Monday, September 30, 2019

One done, one to go

In which I am reminded again how I hate doing stuffing. Toys, pillows, poultry, anything.

But one pillow is complete and in action in the huygge corner. Or however it's written.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Two pillows, makings of

So here we are, patchwork fronts completed and pressed, backs cut out. I had a great time arranging and rearranging the patches before I stitched them. Many changes before I decided. Then I cut the backs. The tops look totally different in these pix, one in artificial light, one daylight. But it's the same items.

The upper one is a piece of sage green linen, the bottom a piece of plum colored velvet.

The velvet one was a bit of a saga. It's from a shirt jacket I haven't worn in years. Velvet. Thought I'd get a back out of it.

Which I did, and some lovely leftovers, including two full sleeves for future adventures of some sort.

I had forgotten how fiendish velvet is to cut. As you know, it's a complex weave, and you can't just swipe your rotary cutter through it  the way you can with cotton. More like sawing and cursing, really. Then switching to scissors, with more success, but still slippery and unfriendly. I don't have the really good shears it needs. Nor the experience, come to that.

Then I thought as I worked unsuccessfully with the big rotary, well,I havent used this rotary for a while, the big one, maybe I should change the blade, probably blunted this one.

And found there were two blades loaded in the cutter. This is easily done, since they're oiled in the container, very difficult to pry apart, given how razor sharp they are. So it's possible not to realize what you've done.

 But it doesn't cut very well. Anyway, I removed one blade and the remaining one doesn't cut anyway.  I'll replace it once I get my composure back. In fact I've found that even with the right number of blades in (!) my smaller cutter works better.  I did all the epp cutting just fine with it.

Now it's about stitching, more fun than cutting with blunt recalcitrant rotaries. At least I hope so.

Speaking of constructing from fabric and great sewing skills, have you caught Bernadette Banner on YouTube? Fashion historian, costume designer, totally brilliant, and comes with Cesario, a guinea pig.

She's wonderful, makes me want to watch no matter what she's making, amazing skills. Since neither my Android tablet nor smartphone does cut and paste, I leave you to proceed to YouTube and Twitter in search of this channel.

And in that line of work also on YouTube, is Karolina Zebrowska. Subtle and funny as well as very knowledgeable. And talking totally fluently in English, her second language. She's an encyclopedia of costume history. And a comedienne of the first water, and a great conservator of antique clothing.

And there's Zach Pinsent, whom I follow on Twitter, hand makes everything, always wears Regency clothes, he's a way of life!

They are all wildly talented, and great fun to watch. And they're friends.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Rosettes now in place

Here's the cosy sofa, ready for cold weather reading, loafing, and winter comfort. Hygge!

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Piecing lands happily

So here are the pillow makings. As you see,the batiks lift the cheap and cheerful fabrics up a level. And they pick up colors nicely but subtly. Liking this.

The rosettes are semi attached with fusible tape ironed on just to keep them in place while I stitch. After that I construct the pillows to toss on the sofa and cheer it up for cold weather. It's a form of winterizing, preserving the mood.

I even broke my duck (Yorkshire equivalent of pushing out the boat) and ironed a couple of shirts while the steam was going and they were to hand. I must be feeling a lot better.

I still have plenty of batik fabric for piecing. After the silk plans are done, that is. It's all go.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Little good deed

Made it to knitting group today, used all the day's energy! But I did get this baby blanket, seen in the foreground,  ends woven in today, ready to donate.

I didn't knit it, promised to finish the ends for the friend who did, wash, and get into good hands, which I did today at knitting group.

The original baby it was made for never made it home from the NICU. His sister did, and her blanket was delivered. But as for this one, the knitter friend simply couldn't go on. So when she asked me,I  agreed to get it to somewhere good. Which I did today. The mom didn't know about this one, nor will the eventual recipient mom.

But I handed it over to someone who will pass it on. Some baby will be warmly wrapped in it.

The participants in this picture are cropped because I neglected to ask their permission to show their pic on this blog. I only do faces when the owners agree!

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Tatting under way

Since finishing the epp pillows involves climbing up to the studio, ironing the tape stuff to stabilize the rosettes on the background, before cutting and stitching, it has to wait a couple of days. It needs more energy and skill than I currently have at my disposal. When this virus departs, I'll be up for it.

Meanwhile, a bit of research on YouTube made it clear that  you can tat without a shuttle, or a tatting needle.

I found a big needle with a fairly blunt tip, among my collection,and I'm learning needle tatting. No need to shop at all. Handy crochet thread lying around. I thought the shuttle was a bit too fussy. No doubt I'll eventually find out why it's good.

So I proudly show you my first circle, complete with picots. This is fun, and doesn't take much energy. Wobbly first effort, but I got the hang of it. New skill, wheeee.

In the course of this adventure, I found various pronunciations of picot, ranging from peeko, the one I knew, to pickOT, to peekart. But it's the same stitch.

And word prompts keep offering tarting and tasting, and tattooing, for tatting. I also found some viewers on YouTube who thought needle tatting was about diy tattooing and were surprised to see thread flying about.

And no, I don't know what I'll do with it, just learning the skills right now. I doubt if I'm up for doilies or lace edged hankies.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Having your epp and eating it too

So here's the idea I got while being sorry for myself and my change of season cold: I found a way to satisfy the craft me as well as the art me, with one go.

The rosettes which I had a wonderful time learning and making, are now scanned and printed on silk for further art adventures.

Meanwhile, since the originals are now in such a different, functional, place, they will be great, mounted on the batiks I'm so pleased with, as two more pillows. Seasonally appropriate to spiff up the indoors a bit.

So here's the thinking for the first couple:

 I already have pillow forms I can commandeer, so all I need is to recover my energy and I'm good. Still need to find good fabric for the strawberry rosette background.

The batiks work well because they're so subtle and shaded, they play nicely.

And I'm far enough away from the protective crouch of just having made them, to let them be pillows that will be handled.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Pillow done, decks cleared for more plans

I found a pillow insert already in the house, shopped on the sofa, in fact, nice down one, very compatible with piecing.

Here's the front

And the back

So now I can get on. There's a cold going around which arrived chez  Boud yesterday, so just sitting stitching, no creative stuff, is just the ticket.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Escape from the attack of the wild hexies.

I've been trying to get done with this project, now that the hexies have done their thing. They're going to be a cheerful sofa pillow, a spread of them on the front, and a little constellation on the back.

 The backs are interesting, see the group turned over before they vanish forever

But actually attaching them has mysteriously been impossible to just get on and do. Until I finally groaned and trudged up to the studio, to plug in the iron and get the melting tape stuff to temporarily attach them.

The obstacle being not wanting to get them attached awkwardly. But the tape stuff took care of that issue, holding them flat in place, and now I can enjoy the stitching.

Now I'm working round, stitching down the edges and feeling much better about the whole thing, now that the end is in sight.

I think hexies are too rigid for my taste, but it was a great experiment anyway.

And this beautiful fabric background is hand batiked cotton from Indonesia, fair trade, meaning the artisan got a proper price, through good old Dharma Trading.

I got a couple of other designs, too, a yard of each, as a trial. So much more subtle and lovely than the cheap and cheerful bits I used for the hexies, but they lift them up to a better level.

And I can get on to the next interesting idea, involving piecing, printing and weaving, but the hexies were, you might say, putting a hex on my energy.  Just blocking everything.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Trouble came a-callin

Soooo, friend stops in this afternoon, and presents me with half a ton of knitting needles and crochet hooks, to pass on to new homes,and  this new rabbit hole:

She found it in the course of emptying her house into mine, I mean tidying, and brightly suggested I might like to learn tatting this winter.

She never learned it, just got as far as acquiring the shuttle and instructions. And we can guess how old the instructions are, from the style of the booklet.

I sort of know what it is, and suspect it's the knotted thread equivalent of hexies. But why not.

I'm sure there's raw material for any number of terrible puns, too, over which we'll draw a veil.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Rough draft, paper weaving and transparencies

This is the start of some new thinking. Two printed silk images of the strawberry field piecing, over paper weaving of three other images, one new, two the paper backing from the silk prints.

This is where I decide how much is enough, how much more to do. But for now, this can sit a day or two, while I think about it.

I expect quilters would have got off the bus a few stops ago.

Using the paper shredder to make the weaving strips was quite exciting. I had forgotten that "auto" means "on without pushing a button".. so I plugged in, inserted a paper and roarrrrrr, spit, flitter, flitter, and there were strips all over the place. Ah.

After that I remembered how to lie in wait and catch the strips in a quick handful. And have it at "off", until I was ready, a  point which escaped me earlier.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Adventures in printing on silk continued

I've been playing kaleidoscope with the hinged mirror quilters use to see repeats as they design. But my idea was different.

How to print out images shot with my phone of different kaleidoscopic views, hereinafter referred to a k views because life's too short? That was the quest.

I need transparent silk images to overlay on my pieced work, and they need to be more than just pix of the work itself. I want them to be artworks in themselves, overlaid on the others.

So I found out how to do it, bear with me as I retrace this labyrinthine path. Hereinafter referred to as l path for reasons explained above.

Created album in picture function on phone, emailed to self, opened email on laptop, clicked on entire album, then selected image, then found zoom function, did that, hit control/print. Bingo.

Results of earlier scans plus k ones, orl present and krect below. Some on silk some on paper. There will be silk and paper weaving soon, incorporating paper piecing.

Happy camper. Off to sit on the patio with a pot of tea and some chocolate walnut cake.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Yet more hexies

Hexies to date.

This is getting to the point where my fingers are going through folding and stitching motions without any conscious direction. It's possible that I may have to be treated for withdrawal when I get them done.

These are all stitched into groups of seven. The color waves are not thought out yet, but I think it will work something like the above, yellows sweeping over into blues and pinks. Anyway, grouped in some way.

It's starting to look as if I will be making a 20"x16" framed piece of them, with silk printed images stitched on top, a kind of kaleidoscope effect. This size is my default, I think. A lot of my work does best at that size.

At least, that's the plan.