Sunday, 24 December 2017

Summer in Europe - orange art deco glass bowl

Another item inspired by something in the Passau glass museum. This looks so much better in real life - it hasn't photographed very well.

This is quite a small thing and I was keen to use some gold work. I played around with lots of more complicated designs but in the end decided simple was best. This is the bowl it's based on.

Friday, 22 December 2017

Summer in Europe Quilt - Passau cobbled street

This is  the first piece I planned. It hasn't come out quite as I imagined but I think it will look OK in the final quilt.

This one is based on a cobbled street we saw in Passau, Germany. I probably should have put my squares closer together and included more grey.

Here is a close up - not that it shows you much.  The square beads were originally wood stained brown and I painstakingly painted each one with about three coats of acrylic. I like the sheen on them and it's always good to use something I've already got.


A good friend of mine commented on the little cactus I have in a pot at home so I made her a picture of one for Christmas. A quick little project which turned out well.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Summer in Europe Quilt - Art Deco vase, Passau

Super pleased with this one.

This is based on an art deco vase that I saw in the glass museum in Passau, Germany. Passau itself is lovely, on the banks of the Danube and with a great cathedral but the highlight for me was the glass museum. I love glass so I went into the museum which is situated in a hotel. I was expecting it to be a couple of rooms at most but in fact it covers several floors, dozens of room and thousands of pieces of decorative glass. The building itself is lovely too.

I took dozens of photos and there are several other pieces that I might use as inspiration but this art deco vase caught my eye and I'm really pleased with the way the design has turned out. Here's the vase.

 And a close up..

And finally, a close up of my hand stitched applique which I'm pretty please with. (The fabric is greener that it looks here.)

Monday, 20 November 2017

Summer in Europe Quilt - Roman Glass in Trier

This is a small piece, only about 8cm square.

It's going to need pressing and possibly some fabric underneath to make it lie flat but I'll worry about that when I put the quilt together at the end.

This little one was based on some lovely pieces of glass which I saw in the Landesmuseum in Trier, a German city on the banks of the Moselle. I'm pretty sure the glass is Roman but I may have that wrong. Here are the three pieces of glass I photographed. I haven't tried to copy them exactly, just gone for the general 'flavour' of them.

The museum had some fantastic things in it and I could have chosen all kinds of things to base a textile design on. I might look at using some of the mosaics later.

Summer in Europe Quilt - Church Window Dinant

The second piece for the Summer in Europe quilt is finished. It's based on a stained glass window in the Notre Dame church in Dinant, Belgium on the Meuse River.

I learnt a lot from this. Originally I was going to make it using English Paper Piecing but I quickly discovered that I didn't have either the patience or the skill. In the end I used an applique bonding technique with couched thread between the pieces. I left a gap between each piece which was a mistake. I thought it would give me a clear line for couching in but as I worked the fabric began to fray. If I'd butted the pieces up against each other the couching would have secured the edges. As it was I had to sew round every piece after I'd finished the couching.

I'm quite pleased with the colours. I didn't have much red fabric so I dyed some. I've rinsed them thoroughly but I hope the colour doesn't run.

I'm also quite fond of the back of this. I just like the different threads.
 But the thing that I've really learnt this time is that I need to spend more time on the design stage. I sketched the window quickly and made the decision to shorten it to three panels as the original five panels would make it too tall and narrow for my overall design. I didn't look carefully enough at the design though. Here's the original photo.

See where have I gone wrong? 

The actual design should have been the one in the middle. I mistakenly drew it with two extra lines, as in the diagram on the right. I wish I had used the design as it should have been; it has a more modern feel to it (and it would have been less pieces!) Still, I'd give the final piece 7/10 so that's not so bad!

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Summer in Europe Quilt - A house in Cochem

We spent three weeks this summer camping in Europe. We went through France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, quick trip to Switzerland then back through the same countries but via a different route. I took dozens of pictures of things I thought would be good inspiration for textile work and I'm now planning on producing a large quilt/wall hanging made up of lots of different pieces. I finished the first.

This piece is about 13cm  15cm and is embroidered using whipped back stitch and satin stitch. The fabric is more sandy coloured than it looks here. There's also some gold fabric paint on it. It was supposed to be light brown but I only had gold and I think I like it better.

 The inspiration for this piece was a painted Bistro in Cochem which is on the Mosel river in Germany. We only stopped briefly in Cochem for lunch and we didn't actually eat in the Bistro but I spotted it as we walked past.

So now you get the idea for the Summer in Europe Quilt. I'm busy working on the second piece now. (In fact my hands are covered in dye.)

Embroidery - Denim and Onions

I have a fairly ambitious plan in mind for a large piece of textile art which needs some thinking about so in the meantime I wanted to work on something that would be completely free form and wouldn't require much thought. This was the result.

The cloth was a piece of silk I had over and some stuff I bought in second hand shops. The blue was from a little denim dress and the other bits were all originally white or cream but I dyed them with onion skins (my favourtie dye.) It's very much in the style of Jude Hill and I used her technique of weaving strips of material to make the base. I'm not sure I'd do that again as I don't particularly like the squares it produces. I love the embroidered circle with the different colour blues - it's also inspired by Jude Hill.

The flowers were cut from and old table runner. I added a thin silver stitch to accentuate the pattern. The onion dye took on almost a greeny colour here.

I'm not going to bind the edges of this. I like the unfinished look. And now on to my grand plan...

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Celtic Tree Cross Stitch

I finished this cross stitch this week. I started it about 30 years ago! I did a cross stitch for a friend's wedding then decided to design my own. I drew it out and managed to complete the dark blue border (but not the light blue filling), the bat, mouse, butterfly and half the dog, and then I stopped.

It sat in a box for a very long time, moving house with us twice. I'd left the needle stuck in the material (I never do that now) and by the time I picked it up thirty odd years later it had left a nasty rust mark.

Luckily most of the rust was on the border but there is one mark hidden under the flower by the snail.

I'm particularly pleased with the eagle. It's so long ago I can't remember how I went about designing it. Maybe I copied it from somewhere?

I've framed it as it seemed to deserve it after taking so long to finish.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

A Fourth Textile Postcard.

Once again I'm really pleased with myself. This is my fourth textile postcard with close ups.

This time I've used just backstitch, with  a tiny bit of running stitch. The reason I'm particularly pleased with it is because I developed the design from an object I saw in Vienna museum. I often take photos with the plan of using them for inspiration for textile work but never manage to achieve it. This was quite simple as I basically copied the design but I did adapt the birds and arrange the different elements in the way I wanted so all in all it's a small step forward for me.

This was the original object. He's quite small (about four inches high) and difficult to photograph because he was behind glass.

He is about 4000 years old and from Egypt. He's now in the Kunthistorisches Museum in Vienna and you  can read about him here if your German is better than mine.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Two More Textile Postcards

I'm really enjoying experimenting with postcard size pieces. I've completed two more and am working on another. Each one explores one particular technique or idea.

Number two is all about random stitches.

It took ages even though it's only postcard size.

The next one is made entirely from couching. I'm really pleased with this one as it's my own design and it came out well.

It might be upside down - not sure! I'm working on a fourth postcard now based on something I saw in the museum in Vienna - more later.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Textile Postcard - Black and White

I started a textile piece last week and although it went quite well to begin with it gradually got worse and worse until I abandoned it. I decided I needed a bit more time playing with techniques again before trying to create something whole so I'm going to work on some small 6" x 4" postcard size pieces with each one focusing on particular techniques.

The first one is a simple embroidery in black and white in the style of work by Penny Berens over at Tanglewood Threads.

I'm pleased with this even though there is nothing original about it. The idea is to practise techniques then start trying to find my own style again.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Rust Samples

I often read the website TextileArtist.Org and they recently published a post about making samples to explore textile art. Since I'm often dissatisfied with what I produce I thought I'd follow their advice and I must say it did help me find some new patterns I like and might use in the future. I chose to use some scraps of rust dyed cloth I had left over.

And some close ups.

The idea is that you limit yourself to a few materials and techniques and then play with them to try to achieve different outcomes. It's a really good way of experimenting and I should do more of it but I always have grand ideas so I probably won't!

A Cuckoo - spirit cloth

I often have an idea in mind and then somehow it doesn't end up looking anything like I planned. I imagine it's a bit like those birds who think they're sitting on their own eggs but then hatch a cuckoo. I've been looking at the work made by Jude Hill on her website and wanted to do something similar. This is what  I came up with.

I quite like it but it isn't at all how I imagined it. There are a few things that annoyed me right from the beginning. I love the patchwork effect inside the large circle, but I wish it had been upright and not on a slope. I also like a lot of the textures and patterns around the edge but they look a bit 'bitty' and I wish I'd linked them all together in some way. I do like the gold embroidery though so that's good.

A couple of close ups.

I guess I'll just have to keep practising.

Distant Stitch Embroidery Course - finish

I've finished the Distant Stitch online course that I referred to here. There's a separate blog about it here but I thought I'd just show the two final pieces.

I really enjoyed the course and learnt a lot about design. It's a pity I haven't got time to do a full City and Guilds course. Maybe one day,

If you want to look at the course you'll find it at Distant Stitch.