Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fabric Painting

Well I finally found time to try out my new fabric paints that I got from Laura at the Festival of Quilts. For a link to Laura's site see my last post.
They were really easy to use and I had great fun. I didn't do a lot as time was limited but what I did do I'm really pleased with. Especially the fact that when the paints dried the fabric was as soft and easy to handle as if I'd dyed it. In the past when using fabric paints the fabric has always been a tad stiff after painting.
The reverse technique is brilliant and gives an effect very similar to Batik. At the same time as one is printing that one also prints the plain fabric in the normal fashion so that one ends up with two pieces for the price of one! I am so impressed that I can see I will be doing lots more. I have a coffee morning tomorrow with some of my students so I will see what they think of the results.

The two pieces above are of the reverse printing. Below is a larger view. Click on the pictures to see a larger version.

This piece below is the print from the reverse printed piece,with a close up view next to it.

nd the piece below that is the print from the leaf reverse print piece, with a close up next to it.

I can't wait to do more. I love the way the colours mix together.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Festival of Quilts

I had a great time at the Festival of Quilts and will surely go again next year and spend two days there instead of one! I didn't buy an awful lot but I was very pleased with what I did buy. I spent most of my money buying fabric paint from Laura who can be found here.I am really looking forward to doing some of this as soon as possible! She had some lovely stamps and printed fabrics on her stand. It was hard not to buy up everything in sight. But I restrained myself and just bought a kit to start with plus a lovely wavy stamp.I also bought a few books. Only three which is very restrained for me but they will be very motivational and inspiring especially the stencilling one which has a lot of African images.

I treated myself to some lovely beads and a collar to hang them on. They came from Totally Beads and there was a fantastic choice. I bought lots of felt for burning and painting and doing all sorts of interesting things with it. Again I want to get started! Plus a really useful gadget for holding down rulers while cutting fabric. Initially meant for pulling dents out of cars it is now a fantastic quilting accessory. I shan't let my husband see it!

I didn't buy very much fabric but I loved this picture strips with gardening images. And I had to buy the strip with the robins as it will make wonderful cards at Christmas.
Below are some of the quilts I saw and liked. Those which inspired me. There were lots of those but I have only shown a few for now as it is taking an age to upload them. More another day!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Another bag!

I saw the pattern for this bag in one of the patchwork magazines and decided to try it out. I don't think I'll make it again! It is an octagonal bag and will be useful for my crochet but not really the sort of bag I want to use as a bag!

I 've got my pictures all wrong but the one above is of the shell beads which I attached to the flaps. There were four of them in all.

This is the top. The tie goes through the loops and then pulls the bag closed.

This is the bottom of the bag.

And another picture of the bag with the flaps showing in more detail. I also put shell beads around the top. It was an interesting concept but the instructions were bizarre. As they usually are I find. It didn't take long to make. As you can see from the picture below when laid out it looks a bit like a dead jellyfish!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ribbon work bag

I have been doing some ribbon weaving for the next class and I wanted to make into something rather than just leave it as a sample. A cushion didn't appeal so I decided to make a tote bag which I'm not sure that I like now I've made it. I sewed strips in a log cabin fashion around it to make it up to size and then used a piece of batik that I had to make the back, sides and top. I have no problems with the lining, that worked very well! Perhaps it's the blues which don't work together? Or just that the ribbon woven centre doesn't really go? Whatever it is I'm not sure about it. I am wondering whether I'll dye the whole thing navy and see how it comes out. At least it will make the fabrics all blend together. I put a tab on it for closing the top but haven't yet sewn a button on. Click on the picture to enlarge. It wasn't easy to get a good picture either as it was so floppy! Anyway it will always be useful for storing my library books!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

At Last Something to Show!

Click on the picture to enlarge!
The top row in the picture above shows the quilt. I did a simple 9-patch and meander quilted the plain squares. I used my embroidery attachment on the Bernina to add a label on the back and to embroider the baby's name on the front. I hope it will be liked!
The other pictures are of some ribbon weaving that I have done and will be doing in class. The little bag is lined with purple satin and quilted to pick up the pattern of the weaving. The middle piece is to make a notebook cover and the last picture is of a pillow case. I put gathered lace round the edge. This in a smaller edition could be used as a ring pillow. Anyway I am enjoying doing the weaving and as I have lots of ribbon to use up it is a worthwhile occupation! I like mixing ribbon weaving with fabric as I did in the pillow and one can have great fun making patterns.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Garden Inspired Dyeing

Thank you Sue and Shirley for your comments. I have to admit Shirley that it does take up my time! But I have been doing some more much needed dyeing!

And with my addiction to gardening showing no signs of abating I decided to do some dyeing using colours inspired by my garden. I have put a collage of some of them above. The top left above is inspired by my flower beds and flower filled pots. The top right is also of the flower beds but with the green of the overhanging trees and the sky peeking through. Bottom left is the messy area in my garden with twigs and weeds and leaves. And the last one is hydrangea and rhodendron overhanging the bird bath. You have to have a lot of imagination but these are the things I was thinking of as I was dyeing. It was fun and I was pleased with the results!
I have finished the baby quilt but can't post pictures until it has been received by it's new owner. So in a day or two!

Monday, June 01, 2009


I have been sidetracked this week. While looking at other people's gardening blogs I found this site to join. It's called Blotanical and it is possible to view garden blogs from around the world and interact with them making loads of gardening friends and getting help and advice should you need it. It has been so inspiring that I've been mesmerised by it and hours can go by while I surf with the result that nothing is being done.
I can say however that I have sewn the cot quilt together and bought some Warm and Natural wadding this morning so will be able to put it all together and quilt it. I am not sure how I'm going to quilt it yet. I'm hoping that I'll be inspired when it is layered up. Also I have some ideas in the pipeline for my next project so more of that later unless the garden steals me away again! It's the fault of the weather. It has been so warm and sunny and starting with breakfast in the garden and then gentle pottering I've not felt at all like incarcerating myself inside! They say its going to rain soon! Good in as much as I won't have to water pots and plants and I'll be able to sew and bad in as much as the sun is so envigorating!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Quilting Samplers

The cot quilt has had to take a back seat as I needed to do some samplers for the quilting class tomorrow. We are going to do freehand feathers which I love doing.

And also I've made some squared samplers of different types of stitching so that one doesn't have to always use stipple quilting or meandering.Not that those stitches arn't useful at times and can be very effective.

I shall finish off the quilt this weekend. I hope it all goes according to plan.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A New Addition to our Family!

Our great niece Camilla Evangeline with her doting Dad! Babies are so cute. I'm always surprised by how tiny they are! And we've also learnt today that my daughter is expecting another child next January. A brother or sister for Fenella and Fred.
No pictures of the quilt yet as it is all in pieces but I shall make a great effort to get on with it! I want to embroider a name and date label too on my machine. I'm going to be busy!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cot Quilt

I've been busy today sorting fabrics and cutting them out to make a cot quilt for my new great-niece. I'll post some pictures tomorrow but at the moment it is just in pieces. It is amazing how long it can take to sort fabrics, choose colours and then cut out the pieces. I'm doing a 9-patch with a mix of colours, especially moss green, yellow and oatmeal. These are the colours I've been told are wanted! I have cheated a bit and added in a smidgin of pink! Well she is a girl! But I have to say how much easier it is to work in my new room now I have more space and everything is to hand. So far I have found everything at the first go! This has to be a first. Usually after a clear out I'm lost as to the new places I've put things. I'm just loving it all!

Monday, May 25, 2009


We drove down to the Lizard today; a round trip of about fifty miles. It was raining when we left home but the weather was infinitely better when we arrived with even some sun. I was able to take loads of photos. I was impressed with how many flowers were blooming on the cliffs and the colour of the flowers contrasting with the rocks was fantastic. The rocks here are serpentine which is a blacky grey stone which polishes up beautifully. There are lots of shops there selling hand crafted things made from serpentine.

I loved these grasses on top of a stone wall and thought they would be good inspiration for a textile piece in the future. As will the picture below. I wanted to get a photo of the lovely golden brown and yellow butterflies which were flitting about but they were too quick for me. Instead I got several pictures of the stone wall and the wild mustard.This one in particular I thought might come in useful some time as inspiration.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Dyeing Results

This was how the piece I photographed yesterday turned out. It will make a good background for a piece involving tree trunks and foliage.

I called this piece Crazy Frogs because it looked just like frogs leaping about when it was still wet. I has dried lighter but still has the leaping effect.

I love this piece. It was a using up the dyes that were left piece. Probably it will look better when enlarged but the colours are subtle and morning misty. The photos below are of some of the stripey batch. I love the way the stripes bleed outwards into the second colour. Now I have to go and make a cot quilt as I've just become a great-aunt. My niece-in-law has just produced a little girl - Camilla Evangeline!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Having a Dyeing Day

I'm very low on fabric so I am having a dyeing day. These are dyes mixed up in pots and some of the fabric rolled and folded in the pots on the back row. At this stage I was half way through. The rest of the fabric was being batched in trays. I did about 33 fat quarters altogether. Not a lot but it is surprising how long it takes when each piece is individually folded and dyed. Especially those where several colours are used. Also fat quarters sell like hot cakes. Funnily enough it isn't the same when I dye yardage and then cut it into FQ's. It is always exciting when it comes to rinse out time to see what I've got. Now I'm just waiting for them to wash out in the washing machine. I do a quick rinse under the tap in tepid water and then a long wash at 60 degrees with extra rinses in the washing machine. I've never had a fabric bleed on me yet...... They get ironed damp on a white cloth so I can test for colour fastness.The one below will be a layered piece with mottled blue for sky, stripey mottled green for grass and mottled brown for earth. I like these layered fabrics as they can be used for a multitude of techniques including appliqué. It will be interesting to see it washed out. All my dyeing is done at the sink in the kitchen. I have been working like this for nearly 40 years. It would be lovely to have a specific dyeing room. I live in hope!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bag Two!

Bag 2 is finished! I really like it and won't need to make another bag for at least 6 months! I wasn't happy with the first one and realise now that using Pelmet Vilene to stiffen the sides was a big mistake as it made the bag unwieldy. And I don't like flaps. They may be good for security reasons but for actual shopping where one is getting one's purse in and out of the bag several times it is just inconvenient. This one with a zip is much better. And I've put in extra pockets!

As well as pockets on both sides of the lining I've also added pockets on both gussets. And there are pockets on both the front and back outside plus pockets on the outside of the gussets. Two of the inside pockets are zipped for security. And this time I got the measurements of the outside pockets right and they take A4 size documents! All in all I am well pleased though the rings for the handle are a bit heavy but I had great difficulty finding them and it was only when Martin went to the chandlers that we had any success. The ones on the last bag I cannibalised from the bag that broke. I don't think I could make bags for a living! I enjoyed doing the bobbin work in heavy thread for some of the front pocket decorations.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Just had a birthday for my blog!

Just over four years ago I started this blog. I have lost the first ten days as I changed my template not realising that I would lose all the content. It was interesting to go back to the first posts this time four years ago. I was into experimental work on felt. The felt in the picture below is some I made myself. I still like making felt and I'm also into embellishing with hand needles. I haven't yet been able to convince myself that I need an embellisher!

I was also into making bags. This crazy patchwork scrip bag has been around the world with me and now been honourably retired so that the embroidery doesn't get hurt! I had great fun making it. I particularly loved using broken shells in my embroideries. Inserted in this one is a small embroidered fish.

And I was also moving my workroom around! Doesn't it look better now! I obviously didn't have as much stuff in those days as it looks quite bare. I actually managed to have both my sewing machines set up at the same time. But then again I had no cutting area. So where did I cut out?

So all in all there is nothing new under the sun it just gets better. And yes Sue I am delighted that my sewing room is now functional and a joy to use. I am making another bag.This time with a zip fastening! Well why not!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Thoughts on Blogging

Apropros to my comments about a lack of comments it was interesting to see that my subscribers on the Blog Roll went overnight from 26 to 8! I then decided to look through the many blogs I subscribe to -- 126 -- and found that out of that number over half were defunct! What has happened to Handmaiden and Suckers Anonymous to name but two? Of the rest some of them were no longer of interest and I have ended up with 46 which will be much more manageable and I will probably be able to keep up with reading them all and I shall make a new resolution to comment where I can. People like comments. It makes them feel that a) they have something to say that is of interest to someone else and b) that they aren't alone in the world! I shall continue with the blog for my own edification in the future when not only do I want to find lost photos but also I want to know when and possibly how I made things and why I made them. It has been interesting while looking for my lost photos to see how my dyeing style has subtly changed over the years. I think it is much better now but that is as maybe! Anyway I shall persevere and continue to put my thoughts down. I was going to say on paper but it isn't paper so what is it?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Festival of Quilts

Thank you Goosey and Jeannie for your messages of support and interest. It is good to know you are out there!
This year I thought I'd go with friends to the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham. Most years I go to the Allie Pallie (Alexandra Palace) in London for the show there but I thought it would be good to have a change. Now this show isn't until the end of August but when I tried booking rooms at the hotels recommended on the F of Q site I found that they were all fully booked. So is this show popular or what! I was able eventually to book rooms at a hotel on site that wasn't going to cost us an arm and a leg. I want to be spending my money on more things for my stash not on room and board! I am really looking forward to it and it will be a mini holiday. We are going to travel up on the Thursday and go to the show on Friday returning home on Saturday. I'm relieved that we've got rooms and that we didn't leave it any later or we might not have been able to go! That would have been a disaster. Now I just have to book the train tickets!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Reason Why!

I had been wondering why I kept a blog as it seemed to be of interest only to me. At least that is the impression that one gets with no comments to say otherwise! But now I really do know why I keep a blog. It is to save me from myself. For sometime I had been meaning to organise all my photos and put them onto one 16gb memory stick. But when I came to do this I found that several folders of photographs were missing and not to be found anywhere. I searched all my back-up CD's and both my computer, my laptop and my external hard-drive but to no avail. Then I remembered that sometime in late '06 or early '07 Martin formatted my computer for me and although I had thought I'd backed up everything obviously I hadn't. And to make matters worse one of the hard-drives decided not to work again and so although clever Martin was able to rescue the stuff on it there was every possibility that some things slipped through the net. I was gutted to say the least as some of the pictures were important to me. I now call this drive Phoenix as it rose from the ashes!Then I had a brain wave! I would look on my blog going back into the archives and see if any of the photos were ones that I'd put on the blog. And yes they were! Lots of them! I was able to save them into a folder and then put them onto the memory disk so that I could find them in the future. So that is why I write a blog so that I can go back in time occasionally and find that which is lost! Pictures like the tree below (taken at Lanhydrock)which will provide loads of inspiration for some bobbin work.

Friday, May 15, 2009


'Love your experiments (as you would an ugly child). Joy is the engine of growth. Exploit the liberty of casting your work as beautiful experiments, iterations, attempts, trials, and errors. Take the long view and allow yourself the fun of failure every day.'
I don't know where I found this piece of wisdom as I've had a copy of it for a long time. I'd like to give credit where credit is due. I was thinking about this in relation to my new bag and my indecision as to whether I liked it or not. Thinking about these words of wisdom I realised that it didn't matter if I liked it what was important was that I'd had fun making it and learnt several very useful lessons along the way. Sometimes we lose track of where we are going and get sidetracked and forget the point in the fog of uncertainty. The point in making my bag was to see if the design worked - and it did - so the exercise was successful even if the outcome wasn't exactly as I had visualised it.But if I had achieved the image I had in mind then I wouldn't have learnt the lessons I did and I wouldn't have added ideas to my repertoire. Process is more important than outcome as then we grow and we know that we are growing by the extent of the work we produce. If we only ever allow the outcome to be the driving force then we will only ever go where we have been before.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


The bag front which I put together using samples that I'd done on my embroidery machine. I thought this would be a good use for them. If I'd taken more thought I'd have worked out the sashing more exactly so that I didn't have to start and stop. But hey, it's a learning curve. I meant to have green on the right side edge and not pink. The pink should have gone at the top. More haste, less speed.

This picture shows the bag handle and pocket on the side where I've put my umbrella. Very useful! The handle has an inner growgrain ribbon for extra strength. And the picture below shows the inside full of my clutter. Absolutely essential for life! There are three pockets on the back and a zipped pocket on the inside front. Also on the back outside is a large pocket which I had hoped would be A4 size but actually it is a tad smaller which is a bummer. More care needed in the planning stages. You can just see papers sticking up out of it in the top picture. Definitely had my amateur head on! The lining is one of my hand-dyed poplins.It was fun to do and I learnt a lot which is always good!