Monday 30 January 2012

End of the Week of Colours, Conclusion, and Stars

Only one image today - this experiment with interlocking stars.  I didn't invent this, and I did it very slowly while thinking about my Week Of Colours.  And my conclusions?  The week was pretty hard compared with last year's Week Of Trees (see label/link at the bottom of this post to find the entries for that) - it was hard to put stuff down because it wasn't today's colour, and although I have got lots done, I have not finished enough to make a display, which I would have liked to do.  There is a big pile by my chair waiting for hand-finishing on the bindings, and a further huge pile layered and ready to quilt.  And a huge mess in the workshop.  I spent a while today sorting out the Blue Box which had exploded on Saturday and would not go back on the shelf.  So I sorted out all the stuff I no longer want from it and I'm cutting it up to make charm packs and the like.  I think I should do more of this, as the stash has got silly.  I was amazed just how many unlikeable fabrice were in the box, and how glad I was to be able to get the lid back on.
So, tomorrow I have to teach and rehang the shop, sort out the rent, and wash up..
And think about the next "Week Of..."

Thanks for reading

Oh, and the stars come from Here

Sunday 29 January 2012

Sunday is Indigo and Aching Legs

So, Indigo.  I have a box of Japanese fabrics with quite a lot of indigo-dyed stuff, and this delicious lacquerish red which goes with it so well.  The bottom panel is a wierd fabric which I suspect is either silk or horsehair, and has a most beautiful delicate print. The dragonflies seemed to go with it, and the green panel will have some hand-stitch.  Pins, as it is layered but not quilted yet.
I layered a lot of half-made pieces from earlier parts of the week.

Then I made this one, with more indigo and rust. After I had sewn down the right-hand tree, I found this little bird perched perfectly in the branches
Then this one.  This is the first piece I have made all week that I really don't like.  Might get scrapped, but I'll wait awhile in case inspiration, or a rotary cutter, strikes.  The central fabric is Names of Fishes in Japanese.  It actually looks better on screen than in life..
And this one, which is Not Indigo, but was hanging around making me feel faintly guilty.  Screen-prints on a piece of fabric which I had used to clean out a paint-jar.  I'm not sure the inner border is defined enough, but it may be OK when quilted.  The outer border I really like.

I'm really tired and I hurt a lot.. Slow evening, maybe a quiet week

Saturday 28 January 2012

Saturday, Day six: Blue and Boats

This is more like it!  I have been trying for ages to make a version of this boat image that would be teachable.  My original ideas, part of a series that I made for the Sea and Sky exhibition a couple of years ago, was too complex to teach, and too long-winded.  I was pleased with some aspects of the original, not least the time I spent choosing the quilting colours and matching each segment, so that the details were never obscured by the stitching, just added to in texture without any overlay. The quilt (below) is big, about 3 by 4 feet, and I do not expect it to sell quickly.  The smaller pieces I made for the same exhibition are long gone.
The technique I used to make this I call MAP piecing (Modified American Piecing), and starts by taking a piece of paper as big as the finished item and drawing all the segments on it.  I then cut this up and used it to mark out all the pieces, sewed them together on the marked lines and re-assembled the whole.  Laborious, accurate, and very satisfying.  But not for a Class.  Even a very small piece is more than a day's work and you need extreme accuracy (sadly lacking in most sewists, and not part of my Teaching Practice)
Anyway, I made four boats today, in two pairs.  I had all manner of thoughts about variations, and I have three nice pieces, two quilted and blocked, and one ready to layer.
Detail of the quilting
This one is called Two Boats, and here's a detail

Tomorrow is Indigo...

Oh, sorry, no lunch image.. No blue food and I didn't want to fake it...or perhaps I can...
Bless Photoshop!

Week Of Colours, Frustration

I've been struggling with muscle weakness.  Losing the "pinch grip" in your thumb and forefinger makes making hard, and not being able to ride my bike is driving me crazy.. So I went to see the rheumatologist, and he referred me to the physiotherapist, and I went to see the latter yesterday morning.. Now, you can't park at the surgery, because they are digging up the car park, so I walked, up, back to the library, down to the Post Office, back to the supermarket.  On the way I saw this glorious pink-against-blue, but I must have covered about 3 miles in total.  So the rest of the day was blasted by exhaustion. And I couldn't blog last night as I was too tired to go and find the camera..
Now I have some exercises for my neck, and a possible 13-week wait to be seen again.  Then I went looking for my blood-test results, only to be told that the 146 tests taken last time did not include the relevant one.. So, more needles on Monday. 

Meanwhile, the coffee at Baileys is as good as ever, and the flowers on the table are charming.
So, I did make a couple of small pieces, and I finished quilting yesterday's gree and red tree, did all the machine quilting on the big hedge piece and took it home to hand-stitch, and made a really good attempt at classifying a huge box of odd sewing-machine needles for my Old Sewing Machine Parts website

Thursday 26 January 2012

Green / Best-laid Plans

Of mice and men..
Got up very late, as not feeling well, and had bad dreams.. Nothing to do with the colour thing, which is proving pretty satisfying so far.  Not quite as good as my Week Of Trees last year, but still worthwhile.
Went shopping, and found these lovely plants in Morrison's car-park. Note the touches of red, which are inspiring, and thought-provoking.

Someone's tastes have changed

So, two more postcards of a recycled persuasion (green!).  Painted patchwork which I note has old pink blanket as batting..

By this time it was lunchtime, and I had my usual salad (note the red bits again, a theme emerges).
(I have much the same salad every day, but the cunning arrangement of the camera and the cropping of the image leads to an exposition of the colour theme.  Blue is going to be tricky) Note the 60s plate, rescued from the dump (green!)
Over lunch I finished reading this book, by Janet Twinn, which arrived on Monday from the Library in utterly timely fashion. It's an interesting book, and like all good books, much too short.  There are the usual "colour wheel" parts which I skim, and quite nice explanations of various printing, dyeing, and painting techniques, but the most interesting parts for me are the images of the work and the close-ups of technique and stitch.  The book itself is nice, too, having a solid feel, a rather nice cloth cover and good print quality.  I may actually buy it..
Back to the Best-Laid Plans.. I was intending to make small pieces of a saleable quality, several, green, maybe with a touch of red.. But when I got in to the workshop, the chaos was unfeasibly bad, so I had to tidy up, answer the phone a lot (sales, though..) and find a space to work in.  This took half the afternoon, so by the time I started I'd lost the thread, so to speak.. And I'd found this piece of printed fabric that is everything I had in mind except it's not small.  So I layered it anyway and started quilting it with lines in a smudgy green thread.. I have some ideas for more detail on this, more later.  I have decided that I'm not done with Green, so I'm extending it to tomorrow.

 Quilting in progress
 This small piece of screen-printed fabric qualified as a failure the first time around.  Interesting technique, which unfortunately isn't terribly nice when it's done.. Then over-printed with the moon and sky, which is better, but not quite...
Definitely improved by the addition of some sewing.  It will have more quilting and a red binding tomorrow.  It does have the merit of being small.. The little red tabs are a new idea.. I like them a lot.
Last of the day, some City Lights blocks
And a perfect beetroot leaf.
Oh, and John fixed the gas struts on the car, so no more stick-to-prop the boot.. Yippee!
Sleep well, more tomorrow

Wednesday 25 January 2012

Yellow is Difficult..

Here's the Yellow Box.. As you can see it's not very yellow.  It's quite hard to find good yellow fabrics and monochrome is not always succesful in this part of the spectrum.. So I started the day with a couple of cushions that I started last week, in seriously Provencal blue-and-yellow
So far, so good.  I packed some patterns that I made yesterday, with yellow covers, as it happens

One of my best sellers.  Note the strapping-tape packed with the pattern.. Small things like this make a big difference - this stuff is easy to find but impossible to describe.. Given a sample everyone goes "Oh, that stuff!.."

Then today's lunch had Eggs (and salmon, but that's the Wrong Colour, so Not Shown)

I made this tree from a Screen-printed piece and this delightful stripey yellow-and-white that has been in the box for years.  As an aside, I notice that some of my fabrics have been with me for a long time.  It's an interesting game, working out the quilts that have a Long Stash Accumulation Period, and those which have obviously been "bought for" all in one go.  Many of my younger students have no working stash, so they buy each project as a complete entity, make it, and have little in the way of leftovers.  I have been buying fabrics for almost 50 years, and I have a huge amount.  This makes weeks like this one possible without too much forward planning, as I can just get the boxes out.  I haven't used anything that wasn't in the workshop this week. 

Anyway, I have taken a whole series of process photographs for this and plan to put up a proper How To in a couple of days on my website.. Watch this space..
Then I worked on this piece for most of the afternoon. I don't usually do Work In Progress photos, because I find them less than useful, but this one was a useful lesson in poverty of contrast.  At the stage above, I hung it up, took one look, and dived back into the box for some Darks, as it was Boooring..
Much better... Detail below, showing the last tree, which is translucent hand-dyed gridded fabric.  I haven't decided whether to trim out the ground fabric under this tree yet.. The effect of the underneath fabrics is quite nice, but the overall effect may be better without..

Tomorrow is Green and should be easier all round

Tuesday 24 January 2012

Day Two - Orange

 In no particular order - Kitemaking is Messy, Carrot Salad for lunch, small delta kite with bat,
octopus and flook kites, eight Tiger Blocks ,  (click for tutorial), and five recycled postcards. Now I'm exhausted and I'm going to sit in front of a nice Orange fire...

Monday 23 January 2012

Week of Colours - Day One; Red

 Start small - a postcard and two nice handkerchiefs for himself..

Argue with Blogger.. 41 four-patches in reds.. 

Make these Disappearing 9-patch blocks

 Quilt number one was a dragon with Laquer-reds in Japanese fabrics, details below

 Quilt two - I had an odd tree sitting in a box
 Later, quilted (all on the table blocking overnight, so nothing is finished yet
 This one was layered and awaiting spiralling
 This screen-print had been in a think mode for a while.  Needs more borders, I think
 Lunch, in keeping.. Beetroot salad!
 And the Scraps.. Note the thread bunnies
Goodnight, more tomorrow....