Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Crossing another couple off the list

I'm still ploughing my way through the unwieldy pile of unfinished projects. The studio seemed the most tranquil place to be over the last few days.

This little fellow had his binding attached and hemmed this morning.

He's one of my original sketchbook drawings digitally printed onto cotton fabric.

I framed the print with hand dyed cotton, added painted Bondaweb feathers and finally hand painted the wing and tail feathers to take them across into the borders and create a bit of drama. The whole thing is free motion quilted on my PowerQuilter.

You could be forgiven for thinking this quilt had fallen off the edge of the world. It's been so long since I worked on it but here it is finished. Or is it?

Now, although it's bound and has a hanging sleeve attached, I'm thinking I might add a bit of paint. I'll hang the quilt on my studio wall so I can watch it carefully before making a decision.

We live in anxious times - I hope your weekend was peaceful.
Linda x

Friday, 18 March 2016

Drawing portraits this week

With portraiture the theme for our next exhibition with Through Our Hands, I've been experimenting with oil pastel and solvent.

It's surprising how much detail you can achieve considering how chunky the pastel sticks are.

Knowing I'd been working with faces I think Laura was having a laugh when she found this book for me. Luckily it was in the charity corner of her local village stores and only cost 50p instead of the original price of nearly £10.

It may have been intended as a joke but it is strangely compelling even if I have to resort to a magnifying lens to see the numbers. I thought I'd start with Botticelli's Venus as he's in the news so much at the moment. I've made a good start but there's a long way to go before you'd know who it's supposed to be.

Turns out that drawing by numbers is way more time consuming than pastels and solvent!

Have a good weekend. I intend to be happily occupied painting the garden shed. Just need to get rid of the cobwebs first. (That's the shed's, not mine).

Bye for now,
Linda x

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Clearing the decks

I've had what I think is a genius idea for the next Through Our Hands exhibition! You know how it is though - what seems brilliant in your imagination doesn't always work out as hoped so for now I shall keep my thoughts to myself. While the new ideas are fermenting I decided to clear the decks. There are so many unfinished bits and pieces in my workroom it's putting me off starting anything serious. I'm faced with heaps of stuff every time I walk in the room and that's just not good.

First to get the treatment was this collagraph print I made last year. Laura and Jamie printed it to cotton fabric and I've finished it with both hand and machine quilting. The hand stitch is with Madeira Lana and the machine stitch is Cotona 50 and Madeira Rayon. The spiky details in the foreground were painted with Jacquard Lumiere paint. It looks quite foreboding doesn't it? I wasn't in a bad mood when I made the print - it's just that I have limited colours of etching ink! I can tick this one off the list but sadly they printed me 3 different versions so I might have to hide the other 2 in a closed drawer.

While I had the paint and brushes out I worked a bit more on one of the Fingerprint, 'We print - You Colour' panels.

I'm not sure yet how much of the panel I'll paint but I'm really enjoying the intricate pattern in this particular design.

Then just because a change is as good as a rest I returned to this moth quilt which has been lingering for far too long in the 'just get on and finish me' pile. The moths were discharged from the hand dyed charcoal grey fabric and the moon was painted.

The PowerQuilter makes free motion quilting a total pleasure because I can see such a large area of the quilt as I work. I'm using Madeira's Cotona 50 cotton threads for most of this as I love the fine line they create. Most of the sky will be quilted with the same pattern but I'll keep changing the colour of the thread to create a bit more interest.

So, that's my weekend sorted. By the way, after I moaned about the cold weather last time, today the sun is out, the noisy frogs have arrived in the garden pond and the birds are going about their springtime business. One fly in the ointment is that the heron, who I usually love to see, has completely emptied the pond of fish and is not averse to a frog either. Paradise is never without its problems is it? Nature red in tooth and claw!

Bye for now - Linda x

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

What to do next?

Well, it had to happen. I've finally finished the quilt top.

Sorry about the poor photo - the quilt is too big for any clear bit of floor I have in the house so I had to resort to the washing line. Pity it was such a blowy day - I had to time my photo to suit the breeze as the patchwork flapped merrily back and forth like a sail.

The bright sunlight doesn't help either - the fact that the patchwork looks like an old rag right now will be rectified just as soon as the top is quilted. You may notice that there is an extra row of tumbling blocks to the top. I've tried it on the bed and they'll sit over the pillows and look quite dramatic.

Doesn't the back of the piecing look lovely? Quite the stained glass effect. It's almost a shame to lose that by adding batting and backing but experience tells me that will transform everything.

I've done all the sewing in the evenings but during daylight hours, when I've had a few spare moments, I've been working into my altered book. This page was in dire need of repair before it parted company with the binding. Wonderful what a few strips of tape and some colour can do! If you are going to have a repair make a feature of it I say!

Now that I'm using red as inspiration I see it everywhere. Even the plants in the conservatory are cooperating by flowering right on time.

Finishing a big project always seems to leave a vacuum. I can't bear being idle so maybe it's time to do a little dressmaking. I was quite restrained at the recent visit to the Rag Market. These are the 3 fabrics I bought. I have an idea to use them together in a Marci Tilton pattern I've already made up twice before. They'll all coordinate - just have to decide which fabric goes where. I bought more of the narrow stripe so that will be the main feature with just accents of the bright floral number. I may even have enough of the striped fabric for a T-shirt if I'm lucky.

Meanwhile, back in the kitchen I tried Richard Bertinet's recipe for Far Breton. It's a longtime favourite of ours bringing back fond memories of holidays in Brittany. I have to say it's as good as any we've eaten in France and is sure to become a regular addition to the pudding repertoire. If you're a keen pudding eater you'll find the recipe in his book, 'Crust'. The dark bits are rum soaked prunes by the way.

Hope spring is just around the corner for us all here in the UK. Today is cold wet and windy - I hate it but I suppose it will pass!

Linda x

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Fabrics fading

I was rummaging through my fabric bins to find just the right colour for the patchwork I'm making when I came across some checked fabrics I bought in Seattle, USA. Now I was aware that the table runner and mats I made several years ago had faded but I hadn't realised by quite how much.

The interesting thing is that the borders were made from hand dyed fabrics with fabric painted details and these have retained their original colour much better. The table linen is in regular use and goes through the washing machine at least once a week.

It's odd then isn't it that hand dyes have such a poor reputation for being colourfast? In my experience pretty much any fabric colour will fade over time but hand dyes are no worse than commercially coloured fabrics and paints last longer than everything else!

Colour is always on my mind but even more so than usual as I'm working into my little book of red.

DMTV members can see the latest pages next week but here's a hint of what I'm up to.

Thanks for reading today. I'm off for more sketchbook play now but I'll be back to talk very soon. Linda x