Monday, July 23, 2007

Sumptuous Surfaces - well I ended up with some free time last night as i found that I didn't have enough fabric to do what I wanted to do with one of my wallhangings - will have to go shopping today, so I played around with some ideas for a design and this is what I have decided to do.

My concept is 'Happy family holidays' - there are 4 of us in the family - hence 4 shells on the beach. I decided to go with the shells as I thought that they would be easier to work with in a monotone colour scheme and lend themselves more to a variety of textural stitching.

I will work the design on cream coloured Belfast linen - the background will be heavily textured stitching, including beads and small shells that I bought on holiday in Bulgaria (a bracelet so they already have holes drilled in them). The shells themselves will be outlined, possibly in stem stitch, then I shall use pulled work stitches to fill them in, trying if possible to echo the vertical lines of the patterning on the shells.

I'll have to see if I can get started this week - depends on how the wallhangings go and how bored I get with hand quilting and finishing.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Current work - I am busy at the moment working on 2 wallhangings for the Festival of Quilts - I need to have them finished before the end of the month so that they can be posted off - as usual I am working on them at the last minute and still have a lot to do. One of them involves a lot of handstitching - I have done all of the candlewicking and hand applique, now I am on to hand quilting and then putting it all together. This is one of the applique blocks (I completed 3 of them this week).

The other wallhanging needs some machine applique on it then to be quilted and finished - fortunately I have a completely clear week ahead of me, with absolutely nothing in it but housework and sewing.

I haven't had time to do any work on my Sumptuous Surfaces design although I have been following all the discussions in the forums - I just don't have time for anymore handstitching at the moment. However I will try and finalise my design for it this week when I need a break from stitching.

Then of course there is my C+G work - I need to get on and finish Module 2 so I can send it off for assessment, before I do any more work on Module 3.

I'm also resisting picking up Harry Potter 7 - I've decided that I need to reread HP6 first, but don't want to get engrossed in it until the quilts are done. Matthew read HP7 in 8 hours yesterday - he did nothing else except eat and drink until he had finished it, now Gerard is reading it.

With all these things on my list of things to do, it's a good job that I don't have to go to work for the next 7 weeks - I love my job and the summer holidays!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sumptuous Surfaces - getting started on lesson 1. Lesson 1 is all about finding a concept to use for the first sample and using the ideas from the concept to explore design ideas and to develop the design.

I started thinking about this at the weekend - as we have just returned from a very happy family holiday, I decided to think about the best holidays that we have had as a family. I did a mind map including ideas about places we have visited which have been our best family holidays (Bulgaria, Florida, Rome, Lanzarote), the weather (sunny, hot), accommodation (selfcatering, hotel), getting there (flying), location (seaside, city break), activities (sight seeing, beachcombing, theme parks, museums, stitching, reading, people watching) and more. We plan to do one more big family holiday probably next year to the US, then I expect our eldest son won't come on holiday with us again (he's 19 now and at Uni).

So I have decided that my concept is Happy family holidays.

Motifs that spring to mind linked to this are - shells, pebbles, sunshine, space shuttle, palm trees and stingrays (from when we were in Florida) and Roman architecture.

I have never before had to explore a whole concept like this and am looking forward to keeping a record of it in a sketchbook and seeing where the ideas take me.

So I started by collecting some pictures of some of the ideas - shells, stingray and palm trees. In one of forum postings a suggestion was made to look at sand patterns so I thought I'd have alook at those as well. I sketched some of the designs and these are the ones I have so far -
I have now started to play around with some of the shapes with tracing paper - here are some of my first attempts.

I want to try some different arrangements and changes of scale, I also haven't looked at positive and negative space/shapes. Time to get the tracing paper and pencil out ...

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Holiday activities - just before I went on holiday I received Module 3 of my C+G Course (haven't finished Module 2 yet, but that's mainly quilting I need to do and I'll get it finished soon). Some of the activities for Module 3 were perfect to sit and do on holiday - namely drawing lots of lines with all sorts of different media - so I went armed with an A3 sketchbook, lots of pencils, watercolour pencils, charcoal and paint. Here are a selection of the pages that I did - the first one was using a 4B pencil -

This page is using wax crayon -

On this page I was experimenting with watercolour pencils -

On this page I used a selection of pencils, 2B, 4B, 8B and charcoal to create the same motifs.

After that I then moved on to one of the stitching exercises which was to stitch a pansy using satin stitch - I have never been very good at satin stitch in the past, but was pleased with the finished result this time. I painted the background calico with Koh-i-Noor paints and used 3 strands of stranded cotton for the stitching.

I need to stitch it again using long and short stitch - hence the sample using varigated silk thread.

Bulgaria - we've just returned home from a week in Golden Sands, Bulgaria where we had a great time. We stayed at the Iberostar Hotel, Obzor Beach - a first for us as we usually go self-catering in a cottage, apartment or mobile home. I really enjoyed not having to think about food shopping, cooking or washing up! The hotel was very nice, plenty of facilities and a large buffet at breakfast and dinner with enough choice to satisfy even the fussiest of diners.

Our rooms overlooked the promenade and the beach - very golden sand.

At the start of the holiday the sea was very calm, lapping peacefully onto the shore - by the end of our week there must have been a storm out at sea and the waves were a very different matter.

It took us about 15 minutes to stroll into the resort centre, passing hundreds of restaurants and snack bars and stalls selling everything from tee-shirts to the local pottery. Our favourite stall was of course the one selling the most expensive gifts - but they were the best quality items - hand painted silk scarves and ties, leather pictures, handbags and jewellery. I treated myself to this handbag - the central section is very textured.

We went out on a couple of day trips while we were there - this photo of my husband and I was taken at Cape Kaliakra overlooking the very blue sea.

On the same day we visited an 'Ethnographic Museum' where we saw this display of textiles - this motif had been crocheted and had a very 3D effect.

On another day we visited Varna - one of the largest cities on the coast - there we visited the Cathedral - very ornately decorated inside, another Ethnographic Museum and the Dolphinarium. This is a photo of the Cathedral.

On a couple of the evenings we went as a family to play mini-golf - here the boys are trying to sabotage their fathers shot.

For some reason they weren't very happy with me on the last night as I won!

Now we are home again - I have lots of sewing projects to do including 2 quilts to finish for the Festival of Quilts, lots of work to do for my Level 3 City and Guilds and work to do for the latest online course I am taking with Sharon Boggon through Joggles - Sumptuous Surfaces - I think that will keep me busy for the rest of the summer.