Saturday, 30 April 2011

Bluebells Begun

Well as seems to happen a lot these days I haven't had as much stitching time as I had planned for the last few days but hey my bluebell piece is started. I've been gathering threads ....Thinking about fabric ...... I've decided to play with one of the stained baby wipes left over from the transfer painting experiments earlier in the module......automatic patterns have been thought about and stitching has begun.....So far just some work on the tree trunks, but I've already learnt alot and have lots of new ideas and thoughts coming out of working on this one. There is still a long way to go before it's finished but I'm really enjoying the process already.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Wedding fever

Unless you happen to live under a rock it is pretty difficult to ignore the fact that there is a royal wedding about to happen here tomorrow. So I decided to put a bit of romance in to my stitching for the latest sample.I picked out some pink threads and three automated stitch patterns from my machine featuring hearts, flowers and a cross stitch which I thought could represent a cheeky little kiss or two. XOne of my threads had gotten pretty faded (I think this was part of a batch that I bought cheap from Ebay a few years back). I thought it might create some interesting colour variations and I'm happy that it did. Maybe a little difficult to see as I found it hard to get an in focus close up picture but I used it for the flower patterned stitch rows.I have a good few unbranded threads lying around that I've bought over the years, I keep all my threads in boxes by colour. Thanks to a tip from my wonderful tutor Janet I have started putting a numbering system on the unbranded threads so I can go back and use the same colours again from my reference pieces if need be. I'm using Roman numerals as my pen is to thick to handle all the curves in the everyday numbering.On the threads with black reels I'm painting the numerals on in white acrylic paint.

I'm approaching the end of chapter four now, but have one more piece in which to play with my automatic stitches some more. I'm thinking about trying something inspired by this picture taken on a walk through the bluebells on Monday.I'm planning on working on it tonight so hopefully I'll be able to share in the next couple of days. But today I'm excited to be going off to Sue's whose going to hopefully teach me how to crochet - something I've wanted to learn for ages, but just haven't managed to be able to teach myself from books. I'm excited, it should be a fun and creative day!! :)

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Auto Pilot

Finally the machine has been dusted off and I'm stitching again. Made my first sample playing with the automatic stitches on my machine and the second one is well under way. Actually the second one might have gotten finished last night if it wasn't for Pip cuddling up to my machine again last night and stopping play! :)

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Mondrian's Millennium

Life really does feel like a whirlwind at the moment. Busy at work, busy at home I just feel like I'm here there and everywhere. Still I'm not complaining life is for living right and I'm trying to squeeze every last ounce out at the moment, including getting in some stitching time. So yesterday in my lunch break I popped home and managed to get the third sample for chapter four done.

It's another piece experimenting with stitch width and length. I used this picture from the millennium wall ....and this piece by Mondrian my inspirations. I really loved working on this one.
Next up I'll be playing with some of my machine's automatic patterns, but I'm away to spend a couple of days with family first.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

No stitching to see here

There has been no stitching going on round here for the last few days. I've been off having too much fun in Cornwall.

This trip saw us navigating Bodmin MoorStrolling the heathland
Climbing up to the top of rocky Tors
And climbing of a different kind tooAfter all the climbing there was still time for a beautiful stroll along the beach. Anyone want to come paddling with me?
Actually I spent most of my time out of the water, photographing all of the beautiful textures and colours of the mussels clinging to the rocky cliffs.
I have four more days of work to get through now, then I have eleven days off. Those eleven days will include plenty of stitching time I hope :)

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Burning the Midnight Sewing Machine Oil

I've started work on the third piece of stitching for this chapter, there are about seven altogether for this one so a long way to go yet. You might be able to tell from the light in the picture that it was pretty late.
I seem to be getting most of my course stitching done in the dark, apart from the odd hour or two at the weekends if I'm home. I like it it's nice and quiet and I can fully concentrate on what I'm doing once all other chores are out of the way. It's nice to be sat at the machine without my mind wandering off to the fact that the dinner dishes are still sat by the sink.
Of course at our place being up late doesn't mean you're alone. Last night it was Pip who kept me company. It was nice listening to him purr away until he decided that my machine had been worked too much for one evening and it had now become his pillow instead!
He snuggled down for a nice rest. If you listen carefully you might be able to hear him purring in this little clip, but I think it was drowned out by the tapping. That was me trying to get a reaction out of Pip, as you can tell he wasn't in the least bit interested.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Playing with Zigzags

So my second sample piece for chapter four is now finished. Here it is.I think this might be my favourite piece of stitching for the course so far. I used the cheaper rayon threads that I got from ebay last week and they have been running through my machine so far. I've not had any drama with tangles and breaks which is what I feared might happen buying unbranded.

I love how bright and vibrant the colours look against the black felt background. I also like the look of the piece in the first picture where I've attached it in the sketchbook. All those threads ends look like tassels to me. It looks like a little magic carpet, I wonder if it will whisk me away to somewhere exotic if I step on?

Monday, 11 April 2011

The machine is getting a good work out

Well chapter three might be finished but there is no rest for the wicked and it's straight on to chapter four. My poor sewing machine hasn't worked this hard in ...well ever! As my original timetable is out the window, my current aim is to try and get somewhere near the start of Chapter six by the end of the month.

We're away a couple of days this weekend so I think my poor machine is looking forward to it's own little break!This chapter is all about zigzagging and using automatic patterns. The picture is a little peek at the first sample I made, which was an exercise in using different stitch widths. Last night I finished a similar exercise using length but haven't had a chance to photograph that yet.

There are about 7 samples to make for this chapter so I have a way to go yet!

Module One Chapter Three - Straight Stitching

Here are my sketchbook pages for chapter three (including the extra piece that I was umming and ahhing about in the last post).

Yet again they have uploaded the wrong way round even though they were taken landscape on my camera. I will try again to upload the right way, but for now I just want to get them up here so that you know I've done the work and am ready to move on to Chapter 4 (and also I know that Janet has a super whizzy computer that will be able to rotate the images so they can be read easily!!)

Friday, 8 April 2011

New Toys

Look what arrived for me in the post today, just in time for the weekend too.

I had a little splurge on ebay this week. I found the set of maderia threads first, at several pounds cheaper than I'd seen at any online retailer so they went straight in the basket. And not content with that I decided to try out a cheaper unbranded pack of rayon threads too, they were about half the price of the maderia but mostly I believe that you get what you pay for so I'm interested to see how they compare.

I have some gardening and some babysitting to do this weekend but I'm sure I'll manage to squeeze in some stitch time too, it would be nice to have chapter three ready for submission by the end.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Shall I, shan't I?

I've finished my three stitching samples for chapter three, so technically I've finished the chapter.

However I have this idea that keeps popping in to my head to explore straight stitch just a little more and may be try another little sample based on this picture from the Keukenhof gardens in Holland.For some reason this picture has stayed in my head. It's taken a grip on some of that loose brain matter that I have rolling around in there and it won't let go.

The sensible part of my brain is telling me just to move on and try and catch up a bit of time on that self impose schedule that is also rattling round in my head.

But somehow I don't think I'm going to be able to move on, until I give this a try. It's not actually a required part of the course, but I think this silly daft head of mine somehow won't be able to think of this chapter as complete unless I give it some more play time.

Hmmm shall I, or shan't I?

Module One Chapter Two - Fabrics

Finally some sunshine and some decent light to get photos indoors so here are my sketchbook pages for chapter two. (As there aren't as many pages for this chapter I've posted them individually rather than as a spread, to hopefully make them even more clear to read).

Monday, 4 April 2011

Some actually stitching

I was hoping to post my chapter two pages with my fabric samples today, but the times I've been at home the last few days the skies have been grey and the light hasn't been good enough to make the notes show up clearly enough - I really must get the scanner sorted.

Fear not though I haven't been resting on my laurels and over the last few days I've been hard at work on Chapter Three, working up some straight line stitching samples. Here is a little sneak preview, of the pieces in progress.

I got some really kind and encouraging feedback from Janet on my transfer painting work yesterday, so I'm fired up and ready to keep going on this fun adventure. I can't tell you how glad I am that I finally took the plunge and enrolled on a City and Guilds course, it is good challenging work and takes time but I'm getting so much out of it. If you've ever thought of taking a course but haven't signed up for one reason or another, my recommendation is to just go for it!

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Fabric Galore

Yesterday I spent some time collecting up lots of little fabric samples for chapter two of the module.Was trying to figure the best way to mount them in the sketchbook, and I ended up stitching them on to little pieces of watercolour paper. This way I got to stitch in to each type of fabric and also I'll be able to add some glue or tape to the paper to stick them in the book without the adhesive messing up the fabric.

Hmmm I don't remember ordering one of these for my C&G work, how did that get in there?!

Friday, 1 April 2011

Module One Chapter One - Transfer Painting

After a lot of hard work yesterday I am finally able to upload the pages from my sketchbook on the work I've been doing on transfer painting. (If you click on the images you should be able to get larger images if you want to read my ramblings on the page).

It feels like it's been a huge amount of work to get all of this done, and I've spent a lot of time experimenting with the technique. Not everything has been successful but it's all in the book regardless of whether I like the results or not.

I have to say I'm really happy that I managed to find some satin fabric as I feel a lot happier about my results with the technique and am a point where I'm now happy to move on.

I'm about 2 weeks behind the little timetable that I set for myself, but I didn't realise how involved in this first chapter I would get. There are still so many more things that I could have done, both for my colour and image work and the transfer painting. But there does come a point where you have to draw the line and mark it as done, and I'm happy enough with the work I've done for this first chapter to say that point is now.

On to Chapter Two.....