Sunday, 25 June 2017

3-weekly SAL update

Good morning, it's time for the 3-weekly SAL update... but... I have nothing to show!  I've been spending every second of my free time recently renovating my house and garden and I've had no time to embroider - and my fingers are too sore!!

I might show you pictures of the renovations?  It'll be slow going as I'm doing it all myself but I'm really enjoying it.

Anyway, enough about me, go and see the other participants of the SAL, I bet they've been more productive than me!


ClaireGunCaroleLucyAnnKateJessSueConstanzeDebbieroseChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHelenStephLindaCatherineMary MargaretTimothy

If you'd like to join in, please contact Avis

Friday, 9 June 2017

The freedom quilt

I have been working on this mini quilt for months, and finally it is finished and hanging in my living room!


I think I might have shown it to you when it looked like this... but maybe I forgot.  The words are improv pieced (my favourite technique and one I'm teaching tomorrow at the East Midlands Modern Quilt Guild) in shades of blue Kona solids, and the background is scrappy low volume.  


I put a 2" border around it using each of the colours I'd used for the words.  I then auditioned a potential scrappy low-volume border v. a blue binding.  The blue binding won. It was at this stage I realised I'd made the border to the exact size and it would change as I quilted it!  Off it came and a new border went on.  Yes, my pjs have sheep on them.


It was also at this stage that I realised I'd forgotten something rather important....



Credit.  These lyrics are from She Bangs The Drums by The Stone Roses, one of my favourite bands ever.  I embroidered the names of the two co-writers using the fonts on my Janome Atelier 5.


I bound the quilt in a blue Alison Glass print and added hanging corners.  I then got my Dremel out and cut a piece of dowel to size.  It's hanging from some yarn - I need a better solution than that!  I completely forgot to measure it, but from memory of doing the borders, I believe it is 33" wide x 39" long, so bigger than Silent Scream.


I took down Silent Scream from above the mantlepiece and put up The Freedom Quilt in its place.  Silent Scream was how I felt during depression.  My depression lifted shortly after my husband left so this Freedom Quilt is an expression of freedom both from him and from it. 


This seems to be the only close up picture I took to show the quilting and the binding.  I was planning on free-motion quilting it, but I just couldn't decide what I wanted to do, so I had a go at straight line quilting instead and quilted a grid.  It was fairly quick and easy, but I have to say I prefer the look of FMQ.  

I have a confession.  I didn't bury the threads.  In fact, I didn't even cut them off on the back, I just left them there.  This is, after all, a quilt whose back will always be facing a wall!  Don't think I'll be winning any quilting awards any time soon....

Now to decide on my next lyrics as I'll be starting a new quilt tomorrow.












Sunday, 4 June 2017

Mellerstain Parrots #9

I almost forgot to post for the three-weekly SAL!  Luckily I read a post and remembered, so here we go. There has been some progress!




I have been working on the wing of the left parrot, you can see the progress in the picture below.


I'm pretty sure I stitched this the wrong way round.  It is long and short stitch so I think I should have stitched from tip to top rather than from top to bottom as I did.  Maintaining those points was tricky.  I also didn't use the right colour for the third stripe from the bottom, there were 2 colours missing from my kit and that was one of them!


Wonder if I'll ever finish this parrot!



I'm stitching along as part of a SAL where we all work on our WIPs, you can go and see what the other participants have been up to here:
ClaireGunCaroleLucyAnnKateJessSueConstanzeDebbieroseChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHelenStephLindaCatherineMary MargaretTimothy

If you'd like to join in, please contact Avis




Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Soldering rings

I am rapidly running out of things to show you - hence the lack of posting.  I have this project on the go, and I finished a quilt yesterday which I'll show soon.  Beyond that, I have 2 half finished bags and that's pretty much it!  I honestly don't know where time goes these days.  I have less house work to do as I don't make such a mess as the ex did, so why don't I have time to craft?

Anyway, here's what I've been up to in silversmithing class.


Soldering rings!  That's an elicit shot - if my tutor had seen me take that I would have got a health and safety telling off!  I soldered tons of them.  Copper ones and silver ones.  The plan was to make a simple link bracelet.


I seem to have caught the solder just beginning to melt on this photo!


Here above is the pile of unsoldered rings and the two I'd done.  You can seen how the metal changes colour with the heat.


When they were all soldered I ran them through the rolling mill to make them nice and squashed.  I think this is 2mm round wire I was using.  I love the look of this little pile.


Next, I filed and sanded them, and then took the hammer to them to add some texture.


After making some smaller rings in silver, I dumped them on the table and my tutor remarked that they'd make a nice statement necklace rather than a bracelet.  I spent quite some time messing around the with arrangement, couldn't come up with anything so used some of them to make a bracelet instead!  It's almost finished so I'll show you soon.  I do intend to make the necklace too, I just need to come up with a design.

Monday, 22 May 2017

speed craft part 2

So it appears I haven't posted in nearly 2 weeks!  Do you want to know why?  I completely forgot!  Oh dear, I hope this isn't a slippery slide into old age....

In my last post I told you about the first half of the day at Speed Craft, you can read it here if you are so inclined.  I went with the lovely Jane from Loopy's Place.


Our fourth activity of the day was with Katie Almond, an incredibly talented ceramics designer who I've taken several workshops with.  I had a bit of a wobble when she asked if I'd left mum at home as mum usually accompanied me...  But I powered on and got on with the job at hand, the hanging plaque above.  This is the piece in wet clay and painted with the glazes.  I'll show you the finished item when it comes back from its firing.  I felt like doing a house in a heart to represent my renewed love for my lovely old Victorian house.


The last activity of the day for us was lino cutting and printing.  I've done lino cutting a couple of times now, having taken a class or two a while ago.  I decided to represent my current lifestyle and cut out a bottle (of vodka, I don't like wine!) and a cocktail glass.  I drew both freehand so they're a little rough around the edges.


We used the finished stamps with ink brayered onto tiles rather than ink pads as I've done in the past.  I printed on some book pages and we used the results to make a little collage.  Sums me up rather well!


Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Speed Craft part 1

I've written about the SpeedCraft events at Debbie Bryan's before, me and mum would go twice a year.  This year the first even was in April.  Me and mum had booked to go before we lost her.  I was all set to go on my own when the lovely Jane from Loopy's Place said she'd come with me!  I was so chuffed to have a crafting partner on what would otherwise have been a very sad day.


We started in style with Buck's Fizz.  As I'm allergic to oranges, I just got a glass of Prosecco!  It went down very well... especially as a coffee and cake were quick to follow!


The first activity was a mini mosaic brooch.  We didn't do any cutting, we had a selection of pre-cut tiles, broken china, beads and buttons to use.  We only had 45 minutes per activity so had to design pretty quickly before dying our grout.


The photo doesn't show it well, but my grout is a lovely minty green.  Here's the piece all grouted and ready to be dried before sanding.  Writing this, I realise I was suppose to sand it 48 hours later... ooops!  Hopefully I'll still be able to do it. 


Next was weaving which I first tried at the last SpeedCraft event.  This time it was circular weaving on an embroidery hoop.  We had a selection of yarns and fabrics to cut into strips to use.


I didn't get very far with mine, it still needs finishing off.  I abandoned my usual blue colour scheme for a palette of purple and grey.


Next was lunch, followed by cake, followed by paper origami.  This flower was not easy to make!!  We all struggled to get the shape right.  


The leaves are just glued on to the wire in this picture, the flower stem has been finger crocheted (a new skill for me!) and I just need to finish off finger crocheting the leave stems before sewing the leaves on more securely using a few big cross stitches.

I'll be back in another post to tell you about the rest of the day.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Bag Camp part 1

The lovely Samantha runs an annual Bag Retreat (she's doing 2 a year now!) at a beautiful hotel in South Wales.  The retreat ran from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon and was well worth the money.  We got 3 patterns as part of the package, all meals were included (and they were huge!) plus cake of course and coffee on tap, and a series of mini workshops talking about specific areas of bag-making.  If you are in the UK and like making bags, I'd definitely recommend it.  I've already booked for next April's retreat!


Please excuse the blurry photos.  Mr CA got the camera in the break up (it was his!) and my phone pictures come out really blurry.  They look great on my phone so I'm not sure where I'm going wrong.  


I was a bit lax on the old preparation front, but I prepared 2 of the bag retreat patterns.  The bag you are seeing here is the Fiesta Tote.  It's an easy sew, but it took me most of the weekend.  NOTHING to do with me drinking too much vodka, eating too much cake and gossiping at all.  Nor anything to do with the trip to Pendryn Distillery I took on the Sunday with a lady called Tricia and Janelle from Emmaline Bags.  No, of course I didn't come back tipsy!


I bought the bag bling (the Handmade plaque) at the pop-up shop run by Sew Hot who, very dangerously, let us all run up a tab all weekend and settle up on the last day!  Very tempting...


I absolutely love how this bag came out.  I bought the outer fabric and the lining at the Hobbycrafts show in February at the NEC with this bag in mind, but I have no idea what either of them are, sorry!  It's been my main bag since I made it and it's holding up really well.  I even closed the turning gap!!


I think my one criticism would be that I needed one more zip pocket inside, but then I could have added one, I know how to do it!


I had also prepared the Toiletry Tote, another bag retreat pattern, and I took along the materials for the Starlet Clutch from the Bag of the Month club, but I hadn't had time to prepare it and I didn't get to it at all.


I did start the toiletry tote, but didn't finish it and ran into a few snags (see above re: vodka) so I still have to finish it off.  And I will!

I stayed over at the hotel on the Sunday night, then travelled down to Devon the following day with my family to scatter the rest of mum's ashes.  We had a lovely time but it was tinged with sadness of course.  In all I was away for over a week, then there was a bank holiday weekend which goes to explain why I a) haven't been visiting your blogs b) haven't been responding to emails c) haven't been posting and d) haven't made anything to post about!

I'll come back with a post about the toiletry tote when I finally dig it out and maybe even finish it!