Saturday 25 April 2009

Review of An Embroiderer's Eye

Today I took the train to Macclesfield to see the Embroiderer's Eye: the Diana Springall collection at the Macclesfield Silk Museum's Paradise Mill.

The BNP were handing out leaflets on the high street, which put me off Macclesfield (though the only person I know who lives in Macclesfield isn't a fascist, so I shouldn't judge them all by what they permit on the high street). And I did end up at the wrong Silk Museum because they have 4 sites and their web site is a bit inadequate at explaining what is where or which is what, or something like that.

But on a positive note, I stumbled across a very busy haberdashery shop, I'm not sure if its called Malkin & Pyatt or The Fent Shop, but it had a wide selection of printed fabrics for traditional (or not so traditional) patchwork, and loads of other fabric as well. I may be tempted back when I feel like I've used up enough of the fabric I have in my stash. Or I may just go and buy a meter of that strawberry print, anyway!

The show was small, but still well worth seeing. The quality of the work was so high, and though it was all from one woman's personal collection, there was a wide selection of styles and techniques. I also appreciated seeing some of the sketches or plans for the pieces on display, and a few samples worked up as studies for the finished pieces.

Neat bits:

  • Setting embroidery into plaster of paris, as in Paddy Killer's Stones of Venice; could this technique be used to mix embroidery with tiling or as part of furniture?

  • Saw work by Anne Morrell, whose book I'm re-reading at the moment

  • Liked the pieces by Jane McKeating, which is good because she's a friend of a friend (via work)

  • Impressed with the or nue technique Margaret Nicholson used in Mother and Daughter; can the design process for this technique be applied to wrapping string around sticks?

  • Loved how small bits of fabric were used, especially by Richard Box in Daisies, and Rachel Setford's Sandcastles, which unfortunately isn't in the catalog, and my quick sketch from memory is a bit inadequate

  • Could a stuffed festoon be designed, similar to what Ruth Tudor did, but left soft and flexible?

The show is obviously inspiring. It's making me think again about machine embroidery. The catalog is well worth buying, though some of the pieces just don't photograph well.

Definitely worth the trip, and I did a few more rows on the rag bag. And I think I saw a bunny on the way there.

Saturday 18 April 2009


Thursday, as I was weaving, I dropped my bag of yarn. Not much fell out onto the floor of the bus, but I couldn’t reach it, mainly because I still had the weaving and a bag of groceries on my lap and the seat beside me was inconveniently occupied. The occupant got off at my usual stop, and I stayed on, putting my shopping bag on the seat and squeezing down between the seats to pick up the bits that had fallen. Luckily, the bus floor was clean(ish) and I didn’t actually loose anything. I easily got off at the next stop, which is actually closer to home.

I’m not planning to invest in a bus crafting box with oodles of handy compartments, but the incident is worth remembering.

Monday 13 April 2009

Review and update

Because it's supposed to be good to review, here's the list of stuff I was doing around the middle of last month:

  • Add another row onto the quilt

  • Knit clanger to next stage of instructions

  • Cover old headphones

  • Start a patchwork piece

  • Secret step of great birthday present for P

  • Try out the Rag Bag Loom weaving project

  • Bento everyday

And here's the progress report:

The quilt finally got that row added, and it's ready for another. One a month is a bit slow, but I'm still optimistic about finishing this, someday.

The clanger is now up to the row where the arm holes are, so I need to refresh my knitting knowledge. I'm not Wii Fitting everyday, but I have been working on it if I get a spare 5-10 minutes. Again, optimistic, maybe to finish this summer.

The headphones are still an outstanding issue- I just haven't done anything on this one. It's a source of shame.

My patchwork ambitions have been put on hold for the moment, and I'm feeling alright about that. I'm planning to go to the big quilt show at the NEC in August (and visit the in-laws), and it will be just fine to go as an observer rather than a participant.

The next steps in the great-secret-birthday-gift were taken, but then one was un-taken and will need to be re-taken. Another secret step is ready to be taken. I have a feeling this will be a rush job in July.
Buscraft Weaving
The weaving of the rag bag is progressing nicely (see the action shot of me on the way to the great Chorlton Big Green Festival). I do enjoy the weaving, and it is a nice bus riding craft even if I occasionally forget the bit of yarn I want to use. Also, I found a broken polka-dot umbrella at the bus stop that will make a nice bit of lining for the bag, when it finally gets to that stage. It isn't a quick project though, and with a short work week coming up, I'll probably not have a complete bag until after next weekend. This is a tiny bit annoying, because I have my next issue of the Tanglecraft DIY Weaving Club zine, but it will just have to be put in the someday pile for the time being.

Another project note to get down: the balcony and kitchen window sill are now home to some experimental gardening. For years, I've thought about gardening, planning sowing times, reading about container plants, etc, etc, yawn, yawn. This year, I concluded that the best option is to just put a lot of seeds in some compost, water, and see what happens. If anything grows, it will be tons better than just having the seeds sitting in their neat little envelopes. As P is fond of saying, "Best is the enemy of good"

Very disappointing

I've never thought of Amazon as anything more than a company, but their new search algorithm is scandalous. Web protesting isn't something I'm familiar with, so I may get this wrong, but here's a new deffinition of Amazon Rank.

I just can't stomach this kind of homophobia.