Thursday, 18 September 2008

Back to the study

The last couple of weeks have been quite busy with the run up towards the end of Dale's course, a visit to the dentist (fortunately no treatment needed) and a trip to the NEC to the Knitting and Stitching Show. The latter was very good with exhibits from familiar names like Ruth Issett, Leslie Morgan, Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn. It is always good to see work that has looked so impressive in books and magazines 'in the flesh' - never disappointing. C June Barnes had a stand there and the colours of her work were even more vibrant than in her book. No pictures I am afraid as I forgot to take my camera. I did an hours workshop with Jean Draper on producing bold lacy pieces using hand stitching on water soluble fabric with the base being a sticky soluble fabric. There was not time to finish it on the day but it is one of the many things that I will get finished. I also bought a new sewing machine for which I am eagerly awaiting delivery, suffice it to say that my machine quilting stitches will hopefully be even once it arrives. 

In between finishing the embellishing course I have also completely reorganised the work space in the house and garage. All the wet work, burning etc will now be done completely in the garage which has been rearranged for that purpose. I even moved a large bookcase from my 'studio', across the landing to the spare bedroom which has left me space to put up a design wall. It is actually a piece of fleece attached to a length of dowel with safety pins but it works perfectly.

I did move away from the actual challenges on the embellishing course but only because I tried some different things that I wanted to take further. Having decided that felt although beautiful to stitch into for hand work, was becoming a little repetitive I decided to  embellish a jute scrim and Arctic wool gauze between dyed silk chiffon, machine embroidered it using soluble over the edges and then shaped it over a pudding basin. I added acrylic matt varnish to give it body and it took ages to dry. I did not like the finished result so have cut out some of the fulness and added some embellished leaves. It still needed something else so I manipulated a copy of part of the bowl in Photoshop and made some paper beads. I used Atelier gloss varnish on them as it has a more matte finish than PVA but unfortunately less stiffness so one or two were squashed a little by the cat - he just could not resist that they were threaded onto the gimp that I was couching onto the bowl and thought it would be a good idea to keep them under control by lying on them - and I just thought he was lying quietly at my feet, I should have known better. I was quite please with the result although there are things I would do differently in future, but that's part of experimentation isn't it? 

Another piece that I was quite taken with for its potential was a background of painted Abaca tissue embellished onto felt. Onto this I applied some Lutrador that had been embellished onto scrim and zapped and some metal shim leaves. I had had a trip to the local charity shop in the morning and had picked up some chiffon scarves as my stock was running low. I used a black one with an unusual striped design at the end, embellished part of it and then zapped it. It didn't zap - what do they say about trying things before using them!! The thing is that it looked totally nylon. I had to cut away the part that was not embellished as the heat gun was starting to destroy the Lutrador pieces but the end result, I think, gives the impression of tree bark so with plenty of hand stitching I can see this becoming a finished piece. 

Stitching and blogging is now going to be put on the back burner until Oct. 7th which is the date for my OU exam. Since sending in my last assignment I have not even thought about the Roman Empire but time for creativity is over and now onto some hard work. My final assignment came back today and was my best grade so far so at least that has motivated me to get going again.


  1. Super post Maggi - your pieces are just brilliant. Val

  2. Maggi - Tx's for the comment on my are so right....the fall colors needs a dark.....I was intending to use a darkish/grey/green heather for my background.

    I was blown away by your work.....I pretty much have stuck to commercial woolfelt.....basically my goal is getting a 'background' design created so I can do the fun part......embellish with beads. Looks like there is more fun to be the looks of your work!

  3. Hi Maggie. What a delightful blog. Full of fab' inspiring pieces of work! All your embellished pieces are beautiful, so creative, and you seem fearless when experimenting. Isn't it wonderful visiting the knit and stitch shows, my feet generally throb by the end of the day but sooooooo worth it. Many thanks for your kind encouraging words on my blog. I do hope you will visit me again. I will definitely be paying you another visit and sharing you with my fellow students!

  4. Thankyou for your kind comments on my work Maggi, and good luck for your OU exam. I love the colours you work in and especially like the bowl/vessel. The piece with the metal leaves looks most interesting, even if it didn't do what you wanted it to. Hope you enjoy Beryl Taylor's book as much as I do.

  5. I think they came out wonderful! Fab and unique, for sure.

  6. Hi Maggi. Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving your kind comment. This is the wonderful thing about blogging I think - happening upon amazing and inspirational work through reading other people's blogs and visiting the blogs that they like! The pieces that you have produced are beautiful, hope all goes well with your OU course.
    Mrs J

  7. Lovely work on your blog Maggi. wonderful embellisher bowl and Sample.

  8. Your pieces are lovely - I especially love the second one! I haven't gotten as far in the course - seem to have gotten bogged down after lesson 4 (or was it lesson 3?). But I enjoyed the course anyway, and have the printed material for later.

  9. Maggi, thanks for your comment on my blog. I have been sooo timid about showing my work, I am also new to blogging and still trying to figure this out.

    Your blog is fun to look at, your embellished pieces are beautiful. It is so wonderful to share with other quilters and fiber artitst.

    Debbie Ross

  10. Hi, I really like your bark piece,

  11. I have just left this comment for you on my own blog!! My head is reeling with the effort of ordering card blanks, envelopes and display bags in the right sizes from Craft Creations website. I had to keep hopping back and forth to make sure I was ordering the right thing. Anyway, thankyou for your kind comments and I hope your studies are going well.

  12. Hi Maggie
    How did your OU exam go? Is it all finished now? Was your visit to the Roman Empire just what you expected!! Tee Hee. Hope you know have time to enjoy being creative again, can't wait to see some of your future projects! xx

  13. Hi Maggi,
    Thanks for popping by my blog....
    I thought I would see what you were up to and OH MY!!!
    Lots to see here, I love the first piece. We were playing with that concept in my fibre arts gtoup.
    You have inspired me...Thanks


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