Friday, 31 March 2017

Guest Zentangle Post

I recently introduced a friend to Zentangling and it was soon obvious that she had an amazing talent for it. Her name's Jenny. Here's a piece of Zentangle art which she produced after only a little bit of practice.

And here are a couple of closeups just to show you how good she is.

Jenny is thinking about writing a blog to show some more of her art. When she does I'll post a link.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Gillian Travis kit - Indian woman Carrying Pot

Just one picture today.

I bought a kit from Gillian Travis at the Knitting and Stitching show in London earlier in the month and I spent yesterday evening making it. I don't normally enjoy doing kits but this one was nice because you choose some of the material yourself and Gillian encourages people to personalise them. Also, it used the applique technique where you stick the pieces to paper and then iron them on which I've read about and wanted to have a go at. 

I was pleased with my choice of fabrics and with the overall effect although I wish I'd added some sequins and beads for the jewellery as the gold paint I used doesn't show up enough. I'm also quite pleased with my free motion quilting as it's not something I'm very good at but it looks OK here. Plus my corners aren't at all bad (but don't look at the back). 

Gillian's stall at the show was fantastic. There are pictures on her blog here

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Gelli plate fabric printing

One of the things I did at the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show last week was take a workshop in Gelli printing on fabric. I can't work out who ran it as it wasn't the woman who was named on the programme but I'll try to find out.  The hour went really quickly and I could have stayed longer but it was nice to be able to have a play and see what other people were doing too.

I started experimenting on paper and then made four fabric prints. Here they are,

I like the way these have turned out and today I quilted one of them. It's only about five inches by seven but it's come out quite nicely. Here it is with some close ups of the quilting.

I've now bought my own gelli plate so I'll be doing some playing soon.

Fabric Manipulation Dice

I bought this book recently.

And I made this.

Well really, I just made some samples, but once I'd finished I realised I had six of them so I sewed them together and stuffed it. In a way, turning them into a dice ruined them because they looked better flat but never mind, it's hanging in my sewing room now.

The book is fantastic because although it's all in black and white, it's full of just about every pleat, tuck, gather, or any other way of manipulating fabric you can think of. It's like a reference book for fabric art. The textures shown in the examples in the book are just wonderful so to celebrate fabric in all its glory here are some close ups of the six practice pieces I made.



    Pin tucks

    Knife pleats

    Suffolk puff (or yo-yo)

    Twisted tucks

So now I just have to decide what to make with some of these techniques. I have a few plans but they need some development so I think I'll mull it over for a while.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

February Bead Journal Project 2017 reinvented

So my 2017 Bead Journal Project has undergone a reinvention. It looked like this:

But now it looks like this:

So what happened? Well, I struggled with it in the beginning and had all sorts of problems setting up the loom as I didn't have the instruction but I managed to do January and I was quite pleased with it. When February came I did the next section but as soon as I started I knew I was unhappy with the whole thing. There were two problems, Firstly, the colours of the warp weren't right - the grey had sparkly bits in it and the blue and white were a bit baby wool coloured. Secondly, the whole thing was loose because not only did the wool stretch, but the three different yarns stretched in different amounts so I couldn't just tighten it. I was also annoyed with the loom because I'd tried to ignore the groves cut out each end but they kept catching on the yarn. All in all, I didn't enjoy the process and the thought of adding to it each month didn't inspire me.

At this point in the tale my son walked in and when I explained my thoughts he suggested I start over again. So I did.

To begin with, I tried dyeing some cotton I already had but I knew it was really too thick and there was no point getting it wrong again. Unusually for me I was patient and waited till I could get into town the next day where I bought some neutral coloured thin cotton yarn.

I started to dress the loom. I took it off and started again. And again. Every time, it just didn't feel right. I kept going on the internet to look at videos but none of them had the grooves that my loom had and it just wasn't working. Then I came up with the revolutionary idea of trying to use the grooves instead of ignore them. After quite a bit of thought I came ups with a theory and threaded it all up again and .... it worked. Look.

Lovely and taut, the heddle works, the warp doesn't sag and the whole thing is just much nicer to work with. I feel as if I'm working with the loom instead of fighting it.

And it only took five hours. Result.

After that I had to go to bed, but the next day I set about recreating January. As you can see from the top pictures it looks quite different, and in some ways I miss the chunky, rustic feel to it, but the payback in terms of how nice it is to weave is well worth the difference. I did another little adjustment as the sticks for winding the weft on were very long and unwieldy so I took a hot knife to a plastic ruler and now have a nice short shuttle. At last, I'm looking forward to working on it each month.

And what's February about? Well, February turned out to be much tougher than I expected so the grey represents some kind of rock face and the beads are the little bits of steely determination needed to get through the month. Time for a close up.

And a couple of close ups from the new January.

And I'll finish off with the poor old cast off.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Spring Knitting and Stitching Show 2017

I had a brilliant day yesterday at the Spring Knitting and Stitching show at Olympia, London. The last time I went to an event like this was about 37 years ago when I went with my mum.

I'm not a knitter but there were plenty of other textile stalls and exhibitions and I spent the whole day totally absorbed. I went to a gelli plate mono printing workshop first - more of that in a later post. I also went to a talk which I'll mention in a bit. The rest of the time I spent browsing the exhibitions and stalls (and spending money). I took quite a few photos - most of them not very good - but here they are.  I've added links to as many websites as possible so you can see better photos and find out more. Here we go.

Janice Gunner's work was the first thing that grabbed my attention.

This last one interested me because I once tried a very similar idea using shibori pieces I had dyed to make a small quilt. Mine wasn't a success but this one is beautiful.

The first purchase I made was a kit from Gillian Travis. She had some amazing quilts hanging at her stall and she also had a quilt in the Contemporary Quilt - On the Edge exhibition. This is it; Bo Kaap, Cape Town.

And here's a picture of part of Gillian's stall.

I was particularly interested in a little quilt she had which depicted a mosque. Some time ago I signed up for a textile course which was cancelled and I then spent some time trying to follow my own 'textile course'. I never managed to produce a final piece but I was working on something that was based on a mosque that looks very like this one below.

and a close up...

Contemporary Quilt which Gillian Travis is a member of is a specialist group of the Quilters' Guild (UK). There were lots of beautiful quilts in their 'On The Edge' exhibition, most of which I failed to photograph. Here are the few I did get.

I don't have the title or the artist of this one I'm afraid.

This is 'Europe meets Asia' by Beverley Wood.

and a close up...

This is 'Rock Fall' by Kate Dowty.

  and a close up - unfortunately I got my shadow over it.

Contemporary Quilt issue a challenge every year which is open to all 800 or so members. Members send in a small sample (about 8 inches square) and from that the winners are chosen who submit their full quilts for the exhibition. As well as the quilts the exhibition included three ring binders containing the samples and this is a picture from that. It had a number but I couldn't find the name of the artist. It was lovely to be able to look through all the entries.

The next exhibition I looked at was 'Making Space' by the 62 Group but I didn't take any photos. Then I went to Quinary's exhibition 'Hidden' and took this photo of a quilt by Jean Kirk. It didn't seem to have a name. Again, it was interesting to see someone produce something using a technique I've experimented with as this is made using rust dying

And onto an exhibition called 'Shoe Making Kit' by Helen McAllister. These were hard to photograph as they are all in perspex boxes. 

And finally, one image from the exhibition 'What do I need to do to make it OK?' This is a detail from a piece called The Leper's Hands by Karina Thompson

This exhibition was curated by Liz Cooper and in the afternoon she gave a talk with two of the exhibition artists, Celia Pym and Freddie Robins. The talk was very thought provoking. They were musing on the creative process and on the unsatisfactory feeling you get when something you're working on doesn't resolve itself in a satisfactory way. Celia spoke about being prepared to break things down to rework them and Freddie said she found it hard but agreed it was often the way forward. As I'd spent quite a lot of the day seeing examples of work which did things I'd tried but which did them so much better (Jean Kirk's rust dying, Janice Gunner's shibori piece and Gillian Travis's mosque) the talk resonated with me. 

I came away from the show full of new resolutions. Well two. In the first place, I'm going to spend more time developing my ideas rather than rushing in, and in the second place I'm going to work harder at making things to a higher standard. Well, we'll see. 

Oh, and a third resolution - I'll definitely be visiting the knitting  and stitching show again.