Friday, 27 March 2015

Gimme Stitches

Myself and my friend Lynn live miles apart and consequently don't see each other that often, but now and again we take the opportunity to book onto a workshop to have a lovely day being creative and catching up.  So, on Wednesday we met up at Art Van Go at Knebworth to take part in a machine embroidery workshop led by Alex Waylett.
Even better - we only needed to take our machines and threads, as Alex supplied a huge rainbow of fabulous fabrics, not to mention extra threads for us to use and glitz in the form of sequin and beads etc.
Firstly we chose our fabrics, then we snipped, layered and machine stitched, using zig zag and automatic patterns. We then made the resulting sumptuous fabric into little freestanding 'boxes' 
There was enough fabric left to make cards with the off cuts

A lovely way to spend a day - and now I'd better do my Spectrum homework before Wednesday.

Gimme Stitches - Foo Fighters

Monday, 23 March 2015

Walking In The Sun

To take advantage of the Spring-like weather, I went walking with my friends Lynne and Libby last week.  We always have a lovely day, with much laughter, and cake, obviously - but it's always better with a bit of sunshine, and we certainly had that.
We started at Much Hadham, and did a circular walk of about 5.5 miles - and for once, we didn't get lost.
We walked along a pathway through the woods, which will soon be full of bluebells.  Lynne, who is much more observant than me, pointed out that the bluebells 'stitch' themselves through the dead leaves ........

I tried to take a selfie while we had a sit down halfway round to enjoy the sunshine and the view, but mostly the Lindt chocolates that Libby's husband had kindly tucked in her rucksack.  However, we all look so dreadful in the photo, that they'd never forgive me if I posted that, so here's the view instead
Although we didn't get lost, we did slightly deviate from the plan, so yet again we had to shimmy under a barbed wire fence.  


But the bonus was that we got to the children's playground before the kids got out of school, so we had the place to ourselves


I'm sure THAT wouldn't be allowed in the Ramblers.

Walking In The Sun - The Zombies







Friday, 13 March 2015

Alexander

I've been away and back, and away and back again.  But now I'm home and so today I went to the V&A to the the Members' Preview of the Alexander McQueen 'Savage Beauty' exhibition.

I was expecting it to be packed, but it wasn't nearly as busy as I'd expected. Maybe because for the first time (well, since I was a member) you had to book timed slots for the members preview. Anyway, I went in at 11.30 and didn't come out until about 2pm, there was so much to see.

My favourite dresses were from the 'Widows of Culloden' collection, Autumn/Winter 2006, with lots of tartan, black lace and tulle.  This is just one from the collection.
I really love the combination of fabrics, and at some point I'd love to have a go at making something (slightly more wearable) from tartan and black lace.

I also loved this from the 'Angels and Demons' collection, but not sure I'd ever have the occasion, let alone the ability, to pull off embroidered silk tulle and painted goose feathers.
I don't think I've ever been so moved, or excited, or inspired by an exhibition. I can only echo the sentiments that I heard several times today - 'What a sad loss of talent'.

It really was spectacular, and if you have the slightest interest in fashion or textiles, or even if you don't, I urge you to go and see the exhibition for yourself - it's on until 2nd August.
I've already booked my next visit.

Alexander - Charlotte Hatherley


Monday, 16 February 2015

No Title

This is going to be a quick round up of recent potterings.
The textile group I belong to, Spectrum, has an exhibition at Textiles in Focus at Cottenham, Cambridgeshire next week. It has the work that we exhibited at Art Van Go last year, but with new pieces of work too.  As my exhibits were all garments, I have made another dress, partly inspired by this Schiaparelli evening coat that I saw at the V&A

and then partly by this Game of Thrones costume, embroidered by Michelle Carragher.

Check out her work HERE - it's amazing.

I have to admit that my dress is nowhere near as beautiful or as intricate as either of these, but I'm still pleased with it.  This is where I would normally show you a photo, but as it was a last minute finish and I had to take it to our last meeting and leave it for the girls who are setting up the exhibition, and I forgot all about taking a photo, so I'll try to remember to take one at the exhibition.

I've also made a skirt to wear at the exhibition - if you've been reading this for a while, (and you don't get out much, or have little else to occupy your mind) - you might remember this dress
Obviously I can't wear it as it's in the exhibition, so I've made a skirt along similar lines to wear while I'm stewarding there next weekend.  It has similar 'newsprint' cut out dollies along the bottom, but this time with varied hairstyles, and just a touch of pink
I've also made a large knitting bag for bigger projects, using some great block printed elephant fabric, given to me by my 'world travelling' friend Lynn.  I've forgotten which of her very many travels this came from, but I'm guessing Africa.  And the handles were inherited from my dear sister Linda's sewing stash
And finally, my most recently completed knitting project, a second Miette cardigan - I love this pattern, even though it's snug and gives the impression that it may have shrunk in the wash. (It hasn't)
I've considered making a bigger size, but I like it as it is.
Excuse the photo - it's a bit of a murky day and the light is rubbish, but I wanted to get this post done.
It has mismatched buttons, as usual - I have so many buttons, again inherited from my lovely sister, and I like the idea of finding a set that don't match, but go together. 

Other than that, I did have a five walk around Littley Green last week with Lynne and Libby and afterwards we went into Braintree to see the EAST exhibition at Braintree Museum 
Libby is a member of EAST, and is one of the exhibitors, so it was lovely to see all of the work with her and to hear a little about the other artists and their work. 

Well that's it - short and sweet - hopefully I might even see some of you at Textiles in Focus next week x

No Title - Ten Years After   (a bit lacking in inspiration today)



Sunday, 18 January 2015

January Blues

Obviously the reason I've not been on here for a while is because I've been spending most of my time working out at the gym, running in preparation for the London Marathon, spring cleaning my flat from top to bottom, and practising the guitar.  
Yeah right.
If my New Year resolution had been to laze about on the sofa, watching TV and knitting, well I certainly achieved that for the first couple of weeks, mostly due to a dodgy back and nasty neuralgia. But following a successful trip to the magician who is my chiropractor, she's straightened my back out and I've been much more 'out and about' this week. Including a five mile walk around Sawbridgeworth with friends - also taking in the charity shops, the vintage/antiques barn and a huge slice of Victoria Sandwich.  
AND a similar distance yesterday morning, but without the cake.  I saw these snowdrops, which always make me think that Spring is on the way, even though it's probably not.
I only made one resolution - not to buy any new clothes.  I wanted to make it achievable, so I made it just for the month of Jan, but I haven't had the slightest wobble, so I intend to carry it on at least through Feb too.  I'm allowed to buy charity shop stuff, ideally for 'refashioning projects' and I can make things.  
I made this - my first Laurel top 
Not particularly seasonal but this was the last of this fabric in the shop and I didn't want to miss it - reminds me of Mary Quant daisies
I've also been trying to make roses to be stitched around the neck of dress that I've made for an exhibition at this year's Textiles in Focus. Not sure that they are really roses, but they are definitely flowers, so I'll settle for that.
Now I just need to crack on and make some more.

And finally, I'm looking forward to a new sketchbook arriving in the post. Yeah I know I've already got a million or so sketchbooks, but this is a special one, handmade using beautiful recycled papers. If you too have a sketchbook fetish, can I suggest you visit here


January Blues - Thaddeus Dale Johnson (actually I was spoilt for choice, it seems the whole world and his brother have written songs called 'January Blues' so maybe it's a be a real condition?

Monday, 22 December 2014

I'm Ready

Shopping's done, cake's iced - a bought cake, obviously - I've just finished the last of my knitted gifts, everything's wrapped and delivered AND I've finished my Christmas frock.
It's another Laurel - I wanted something easy to make, and that I knew would fit, now that I've made one or two adjustments. I had intended to make the version with plain sleeves, but I showed the partially-finished dress and the pattern to my friend Lynne who said "Oh I love the frills on the sleeves" so although I wasn't at all sure, I decided to add them, and now I've really glad I did. Definitely makes it into a proper Christmas frock.
I'm really pleased with it, to such an extent that it's actually a "Christmas decoration" at the moment. (I don't know about anyone else, but whenever I've made something that I'm really pleased with,  I tend to leave it hanging somewhere that I'll keep seeing it.  And it makes me smile.  
If I don't get to say it later, hope you all have a lovely Christmas xx

I'm Ready - Paul Rodgers

Friday, 12 December 2014

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

I don't usually go overboard with Christmas makes, but I was inspired after seeing this pattern for a fabric deer head from Bustle and Sew

I downloaded the pattern, although I wasn't convinced I'd actually make it, but then on Tuesday I found the pattern under a pile of magazines - something that happens a lot here, despite my decluttering, so I decided to give it a go. 
And today having rummaged through my button stash for eyes,  I finished it -



His head is made from a charity shop scarf, the antlers are from some fabric 'decluttered' by my friend Pam, supported by some wire I found in the greenhouse, (the antlers that is, not Pam.  She is still self-supporting at present)
The red and white spotted fabric is leftover from this dress, 
So, all made without requiring any new purchases!  I deliberately didn't make it too Christmassy, just in case I can't bear to put it away in the New Year, but he does have a red nose.

Coincidentally, I was in the shop on Wednesday when a customer said she needed to make antlers and a red nose to transform her horse into Rudolf for a Christmas event at local stables, but she wasn't sure how to go about it.  I don't think she believed me when I said "You've come to just the right place, I happened to make a pair of antlers only yesterday."  
Not something you hear everyday.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - The Crystals