A new sketchbook

I really enjoy working in a very long and thin landscape format, hence all my favourite sketchbooks being this shape. I decided to try to push myself a bit, and start work in a square book.

I have another lovely khadi sketchbook, this time a soft back book about 20cm square.

Last night, I made this collage, the orange page was the first page in the book.

   
 
The orange page is a bit narrower than it started out, as I tried to punch a hole in it, but it gummed up my circle punch. Luckily, my husband was on hand to de-gum it, with the suggestion that I avoid punching through khadi paper in future!

 This is under the tag on the left:

  
And under the tip in on the right:

  
And tonight, after quite a tiring day at work, I turned three printed lemons into this collage page, with quite a bit of use of gelato silhouettes, some other papers, a bit of colouring with the Pablo pencils and some Neocolour 1s:

  
  
Rather enjoyable, and a good way to relax on a weekday evening.

 

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Free Machine Practice

My last piece of free machining wasn’t as fluid as I had hoped, so I decided I needed to make some practice pieces. Taking inspiration from the stitch retreat, I created this piece, with a background of half-square triangles:

  
The purple strip at the bottom is from the first quilt I made. It is 10 inches high by 8 inches wide, and as it has an inch or more of solid purple it meets the requirements for the Contemporary Quilt Groups Journal Quilt project. I am not a member of the Quilters’ Guild, but I wanted a monthly challenge, and my friend Judith does this one, so I decided to play along!

  
I have started the machining, with some wiggles along the bottom, inspired by Leah Day’s Etch’n’Sketch pattern.

I wanted to practice my pebbling too, so I watched Leah Day’s pebbling video, and then had a go. I am pleased with it for a first attempt, it is a pattern I enjoy when doodling, but had never succeded to make anything more than a messy scribble before now.

  
About 45 minutes of machining. It is quite time consuming, but very enjoyable. I am getting better at relaxing, moving my hands slowly and travelling neatly over my previous stitches. I love how repeatedly going round one circle really lifts it.

A Year of Image Manipulation

A year ago, I discovered the joy of taking photos, mainly of my own work, and editing them. I started using Aviary, which is quite a straightforward program, which I mostly used to make colour changes to images.

I moved on to using iColorama, which is far more powerful, primarily as it allows you to use brush masks, so effectively you can merge two images, using one as a mask when applying effects to the other. It has a much wider range of controls, and while it took some playing and experimentation to get used to, that was time well spent.

Here is a round up of some of my images:  

Patching and Piecing

In order to start stitching into the pieces I made on the stitch retreat, I need to first patch up some of the gaps in the background.

When I bonded the background down, I didn’t realise, but I had lots of little gaps, which you can see in the image below, particularly at the bottom left:

  

The edge of the ruler in this image shows where the edge of the piecing should be; I’m a long way off in some cases.  
I bonded the back of two sheets  paper with bondaweb. The colours are a bit brighter than my original pieces, but I can work into them with crayons if needed.

  
Here’s the piece finished, with all patches in place – I just tore them to size and ironed them down. I checked it by holding it up to the light – as the backing felt is white, it is easy to see where the ‘holes’ are.  
Next, machine embroidery.

Sketchbooking on the train

Last weekend I went to the Isle of Wight, to celebrate my Dad’s birthday with my family. I took my sketchbook supplies to keep myself amused on the train.

I didn’t realise until I sat down that my favourite Khadi sketchbook isn’t really compatible with a narrow train seat!  

Luckily the people around me were very friendly, and I even made a new friend, as a fellow Embroiderers’ Guild member said hello, and we spent a good couple of hours chatting, sharing sketchbooks and talking about our EG branches.

I did all of this spread on the train – the flower punch was good in a limited space.   

I had a whole table to myself towards the end of the journey, so I could spread out.
   

I even brought a little film pot, so I could use water to smudge the gelatos.
   

I used the leftovers from the flowers to make this spread, a fun exploration of  colour:

    
 
I cut some shapes from a piece of paper, dictated by the print, and thought they looked like vases, so made this page:

 
On the return journey, I made this spread, taking the shapes of the pears and the onion skin stencils. I am not too sure whether I like it, but it has plenty of Neocolour 1 on it, including white on the printed pieces, which will resist dye well, so I will probably give it a coat of colour:

   
 
I also started this spread, cutting out the figures, and doing the outermost bits of both pages. I finished it on Friday evening in front of the telly.

On the way back I was sharing a table with 2 other people, with the wall to my right, so I ended up working on my lap, and cutting out was a bit awkward!

   

  

   
 
  
  
Altogether, an enjoyable way to pass the journey.

My first sketchbook

I wanted to share the contents of my first sketchbook with you, so I’ve made the below slideshow.

I created this book between January and October 2015, using a range of media, including Gelli plate printing, stamping, stencilling, rubbings and drawing with Neocolour 1 crayons, collage, dyes, and a range of other techniques.

  
I hope you enjoy it! I’m really proud of having finished it, as until last January I felt that sketchbooks weren’t for me. Not all of the pages are ones I love, but I’ve put all of them in, ‘warts and all’!

It’s a 13cm tall by 30cm wide khadi sketchbook, with rough watercolour paper. When open, each spread is 60cm wide, and I tend to work on them in pairs, with a common theme and colour scheme across the spread.