Friday, 27 February 2015

Repurposing

February has been a very mixed month with some projects worked on and work laid aside while we emptied the lounge for a new carpet.  Like many friends online I have had the decluttering bug and have been sorting and moving things around to try and create some order in all the chaos that my stitching bug brings with it.  More of that another time as it's still a work in progress.

I've posted some photos on Facebook today of a cushion that I've been working on and thought I would share it here.  Last year a friend brought me a large quilt top made of hexagons that she had worked on many years ago while her husband was working nights which meant she had to be quiet during the day.




The quilt is made of many different fabrics from cottons through satins to upholstery fabric.

Val, by her own admission, wasn't an experienced maker and had left a lot of fabric on the reverse of each hexagon amking the whole quilt very heavy even without a wadding and backing.


In some ways the reverse is more interesting than the front.  Some of the hexagons still have some of their papers in place.

Despite the many, many hours of work in the quilt Val had no sentimental attachment to it and left it to me how to use it.  She did point out that some of the fabrics had figured in her wedding and bridemaids' dresses.


I had a really good look at the quilt and offered it to someone who works with vintage fabrics and decided that it could be re-purposed into other projects.  However, as Val had put so many hours into the piece I offered to make her something from it, incorporating her wedding dress material and have just finished this cushion.


You probably can't see it too clearly but I inserted a placket (if that's the right word) to carry the zip as I didn't want to put a strain on the textiles.  I chose the section above as it has a variety of fabrics and some deliberately designed groupings.  I loved the two hexagons that hold a memory of a trip to Malta.
 
This side is intended to be the front of the cushion and incorporates the velvet wedding dress fabrics.  We don't know how the blue dye has migrated into the pink velvet as I don't believe those fabrics had been washed.   The cushion is approximately 19" square.

As all the hexagons were obviously stitched by hand I have bonded each cushion front onto vilene to provide some stability and then added a cotton lining to stop the vilene being rubbed off in wear.  I have tried to honour Val's original work so that she can see it is her own work returning to her.  Now I just have to catch her at her painting group as I don't have a phone number for her. Duh!

The hardest thing of all was cutting into such an old quilt, especially knowing how much work had gone into it and the age of all the fabrics.  I enjoyed looking at all the fabrics and recognised the style of many from my own youth.  I still have quite a lot of the quilt left to play with or share and do plan to extract some hexagons to include in the memory quilt that I plan eventually to make.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Unexpected strolling

Some days turn out differently from how you expect.  My plans for today were to go and fetch Mum from her care home so that she could have Sunday dinner with us and enjoy some time with my brother and his wife.  With the unpredictability that always attend dementia, when I went to fetch Mum she was very sleepy and even the thought of the company of her lovely son and 'lovely sunshine' was not enough to rouse her sufficiently.  Her spirit was willing but the flesh was never going to be strong enough today.  I left her to her roast turkey at the home, assuming they could wake her up enough, and came home disappointed.

However, disappointment turned into a gift as we decided to go for a walk at our local National Trust property.  It has been a glorious day, less cold than recently, and we were really glad we made the effort.

 There was a definite Harry Potter vibe to this lovely larch tree, above.




 "I never knew I could walk on water!  What do you think to all this cold stuff then?" 




 I had a little play with in-camera functions and dabbled with a little black and white.



The boathouse had a lovely shadow across it and the children were enjoying themselves breaking off chunks of ice and winging them across the lake.  I hope the trout under the ice weren't being too upset by the vibrations.  Have you heard the noise the ice makes as it slides across itself?  It's a very delicate sound.



Plenty of inspiration for stitch.


Beautiful shapes and contrasts in the Italian garden.  The lavender is a silvery grey, not quite the lilac colour it appears here and has yet to be cut back.



Our walk was rounded off with hot chocolate and cake, (well, you have to don't you?) and this beautiful beast and his friend seemed oblivious to our approaches in the car park.  A lovely end to a wonderful late winter day.  Hopefully Mum will feel a little more lively next week.  She is getting more frail but considering she is going to be 90 this year she is one amazing lady.


Thursday, 5 February 2015

Bundles, Sketchbooks and Rumbles


Before Christmas Maggie Grey had an online auction of handmade books in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust.  I put some bids in but was unsuccessful.  However, after the auction a couple of latecomers were offered for sale and I was lucky enough to get this very pretty book made by my friend Emma who lives on the Isle of Skye.  







For the moment I am just enjoying Emma's work but I do intend to add to it, maybe with some Gelli prints.  

When we saw Carolyn in Mousehole she reminded me about the Erosion Bundles that we had both done in previous years.  I still have quite a lot of the last bundle waiting to be used but I thought I would join in again and make a new bundle.  The idea is to collate various materials and add things that will create colour and wrap the whole thing up and leave it at the mercy of the elements for three months.







I've tried to keep things simple this time and have used blueberries, tea, plant material and rusty bits and bobs to generate the colour.  I've used all sorts of fabrics and wrapped everything up in a piece of Cornish flag that had been hanging on the shed for months.  I've tied the bundle to our back gate which has some lovely rust and mossy colours on it so hopefully there will be more colour.  It's going to stay there till 1 April when we'll see what we've got.  Hopefully it won't be crawling with yucky things like the last one was.

We had a bit of excitement here last week.  Last Wednesday night just before 10.30 I heard a great roaring noise that I thought was the wind getting up and next thing something clattered to the floor in my sewing room.  Turned out it was an earthtremor, 3.8 strength.  We don't get that many tremors in this area and the last time I was aware of one that strong was about 25 years ago.  There wasn't any damage anywhere but it was a bit unnerving for a while. 

Back soon!



Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Mousehole Continued and Other Stuff

Well, it didn't take me three weeks to get rid of the cold that I brought back from Cornwall but I have been fairly busy, mostly with finishing off some old projects and thinking about new ones.

First of all a few photos connected with Mousehole.

 I was lucky enough to receive one of Carolyn's beautiful hearts all in its Christmas colours and with its own version of the Mousehole Harbour lights.





Carolyn inspired me to experiment with a low angle shot in the Rock Pool Cafe at Mousehole.
 
 And more experimenting with close ups of surfaces of ornaments in the apartment.



I did have several sessions of printing with the Gelli plate (all of 5"x3")

I was really happy with this one.  The circles were made with an Acrylic Marker pen.  No, I hadn't heard of them either but having tried them out I love them!  You can even draw on the Gelli plate with them and then lift it off.  Hmmmm.  I've just thought.  You must be thinking, what is the point of that?  You may as well just draw on the print.  Ermm, yes, I think you're probably right.  Doh!  Anyway, it was fun playing.  The best bit was using feathers I had found on the seashore as resists on the plate and then printing onto a background from the feather.  The marks are beautiful. 

The prints were all made using deli-paper which came with the plate (I ordered my baby plate from Hilary Beattie).  It is a very lightweight paper and takes the paint beautifully from the plate.  I used some home made stamps, corks, bubble wrap, feathers, some wierd plasticy stuff that made wonderful organic marks, freezer paper resists and generally anything I could find to make interesting marks on the plate.  I cut out some little fish shapes from the freezer paper and had fun with both the positive and negative (resist) prints from them.  You can just see a fish's tail in the detail shot above.






So, since we've been home I've made a mug tote, to carry my mug to and from our Sit & Stitch day.
The pattern was really easy and it made up in a flash.

A long time ago I took part in Kate North's 'Another Little Quilt Swap' and received a quilt made by my pal Tina.  The quilt was A4 size and I love it but it has languished in a drawer (sorry Tina) so I thought it was time I did something with it.

I've turned it into a cover for my sketchbook.  I had to improvise to get it to fit the book and combined it with a sample from a Hilary Beattie workshop that had also languished.  At least now I can enjoy the artwork every time I use my sketchbook and I can move it on to every new sketchbook too.

The images aren't the best as I used flash, sorry about that.

Finally, yesterday I spent nearly 3 hours sorting out one of my boxes of scraps.  Boy!  Who knew it could take so long?  A friend is going to inherit the useable small pieces and the larger pieces have gone back into the box for making some scrap quilts. 

I've still got another box to go and then I need to start on the whole room!  Or maybe not! :-)