.30. What to do? So I cancelled. But they came anyway! 

And we had a lovely day, productive yet relaxing, and we were all pleased with our progress (well, most of us). And all that pretty white stuff was all gone by 4pm, hooray.

I spent all morning ironing. How did that happen?? And then stuck lots of sari silk to some pelmet vilene, which I have just started to stitch with automatic patterns. This follows on from my sketchbook meanderings that you may have seen on my facebook page.

Morag has been making silk paper, and stitched these fabulous oak leaves. They are destined to become a leafy bowl:

Fiona was catching up with her metallic samples after missing a class, but has overtaken us!

Here are some strips of scrap collage that she was going to use for borders, but are rather lovely by themselves

Kathy has been finishing her bird piece from last year, and turning it into a book cover

Vix finished her poppy, and a landscape

Libby stitched a foiled sample

And Di started assembling a miniature quilt, based on our copper samples:

She also brought this scrap collage to incorporate, but we can't decide how. It's not quite wide enough to cut into strips for a border, but we love the colours and texture.

Jill brought a stack of household sewing projects and diligently worked her way through, and Carole thought she would machine stitch a beaded fringe to finish her silk bag (started this time last year) but ended up sewing by hand.

You may notice that both Carole and I are working in a similar coincidence there. There may even be a competitive element to this (moi?) but neither of us has any confidence in even being placed this time round! I hear the competition is quite stiff...

Monday, 26 January 2015


I'm being a bit slow with the blogging, for which apologies! Without further ado, here are some pics of class work from last week.

First up, we have been busy making collages with sari silks, foils, and any other glisteny sparkly textured bits we could lay our mitts on:







This last piece of work belongs to Rosa, our newest student, who was a bit taken aback when we started the session with "how to heat copper tiles over a gas hob". For some reason she came along expecting to stitch?!

Anyway, we put the copper to one side and made a start on her first strippy collage. The idea being to investigate all the automatic patterns our machines will do, to warm up both machine and our own creative muscles, practise using transfer foils, and create a background for further embellishment.*

And those who were itching to stitch on metal started a simple sampler with feed dog up/normal presser foot, and feed dog down/free machining. Here are some in progress:





These are all stitched with 0.002" copper shim on felt - you must use a thick-ish background to absorb the sharp pointy bits of copper created when the needle penetrates the metal (but it doesn't have to be felt). This also protects your machine bed from scratches.

Fiona laid some organza on top of her tiles before stitching then blasted it with a heat gun - so effective!

*for transfer foils in large quantities at reasonable rates I am selling them on Facebook at Frugal Foil - if you are not on Facebook but would like some, just email me. Plug over!

Monday, 19 January 2015

Choosing to work

Someone recently commented on Facebook that they'd love to learn more about my process. I do find this amusing, as to be brutally honest my "process" up to now has been

1 start something with noble ambitions
2 procrastinate for ages (sometimes months)
3 rustle up something at the last minute that is not related in any way with what I started in the first place.

Which is why I have so many stashes of "work in progress". Here is just one:

But armed with my new word - Choice - I have chosen to

a) book, then ring fence "work" time in my diary (in pencil, but it's a start)
b) decide which WIPs I actually want to do still, and chuck the others (gasp)
c) actually choose one of them and do it! 

So now I can proudly present "my process"

First, choose what to do. I chose this watercolour spiral today.

Second, add a stitch'n'tear backing and choose a thread

Third, stitch by machine and wonder what to do next

Four, tip out a shamefully tangled collection of threads and set to

Five, fight - really fight - the urge to do something, anything else eg make curtains, sort recipes, declutter another cupboard...

Six, audition various additions - including a washer found on the doorstep and a twig circle made last summer.

(not brill lighting, but it still gets dark so early in the afternoon)

Not finished yet, but I'm very chuffed so far - not least because I actually stuck at something!

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Word of the year 2015: Choice


New Year, time to rethink so many things. It's only when I stop that I realise how I haven't - stopped, that is - for so long. Literally. It's a rare thing for us to sit on the sofa, Girl locks herself in her lair most evenings, we never watch TV (especially since all the Montalbanos are repeats and I don't like the current Wallander). But now I've stopped I wonder what on earth takes up so much of my time. I'll probably remember, suddenly, when term starts on Tuesday.

My haul from K&S, virtually untouched.

This year I want to have a stab at consciously choosing how to spend my time, and to make sure I choose things that are meaningful for me. For example, I want to choose to stitch. And paint and print. Because I just haven't. I don't really know why (apart from the usual practical reasons, the Grand Plan being very much on my mind still but it now involves architects :0 ). I stitch things for class, and I managed some work for Art Trail, but for me? Nada. I feel I've let myself down. (I still haven't used my gelli plate, acquired in October. I did try the lucet...)

I am aware that instead of choosing, I end up doing things that are mindless, easy or just because to actively choose the alternative would be slightly difficult or uncomfortable in some way, or will end up disappointing someone, letting them down: last year both Mr G and I ended up being on committees, baffling for two people who much prefer to work alone and are very suspicious of any team activity...yes, I'm looking at you Mrs B. Himself has managed to shed his responsibility, so I'm just picking my moment. Just sayin'.

Bunting, made for community art group.

And I know I spend too long footling on this iThing, so that will have to be curbed. Strangely though, I haven't kept up with my blog reading, so despite being online so much I do feel out of touch with everything going on out there in textileblogland. And we are going to bed so late now we're practically nocturnal. Gosh, next week will be a shock! We'll have to wind back the bodyclock at least three hours!

Not sure what the whippet will make of early mornings sans duvet-time...

I'll let keep you posted on how I get on! Do you have a word for 2015?

I saw this idea on facebook, courtesy of Jane laFazio and Christine Kane, and it resonated. I used Christine's free tool to work out my word, and I think I'm happy with it. Not what I was expecting but not as immediately mindblowing as she made out it would be.