Sunday, 6 December 2015

Shibori too

Some very old bits and bobs, over dyed with a shibori layer. This one reminds me of the Aurora - night flowers perhaps

a tiny scrap with a little shibori applied to the "leaves", previously mono printed

another second layer on my Eco shibori - this with royal rather than turquoise to see what happens; the latest in the the Homage dyeing experiments. I've been stitching that as well but no pics to show at the moment

A bit of silk viscose dyed a couple of weekends ago

And these, given an initial layer yesterday, washed, rinsed, dried, ironed ready for today's layer. These are very small bits of fabric, test pieces to look at how the fabric reveals the dye. Satin viscose and silk velvet - I stitched both pieces with similar patterns.

the velvet was really thirsty for all that colour

Each cut in half. Now to add a next layer of dye. First stitching to re-shibori, echoing what has gone before. Again, I'm also testing to see how much dye each fabric will take.

above shows the backs. I try to echo or at least stitch in harmony with the layer below in the next layer of stitches. All pulled up tight.

Now sitting in a very small pot of mixed turquoise, black and a smidge of golden yellow

Again, I'll report later

So here's what's happening

in between the comings and goings of life, here is one of my current wanderings with dye and cloth - this on a slightly slubby silk previously dyed by spraying lightly with blues. All on a very small scale, this is Health and Safety respectful kitchen dyeing!

In keeping with the colour theme pop some little scatterings of dye into a small pot along with some soda and salt

Take previously dyed fabric and soak in a rich solution of soda and salt

Shake up the dye, salt and soda powder

sprinkle over the soda soaked, still wet fabric

and wait

I'll update you tomorrow

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Framing - preparation

so I've stitched these little bits of cloth together to make a bigger bit of cloth. Now to frame it. I don't have a big enough piece of the remaining fabric to make one long border, so will piece in strips to make a three inch frame. A suggestion of some dark blue to add into that mix prompted an impromptu ice cream tub shibori session. I've kept some of this fabric as it is, but have taken a couple of bits to darken down. An opportunity to add another layer - remember this started as white fabric with some onion skin eco printing done in 2011

First stich the cloth, trying to regularise the pattern underneath, whilst keeping some of the subtleties of what's gone before, reserving little bits of light or colour with stitch to draw up tight and save from the dye.

Tie up good and tight and fluffle (yes, that's a technical term) out the wrinkles to make them lie evenly and flow away from the pulled up stitching.

Then in to the ice cream tub with a good dose of salt, more turquoise, a splash of black and a grain or two of scarlet.

Half an hour and on with the soda.

Now we just have to wait for morning.

Friday, 20 November 2015

A little homage cloth

This is a little something I'm working on at the moment. Some Conny and Harry's sheeting, eco printed with onion skin and maple leaf some considerable time ago, left to be thought about.

Last weekend I took them out, extracted the leaf prints and dyed the rest a gentle turquoise, some shibori'ed, some just dipped.

I dyed them in little batches, each of thirty minutes, then took out of the dye and plunged in a soda rich solution in another bucket.

Now cut into pieces of regular size and proportion, I've been hand stiching them together using the Jude method of (in my case) finger pressed paperless piecing. She has made a significant proportion of her early online classes available free. It was these that got me started, though I have changed her basic nine patch construction for something a bit more free form.

Influences paid homage to with this?

Jude              India                 Susan                   Judy                    Lotta

all women whose blogs I follow regularly and whose ideas I ponder on and absorb.

I am struck, as one can only be from personal experience, by the portability and ease with which this human powered assemblage of pieces can bring small scraps of fabric together into a larger whole. You can finger press seam allowances, stitch anywhere, become absorbed in the rhythm of the stitching, recognise a deep link with stitchers everywhere and at all times, that swish of thread through fabric, the shape and pattern found in stitching, the way the whole thing, because it's taking place slowly, allows for modification along the way.

Not quite complete yet, and pre proper pressing here. I have changed layout, orientation, combination of these bits of fabric as they have joined with one another and, because I'm working with regular blocks of 1,2,3 and 6 inches, I can chose to combine elements in various ways, which all build to a maximum 6 inch block. These are now being assembled into a larger whole, which will then get a border to frame. A twelve patch.

Then, of course, more stitch

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Sampler finished

at last I've finished the first bit of the Branch stitch project. It really has taken far too long, in fact I see it was started in January this year, which is a little ridiculous! However, I've learnt a huge amount and have really enjoyed it. It looks a little darker here than in reality, but with dark fabric you have to trick the camera by taking the half depress to get the tones from somewhere else, at the same distance of course. In this case I focused on the carpet, which is a light beige, then moved the camera to take in the stitching

What have I learnt? That you need to use the right needle for the weight of thread, otherwise it doesn't pull through the fabric well and gets more wear, so doesn't last as long; that the shinier rayon threads have a tendency to untwist much more, so they squiggle and wiggle about while you are stitching, which can be very counter productive; that starting and finishing tidily is really helpful; that blanket stitch is far more versatile than I could have imagined; and finally, that I'm very glad I didn't get French Knots!!

I love these little knotted buttonhole stitches in the bottom right quadrant, and will use them in the next, pictorial bit of stitching, to evoke some flowers in a field

and of course how could one forget buttonhole stitch as used in Stumpwork? OK, I nearly did, but amended plans for the central circle to include a little setting sun of corded buttonhole, which I'm really pleased with.

All in all, a really interesting and enjoyable project with plenty learnt, not least the getnly art of finishing!! Hope you like it.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

evening's beauty

Just some pics from a walk down to the seaside this evening.

So lucky

Cooden Beach Oct 2015

Thursday, 22 October 2015

A Lull

I'm in the real doldrums at the moment with my stitching and textiles in general. I've nearly finished the first of my stitch pieces for the Guild, but just can't settle to finishing it.

I've still got my ordered squares of linen I took to Birmingham to work on, but have done very little since except stitch them all down to the background. I have a Studio11 session tomorrow, and am feeling all squirbled because I have done no preparation and have no idea what I'm going to do at all, except take pleasure in the space to just be and perhaps ponder. I will at least put some threads together for the linen squares and take my Guild piece to finish!

In part I think it's probably down to some health issues. For several years I've had an intermittent nagging pain in my midriff. Having had some keyhole surgery go disastrously wrong a while ago now, I'd always put it down to aftereffects from this - you don't want to see the scars, I look quilted!! Then, in the week before we went off to the Lakes it got considerably worse for a number of days; so much so that we wondered if we'd go at all, but it settled down to bearable. Since we got back I've been for an ultrasound scan, always a fascinating process, such magical technology. It turns out, I have gallstones! A veritable constellation of them in fact, so my good doctor and I decided today that it's time to sort it out. Expect an announcement of surgery sometime in the future. Hopefully this keyhole will go right ....

Meanwhile I've been reading some treasures. A friend recommended both authors, first Kathleen Dean Moore

Then Kathleen Jamie.


Both write wonderfully about being in nature, in very differing ways and in very different places. I've been struck as much by the contrasts as I have by the pleasure of reading. The first, who is American, writes from a philosopher's point of view, and the landscapes she describes could only be those of her homeland. There is a particular quality in what she describes and perhaps also in the way she writes that belongs there; a sense of largeness, openness. I found myself wondering whether growing up in a huge continent with such immense scale somehow evokes a similar expansion of thought and aspiration.

Kathleen Jamie is a Scots poet, and my near contemporary. She has a poet's feeling for language and for the landscape and at times touches on her own past in such a way that I can almost feel myself in the same place and time, so familiar it is. She however, had the courage to follow her ideals; I was never so brave. I have nearly finished the second book, Sightlines; Findings came first, both borrowed from work, and will feel a sense of missing an almost friend when I take them back. Her writing is intimate, her focus often close and with a sense of the deeply personal about it, you feel you have been offered precious bits of her life to share.

I'd recommend them both

Sunday, 18 October 2015

A little bit about Ganna

This blog has a URL that includes the word "Ganna". Those of you who are regular visitors here may have gathered that she was my maternal grandmother. I've been putting together a page here that gives a little bit of background on those people who form part of my past - without whom, in fact, I would not have been formed at all.

If I was a clever blogger I would not give you a link to just the little bit I've written about Ganna. However, I don't have the skills, though I'm sure it is possible, so if you'd like to know a bit more about a woman who was very formative in my life, who introduced me to embroidery, who played the piano like a concert pianist and who brought me up from the age of eight, click on the link to "Grandmother and others" up at the top and scroll down until you find her picture.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Lakes 2015

Well, a week away in the most lovely weather we've ever had in the Lakes, it truly was delightful, warm sunny days after the morning mist lifted and the beauty of mist and dew to enjoy beforehand. There are always things I enjoy again and again when we go to the Lakes.

The way the light is layered, reflected, captured, bounced around, as the sun gets lower in the sky

The early morning mists and dews

The pleasure that the ever present dogs take in their surroundings

Boating activity on Windermere - we always take a trip down the lake

A gradaully fading away willow tree that may well be the last Ent in England

And this year, the wonder of the "supermoon" close

and eclipsed

The curious carvings, which look as though they should be ancient, but are actually try outs on slate at the local slate workers at Skelwith Brisge

Driving through Kirkstone Pass, morning and evening

on the way to a fascinating walk up the valley of Martindale,

past the C16th farmhouse

and on, guided by John White, to watch the wild deer there. If you closely at the pics on his FB post, you'll see a couple of curious folk peering over the wall - we had the privilege of being the only people John took out that day. It was truly magical.

There are some more pics here if you'd like to see them

Lakes 15

and at the bottom, some images I took of the Langdale Millennium Tapestry, which sits in the lovely Holy Trinity Church in Chapel Stile, surely a very old pace of worship, given the still running spring and ancient yew tree which exist in quiet company with the simple cross in the curchyard

I particularly like the St Francis window with its rich and delicate colouring

The Langdales Millenium Tapestry. Holy Trinity Church, Chapel Stile, Langdale

Hope you've enjoyed this little glimpse of what draws us back, year after year.