Thursday, 31 January 2013

Travelling Journals

Back to wet weather this week and Wednesday saw the first meeting of 'Running Stitchers' for 2013.  We had all missed each other, it had seemed such a long time since we last met in November, when the majority of us went to Compton Verney for the day to enjoy the Tapestry exhibition and Christmas Lunch.

The blank Travelling Journals were distributed and only  one person was missing, having had to unexpectedly travel 'Up North' on family business.  It is exciting and I am expecting some very varied and inspiring work to appear in the 11 journals over the next few months.

Worcester was awash once again with the racecourse and the cricket ground flooded, which will not have been helped by the torrential rain we have had overnight.

Looking forward to the Worcester branch meeting next Tuesday when our Venture group is giving a presentation on what we have been doing for the past year .... again it seems a long time since the last meeting.

Camels for All

This is a strange thing to be posting on my blog ... It is destined to become a sketchbook cover one day as a present for a friend from college who was always telling us to look for our 'Daily Camel' (he is a friend of 'John's Allotment' previously blogged).  I wonder if camels were meant to be lucky or a good omen?  Shall investigate further.

The background is artist's canvas, white gesso was applied and left to dry before adding acrylic paint.  The camel is one of my homemade stamps from a previous project.

I have had the cutting for ages and after trying unsuccessfully to transfer an image of the cutting using an enlarged and reversed photocopy and transfer paints I gave up and stuck the actual cutting to the canvas using Modge Podge.

I am not sure what I am going to do with this piece of work, but I really like the colours.  It is a piece of Evolon which has had transfer dye applied.  The colour arose from reusing a piece of typing paper which had previously been painted with transfer dye.  I had obviously used a different colour the first time round and some residue of it must have remained.  I think it was purple first and then blue the second time.

Since then I have added a circle of bondaweb and foiled it with gold.  I am planning to add stitch next.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

More doodling

These scribbles are what I do when I get up too early and do not feel like going back to bed - I sit and doodle and paint, or do a bit of stitching, or plan lots of projects in my head (which unfortunately never reach fruition!).  Anyway, it is quiet, peaceful ME time.

We do have lots and lots of goldfinches in the garden most of the time, but they get beaten up by the greenfinches who take precedence on the feeders.

During the snow we have also had a couple of juvenile looking Redwings (now decided they were Fieldfares) eating some windfall apples, plus we had a Great Spotted Woodpecker pay a visit this past week, which has to be a first I think.

The other sketch is from a photograph I kept out of a Saturday magazine.  I love the texture of lathe and plaster and thought I might do something with the detail from the image.

We have had our fair share of snow this past week too and I meant to go out and about and take some photographs .... but afraid I never got round to it.  A shame as a local Ledbury based sculptor (Ed Elliott) produced some large angels made of snow in Malvern.
Ed Elliott's magnificent Malvern Hills snow angel. Well done, Ed. We love it!

Thursday, 24 January 2013


Got round to trying something out that has been on my list of 'Things to Do' for ages.  I saw some lettering on a quilted panel which used overcast stitch - at least I think that is what it was. (I can't remember for the life of me where I saw it now)

I stitched the letter 'A' using this method then painted just over half the background with white Gesso.  Various colours of acrylic paint have then been added over the top.  I like the way the Gesso has given texture and a feathered edge where it stops and the calico begins.

Not sure what to do now but I have got a few ideas.

- Treasure Gold
- Foil
- More stitching
- Wadding and quilting
- ???

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Yorkshire Travelling Journal

Finished the cover for my Yorkshire 'Travelling Journal'.  I used a bit of my dyed fabric and an old blouse from a stash of fabrics obtained whilst at college when studying for my BTEC Art & Design - Textiles course almost 10 years ago.

We were encouraged to go to a Jumble Sale at the beginning of the course, at the end of which we paid a small amount of money for a black bin bag which you could fill up with anything that was left unsold.  I accumulated lots clothing items made of natural fabrics.  At the time I washed and ironed them before storing away in a box and bits of them have come in very useful over the years - so a TOP TIP.  The buttons and labels from them are also useful and the fabrics can be dyed.  Not sure organisations still have Jumble Sales these days.  I bet there are some H&S issues!!

There are only three of us participating in this 'Journal' - 2 in Yorkshrie and me in Worcestershire.  It is also A5 Portrait which should prove a bit of a challenge for me as I prefer to work landscape.  There is a nice surprise on the reverse side of the cover for one of the participants and it should make her laugh.

Snow Sunday

As it is snowing again I thought I had better get some bits and pieces finished so I have been playing with Maggie Grey's little shrunken books.  I had quite a difficult time getting them flat and now my jump rings are not big enough to incorporate the pages inbetween the covers!!  A good excuse for more playing I'd say ....

The hearts on the left were some that I made some time ago from air drying paper clay and they had been painted with acrylic paint, but I was not happy with them.  Decided to add more acrylic paint and pour embossing powder over them whilst they were still wet to see how they would turn out.  Not sure they are much of an improvement, but they have had a bit of Treasure Gold wax rubbed on them too in various colours.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

January Snow

After a full day of snow yesterday today it is much calmer so I donned my wellies and popped over to the other side of the stream in the garden to survey the scene.  The view of the back of the house clearly shows where we have still not got round to painting the render on the rebuilt part of the house, plus it is obvious where the loft insulation has been removed for the time being whilst the ventilation for the two showers is being installed.

Below you can just about make out the house through the trees.  At least there is not too much water in the stream at the moment.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Fabric Postcard

More rummaging in old photographs and found some snaps of some of my postcards ...

Do not know who I sent this one to?

.... and this one was very silly.  What I like about them is you can make them as simple or as complicated as you want and the person you post them to gets a lovely surprise.

Lots of snow today so DH is working from home so cannot get to my sewing machine as he works on the same desk!!  Have been working on the cover for another 'Travelling Journal' which I am going to share with some of my friends up in the North.

Thursday, 17 January 2013


I was looking for some images to use to base some work on and came across these photos.  I took them some years ago in the garden of Gresgarth Hall which is the country house belonging to Arabella Lennox Boyd the garden designer.  It is one of our favourite gardens and is only open occasionally. 
Detail of a tree seat

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Travelling Journal Month 1

Got my first month's pages completed ready for our meeting at the end of January.  I must say it was very enjoyable doing something just for fun.  I have now realised that I will have a whole month when the others are completing their pages ready to pass on their journals so I will be able to have a rest!!

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Update on Dyeing etc

Plastered and painted with Koh-i-Noor Ink

Managed to get my two samples

(a) painted with Koh-i-Noor dye based inks, and

(b) space dyed.

Not very happy with the colours, but as samples they will serve my purpose.

It is interesting to see the difference between the reproduction of the colours through using a camera and a scanner.

Space Dyed with Procion dyes
Plaster laid over dyed piece

I was disappointed with the result of the dye on the various threads I used.  I thought they would take the dye in different ways producing several shades of the same colour.  I suppose I could try overdyeing the piece again?
Dyed piece over plain calico

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Plastered ....

Finally decided to find the plaster, emulsion paint and PVA and coated my stitched sample with the mixture.  I decided to coat the back as well as the front and, whilst playing with the piece, discovered it made a nice tube (ignore the pin holding it together!).  It is only about 11 cm high (just over 4" if you struggle with metric measurements like me).

It is now laid flat drying out before I paint it.

Realised that it probably would have been easier to stitch if I had plastered the calico strips first.  I think I may have avoided having to hem the edges and it would have made a much firmer fabric to work into.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Running Stitchers

This was the current week's task ... had to stitch a letter for a banner for Running Stitchers using some of the fabric from our dyeing day.  Luckily I was only given one to do, but some of the members have to do two as there are 11 of us and 16 letters!!

I made a stencil out of stencil card and then transferred the image using Markal oil sticks in several colours.  A quick bit of stem stitch round the edges followed by one or two beads and it is done.  I noticed a bit of dodgy stitching since I scanned it ... whoops.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

To Dye or Plaster

I have been stitching a couple of samples on and off for the past few days and aim to either dye them or cover them with a mixture of plaster, emulsion paint and PVA before painting them. Not sure whether I have finished stitching them as I feel they need some more texture on the fabric strips.

Before I do the colouring I think I will need to stretch the pieces out or the stitching will remain scrunched up which is not what I want.  I have been working from a photograph of some weather worn stonework which  I cannot for the life of me remember when I took it or where it was.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Deja vu

John's Allotment
Those people who know me will be aware that I occasionally send fabric postcards, perhaps to cheer them up and sometimes for no particular reason, just as the whim takes me.  Well I got a surprise this last year when I was sent a photograph of the subject of my postcard - John's allotment!!

The postcard actually got transformed into a sketchbook cover for John's 'special' birthday, but it started off postcard size.

Another postcard has been in the planning for some time - one of my ex college 'chums' used to continually say: "If you look hard enough you can see a camel everyday!"

So watch this space ....