September 2022/ 1

A warm welcome to my Stitching News readers this month.

I have had a total break during August, enjoying a fabulous holiday with family and have returned refreshed and energised. My desire for stitching has returned again I am really pleased to say.

The weather has changed from the dry, hot, sultry time of August, and the garden is beginning to look refreshed (and even more overgrown!). Having been away for three weeks, to come back to full water butts was a lovely surprise! The garden has obviously thoroughly enjoyed the heavy bursts of rain which have been punctuating many of the recent days of the new month.

The familiar early autumn routines for many people of “back to school days” are in place again and the now noticeably shorter days, are a reminder that the seasons are changing.

The heat really slowed me down, this summer and I lost my enthusiasm for sewing. But I did enjoy experimenting with iron water and botanical printing and now have enough prints to last me a considerable time. I also experimented with long lengths of paper, wrapped around short lengths of hazel.

Rob had coppiced our hazel bushes recently chopping lengths of the branches up for kindling. This photo of the hazel sticks was taken after using them. They have dried out totally now and are stored in an outside storage area, ready to use again, in the future.

I tied the wrapped parcels up with sari silk strips, just because “they were there” in my stash! They caught my eye when I was looking for some material to tear into strips of cloth to wrap tightly around the parcels. They were close to hand and to my delight proved to work very efficiently! Some printed marks came out on the silk strips, which I washed thoroughly when unwrapped. A lovely soft range of colours; taupe and cream with the occasional darker brown and dark pewter appeared. These combined with the marks, create an interesting collection, which was a lovely surprise. I decided to use the fabrics for paper piecing, and have just made a start.

The unit sizes are 1.5″, 3/4″ and 1.5″ x 3/4″.

As yet I haven’t made a firm decision on how I shall use them, and am just have already been sewn together, others just placed together.

I have now also returned to my scrap quilt too, and this weekend have been preparing different units and arranging them ready to stitch together by machine

Finally, while we were away we had an interesting visit to the New England Quilt Museum. in Lowell, Massachusetts. There was no doubt we had found the right building when, from the end of the street we spied this huge painting!

Caryl Bryer Fallert had a collection of her work hung in the one of the current collections of quilts. I was familiar with the majority of the quilts which were in her familiar organic, hugely colourful style, but the one I have photographed below was in a style which mixed traditional patchwork in the top left and bottom right corners, with digital printing in the main body of the quilt. It was very clever, and there was such a lot of detail to absorb. I understood from what I read that digital printing onto fabric has been her method of choice for some time.

The second quilt shown below was also in this collection. Again, this particular style, was not one I would have instantly recognised as hers, I loved it the minute I saw it. The overall vibrancy of her choice of colour palette, combined with the stunning centre fabric of each section of the nine-patch was terrific. The machine quilting was so effective and so expertly executed. Another masterpiece!

However my absolute favourite of all the collections in the museum was the quilt shown below which had been donated to the museum, and was over 100 years old. It was made entirely from shirtings and ties of its era. I thought it was stunning and could have brought it home with me! A close up showing the detail is below.

Some of you who have known me for a very long time, may remember that Rob made a quilt out of ties, which came second in its category at Quilts UK a few decades ago!

Last but not least, we had a lovely meal out in a local hotel, to celebrate my birthday. The hotel venue was chosen by Daniel, our son who works in Boston and lives a short commuter distance just outside. He and his lovely wife had dined there earlier this year and he assured me I would love it. As we entered, I could see a very impressive group of blue and white quilts which were hung beautifully. It was a vast foyer and the quilts were hung together, each one framed, but not behind glass. Because of the configuration of the foyer it was impossible to take a front shot of individual quilts but I managed a side view of the 9 quilts at the back of the vast foyer which gives an idea of the group! A couple of them are shown below. They were all old, and in fantastic condition, and of course all were hand pieced and quilted. The workmanship was beautiful. I came away, enthused and so inspired wondering if I could tackle a large blue and white quilt! In my mind definitely; but in practice probably not!

It was such a glorious end to our holiday!

Until next time, happy stitching!

Di

July2022/ 2

“The mind that opens to a new idea never returns to its original size”! Albert Einstein What a canny perception!

Sometimes I have struggled to understand why I have become so fascinated by botanical printing. The “curiosity” in me is rather like a dog with a bone, The more I read about it, the more excited I become! Such a simple process produces more and more ideas, and inevitably more information to digest. It is a wide subject and I am nibbling away at a tiny section of it….working on paper. Printing on fabric hasn’t “grabbed” me at all yet! I suppose I should say,”never say never”! I decided, back in July to write this edition of my Stitching News gradually through the next few weeks rather like a diary. It will help me to remember in a logical way, what I have been doing in my “artistic” life through the summer!

July 14th and 15th

These are glorious July days just before the more intense heat that is forecast for the next week. It is midday and Janine and I are having lunch in the shade by our pond. (Janine and husband are staying with us for three days). Sitting in the shade was a welcome break after a packed morning: an early walk before breakfast, followed by a drive to take our menfolk to the start of their morning’s activity of a walk along a section of the Cornish coast path back home.

We had chatted all morning while we prepared our “parcels” of papers and leaves for a botanical printing session and had been discussing the little printed and collaged books I have been making. I was saying to Janine that I just wasn’t sure whether to exhibit and sell them or not. Janine offered a very valuable comment, saying: “Di, these books are like your personal sketchbooks. They are a record of your work, your experiments and your progressions over these last few months. Do you really want to sell them? That question and her wise words opened my eyes wide, and I instantly knew that I absolutely did not want to sell them. I am grateful for her honesty and her clearer vision than I have had!

Since then I have looked at them in a totally different way, and am going to start a fresh small sketchbook to record some of the finer fascinating detail from them that is so easily overlooked when glancing quickly through them. Although the basics of the whole process of printing and collaging is repetitive, I learn more every time I do it and am inspired afresh. Each batch of prints is unique, and has its own surprises and it’s the surprises that create the buzz, the excitement and the inspiration. Nature is amazing! A fantastic resource, and totally free!

We had spent a busy morning with the printing, and were now looking at the pond, discussing the shadows on the leaves. We could see a dragon fly larva on one of the thick stems which belong to the huge umbrella plants. The leaves in the foreground (photo above) belong to the bog bean which is very healthy this year, and making a huge statement in every sense of the word! One or two enormous water lily leaves may have crept into the background of the photo too! We listened to a blackbird rustling through the dry fallen leaves, turning them over in the search for food!

I have also decided to soak some leaves in rainwater taken from one of water butts. l would like them to skeletonise naturally this way. I have been reading about this natural process and that it can take 2-3 weeks or longer, to produce results and it is necessary to change the water every 2-3 days, as well. The largest leaves in the tray are foxglove leaves. They printed absolutely fabulously, so I am hoping that they will skeletonise nicely too! I may be being too ambitious here! Time will tell!

In the last Stitching News, I said that I was thinking bags! I am hoping that drawing and painting into this fresh little sketch book can push some ideas on! It will certainly focus my mind and that in itself will hopefully inspire and stimulate fresh ideas.

July 17th

Today I had a couple of hours to play, and chose the two images above to work with. They are the front and back covers of one of my botanical printed books.

I took certain areas of both, that particularly appealed to me, and sketched and painted the image below with watercolours. (Photo above. I also put together a suggested group of fabrics to work with. I would like to create a panel at some stage and jotted down thoughts that were whizzing through my head! I need to dye another batch of earthy coloured threads too.

18th July

I am mindful that I will not have any time for much personal creativity now for several days, so today I have chosen another couple of prints from a different book to work with and have created an idea for a second panel for a bag now I am feeling energised!

20th July

Today I decided to take the printing one stage further. I have long been aware that the packages of prepared leaves, which have my old iron kitchen weights on top, always seem to have given more energy and interest in the prints. The iron is also acting as part mordant on the immediate papers that the weight is touching, alongside the white vinegar the paper was dipped into.

Today I read about how to make tmy own iron water, or “rust pot”! I have some very old nails, which are incredibly rusty. They could be about 100 years old, knowing a little bit of their past history. I put these in the bottom of a large glass vessel, and poured a pint of white vinegar with two pints of water over them. I shall leave this, with a cover over the top, in the garden for about three weeks, and in my next batch of printing I shall use some of the resulting solution to mordant my paper! I wonder what the results will be like! The water was already changing colour when I took this photo, the next day!

July 27th

We had been away for a few days, and when I got back I could see that the “rust pot” had developed a large fungal bloom! Being totally ignorant about such things, I decided to ditch it, and start again. When I re-read the instructions, I was reminded that they did say to put an airtight top on the container. I couldn’t find one, so just put a small log over the top! Clearly allowing a multitude of spores to enter and do their work!

The fungus completely disintegrated when I started to take it out of the glass jar. It had looked dry and crisp! So I emptied the contents of the jar down the drain, having removed the nails first! I scrubbed the jar and nails, and left them in the sun to thoroughly dry, and then brought them into the conservatory for 24 hours, before making another potion! This time I had found an airtight top, so felt much happier about it. I also left it in the conservatory, inside to allow the heat to help with the process.

The leaves I was soaking to aid the skeletonisation of them, were looking very sad. The water was cloudy and full of squirming mosquito lava. So I emptied it onto garden, spreading out the wet leaves, to dry naturally. They were incredibly soggy, and not in a fit state to keep, to be honest. I Have read that the process works very well, with the thick, robust leaves, such as Magnolia, and laurel, so I shall pursue that idea later in the year, and be content for now to continue to use some of the selection of skeleton leaves I have managed to find in the garden so far!

I spent a very pleasant afternoon, space dying some cotton threads with procion dyes one day I had prepared the skeins over several days, just winding a few at a time, and had then soaked them in a solution of household soda. I wanted an “earthy” group of colours and really enjoyed seeing the mix of colours that developed as I used pipettes to drop the dye over the wet skeins. I left them to set for a good 24 hour in their recycled trays, before washing them thoroughly, and drying them in my sewing room. I intend to take them on holiday and wind them during “waste time”, such as hanging around in the airports etc, and on the day time flights too!

31st July

In the past I have had some excellent botanical prints from the crocosmia seed cases when they have set later in the year. We have numerous gorgeous flowers on the plants at the moment in the garden. The vibrant red and orange of the flowers are so intense now, and as I have never tried printing the flowers before, I am going to have an eco printing session today! I shan’t be using the iron water though as it needs much more time to process.

I am well aware that I had said I was not going to post another Stitching News until September, but in writing this “diary” I have accumulated a fair amount of content, so I am sending it out now.

Until next time, I hope you are able to enjoy the summer, and find some time for creativity, as it really does feed the soul!

Di

July 2022/1

What a mixed bag of weather we have had recently! It is such a shame that the sudden very heavy downpours have made planning for events very unpredictable! However; it is the great British weather that we all are more than used to!

The art of creating leaf skeletons has been around for centuries, as far back as the Ming Dynasty period in China. Personally, I haven’t been creating any, but my husband produced a handful that he had found when tidying up a part of the garden recently and asked me if I wanted them! He is a treasure, and of course I wanted them! I started searching myself that day too, and there are indeed lots, all in different stages of the process. They were mostly partially skeletonised, and many of them were stuck together. I soaked them in warm water in a couple of old margarine cartons which helped to separate them, then laid them on a towel to dry. I have been adding them to my collaged eco prints. They are an interesting addition to the story of the plants in our garden.

The majority of the leaves that we found had dropped from our Hoheria, commonly called a New Zealand Lacebark tree.

We inherited a fully grown tree when we moved here, and we now have three fully grown trees in the garden, along with countless seedlings! We are constantly pulling them up. I have just been reading about them, and it is interesting to read that they like damp coastal locations, and stand up to the winds very well! We are clearly a haven for the species!! They look very pretty in the late spring/early summer when they are covered in small white flowers.

As you can see the skeleton leaf structure is delightful! I have used Matte Modge Podge to anchor it down. This glue was recommended to me, recently when I was running out of the PVA glue.

I am so grateful for the recommendation. It dries clear, without shine; is fast drying and very easy to apply. Definitely the best glue I have used in years, and the paint brush just cleans up quickly and easily with soap and water. I have a bar of hand made soap by the sink in my work room, and I just rub the brush along the edge of the bar, work the wet brush with my fingers for about about 30 seconds then rinse and dry it.

The photo above comes from a concertina folded book, showing one section I have added a skeletonised leaf to. It is uncannily similar to the print on its right, although the leaf print is of hazel!

This picture is a double spread in my sketchbook dated November 2010; almost 12 years ago! I knew I had some notes and ideas from a while ago, so was thrilled to have found them. I was clearly thinking “bags” as you can see, and am going to follow this thread, so watch this space! My mind is already buzzing!

I have done very little eco printing this year, so had a splurge a few days ago and I am delighted with the results. It had been a sunny very warm day. I think it must be a combination of the weather conditions, plus the time of year. The leaves in the square group selection immediately above are a selection from the recent effort. They include ferns, rose leaves, wild geranium, herb robert, pieris forest flame. I just did one steaming in my old aluminium pan, which had two steaming layers I used three different papers, different thicknesses this time; lining paper (140 gm); also a different cotton rag paper than I have been using recently. It diffuses the image slightly, which I don’t actually like, but it was good to try it out, and thirdly a very delicate fine paper which I was given. It is called Toyvian Sumi paper, it comes from China, and is a rice paper. When wet it is very, very fragile and easily tears!

I use old fashioned iron weights, such as the old round kitchen scale weights. I also have some much older square ones which I have bought over the years from junk shops. When I have tied up my “parcels” of leaves and papers, I place these weights on top of the parcels in the pan, to help to increase the contact of leaf to the paper surfaces before I set them steaming. Inevitably the iron makes its own marks too, giving the pale grey and darker shades along with almost black at times.

under_the_oaks_creativity is a wonderful Instagram site which I have found really inspirational. The mini videos showing ideas and techniques are very supportive and helpful, and have spurred me on to create the books I have been making.

The photos below are of my latest book. It is the last I shall be making for a while! It is another folded book, but not a regular concertina folded book. When folded it gives the appearance of being in a landscape format. It folds back on itself as well as having a pamphlet style single fold unit stitched into one of the valley folds. I have loved exploring how I might construct this book. It has been quite a challenge! I have attached a natural coloured sari silk “ribbon” threaded through the loop of thread used to stitch the extra folded unit in place. The “ribbon” wraps around the book and ties, as a closure.

Finally, a date for your diaries:

Flowerpatch Quilters, Launceston, are having their quilt group exhibition at Cowslip Workshops. Dates are Tuesday 2nd to Saturday 6th August, 10 am to 4 pm each day and this year they are supporting Cornwall Wildlife Trust with a quilt raffle and sales table. The local Launceston embroiderer group, called “Creative Stitchers“, are also exhibiting at the same time and venue. I am very much looking forward to visiting them both.

I am going to have a break for the summer now while I make progress with the scrap quilt, and writing the book. I look forward to posting again in September.

In the meantime, I hope everyone has a happy and healthy summer.

Di

June 2022 /2

Hello and welcome to my second Stitching News post this month. For me, June has been mostly about the garden and collage. The garden is just a steady work in progress to keep all the foliage cut back, and reasonably tidy!! So, although my final thoughts in my last post were that I was going to be “back to working on my scrap quilt, and starting work on the 4th chapter of my book, alongside snippets of time on very necessary gardening!” I have certainly been working in the garden, but then collage took over!

I have had a yearning to make a fabric collage for a complete change, to include three eco prints. I have also included one of my lino printed houses! Some of you may be thinking that I have recently been working on something similar! However, that last collage, which I worked on back in the winter, was all created from recycled brown paper and was heavily stitched in a Kantha style. I wrote about it in the February Stitching News blog

https://stitchingnews.wordpress.com/2022/02/

My new fabric collage is now tacked up and I have just started to stitch. I intend to stitch quite spontaneously! I have no plan although I would like to have occasional unexpected “stitch touches”!

With the exception of two fabrics; the blue and white striped fabric on the left hand edge of the panel, and the darkish patterned batik which is just off centre, at the bottom edge , all of the other patterned fabrics in the piece come from a gorgeous selection of old Liberty Tana Lawn fabrics generously given to me by Patricia, my cousin, when I stayed with her very recently. We had such a lovely time catching up as we hadn’t seen each other for two and a half years because of the pandemic. Many thanks again Patricia!

I shall totally hand quilt this panel, mainly in straight lines, using my hand dyed cotton threads. I had lots of time to think through the process of creating this panel. The meditative nature of planning, gathering, sifting through the collection, auditioning sizes and placements of colour and pattern was very enjoyable! There are always so many choices when creating a fresh piece of work, whatever its size! Walking away from it for two or three days before committing to a final result has invariably worked well for me. Having tacked it up and started to stitch now, I am pleased to have a portable project to work on gradually over the next couple of months. I decided to use a piece of lightweight calico as the middle layer of my sandwich, to keep it flat.

Having prepared this collage I really had caught the “collage bug”, and went full pelt along a slightly different route; the mixed media route this time!

I find it endlessly fascinating how one activity leads to the next! Ideas naturally evolve during the slow process of bringing a piece of work together. While I was so absorbed in the process of working through the slow and meditative processes explained above I found my thoughts wandering in quite a gentle and intuitive way, and I started to focus on other forms of collage and the abundant source of eco prints I have produced over time, albeit having used many in a wide variety of projects over the years. I always have a scrap bag of papers on the go, and knew I could team some of them up together! The ones I have used I have either inked, or painted, printed, marked and textured in a variety of ways. I gathered these together and married them up with some eco prints, some of which I still have from when I started in 2015, which is when I started experimenting and learning about the process!

I have created various concertina units. The two photos above are the front and back surfaces of a 6″ x 12″ single fold card. I actually used a blank square greeting card to work onto. The very nature of collage is that you are covering a surface, so you could be incredibly eco friendly, and use an old Christmas or birthday card to try the process out! No one but you would have any idea!! The surface needs to be smooth, and matte, i.e. non shiny. Any covering papers would need to hide any colour or text on the surface of the card.

I decided to mount a selection of eco prints onto a collage of my own papers, rather than directly onto the card surface. The top photo of the two, is the outside, or “back” of the card, and immediately below it is the “inside”. In total I have used 15 whole or parts of eco prints, in a range of sizes. There is something “very rich and satisfying” about collaging on both sides of a free standing item. Whatever angle you look at it, there is a glimpse of something else to investigate! I have been careful to keep everything as flat as possible, keeping surfaces apart by protecting them with small sheets of a non-stick surface and placing a weight on them.

I have an old table top book press which I was thrilled to receive from one of our sons as a birthday present several years ago. When I am sure that all surfaces are totally dry, I have given them a final press in the book press!

When I was given it, I cut a piece mount board the size of the square bottom plate and marked the centre, by drawing the two diagonals. I cut two squares of wool blanket and place the item I want to press between these squares, before turning the long black handles of the huge screw to lower the top plate.

A pile of books will also do the job very nicely!

Below, the photograph shows another two concertina folded units. The top one is 3.5″ deep x 22″ long. Once again I have collaged from my range of papers, and then mounted my eco prints on top of them.

As yet, I have only collaged the front of the top strip, but will be completing the back very soon! The second folded strip underneath it, is 22″ long, and slightly narrower, being 3″ deep! Both sides of this strip are collaged.

The base of the strips is wallpaper lining paper, which I have in my stash. It is a slightly thinner lining paper than I use for eco printing and I could probably use an even thinner one, because the layers which build up are naturally giving a strength to the structure.

I am using Golden Matte Medium for pasting the background papers to the lining paper, but PVA glue for gluing the eco prints. My reasoning for that is that I can be less “careful” when gluing the background papers, as the medium is matte and it won’t show if I brush the medium over the edges of the papers to ensure a good attachment to the base. When dry, PVA is glossy. If some inadvertently gets onto the background papers it can quite clearly be seen when it has dried. I could see this easily when experimenting initially, so chose to use the two different glues, and the method works well for me! I am really enjoying these processes, and can see me making more which will all be for sale ultimately! It is really addictive!

I have been a member of Gate Quilters ever since we moved to Cornwall 13 years ago. Due to the fact that our membership has declined hugely since we returned from the pandemic, which has made such an impact on many of our lives, it is with the greatest regret and sadness that it is proposed that Gate Quilters, as it is now, should be closed at the end of the summer term this year, and be replaced in September by a new name for the group; Gate Quilters Sewing and Craft Group. By widening the remit of the group, we are hoping to reach a wider community of people who might like to become members and join us.

Life has changed in so many ways for all of us and I am well aware of changes having to be made to similar groups in other areas of the country. We meet in a large hall, and the committee has had to consider ways to be able to continue our meetings while covering our costs. We have already changed from meeting weekly to every two weeks and as more ladies who have been members of Gate quilters in the past are still coming forward to contact our chairman, to say that regrettably they have had to make the decision to leave the group, the situation has had to be addressed.

On June 29th, 2022, at St Mary’s Methodist Church Room, Chapel Road, Par, (just before the Railway bridge) we are holding an open day, between 10 am – 3pm. Cakes, Books, Handmade items, fabric and more, will be on sale in aid of Cornwall Blood Bikes, and Fleet – Defibrillators for Cornwall. For enquiries please ring 01726 879533

If you live locally, or know anyone who does, and would like to come and have a chat about the group, please do come along on the day, enjoy a cup of coffee and cake. You will be made most welcome.

Until next time, happy stitching!

Di

June 2022 /1

Good morning from Mevagissey! It seems that much of the country is experiencing very mixed weather, as we are. It is switching from glorious sunshine to misty rain and then unexpected interruptions of sudden heavy downpours! Good old British weather! I sincerely hope that everyone has enjoyed their Jubilee long holiday weekend, wherever you were, and whatever you were doing! We had a wonderful time with family and friends, away for ten days exploring some of Britain’s diverse landscapes. So, I am sorry that this is going to be a short stitching news! I had no time to stitch!

I had taken my kit for monoprinting leaves and also my sewing kit, but didn’t even open them! We had glorious walks every day, and every day our surroundings were different but stimulating. This year in particular, it seems to me, the weather conditions are producing extraordinarily fast growth in our gardens as well as in our landscapes.

I am just posting this image of two small eco prints that I am stitching on currently. The left one measures 2.25″ x 2.75″ (5.7cm x 7cm) and is eco printed fleabane, a small daisy flower. I still have a lot of work to do on this print. They do take hours, but I find it fascinating to see how they eventually change and have a different life! The right hand print is of ivy berries, which I squeezed flat before printing, and as you can see I have only just started the stitching on it. Measurements are 2″ x 2.5″ (5 x 6.4 cm). These will ultimately be framed in different groups of four.

Visiting five different locations and environments was very special and inspirational. Our daily walks meant that we were exploring coastal, river, canal, marsh land, city and urban environments, all of which provided a rich mix of inspiration and stimulation. Along the riverside and canal paths the vegetation was so lush and tall that we could barely see the water at times. Instead we had eyes for all the fascinating, varied plant life, and insects. The bees were particularly busy and evident, which was heartening to see. Bird song was all around us and beautiful to listen to. We are so fortunate to live in such a diverse and wonderful landscape, wherever we are in Great Britain.

I collected lots of empty cockle shells that I discovered scattered in among the rocks and stones on a small sandy beach. The area was rich with them. When we got home I left them to soak in a soapy bleach solution for a couple of days, then rinsed and gently scrubbed them with an old toothbrush and now have a great resource of wonderful little receptacles to use with my watercolour paints. I had given away several of those I collected locally, so this was a great find!

During our daily walks I was also fortunate to find a fresh selection of leaves for monoprinting and/or eco printing. They included various different ivy shapes and oaks, tulip tree leaves, and Gingko biloba. The two tulip tree leaves shown on the left of the photo are fascinating. I am not aware of seeing them before. I collected a few of each and they are currently being pressed ready for monoprinting or Eco printing. I am not sure what the leaf in the centre is, but possibly a different sycamore?? What an intricate pointed outline! I shall be very interested to see how it monoprints.

We stayed with a long standing friend in North Devon for four nights, so a visit to the Burton Gallery in Bideford was a must! Over the years I have had many opportunities to visit, and have never been disappointed. Within, there is a shop and another gallery space of local artists work with artefacts for sale, and this leads down to an excellent café, always a bonus!

On display In their main exhibition gallery was a fantastic exhibition; The Annual Schools Exhibition. It was rich in colour, texture and composition; a real feast for the eyes. On display was art from the youngest reception children right through to sixth form College. I spent a wonderful morning in the exhibition, looking and going back to look again at the creative, sometimes amusing, and truly inspirational work. A real testimony to the fantastic art teachers in the schools who have nurtured and encouraged the children along their creative journeys. There is so much talent in our communities, and it is wonderful to see it on show.

I didn’t take my camera, but brought home a post card advertising the exhibition, which, spoke to me instantly. I love the impact and vibrancy in this work. Titled “Faces”, it was painted by award winner Bethany Gifford, from Holsworthy Community College.

The Annual Schools Exhibition is being displayed from 30th April to 26th June. The exhibition continues for most of this month. Well worth a trip if you are in the area.

Last, but certainly not least, Liz Brooke Ward is Artist in Residence from June 14th to June19th, at Nature in Art, Wallsworth Hall, Twigworth, Gloucester GL29PG. If I could I would certainly be going to visit her. Have a great week Liz!

So, now I am back to working on my scrap quilt, and starting work on the 4th chapter of my book., along side snippets of time on leaf embroidery and very necessary gardening! The wild patch we have allowed to develop is looking looking true to its word! Very wild, but fascinating too. It is only a small patch, but it certainly has impact!

Happy stitching until next time.

Di

May 2022 /1

Welcome to my May blog. I am sending this out early as I have a very busy month coming up, and am well aware that I shall have little opportunity to make much progress with anything creative, such as stitching! Gardening calls every day, and i am thoroughly enjoying working in it. The rainy day that we had yesterday was most welcome.

I am sure many of us and our children or grandchildren have painted leaves with acrylic paint, and printed with them on paper, or fabric. Recently I watched a mini “reel” on Instagram about creating mono printed leaves with watercolours. It was little more than a 20 second clip, or even shorter, but that was enough to catch my eye! I have had great fun experimenting this last week. I am lucky enough to have my studio upstairs and “out of sight”, so I am able to leave work out all the time, and do “five minutes here, and five minutes there” … my frequently uttered mantra!

The finished monoprints can be used to make personal cards for every occasion. Experimenting is the secret. The oakleaf on the right is printed on watercolour paper, measuring 4″ x 3″, and is mounted onto a commercial recycled card measuring 5.25″ square. I have experimented on cartridge paper, which can give good results, although it is inclined to buckle slightly. I haven’t tried lining paper, but imagine it could work very well too.

“You never quite know what you do in life that leaves a seed behind that grows into an oak tree”; a quote I found and wrote Inside this particular card. It seemed to complete the whole process.

Recently I was intrigued when I saw a friend using a really small cockle shell to mix and blend a small amount of watercolour paint. She had sourced the shells from the Internet! A week or so later Rob and I were doing an annual beach survey for Cornwall wildlife trust, and I noticed there were many cockle shells lying on the beach. My lucky day! I Looked on the beaches local to where I live, but there were none to be found.

I collected some and just love using them. The paint stays moist as it is in a little “well” rather than mixed on a recycled plastic lid! I can hold the shell if I want, or use it resting on the table. The shells do stain but after use I wash them with soapy water first, then drop them into a small jar of a bleach solution and leave them to soak for an hour or so, then wash and rinse them and they are perfectly white again. You can see them in use in my photo below! It is such a lovely way to be using something discarded by nature, for creating a print of another of natures wonderful resources!

I have written a mini tutorial of how I have ended up working. Trial and experiment are the answer.

Gather all your requirements together:

  1. Water colour paints and paint brush. I used my Koh in Noor paints
  2. Recycled yoghurt pot for clean water
  3. A piece of kitchen paper, or an old rag to blot paint brush on
  4. Newspaper on your table, and a fine piece of paper such as crisp tissue paper, to place over the back of the watercolour-paper receiving the print.
  5. Finally a spoon to burnish the back of the watercolour paper.
  6. Chosen paper to print onto

Dried leaves work really well with this process, but fresh leaves can also be used. The beauty of the dried leaves is that they can be used time and time again. Even at this time of year there are an abundance of dried leaves everywhere! Have a look when you are out walking anywhere where there are trees! The leaves get kicked into the sides of the footpaths, we have many all over our garden. Our garden is not neat and tidy, but it is fascinating and comes up with surprises all the time. I love it!

(Twice this week we have been delighted to see a small hedgehog, probably one of last years young, out at dusk.) …. I digress!

Place the leaf onto a piece of newspaper, and paint the back of the leaf. This is where all the detail of the veins is most prominent. I am careful not to overload with the wet paint, particularly on the edges of the leaf, because it can seep out onto the paper giving an unwanted halo! It is important to experiment, to find out what works for you, and what gives a good result. Be prepared to have some disasters initially. Indeed perhaps try out the results on lining paper first, to see how you get on.

Move the painted leaf to a clean surface wet paint side up. Scrap paper or a page torn out of an old magazine is fine. At this stage, be aware that the resulting print will be a mirror image of how the leaf is placed. Then place the piece of watercolour paper (or your chosen paper for the print) right side down over the leaf. Finally place the sheet of thin paper over the top of that.

Holding the desert spoon near the “bowl” of the spoon (I put my thumb in the bowl and grasp the handle of the spoon in my fist), press down firmly making small circular movements over the area where the leaf is. I find it easier to stand up for this process, as I seem to have more control. I am not sure of the purpose of the fine paper, but I have noticed that if anything is going to move during the burnishing part of the process, it is the fine paper, not the watercolour paper. It is important to hold the layers down firmly on the table surface as you don’t want the print to move or it could smudge! Burnish with this circular movement for a good couple of minutes, continually making sure you are using the pressure all over the “leaf areas”.

When you feel that you have done your best, carefully lift the paper off the leaf! I have never got a whole complete print, but I have usually got sufficient detail to be very pleased with the result. After about five minutes the print is dry, and I then use the watercolour paint that is left, to “fill in” the gaps of white showing on the print. I do this in a delicate way, not over loading the paint brush at all; almost stippling it. I always turn the actual leaf over to the right side, so that it is in the same orientation as the print, then if any of the leaf outline is very feint, or hasn’t printed, I can refer to the leaf to know where to fill in the detail with a fine brush. Finally when the print is dry I use a 0.1 fine black drawing pen and a very light touch, and draw over the outline of the leaf. If my pen “misses” in places, I leave it, and never aim to have a perfect continuous line. I definitely do not want a firm line. All the leaf veins and dots and spots on the leaves are the original marks from the printing process.

How is the scrap quilt doing? Well, it has come on in leap and bounds over the last four days. I have been able to give it some undivided attention as it is the first time I have managed to pick it up since the last newsletter. Where the days and weeks go these days, is a complete mystery!

This is a typical block of scraps. I am just making the blocks different sizes. Using up the tiny scraps as well as the bigger ones. No two blocks throughout the quilt are the same. The only thing I try to keep my eye on is balance of colour, as I do have some rather striking colours in the quilt, and also need to balance the use of the gull fabric too.

I have drawn out my third daisy block, and will be preparing the applique pieces, so that I can take it away next weekend. I am going away for a few days and it will be a perfect hand sewing project to take with me.

I am well on with the whole project now, which is very pleasing.

Finally, a Date for your diaries.

Textile Maids are an exhibiting group of ladies living in Cornwall. Their current exhibition work is titled “The Written Word”, and is being exhibited from May 7th- 26th in the Blanchester room at Bude Castle. This offers an opportunity to visit the exhibition for those who live in the north of the county, having been exhibited in Falmouth during April.

I sincerely hope that you re enjoying the May day weekend.

Happy Stitching

Di

April 2022/ 1

Welcome to everyone, and very good wishes for a happy Easter.

The garden is looking in need of much attention, and I shall be out in it shortly! However, as we have gradually been leaving areas to nature, it is such a joy to see all the usual bulbs and plants in amongst everything else. The Rosemary has been out for weeks, The apple tree is gradually coming into blossom, and the birds are scampering about, with nesting material in their beaks. You can hardly look at any area of the garden without seeing a myriad of primroses in your line of sight!

I have been stitching and switching from one project to another, latterly. I had such a thorough tidy up in my room, as I mentioned fairly recently, but with using totally different fabrics/mixed media, and threads again for each of the projects I am working on, it doesn’t require much imagination to visualise the mess it is all in again!! I can hear the murmurings loud and clear!! I know I am one amidst many of us with the same problem!

I am making steady progress with the scrap quilt and best of all I am thoroughly enjoying it.

Putting together all these units and just using scraps (apart from the “gull” material which I bought for the original project) is quite addictive and thoroughly absorbing. There is absolutely no waste. If I make a unit and it needs changing, perhaps to add a different colour, I can cut it up however I like and start again! It is so refreshing to be working to any size, not having to consider measurement or seam allowance sizes, etc. Every bit of any stitched units that may need to be trimmed, can be used again, as long as the trimmings are at least 3/4″ wide! I have constructed three main strips which are all different widths, and am just starting on a fourth, as you can see to the left of the pink daisy flower in the photo above.

At its widest measurement, at the moment, the quilt top is 36″ wide and it’s longest length is 40″. I am aiming for 36″ x 48″ finished size, which will be a nice size for a two year old’s bed. She is still in a cot!

I have enlarged this section of the quilt to show a range of the different techniques and changes of scale. The main strips, are just laid together at the moment, I shan’t finally sew them together until each strip is complete. The daisy blocks are working well, by allowing the eye to rest as it roams over the quilt. I shall make one more, possibly a strip of three daisies side by side!

I love the fact that it is really colourful, and not typically “babyish”! Hopefully it will grow with her, and perhaps become a wall hanging at some stage in the future. I have included a favourite scrap of denim that I have had on my work table for many months, just waiting for the right occasion. I have been thinking I would be incorporate it into another denim bag, but am loving it used in this quilt! It is to the right of the blue daisy. There are also tiny-scale log cabin units, three different arrangements of half square triangles, and a single flying goose unit, as well as much more!

Isn’t there a great sense of satisfaction when when we crack a problem that has been a thorn to deal with! I use the Windows 10 editing programme for my photos, and have done for years. In fact I started using it when Picassa was withdrawn from use, if anyone can remember when that was!

Well, last week I was using the programme as normal, but when I needed to use it again later in the day, it would not respond at all. What a lot of time I wasted as I tried every which way to sort it out….probably a couple of hours! I was SO frustrated I ended up doing what I should have done straight away; asking Google!! Various solutions were offered and I ploughed through the one I thought probably related to the problem more than the others!

Not being technically astute, I am never sure, if I am going to regret my actions when I am touching buttons! I find it quite scary when I am totally out of my depth. However I followed the suggestions and ended up going into the settings for Microsoft photos App, and clicking on advanced options! (Would I live to regret this?) More options were offered, one of which was repair or reset? I opted for repair, after all something had clearly gone wrong! The programme was not working at all, so it needed repairing! I clicked on repair, and the little circle started whirring around, then a blue tick appeared. Wow! That seemed very positive! I had a smile on my face, which turned into a big grin when I closed Google, and reinserted my camera card, and it all worked perfectly. I hadn’t had to call on anyone else to help me sort it out! ACE!!

I am building up a fresh body of stitched work, linked to my eco printing and have been stitching into individual leaf prints once again. This is work that will be exhibited at the next Textiles Plus exhibition. It is quite a restful, therapeutic process, and the cotton rag paper I am using is very forgiving and easy to stitch into by hand.

Here I have displayed four of the leaves together, on a piece of Khadi paper. Each leaf is in the region of 2″ wide, by 2.25 – absolute maximum of 3″ long. I have grouped them 2 x 2 so that I can make the detail clearer.

They will actually hang in the format shown in this second photo. I shall create a small sleeve on the reverse side of each and hang them all together on a thin dowelling rod. I am making six in total, and the third is in progress!

Our next Textiles Plus exhibition will be in November 2023, and will be called “Entangled threads”.

Clearly these images do not have entangled threads! However I am developing my ideas for that particular piece of work, and am gradually researching source material and pulling my thoughts together before I start planning a sample piece. Hopefully that will be of a size I can frame, and hang as well!!

Textiles Plus has just opened a group Instagram account so that we can post the sort of work we are doing, as well as advertise our events. Our Instagram name is textilesplus_ Note the underscore at the end. There are two or three textile plus groups, which is why ours has the addition of the underscore! Hopefully those of you who have Instagram accounts will follow us.

I have had my own account for several years now, as have those who are already posting.

Date for your diary

Three of my ex students who live in Gloucestershire have an exhibition of their work in June this year, at Three Stories, in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire. Details are given on their poster on the left.

I have been fortunate enough to visit two of their exhibitions in the past, and was very impressed. Together they create a wonderful and varied selection of textile work. Unfortunately I don’t think I shall be able to visit this year. It is on for 12 days, so plenty of opportunity to visit if you are in the area. Apparently, the venue is a fabulous old warehouse that has been renovated fairly recently, and I have heard that it really is well worth a visit.

We all love a good cafe, and coffee and cake, so perhaps a “pre-visit” to suss out the venue would be a good idea, if you live in the county!

Finally, the lovely Forest Flame Pieris in our garden, has taken on a new life since lockdown! I had suggested that we got rid of it as it looked so “poorly”, but Rob was reluctant and suggested we gave it another couple of years, before taking such drastic action! It must have heard him and was grateful for the reprieve, because it is looking amazing, having sprouted many new shoots on fairly bare looking branches. It is thriving now!

Until next time, happy stitching!

Di

March 2022/ 1

It is good to be back in touch with everyone. I am juggling my time between writing and stitching. The rest of any of the normal daily/weekly routine has to fit in between the gaps! I achieve something of each, every day and this last few weeks my stitching has mostly been for a couple of hours before breakfast, then later on sitting by the log burner in the evenings. The light is so good again in the early morning and I love to listen to the gentle noises outside as the birds squabble, the early workers start up their modes of transport, and the early morning dog walkers call out to each other. It is heartening to see more sunshine, and to feel the warmth in the sun too.

I have been playing around with a small panel of distorted hexagons! Initially while paper piecing this, I had to be really mindful of correct placement of each piece. No two hexagon shapes are the same, so placement and correct orientation has been important. I wanted it to be bright and cheerful, and chose hot reds, oranges and pinks. Red and green sing together, so I also included three green hexagons as I worked through the English paper piecing. I continually laid the piece in position on a spare photocopy of the grid. Any anomaly would instantly show up!!

After completing the piecing and removing the papers, I pressed it then layered it up with a dyed pink striped cotton backing, and a layer of calico for my middle layer. I knew I wanted to cover it in stitch, so felt something light-weight and fairly thin would be more appropriate for a A4 sized panel, than any of the waddings I have at the moment. I am really conscious of not wanting to buy anything fresh unless absolutely necessary.

I had, initially liked the green, but the more I quilted, the more it became obvious that it was far too dominant, and I began to dislike what I was doing, quite intensely! To be perfectly honest, I was aware of this even before I started the quilting, but had hoped that quilting with coloured threads might knock it back a bit; alas, no! I had invested a lot of time already in this small panel so didn’t want to just abandon it.

It was clearly the stark brightness of the green that was the culprit, so I had to change that somehow!
I tried to dull the colour by painting the fabric with coffee to tone it down. Sadly it had only minimal impact

I could remove the three patches, which would be far too costly in time, I therefore decided to cover up the green with a more subtle green fabric!

The problem wasn’t the green, so much as the overwhelming amount of the green! Only three pieces! But because it was so bright it totally distracted from what else was happening in the rest of the panel.

I returned to my original template sheet and photocopied a spare, then cut out the three offending paper template shapes to work with. Initially I cut a narrow border from the edges of each one. My first intention was to create shapes from the template, which could be positioned over the offending colour to hide the majority of it, but still allow some of the vibrancy to remain!

My second intention was that the new shapes I would cut out, would also be “hexagons”! They are indeed, as each shape has six sides to it! Not conventional in any way, but nevertheless six-sided shapes!

Then I cut one of the paper templates into two pieces, and a second one into three pieces. I changed my mind about the third green template, deciding to applique circles onto it, and leave a little more of the green showing!

I placed all the new paper shapes in position over the two green hexagons, and decided they would do the trick, very nicely. I chose an olive green fabric, ironed Bondaweb to the reverse side of the fabric, and carefully turned each new paper template over, before drawing around it onto the paper side. (This was so that the pieces would not be in mirror image). Finally I blanket stitched along all the edges to stop any fraying.

If you refer back to the centre photograph of the three, above, you will notice that I also have a hexagon shape with a pretty liberty fabric in red and green, near the bottom centre of the panel. When I had altered the offending green patches, that particular red and green hexagon, was also clearly interfering with the balance of the piece, so I covered that one too, but with a fresh red fabric! Again I left the tiniest of borders of the original fabric showing, just to echo what else had been happening. The whole action has now redressed that imbalance too!

This piece of work is definitely growing on me after making these alterations. The inclusion of a change of scale, the breaking down of the three pieces, and the inclusion of the fabric circles has made a vast difference! Definitely worth the extra effort!

Continual assessment is essential in any piece of work, however small and seemingly insignificant! I still have more quilting to do, but it feels in a different league now!

The photo on the right shows a totally different development of the original distorted grid.

For this sample I have stitched onto the reverse side of the photocopy! You can see the drawn lines which show faintly right through the photocopy!

I really like the fact that is shows the working drawing, albeit in mirror image. Sadly the photograph doesn’t show the finer detail at all. I like the fact that I am stitching on top of a working drawing, and that you can see some of the notation too.

I have had the idea running through my mind quite a lot so I just had to try it out to see what might happen! I actually think that now I am going to start again; give a fresh photocopy a very dilute water colour wash, to remove the starkness of the white paper, and also choose a completely different coloured background fabric! Some of the sheers are just laid on at the moment for the purposes of the photograph. So, maybe watch this space!…

I was so inspired by Mary’s wonderful scrap quilt at our quilt group meeting this week, that I went straight home to get out the scrap quilt that I started for our granddaughter before she was born! She was two last November!

Mary’s quilt, incorporated a few blocks that were surplus to their original purpose, other areas incorporated areas of scrap squares or strips; half square triangles etc just joined together. She had also purposely made three applique blocks, after realising that the quilt surface needed “somewhere for the eye to rest”. It had every colour, tint and shade in it, and was all pulled together by a glorious Kaffe Fassett border around the edge. If you click on the link below you can see how far my quilt had progressed, before I put it on one side.

https://stitchingnews.wordpress.com/2020/01/

In the photo in the link, most of the blocks are just laid together, rather than sewn together. Further progress came to a full stop, as did many things on the arrival of Covid, and although I have got it out several times over the last two years it has been with little enthusiasm! I was bored, just repeating the same thing over and over again.

Yesterday I came home from the quilt meeting with fresh enthusiasm, and I started adding long strips, making fresh scrap units up; half square triangles, cut squares instead of oblongs, and I have fallen back in love with it! So, thank you Mary! It is also lovely to be creating without necessarily having to work with templates!! I intend to make some log cabin units, and to have several changes of scale over all.

I know I am going to enjoy working on this again now!

I intend to create just lots of blocks, to move it along. It doesn’t matter about the sizes at all. The final adjustments, and choice of orientation can be a much later consideration.

I look forward to posting again, later on in April. Until next time, happy stitching!

Di

February 2022/1

Hello to you all!

As I start writing this post, Storm Eunice is playing havoc with the shrubs trees and hedges in our garden! It has been a wild day out there so far, and the weekend looks as though it will be stormy too. Thankfully we haven’t experienced any damage or disruption, but I am aware that many people, all over the UK will not have been so fortunate!

Under the circumstances I felt it would be a good time to knuckle down and write this month’s blog!

Textiles+, an exhibiting group of textile artists in Cornwall, of which I am a member, has fixed the date now for our next exhibition, which will be in November 2023. Many of you came to support us at The Poly, in Falmouth last November. Indeed some of you came from long distances, particularly to support me, as readers of my blog, for which I was very touched and grateful. I was only sad, that I wasn’t stewarding on the day that you visited.

A new date booked, gives a purpose and goal to work towards now, which always spurs me on!

I have completed the row of houses I was making, since the last Stitching News and it has now been posted off to its new home! I intend to make two or three more for the exhibition. The row stands up on its own, very easily. I have had it standing on my work table for the last two weeks! It really makes me smile! It is entirely hand stitched using the English piecing method. The back and front have been ladder stitched together all the way around the outside edges.

I absolutely love hand stitching. I find it very therapeutic, and most enjoyable. The best thing about it is its portability! I can sit downstairs by the fire in the evenings and either chat or have one eye on the television. I can pick it up and put it down, do five minutes here, and there, and gradually those minutes combine into good chunks of progress!

I had started the paper collage shown below, when I wrote my last post, in January. It is finished now, and I have really enjoyed the whole process. I particularly like the inclusion of the eco prints, and intend to start another piece. It will be a different finished shape, a different arrangement and a completely different colour palette.

I painted recycled brown paper with blue ink, and the combination of the ink and brown colour of the paper, created turquoise, which was a total surprise to me.

I distressed this minimally while it was wet, and then a lot more when it was dry. I painted several sheets of this paper, with varying dilutions of the ink. It was not at all exciting, at that stage and I decided to include a different type of paper in the collage; cheese paper, which is white and not unlike teabag paper. This also came from a recycling centre. Mixing lemon yellow with the blue ink, resulted in an acid green on the cheese paper, and really lifted the palette. I also used the original blue ink on the cheese paper, and those are the small pieces of almost royal blue.

This second view is a close up, and shows the collaged pieces more clearly.

There is a minimum of two layers throughout. Much of the surface consists of three layers, and in three or four areas there are actually four layers! I have stitched with space-dyed cotton threads, using two different blues, and a greeny/golden yellow.

My favourite trusted tool that I use when I am finding it tough to pull my tiny needle though is a £1 pair of long needle nosed pliers I bought in our local indoor market, in the tools department, about 10 years ago.

I have started to make a few needle cases. The ones with the tiny log cabin type of machine piecing are extremely fiddly but great fun too!

I have just laid a strip of denim each side of the multi coloured patchwork strip, (top left). Top right is the back of a denim stitched strip in white thread.

The completed samples below these are, of course lined. They are closed with Velcro!

Not the easiest items to make, but I am hoping that a small basket of these will be quite eye-catching!

If I wake early in the mornings, I disappear upstairs and spend an hour or two working on this project!

My needle nosed pliers are in this photo. Perfect for grabbing the needle and taking the strain off my fingers and thumb!

I have other projects on the go; my squaring the circle, which will keep me busy for a long time, and of course, the book.

I am hoping to have finished the first chapter by the end of the month! That is my target, but naturally, life intervenes all the time!

Until next time, happy stitching!

Di

January 2022/2

Good morning. It has been another cold and grey month. We have seen very little sun, since December, but when it has appeared, if only briefly, it has been most welcome! In amongst the vagaries of the weather it is heartening to see the small flower heads of the hellebores appearing, our winter jasmine has been flowering for a few weeks.

I had a humongous tidy up in my sewing room during the middle of January. It was quite cathartic. I feel rejuvenated; having fresh energy now. The best result of all though is that I am thoroughly enjoying being in my studio again.

My small portable external hard drive has been crying out for a new cover since I bought it a year ago. It came encased in a skin tight black velvet drawstring bag, but I felt I wanted something bright cheerful and with slightly more room for the device! Importantly, I didn’t want to be spending a whole day making it so when I found an old Mola sample during my sort out, I knew it would be ideal for the job! The sample is simple and naive and had been tucked away in a drawer ever since I made it, many moons ago!

As you can see, I had used black felt as the top layer, and cut back to red felt underneath. The image on the left shows the back of the pocket, which is the back-end of the “animal”. The head of the animal is on the front of the pocket! (Apologies for the discrepancy in the size of the photo imagery). I didn’t want to cut the panel in half, so I just folded it in half. Stitching on the bindings, and adding some naive cross-stiches and a few French knots, hardly took any time!

I have promised to help Josie, a young student at university, who is keen to experiment with various creative techniques and hand stitching. Initially, she was keen to experiment and learn about how to eco print leaves. So, when we got together a couple of weeks ago, we had a go! We collected a few leaves from the garden, but I had collected and frozen a wide variety of leaves during November, as an experiment. It was a learning experience for us both! I didn’t know how they might print, never having used frozen leaves before, but she had some terrific prints. She also brought with her a couple of bright red flower petals that she had picked up on her walk the previous day, as well as a decent sized sliver of bark. We tried those out and had really interesting results from those too. In the afternoon I showed her how to do English piecing, and had given her a varied selection of oddments of fabric. She tacked some hexagon shapes onto thin card, and sewed two hexagons together so that she knew how to continue. We shall get together again in mid February if dates work for us both, and when I asked if she knew what she would like to do, she said she would love to stitch with mixed media and had tried stitching onto paper but without much luck, as it was tearing.

I have lots of stitched mixed media samples, but had a yearning to produce something fresh for when we meet again.

From my stash of painted papers I pulled out some painted and distressed brown paper which I tore into units, and stitched creating the lovely kind of Kantha effect with them. I placed some of these, along with three eco prints, printed onto Indian Rag paper, onto the surface of layered pieces of dyed scrim.

Was it too crowded? In which ever way I shuffled them around and removed the odd one, none of the changes looked right! Was the coloured scrim, particularly in the right hand corner too distracting?

I decided on a different approach and started afresh by inking up more papers with blue Quink Ink. I used a lighter-weight recycled packaging brown paper, and some white cheese paper from a recycling resource centre, when I was teaching in College! This time I had decided to go for a calm almost entirely monochromatic palette. The cheese paper was white before being inked up, and as it already has a rather “fibre-like” quality it sucked up the ink, resulting in a much brighter hue, than that of the brown paper. Of course when any colour is painted onto a non-white paper, you have to take into account the colour mixing! The turquoise result was unexpected though, I have to say, but I decided to go with it, and it’s definitely growing on me!

I like the soft, almost smokey brown colour of the leaves in combination with the occasional appearance of the pale natural colour of the rag paper. When they have been stitched which will produced additional texture I am hoping that the texture will dominate, and the background will recede!

I distressed all the recycled papers after colouring them, firstly by screwing the papers up just once, while wet, and carefully leaving them opened out to dry. After they had dried I screwed them up again several times to continue breaking down any “dressing” used within the manufacturing process.

Keeping the layers of paper together is always a challenge, but this paper is quite fine, in contrast to the brown paper units I had laid onto the scrim. So I decided to use a very fine needle and 50 weight thread, and tacked across the whole panel of layered papers, trying to catch in the various scattered units. Then I machine stitched four well spaced rows from top to bottom, which really anchored things well, still being fairly unobtrusive!

I started hand quilting and am really liking the texture that is now happening, but still felt that the colour palette was flat, so I “over-inked” some of the spare turquoise paper with yellow Brusho, tore three units, laying them in position, as you can see in the right hand photo. It is subtle, but just gives the little lift I was looking for, so I shall tack those on and continue with the stitching; that is the exciting part of all of this!

So, until next time; happy stitching!

Di