Monday, 25 June 2007

TAST - French Knots

Oh I hate French knots. Sometimes I have a go and not one of them comes out right, other times I seem to manage to do them quite creditably - and I never really know what I've done wrong or when it's going to work. Today's effort is pretty successful - I used threads from a mixed pack of textures and the finished piece has a nice scrunchy feel. The stitch is a very useful one so I do recognise the need to persevere but I can't think I'm ever going to enjoy it.

Yesterday I finally finished my sketchbook and my portfolio for my City & Guilds Creative Sketchbooks class. I will hand them in on Thursday. My windows sketchbook worked quite well (once I'd removed the staple attaching it to the coffee table!) and I'm pleased with the overall result. It's too big to scan and I'm not sure if I'll be able to take any decent photos of it - it might have to wait until I get it back from assessment.

So now I just need to decide what to tackle next......

Friday, 22 June 2007

TAST - Wheatear Stitch

Here's my Wheatear sample for TAST. I wasn't very inspired but I liked the stitch nevertheless. Slowly catching up with the challenge.

My sketchbook is nearly finished now. I hope to have one final blitz this weekend and get both the sketchbook and the portfolio finished. Then I'll be free to play around with whatever takes my fancy, and perhaps I'll also keep more up to date with the challenge.

Monday, 18 June 2007

Beware the staple gun!

Yesterday I was working on my sketchbook which has to be constructed and free standing. The pages are made of mountboard and I needed to join them together to make a concertina and decided to fix a length of cloth tape across them all to hold them together. I laid the pieces out and the tape on top and then used the staple gun to fix it on. Result - I stapled it to the coffee table! Luckily I'd just done the first one and it was right on the edge of the table. I had to get the staple remover out to pull the staple away but you can only see the holes in the table if you know where to look. When my daughter came home and I confessed what I'd done she said I would have gone ballistic if she'd done that, which I'm afraid is true, but when I did it it just seemed very funny!

TAST - Satin stitch

I'm up to week 22 of the TAST challenge (a few weeks behind but who cares!) and it's on to Satin stitch. My first attempt was done on aida fabric and because of the fabric squares the stitches are spaced out and the effect is more like darning stitch than satin stitch.

I like this but thought I'd also have a go at a more conventional version using a linen fabric. My fish row was going to be a row of waves but when I started to get the fish shape I couldn't resist!

TAST - Crossed Buttonhole stitch

Here's my belated sample for TAST on crossed buttonhole stitch. I couldn't really think what to do with this at first but once I got into it I really enjoyed the effects I created. I'm not an experienced embroiderer and haven't done a wide variety of stitches before and when I have used them I've tended to use them very much as given in the directions. One of the things this challenge and everyone's samples has shown me is how much wider the possibilities can be. I particularly like the ideas for stacking and overlapping stitches and it's those that I've enjoyed most so far. Here I like the patterns I was getting by working the rows overlapping each other.

Sunday, 10 June 2007

Windows sketchbook

The second assessed piece I have to do for my City & Guilds Creative Sketchbooks class is a free-standing constructed book which I'm doing on the theme of windows. I am making quite good progress now, I think I've got most of the artwork for individual pages done, and soon I'll be ready to actually put it all together. Above is the front cover: an A4 size canvas which I've made to look like a shuttered window. I slit the centre of the canvas down the middle and stuck corrugated cardboard to it and coloured it with blue ink to make it look like a shabby pair of shutters. I stuck bits of torn masking tape round the edges and coloured them with Tim Holtz distress inks and cut and shaped a piece of mountboard to make what I think of as a pelmet to go on the top, though I'm sure that's not the correct architectural term.
I've always been intrigued by bricked up windows because they always seem to have a story behind them - why were they bricked up? So for my back cover a bricked up window seemed appropriate and here it is. I'm quite pleased with both covers, I just hope the pages I hope to stick concertina fashion in between also work out.

Saturday, 9 June 2007

TAST - Butterfly chain stitch

I'm slowly working through the TAST samples and here's my go at Butterfly chain stitch. When I looked at the samples done by Sharon at and by Elizabeth at Quieter Moments I was quite enthused and thought I would really enjoy this stitch. But somehow my efforts were just disappointing and I don't really like the look of any of them. Maybe it's the green thread to blame - not my favourite colour but I went with the first one to hand in the box. Never mind it was still good to try and maybe I'll enjoy the next one more.