Thursday, 1 December 2016

A wedding

Back in the summer, I had the chance to make use of some of that shibori I mentioned in my last post. Remember those bits I bundled up; a silk scarf clamped with tool packaging and another piece of silk scrunched into a mesh laundry bag with a marble or two for extra interest? Well, the scarf came out like this

with lovely flashes of turquoise 

little inadvertent birds, where the crescents were clamped at the edge - excuse the lack of ironing!

and the other piece of silk was transformed into a ring pillow - with a pocket on the front made from a piece of my Mum's wedding dress when she married my Dad

and some Celtic spirals in silk velvet for the back - not the easiest of material to sew - I nearly got rather cross after the n'th time of unpicking .......

All the angst was worth it though, as it meant that my daughter and new son-in-law's rings could be transported safely and presented to them at their wedding at the end of August in Bodiam Castle

The day was beautiful in all sorts of ways, the weather was glorious, the location so very right for them, the guests were terrific fun and the rather lovely medieval attire that some of us wore gave the whole ceremony the perfect atmosphere. 

Here's Jen with her groom, best man and her Dad looking proud

me doing my mother of the bride bit

the ring bearer, bridesmaids, man of honour and Jonathan's sister looking properly medieval

and Jen and Jonathan exchanging rings and looking very much in love

What a wonderful day it was, and what a pleasure that I could contribute with  little bit of hand dyed, hand stitched frivolity to hold the symbols of thier vows. Something new and blue, Jen's dress - something borrowed, the chaplet of flowers kindly donated by our neighbour, and something old, that little bit of wedding fabric, folded and stitched into a pocket so that Jen's much loved Granny Rose could be there in spirit.

Today it is her birthday - 30 years since she wriggled and slid into this world. Ganna and Mum used to recite this slightly twee Victorian poem by George MacDonald to each other, adn me - twee but heart warming - I can still hear their voices, smiles in the reciting - poetry was a great love of thiers


George Macdonald (1824–1905)

WHERE did you come from, baby dear?
Out of the everywhere into the here.

Where did you get those eyes so blue?
Out of the sky as I came through.

What makes the light in them sparkle and spin?
Some of the starry spikes left in.

Where did you get that little tear?
I found it waiting when I got here.

What makes your forehead so smooth and high?
A soft hand strok’d it as I went by.

What makes your cheek like a warm white rose?
I saw something better than any one knows.

Whence that three-corner’d smile of bliss?
Three angels gave me at once a kiss.

Where did you get this pearly ear?
God spoke, and it came out to hear.

Where did you get those arms and hands?
Love made itself into bonds and bands.

Feet, whence did you come, you darling things?
From the same box as the cherubs’ wings.

How did they all just come to be you?
God thought about me, and so I grew.

But how did you come to us, you dear?

God thought about you, and so I am here.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Her Ladyship's trousers - update

What with all the travelling and a very significant wedding, of which more later, I've not been updating as much as I should. So, there will be an update on the tool packaging shibori, but first I have finished "Her Ladyship's Trousers". The shibori dyeing on the hems went really well. As I'd hoped, bundling them together allowed the dye to wick upwards in some wonderful wiggles that echo the shibori patterning. This is achieved by regular lines of running stitch pulled up tight; the way the stitches relate to one another determines the pattern, so all in a line would have given me a grid pattern, but here, where I have staggered the placing, I get a lovely irregular ripple

obligingly, (and of course, due to careful placement of trousers in bucket) these have stayed pretty well level across both legs

so I now have a lovely full pair of comfy casual linen trousers to wear around the house, with a graded dye effect from the hem upwards - oh, and a couple of incidental rainbows from the crystal which hangs in the window

Even more pleasing - I had to shorten the elastic round the waist; I'm slimmer than I thought :-)

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

South Africa

Oh my goodness, we've been away! Away for almost two whole weeks in South Africa, and it has been extraordinary. I'm not sure what I can tell you, there is so much to say; the thoughts, words, memories still tumbling around in my head. We were visiting my dear heart's neice Jenny and her husband. His daughter Kerry and her husband came along too, to celebrate a significant birthday, so six of us have been travelling around seeing both wild Africa and big city Cape Town. The contrasts have been immense in so many different ways that I think I am still processing them, and will probably do so for some time to come; we packed so much in.

So, wild Africa. We stayed a couple of nights with Jenny at her home and took the time there to visit the Lesedi Cultural Village taking the tour around the village and hearing about the main tribes who comprise the original peoples of the area. We also visited the Cradle of Humankind museum, with it's fascinating displays on the history of our origins in Africa

Then we visited the elephant sanctuary at Hazyview, where elephants are cared for and in turn provide we humans with the opportunity to experience close up these dignified and imposing animals. As we were sitting in a clearing, listening to our guide tell us about the sanctuary, I turned to find the two resident elephants being led by their handlers into the space where we were sitting. My whole body tingled with awe as they quietly moved in before us and stood patiently while we were allowed to come up close and touch them, and be touched by them in an elephant "kiss". Later we were able to "take them for a walk" two by two, holding on to the tip of their trunk while their warm moist breath washed over our hands, and then most exciting of all, I was able to mount onto a great broad back, perched behind the handler, and feel the immense power as I was taken for a short walk in the bush, his inbreath and outbreath and rolling shoulders rising and falling beneath me.

After all that excitement it was time to set off on the long drive north to the Kruger Park. There we stayed in two areas; to begin with, a night in the Kruger itself, then two nights in the lovely Nkorho Bush Lodge, where we were fed delicious food, housed in delightful accommodation and taken on drives in the bush to see such a range of animals, so close, that I was breathless. I can't possibly show you all the photos I took - there were over 1,000 of them, but here are a few to give you a taste of the African Bush - unforgettable

Elephant crossing - with friend



 Buffalo, of which we saw many

a very little elephant

Rhino from the front

and behind

 a beautiful leopard, just out for an evening hunt - tracking him caused much excitememnt

and some very bored lions, who had had buffalo for breakfast

just chilling in the shade - they were there the following day as well

Such beauty

Autumn skies dyeing

Another recent bit of dyeing, kept until now as it was intended as a gift for someone.  A silk scarf for my dear heart's neice who did so much to make our recent holiday a fine and full one, with so many excitements!

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Shibori Mandelbrot

Remember them? The wonderful joys of fractal generation on early PCs!

Els, you'll like this one

And a sneak preview of the other - Autumn skies shibori

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Her ladyship's trousers

I have been making myself a pair of linen, wide baggy trousers using salvaged linen from Aunt Cecil's home. Beautiful smooth sheets, taken in for repair, the job never done. They are thin in places, but there's still plenty of fabric, I love the way it feels. 

Why her ladyship's? Because they originally belonged to the family that she worked for for many years.

So, these trousers, the linen underdyed a soft bright green, with flashes of magenta to tone it down and restrain too much gaudiness. 

The inital intention was more complex, but I am simply dip dyeing them, with five lines of shibori stitching drawn up nice and tight, just above the hemline.

I flooded a wash of magenta again, then after five minutes a swoosh of deep turquoise, lemon and black. I've been practicing on another piece from here, the pole wrapped piece. I will incoporate my experiments with the other bits from here at some stage.

Here one is pinned against the leg as a sort of example - see how I used the beautifully hemmed top of the sheet as the trouser hem ...

Saturday, 17 September 2016

still here

just quiet for a while, but still doing when health permits ....

a total change of direction, though I am still stitching as well, and had my first session at Studio11 this month.

These are from way back in 2011, the year after Mum died.

Looking back now, I realise they were worked during March and April, the year she would have been 85. March was her birth month.

They have been brought back out again, and finshed, in response to some weaving classes we're having with Claire Buckly. The bamboo is fresh from the garden - cut today, the warp knotted round - still some trimming to do.

A little smidge of we embroiderers have got together and are learning about small scale tapestry weaving - on a frame loom, at Steph's house. Claire's teaching is quite different from the course I did in 2011, so I'm glad I have a little bit of the basics to start from, and can learn more.

We assembled last Monday, five of us ready to learn. We warped up our looms, we tore up strips of paper and made a collage,

we were allowed to choose six balls of weaving yarn, to tone with this

We've made butterflies, little bundles of neat yarn to pass in and out of the warp. and learnt about colour blending - using a sewing cotton, for example, to nudge the base colour one way or the other

We are preparing designs to weave. Next time we will design, based on the collage each of us has done.

Now I have the fun of thinking about how to translate this into a woven piece. Quite a different mood

Sorry I've not been here xx

Monday, 4 July 2016

Tool packaging shibori

Nearly there

I have been quietly busy. This year's final day with Christine, and I'd missed the previous two because I felt poorly. So, a pleasure, and some inspiration. I found time over the past few days to wrap up some fabric and see where a bit of shibori can get me.

A silk scarf, folded, clamped, rolled, clamped, Apply three blanks from some piece of tool packaging, aligned top, bottom and between, as perfectly as I could manage

clamped with acrylic shapes as well, so apply an even pressure across the ends.

Edges rolled and clamped to make small white marks I hope
And some little crescents, just to see

Different clamps, all submerged in turquoise, acid yellow and some old black, just to see

Then a piece of silk, scrunched, pushed together, wrapped tightly in a laundry bag, with some marbles to add extra texture 

I'm hoping for clear edges and spaces of white, all to echo the dark holes in the centre, and perhaps some patterning from the bag itself, and the elastic band

The marbles, in tune with the piece of silk shading I am working on now and again, very slowly, glasses off, eyes close to the frame, because it's the only way I can see clearly enough when using just one strand of embroidery floss! This was our "here's how" piece from the last Branch workshop.

I have no idea what will happen now

Time to unwrap