Tuesday, January 31, 2006

One rose pinned and a pile of petals waiting to be placed in position. Now I see this piece from afar I can see the roses are too close in colour to the background. I'll have to sit them on green leaves to raise them colourwise.  Posted by Picasa

Close up of rose ready to sew in place. Posted by Picasa

3-D roses sample. Hand dyed cotton background and hand-dyed silk and cotton roses and leaves with hand embroidered leaf veins Posted by Picasa

Close up of finished sample Posted by Picasa

Searching High and Low

A lot of this morning was taken up with the grand hunt. This week with my Baltimore Album students I am doing 3-D roses and I knew I had a sample piece but when I looked in the place I thought I'd last seen the sample it wasn't there. A small moment of panic and then I literally turned the workshop upside down. And I didn't need to as the first place I'd thought of and rejected was where it was! Isn't that typical. When our small freezer gave up the ghost I took the motor out and had it carted up to the workroom as it has such amazing drawers. It was a good move as it holds an enormous amount of stuff. I use it to keep half finished items in and patterns for things I want to make one day. I don't use it to store samples so why this was in there I really don't know. I should have followed my instincts though and looked there first. But at least I found it but not until I'd started a second sample. And I only started the second sample because I found a baggy with ready to go petals and a piece of fabric. Obviously I had an ongoing piece as well as the finished one. I actually enjoy doing Baltimore blocks as the handwork is very restful and the 3-D pieces are especially pleasing.
I've bought another Dan Brown book to read. I'm quite hooked on this author. This one is called: Digital Fortress. I hope it is as good as the other two. Buying a book at the supermarket quite bucks up the mundane shopping for food. I have to go and make a cup of Horlicks now and then off to bed. Its been one of those days and I need to get into tomorrow!

Blame it on......

Once again have to blame Gabrielle for this! Haven't done a quiz for yonks and fell for this one! It is amazingly accurate! I am a dreamer and need to have more get up and go! It's too early in the morning......I need to go and have breakfast and get out of my nightshirt!

You Are a Dreaming Soul

Your vivid emotions and imagination takes you away from this world
So much so that you tend to live in your head most of the time
You have great dreams and ambitions that could be the envy of all...
But for you, following through with your dreams is a bit difficult

You are charming, endearing, and people tend to love you.
Forgiving and tolerant, you see the world through rose colored glasses.
Underneath it all, you have a ton of passion that you hide from others.
Always hopeful, you tend to expect positive outcomes in your life.

Souls you are most compatible with: Newborn Soul, Prophet Soul, and Traveler Soul

Monday, January 30, 2006

Monday! Monday!

The start of another week and its nearly February. Hasn't this month gone quickly. I've spent most of this morning dyeing various shades of lavender and lilac for an order. So lots more pressing to do. Some of the colours I will be sad to see go but I can always dye more for me. Apart from that I've done nothing of note. Tomorrow I'm going to start being ruthless in my workroom and getting rid of at least 30% of what I have. And I hope in the process I find my strip cutting board as I was talking about it to a friend who came over for coffee and then couldn't find it to show her. It is wonderful for cutting strips and of course I haven't needed it so didn't know that I didn't know where it was. Of course now I want it desperately. Isn't that always the way! Wonder what else I'll find that I've forgotten I've got!
I've been searching madly for some rubbing plates to buy but it doesn't seem as if anyone in the UK stocks them. I'd be grateful for any links if someone knows differently. I found a good site in the US but they don't ship internationally which was a bummer as they had a brilliant selection. So I live in hopes that someone knows more than I do and will pass it on!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Some of the 'pastels' from the dyeing yesterday.  Posted by Picasa

Sunny Sunday!

It was a lovely day today. The sun was shining and it was freezing cold but not as cold as yesterday. In the morning I made the Bara Brith (the fruit has to soak overnight...I'd forgotten that) and ironed the batch of dyed fabric. As this was basically a fulfilling of orders there wasn't anything out of the ordinary as mostly people want a particular colour and not a 'one off' which they will choose from my varied selection. This time it was mostly electric blue and pale peach so I decided to do some pastels as well. One piece I did for myself and I love was based on honeysuckle colours. It came out better than I hoped for and so I was pleased.
Then after lunch Martin and I went to look at the boat. Don't go getting ideas! We have a small rowing boat which we leave at Trevissome marine on the Fal. Trevissome is a manor house with land running down to the river. It is very useful as it isn't too far to get to and in the summer we have a lot of fun rowing up or down the river to various places, sometimes taking a picnic lunch or tea, and we get a lot of good exercise. We do have an outboard motor on the back as the current can be extremely strong especially if the tide is against one. We used to keep it on the Helford river (of Frenchman's Creek fame-Daphne du Maurier) but it was miles away and also we had to haul the boat up a steep incline which was way too much exercise! The manor is Georgian but has been turned into flats and holiday lets as so many of these older houses are. Although Pendennis castle is Tudor the majority of the town is Georgian. Falmouth isn't as old as Penryn which has a much older history. It was bitterly cold so we didn't stay long, just long enough for me to take some pictures. And then back home for coffee and to try the cake. It was delicious!

Top left is a wider view of Flushing. To right is Greenbank which is on the outskirts of Falmouth and is very Georgian. Bottom left is a view of the docks with a P&O ferry in. Behind is Pendennis Castle on the headland.Bottom right is Trevissome Manor where we keep our boat. The grounds run down to the foreshore of the river.  Posted by Picasa

Just in case you get ideas above our station ...this is our boat. A small rowing boat which provides us with a lot of fun in the summer.  Posted by Picasa

This was taken with the zoom on and St Anthony's lighthouse can be seen plus a boat leaving the harbour. The houses are Flushing which is a small town opposite Falmouth on the other side of the river. Dutch influence hence the name.  Posted by Picasa

Looking down the River Fal to the open sea.  Posted by Picasa

Looking up the Fal to Penryn which is a town much older than Falmouth. It was going when Falmouth was still a marshy swamp.  Posted by Picasa

It tasted delicious. Very fruity with a crips crust. I made it with Granary flour and this made it quite crunchy. Yummy!  Posted by Picasa

Bara Brith or 'Overnight Cake' as it is known in our family.  Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Free motion couching foot #43 Needle is way over to the right of the hole. Moving it to the left makes it easier to catch the cord which threads through from the left (where the raised piece is) Posted by Picasa

Trial piece using couching foot. Still not always catching on curves but much better - needs practise...lots of practise!  Posted by Picasa

Weeks go by so quickly!

Here it is Saturday again and I'm once more in the middle of dyeing. This time I'm trying to get pastels. I find it quite hard to keep the colours soft and hazy as I'm really a brights kinda person and my fabrics show this. But I need some soft lilacs and pinks and some sunset colours and misty dawn shades. I'll probably end up with wishy washy pieces because I've been too mean with the dyes. Oh well, I can always over-dye tomorrow. Any minute now I will have to go and rinse out and put into the washing machine. The moment of truth will then arrive when I take them out!
I tried out the new foot and to begin with I thought it was a complete disaster. The cord refused to be caught down in all directions and especially when turning on curves. I followed the directions to a tee until I gave up in despair. I hate to be beaten so I asked for help from someone who had actually used it and produced an actual piece of work. In fact the same person who's work had inspired me to order the damn foot in the first place. She responded very quickly which was very good of her and gave me lots of tips which I religiously followed. But although I had better results they still weren't amazing. Then I tried moving the needle as far over to the left as the hole in the foot would allow and this made all the difference. It worked like a dream. The secret is to sew slowly especially when turning and to use a thick enough cord or yarn and not to sleazy a yarn either or it just mushes apart. The foot looked off centre to me so it could be that its a design fault that the needle wasn't in the right place to begin with. The only stitch possible to use is a straight stitch so the hole isn't large and there wasn't a lot of room but moving the needle as close as possible to the left where the thread comes out made the difference. I can see that it will need lots of experimentation with yarn/cord sizes and needle sizes and even sewing thread types. And possibly even the basic fabric that it is being couched onto. Nothing is simple!
While the dye is out I need to make the Bara Brith loaf cake. So must go and get on or I'll still be cooking and washing at midnight! So what's new!

Friday, January 27, 2006

One step forward, two steps back!

Forward or back? OK forward it is. Good news first. Today my new foot that I bought for my 180 arrived. I can't wait to try it. Its foot no. 43 and is for free motion couching. Its foot print is huge and it will only do straight stitch but I can see loads of possibilities for this little foot. I love my machine feet. I've almost got the whole collection for my machine AND I do use them. Not all of them that often but some of them a lot and the others enough to make having them worthwhile. So I will go and play in a minute.
Back! Where do I start? Well first off I've got toothache and it is killing me. It would be the weekend which means waiting until Monday to make an appointment. The judicious use of Nurofem Plus will enable me to survive. ..... I hope! I cracked a tooth at Christmas and it seemed to be OK and not worth a dental visit but obviously I was wrong! Coward that I am!
Secondly I just lost the opportunity of renting a studio! A friend told me about it and I rushed down to get the phone number and then rushed back to phone them up but it had JUST gone. It is the just gone bit that is so peeve-making. Why couldn't the guy just have said that it had gone rather than JUST gone? I had such high hopes. Because with a studio I could organise more workshops/classes, get some of my junk out of the house and generally have more space. Oh well I'll just have to be more dedicated to looking for one. I think it could be a bit like looking for gold dust!
And it has to be somewhere I can dye! The dyeing is taking off in a big way. I now have orders for dyed pieces and also one of my friends who runs a mobile shop and visits all the quilt guilds and workshops in Cornwall is going to sell it as well so I need to be able to do twice or even three times as much as I do now. The fact of coming so close will I think spur me on to make a greater effort in sourcing a studio/workshop.
I was so busy yesterday that I just couldn't get to add an entry into the blog so for the first time -bar holidays- I missed an entry! I felt so bad. Just as I used to when I hadn't done my homework. Well for the first five minutes in both cases. Guilt and I don't last together for long!
I'm going to rush away now and play with my new foot. Oh what joy!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A Nothing Day!

Today was one of those days when no matter how hard you try it is impossible to get anything done. I haven't even looked in my workroom let alone worked on anything. I made the mistake of going shopping with Martin and this became a leisurely amble through Falmouth from one end to the other. I managed not to spend any money which was the best part of the morning! It was a lovely sunny day and it was nice to be out and about but I was very conscious of the fact that I had things to do, eggs to lay as that old song goes. So tonight I am rapidly trying to catch up and get handouts written and photos taken for Friday's class. This is unusually rushed for me as I am on the whole very organised when it comes to classes but tomorrow I will have no time at all as it is all taken with various activities. Roll on the weekend.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The first two pieces waiting to be stitched. Hand painted leaves and hand-dyed woven background. Posted by Picasa

The woven background Posted by Picasa

Leaves by Moonlight. Hand painted leaves on a hand-dyed woven background.  Posted by Picasa

A Productive Day.

This morning I was able to get started on my third leaf piece. In fact I got both the third and fourth pieces up and running and painted the leaves for the third piece. This was the most enjoyable part. Then I offered them up and played with their arrangement. They aren't fused yet just in case I change my mind as to how I want them. I will probably wait to fuse them until I've done another batch for the fourth and last piece and see how they work together. I haven't stitched the first two pieces yet as I wanted to see them all together before deciding on the type of stitchery I wanted.
This evening I took my car in for its MOT. For those who don't live here this is a Ministry of Transport test that one's car must undertake each year to prove that it is road worthy. I'm hoping mine will pass as the test has been tightened up this year. The problem yesterday was a duff battery which I will have to replace but having been on charge all night it started this morning. That was such a relief. And after dropping my car off Martin collected me and we went and did the weekly shopping which was a nightmare as they are building a new large B & Q opposite and the traffic problem is heinous! Single lane-three way traffic lights just as one exits a dual carriageway..... doesn't bear thinking about. But I was able to pick up the latest Mary Higgins Clark novel so I shall be a happy camper.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Silk ribbon daffodils on a background of hand painted silkPosted by Picasa

No news day!

Today has been a non day. I spent this morning discharging some pieces of dyed cotton and they are now over-dyed and washing out as I write. Then I found I couldn't start my car so had to beg a lift to work. And Martin, dear of him, came and brought me home. So nothing much to blog about but I have been sorting out my computer and saving things to a back up disk and have posted some pictures as I came across them. These are all things I've done in the past when for some unknown reason I seemed to have more time. Or is it just the illusion of looking backwards. So I shall now go and think of something delightful to eat for dinner.

A crazy patchwork chatelaine.  Posted by Picasa

Vase of flowers. Three dimensional applique. Posted by Picasa

Stitch samples. These are so useful when I want to find a stitch for a particular effect. I must do some more.  Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Favourite piece from this week's batch. This was done using up the remnants of dye. A mopping up.  Posted by Picasa

Molten Lava Posted by Picasa

This week's red and blue dyeings plus a green. Posted by Picasa

Scarf. Success at last!  Posted by Picasa