Tuesday 31 January 2012

Baby Steps

My socks are coming on slowly. The first sock has two toes!!!

(Sorry- that looks more like a form of torture than a craft project!)

I am trying to eat more healthily, but today it is cold and I had a craving for warm custard and ginger cake.

 (Don't tell anyone- neither were home made)

Remember this?

Since then, I have added some lovely, meandering pathways and today I am beginning to quilt it using mostly free-motion machine quilting. It is quite nerve-wracking, so fortified by cake, I will be taking it slowly and pausing at each step to make sure I am on the right track.

Saturday 28 January 2012

We Are Pleased To Inform You......

I have been accepted!!!! I submitted two pieces to the Waterside Open 2012 Exhibition in Sale and one of them has been selected. I am so thrilled!!!

Thursday 26 January 2012

Monoprint Technique

I thought I would show you briefly how monoprinting is done. Apologies- the photos are a bit rubbish, but I'm trying to fit a lot in today!

I spread a thin, even layer of acrylic paint onto a plastic sheet using a roller. It helps to add a bit of "slow-dry" gel to the acrylic paint so that it doesn't dry before you have taken your print.

I laid a piece of paper very gently onto the paint. Don't smopoth it down as it picks up the paint where it touches. I drew onto the paper- this will be the back of the finished print and the image will be reversed.

Gently peel away the paper- don't let it dry first or it will stick to the plastic sheet!!

The finished image.

Gve it a go- it is great fun :)

Monday 23 January 2012

Messing with Monoprint

At last I gathered together the materials to have a go at monoprinting- a tube of acrylic, a tube of slow dry gel to increase the workable time of the paint, a roller, some thin paper and a sheet of plastic that my mother-in-law had spare and was just what I had been looking for on the day we last visited.

I think I could have lots of fun with this- it is quick and as I don't profess to draw well, it gives the pictures another dimension.

There may have been too much paint on this one, but I really like the textures.

Like I said, I don't draw well!

This is a self-portrait my son drew for his graphics course, so I traced it. I think there is potential with this image. I have an idea to monoprint onto fabric, then quilt it.

I am off later to help pick up the art from the Ten Plus Textiles exhibition at Waterside Arts Centre in Sale, which went well. Hopefully, I will have time later in the week to work on my new piece for the next exhibition, so I may have something to show you.

Hope you all have a good week!

Tuesday 17 January 2012

A Burst of Sunshine...

Ok, so it is the wrong colour, but I think I can be forgiven as it is so long since I have seen the sun. Thankfully, it has put in an appearance the last couple of days, which has been lovely! I much prefer cold, crisp, sunny dog walks to all the milder, greyer weather we have had!

I have been busy needle felting. I had a go with my daughter's hand-held felting needles, which are better for fine work than my embellishing machine, but I decided that the machine is quicker and makes a firmer felt. I think I am just too impatient to do it by hand!

This brooch can be found in my Etsy shop and I will be listing a couple more over the next day or two.

Sunday 15 January 2012

As Promised...almost!

Ok, so it isn't tomorrow as promised, but yesterday seemed to disappear, so I will have to make do with posting today!!!

Sorry, this picture is a bit blurry, but it shows the fairy houses appliqued in place, windows and doors have been embroidered on and the whole piece has been layered with wadding, backed and tacked! The tacking is quite dense as I am going to machine quilt this piece and add text, so I don't want the layers to shift at all.

I began to quilt it yesterday, but today I have been distracted by needle felting. I want to add some brooches to my Etsy shop, like the blue one on the right of my blog - I'll let you know when they are done.

We had a lovely walk through the frost this morning and the dog had a wonderful time leaping around with lots of other dogs of all shapes and sizes-he even made friends with another little schnauzer. He is so tired now that he is splayed on the floor,looking for all the world as though he has been dropped from a great height!

Happy Sunday!

Friday 13 January 2012

The Hills are Alive

I'm really pleased this week as I have managed to get some momentum going, working on a new piece for the fast-approaching Ten Plus Textiles exhibition in Stoke (details nearer the time). I was tempted to go in a new direction, but the little houses wouldn't leave me alone, so I'm working on a familiar theme, but developing some new techniques.

I drew the design onto freezer paper so that I could iron it onto the fabric and stencil in the hills using acrylic paint.

I cut out the hill shapes as I went,brushing the paint lightly just along the outline. You can see the areas I have already stencilled, brushing the brown paint off the edge of the paper.

The stencilling is finished. The next stage is to machine-stitch around the top row of hills, then trim away the excess fabric. I use this raw-edge method of applique as it allows me to draw quite steep curves.

I like the way the hills are silhouetted against the sky.
The little houses were then applied using bondaweb. I always stitch around them to secure them in place, but this will be done as part of the quilting when the top has been layered with wadding and backing.
I will show you more tomorrow.

Sunday 8 January 2012

Hold The Front Page!

I was so excited when I saw this....

I knew that Popular Patchwork were going to put some images of the Ten Plus Textiles exhibition at the Knitting and Stitching Shows into the magazine, but I was positively giddy when I plucked a copy from the newsagent's shelf and realised that my fairy houses had made it onto the front page!!!

Thursday 5 January 2012

Slow Off The Starting Block!

                   May I belatedly wish you a very Happy New Year!!!

 I haven't exactly leapt into 2012, in true Olympic style. It has been more of a gentle lollop!! We had a bit of a false start yesterday as my youngest missed his first day back at school because he had a migraine. It was a bit uncertain this morning, but he has gone in. I have been expecting a phone call from school all day, but so far so good.

The weather is truly awful. We were kept awake by a cacophony of tumbling dustbins clattering bottles all over the road and when I went for my dog walk this morning the streets were littered with branches, leaves, 3 different colours of bins and rubbish! Alfie is feeling a bit short-changed by having a street walk, but a soggy, wind-battered field was a step too far for me this morning!

(Gazing longingly at the outside world or is he relieved to be indoors?)

I have lots of plans to get started on; a new Ten Plus Textiles exhibition is fast approaching, socks to knit, birthday presents to make and even an idea to make some Christmas card early for next year. I'm keen to watch lots of Design Matters TV (I used my Christmas money to take out a subscription) and use the inspiration to develop new skills.

So far though, I have only managed to begin to clear the decks (and the decs), the food shopping is done and I have blocked a little time in my diary tomorrow to start sketching some ideas. None of that is very exciting, so instead I'll show you the new socks that I am knitting, which hopefully will end up with 10 toes all set at the correct angles!

I absolutely love this yarn- it has a bit of sparkle, which I find I am being gradually drawn towards as I get older.

How is your New Year panning out so far- have you hit the ground running or are you easing yourself in?