Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Shibori quilt

Here's an attempt at an art quilt which I sat down and made today. It's about 12" x 14".

I've been browsing art quilts a lot recently but don't really know where to start. I often plan complicated things in my head and then can't make them happen so today I thought I'd just start with a piece of cloth and see what happened. I picked out one of the shibori pieces I dyed a while ago and mentioned here. It looked like this:

I really couldn't decide what to do so I cut it in to strips, sewed them together and cut them up again till I had this:

Well, some time later I'd ended up with this. I quite like this:

And maybe I should have left it there, but it wasn't very 'quilty' so then I added some batting and backing and quilted it. Not terribly successfully I have to say. Anyway, here's the finished piece again:

Not as good as I'd hoped but I did learn a lot. In particular I learned that I need to be a lot more accurate with the sewing. As you can see from this close up, I was a bit hit and miss.

Also, I needed to spend more time getting the distances between the lines even. To be fair, it was all a bit of a struggle as my machine isn't built for quilting - there is no way to drop the feed so I can't go freestyle and it doesn't really like the thickness.

On the plus side I also learnt that if you don't like something you can just keep trying different things. Originally the buttonhope/zigzag stitch diamond was just sewn in a single line which looked a but weedy and confused with the other straight lines running through it. I added some zigzag stitch and it looked a bit better, then I did buttonhole stitch over the zig zag and quite liked the result although again, I wished I'd done it more neatly.

Oh, and as for the back looking as neat as the front. Well it doesn't!

I didn't bind it properly, just turned the edges in, as the whole thing is really just a trial piece. Next time I'll try being a little more careful!

With hindsight, one of the reasons this piece doesn't quite work is because the lines of the quilting don't have anything to do with the lines of the dyed cloth. The lines of the cloth are so pretty that they really don't need stitching over. I think I would have done better to just stitch in the ditch of all the little seams and leave it at that. Never mind, it's all about learning.

Sari photo frame

I am finally finding uses for the sari fabric I bought. For Christmas I made my daughter a concertina photo frame using cardboard and the brown sari fabric. I've put pictures of my daughter, me and my mum in it but the pictures do slide in and out so she can change them if she wishes.

And here it is folded up.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Organising ribbons

There's something very satisfying about organising materials.

Starting with this...

A nice new stationery box, some cardboard from some cereal packets, three little Ferrero Roche boxes and some loom bands to hold the loose ends and you end up with this...

The thin ribbons in the larger Ferrero Roche box are all cut from clothing. You know the little ribbon loops you get inside the shoulder of blouses and dresses to hook over the coat hanger? Well I always cut them off as I find they tend to stick out of the neck line when I'm wearing them but I don't like to throw them away as I think they might do for an art quilt.

Eventually I might transfer all the spools onto cards and arrange them all by colour but at the minute I don't have enough to worry about. A satisfying hour or so.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Bead Journal Project 2016

I've just been accepted onto the Bead Journal Project 2016. This is a group started in 2007 by Robin Atkins  where members commit to producing a piece of work which includes beads once a month. Ideally each piece should say something personal about that month.

I can't wait for January to get started - quite literally, so I've started.

Here are January, February and March lined up ready for beading.

They look like little coasters!

To begin with I had lots of grand ideas about how I was going to link the twelve pieces and I started to think about colour schemes for the year but then I thought that wouldn't be so much of a journal - more or a year long project that was planned all in one go - so then I stopped planning. Even so, the bit I dislike most about bead quilting is preparing then finishing the material. This is really down to laziness as I have to get the sewing machine out then pack everything away again afterwards. So I thought I would just prepare the first three months' pieces. I already knew what I wanted for January and I can pretty much predict how I will feel in February (glum and longing for the sun) and March (starting to warm up a bit) so it didn't feel like cheating to do a bit of preparation.

The BJP suggest that you make your pieces all the same size so I settled on 4" squares with rounded corners - small and manageable. Then I made up a few more rules just for me. I decided that I would only use fabric dyed, painted or designed  by myself. I've got so many bits of fabric I've dyed etc that it seemed a good way to get some of them used. I also decided that I would include at least one button on every piece, just because I can.

I wanted to keep it simple and decided not to bind them. Instead I sewed them right sides together with some brownish dyed cotton for backing (I've go an awful lot of brownish dyed materiel - if you've read any of my posts on natural dying you will know that most of them came out brown!) Then I glue-basted a bit of quilt wadding to the back and turned the whole thing in the right way. I'll slip stitch the gaps when I get round to them.

I've also cut out all the backs and pieces of wadding ready for the rest of the year, and have a card template ready to cut the front fabric when I choose it each month.

You can see I use a 'window' template rather than a solid one. It makes it easier to lay on the fabric and move it around till you get the exact bit of fabric you want showing in the window. A solid template covers up the fabric and it's difficult to see what you're getting.

I will now wait till January to begin as I'm in the middle of something else at the moment but I'm dead excited about the whole thing.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Sari shawl

Finally found a use for some of the sari fabric that I bought (shown here).

I've been looking for an orange scarf or shawl for ages and just happened to see one in a charity shop yesterday. I'm not sure what it's made of but it's beautifully soft. Here it is before I gave it a makeover.

However, I didn't like the tassels on the ends so I thought I'd cut them off and use the sari material to add a bit of interest. This is the result.

It took much longer than I expected. The material is quite difficult to work with as it's all very fine silk. Really pleased with the result though. It's my new favourite thing.