Friday, 29 March 2013

Close up on "Close Up"

Looks like the Textile Maids have all more or or less finished the second challenge on the theme of "Close-up". Here they all are together, photographed at our third meeting earlier this week. This picture shows what an enormous range of interests and styles we have between us doesn't it?

Our fourth challenge is going to be "Dreams". I've been looking forward to a more abstract topic but now we've got one I've gone  I think I will carry on with sewing the sequins and beads onto my "Seeds" piece and get that finished first.

I find our meetings really helpful - there is always somebody who knows the answer to my beginners questions. This time I found out about 'Frixion' pens that can be used to draw out a design and then disappear when ironed ( thanks Jane!)...although apparently it can re-appear if you put the work in the freezer, but I don't think I will need to make a habit of that!

Hope everyone has a good Easter break, and keep up the good work!

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Sowing the seeds

What a lovely workshop yesterday. I loved it all - the sewing, the company (especially the little ones), the quality of the 'maids' projects and the orange and almond cake (thank you Chris). We did the usual Show and Tell with the previous month's piece and it always amazes me how very differently we all interpret the given subject and how very talented everyone is.
For 'Seeds' I chose to make a piece of felt and embroider and applique some poppy seed heads on to it.
I started with a piece of grey half felt and placed one layer of undyed sheltland wool tops on it. Before felting I put some bamboo tops and carded jute on the fleece to give it a little texture.


I then applied 2 velvet poppy seed heads and embroidered 2 with knitting yarn and 2 with stranded cotton, a scattering of bright shiny beads for the seeds, a patchwork cotton border and the piece was finished.

I am really enjoying the monthly challenge and already planning next month's project.
 When 'Dreams' was pulled out of the tin I was a little concerned - I was not sure how to go about it, but I am getting more confident and now I am keen to get going.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

'Seeds' challenge........

Hi everyone,

Just had this link sent through on twitter......we think we've just done a seeds challenge, how about this                                                                Amazing........... 2,000 dandelion seed heads installation, take a look.


Monday, 25 March 2013

Dear all,

I have just come across this local company - I expect you know them already but just in case, here's the link,

see you later in the week, chris

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Abstacted Armchair

My 'Close-Up' piece came from the upholstery pattern on an armchair at home, the abstract design has always interested me.
Photo of armchair fabric
I started by taking a close up photo, I then drew my design into a sketch book choosing the shapes I liked, not keeping to the placements on the fabric. I used water colour paints, loosely following the upholstery colours.
Design painting and fabric sample
My next step was to do a  free machine sample of the design and add a wash of Intense Blocks and fabric paints. I liked this effect but the patterns were not as sharp as I wanted.
From there I decided to paint the design onto a piece of  hand dyed fabric. I was considering cutting this up once it was painted, but it took so long to paint and I liked the result, so I laid two sheets of organza over to knock back the colours and quilted it in a simple grid pattern.
The edges are finished with satin stitch and then painted.
Abstracted Armchair
detail showing finished design

Difficult to take good photos as the organza catches the light.
Back soon as the next challenge is waiting my attention.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Closing down on Close-up

I just have the hanging ring to sew on the back of my Close-up project and I'm all done. It has been a bit of a struggle as I have not been satisfied with the work as I embellished it. Once again I overdid the bells and whistles or rather the ribbons, braids and beads. Yesterday I removed all of the beads and more than half of the braids, ribbons and yarns and am now much more pleased with the simpler look. I really liked the basic sari ribbon weaving and realised I had lost the 'look' as I added more and more bits and bobs to the work. I have never minded taking stitches out (just as well - I do it a lot) and I think I have retrieved the feel I wanted. So, there we are - my interpretation of a micrograph of a butterfly wing.
Thanks for looking. Margaret

Thursday, 7 March 2013


I started with photos and drawings. I then zoomed in to identified the lines and textures I wanted to highlight.

I used a hand dyed fabric overlaid with shiny red organza to represent the Pomegranate seeds which are encapsulated in plump, shiny, transparent sacs of juice. I did try burning the organza but did not get the finish I was hoping for, so I left that procedure out on the finished piece.

The sacs are trapped in a membrane and a spongy creamy white pith. and I chose bleached mulberry bark for this, on which I couched down a variety of cords and fibers.  After machine stitching and painting the seeds I finished by embellishing the pith with sequins and beads.

I do like a bit of bling.......