Sunday, January 26, 2014

Studio work

The studio table was in a real mess by the time I had finished today, and this is my feeble attempt at tidying up. The weather was awful today.. it was raining ice at one stage, and late afternoon was getting very cold. So it was good to be cosy in the studio and working.

This is a small quilt that has been hanging in my studio unfinished for quite a while. it now boasts a backing, binding and sleeve. It may need a little more surface decoration in the form of embroidery. I am not sure, I do like the textures as they are.. 
The daylight was very poor, and so this is not a good photo. I have decided to  leave it hanging in the studio before I decide whether it is finished or not.
The weather forecasters are threatening some snow tomorrow, just hope they are wrong. I have some chores to do which involve going out.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Be Creative

Myfanwy created a Facebook group ( for this weekend only) giving a series of prompts all through the day for spurring your creativity.  Have a look here.
This was my response yesterday to Prompt 1.... which was 6 circles. My first  thought was  round footballs... but then as usual, I make  it all my own.. and created oval rugby balls with faces, drawn with neocolour II in my sketchbook.
I then took a digital photo of the sketchbook page, and then played with layers in the free program called GIMP see here. I use it a lot and find it very powerful.
The resulting image above, I uploaded to FB. to the group page....... and obviously the next question is.. how to use it?
Have had thoughts about that too. I may print it onto fabric and then stitch into it. At the moment it will have to wait though... I have other work underway in the studio today. Its a small quilt that has been hanging on the wall, looking dejected and unfinished. So its time to give it some attention.
Right back to the studio and some being creative... this is fun!

Friday, January 24, 2014

A lot of red - and a short walk.

A few letters need to be posted, so a short walk was called for to the post box. The weather was dismal and grey.... but the redness of the post box shone out quite brightly. The complementary colours of red and green seemed to work particularly well too.

Instead of turning round to go home... I thought I would take a ten minute walk as it wasn't raining. The walk took me past the children's play area.... totally deserted today. Perhaps the children prefer to play indoors today. The bright colours caught my eye.... but there seemed to be a lot of moss too, a result of all the damp and rainy weather we have experienced.

This bush of red berries caught my attention on the way home.. it is national bird counting  here In the UK this weekend. We do not get many birds in our garden, but the countryside nearby is full of good things for them to eat, so my bird feeders are not as attractive to them. that's my excuse anyway.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Name the mouse for Lydiard House... please.

So here she is all finished and ready to go on show at Lydiard house in April. She will be part of the children's quiz and will perch in one of the State rooms for the children to spot.
At the moment she has no name.... so please leave suggestions for a name in the comment box.... and I will pull a name out at random on the 29th January.
Maybe it should be Mia Grace..... see why  here !

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A day of activity.

After a hectic morning of chores, I had to go and post some letters after lunch, so decided to go for a walk as well. At least it was dry, but the wind was bitterly cold. Very strange sky in this direction.... but..... turn around ..... and......
Blue sky...... ;o)
Had a another look at the number of road signs that are now gracing the road closed.... they seem to be multiplying by the day.  When I got back home I headed for the studio, feeling rather cold and windswept.
Some of my Internet buddies and I are trying to do drawing more frequently and trying out different techniques. Just for fun. Here I tried some drawing by touching objects ( hidden under a cloth) and making graphite drawings..... it was great fun. I have isolated some areas of the drawing that I like and may translate into textiles.

I have also been making a mouse for GWE's next Lydiard Exhibition which is April - June 2014. The mouse is nearly finished and I will post more photos when I have put in the finishing stitches .
I also put a few more stitches into some abstract work that has been pre-occupying my thoughts and sketches, and my studio walls since the autumn. It felt good to get into the studio today and complete some unfinished pieces of work... and of course sketch.

Friday, January 17, 2014

English patchwork - hexagons

It was good to get into the studio today and finish the hexagons I had started earlier this week. I still cannot believe I have used green fabric ! The larger patchwork is now a cushion cover, I have not bought the cushion pad yet, which is why it looks rather flat.
I have made the smaller hexagons into a pin cushion, with a hanging loop.
English paper patchwork is quite relaxing to do... and very easy... have a look here
The sun was shining this morning and I was hoping to go for a gentle walk around the area, but I had too many chores to do. After lunch it started raining , and I lost the willpower to go out in it. Instead I spent a most enjoyable afternoon in the studio, as you can see.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Walking in the neighbourhood.

As I have mentioned here in a previous post.... street furniture can raise a smile. The formation of this cloud and others in the sky were very apt I thought.  At least the sun was shining..... we still seem to have had more than our fair share of rain just recently. So I thought I would just share my  recent walk with you again today.

This old stone wall was covered in ivy, old leaves and a tangle of roots. I wonder how old the wall is?

I used to drive up this road quite regularly..... it was very busy and a good connection to other main roads. It was shut permanently in 2000.. however the give way sign at the top of the hill is still in position.  Cyclists often use this road now, and so it may still be necessary.

A few more road signs have appeared at the junction of the other lane that has been temporarily shut.... there seem to be more signs every day - where do they all come from?
This tree is huge and  very impressive..... probably been here for a long time, and so I could not resist the temptation of some more images for the sketchbook.

I have used oil pastels again..... love blending them.

I have also made a small printing block, and this is printed onto fabric.
Did you notice the strange date today 14-1-14 (14 Jan 14)?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Fascination with trees

I chose to take another walk along the closed lane, the sun was shining and the trees were magnificent against the sky. They were really demanding closer attention.
En route I passed this old and tangled apple tree.... I have made a mental note to go past again when it is Spring.... the negative and positive shapes of the branches are fascinating.
I took my sketchbook along and created a few sketches... and then added some more when I got home. The ivy leaves were picked up on the way and I have hidden them under a piece of organdie. I am hoping this will preserve them.
I also did this sketch above in the studio using oil pastels.. ....I love the way the colours can be blended. One of the artists I have always admired since I was lucky enough to see an exhibition of his In Dortmund, when I was visiting family, is August Macke. This piece is called Rokoko and is dated 1912.
I love Macke's' subject matter and use of colour. I often find his work inspirational.
I could not resist taking this photo- in the far distance are the hills of Gloucestershire, and I wondered what my very special friend Gill was doing on this lovely sunny day.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

The forgotten Seamstress

I have never blogged about a  fiction book before, but must share this one with you. it was part of my Christmas reading from the local lending library. I found I could not put it down, it was so spell binding.

 The Forgotten Seamstress by Liz Renow.  Liz gives a synopsis of the story here, much better written than if I tried to write it.

Apparently Lynne Edwards - a renowned quilter - created a virtual quilt to complement the book..... I think it is fantastic idea. I wonder if anyone has actually made it up? Details here

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Walk in the sunshine

I was starting to suffer with cabin fever, being cooped up indoors with all the storms,  so it was a good decision to go for a walk with the camera today in the sunshine. As you can see this road will be closed tomorrow, and so it was a good opportunity to have a closer look.

The flood waters along the lane are starting to disappear, but the footpath is very muddy still.

You may recognise this photo.. but there is  no snow!

 I just love the idea of the bridleway and the roundabout sign...  street furniture can be really inspiring.

 This particular field may be full of houses in a few years if the planners allow it...... such a shame.
This is becoming very rusty.. I think the telephone company have forgotten it exists.

Just to prove I was taking the photos... my shadow!

The planning notice on the post tells about the road closure for a month.

I did take my sketchbook for a walk as well, but it was such a cold wind that I got very cold and so had to keep moving. I am sorely tempted to use some of these images and develop a sketchbook  working in the studio. I know that Jean Littlejohn and Jan Beaney used their surroundings for inspiration for a whole body of work. That may be the way to go forward.
I found an inspiring interview with them on the web.. have a look here.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Still raining.... so time for more Patchwork

This is the lane at the bottom of our access road, this reporter was certainly braver than I was today. This photo is thanks to our local paper the Swindon Advertiser.
I was intending to go to the Marlborough Embroiderers Guild this afternoon. Ros was giving a talk today and I was really looking forward to it. Unfortunately I have to be mindful that I am needed at home, so cannot afford to take risky journeys with the possibility of getting stuck due to floods.
 I did however make good use of my time. 'tis true I could have cleaned the fridge out after its hard work over Christmas, but instead I did some more work on my Patchwork.... and yes it will become a cushion cover when it grows up.

The sun came out briefly in the middle of the afternoon, which was just the right light to complete the hand applique of the grandmothers garden segment to the background.  This is now ready to layer up with wadding for the quilting... which I shall do by machine.

Mr Siamese was very keen to sit on the warm ironing board and give me lots of vocal support.

I even managed to cut out the backing and machined the hems. Not very interesting to photograph really. I am debating whether to put some piping around the edge of the cushion, or a fabric frill. I will have to have a look at the fabric I have left before I make my decision.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Hexagons .. English piecing patchwork

The storms have been raging all across the UK... so it has definitely been a time to stay indoors and hibernate.
I wanted some simple mindless stitchery to do, that I can easily put down and pick up again. So some very simple  English patchwork came to mind. I could not find my templates ( purchased 3 and a half decades ago!) so ordered some ready cut paper inserts from Ebay. Made me feel really lazy.... however it was a good choice, as the cut papers came speedily, and so I set about cutting some fabric.

I decided to use the tried and tested design of Grandmothers flower garden and was amazed at how quickly the rosettes came together. I also stumbled across Haley site which had a few quick tips on starting hexagons.. have a look here.
I last made a quilt....years ago.. started in 1977 ( Queens silver jubilee) and finished it in January 1978. It was a cot quilt, made for my youngest son.
 I had bought some Laura Ashley fabric offcuts from her shop in Clarendon Street in Oxford. There were not quite enough, and so I used some leftover fabric from some summer skirts I had made for my mother. These were all stitched together ( in front of the open fire to keep warm) by hand. The piece was then appliqued onto a strong blue backing. It has survived constant use..... but needs a little repair as you can see.