Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Getting the needle!

Angela, Sorry you could not find it in your heart to help me with my dyeing, by offering do my ironing for me, but you will find the finished results on my photo blog. I have some more dyeing to do, but not in the right mood at the moment.

However I have been doing some more needle punching stuff... this piece of work has been a real mixture of techniques... weaving, needle punching, machine stitching and hand stitching .... not finished yet.. its needs something else but I am unsure as to what. If you have any bright ideas .. leave me a comment please. I like the 3 D raised effect.. but.....!

Now the weather has cooled, Herr Schnauzer has re-discovered his toy box, its all very well, just wish I could train him to put all the toys back in the box and not leave them strewn all over the house.

Naturally all this toy playing activity roused Mr Siamese from his morning nap.

During this hot spell, all the birds have disappeared from the garden, hope they come back soon, we have missed them. Must remember to put fresh water in the birdbath.

Just as I was settling down to a lovely cup of morning coffee, the phone rings, my daughter, to tell me young grandson has a nasty chest infection. How in this heat I ask myself? Hubby returns from check up at the doctors after his knee surgery....... and not good news... he may have re-torn the ligament in his knee........ how? No idea!
Ah....... well enjoy the coffee and the jam doughnuts he got from the bakers.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Dyeing day

My stash is desperate for some more fabrics... so I had an play at dyeing some calico. I need some for my embellisher work, I am really pleased with the results. It was so hot, I really thought it would not work. It has, I scrunched the fabric tight into the bag and so have variegated pieces... just what I wanted.

At some stage this lot will need to be ironed......Mmmmm ... might have to wait until this evening if it cools down!

Like the shadows the rotary line is casting on the grass in this photo?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Mottisfont Abbey - by popular request.

We took the grandchildren to Mottisfont last year in the school holidays, and we have been nagged to do it again this year. This time we took 5 of them, and had a great time. I wished my lawn would keep Wimbledon Stripes like this.. I love stripey green lawns.

It was a very hot day, so we had sunhats, sunscreen and lots of white clothes... fortunately there are lots of trees in the grounds offering a very welcome shade.

Of course some ... just chilled out in the new stroller.

I had given all the children a sketchbook, and we did a lot of sketching in the grounds. This is the walled gardens and it was so hot... we could only sketch in 5 minute bursts. I had done some lessons for the teachers "how to teach drawing" at the children's' school, so it was interesting to hear the chatter about sketching...... the teachers had taught them well!

The ladies of leisure posing for me after cooling off in the Abbey cellars.
Think this duck is used to posing for the visitors..........
We then went off to the New Forest for lunch and football games and croquet and Frisbee... the horses were there, much to the amusement of the children.... then into Lyndhurst for an ice cream and a visit to the Belgian Chocolate shop yummy!...., a great day out.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Embroiders Guild Branch meeting

Went along to the local guild meeting yesterday evening and had a most entertaining talk by a local fabric artist from Oxford shire, Gill Whitton, a primary teacher with an avid interest in History and is a self taught and very enthusiastic stitcher. Great fun.
Whilst driving home, I was very happy to be stopped by traffic... just look at the evening sky.

Just click on the photo to enlarge.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Using the machine embellisher

I have been spending the past few weeks playing with the machine embellisher and having some great fun. I know many of you have this machine and maybe have not had time to put it through its paces yet. Regulars to this blog will know that I have had the machine for about 3 years and use it regularly. I even managed to make a little video last month.. view here if you missed it

However I have been really enjoying an online course and thought I would share a couple of the pieces I have made. More about the course later.
(this is one of my lesson 1 samples -fibre on felt)
(lesson 1 - challenge)
(Ably assisted by Alfie of course!)

( and naturally--- had to purchase an extension table for the Babylock. Good investment IMHO)
(lesson 2- landscape challenge)

(lesson 3 - weaving challenge)

(lesson4 - knitting challenge)
I am still working on the final 2 lessons and having great fun. The inspiration for all this work has been provided by Dale in her online class. Have a look for yourself here.
I have also been enjoying Sara's short lessons on the embellisher... here. what has fascinated me is that Dale and Sara use the embellisher in quite different ways to me, so its rather like taking watercolour lessons from a number of different artists/teachers, absolute bliss.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Children's Fete

(click on the image to enlarge)

A great event today in Faringdon Park, near the Railway Village in Swindon, if you click on the name you will find out more information about this wonderful park. It really was a great children's day, the Tombola stalls were selling tickets for soft toys, there were displays of dancing, a football tournament, and all the rides, swings and atmosphere of a village Fete... so enjoyable.

The reason we were particularly interested in going - was to watch our granddaughter dance with the Irish dancers. She loves performing, and dances very well. I have made a video of the performance, but at the moment I cannot get the sound to work. If I do I get it sorted I will treat you all to her dancing.

The costumes the girls wear are wonderful, so well done Tia ( she is wearing orange and has long red hair). The Celtic symbols are very intricate and some of the dresses are machine embroidered and appliqued. It had rained just before their dance, fortunately the rain stopped in time. Their dresses are stiffened with cardboard so cannot get wet. I feel sure that modern day solutions must be available as an alternative to cardboard.

After the dancing, I was attracted to some interesting organ music coming from the other side of the park, so we went off to investigate, and discovered this wonderful fairground organ. Beautiful sound.

There were lots of traditional rides for the children to enjoy. It was fun to watch the enjoyment on the faces.

The high swinging boats were popular too.

Unlike 1868, there was no free cake or tea for the children attending, but fun was had by all.

The Swindon Borough Council tent was concentrating on re-cycling and they gave us some great bags for free. We felt very virtuous, as we had left the car at home and travelled by bus. So on the way home ... we did some shopping so made good use of our new bags!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My Baby is back!

Drove down to Reading on Monday to collect my Bernina from its' holiday.

I was so excited.. just like a kid ! Sad I know. This machine is very special to me, my grandmother bought it for me way back in the 1970's. It was very expensive then and I have always treasured it. Its a Bernina 830 it has worked very hard, clothed my family, earned me extra pennies altering wedding dresses for a local company and held my hand through City and Guilds embroidery. It has never let me down! The bobbin winder ring wore out last year, and so I thought it was time to have it serviced. Mark has done a wonderful job... I am so pleased. When I finally got home , I just had to stitch with it... and it purred! It is just like new. It has been PAT tested too. Think that is important these days.

We decided to go to The Vyne in Hampshire on the way back. If you click on the name, you will be able to find out more details. It was built originally for Henry VIII to visit, and has been updated a number of times. This is a summerhouse to covet... better than our garden shed! They certainly knew how to live in Tudor times.

No photography allowed in the house, but the garden is wonderful, and of course after all the rain we have had, its all very English green!

This is the outside of the chapel which is Tudor in design... check out the stained glass window by clicking on the photo to enlarge.

Inside the chapel are the most impressive Flemish medieval tiles, hand painted and the colours are so fresh.

I have not been able to leave my Bernina alone since getting back home and have created this bag for the BQL July bag challenge. I find the rotary cutting very challenging... think I need lessons...its the numbers that drive me crazy! Maybe I am numerically challenged!

Cats are hovering around and shouting at me.... so better go and feed them.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Friends of my eldest son bought him a wonderful birthday present.. a day at the races. When they told me , I thought genteel thoughts like Ascot or similar, but I was wrong! The day was at Castle Combe- and he was the racing driver- click here! Thanks goodness they did not tell me until afterwards!

Yesterday I got a panic phone call from him... he was working at his unit and had missed the sandwich van, as he was on the phone when it called round, please could I bring him some lunch, he was starving hungry? I must be an old softie... off I trotted in the pouring rain! Well, I could not let my big baby boy starve could I.?

When I arrived I saw he had a car in the back of the unit.. all 4 wheels were off and when I looked inside.... it had no interior either. I was a little taken aback , and enquired about it. Apparently he is getting it ready to go racing at Castle Combe. Ooooooh Errrr! It would seem hubbie knows all about it, and when hubby asked me what it was like, I described it beautifully, " Its a lovely metallic blue" says I......serves him right for keeping me in the dark about it.
Son tried to re- assure me that he has done all his training and all the safety training too, and is just putting the roll bars in the car. He has sorted the engine. Then he just has to put his sponsors logo on the car, which he took great delight in explaining to me, knowing I would be interested in the design work.

I think the car looks a bit like this one..... found this photo on the net... have no idea who took the photo... as it was an advert... I hope I have not broken any copyright rules... but when you have seen one blue car, you have seen them all, don't you agree !!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Surviving the wet and a new stitching group.

Thoughts of last July's rain came flooding back to me these last 2 days... we had tremendous outbreaks of the stuff again. I know I have said it before, but I am so pleased we live on top of the hill. Of course .. there are some who do not seem to mind getting wet!

A good time to stay at home and get on with stitchery stuff. Great idea, however I also had be chief nurse, he has had a small operation to help arthritis on his knee and he had to have a responsible adult look after him for 24 hours. Thought my daughter could make a better adult for the role.. but I got voted in, as the one with most time on my hands, as I have taken early retirement! Mmmmm!

In between nursing duties, I managed to get some embellishing done... enjoyed doing this piece. Its on a weaving frame. Think I might add further decoration with some hand stitchery. It is a contender for the 12 X 12 monthly Journal quilts, I have been playing with.

Got a bit carried away with the idea of weaving, and I think this one needs some further stitching too... perhaps by machine.. ....
I removed this one from the frame, cut it up, embellished it onto some fabric I had dyed and printed, and then did some fancy machine stitching on it. Since taking this photo, I have used my Wilcox and Gibbs to chain stitch the background. I am still not happy with it... I think it is the colours.... well its good to experiment!
New stitching group information
I am in the process of setting up another group. I am so pleased with the response to the Great Western Embroiderers, that I think it is now time to create a subgroup.
I am suggesting we call it "GWE Workshops" and that we meet on 3rd Monday of the month from 10-3pm - all tea and coffee included. Bring own packed lunch.
I am suggesting the group embrace the following approach/guidelines for the workshop:-
1.As we arrive we set up an inspiration/progress/works so far, board or display of our work. This will make the room feel inspiring.
2. Then just get on with our own individual work.
3. Then give 5 minute talk to the group about our/their work after lunch. This talk to focus on what we/ they have done.. inspirations and then where we/they might go next. All positive .. no negatives allowed. At end of 5 minutes... questions from others attending - the purpose to be to progress the work.
This will give a responsibility and respect towards your work and others. It will hopefully be stringent enough to help us keep to a high level of work, as it takes confidence to be able to do this. We are not interested in a "sewing group"... much more a "professional studio " atmosphere.
I have booked the centre, and if you feel this is of interest to you, as you live within a commuting distance of Cricklade in Wiltshire ( it is on the border of Goucestershire/ Wiltshire and Oxfordshire). Please contact me and I will try and answer your questions. There is a cost, which will be divided between those attending.
Thanks to Anna for also mentioning the workshop on your blog, and offering me your support in this new initiative.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Great Western Embroiderers

OK .. you can shout at me now! I forgot to use my camera, and I do hate blogs with no pictures! I know it is most unusual for me, my only excuse is I was having a blonde day.

We had a great meeting of the Great Western Embroiderers today, 2 traders come to visit, Mark from Sewmaster sewing machines in Reading, and Gill from Gillsew .

Mark gave us an entertaining talk about sewing machines.How to service and look after them and as he has loads of knowledge, tips and advice on the subject, we really did enjoy his chat. Must go and play with my basting stitch on the Bernina after his advice. Did you know for instance, the more you use your machine, the better, as it helps to lubricate the moving parts, especially such things as the basting stitch. Just the sort of knowledge ( excuse ) we need to go and do some more machining. Did you know that on computerised machines, it records for the dealer, how many stitches and hours a machine has clocked up? Just like the milometer on the car. Learn something new everyday.

Mark bought along a Bernina, a Husquarna and a Pfaff embellisher for us to use and also a number of accessories for sale. Some members had bought their machines along and asked advice about problems and he was able to advise accordingly. Wonderful!

Our other trader was Gill from Gillsew she bought along lots of goodies for us to look at and then to spend our money of course, if you click on the highlights in this text .. it will take you to their websites.... where at least you will get some pictures! Promise to do better for my next post. Here is a photo of my old hand machine... just to make me feel better!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Urchfont Open day

(Judith Butt - C & G Machine Embroidery with Lynn Horniblow)

It was promising to be a very rainy day yesterday, especially as it was the men's' final at Wimbledon, but with some eagerness we drove to Urchfont in the middle of Wiltshire for this yearly textile event. It was really lovely to meet up with so many of my friends. Some were finishing their C & G studies, others were exhibiting for their group.

Judith is more usually known to the rest of the world as chairman of the Computer Textile Design Group, and but she also took her turn at manning the CTDG stand as well.

Look here for the CTDG website
(Judith at the CTDG stand)

It was lovely to see Textile21 exhibiting , a group who I have great affection for. Also good to catch up on all the latest gossip from the members.

Here are Pat and Sue from Textile 21

It was great to see all Anna's hard work which she has completed as part of her C & G in Historical Heirlooms course. See what Anna has to say about her course here.

Janet Crowther has been running the Historical Heirlooms course at Urchfont this year.

(Enlarge the picture for more details)

Hazel Credland also finished the H & H course and I thought this work was superb.

The rain decided to fall out of the sky as we were walking back to the car, and then I tripped over a pothole in the driveway... ouch! Lots of bruises today. However I did enjoy my "trip" to Urchfont. The tea and cakes were excellent!