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.

Tuesday 9 September 2008

Further embellishing

Now that I have finally finished my last assignment for my OU course I can get back to doing things that I enjoy. I have been keeping up with Dale's course but things have not been working too well - too many other things going on perhaps. The last two samples on the previous blog worked out better than I expected and with further stitching etc. could be quite effective. So to the latest...

This was jute scrim and silk chiffon embellished onto Arctic wool gauze. Quite a nice surface initially but then I had the idea of embellishing some Tyvek onto the back and zapping it. I'm not sure whether the effect will show here but the texture it created on the chiffon was really three-dimensional. Lots of ideas of how to use it are beginning.

We had to knit up some yarn, cut it up and embellish it onto felt. I suddenly realised that I had not actually got any ordinary knitting wool so had to use some Colinette Giotto which is a rayon and cotton mix. Fortunately it did work and I found some lovely feathery samples of what I think is viscose from my shade card and added those. Bit more glitzy than I would normally go for but I can see its uses.

This really was an accident. I had knitted up some heavy spun silk yarn and then embellished it. When I had finished it it reminded me of one of those sea creatures - are they tube worms or something? I added some wire around the top so that I could manipulate it, sewed it together in a tube and gave it a coiled wire tongue! Imagination is a wonderful thing.

These last two photos are actually of a piece I did before the course started but it did not work out quite as expected so as this was the first exercise for Lesson Five I decided to revisit it. It is wool circles embellished onto Kunin felt with some wool yarn randomly between. It was then zapped and some Treasure Gold added. What I had done wrong initially was to try to zap it from the front which does actually cause the wool to begin to smoulder! Following Dale's instructions I re-zapped it from the back and it worked much better. At least I will know for next time. First pic is from the bak and the second from the front. I think I prefer it from the back as it is less in-your-face.

It is now still very wet outside so I am going to try some more things from Lesson Five - without feeling guilty that I should be doing something else. (Housework is a non-starter and the cat is asleep)

Thursday 4 September 2008

Photos only

Just finished nights and had to upload the photos for the embellisher course so thought I would add them here as well save returning to them later.