Hot Fruit: update

Following on from the paper piecing in the previous post, I started a series of 8″ by 10″ mini quilts, and I’m using them to practice my free motion stitching.

First, this one:

Strippy background, combining my hand printed fabrics, a green hand dyed fabric and a commercial black and white stripe: 

With focal point lemons:

  

Echo quilted:

   
 Then added colour with gelatos, and hand stitch:

   

    
 
And this one, all pinned out:
 
I then added a ‘McTavishing’ machine stitch, following the video on Leah Day’s website  

 
With gelatos and hand stitch:

    

I’ve also stitched into the collage I started yesterday; it just needs gelatos and hand stitch now:

 

I’m running low on this variegated thread!

 

I have also finished the paper piecing on this piece, I just need to work out how to stitch it – it is all paper, and I don’t want it to tear:  

So, rather a lot of stitching recently. The concerted practice is paying off. 

New tool: Fabri-cut

I went to the Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch and Hobbycrafts show at the NEC, and discovered an intriguing tool, the Fabri-cut by Crafty Products. After watching a demo and having a go, I decided to purchase one. I’ve had a chance to try it out, and I am impressed.

It is a ceramic knife blade, in a swivel mounting, with a pencil like handle:

  
I backed some fabric with bondaweb, both a piece of pink scrap cotton, and a piece of my own hand printed fabric.

The swivelling blade makes it easy to cut wiggly lines.

  
I was also able to cut out these circular printed limes with ease, without lifting the blade off the fabric:

  
All of the sections of this piece were cut out with the Fabri-cut:

  

This gave me plenty of collage fodder, already backed with bondaweb, so I laid out the below piece, on a backing of hand-dyed fabric from Images of Egypt that I’d also purchased at the show.

 
The Fabri-cut made it easy to make this collage with plenty of smooth, intricate cuts. I think it will be a useful tool to use in the future, and I think I may also buy the paper cutting tool too. 

Some tips:

  • Ensure the bondaweb backing is well stuck down throughout – any bubbles or poorly adhered patches will cause the blade to skip.
  • Hold the handle and apply an even, medium pressure, allowing it to swivel for curves, rather than trying to drag it to a new position.
  • Crafty Products also sell a glue that you can apply, to the cutting mat to make it sticky. This was handy to help the fabric stay put.

Dye and paper Piecing

I finished dyeing all the papers. I love how the dye mixes and transforms quite simple prints into something beautiful:  

It has also transformed the fabric:  

I started by cutting felt and marking three more 8×10 inch rectangles, which I ironed bondaweb onto.

I sketched out a rough plan for alternating squares of stripes (rail fence quilt inspired) and lemon focal points.  

I divided my papers into backgrounds, middle grounds, and focal points:   

 

I then cut strips off my background pieces to use as rail fence strips – such yummy colours!

 

And tonight I paper pieces the background strips, just not in a traditional way:

I’m pleased with the background. Next step is to pick the focal points, get them bonded on, then stitching!
  

Another Friday Night Collage

Taking lots of strips of torn paper…

   
Some gelatos and stamping…

  
To produce another sketchbook spread. I have written the word ‘us’ on the right hand side, but the permanent pen I had to hand  wouldn’t ink over the gelatos, so I need to paint over it tomorrow.

  
The quote says ‘Life does have a random feature… Us!’

It’s a lot more random than I would normally do, but that is fitting. It  was enjoyable to tear all the strips and fit them into the spiral.

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.

 

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.

More Photos from the Stitch Retreat

I have found some more photos I took at the stitch retreat, on my phone, so I thought I’d share them here.

Hilary brought her shop with her, look at all the wonderful products we had a chance to play with and buy:

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My focal point images, before over dyeing…

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And after…

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Mustn’t get the dye and the Jack Daniels muddled…

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My lovely messy creative work table:

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Overdyeing on fabric with purple and green lumiere paint underneath:

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The results of an evening’s efforts:

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On Saturday, I decided to print on my hoodie. I got a white one for Christmas in the hope that I could print on it so it started to look like my print table.  Unfortunately, all I’d managed to get on it so far was a bit of tomato sauce and a spot of biro, despite wearing it for two print and dye sessions.

I set it up on my table and used the mini gelli plate to print patterns on the back:

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Another creative work area during the composition exercises:

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As I’ve already mentioned, wine featured rather heavily on the Saturday night, and apparently I felt the need to take several in progress shots of it!

A glass of each at dinner!

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The wine we brought back from dinner:

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Back at my work table:

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Late night colouring in progress:

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Stitch Retreat Part 2

In mid-January I went on the second instalment of the Stitch Retreat with Hilary Beattie. Here are my blog posts about the first one last year: day 1, day 2 and day 3.

This year, the plan was to work with a pallete of materials and work towards a finished wallhanging or canvas with them. We spent the Friday night evaluating our materials and working out what needed to be added to them. I had a range of good prints, but the colours did not hang together well, so I spent the time overdyeing them with slate, fig, orange and turquoise dyes.

On Saturday, we did various composition exercises, including using quilt block patterns to create backgrounds.
I used the Attic Window block to create this spread in my sketchbook:
  
I liked the layout so much that I used it as the background for my two final pieces, a pair of canvases to go either side of the clock above my front door.

I also used the offcuts to make these two sketchbook spreads:

  
 With a bit of washi tape and some gelatos  

  

 
And then I also added some ivy leaves to the earlier backgrounds:

   
 
 I then went on to my main pieces. After quite a lot of experimenting, I ended up with two background compositions that I liked:

   
  I like this secondary triad colour scheme, but when I added my focal point figures they disappeared into the background. One tip I picked up from Hilary was to add an area of black and white behind the focal points for contrast, which worked for me.   

   

 
On Saturday night, we ended up with quite a lot of wine left over from dinner! Slowly people started to go to bed, and we ended up with just Hilary, Maureen, Judith, Vicki, Nichola and I still polishing off the wine and working on into the night.

  
Hilary working into an altered book

  
 Hilary and I colouring 

I did 10 double sketchbook spreads that were really relaxed and enjoyable (AKA wine-assisted!). I only have this picture of one spread, so I will have to scan the rest in soon:

  

At 2am, this was the state of the wine:

  
On Sunday, I spent the morning finishing bonding down my collage, having decided about 10pm on Saturday that ironing was rapidly becoming dangerous.

I then freemachined everything down with a wiggly grid:

   
 

  
Now I need to add more free machining, hand stitch, and work to draw out the focal points more.

All in all, an amazing weekend, and I am looking forward to the next one already.