Sunday, 25 November 2012

This ‘n That!
The silk is off the loom!  I gave up trying to struggle with it.  The remaining silk I will eventually dye and use for embroidery threads. My poor old table loom has gone to the scrap heap.  I am going to buy Texsolv cord to tie up my treadles on my floor loom; the small chain I am using is not really working. I have my new Louet Jane table loom out on my table all ready to go. I am now trying to decide whether to continue to use my 60/2 silk in a new warp or try for a 20 or 30/2 silk? At this fineness I have only used 20/2 or 60/2, I have had no trouble with the 20/2 but all the trouble in the world with the 60/2. Is it me or the looms I have used? The 20/2 has only been on my Noble table loom, which I bought brand new, the 60/2 I had on my Mecchia which I was having problems with, and then on this old table loom. Maybe I will try the 60/2 again on my brand new Jane.

Unfortunately I have not had the chance to get back to my "Artists Studio Journal” workshop. I just don’t know where the time has gone! After our Agricultural Show in October things should have started to slow down!

I have just gotten to the lace section of my shawlette and I need to sit down quietly to start that. I hope to do that latter today. But the ironing calls first!

I am still waiting for my exchange partner to let me know her postal address and the bag is already to fly.

I spent a small fortune at the Book Depository last week, the first of the books have arrived, the RSN’s Essential Stit Guide to Crewelwork. I have their Blackwork and White Work books, and their Stumpwork book is yet to arrive. I have ordered other embroidery books, weaving books, several novels and a book on dyeing and one on textile design. I do wish they would all come together. I Can’t wait for them all to arrive, will have some good reading over the holidays.

Fountain Pens are another favourite subject of mine.  I discovered a very interesting website from The Netherlands, which for their centenary two years ago reproduced an old ink bottle design.  It is a 150ml faceted bottle characterized by a long neck in which is located a glass marble. You tilt the closed bottle and the chamber in the neck fills with ink, you straighten it up and the marble prevents the ink flowing back, this creates a reservoir from which to fill your pen. What a cleaver idea. I have ordered 3 bottles, one each of green, emerald green and turquoise. One of the greens is for a friend at Christmas. It was a little bit of a challenge as the site was all in Dutch, but with a little help from Google translate I hope I have managed to order what I wanted.

So what’s on for this week????  Monday I am at my second last Purple Pixies’ quilting group for the year, Tuesday is my third last Spinners’ Guild and that is going to be a very busy day. We are clearing out the shed (garage size) and putting up new shelving. Derek went to Melbourne last Thursday to pick it up. We are planning an 8am start. We need to get everything out of there so Derek can put the shelving together in the shed. Then we need to get every thing back in all in the one day!

I also want to re-wind the 60/2 silk warp. I need to dye the little shawlette I knitted for my Kris Kringle, and while I’m doing that I’ll dye some of the silk I took off the loom. I need to sort photos for two photo calendars I want printed. I must get more of that alpaca combed so I can spin it. And I need to spin some fleece from the guild and knit a 6 inch square for the Guild’s raffle rug for next year. The alpaca and fleece are not exactly urgent but I want them out of the way as soon as possible. Oh and I start a Yoga course at 6am! on Monday!

My Babies. Tami in front, Kaiko behind her.

Ok  the ironing is jumping up and down and shouting!!!
Spread your Wings and Soar


Friday, 16 November 2012

New Starts and Finishes

 I finished my Siamese Cat embroidery last Saturday. I am very pleased with it. I found a very nice frame among my stash that fits it nicely, I think, though it could have a slightly larger opening as puss has the edge of his tail caught!. The feet and tail I have heavily embroidered as their 'points",
A close up of the paws
 and although their points also

include the 'mask' on their face I didn't want to loose the defination of their facial features with very heavy embroidery, so I have left it somewhat plainer.

A rather plainer face

I have just started a new knitting project while I think about my next embroidery project.  I succumb to a very nice skein of variegated wool last Friday when I was in Geelong – Ella Rae Lace Merino, and with it came a free pattern -  the Holden Shawlette by Mindy Wilkes, which so far is very easy and then comes the lace! I shall do my usual little job of writing out the pattern – each row on a separate index card, punch a hole in the top left hand corner and put them on a hinged ring, turn the page at the end of each row. My simple way of knowing where I am in a pattern!

I have made a start on my 60/2 silk weaving. It is not going well!!  When I open a shed I have loose threads among those that are not opened, and at times the warp lifts off the shuttle race! Every shed I open I have to place my pickup sword in the shed to make sure that all threads that should remain down are down and the loose ones are not clinging to the opened threads and in danger of the shuttle going under them! Also my beating is quite irregular, so that the 90 deg slant line of the 2/2 twill is all over the place.

I have also finished my Festive Exchange Bag for my partner. This is the December activity for the OnLine Guild of WS&D of the UK Association. It was fun to do. I made it using some leftover material from the OnLine Guilds’ 10th anniversary challenge, after making my vest.

Over the weekend I hope to catch up on my Workshop on the Studio Journal. We are now into week four and I haven't finished the exercises for week 2!  I just don't know where these weeks have gone!


Spread your Wings and Soar


Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Embroidery, Workshops and Weaving!
After enlarging photos of Koko and Kaiko and taking tracings and doing a little touch up drawing I ended up with an outline to use as a base for a work of Sumptuous Surface Embroidery. Using Encrustations for the dark points, I have thickly worked one paw and am moving along the tail.  I will have to work carefully on the face! I’m still not certain how to work it.
I drew the outline on even weave linen and decided on the colours and thread, and of course had to buy more browns, as brown is not one of “my” colours!  I made a start on the embroidery by embroidering the light colour of the back and front in a very tiny fly stitch. At a distance it looks like a thick outline stitch, but look carefully and the outer edge of the stitch looks like hairs sticking up with a solid inner line.

My thread stash!

My Encrustations

At the moment I am once again doing one of Sharon Boggon’s workshops, this time "Artists Studio Journal – A Designers Workhorse”.  Actually we are into week 3 which is very hard to believe! But it is going very well as usual.

My Journal page for my Journal Workshop

My new Louet Jane 27” loom arrived on Monday, can’t wait to get a warp on it. I bought it from Liz Calnan and Marie Clews, from whom I received excellent service. I am soo glad that Marie almost fully assembled it for me.

What am I trying to weave at present?  60/2 silk, which is driving me up the wall! It is for Christmas decorations for an Exhibition at the Johnston Collection (Fairhall in Melb.) for Christmas 2014. I have set it at approx 65 epi for a finished width of 16". I wound it on to my 18" Noble loom, but thought for once to check the number of heddles, before starting to thread! I wish I had done it before I wound on!  No way would I have enough!! So then I very carefully re wound it on to my old table loom (after doing some hurried repairs and adding over 500 heddles to it!!!!) only to find that the loom was not up to it, I could not get a shed at all! Hence my new Jane ggg.
I have backed the old loom up to my floor loom and threaded it onto that, using its back beam as the back beam.  Although I am now getting a great shed on most shafts, many of the threads that stay down when the others are raised are very loose!
I really don't know what to do with them.
I have threaded a straight draw on 8 shafts and am weaving a 2/2twill.
My next project today will be trying to work out what the problem is!!!!

This material was supposed to be ready to make a Christmas Decoration to enter in the Geelong Show but of course……

I did have a remnant of suitable material and I made  a Christmas Bell out of material woven from 16/2 cotton warp and weft and 20/2 silk pattern weft in the Star of Bethlehem overshot pattern.The top is encrusted embroidery with fine commercial silk as well as some of my very fine spindle spun silk. It was an entry in our local show a couple of weeks ago, and is to be part of an exhibition where our guild along with other art groups in the Geelong region are decorating a National Trust house this Christmas.

Spread your Wings and Soar


Wednesday, 24 October 2012

10th Anniversary  Vest

Back in June the Online Guild, affiliated to The Association of Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers of the Uk, celebrated their 10th Birthday. The challenge was to represent 10.

My answer was to weave material where the material was made up of 10 different yarns. They were silk, mohair, wool and blends of these, with several being handspun. I used between 3 and 5 ends together of the 10 yarns in a random pattern. I thought I might have a more pronounced shrinkage between the silk and wool/mohair – though I was not trying for it. There was in fact, very little, just enough to give a nice texture and hand. The material is for a vest, which I finally finished in time for the Geelong Show, where it won 3rd place.  


I am very pleased with the way the vest turned out.  The only thing I could have changed is I pressed all seams to one side, they were too bulky, I should have opened them out flat.

  Spread your Wings and Soar


Sunday, 10 June 2012

Sumptuous Surface Embroidery
I still have some work to do on my piece, but have stopped to design the second piece. I am using the plaited cable stitch as a frame, and I still want to add some more stitching to the bottom left hand side and square out the lower right hand corner a little more. 

 I am also thinking of removing the stitching within the shell. With the low relief filling stitches the shell tends to disappear into the background.
For my second design, I am thinking of a colourful hanging basket. The colourful flowers will be worked in high relief, the wall to which the wrought iron hanger is attached and the hanger will be low relief.
My other design idea was a butterfly. The butterfly and the upper left low relief and high relief in the lower right hand corner. These divided roughly 2/3s 1/3 on the diagonal, and the butterfly over lapping 3 out of the 4 sides of a frame. I will probably embroider this at some stage anyway.

I think Sharon is looking for a more abstract work, and as much as I like some of the abstract work, especially that, that shows up in "Stitch" and "Workbox", I am not very good at designing such.  I’ll see what she has to say about my designs.

I have been busy on The Book Depository site again. Friday the mail brought me another new book, this time "Elizabethan Stitches – a guide to Historic English Needlework" by Jacqui Carey, a couple of weeks ago "Crewel Twists – Fresh Ideas for Jacobean Embroidery" by Hazel Blomkamp, both extremely lovely books on the subject.  I also have on order "Early 20th Century Embroidery Techniques" by Gail Marsh.  I already have her 18th and 19th Century books. I have so many lovely embroidery books I really should be doing more of it. Time, Time, time….where does it go…. sigh!!!  
Spread your Wings and Soar


Friday, 25 May 2012

Sumptuous Surface Embroidery
Week three

I have outlined the waves in a thick variegated silk in back stitch and the shell in a pale blue 2 ply silk in back stitch and whipped chain for the thick ridges. Whipped with a very fine blue/mauve boucle. The areas in between I have stitched in a layered Filling Stitch, mainly on the diagonal. I used DMC 4030 a variegated blue/green fine silk thread from Colourstreams in a stronger blue/green called “Seascape”. It looks good, I think, but I wish the tie down thread had have stood our a bit more.
                                       The whole design
I used a needle lace stitch in the first (L.H) wave in a perle cotton DMC 503 of sage green.
The next wave I stitched in a somewhat wobbly feather stitch in Cottage Garden Threads stranded cotton #801 Salvia (3 strands) I don’t think this one  looks as good as when I usually stitch it in a straight line, instead of trying to fill in an odd shape.  My next wave I am embroidering in Four sided Stitch – a pulled stitch - in Gumnut Yarns – Buds 100% silk.

I have two more waves to embroider and I am trying to decide which stitches to use, there are so many to choose from, and I tend to get tired of looking and trying to make up my mind!

I am enjoying this so much I can
hardly put it down and I have other work to do!

Last Monday I went on a bus trip with my patchwork group. We were away 12 hrs so it was a very long day!  I spent a fair amount of money! And only bought one piece of material! Our first stop was at one of our woolen mills, where I didn’t buy balls of wool, but several bags of about 500gm (17.6oz)each of wool top         (unspun fibre) several bags of which were blends with bamboo fibre. So really looking forward to spinning that, but I have three spinning commissions in front of that!

Our first patchwork shop is where I did most of my damage. They had a great section for embroidery! Not only DMC cottons (which most of the other shops had) but lots of hand dyes and not only cotton, but my all time favourite fibre – Silk
Several books also came home with me as well.
    Spread your Wings and Soar


Sunday, 20 May 2012

Sumptuous Surface Embroidery
Week two

This is the design we have finally decided on – one shell and the waves. I have transposed the design onto 25ct Lugana even weave. Now for the real fun. I am going on a long bus trip tomorrow, so it is too good a chance for some sewing time on the bus.
The top of the waves will be low relief blending into high relief in the lower half. The high relief stitching covering all the lower half not dividing the waves into their individual components. The low relief upper portion will show each wave outlined in a lovely silk lightly variegated from light to dark green, and each one in soft save greens and individual stitches in each section.

For the shell I have a lovely greeny/blue variegated stranded cotton and a bluey/mauve very fine boucle for the ridges.  I have also found the thrums from my Ikat scarf, most of which will be great for this. It is 20/2 silk

          Spread your Wings and Soar


Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Sumptuous Surface Embroidery
Week 1

I decided on a sea scene – Under the Surface – The Octopus’s Garden

I spent hours going through my many books of the subject (this has been a reoccurring theme in my work) and the internet – a marvelous invention these days for thought busting, and some actual shells from my collection and ideas from designs in this theme from the past.
I now probably have tooo many ideas!  I have to choose and make some decisions, which I am not good at.  (I am also thinking of using this as a jumping off point for the “Beyond the Surface” Exhibition of the Q’land branch of ATASDA.)
As for size I think I want something a little bigger than 6”x 4” postcard, possibly to fit in the size of A5 approx. 6” x 8” but not necessarily fill it.

Seashell, ocean, fish, Pacific, water, wet, waves, holiday, relaxation, living under the ocean, biosphere, bubble, swimming, snorkeling, diving, freedom, boat, sea floor, seaweed, filtered light, green, teal, turquoise, blue, “Cacholot” by Alan Dean Foster, coral

Water + land = watered land = sea encroachment or foods
                      = land under the sea = living under the ocean   -  this will be the one.

What would it be like to live under the Ocean?    An ocean garden,   In a biosphere, fish swimming by, coral walls, seaweed, shells, bubbles

My response to living under the Ocean

Fish in outline, heavily encrusted around his to represent coral, broken up with fronds of seaweed in outline or couching or fly stitch.

Colour, Threads and Material
I chose a colour range of blue/greens. I suppose it is not quite a monotone but they are “my” colours! Again I should break out of my comfort zone, but…..

The threads I chose are from Rae’s Rags, in her hand dyed “Jealousy” colourway, which ranges from blue through to green. From her selection of yarns I chose twisted rayon, sparkle rayon, cotton/rayon, rayon chenille, stranded cotton, linen and a very fine linen, rayon boucle, tubular rayon, rayon gimp.

Then I took a couple of the multi coloured yarns and selected solid colours to match in stranded, cotton, different sizes of perle cotton and stranded rayon.

Finally I went through my stash and found some silk – a very fine commercial 2ply, a couple of heavier weight ones, a skein of my hand dyed, hand spun 5 ply silk and some knitting yarns that would be good for couching.

My base material is a ecru even weave, 28 count.  This I may decide to hand dye or even use something like the Inktense pencils by Derwent, though I will need to increase my range! A good excuse to go to the art shop ggg As if I needed one!

    Spread your Wings and Soar


Saturday, 5 May 2012

Let's Start again!

To say it has been a while since I last posted would be a mild understatement!!! As you can see it is over 2yrs since I last posted, and of course Blogger has changed everything!!!! What I have I done since then. Most of that time has been spent looking after mum as her health gradually failed. Eight months ago she had a near fall and had 2 bleeds into the brain. She was in hospital nearly a week and a half. But the fall brought on full dementia. So it has been a very trying time all round. Someone had to be with her all the time. She died a month ago. Derek's mum also died in January this year, so the first quarter of this year has not been a very good one for us.

I have managed to get some weaving, spinning and knitting done. Unfortunately I didn't manage to finish my piece for the Australian Textile and Surface Design Association’s Travelling Suitcase Exhibition for 2012-14 - Marrakesh. My Maharajah’s Garden piece finally arrived home, and is now hanging in my studio.

Easter week I did a Photoshop work shop at Fibre Arts Australia - Ballarat which was very good but rather daunting when the tutor said that we would touch less than 10% of the programs' capabilities!

Now I am about to do an online workshop from Sharon B, (remember I quoted her stitch dictionary when working on the Maharajah’s Garden project) Sumptuous Surface Embroidery.
There is some wonderful embroidery shown there. I have also just received a wonderful book "Crewel Twists - Fresh ideas for Jacobean embroidery" by Hazel Blomkamp, wonderful ideas!

I am saving the best till last! I have two new babies. I lost my last Siamese - Sam - last October. I had to wait until the end of January for my babies to be old enough to come home. I now have a neutered male Seal point Siamese born Sept last year named Kaiko (yes we know Kaiko is a girl's name, but we are not telling him!) and his half sister born a month later, who is a Chocolate Point Siamese named Tamika or Tami for short. They are sooooo beautiful and engaging. They are from Kalinya Siamese in Wollongong NSW Australia

This is our sweet little girl - Tamika

This is our handsome boy Kaiko

And I couldn't finish without a sample from my Photoshop workshop

Hopefully I can keep this blog up to date a little better.

Spread your Wings and Soar