Saturday, November 30, 2019

More motifs made

It's good to be using the silk printouts finally.  I've made several using motifs from my own art, drawing, goldwork, weaving, and my frugal soul likes having another use of the pieces this way.

Daffodil drawing, which I ran a line of stitches round, then cut out and overstitched. No need for a template here.

Here I'm using a template to make another of the motifs I adapted from the Indian sari

I need four, to arrange in relation to each other. This one is a printout of a bit of weaving.

The template I made only one of, since, after each motif is stitched around, it's stable and will be appliqued, not attached to the other motifs, so I can remove the template and use it on another motif.

These are not easy to cut, fine silk being slippery and changing shape even as you cut. But the close overstitching will take care of the couple of places where it was too close.

And I thought those readers with full sewing rooms and all sorts of materials and storage methods would like to see my entire current work area

And the drawer below, with everything else.

In the studio I have about a six inch pile of fabric bits. I'm not in a welter of materials!

And I still can't find stuff.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Transparent motif in progress

I'm making a variety of motifs to applique to the hanging, using the printed out silk images.

Here's a motif from a scan of a line drawing I made years ago, in ink. Daffodil head.

I ran a running stitch around the boundary (the hoop is covered with bias binding, to protect any fragile fabric) then cut the motif out and now I'm overstitching the edge. I'm about halfway round. The interior lines will stay as is, I think.

I love the delicate lively edges and I may end up framing rather than not, so as to preserve the movement.  Better than stitching it flat on the background.

As you see, many changing ideas as I work!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

First steps in the wallhanging

Here's the figure from the hanging, executed in silk chiffon. Overstitched all round the edge.  Released template in the lower pic.

The design is a printout of an artwork of mine originally made in Tyvek and beading and long since gone into a collection. Since I still have the scan, I can print more if needed.

It's not yet pressed, and I may think about whether I want to press it. It's lively this way.

And here's a look at how it might work in multiples, using the magic mirror. Here it's still on the template, and you see how different it is before it's released.

Quite a few possibilities here.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Well, that resolution lasted all of half a day

I was determined not to make art today, so as give myself time to think about it.

Then as I was reading about crafters and artists and chatting with neighbors and walking, I realized I needed to go up to the studio and cut out the wallhanging, then the motifs I wanted to apply and to get ready to make templates for the silk pieces.

So I did that, and it's starting to shape up.
The motifs will be cut in silk to apply, and will be appliqued as is, and I'll do some reverse applique using silk in the background. You see solid and silhouette cutouts lying on a piece of silk, laid on top of the hanging,just to test parts of the idea.

Now that I've cut the hanging itself I know how much spare fabric I have to work with.
I realized I can make templates in quite complex curves now that I know how to do epp in simpler pieces like the rosettes.

It's interesting to learn the design of the sari piece as I go. It's sinuous and not evident until you give it a chance.

All the pillows were a learning experience so that I can do this now.


Yellow onion dyed linen

The linen now has a lovely variegated golden color.

The heavy glass lid holds the fabric down in the dye overnight.

And after pressing, here's the output

And a shot of the pillows with the new fabric for comparison.

 No stitching today. I'm enforcing a day off, so as to let ideas percolate.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Silly pillows done

The frivolous pillows, called Confetti, are done and ready for company.

This was fun. I ended up postponing the reverse applique for another project, and did regular applique again, leaves and coins.

The back shows the shibori design more. As always, both sides are designed, because why not.

Now I'm off to dye the linen with yellow and red onionskin dye.

After I've watched The Lady in the Van, Maggie Smith, written by Alan Bennett.

Hit publish too soon, today's dyeworks

Yellow onionskins and a few red onion skins simmering to make a nice golden color.

Linen now simmering in alum bath.

By tonight I can get on with dyeing.

Iris-dyed cotton lawn

Two sections cut from too-long shirts. I had to photograph them against white paper to show the color. It's delicate, green, with pinkish areas here and there. It looks more brown in the picture.

This will be a good addition to the piecing collection.

And in the course of organizing my small fabric stash, I found more silk pieces that can join the collection for the wall hanging.

Now I'm deciding what color to dye the linen piece I mordanted along with the cotton.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Two new things pushing in

So here's a bunch of linen and cotton lawn, steeping in washing soda, to be boiled a while then left overnight. Then it's ready to dye

Tomorrow I'll test out this iris dye from the freezer, and for once I've remembered to get it out to thaw ahead of time. It's the remains of a vat of paper pulp I made from my iris foliage.

It made great paper and the leftover liquid might work nicely as a dye. We'll see. No shibori this time, just dyeing. This is a muted green. If it works, fine, if not I can add in pink dye from red maple and red onionskins. We'll see how it goes.

So that's one idea under way.

And this is the other, the  start of a wall hanging I've been thinking about for ages. Donated silk fat quarters, thank you Cindy, and an organdy wedding  sari, thank you Girija. There are two finished edges, which is helpful, because they're nice and squared up.

Ideas are like buses, a bunch of them arrive at once, honking and shoving and being loud and demanding.

Tomorrow I finish the appliques for the current work,the frivolous pillow, install it on the sofa, then this will all start to happen. I've already stored away the pieces from it for future reference.

Much more to do here, involving paper piecing and transparency. Tiny needles  and silk thread, and probably 60° diamonds. No hexies.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Patchwork applique in progress

Here's the start of the applique caper, using patchwork coins and the leaves I overstitched a while ago. There will be more to this, but this is where it is right now.

The other pillow I'll do differently, cutting the fabric to reveal the patchwork behind, forget the name of that technique. The idea will be that they'll work together but not duplicate each other.

This is really awkward work, because it's a completed pillowcase, hard to work without catching the back of the fabric into the stitching. I tried a hoop which was no help, and now I'm working with a magazine slid behind the stitching surface and that's working better. As is slowing down and breathing.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Dyeing results

This worked a treat. Color is very soft yellow in daylight, and a kind of citron in artificial light. It varies across the  fabric.The circles are subtle but there.

It didn't exhaust the dye, so it's back in the freezer, I'll never use it all up!

Patchwork, applique, shibori, making friends

So I woke this morning knowing what the patchwork I've been stitching away at, will be.

As you see, I've stitched, recut, restitched, getting more complex as it goes. There are several layers in this pic. And now I know what I'm doing.

I'll cut the PW into coins of various sizes, and applique them to two pillow cases for the loveseat that visitors sit on. With pillows inside, yes.

However, the coin theme is going into the cases as well. I'm shibori dyeing them, even as I type, using beads, rings, other rounded shapes, to make the ring shapes.

The dyebath is a mix of red maple from my patio tree, black walnut from the giant trees out back and turmeric from my spice shelf. I'm looking for a warm background for the bright primaries of the patchwork.

After boiling in washing soda for an hour, to remove any sizing or insecticide that would block the dye, then rinsing

Here's the doings ready

And the tying done then  immersing in the dyebath for an hour plus, we'll see how the dye works.

 Typically it's subtle, once it's rinsed, when you use natural dyes. So we'll see how it looks  in a while. Ages since I dived into the freezer in search of dyes.

I still have quite a bit of iris, that's green, dye in there..and plans occur to me now.. different project..

Meanwhile, back to stitching.

Friday, November 15, 2019

First Izzy doll, latest batch

So today's doll is finished, and the pattern duly noted by my knitting group friends, so we may have more people interested in trying their hands.

He's the first of a group. More to come, watch this space.

Monday, November 11, 2019

A day of wild stitching

I seem to have used up a lot of scraps, and it looks as if today is yielding either the start of that bigger piece, or a pillow, or a bag, depending on future energy and supplies.

  • Explosion in a cotton mill. These are nine  blocks, assembled but not attached together, pending future thinking and the return of sanity. They're not pressed yet either.

It's fun just to blunder forward and see what comes of it.

And tomorrow I may make a miniature of this using smaller scraps. I'm in the mood for frugality. Did I mention I'm also using up my stash of sewing thread? I'm on my fourth reel. Or maybe fifth, remembering the earlier pillows.

I have the feeling that the winter quilt I keep going on about is receding as these other ideas push their way in. But it's still there on the horizon.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Overtaken by crumbs

I have a little bag of scraps from the cutting up of the bigger  scraps I used for epp. So I had to start using them up as part of the Winter Quilt I'm embarking on soon. This is what the initiated call crumb quilting.

There will be sections of tumbling blocks, but it's too rigid for my taste to use one regular pattern throughout.

So,  this bag of scraps, as them in the trade eg Bernadette Banner, call cabbage. And I've started attaching them randomly to one another, then pressing and cutting into more workable forms with straight edges. Like this, not all the sections attached, just strewn around at the moment.

And now , after the cutting , I have a growing heap of Scraps Too Small Even For This Project. Along the lines of string too small to save.

The bits even tinier than this I tossed. Because to keep them, that way madness lies. Lear was in bad enough shape, just think how he'd have been with crumb quilting.

This is going to be pretty cheerful, and you can just pick up any two scraps, match straight edges and stitch. No actual thinking required. Sometimes this is welcome.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Another parcel on its way to Warm Up America

Friend Mary's crochet sections and my knitted and Tunisian crochet sections are parceled, labeled, and off to Warm Up America today.

I think my knitting group work will be Izzy dolls next. I like work I can do while I chat.

Which doesn't include lace and a lot of counting and thinking.  Or stitching complicated bits of epp. I do that kind of thing on my own time!

WUA has some nice videos on YouTube, especially some for folks who want to know the needs, measurements, yarn type etc.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Positively final appearance on this or any sofa

Tumbling Blocks now meets her friends.

The sofa is the exhibit of my summer and fall work and learning.

Quite pleased here.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Pax Ruanda exhibit and explainer

Just got home from a wonderful afternoon with the organizer of Pax Rwanda, Juliana Meehan with an exhibit of her collection of wonderful embroideries created by women of Rwanda as part of the country's recovery from the genocide.

The stitching is done by a group of women, where one creates the subject and draws the cartoon on unbleached cotton, members of the team stitch full-time for up to three months, then another artisan does the stretching and mounting.

The artwork is stunning, and the stitching is master level. Most of the artworks are for sale.  Up for the month of November, please go see it.

If you're too far away, go here for more info:

Meanwhile, just look:

One of the leaders studied in Europe, and you can detect the influence of Japanese woodblock prints, of German expressionism, of the Impressionists blended into these original  expressions of African identity and experience.

Most of the stitchers have little education, and this stitched art is a livelihood for them as they take part in the recovery of Rwanda from the genocide.