Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The last of my Christmas photos

I bought pens for the boys and last week I decided that I needed to give them something handmade to go with the pens. The rest of the family would open up handmade gifts on Thursday morning and it didn’t seem quite fair to me for them to miss out. So I found two notebooks and spent nearly a week working out how to make a lined cover for each (and less than a day actually stitching the covers).

This exercise could also have been a TIF offering for June. About 20 years ago my daughter made these interesting screen prints and discarded them. I could not bear to throw them out and have allowed them to mature quietly in the cupboard. I also discovered a remnant of red gabardine from some ancient project that almost matched. These covers are the result – the whole project was a total stash raid!

I have cooked 4 of the 5 Christmas cakes I hope to make – fortunately we like and eat a boiled fruit cake – plenty of whisky makes it very festive! There is other cooking to get done in the next few days so I can’t imagine that I will manage another blog entry before the big day – so Happy Christmas to everyone – have a wonderful day.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Christmas!

Christmas week has arrived and I have finished all the Christmas presents I planned – well almost all. I did intend to make a couple of small items but they feel by the wayside. Surely that is normal - definitely for me. Usually I start Christmas planning with the best of intentions and most of those intentions remain just that! So I am very happy with where we managed to get this year - and absolutely amazed that I have them all wrapped and waiting for Christmas morning. For many years wrapping was something I did at 11.30 on Christmas evening. So some things do improve with age!

I used five of my TIF embroideries as inserts for little wooden boxes that my husband made to fit the embroideries. He has done a wonderful job. These are for our four children and my sister. I hope they like them.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Cushions

The cushions are finished and ready to be wrapped.
These are gifts for my three granddaughters and they are 6, 7 and 7 years old. They all love pink - however I decided that although I had embroidered with a preponderance of pink threads I needed to make the cushions in another colour.
Amazingly I managed to find some pale green gaberdine in my fabric stash (probably not surprising at all - there is so much fabric in that cupboard.

I am quite happy with the finished result . Thanks to Paula's instruction I lined the covers with carefully (?) quilted fabric - Warm and Natural wadding machine quilted onto some sheeting. I am grateful for Paula's advice as this made a big difference to the finished look of the embroidery on the cushions.
My Christmas stitching is almost finished Maybe I can manage to make one or two embroidered ornaments - I had great intentions to make a number of these for the tree this year but so far have stitched none. There is still a little time. Our tree will go up the week before Christmas when, hopefully, there will be plenty of volunteers for the job and all I have to do is sit and offer advice. Putting up the tree is never a problem but guess who gets to pack it all away in January!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My December TIF

Well this will be a record - I can write up my TIF effort by the 3rd of the month. Sharon has given the concept of generosity for the month's theme. Now December is a very busy time in this household - we have visitors as well as the big celebration of the year so I have decided that since the gods are smiling on me I will be grateful that I can finish the year on such a positive note!

What is even more wonderful is to complete the year with this concept and feel it has really come a full circle. You may remember that in January the theme was based on the idea of considering someone you look up to. My chosen person is the most generous person I know so this was the attribute I considered for that theme. At that time an outstretched hand seemed to me to be the most appropriate way to portray this attribute and I still like this symbol.

Also because it was January and my enthusiasm for the challenge was at its peak I even managed to produce a piece using the chosen colours for the month so, if I withdraw my generosity piece, I still have produced 12+ pieces for the year , despite my using a slightly mature piece for November.

I have enjoyed the year's challenge very much and want to participate in next year's exercise that Sharon is offering on relatively unknown embroidery styles and stitches. To what extent I will do so I am not sure at this stage. I have found the years exercises really made me think and certainly extended what I had learned from the Sumptuous Surfaces class both in how I approach a concept and my stitch vocabulary. However I now have a number of directions I want to explore in embroidery and, as well, I am really getting anxious to try the loom again and find out if I have forgotten how to weave or not.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Undulations - real and perceived.

Side 1 4CDW Reverse 4CDW


Ripple Scarf

(Sometimes Blogger drives me crazy - I cannot put these photos in the order I would prefer so I will leave them thus and give up!) Please view the photos in reverse order to make sense of the text.

Neki and I have been talking about texture in weaving. This helped me remember a scarf I wove a few years ago - the aim of the exercise simply was to produce a cloth with texture. Many weavers have done this much better than I have ever managed but I was quite proud of this result. I am not quite sure at this distance in time exactly where I got the idea. I think the original fabric inspiration was a 3/1 , 1/3 striped fabric of Bonnie Inouye’s. Since I used 3/1, 1/3 twills often in my weaving it was an easy design to play with, and even easier to weave. The warp was a fairly loosely spun cream wool, 2/18 or thereabouts, (as you can see this was well documented!) and the weft was a more evenly spun 2/24 wool. The secret to the ripples is in the afterwash treatment. After milling, I hung it from the clothes line (quite wet) and tied a half full milk container of water from the other end and pulled the scarf into shape as it dried. Then of course, no pressing! This scarf is so soft and warm - it is one of the few I still own but I am pleased that I managed to hang onto this one.

My next piece is, in some ways, much more interesting – it has marvellous ups and downs but is a smooth piece of fabric. I do hope you can see these undulations in the photos. The structure is one of my favourites – four coloured double weave. The yarn is 2/20 cotton – the musk pink thread in the warp is unmercerised but the other three yarns are mercerised. I am not sure why or how I managed to acquire that musk pink (and I had a kg) but was over the moon to discover I could mess around with its ugliness as well as I did in this piece. Colour is so intriguing!

From the time this fabric started to appear and I realised what was happening I was smitten . From then I felt that I only wanted to weave cloth with hills and valleys. I have not always been as successful as I would like. Whereas sometimes it occurs without even trying - on other occasions it can take a great deal of effort. It all seems to depend on a mysterious interaction between colours (both hues and values) and structure. I have also achieved the effect using a shadow weave structure and 6 colours. It is just magic that sometimes you can make all these elements sing in tune.

From this one warp and a variety of weft colours I made a series of table runners with coordinating plain weave serviettes . Some of the colours had deeper furrows than others. Not sure I have any photographs of them, unfortunately, as I have given away all those runners and this is the only scrap left.