Sunday, 14 January 2018

BLOG 379

BLOG 379
I have had a busy week settling back into routine again; the routine of attending the weekly craft clubs, sewing sessions with chums, meal planning, and grocery shopping and bog standard normal everyday things. And isn’t it comforting to have a structure to the week again? I pretty well know what day of the week it is now and the unpleasant pressures of commercialism that attend the festive season have thankfully disappeared. This time of the year is my most creative period. The days are cold and short, meaning that I don’t have to get out into the garden, and the evenings are warm and long giving me plenty of space to do what I love doing the best.

That said, I am immediately under pressure to finish my Contemporary Welsh wall hanging for the Llangollen exhibition next month. This pressure sharply focuses my mind and I have spent most of this week wearing a respirator making marks and burning with a soldering iron. I just love this process so going out into the freezing cold garage for the evening isn’t hard. I dress warmly in layers and probably chunter somewhat to’ himself’ but I go happily and willingly. I have a large glass-topped light box in there and I need to work on a glass surface with the soldering iron so it is ideal. The smell generated by burning synthetics is vile so again the garage is an ideal place to be. Once I am immersed in my creative world, the cold just doesn’t exist anymore; nothing does.

              Light box


              Centre square

             Detail 1

              In process

                    Detail 2

                Detail 3

                  Detail 4

I decided some time ago that I was going to lace the squares together  somehow which is why I have been burning holes at ½” intervals round the edges of each section. I looked at the coloured threads I had in stock but saw that there was nothing I had a lot of which was appropriate for the task. So I had to set about and make some cord. I used 5 skeins of embroidery thread and twisted them under the foot of my machine whilst sewing a zigzag with multi-coloured thread over the top. I used a large needle (bought for Italian quilting) to start to lace the sections together. This is exciting and I love this piece of work!! It should be finished this week unless any unforeseen problems crop up!!



               Embroidery threads



              Italian quilting needle

                In progress

Sunday, 7 January 2018

BLOG 378

BLOG 378
I have had a pretty decent tidy up of both my studio in the garage and the loft room where I sew. There is still much more to do as per usual but I have done sufficient that I can see the cupboard tops and I know where most of my ‘stuff’ is. One day, I will enter the rooms in a more thorough frame of mind and have a really, really, really good sort out, getting rid of all the superfluous items I don’t need any more. I have already done this around the house resulting in 5 black bin liners going to the charity shops already. ‘Keep life simple’ is my motto for this year.

This week, I have been catching up on my daily squares. These are 4” ready-fused squares of batik with a motif on top. I am using a positive/negative method so that nothing is wasted. The shape that is cut out (e.g. heart) is stuck onto another 4” square (positive applique) and the square with the hole cut out is backed by another 4” square (negative or reverse applique). This means that for 3 squares you end up with 2 appliques. I am using simple applique motifs: hearts, leaves, bare tree, Xmas tree etc. and changing them often for visual variety.

                Daily squares


                 Motifs 1
             Motifs 2

               Neg/pos motifs

               With backgrounds
Hint: use a pin to score the paper backing of the fusible to make it easier to remove.

                Score with pin 

The motif is traced onto a 4” square of fusible and ironed onto a 4” square of batik. It is cut out accurately along the lines drawn on the paper backing. A rotary cutter is used on the line to start the cutting so that you don’t have to poke the scissors into the fabric.

Step 1 Place the negative square, with the paper still in place, over a background square. Take the paper off the cut-out motif.

Step 2 Place the cut-out motif back in position and use the toe of an iron to lightly stick it in place.

Step 3 Remove the negative square to leave the motif in position on the background (positive) and press thoroughly. Remove the paper from the negative square and stick it onto another background square to complete the two appliques.

             Step 1

               Step 2

                Step 3

                 Ironed squares

During one of the holiday sleep-overs we had a modest fall of snow. In the absence of a sledge, we devised a new sport: that of ‘bag dragging’. Grandad was the coolest man alive for a short while!!

             Bag dragging