Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Spiralling through time

It is time for the next reveal for the Endeavourers and this time the theme is "Spirals",  yet again this has been both inspiring and challenging.
My initial thoughts on the theme were mostly nature related and Mother Nature definitely loves a spiral :)



I struggled to think of a way to interpret these amazing ferns in a quilt form, so started to cast around for another form of spiral to use as inspiration.



As you might have guessed from my blog name I have always had a love of Celtic Art forms and when I realised that the spiral was an important element in Celtic Design, I knew that I had my inspiration!



We recently visited Islay, an island off the West Coast of Scotland, renowned for both its whisky and as the home of one of the finest, if not the finest, surviving Celtic Cross in Europe.





Kildalton Cross, above, was probably carved in the second half of the 8th Century A.D. It is pretty amazing to be able to stand in front of and touch something that has been around for so long! Celtic spirals, though, predate this Celtic Cross by several centuries.



The spiral imagery used by this whisky distillery not far from the Kildalton Cross first began to develop in the later part of the 5th Century B.C. Who would have thought that it would still be in use so many hundreds of years later to sell whisky??



I knew that I wanted to combine these two aspects of Celtic imagery for this challenge (not the whisky although it was delicious!) but couldn't quite pin down what to do with them.





 Then I came across a project in this book and it all became clear!





I have called this quilt "Echoes of times past" and if you want to find out how it was constructed head on over to the Endeavourers blog to read all about it and to see how my fellow Endeavourers have met this challenge.


Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Painted Cloth

It's the 25th of the month, so time to take stock and reflect on those New to Me experiences and encourage my fellow bloggers to share their trials and tribulations too!


This month I have been messing about with paints!



Acrylic paint

and thanks to a workshop a couple of months ago with Moira McLennaghan, of the Guild of Silk Painters, silk paints.

After the workshop Moira encouraged us to take away small squares of silk that she had traced a design on with Gutta, to enable us to have a go at home. I picked a design of fish swimming amongst coral with the intention that once painted it would be more wall art for the gorgeous grandson's bedroom.

The silk paints flowed easily on to the silk and filled the areas confined by the Gutta, so I was very pleased with myself.

Then this happened!!

The colour washed over the line of the Gutta and flowed into the next space. I tried diluting the space with water in an attempt to remove the colour but as you can see it wasn't especially successful.


I am debating whether to fill the frame with colour but worry that it will bleed in the other direction into the fish. I haven't set the paint with the iron yet (mainly because the iron blew up the last time I used it!) so don't know if that would help or hinder. If you know the answer I would be delighted to hear :)

I used the Acrylic paint to transform this lace from this


to this

and also this. They don't look so attractive now but trust me they will make more sense when the project I am working on is finished!


Next up is a play with these Metallic Wax Crayons! First though I need to replace that iron :)

So, that is my New to Me attempts this month, now it is your turn to link up and share anything that you have tried out for the first time in July. As you can see we keep it real here, so whether it was a success or not don't be shy, it is always a learning experience. Well that is what I am currently telling myself!

As always the New to Me link party will remain open until the end of the month, so you have time to try that technique or write that post! I look forward to seeing what you have been up to and, hopefully, coming across some helpful tips or techniques too :)


Thursday, 12 July 2018

A beast of a finish!

Today I am hosting the TGIFF link party, so if you are new to the party welcome I hope you enjoy your visit.

My finish for the party has been a long time in the making, I blogged about it nearly a year ago here when the front was finished but then the project hit the proverbial brick wall. There is nothing like a looming deadline for a completed project to concentrate the mind though is there :)



I am always annoyed with myself when I finally getting around to finishing a project that I have been putting off for a long time and find that the actual finishing is fairly quick and very straightforward. Needless to say that is what happened here!

I used this tutorial by Chris Dodsley for the hidden zipper at the back. I have used this technique on several cushion backs now and really like the clean lines and neat finish that it achieves. I also like the pop of colour that I end up with on the back of my normally plain cushion covers. The front fabric is a grey linen and the back is a light grey quilting cotton with the dark purple band for the hidden zip. I am fairly sure that I kept enough of the purple patchwork pieces used in the reverse applique on the front, to make a hidden zipper band but, of course, couldn't find it when I went to make it. I shall probably find it in the next day or so :)



The cushion was originally intended for our eldest son's wife, who loves purple, but as our youngest son has just recently moved into a new flat and he is a big fan of Stag decor then it only seems right to gift it to him instead. He is not the gentlest of users of a handmade cushion so I am hoping that the reverse applique will stand up to the wear and tear. Having said that he has moved in with his lovely girlfriend so I am keeping my fingers crossed that this and any future cushions will fare a bit better under that much more benign feminine influence :)

So, that's my finish for the TGIFF link party, now it is your turn to link up and share your finishes. As ever a bit of encouragement is always welcome so check out your fellow linkers and share some of the celebrations around. Include the TGIFF blog button in your post if you link up so that your followers can check them out too.








Monday, 25 June 2018

And then there were six!

Somewhat surprisingly we have been basking in sunshine in my part of the world recently, not something that the West coast of Scotland is very well known for :)

So it was definitely time to have a go at Brindille and Twig's Banded pants pattern to rustle up some smart new shorts for the gorgeous grandson, who has also been enjoying the summer sunshine. I bought the pattern in April when it first came out, but this was my first attempt at making the shorts.

The gorgeous grandson is not yet 2 but I made the 2 - 3 size as I was worried that the 18 - 24 months size might be too small. (Turns out I was right to make the bigger size as they are not too big at all!)



I rummaged through my knit fabrics and had enough of this blue/black knit to make my first pair. As always with Brindille and Twig the pattern was really straightforward and quick to put together.



So, I had another rummage and discovered that I had enough of the grey and white stripe from an earlier t-shirt for the boy to make another pair of shorts.


Then I came across this great spot knit! I had to be a bit inventive with the cutting on this one so the front has an extra seam up the middle but I was delighted to have eked another pair of shorts out of the remnant.


By now I was on a roll :) I have lots of this plain green knit as the original order from Fabricworm had an ink mark down the middle of the yardage, so they sent me a complete replacement for the original order. As some of the original order was salvageable for these tiny size clothes I ended up with a lot of spare fabric. Can't fault the customer service from Fabricworm I have to say!

Next up another plain from a previous order from Fabricworm. Can you tell that I was having great fun rustling up these little shorts??

Finally a dotty grey with cream ribbing to round off the set!


They should keep the gorgeous grandson smart in the sunshine for a while wouldn't you say, and I didn't even buy any fabric to make them :) Now I need to get cracking on some t-shirts to go with them! Now, that might involve some fabric purchasing because there are just so many great knits around!

So, my New to Me this month is trying out that new pattern from Brindille and Twig, what have you tried out for the first time in June? Regardless of whether it was a roaring success or dismal failure link up to this month's New to Me link party and we can share your pain or celebrate your success!



As always the Link Party will remain open until the end of the month so you still have time to write up that blog post and share your experiences with your fellow bloggers.





Friday, 25 May 2018

All wrapped up

It seems like summer is already here on the West Coast of Scotland, so what better time to try something new than when the sun is shining and all is right with the world? (OK maybe that last bit isn't strictly true, but there are certainly more smiles around here when the sun comes out!)

So, welcome to another New to Me link party from sunny Scotland :)

 This month I went on a very muddy New to Me photo walk!

I unveiled my latest Endeavourers mini quilt, complete with New to Me bead embellishments :)


and I have made my first attempt at machine-wrapped cord.

I first saw this being done at the Paper quilting workshop I attended a few months ago and resolved to have a go at it then. Originally I hoped to add some to my Shoreline embroidery but just never got around to it.
If you are reading this wondering what on earth I am on about, the cords in the demonstration piece from the workshop above were made by stitching over cords several times with a machine zigzag stitch to create a tightly bound shaded cord for embellishment.

My first attempt was definitely not successful but then I dropped the feed dogs!

I started off with a length of bare cord, which I think might have been a bag handle at one time.

Then using these threads alternately in the needle and a light turquoise thread in the bobbin, I stitched up and down the length of the cord with a zigzag stitch. I struggled to pull the cord evenly through the machine, so the colours bunched in places but to my mind that only added to the effect.

As you can see the use of the different colours gives a variegated effect to the finished cord. I hope to use the finished cord in another seaside themed embroidery hence the colour choices.

So that is my New to Me for May, what have you been up to this month? If you have tried something new or been somewhere new then I would love to have you link up and join the party.

As ever the link party will remain open until the end of the month, so if you have tried out something new but not yet blogged about it you still have plenty of time left. Who knows perhaps your something new will inspire a fellow blogger to give a new technique a go?




Thursday, 10 May 2018

Mud, mud glorious mud!

Yesterday evening I went on my first Photowalk with my Camera Club. During the day it was touch and go whether it would be on or not as the weather was wet and miserable. The sun, however, eventually made an appearance so we were good to go.

We met up at a local Marina, so I expected, not unreasonably I felt (!), that the walk would be mostly on paved paths and roads and dressed accordingly.

How wrong I was!! There was mud up to the eyeballs on several parts of the route, some of which we navigated more than once as the walk leader decided that we needed to double back on ourselves at least twice. Can you tell that I was not a happy bunny???

There were a couple of themes for the walk, namely Contrast, Texture and Motion. I completely ignored the Motion theme and just concentrated on Contrast and Texture. I am always on the lookout for inspiration for my embroidery so kept an eye out for anything that would help in that regard too.

When I wasn't dodging puddles or trying to avoid the ankle deep mud, I came across lots of this wonderful lichen clinging on to the tree trunks. I am itching to work on an embroidery piece inspired by these :)
These frilly fungi are just begging to be recreated in textiles aren't they? I love the blowsy nature of them, don't you?

There were lots of ferns around, busy unfurling themselves from their tight buds. The next theme for the Endeavourers Quilt group is spirals, so I had to take a photo of this beauty for inspiration too.

Our walk took us away from the woods and along the shoreline of the Firth of Clyde (on a paved path at last!) where the contrast between the rocks, leafy plants and the rusty looking seaweed caught my eye.

It wasn't the only thing to catch my eye as this German cruise liner sailed serenely by us heading off to Belfast after its' passengers had enjoyed their day dodging the showers in Scotland! I would certainly have swapped my muddy surroundings for the elegance of a classic cocktail before dinner watching the scenery slip by :)

And speaking of classic cocktails, Ardgowan House whose estate we were visiting featured in the recent adaptation of Agatha Christie's Ordeal by Innocence, so has undoubtedly hosted the odd cocktail evening or two in the not too-distant past.

No time for cocktails here though, I have a pair of very muddy shoes to clean!

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Song of Zadar

The second reveal of our Endeavourers Quilt Group is due today. This quarter the theme was Transformation/Change. Now you would think that as I was one of the members who suggested this theme that I might have had a jumpstart on making the challenge quilt, well you would be wrong :)

I had originally toyed with using the Mathematical concept of Transformation as the basis of my quilt for the quarter, but Mathematics has never really been my strongpoint so that idea was soon jettisoned.

Nothing was really grabbing my attention, until I came across this photograph taken in Zadar in Croatia last year.

This is part of the sea wall at Zadar, which was replaced with these steps and the system of pipes contained within them in 2005/6. As the water moves through the pipes it is transformed into random musical notes. I had my inspiration!

And here is my quilt - Song of Zadar!

I gathered together a selection of white/cream and grey fabrics and pieced them in strips to represent the concrete steps, then surrounded them on two sides with strips of blue watery fabric to represent the sea.

The back consists of pieced blue fabrics, each of which portray the movement of the water through the pipes.

I used a metallic blue thread to quilt waves on the sea strips and a light grey to quilt straight lines on the steps as a nod to musical notation.

When the quilt was bound I decided that it was lacking some movement, so I added some beads as well.

As well as giving a sense of movement to the quilt, the beads also represented the soaring sounds that the Sea Organ achieves.

I had received this book in the post the day before, so embellishment was very much on my mind:)

I thoroughly enjoyed working on this challenge and I can't wait to see what my fellow Endeavourers have come up with, I am sure it will be amazing. You can check them all out here

We visited the Sea Organ twice on our visit to Zadar, and I recorded the sounds of the Sea on our second trip but I have not been able to find that recording since I upgraded my phone a few months ago :(

You can listen to it here instead.




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