Welcome to any new visitors to the Stitching News blog. I hope you find something of interest and some encouragement to fire your imagination, and inspire you this month! Happy New Year to you all. Goodness didn’t the month get off to a very chilly, stormy start? The seas have been very rough, especially those accompanying the highest tides, and the full moon. They were spectacular. We didn’t get any snowfall down here; but it seemed as though we did get everything else…and it hasn’t given up yet; terrific hail storms and winds this evening as I get ready to publish this blog.
In this month’s stitching blog I am going to write about;
- The changes I have made in my lovely sewing room, and what I found in the process!
- My sewing projects for this month.
- A mini, simple little in-house tutorial I have prepared for one of the two quilting groups I belong to.
- Progress on the charity workshop information
Not necessarily in that order!
Over the years, I have been asked how I can find the time to put together a comprehensive blog, quickly! Well, put simply, it isn’t quick! I write little and often, so that it grows in a logical order and I have time to make adjustments as I go along! It is a time consuming activity and needs constant reviewing to ensure it makes sense!
I have had some lovely walks this month, albeit in the wind and showers; definitely in the mud and one memorable day in gorgeous sunshine, joy of joys. Sunny days have been few and far between but it has been a delight walking around Mevagissey harbour, and in the lanes up to Heligan, and seeing many signs of the spring plants raising their heads to battle with the elements..
The little turnstones, returned in December, and their constant busy scurrying activities bring a real smile to my face. It is so good to see them back. The boats have spent many days sheltering in the inner harbour. The tides have been high and the results very evident. The waves crashing over the wall onto the foot path around the outer harbour. In Portmellon, sea weed splashed on the houses opposite the bay, right up onto the roofs ….and sea weed behind the houses! The swell, deceptive! Great care is needed.
My Fitbit is back in use after a few months rest! I find it really works for me as a great incentive to get out walking. When it is in constant sight, it is urging me to get out there! Although it has many functions, I am just interested in monitoring my steps…aiming for the 10,000 per day. We are so lucky to live by the coast because it is always interesting, and often inspirational, and a pleasure to walk. The harbour is a working harbour, albeit it very small, so there is constant activity. Heligan Gardens are only a 35 minute walk away along lovely lanes, so there are always lovely choice straight from the front door.
I treated myself to a Sue Lewington book for Christmas.
It is absolutely delightful, and is series of sketches; a personal record of 12 days on the Isles of Scilly during Easter 2013. I have bought several of her books over the years, but I think it was A6 format of this book, that caught my eye, and of course the sketches on the covers, as well as inside!
She uses a variety of media including pencils, pen, charcoal and water colours. The sketches are just that…quite like scribbles at times, which is so encouraging! It is a great read, with the odd accompaniment of text. The majority of sketches have no words. They simply aren’t needed, but the narrative, when it is there, does add flavour, and interest which helps to inform the imagination! It inspires me every time I look at it. and really makes me “want to do”.
Then… within a few days of delving into that, it was meant to be that I read the InStitches blog; www.institchestextilecourses.co.uk/blog/the-10-minute-drawing-project
About the drawing project, the author says, and I quote: “The received wisdom is that practice makes perfect. By doing something repeatedly you should get better, so 2018 is my year to see if I can actually become better at…drawing. By allotting 10 minutes each day and limiting the media and subject I want to see if I can improve – I don’t think I’ll become a fine art master, that’s not my plan, what I hope to achieve is becoming more skilled at looking and recording.”
So, my plan is to have a go, as many days as I can. I shan’t be precious about it, because I know there will be days that I can’t do it but I am making a start and have taken my camera out walking, with me. It doesn’t matter what your source is, it is the “doing” that matters! My personal tool kit, for want of another phrase will include water colours and paint brush; charcoal pencil, fine drawing pens, watercolour pencils, Ten minutes a day should be achievable for those of us who are “retired”!! I wonder if I have the discipline to keep going! Sketching is an integral part of design, so we can never have too much practice.
We have recently been helping a longstanding dear friend, who was very sadly bereaved last year, to pack up his huge house as he is downsizing and moving to a tiny lovely cottage by the sea. One piece of furniture that he was unable to take with him, has been welcomed into my own sewing room now. I am thrilled to bits, because it really adds character and interest.
It is a lovely old pine washstand, with a tiled back, and a replacement marble top. Originally it would probably have had a hole in the marble to set in a wash bowl. It has a cupboard underneath the marble and plenty of storage underneath the whole unit. It is just gorgeous, and I love it.
The inclusion of this into my sewing room necessitated a big sort out, and tidy up of what I can only describe as a “tip”. I am sure many of you know exactly what I mean! I get so involved in different ongoing projects, that it doesn’t take more than ten minutes to produce chaos! The trouble is with me, that one idea very quickly suggests another, and so on, and before I know it, I am off track and onto additional things, which creates more fabrics, and equipment etc. I was so grateful when an artist friend who asked if he could see what I was working on, once said to me, in response to my “Its in quite a mess…!” “Di, you cannot be creative in a tidy space!” It was music to my ears!
The tidying was actually fun to do, as essentially I do like to be tidy in all other respects, and indeed when I am sewing, …but it just doesn’t last. The fact that no-one else who visits us can see the mess, unless I invite them to, is a blessing in so many ways.
On this occasion I found some of my old screen prints, which I had printed onto fabric, but in the main, had got no further!
The seed case prints, had got as far as already being attached to a cotton canvas backing, with some machine stitched detail and even some button flowers on one of them. These were intended for book covers, and I shall take them on into fruition! The square and circle prints had been printed onto a white background; not inspiring, and probably the reason I had not gone further with them! I have now overdyed them, and am itching to embellish and work with them….I will show you the results all in good time.
Over many months, I have become more and more aware of just how much time I am spening on the Internet. Far too much time is wasted on social media sites, and this year I am determined to be much stricter with my time. Being more thoughtful about this, I know will free up a lot of time which I can use in more positive ways. It will be interesting to reflect, at the close of the year, on how well I have done!
Rosemary and I are also busy making items for the sales table…we would like some surprises so I will not be showing you everything in the blogs, (but will perhpas be tempting you!) In addition, this month,I have also been asked if I would prepare a little teabag wallet for a handbag, to give as an in-house tutorial to one of the quilting groups I belong to. I started planning this little item by measuring the teabag packets, and sketching different options of how they might be contained. I wanted it to be simple, and neat. I worked out measurements and made a start in calico so that I wouldn’t be wasting good fabrics in the trial run! I am pleased with the end result (shown below), and know I shall be making a few more of these, as well! Many people like to keep a favourite herb or fruit tea with them, for when they are visiting friends, and these little wallets do just the job! They hold four teabags, which are kept secure with a ribbon and button closure.
A great little gift, anytime! September, when we have the Charity day workshop, will be a very good time of year to be thinking about presents, and we shall have an interesting selection of lovely items to tempt you!
I am writing a completely separate blog about the Charity workshop. It is almost ready! There are lots of photographs to show you what is on offer and, additional information about the day. It seems to me that it is easier to to present all of this in its own blog, which I will be posting in the next couple of weeks.
Last, but not least, I have now made changes to the third and fourth quarters of the original pieced cushion top which, originally, just did not inspire me at all. If you remember I cut the original pieced top into four quarters, deciding to alter them so that I felt inspired to make them into something attractive! I discussed the changes I made to the first two quarters in the November and December blogs. This month I have made a start on the last two. I soaked them both in a soda solution, then dyed them both with wine-red procion dye. They are the bottom two blocks in the photograph below.
I rolled the bottom right one, from opposite diagonal corners, towards the centre then twisted it and knotted it loosely before dunking it briefly in the wine-red dye. Then I dipped it in a turqoise dye, immediately afterwards, resulting in a mottled pale purple. Both blocks were left for 14 hours before rinsing. I cut the pink one into four equal strips, altered the strip positions, turning at least one strip upside down, before sewing them back together. I have started to quilt it, but have more detail to add yet. The second one was cut into four equal squares which were also rearranged before being sewn back into a new block. I have quite a bit more work to on this one too, before quilting it. Now I shall have fun using each of the blocks in different items! I will show you how each one has been used in future blogs.
How many of you use overdyeing as a method of changing something that you don’t like? If you never have, would it be something you might now consider? Perhaps you might think about cutting something up, and pieceing it again, differently….It would be good to hear from you via comments at the end of this blog.
Happy stitching, until next time. Di