Thursday, 18 February 2010

Where do I begin? And Free 'Kemshall' videos this weekend!

I've fallen so far behind with my blogging that I don't know where to start!  I think I'll start with the last couple of pieces of dyeing that I was doing last week.  Having done the parfait dyeing and re-thought my Festival of Quilts piece I assembled a selection of fabrics and decided I could do with some more dark blue and maybe a greeny blue so a little more dyeing was called for.

This is fairly close to the colour in real life.  The dye powder said it was aquamarine and it's just a little more green than I expected but it's usable. 

The pattern in the piece above was achieved by flag-folding a strip of old sheeting into a triangle shape and then attaching pegs all the way round the edge.  I then used a wide paintbrush to apply aquamarine and the remainder of some navy dye.  The fabrics were left for about 3 hours before they were rinsed out and washed.  
I was really pleased with this beautifully patterned navy piece of dyeing which will be cut up for my quilt background.

As well as managing to get some dyeing done I was encouraged by Annabel (WestCountry Buddha) to tackle a handsewn book a la Laura Kemshall.

The first step is to select all sorts of papers from your existing stock of painted or textured papers, tissue, handmade paper, magazine pages, cellophane, watercolour paper, cartridge paper, anything that is laying around really.  You could if you wished use all new papers to make a book for your sketches or notes but it's fun to use up some of your so-called failed or experimental pieces. They can look so different in these notebooks.  It is best to keep the height of the pages equal but the width can be different.  You group the pages in groups of 3 or 4 and fold them in half.

The next step is to stitch the pages together. (Excuse the glare in the photo above caused by the metallic ribbon I used for the strengthening straps.) You can use either a running stitch or a linked stitch which gives you the herringbone effect and strengthens the spine by linking each signature (folded pages) to the next.   I don't feel I can show the details here as it would be unfair to Laura Kemshall but there should be plenty of resources on the web to show you how to make this stitched book. (I'll come back with a link later).  The tricky part is joining the first 2 or 3 pieces as you need to maintain a certain amount of tension in the thread so the book doesn't end up slack and sloppy.

This is my book opened out so you can see the variety of papers used.

Above I used some handmade paper, a piece of monoprinted paper and on the right watercolour paper that had been used as a dropcloth for painting feathers.

I still have to glue covers to the front and back of the book but I am quite pleased with my first attempt and can see how Laura finds them so addictive.  I definitely want to make one based on the size of a 7"x5" photograph so it will be small and chunky.  It's a great way to make use of all those papers that sit around after studio playtime.  If you click on this link you can see Laura's stitched book and, if you have some free time this weekend you can watch Laura's video for free at Design Matters TV along with about 30 other videos of their working practices and inspiration!!  It's free from 9.00 am Saturday to 9am Sunday morning (UK time)so treat yourselves to some 'me' time!

What else have I been up to?  I've been busy getting more osteopath treatment and my hip/bum is much improved so much so that DH and I were able to go on a coach trip to Hull to visit the submarium there.  
The Deep is housed in an iconic building on the River Humber, about a 2 hour drive from our home.  I had been wanting to go there for some time but timing the visit for half term week was maybe not quite the ideal time to go!  However, despite the masses of people who had had the same idea and the miles of walking (not to mention stairs climbing) we had a great time. 

If you go through the restaurant and up to the observation platform the structure of the building makes for some wonderful photographs (courtesy of my DH).

And there are some wonderful views of the Estuary. (My DH will be blogging about our visit in a day or two).

Looking down from the platform this beautiful and naturally coloured blockwork forms some resistance against the effects of the rising tides. 

Inside the submarium there were beautiful sea creatures and an ever changing view of gently circling fish, sharks, rays and even a swordfish!


All of these photographs were taken by my DH as I spent the time filming with my video camera.  If I can manage it I will try and upload a little film of the visit.  I've already watched it back and it's alive with the shouts and excitement of small people.  I was going to add a musical background instead of the shrieks and screams but, having listened to it, the children add to the atmosphere so they will stay.  Needless to say, after such a busy day I was completely wiped out yesterday.  I had to go into town to the osteopath and had a series of senior moments, including forgetting where I had left the car!  Brain fog wasn't in it! lol 

Finally, I have been making some progress on my crinkle quilt.  Well, it's not so much a quilt as a prospective bookcover.

I have stitched many lines across and round the piece but there is still a lot of stitching to do.  I don't think it's quite as crinkled as Nellie makes hers but I am quite happy with it so far.  So much so that I have started a second 'crinkle' with a piece of velvet backed on silk dupion.  It will give me something to stitch on Saturday evening if I've got any energy left after my workshop at Art and Stitch in Peterborough with Ruth Issett!  I can hardly wait!  Fingers crossed that my hip will behave as I've finished with the osteopath.


Heather said...

Your stitched book looks great - I love the pages. Thanks for the info about the free video this weekend. Your dyed fabric colours are gorgeous and the crinkle quilt is lovely. Glad your hip is so much better and you are able to enjoy going out - great photos. Enjoy the workshop with Ruth Issett - what a treat.

Emma said...

Thanks for your comment! Love all the bits & pieces on your post - my scrap notebooks are nothing like as neat, a few haphazard stitches. Love L&L K AND RI! Got their books but never manged a workshop - look forward to seeing it thru your eyes (no pressure!) but enjoy & stay aligned!

Nellie's Needles said...

You most certainly have been busy!

Your "crinkle" quilting looks good. The more lines of stitching there are the more confined the loose surface gets which makes more crinkles. It's my experience that each piece seems to dictate the stopping point.

maggi said...

Love the dyeing and the stitched book is great. Mine is still in the 'I must get around to that' stage. Enjoy your Ruth Issett workshop.

Jackie said...

That was a very comprehensive post. Well worth waiting for. I love the aquarium pictures, so inspiring. Get well soon,take it easy.

Sharne's Bit 'n' Bobs said...

I love the colours you have dyed your fabric they will work well together.
Enjoy your workshop on Saturday with Ruth. I did a workshop with her last year and it was GREAT!!!!!!! I am on a workshop too on Saturday- Jacky Russell

DILLY said...

Luvly fotoes!
Luvly FWISH!!!!
DIlly think GWEEN peece be best,
an book be vewy clever!
Well dun pwinsess Julie!!
Well dun!

DILLY said...

(an Dilly be glad Julie bum be better)

The WestCountryBuddha said...

Your book looks in better shape than mine!! I especially like the straps you've chosen and look forward to seeing the covers on.

The dyeing has worked really well too. My favourite, if I may, is the blue one as the patterning is very pretty. The crinkle quilt is looking good too. Haven't you been a busy bod?!

fibrefrolics said...

What an interesting post. Full of goodies! Am loving the crinkle quilt. And the fabulous photos. Have a great weekend.
Penny :)

pam said...

Wow that was a blog and a half - the books are lovely and the photos of the sea creatures were fabulous. See you Saturday at Ruth Issett

Amelia said...

You have some stunning colours here, and I like the book.

I like all the bits and pieces too, and your photo's here are great!


Gail P said...

lovely post, full of fun things! The book you created is very inspiring!!! Hugs!

Gina said...

It was lovely to see you this weekend Julie... even though I felt in a complete fog for most of it! I know I said a general goodbye today but meant to come and speak to you before I left and somehow didn't... sorry!You've made some beautiful fabrics. I'm planning feet up and some knitting this evening!

JP said...

well you have been busy - I was on the Kemshall's site for ages yesterday - I am really impressed with you new book - clever you


Well, there is so much to take in I shall have to go back and read it all over again to absorb it all. I always enjoy seeing your fabric dyeing and the book exercise looks amazing and I would love to have a go at this one (... add it to the list ...). So sorry I totally missed the Linda and Laura Kemshall thingy. I have been away most of the past week at my parents' Golden Wedding celebrations with my family and now starting to catch up again myself!

Hope you have a great week Julie xx