Monday, 22 August 2016

I could make that

Now there is a dangerous remark to make.  I said it in an art shop in Berwick as my friend admired a velvet and beaded wall hanging, with fronds and large leaves (which was rather expensive).  To which she replied that would be great do you think you could use an old velvet skirt I have to make it?

And so another project was born.

The skirt was plum velvet, pencil style, made with three panels,  a little shaping at the waist and a waist band.  The three panels gave me the idea of a triptych.  A surprise find of beads on sale at a local DIY store the next step.


I have a certain sense of accomplishment with this piece as the bird design that forms the largest panel in the middle is mine and not something I have copied from someone else.

The shape formed by the crossed beaks being my subtle nod to my friends initial and (That difficult to find letter as I have mentioned before)



The fish however are from a children's colouring book, which as I am sure you know is a wonderful source of designs.



The outlines of all the elements are couched, with the most heavily couched area being the feet.








The only part of the original skirt not used was the zip, the waistband made the hanging loops.


The beads catch the light, which my pictures do not show too well




Although pleased with the end result and fully intending to do a beaded "something" for myself I had not until recently been inspired by either material or design.  However, it has not been an old velvet skirt which has set me on the beading route again. Rather it has been the local craft show, free entries and a beaded item class just waiting to be entered.  That is a story for another day, after the show in September perhaps.

Monday, 15 August 2016

A bit late with the update..yesterdays sunday stitching!


a touch of apricot, a little more on the right than the left, took the picture then forgot to blog!

Friday, 12 August 2016

Afghan Alphabet

Time for a trip down memory lane.  When my BFF told me she was pregnant many a craft item followed. The log cabin quilt, the Noah's arc stuff and an Afghan.

The latter item was a new experience for us both.  The Afghan my friend bought came with 28 squares of the same size and she had no firm thoughts about what to put in them.  Well other than it had not to be too complicated as she was just making a start with cross stitch.  We thought about an alphabet and started looking for patterns.  Bears, kittens, puppies, roses, various animals all rejected as being too twee (and mostly too difficult) and just not sufficiently reflective of my friend or her husband or me for that matter.

Then she found in a magazine an alphabet intended for cards, three different designs on a magical theme:

Wizard (my friend's husband)


  
for me ? A dragon of course. 


and for my friend


the Queen

I do believe I have mentioned before that my friend likes rainbows, this factored into our plan, a rather mad plan. We would pick the colours for each square in the order of a rainbow . That sounds reasonable enough however, we took it a stage further every square would use different colours. So all red characters would be different reds and so on.



We spent two nights just choosing the thread.



We did agree to keep some elements the same, the colour of the castle for instance.



We took turns sewing I had it a week then to my friend for a week



Or if we went on holiday


 the Afghan went with us.


At the outset we had not chosen the thread for the letters getting something to go with all those different colours was being tricky.


Then my friend found this pastel shaded variegated metallic thread.


 it became not just the letters but also the jewel in the wizard's staff



 and the binding for the Queens hair.


We stitched all the green boarders first then on to the figures.


during this process some interesting differences came to light


I did not like sewing the Queens they were annoying me.
I sewed a lot of the thrones instead.


And a lot of the castles, although Wizards were OK to sew and we shared them out fairly evenly


I did however enjoy doing the dragons


You may have noticed that in addition to the changing colours other elements of each design alters from letter to letter. For the queens it is the style of the crown.


For the wizards it was the colour of the beard (we had considered altering the top of the staff but stuck to just a simple change here)


For the dragons ? the expression on their face. A little change to eyes, eyebrows and or mouth.


Which leads me to another mutual division of work. The backstitching.


Not my favorite thing by any means


However as she quite likes it


so my friend did the vast majority of the backstitching, I was in charge of the crown variations


We both did some of the lettering, although I think she did more than me


and I did all of the dragons, backstitch as well as the different faces had been my plan.  Z being asleep just fit with that letter.

So that was 26 squares all filled with letters however, you may recall there were 28 squares available for sewing.  We decided they should be signature squares.  Something that said US. They needed to fit in with the themes of the rest of the Afghan, magic and rainbow.

Mine was easy, a book, I love books.  A leather bound book with hints of a grimwar a pattern was soon located that would fit, fit was an important factor. 


For my friend a music lover and a guitar player her element seemed obvious also. A guitar, minstrels form a part of the fantasy world inhabited by Wizards and Dragons and Queens.  For the rainbow element, well as you cans see we went with, a rainbow to link the two squares.  Fit however became an issue, we could not find a guitar to fit, not that looked like one and then the angle was causing problems.  We talked it over and paused the project waiting for inspiration. It struck in the form of another mutual passion (my friend likes books too) boxes.  I like boxes my friend likes boxes so a wooden box, a magic chest. 

 Pattern found



we now had both signature squares


to complete the rainbow

and all together


Fantasy completed..well the sides are folded over and tacked down to avoid fraying (and has been for years since the x -stitch element was finished) but just how to finally finish it off.  That metallic thread whilst pretty is scratchy so does it get an nice backing of something soft or does it become a wallhanging. My friend has yet to decide. No rush, the baby is 10 now and there is time before this heirloom item needs to be finalised for passing on.

Oh and I have "shoehorned" this into the summer hop with serendipitous stitching, my linking skills are still somewhat feeble but here goes.... serendipitous stitching in-summertime-doopy-doopy-doo.  And my reasoning, well those holidays this project accompanied me on as holiday sewing were always my summer break.


Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Scotty dog

Earlier I shared the little quilted bird that I will be entering into the animal class of the local show.  The entries are free this year (but just two per person per class) so I was wondering what else I could do.  An Internet search under felt animal (I have some gifted felt)and there were lots of delightful designs to inspire in all shapes, sizes and level of complexity.

After something to stitch and watch the Olympics at the same time simple appealed. I downloaded patterns for a dinosaurs, kangaroos, a squirrel and a dog.

Scotty Dog felt

You will have guessed from the title of this post I went for the dog.  Not just because it looked like being the simplest but because it called to me on some level.  Perhaps it was the delight of the blogger offering the pattern that she had expanded her flat dog to one with two ears, four legs and capable of standing up.  Crediting her design evolution to the inspiration of another. You can see the women's team gymnastics on the TV in the background in a few of the pictures here.

So here is a picture of the source design (click on the designers name for a link to the home blog where you can get the pattern) by Jenny Allsorts

Softie Scotty dog by Jenny Allsorts 2 May 2006
Mine is a further variation, let me explain. I cut out the pieces from my gifted grey felt and started sewing using thread inherited from my Aunt.  I started with the head gusset going from the nose over the ears and down the neck. Off along the back round the tail added in the leg gussets. A bit of stuffing to tail and ears while easy to reach (scraps of wadding from my quilting) I was then going to go down the face. However the two un-sewn bits of the face hanging apart at the jaw gave me an idea.  I added in a further gusset to the front of the face.  I like the effect. I have not tried to show a pattern for it as it would be difficult to show the correct size without adding it directly to the source pattern. It was fairly simple to do a diamond shape to fit.

 

So tiny buttons for the eyes (from my grandmother's button box) a scrap of ribbon saved from a something into my ribbon box a little tag from E-bay and entry number for this class is two is completed.


No name for this little chap as yet, any suggestions?



The End

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Double sunday stitching two

All of the white, the very light grey a touch of pink (which is all for both designs) and onto the light grey on the left.

Neither piece looking like much of anything yet.

Oh and I have taken the picture with the one on the left and right reversed to last time.


No "talks" as such this Sunday at church as the first Sunday in the month is a testimony meeting.



Sunday, 31 July 2016

A double Sunday stitching start

Another cover kit beckoned with a centre start required there was little choice but to begin with the white in this instance.  

This particular cover kit is for two separate patterns, both beginning in the middle with white.  So when I finished the white for the first design with thread still in the needle, I decided to start the second design. 

My intention now is to sew both together and see how they develop colour by colour.     

As mentioned the first shade in is the white so my progress picture being white on white is not very exciting or easy to see.  That being said here they are.


Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Mini Mint

After finishing Mint Tulip there was still some of the tulip curtain material left.

As I was folding it away my mother commented it would go into a matching mini duvet cover!

Well I measured up and there was just enough to make a scaled down version in the same patchwork design.

As there was no quilting on this there are no big tulips on the orange and mint squares, hence the title Mini Mint.

Here it is.




There was one small bit of the material left, shhh don't tell my mother she will want something else to match.

Well perhaps!

Here is Mint Tulip and Mini Mint together so you can see how the pattern was scaled down.

Mints

Sunday, 24 July 2016

A Little Bird

My friend gave me a kit for making a bird ornament, I think it came with something free and did not appeal to her.  I am as previously noted the happy recipient of such largess.

I have not used the kit bits, rather I traced out the pieces and cut them from a piece of material I have.  The material is intended for a bigger project that requires the use of pastel dye. So I thought I would do a test piece.  I did not want to do nothing with the bit of material I would be testing so decided to make the bird using material coloured in with the pastel dye sticks.

A birds Eye view


The original pattern called for a ribbon to be attached to the bird so it would hang up.  I had already modified the design by quilting the breast feathers (which on stuffing the bird has not shown too well ) and the wings. 

Quilted wings

Just before I started sewing him up I decided he should have legs instead of a ribbon.

Bird on a wire (legs that is)

I made them from the wire from a used pad of A4 paper.  Three strands twisted together, with the feet at each end of a U shape to form the feet.  I am quite pleased with the way they sewed into the original body shape without me needing to add a gusset.


He looks rather friendly perched on my hand but not stable enough to stand on a display table at the local show, so I went for a walk and came home with some bits of wood left from the damage to local trees from the high winds. 

Nice and dry after all this sun.  Slapped on a coat of varnish (just the one so that the difference between the inner wood and the bark would show) and Little Bird has a permanent perch.



So he will be entered in the "animal any medium" class at the show.  They are not biologically picky with the definition of animal so a bird will be fine.