Monday, 31 August 2015

Bookcase Treasures

I have recently purchased a couple of old books for my stitchery bookcase.  They are both aimed at children, but I am sure adults would find them very interesting and entertaining.

This is the first one, which I found in the secondhand bookshop at Farfield Mill.  It is 'Educational Needlecraft' by Margaret Swanson and Ann MacBeth, both of whom taught at the Glasgow School of Art.  The book was published in 1913.  It has several colour plates and some lovely b&w diagrams too.  Thought you might like this quote contained in the Preface ....

"Learn by doing" we say, yet even from this diligent "doing" we expect very little.  With child-drudgery in all its forms we are familiar, as, for example, with the work of the little "doffer" in the North Country mills.  But that a girl entering her teens should construct, should take her own measurements, recognize the type of garment, clothe herself and her sisters, is not expected by many teachers.  In vain have the greatest physico-psychologists declared that the development of the hand must take place between eleven and thirteen, and that failing this rapid gain in the manual skill power in the early 'teens, there is little hope that these will come later.

This one dates from 1965 and gives instructions on basic embroidery stitches and ideas on how they may be used to make useful items.  Again lovely illustrations.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Another Lock

There were lots of wonderful old doors at Coughton Court, but this lock caught my attention.  Parts of the house date back to the 1500's.

Daily Drawing No 5

Today's challenge was to use a paintbrush and ink, together with water.  Fine pen could be added afterwards.  I used a photograph in a magazine which is probably not the best thing to work from.  It did see do a drawing from life.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Coughton Court

There was lots of fantastic stained glass in the house, some of it was medieval

This is the cool long border planted with blues and silvers looking towards the Church of England Church in the grounds.
Then there was the hot border which was full of vibrant oranges, yellows and maroons.  Lots of embroidery treats too - including a cope from the 1500's which was in fantastic condition, together with several illuminated books which were equally as old.  What a lovely day out.

Drawing a Day 4

We had a day out today to Coughton Court near Alcester which is a National Trust property.  Fantastic house and walled garden and really enjoyed it.  This is the drawing for Day 4 using charcoal.  I was meant to draw a portrait, but thought this would do just as well.  My sketchbook is only A5 and I think I would have been better working on a much grander scale at least A3 if not larger.

Friday, 28 August 2015

New Apron

This my apron-cum-pinafore version 2 ...

Not a brilliant photo!  I have changed the pocket to one central one divided down the middle and have used a row of machine stitched hearts along the top.  The size is a mixture of medium and small and seems to be okay.  The proper one I have almost finished is made of linen with a cotton patterned lining and is all cut out to the small size.  I have still to see if it actually fits me yet.  I need to stitch up the shoulder seams before I can try it on properly so hopefully that will get done today.

Dawing a Day 3

I completely forgot to do Exercise 3 on Thursday so have done it today instead.

It suggested you used a piece of bamboo whittled to a point like a knib.  I am afraid  I did not make a very good job of it but it does make you observe items in more detail, looking for light and shade.  The flowers were an Inula, two dandelion things out of the lawn and a piece of Verbena Bodnariensis.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Resist Printing

I have been testing some samples of resist printing using Gram Flour (chickpea) during this past week without much success so it is back to the drawing board I am afraid.  Here are my two trial pieces ....

I made a paste of Gram Flour and water and then spread it onto two pieces of cotton fabric, which had already been adhered to A4 sheets of Freezer Paper to provide stability.  They were drawn into and stamped onto with various items to create a pattern.  Once dry you crack the surface to allow the applied colour to leak through to the fabric.

 On the first one I used acrylic paint and water.  It might now also have some watered down Inktense block on it too.

The one above used acrylic paint (some of it is my lovely Golden acrylics) and textile medium to thin down the consistency.  The odd white corner is as a result of my having forgotten to take a photograph before I started to crack off the dry paste to see what was underneath. Well it did not work very well and I was really disappointed.

When I realised I had not got very much colour through the paste onto the fabric I stopped taking it off and will now have another try using Procion dye, soda solution and salt.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Drawing a Day No 2

This is today's effort.  I have not moved far as these scissors are on the dining table where I have been busy stitching the calico version of my apron. I was meant to use various nibs in the pen holder, including calligraphy ones.  I certainly could not keep this exercise up for six weeks!!

I would say that the moth in my last blog post might be a Grey Dagger Moth.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Drawing a Day No 1

Having popped to the Library yesterday to return a book I had finished I inevitably came back with a couple more, one of which was 'One Drawing A Day' by Veronica Lawlor.  It was one of the recommended books on the end of a shelving unit and caught my eye.

I have decided I will try and do a sketch a day for one week, not the recommended six weeks the book suggests as I do not think I could keep it up that long.  Today's drawing was done in a few minutes whilst having my breakfast and was the bits and pieces I had been using yesterday afternoon whilst making a 'dummy' apron/pinafore to try and get it the right size.  I have given away the one I made in linen and lovely blue fabric as it just did not fit me anywhere.  I am still having trouble with the sizing, but that could just be down to the fact that I am half cart horse (lower) and half race horse (upper).

This little beauty was sat on the doorframe of the garage when I went out last night to put the washing line away.  I will have to find out what it is when I have a minute, but suspect it will be something that has been on the nearby oak tree.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Farfield Mill Exhibition

Thought I would put one or two photographs from the exhibition on my Blog today to encourage people to go and see the exhibition.  I am afraid I did not use flash on some of the pictures, and even though I have played around with them in Photoshop, the colours are still not true to life but give you the general idea.

Loved the tumbled glass stoppers used on these upturned glass funnels.  Can imagine they have been in the sea and had all the edges worn off them.

Also loved this piece (above and below)

I had already seen some of Jan Miller's stitched and collaged strips when I was at the TSG Summer School and it was lovely to have time to look at them properly.  They record a journey I think (the theme of which was 'In and Out of the Landscape') .

Mary Sleigh's work has always delighted me and these two pieces were no exception.  Afraid my photographs do not do them justice.

This exhibition is a great example of how to stretch the boundaries of stitch and art and a true inspiration to everyone who wants to develop their work and make it personal to themselves and their environment.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Seeing Purple

I stayed with my friend 'M' in Otley whilst I was away and noticed on one of our outings how fantastic the heather was.  It had just come into bloom I think and was not out on a lot of the other parts of the moor.

The view across to the Golf Balls above Harrogate .... and then a view in the other direction.

I also discovered that there are some Cup and Ring engraved ancient stones on this part of the moor so something for me to investigate on a future visit when I have more time and the right footwear.

Yet Another Grand Day Out!!

I have been away for a few days 'Up North' to see the current exhibition by Mary Sleigh and Jan Miller at Farfield Mill, Sedbergh, which inevitably involved several of my Northern buddies coming along too.

This is not one of them ewe understand
I seem to have got a fascination with door locks at the moment, particularly nice old ones ...

and then there was the actual door itself

 and the window too ...

We did eventually get inside the building to see what we came for, but that was not until after a nice cup of coffee and some cake in the fabulous cafe.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Everything In It's Place

I am not sure how I came to be messing about with these bits and pieces yesterday.  I was busy doing lots of cleaning, as we are having visitors at the weekend, and some of these bits and pieces were laid on the windowledge in the kitchen.  I suddenly remembered the two boxes we had all made with Mary Sleigh at the TSG Summer School so went and got them out of the bag of stuff still to be put away upstairs.

I had to remember how to fold the boxes which took a few minutes of fiddling.  I then cut out two and then another two.  I cut some pieces of card to go in the base to stiffen them up.  Next 'light bulb' moment was realising I could stick the four of them together, and oh .... perhaps I should make a couple more and stick them on too.  So I ended up with six.

Some of my bits looked lost so I tried to make a half size box in black card and, as that worked, made two more in white cartridge paper that was lying around.

The contents are:-

A piece of honeycomb, that originally had a bit of mistletoe branch attached to it, from the day next door's bees swarmed up our tree in the front garden.  A common occurence but they do not usually make honeycomb before they are retrieved, or worse still, fly off!!

A skeletonised holly leaf from under the holly bush in the front garden that I used when making an 'Autumn Leaf' square for the Worcester branch of the EG, plus two Hazelnuts DH brought in from the back garden which he thought I might like and which the squirrels had discarded.

Three burst open cyclamen seed pods I found last week in the back garden under my newly planted hornbeam hedge, which I brought in and have been attempting to draw.  Yesterday I noticed they had one flower out too which had been hidden under leaves.

Two pebbles I put in my pocket whilst out for a lovely walk around The Lenches with a group of friends from Yorkshire who were staying in the Cotswolds for a few days rambling.

Part of the skeleton of a greenfinch and the beak of a blackbird .... all from the garden.

Lastly, part of a very delicate and beautifully coloured swallow egg shell I came back with from Brockhampton Estate a few weeks ago together with a Tree Bumblebee I found dead on the patio and have meant to sketch, but to date have not.

NOW WHAT TO DO WITH IT .... put it back on the windowsill I suppose.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Yet Another Failure!!

Managed to finish stitching around the edges of my apron this morning and then attached the shoulder seams only to find that it is far too big .... not just a bit too big, but enormously too big!!  What to do now I wonder?? Certainly not put on weight to fill it up.

Shall put everything away for a while as we have visitors this weekend and I need to do some housework.  I am so disappointed as I spent ages stitching it very neatly.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Yet Another Apron

I have been busy the past two days making a wrap around Apron/Pinafore and still do not know if it fits as I have not stitched together the shoulder seams yet.  It is made of this linen fabric (which is actually quite a bit darker than shown here) ....

and I have used a pattern called 'Beatrice' from who are based in Stratford upon Avon.  The lining is this:-

I am certainly glad I used it for the lining and not the outside.  It is just a bit busy but lovely colours.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Yorkshire Travelling Journal

I bumped into someone I know from C&G days at the NEC last Thursday and she said I had not posted any of my stitching for ages.  Could it be because I have not been doing any I wonder?  To remedy this I have found some photos of Yorkshire Travelling Journal entries from 2014 which I did.

The one above is using the tried and tested Abaca Tissue method where I have drawn on it, painted it and stitched it.

These two pages arose from time playing with my Gelli Plate and discovering that you can make a print block using raised letters the right way round and they actually do not need reversing before printing. Eureka!!  Obviously these two pages are continuing the 'Allotment' theme.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Another Grand Day Out!!

Door into (or out of) The Secret Garden
Today we went to Croft Castle, near Leominster and what a wonderful place it was.  There were lots of lovely gates and doorways ....

There was a tremendous walled garden behind which was this very old greenhouse

I seem to have developed a fascination with strange door handles and locks

Greenhouse door handle
Potting Shed Door Handle

Walled Garden

Secret Garden
In the grounds there are lots of very, very, ancient trees and these can be enjoyed by taking one of the waymarked walks.  The house contained an original painting of Elizabeth I which was truly impressive and an Elizabethan stumpwork box worked by two of the Croft sisters which was also amazing.  Will certainly go again, but hopefully with someone who enjoys walking so that I can explore some of the many walks that are available.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

What a Clock

This afternoon we went to The Weir Garden near Hereford.  The walled garden was a delight and full of plants that butterflies and bees love.  The dandelion clock above was huge and I am not sure what it belongs to.

This scarecrow was in the Tots Garden and she looks like I feel at the moment.  I have still not recovered from my few days at the TSG Summer School.  I am exhausted.