Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Away with the Fairies

I've been away for the weekend on a papercraft workshop organised by the Card Fairy craft shop. 90 of us stayed at a hotel in Oxford and had 8 workshops over two days with excellent tutors including Claire Hampton, Michele Charles, Leandra Franich, the Art Girlz and Tim Holtz. All the projects we worked on were very different and included ATCs, a fairy doll, a tag book, an altered tin and a magnificant pendant. The whole weekend was really well organised, lots of people put in a lot of hard work to make it happen and it was thoroughly enjoyable. I've never had the opportunity before to spend that much time in concentrated crafting and there was no need to stop and do cooking, washing etc - wonderful!

The workshops were an hour and a half each so they were quite intense and I didn't completely finish most of the projects. However I did enough, and brought home enough bits and pieces that I can finish them off back home and as I do so and get organised I will post some pictures. I did complete this tin and I intend to give it to a friend for her birthday on Sunday so here's a picture before it goes! Thanks to Claire Hampton for this project.

And here is the pendant we made with Tim Holtz, similar to designs in his Distressables book and it had never occurred to me that I might be able to make something like that myself.

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

TAST Feather Stitch

Here's my feather stitch sampler for TAST. I've always done it irregularly in the past and was a bit lazy about counting accurately but as I got into it I liked the regular patterns so tried a bit harder! When I was actually stitching I had it held the other way up and was stitching in columns, some up and some down. But for the yellow band second from bottom that is actually short columns side by side across the piece to give quite a different look.

Knitted Scarf

Just for a change I've done a bit of knitting. I've made lots of these scarves for family and friends over the last couple of years - I'm the only one who hasn't actually got one! My daughter has 3 I think and this time she asked me to knit one for her friend. It's done in Stylecraft Gypsy wool and is gorgeous and soft. I use big needles and it knits up very fast but unfortunately if I drop a stitch, because of the lacy pattern (which you can't see in the picture) I can't manage to pick it up and I have to undo the whole thing and start again. For this one I'd knitted about two-thirds when that happened and on my second attempt I'd done about a quarter - so it's been knitted about 2 complete times in all! Good job it's pretty relaxing.

Saturday, 17 February 2007

TAST Algerian Eye

Here's my Algerian Eye sample which I enjoyed. I've done it in the past as freeform embroidery rather than counted and I enjoyed the regular patterns I could achieve doing it this way.

Sunday, 11 February 2007

TAST - Chevron

Now this stitch I love! I had great fun working out various combinations and love the different looks of it. It fills the space very quickly and I was able to get into a much more regular stitching rhythm than I managed with the Cretan so that helped.

The TAST challenge is proving to be light relief from the main topic on my mind at the moment: fans. I am taking an evening class this year: City and Guilds Creative sketchbooks. It's a very good course but quite intense with quite a lot of work to complete by June. We spent the first term covering different techniques and also having a go at a sample sketchbook (mine was on grids & patches). Now we have to complete a customised sketchbook by mid April and then do a constructed one by June. My customised one is on the theme of fans and I see fans everywhere and images and ideas spin round in my mind almost all the time. I've yet to put together anything concrete but ideas for pages are starting to take shape and I've collected quite a few images and samples together. This afternoon has been spent trying to get an overall idea of it and I think progress has been made even though I still have nothing to show for it.

The first finished piece is a little fan book which uses coffee filter papers (which come in the shape of a fan!) My daughter suggested that the little cocktail umbrellas you can buy at the supermarket look like fans so cut in half they became the main images on the pages. I made a couple of fans out of shrink plastic to hang down the spine with a tassel. The pages are painted with Stewart Gill fabric paints and I had to stick two papers together as they are very absorbent (naturally!). They crinkled a bit so I ironed them and the finished result has quite a fabric feel to it. I think I will make some sort of pocket in the sketchbook to slip the book into.

Tuesday, 6 February 2007

TAST -Cretan

Here's my attempt at Cretan Stitch for the TAST challenge. I wasn't very inspired by this and haven't done very much with it. Maybe my technique's not right but I kept having to turn the fabric between each stitch and that was irritating. However I was surprised by the different looks achieved even in just a few rows: I liked the small section stitched very closely together and at a casual glance I wouldn't realise that either the second row or the bottom row were Cretan, the last row looks more like a variation of buttonhole. So I'm glad I had a go even though it won't be my first choice in the future.