Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Needlefelting/Embellishing - I have looked with interest at the increasing coverage on blogs and in the media about using embellisher machines and wondered about the benefits of having one. For a minimum of £200 it seems an expensive machine, which I'm still not sure that a) I would have the space for and b) how much I would use it. I am interested to see how other people use them and what they create with them.

With all this in mind I was very interested when I discovered that Clover have brought out a needlefelting tool - I know that needlefelting needles have been around for ages - they always looked rather dangerous to me, whereas this one has a safety guard round the needles, so may cut down the number of times that you spear yourself. I decided that at £12 this was a much more cost effective option to try similar effects to the machine. So, I purchased one today from Hobbycraft, along with a foam pad (much cheaper than the Clover mat) and some felting wool and had a go this afternoon. Here are my first 2 experiments - firstly a small landscape scene on a base of felt, using the wool and some threads from my stash

then an abstract on a base of lightweight calico, again using mainly wools and silk tops

The needles work very well with the wool fibres, fibrous yarns and silk tops but not so well with smoother threads as there is little for them to push through the surface, although calico did work well as a base. With the smoother yarns I needed to put a little bit of wool over them to hold them in place. I shall keep experimenting as it was great fun and they would make a great base for adding beads and hand or machine embroidery to.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Sumptuous Surfaces - my first piece is finished! It has taken me a couple of weeks to actually stitch it but now it is done and I am really pleased with it. I used Caron Waterlilies threads, DMC stranded cotton, fancy threads couched down, beads and shells to create the textured surface. Now I need to decide what I am going to do with it - am I going to make it into a picture or use it in some other way.

Festival of Quilts - I spent a lovely couple of days there at the end of last week - as it worked out, I could've done with more time to walk round the exhibition as I had booked a couple of workshops which obviously cut down my time. On Friday I did a full day workshop with Gloria Loughman from Australia, called Playing on the Surface - it was great fun and very inspirational. She showed a way of working and creating a unique quilt which totally suits my way of working - making it up as you go along! Now I have lots more work to do on the quilt to get it finished.

This week I am going to attempt to finish my Module 2 embroidery work which is actually different kinds of quilting - I have silk painted the fabric for the 3 samples, now I need to quilt them, then decide what to do for the final wallhanging. I am basing my work on a photograph of pebbles, that I found in France.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Sumptuous Surfaces progress - well I have made a start on stitching my piece - hampered a little by the fact that I have ready Harry Potter 6 in the last couple of days and am just about to start reading HP7. Originally I was going to work in creams/ecru colours, but found that I didn't have very much thread in that colour scheme - so after a trip to the embroidery shop on Thursday I ended up with this colour scheme - I had already outlined the shells before I went.

So, now I have finished the border and filled in the lines on the shells using pulled back stitch in one strand of cotton. I then used 2 strands to do a very random herringbone stitch in the top half of the picture to give a base for the more texture stitches. I don't think I will do that at the bottom - I want to leave it feeling lighter. I started to work some buttonhole wheels/cups using perle cotton and then couched a wonderful fuzzy yarn at the bottom right hand corner. Now I need to add lots more textured stitches when I can drag myself away from Harry Potter.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I have spent the last 10 days working on my 2 quilts for the Festival of Quilts - for the past few days all I seem to have done is stitch and very little else.

Well both quilts are finished and on their way - hurray! It was rather a close call in the end as I finished the roses quilt on Monday and blocked it out yesterday - it looked quite good when it was finished - I spent 2.5 days machine quilting it in the end. I started this quilt about 3 years ago on an online course through Quilt University it is machine appliqued onto a background of 2" squares.

I finished stitching the blue quilt as the UPS man rang the doorbell!!!! I had asked them to come between 3 and 5 to pick the quilts up but he arrived early at 2.45 so he had to wait while I took a photo of it, gave it a very quick press and packed it up - now I realise that I didn't have a proper look at the finished item so don't really know what it looked like overall - it'll be a nice surprise when I get to the Festival of Quilts.

The four corner blocks are candlewicking - french knots, the central block is beaded and the applique blocks are done by hand, the sashing scrolls are couched with Caron Watercolours thread.

I've attached photos of the finished items - the blue one hasn't come out very well, I'm afraid. I know that I could've sent them by UPS tomorrow but I wanted to make sure that they had enough time to get to the depot, in case UPS had any sort of delay. Now I can get on with the rest of my life. So...

Tomorrow is likely to be filled with shopping, washing, ironing, tidying up and starting to read HP6 as a refresher before I move on to HP7. I have started to outline my shells for my first Sumptuous Surfaces piece but need some more neutral cream/sandy coloured threads to make the background interesting.