Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunny Afternoon with a Stick Insect!

It has been a lovely sunny afternoon; in fact a lovely sunny weekend. So I decided to completely decimate the overgrown evergreen honeysuckle on the fence as it never flowers and is a mass of dead wood. I was pretty ruthless but am very pleased with my clear space. It gives more light on that side of the garden and more room as the plant was overhanging the border buy about two foot! While admiring my hard labour I noticed a stick insect on this late flowering rose. If it had been on the leaves I would never have seen it as they blend in so well. We had another one appear on the rosemary bush in July which was twice the size of this one but minus one leg. Where they come from I don't know and where they go to I don't know either. Are they related or have two separate individual stick insects landed here for reasons unknown. They are amazing creatures as once it moved off the pink flower it was very hard to see it especially when it moved onto the lavender bush. The warm weather is probably to its liking but what happens when it rains and is cold as it has been for most of the summer? It certainly makes gardening interesting.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sewezi sewing table

I am thinking of buying a Sewezi fold up sewing table. If there is anyone out there who has one of these and would like to comment I'd really appreciate it. Is it worth the money? Is it useful? And what happens if you have a knee lift on your machine? Thanks in advance...hopefully!

Monday, September 22, 2008

This week's project!

Leaves on Mud II

Close up
This came about because of the dyeing results I got from my black dyeing exercise. I had several ideas that I had doodled with in my sketch book but when I took my fabric from the washing machine I found that some of them were not really black as the dye had split giving me lots of colours. As you may or may not know, black is not a pure colour and I had lovely streaks of yellow and bronze with hints of blue and lots of gray. In fact very little black at all. This happens and one gets the most lovely results from split colours even though they arn't what has been wanted. The photographs don't do the background fabric justice! But it was just like mud with pools of water lying on it so I decided to do another piece in the Leaf series. A little play on words with it's title as there are two leaves. The leaf fabric is also hand-dyed and overlayed with nets. The red net is from an orange bag; quite thick and chunky, and the blue net is ordinary dress net. I used a variegated thread to quilt the leaves and silver for the background. I had fun doing this but I think this week I'll move onto another subject though I'm sure I'll come back to leaves.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

This and that!

This is a small origami type purse that I made as an exercise for my students. It is just a rectangle of fabric with batting and a backing that is decorated with the more useful of the embroidery stitches on my Bernina. It is so simple to make and is a useful reminder of my stitches. Well of some of my stitches. I keep machine embroidery threads in it while working on a project and hang it from a hook on my sewing table. Tres useful!

I am enamoured of black and white fabric at the moment. The blocks above are simple nine patch pieces in different sizes using black and white dotted fabric. The method I use for making a nine patch piece makes two pieces so one of the above blocks will be part of a larger black and white piece while the other one I shall layer up with batting and quilt it; then back it by bagging it out and finally I'll over-dye it. I have been dyeing some black and white fabric patterns while I write and I'm interested to see how they turn out. Black and white fabric lends itself beautifully to over-dyeing and discharging further. Can't wait to play!

This is our resident squirrel burying acorns on our lawn. Left to their own devices by next spring I should have a forest as he (or she) never seems to find them all as is demonstrated by the number of hazel trees we have growing everywhere. He has even been seen sitting in the bird table chewing on sunflower seeds. Cute!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Leaf Project

Leaves on Mud in situ!

Close up of 'Leaves on Mud'
I was inspired to make this piece by seeing the falling autumn leaves lying on the muddy ground. The contrast of the autumn colours of yellow and red against the brown of the mud was inspiring. When I'd fused the leaves in place I added strips of yellow net to represent the ploughed muddy fields and to mute the colours of the leaves as if they had been there a long time! Then I stitched through the top layers (top, wadding and backing) in diagonal lines with silver thread to represent rain. That commodity that we have had so much of over the last few months. The edges of the net I stitched with fancy leaf stitches to be the slick shine of water lying on the ground. It reminded me of frosty mornings when there would be a rime of frost on the furrows of the ploughed fields. Then I bagged it all out, edge stitched it all and voila one tray cloth. I was actually quite pleased with it and feel inspired to go and do another one. The ideas are coming thick and fast!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Return

Reflected Flamingoes
This hasn't been a good summer for me. I've been a bad blogger but in mitigation I haven't been well. I'm still waiting to have another X-ray and tests but I feel better so I'm sure I am better! Positive thinking!
I have been dyeing and I've put new fabric pictures up on my website as all of the old pieces have been sold. Well all bar one! I've also been getting ready to start classes again this autumn. The first class was last Friday and I have ten students which for a private class I feel is good. The project this term is appliqu├ęd fruit blocks. I've designed six plus a joining strip with trailing strawberries. Pictures to come later. They were a lot of fun to do and I have to say that some of the tips for using fabric pens I picked up from Gabrielle have come in most useful. Not only have I hand-dyed the fabrics but I've also taken a painterly approach and added highlights and extras using fabric paints and pencils. I really enjoyed this part and I hope my students do too.
Because I had so much fun with the fruit project (and it still has to be finished completely) I have decided to make a small fused item each week. This is making a rod for my back but I think it will help to focus me. And because I wanted something small that wouldn't have me losing the will to live half way through I have decided that they will be of a size to fit my small 'butler's tray' coffee table. Then I can ring the changes and show off my 'art' in my living room to all and sundry. I started with something simple and made a collage of leaves because leaves, and especially autumn leaves, are my favourite things. Again pictures later as I can't take any at the moment. And finally to add to that rod I am going to make a big effort to write in the blog once a week. Ensuring that I have something to write about will push me into completing the weekly project - I hope! So I'm looking forward to an autumn full of log fires, good books and lots of quilting and dyeing!