Thursday, August 30, 2007

Colouring the Cloth

I was going to call this post - dyeing again- but on reflection thought it sounded rather macabre, so have settled for a very obvious heading. Its been rather hectic the recently, had another birthday party yesterday, 3 year old this time. Jessica has had rather a hard time in her short life, her hearing has been impaired and this year she had grommets fitted.

The wonderful part of this is her hearing has improved tremendously, and she is now starting to speak properly. We decided to buy her a doll, not just any doll, but a talking doll. She loved it straight away. So we were relieved, and then we put the batteries in. This doll is a non-stop talker, only trouble was it was all in Czech. Reading the instructions a little more carefully, this doll is bi-lingual, switch a switch and she speaks English as well.

Now I wish I had a switch on my back that would allow me to be bi-lingual, how clever is that?

However I digress as usual. Back to the textiley stuff.... have added some more colour to my stash.... in fact a lot more.

So out came the cooking pot and all the paraphernalia.

Here is the first batch on the line.. poppy colour. Not such a good light outside today, its a bit dull and overcast. Again I have a selection of muslin, silk and calico and some threads.

Now I'm not telling tales.... but the supervisor thinks his job is part time.... here he is having a morning nap! Whilst I'm slaving away at the hot stove.

So here we have Poppy and Pea Green........ Now I loathe green... I hardly ever use it. My mates will tell you, I usually give any green in my stash away happily. However I have decided - I am now grown up and need to use green occasionally. Time will tell!

Of course when dh turns up with a new pedal bike ( this folds and fits in the boot of the car) Herr Schnauzer, the supervisor is most attentive and supervises the checking of the tyre pressure. When dh tells me the cycle fits in the boot of the car..... I cannot help myself... and you will know we live at the top of a hill from the recent flood stories.

Well....... I pondered whether ... he would drive the car to a location in town ( bottom of hill) catch a bus home .... then cycle to the car.... put the cycle in the boot and drive home in the car?? That way he does not need to cycle uphill... its a killer!!

Needless to say my ponderings were not well received. I digress again.

Back to the real work. I did four lots of colours and feel very pleased with myself. All ironed and ready to use.


Pea Green
and of course you already know about the lemon yellow.
That's it for now folks.... I'm shattered....

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Dyeing day

Just for a change, I managed to get some textile stuff done today, it was a good feeling. So whats cooking?

I enjoy dyeing using the hot procian method, as the colours are so dependable. I inherited a lovely enamel cook pot from my Grandmother. She used to use it for cooking, Goulash in particular. One of the problems with enamel is it chips easily, and this pot has a big chip. So I now use it for dyeing.

The rinsing is also easier, as the dye seems to penetrate the fibres, leaving less residue to rinse.

Of course the quality of workmanship had to be checked by Schnauzer supervisor... his quality control is nothing to be sniffed at!! The dyeing passed with flying colours!!!

Its wonderful to see it drying on the line, and I now have some cotton, silk , muslin and a number of threads for my stash.

Now which colours shall I dye next? My stash has been depleted of some of my standard colours.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Bank Holiday Monday

Lovely relaxing day as its a Bank Holiday here in England. This area has a lot of country shows
and we like to support the local Cricklade Show.

Dogs are welcome too, so Schnauzer gets to have a good time . He was exhausted after meeting all his schnauzer friends at the dog show. We treated him to a new toy, he loves it.

The main arena always has some great attractions, and this year was no exception. We were treated to some wonderful carriages, many are used to take brides to our local church on their special day.

The show was very well attended this year, weather was sunny but not too warm. Brilliant for a day out in the country.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Bank Holiday Family time

Wonderful weather, in fact very warm indeed. So time for the Family BBQ. 3 weeks ago we bought a new gas Barbie.... and yes it has rained ever since, so today it had its maiden "cook in".

My biggest worry - had I bought enough bread rolls?

We prepared the garden.... gazebo's and sun umbrellas out of storage, and the paddling pool to keep the granchildren cool. Dusted the garden furniature down and we were ready. What a feast for 11 of us.... great.... some happy children and tired grandchildren have just left.....its only 8pm and I am too shattered to do anything!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

After the Show--Quilt 2007

Am still feeling totally inspired by the work I have been fortunate to have seen this last weekend. My own work has been curtailed a little, as we are having new double glazed glass units inserted into our window frames. Hence the - Still life II

Life is not still in this house...... I have been frantically trying to clear all the areas in front of the windows, why do all the spiders in the world decide to descend on my house to build their cobwebs??? I hope they have now all decided to re-locate.

The next show I am going to is the Knitting and Stitching Show, again at Birmingham. I decided on that location as the coach is very reasonable and the journey is fairly quick. Ally Pally is quite a nightmare to get to from the West Country.

However it looks as if I will be going to Ally Pally as well, as I have been asked to "man" the CTDG stall. More details later, and hopefully may have the opportunity of meeting many of you.

So lots more inspiration on the horizon. so exciting....... must do some work ..... did I tell you about the new embroidery group ? Have a look here .........If you are interested please contact me.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Festival of Quilts 2007 Birmingham

Its always so hard to decide what to do first when you arrive at a show like this. I only go for the day, so have to have some sort of game plan. As my husband accompanied me this year, I thought I would visit the traders in the morning and then meet a few of my internet chums at lunchtime and then have a look at the exhibits in the afternoon.

So first stop is many of the traders I know well, so does dearly beloved.. so it was a moment to say hello - if they were not too busy on their stands. Bailey Curtis was busy so I waited a little while, and then we chatted about a new group/meeting of local textile artists I am in the process of orgainising - click here for more initial information. Bailey was creating some beautiful felt at the stand.

Then moved on to see Myfanwy who has just become a granny... so we looked at photos. Lovely. Also bought some Evolon from her... so will be experimenting with it, as I have never used it before.

If anyone has any helpful hints .. please leave them in the comments... thanks in anticipation.

Then, on to see Maggie and Clive, where we had a really good chat, Maggie was playing with her embellisher machine ( no surprise there) and Carol ( from Quilt WOW) also joined us. Thanks for the really sound and helpful advice about my future ... most grateful, and yes Carol, I did get to speak to Margaret from C & G. Really exciting.

So I have purposely kept you waiting for a photo.... here is my haul of purchases and leaflets. Interestingly Coats have created some new threads, one of which is Seta Reale, available as a very fine silk thread in 100... I want to try some of this thread on my treasured Wilcox and Gibbs Machine. So exciting!

I was very restrained... and so proud of myself. My game plan was to only buy products I could colour myself, and with only one small exception I achieved this. I also bought no books.. that is a first! Sorely tempted ...but stuck to my plan.

Met up with my internet chums Lynn and Helen, and then went round the exhibitions... The one which really shone for me, was Australian Artist Gloria Loughman-- fantastic work.

I also really enjoyed the 3rd European Quilt Triennial from Heidelberg Musuem- link here ( in German, but has pictures).

Recognised many names from the blogworld in amongst the quilts, and was so pleased to see work in the flesh... alas lots of notices saying "no photography", which always makes it so hard to share excitements of what we have seen with the blogs. I have tried to give you lots of links, so you can pursue the artists I have featured if you wish. Also heard a lot of German and Dutch being spoken as I went round.. such a wonderful European flavour to the event.
A good day out, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Seems to be a bit of an anti-climax to show you some of my workings in the sketchbook, but as I use my blog as an aide memoire for myself... it is useful to me.

This is a double spread, each page larger than A4.... here I have been playing with ideas related to Cubism and tone.

You may well recognise some of the imagery of this page.... but it is the tones and subtle colours that interst me in this page ( which is unfinished) - the imagery is unresolved and patchy, and I am not at all happy with that aspect. The colours really excite me though.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Day out to Mottisfont Abbey

As members of the National Trust, we decided this year to get a family ticket and put all the grandchildren onto our membership. It was a good investment as yesterday proved.

We had wanted to take some of the grandchildren to the New Forest for a while now. It had always proved a great day out for our own children, so we wished to make sure the Grandchildren experienced these same simple delights.

Hence we decided to start our visit, by going to the very edge of the New Forest, and visit Mottisfont Abbey at opening time. The weather was promising sunshine and showers, so we took wellies and macs as a precaution.

We arrived before the Abbey opened, but we had a 5 month old baby to feed first, and children to water as well, so the half hour wait to opening soon passed.

The children were entranced right from the start.... going over a little river bridge, with lots of rainbow trout swimming obligingly so the children could see them. A special moment. We walked along the River, which runs through the grounds and the children were permitted to run over the perfectly manicured stripey lawns.

We marvelled at the massive London Plane trees... well I did, and despite having taken my sketchbook, there was no chance of sketching. So camera had to suffice

There was no way of photographing the whole tree...... then I read the notice... and reality dawned! Well it was early in the morning.

We carried on walking beside the river, which was still quite swollen after the recent rains. The children were fascinated by the garden sculptures

We also stopped to admire the bright blue dragonflies, beautiful sight... very hard to catch in a photo! There are 2 in the following photo... can you spot them? The photo will enlarge if you click on it.

I looked back towards the Abbey at this point and managed to get a photo of the large plane tree, on the left of the picture.

We let the children run and play, and then went into the house. Fabulous Art collection, explained if you click the link Mottisfont Abbey. We had lunch in the Cafe... excellent as always.

The Rose Garden is indescribably wonderful.

This is a place I would like to return to and draw and sketch.... lots for everyone to do.

We then moved on to the New Forest, to a clearing we know well, allowing the children to play and the adults to rest and feed the baby once more.
Fabulous day out ..... with some very sleepy children in the car on the way home.

Three year old grandson stole the day...... " I love the New Forest, Nanny... and I am on holiday all today until I go to bed! "

Loved my Horoscope for today too ............think I will definitely have to follow this advice

"""Too much work around the house and not enough help from others could have your nerves as taut as violin strings, and you might be tempted to snap at those around you. Perhaps it would be best to let the work go for today. The Moon-Pluto square across your sixth and ninth houses isn't going to make it any easier. Try to find something creative to do instead of throwing yourself into drudgery. You'll feel less stressed about it tomorrow"""

No problem with that.. off to the Featival of Quilts in Birmingham, tomorrow as well. So bound to have a good day. Now to get some coffe and then stitching and drawing.... yes!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sunshine and Rain

It was a case of Rain, Rain go away today. A good day to practise the old nursery rhyme. We did have spells of intense sunshine, inbetween the heavy rain showers and thunder.

The sun created, when it was out, some wonderful shadows on the buildings, and I did manage to capture this image . The photo has flattened the image somewhat, but the intense shadow still shows up.
I spent most of today working in my sketchbook, and am rather pleased with myself, as I really enjoyed the creativity. Perfect activity for this sort of weather.
Also managed to sort out some of my old paintings and drawings. Always a pleasurable exercise.
This painting took me down memory lane. One of my first acrylic paintings, it is of the playground of Gilberts Hill Infants School. It was housed in a beautiful old Victorian brick building. It was closed down as being too small and too expensive to run, despite excellent teachers and education for the studetns, and it has now been converted to apartments. So this painting is part of history now.
Wonder if anyone visiting my blog remembers the school? The old school was situated between old and new town, with this glimpse across the roof tops. No grass for the children to play on..... just tarmac.
Let's hope for better weather tomorrow. No stitch today

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Still Life

Life has been happening, despite the lack of blogging. I have really enjoyed reading this week, in particular the novel "Perfume", Have been out and about too... its holiday season in these parts of Wiltshire. Industry has a 2-week shut down. Its a rather archaic idea, but it dooes mean shopping and sightseeing is much easier, as most people go abroad for their holidays now. Must dash off to hairdressers now.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Monday Feeling.....

Where did the weekend go?

Saturday was spent babysitting three of the grandchildren all afternoon and evening. Loved it....... we played with water, pebbles and did loads of drawing and collaging. We looked at the latest edition of Stitch that I had bought and had a great discussion about dolls and how to make them. They know I made a more traditional doll a while ago and they play with her when they are here. She is completely hand made - even her real leather shoes. I enjoyed making her.

Any way, there was also plenty of changing nappies, feeding and making tea. I had a whale of a time. I had forgotten how great it is to have children around.

Had also forgotten how exhausting they can be, but did not feel tired until I had got them all to bed!

Sunday I spent the afternoon reading the book"Perfume" it really was too hot to do anything else. Sara is reading it too...... her reactions are posted in her sketchbook on her blog...... fantastic work... love it Sara. Wish you lots of fun and good wishes on your Opus journey. I know you will enjoy it.

I have done a little more with my sketches today. Considering I have used Black Quink ink... it is all very blue! This one has been backed with muslin - ready to stitch- now am not sure I want to stitch it. I like the effect as it is.

I have been stitching into some of my other ideas..... swapping back and forth between machines. Makes my dh laugh when he sees me - here are my e-bay machines. Both have been working hard today. The electric one I use for Free machine embroidery, and the W & G I use for doing some chain stitch ...... now if only I had more arms.... I could use both machines at the same time.
What did we do before e-bay?? Now if only I had a bigger studio I could have a treadle too......
Anyone know where there is a Sewing Machine Anonymous group for those addicted like me? You either love them or hate them!
You might like to check this You tube link... here. Some traditional patchwork for you to enjoy, and the exhibition is on now.... if you happen to be in Anglesey ( Wales). The video runs a little fast, so I used the stop and forward button to get a better look. Hope you enjoy.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Tat and this and the other.....

Had to go in search of the bits and pieces in amongst all my stash, for this particular craft. I have been asked to teach others "how to" in September. So being a good teach... though I had better get some Visual Aids sorted... not just finished pieces..... this one is a really simple edging.

I was quite surprised how easily I fell into tatting again. Grandchildren are fascinated by the shuttle flying back and forth.... better than television for mesmerising them into silence!

I have been very busy this last month sorting/disposing/decluttering, all the years of teaching stuff I seem to have accumulated. It is a very liberating thought that I never have to worry about meeting the requirements of KS3 again. I have re-cycled all the paperwork. Of course you come across stuff that is still important and I could not throw away..... like some clay tiles I made last year as a Visual Aid for the GCSE students. I have identified this space..... ( the wall in the outside porch to the house)

for these tiles.....

Hope these two can be married together soon.

Now I know he reads my blog...... so please can they be nailed onto the wall?

However, in his defence, we have been celebrating our wedding anniversary this week. Children have been great and showered us with flowers and chocolates.

Talking of flowers... did some more drawing today and backed some more drawings with muslin. Will have to get some stitching done into them before I photograph them for you.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Chance meeting of strangers.................

Shopping is not one of my most favourite activities. Today we had a number of mundane chores to see to, and as a highlight I popped into a famous bookstore (beginning with B) at our local shopping centre.
So am pleased to say Sara ... I have the bought the book we were discussing on Skype yesterday. Shall start reading it tonight... have you had yours delivered yet?

I also wanted to peruse the textiley magazines... had a look at Fibre Arts, and Surface Design... but put them back after a lot of soul searching....... went in search of Quilting Arts .... just in case.... but will probably have to subscribe to get my mitts on that magazine..... then ...... I noticed that another customer was looking at the same mags as I was, so that was how I met Jackie...... hi Jackie....

We had a really good chat, lovely to meet a fellow stitcher and dabbler in fibre. I ended up buying Stitch, a magazine I usually subscribe to ..... but which I had allowed to lapse.

Have been pasting muslin onto the back of my drawings today, so that I can stitch into them.... nothing to photograph yet, they are still drying. May take a little while, it is so damp today..... and you will never guess..... yes its pouring with rain. Weather man was wrong ..... again!