Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Fiddle ring

I haven't been to silversmithing class since the beginning of July as we are having a summer break.  I thought I'd get round to showing everyone the pieces I made before we start the next term in September.

I was really pleased that the tutor Lisa had fiddle rings on the schedule.  Mr CA has a fiddle ring (bought, not made) where the band has a groove in the centre and a wire ring fits in the band but can be spun around.  I've always liked the ring and wanted to make one of my own.  The end result is different, but I'm happy with it.


You all know I struggle with taking pictures of jewellery (and pictures of anything else for that matter!) but I think you can make out what I'm trying to show you.  There is a flat band which curves top and bottom.  Held between these curves is a wire ring which moves freely on the band, but can't come off.


Perhaps you can make out the texture?  This was achieved using a rolling mill and pieces of fabric.  I used some small pieces of copper with a variety of fabrics to see which texture I wanted to achieve.  The results were really interesting.


Here are the pieces of copper on top of the fabric I rolled them with.  The one on the left above is a piece of thick jersey, the one on the right is an upholstery fabric with a very defined raised weave.


Left above is a piece of canvas and right is some kind of synthetic material, the kind you might make a scarf from, it falls apart if you pull it around.


This was from a bag of fruit, a plastic mesh.  I thought this would be the winner but actually, the texture was rubbish.


I don't know if you can make it out, but I used the yellow synthetic material.  I wrapped it round the piece of silver so it is textured inside and out.  Clearly, I could not clean up the join as it would remove the texture so you can see the join in the band.  Not in the wire ring though so it's easy enough to keep the seam in the band to the inside of my hand.

I really enjoyed making this, I can't wait to do some more experimenting with the rolling mill.  I also love the finished ring and wear it a lot.






Saturday, 20 August 2016

Classes at the Festival of Quilts

We went to two classes at the FOQ.  The first was a half day workshop, the second a one-hour taster class.  The quality of the classes varied enormously, and not how you'd think.

On the Friday we did a Shisha mirrors class.  It was, hands down, the worst class we've ever taken.  We had three hours, the first 20 minutes was the teacher passing round the materials for us to choose.  She started with the fabric, when we'd all chose the fabric she passed round the threads... stuff that could have all been done at the same time.  The she gave the first group of ladies over the other side of the room a piece of fabric and a cotton reel to draw around.  She then demonstrated the first stitch to these four ladies.  We couldn't see anything.  Then she showed the next group of ladies.  Then the first group had questions, so she went back to them.  Then back to the second group to help them.  We just sat there twiddling our thumbs.  Finally it was our turn and we were taught this stitch.



I'm afraid I have no idea what it's called, we weren't told.  It has nothing at all to do with Shisha mirrors.  



After this we were told to get on with decorating our panels however we wanted.  It was a satiny fabric with wadding spray basted to the back.  She gave us silk threads.  Clearly she had not tested this combination as the thick fabric shredded the thread.  We were just left to "do what we wanted" for the next hour or so.



The elephant was block printed on the fabric so I was just stitching over the lines.  I added some beads and sequins too.



Finally, she started teaching the first group how to put on shisha mirrors.  Then the second group, back to the first, back to the second, back to the first, then over to us.  We had 30 minutes of the class left.  A few minutes into my first one, I realised I had a problem as the thread was falling off the mirror.  She told us to keep the foundation stitches taut, which she hadn't told us before.  At this point a couple of ladies left, saying they'd look it up on U-tube!



This photo shows my foundation stitches.



Above you can see the finished shisha mirror.  Not very neat and even, but then we didn't have long to do it!

Needless to say we were very unimpressed and I was delighted when she asked us to give online feedback, oh I'll certainly be doing that!

The next day we had a one-hour taster class which was brilliant fun.  Oh - before I tell you about this - people of Britain, did you know there is a lake at the NEC?  And a big shopping centre?  We had no idea until we stumbled into it and we've been going to the NEC a couple of times a year for about 12 years!

Anyway - sari silk flowers.



We were given strips of sari silk and a large bath washer to wrap them around.  The fluffy bits are just from where the sari silk is torn.



We then wrapped the smaller washer with thread, round and round, over and over.



Cut along the edges of the flower, take out the washers to use again and sew it all together.



Top with a button and sew a brooch back on - done!  It was good fun, though the finished flower came out a bit too thick for my liking, we used a 3m strip.  I've bought some more sari silk strips but will make future ones using 1.5m or even 1m.  I was thinking of using them to decorate the chalk board I showed you last week.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Festival of Quilts 2016

Last weekend was the Festival of Quilts at the NEC - a large exhibition centre in Birmingham.   I think this is probably the biggest event of its kind in the country. I only live about an hour away from Birmingham and in the past we've travelled down and back in the same day.  Last year my car broke down and so we missed a lot of the show.  This year we decided to go for two days and stay over.  It was the best decision, we had plenty of time to look at the quilts on display, buy the odd(!) thing and do two workshops (I'll tell you about them later in the week).

I'm going to show you some of the quilts that caught my eye.  There were plenty of others that I saw on Instagram but didn't actually see in the show so I think we missed a bit of the exhibition.  Maybe we need to go for three days next year!


Helen Godden OMG#4 UBER (modern quilts)


Fiona McIntosh - Sursum Semper (Modern Quilts)


Claudia Pfeil - The Magical Mermaid's Castle (Pictoral Quilts)
This quilt was amazing, it had thousands of tiny flat-backed Swarovski crystals on it.  One of the white-gloved people showed us the back and it was an exquisite thread painting.




Emma House and Natalia Bonner - Ocean Delight (two person quilts)


Vera Skockova and Skocek Ctibor - Wallachien Colours (two person quilts).


Kathleen Moore - Little Lollipops (modern quilts)


Anne Lilliholm Jorgensen - Bubbles of Joy (Modern Quilts)
The quilting on this was amazing.





Helen Butcher - Modern Sampler Quilt (modern quilts)

On the first day I didn't actually buy much, I certainly remedied that the next day!  Here is my haul.


I bought the boy's clothes kit for the Luna Lapin, as I've already made Luna, I have the pattern so I just bought a piece of the felt to make Alfie - and his clothes of course!  I bought the pretty zips as I've seen them around and felt I needed some!  They were only £1.  The threads are a selection from Stef Francis, some gimp, some ribbony, some cotton.  There is also a Sashiko printed panel of a bunny to embroider, some bunny buttons and a bunny hanger.

That's it.

Oh, except of course for the fabric!


Most of it is blenders as that's what I use most, most of it was cheap and/or on sale.  There are 46 Fat Quarters and 2 half metre pieces there!  Not bad going I think.  We'd met a couple of ladies at breakfast who were talking about spending a lot of money and I said that if you don't spend all the money you bring with you, you have failed.  I'd like to confirm that I did not fail!

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Princess Bride #1

Welcome to the three-weekly SAL post where I'm tackling my cross stitch and embroidery UFOs one by one.  Last time I showed you that I'd finished my Hardanger project, so it was time for a new one.

I pulled this out of the drawer by the sofa.  It's the start of a Pixel People cross stitch bought from Wee Little Stitchesof the characters from the Princess Bride.  It's Mr CA's favourite film.  I bought the pattern at the same time as I bought one of Wesley and Buttercup which I stitched up and gave him for our anniversary.  He was so underwhelmed I didn't know if I'd bother with this one, but I'd started it so I decided to get it done.

This is where I'd left off.


And here is where I am now:


I think that's pretty good going!

I'm sewing along as part of a SAL, you can go and see what the other participants have been up to here:


AvisClaireGunCarole, LucyAnnKateJessSueConstanzeDebbieroseChristinaSusan
Kathy

Thursday, 11 August 2016

heart chalk board

I took a little accidental blog break there, I didn't have a free minute to write any posts, but what have I been doing?  I don't know!  This summer is just flying by and leaving me in its wake.  On my last trip to Hobbycrafts at the NEC, I bought an MDF heart set, the two hearts below cost £2, in total, not each!



As you can see, I started painting and forgot to take a before picture.  I painted the outer heart in blue chalk paint, which is just beautiful to work with.  Then I painted the "behind" heart with chalkboard paint.  I then glued to top to the bottom.



I don't know what the two holes at the bottom are for, perhaps they are the reason this was only £2?  I haven't quite finished it, I think it needs decorating to within an inch of its life and I'm wondering about paper flowers...  any ideas?

Edited to add: the bottom holes are only on the frame piece, they are not on the solid heart so you can't screw through them or hang anything on them

Friday, 5 August 2016

Finishing things off

It will come as no great surprise, after reading the post title, that I've been finishing things off.  I have various projects half finished lying around all over the house.  The majority of them are so very nearly finished, they just need a little something adding, but I never get round to doing it.  I have more jewellery items almost finished than anything else.  I was sick of moving a load of pendents I'd made round the house, so I decided I was going to finish them.  


I'm not sure I've ever shown you this before.  I can't find a post about it anyway.  It's made from two Luna cabochons placed back to back.  I have no idea what they're made from but they feel kind of rubbery and the glow to them is incredible.  The pattern was from a magazine and it wasn't until I got going that I realised my cabs were smaller than the ones in the pattern. 


I finagled it anyway, it's it's just been sitting waiting for me to thread a chain through.  Yes, really, that was all that needed doing!


I took loads of photos as I was trying to get the full effect of the Luna cab.  The beads that form the bezel are delicas.


Do you think that's enough photos of this one piece of jewellery?  No, just one more?  OK...


The next pendent only needed a chain putting through it too.


You can see the original post here.  I haven't been sitting on this one for long at all, I only made it in June this year.  Or rather posted about it in June this year, so it could have been made in May or even April!


The next one, I'd forgotten I'd made!  I went down a slightly different track here, using a suede cord to hang it from.


The colour just matched so well.  The picture above is very dull, the one below is much better.  You can see the original post here, I posted about it in September 2015 so it was made sometime in the couple of months before September.


Again, I took loads of photos, but all had their various plus points and none of them were perfect!


Finally, I added more chain.


The original post is here, these Herringbone Bell flowers were made around October 2015.  A single green one.


A triple blue one, and there is also a single red one but I had to make a different kind of hanging for that and it's not quite finished...  I hope it doesn't end up back in the WiP pile for another 6 months!


Good going, I just need to keep up the momentum!

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Secret Santa in July swap

We did a Secret Santa in July cushion swap at the East Midlands Modern Quilt Guild.  We were each given a person to make for and a list of their likes and dislikes.  When I discovered I'd got quilting professional extraordinaire Trudi, I begged our swap mama Moira to make a new rule that the cushion couldn't have any quilting on it.... she refused.

I went from not having an idea, to having a pretty much fully formed idea overnight and I got started, this was back in June, or maybe even May... I think it was before I became ill again this time.


I didn't follow a pattern, I just made it all up.  I drew the outline of a sewing machine, improv pieced some aqua scraps, then traced the shape onto Bondaweb which I fixed on the back.  Not until I'd actually quilted it did I realise the sewing machine is back to front!  I sewed round the edges and added the details in free-motion thread painting.


Trudi loves Aurifil, so, despite my ambiguity towards the brand, I made Aurifil spools in her listed preferred colours. Each area is quilted differently.  Some are geometric square designs and some are curvy.  I did four and then struggled for ages to think of other designs to use!


The middle section had loops and hearts and the borders were matchstick quilted.  I did a simple ribbon pattern in the spools.  The aqua borders are left unquilted.



One of these pictures should show the segment I did in pebbles.  It took FOREVER.  It can't be a very big area, the overall cushion cover is 22", so we're talking 6-7", but I was quilting those pebbles for hours - so it felt.  Never again.


A quick shot of the back where you can see the quilting pretty well.


I used a tutorial by Ms Midge to do the lapped zip which I've never done before.  It was really easy so I'll be doing that again.


See, there really is a zip under there!


And my cushion?  I knew it would be a bunny!  This is by the very talented Gillian.

My apologies that all the links (except for Ms Midge's tutorial) are to Instagram, my intrepid fellow guild members have all abandoned blogging for the instant gratification that is Instagram.  I go on Instagram every now and then, but I find after about 2 minutes I'm just flicking and the images are flying past.  Much like how I felt about Flickr in its day, there's not enough depth to Instagram, it's just photos and no real stories.