Sunday, 16 August 2015

One Block


The piecing was done at home, and the stitching both on the bus, on lunch breaks, and at home. Years ago, I took an on-line class from Sharon B of Pintangle fame; this is so long ago that she's not even doing the class anymore. It was too much for me back then and I didn't get further than reading the handouts, but as my new year's resolution, I decided to start a crazy quilt this July. I skimmed through those handouts and started sewing.

The good: I like how it looks.

The bad: Lots of anxiety around choosing how to put it together, though none of it was difficult.

The ugly: It's not as fancy as I had in mind; it feels done, but I feel like I kept deciding not to add stuff.

Now, time to start the second block.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Making a rainy day more bear-able

brolly bears
This idea came from the Real Clothes comic by Makimura Satoru. One of the characters had a super cute little ghost tied onto his umbrella; it made me want one so bad! I'm not really an umbrella user, because I fear causing mayhem and injury, but when I realized I could use the wool ball bears I had made back in March 2009, I handed over £6 for the second-finest Superdrug would sell and set to work.

The good: It was raining today, and it was honestly fun to walk around town with the bears dangling and bouncing. Yes, it was silly, but in a good way. Another good point is that they don't interfere with folding down the umbrella. The string is just long enough that they are outside the folded fabric. (That was by chance rather than plan.)

The bad: I think I only hit P once, though I may have splashed a stranger as I was folding it to go into a shop.

The ugly: Not exactly ugly, but the cute little bells rattle more than ring. That said, you'd never hear it over the sound of traffic on the street.


I'll have to watch how well the bears stand up to their new role; it's much more active than gathering dust on the bookshelf, so they will probably need a bit of repair work in the future. Lots of other ideas for dangling rainy day mascots have been popping into my head, so I may give them a vacation when I'm ready for something different. 

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Reading challenge

Lured by the chance of book tokens and goodie bags, I've joined the Six Book Challenge that Stockport's library service is promoting. It isn't really pitched at people of my reading level, but it's nice that it is inclusive enough to encourage people like me to participate.

Considering that I have four books on the go at the moment, I shouldn't find it hard to read 6 by the end of November, but I also want to get a lot of other stuff done. It gets hard to find the time to enjoy a book, but as I'm between crafting projects, spending my commute reading sounds like a good plan.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Finished project: embroidered rock pool postcard

I was finishing the backing on my way to the guild meeting last Saturday, but I did get it done on time:

embroidered rockpool postcard

The good: I liked using the plastic confetti and sequins, which isn't something I would usually think to do, but the request was for bright pieces of work, and they did make it positively sparkly. The satin fabric was fun, too, and I do like the way it folds. The folds are just scrunched and held in place with either two small stitches or a bead. I might try the technique with different fabric someday, maybe on something machine washable.

The bad: My good intension of using several different stitches quickly turned into lines of mainly running stitch. It would have more interesting to look at and demonstrate embroidery with if I had used more stitches, but I'm not skilled enough to stitch without concentrating. So, "done is better than best" and using running stitch means it got done!

The ugly: Because it's now in the guild's keeping, I can't show you how bad the back and edges are. I should have used a larger margin around the edge of the displayed part of the work, to give more to work with when turning and lacing the back. The folds could have done with filling that wider margin as well. It did all come together, but it really was a bodge job.

So, now that the postcard is finished, what am I up to? Well, I've put my sketchbook back in my bag and I am occasionally doing a bit of drawing. My dream of making a comic book refuses to die, even though I don't do much but dream.

At the moment, I'm sort of put off crafting by the state of my craft table. How many times have I whined about what a mess it is, and how I can't do anything when it is so piled with stuff? Enough times that my manager seriously suggested I need a clear desk policy for my craft table.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

My report on the Festival of Quilts

Need to start with a big thank you to all the people who made quilts, organised the show, or just attended the Festival of Quilts. I know it's a commercial event, but I still feel I should thank everyone involved.

It's been four years, but I finally got to go to the Festival of Quilts again. It was really nice, lots of great quilts and a really good atmosphere. I went on Saturday, and it was Tuesday before I felt recovered from the event, and it took until Friday for me to upload all my photos. So a big event for me. I'm just putting a few notes here, to act as reminders rather than give a full coverage of the event. I don't think I could write enough to do a full coverage!

I was surprised at how much I liked the quilts in the Pictorial Quilt category. Generally, I tend to think quilts should be quilts, and when a quilt is too representational, it tends to annoy me. But not at this show; I really liked a lot of them, not just for the technical skill in making them.
view of Luke Hayes' (the American Context 68) Double Elvis view of Dian Smith's Blodeuwedd view of Hilde van Schaardenburg's Hommage a Monet

The way quilters used prints also really caught my eye this year, especially how prints were cut up and re-combined:
view of Neil MacGillivray's Forth Again detail of Janet Boult's Out of Africa detail 2  of Ans Schipper-Vermeiren's Rozen (Roses)

I also liked seeing how the back of patchwork was used, either as a second side or as a design element in its own right:
detail of Danielle Coolbear Jenkins' Peonie back detail of Sara Edwards and Mandy Parks' Ivy's Quilt detail of Mandy Pattulo's Detaching Hexagons

Something I didn't see a lot of was frayed fabric. I suppose quilting has its fads, but the absence of fluffy strips reminded me of how much I like that technique.

I took loads of pictures, maybe too many. At one point I felt like I was looking at my camera more than at the quilts.

The nicest thing happened on my way home: I was sitting in an aisle seat on the train, working on my embroidered postcard (despite having forgotten to take my scissors- I think I've already blogged about my reluctance to have different bags because of my dread of forgetting to put all the things into the current bag? Well, I was limited to using threads I had already cut because I switched bags to go to the show and left my cutting tools at home.) A troop of people who had been to the show (I could tell from their bags) were getting off at an earlier station, and one of them nodded to my work and told me "That's beautiful" as she passed by to leave the train! How sweet!

Here's how it is looking now:
postcard in progress shot

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Can't take the heat

I gave up knitting because it of the heat wave! I'm not sure if it actually was hotter than just sitting on the bus not knitting, or if psychologically I just associate knitting with stuff that keeps you warm.

Instead, I've started a hopefully quick bit of embroidery. The Manchester branch of the Embroiders' Guild is putting together a display piece of postcard size embroidered rock pools that can be arranged to link up with each other. I'm sort of slacking on the embroidery work lately, so I have a feeling of obligation rather than enthusiasm about this. Still, once I got into it, I am liking how it's looking.
embroidery rock pool

And yes, I am doing it totally backwards by putting down the sequins and beads before the stitching. There isn't much of a plan for this project, and all I knew was that I wanted it to sparkle. So I started with the sparkles and I'll just put up with the thread catching on them while I fill in the rest. I have a definite deadline for this: 7 September, to hand over a the next guild meeting. Hopefully, the weather will be cool enough to pick up the knitting after that.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

less sketching, more knitting

It's the end of June, my deadline for sketching on the bus. I looked over the half filled sketch book last night, and it's not a sucess. I have proven to myself that having a sketch book doesn't make my sketching improve.

I'm now rearranging my bag to fit in my next bus craft project:
knitting for quilt

This is a spool of thin cotton velour yarn that was going cheap at the embroiders' guild meeting a few years ago. I have been knitting it up for quite a while now, usually just when I'm doing my minimum 30 minutes of Wii Fit. (Exercise is easier to do if I can do something else at the same time.) It's 4 meters long at the moment.

What is it going to be? It's going to be the edging on a quilt. Have you seen the stellarquilts? I love their textural qualities. Originally, I was thinking of trying to make one myself, but the amount of stitching was too intimidating. I started thinking about how to make a simpler quilt, but focusing on texture. My current idea is to put together a selection of different textured fabrics, including some swatches of knitting, in fairly large pieces without following a pattern. If the totally patternless sewing is too difficult, Plan B involves sewing patternless strips, then sewing the strips together.

For the backing, I have an old king size duvet cover in my fabric stash, so it will be a large quilt when it all gets put together. I know the knitting will shrink, but I'm not sure by how much. If it shrinks to just the right size to edge the entire quilt, I will be very surprised. Since the whole quilt is planned to be patternless, I'm not bothered if I need to splice in a different material for the edging. The important thing is to have something that feels good, and I'm certain that this bit of knitting will be wonderful to touch.


The need to assess my use of time and what goals I have is still building. My natural inclination is to stop doing something if it gets hard, but if I want to ever get something done, I'm going to have to find a way of managing the frustration and working through it. Or, change my mind about what I want to do.