Friday, 2 April 2021

Challenging Corduroy

 My stitching up of clothes for gorgeous grandsons continues!

I am a sucker for a good fabric for boys so when I saw the Dinosaurs in Diggers and on Scooters fabrics at Flamingo Fabrics I couldn't resist :) Two more tops from that, by now, well-used Jalie pattern. I think these are the 15th and 16th that I have made from this pattern.


 Tops are only half the story though, a boy needs trousers too! These were my first ever attempt at sewing with corduroy and it was a messy business, there was fluff everywhere. I was really worried cutting out that I would get the nap going the wrong way somewhere, but fortunately it all worked out fine. The pocket fronts are supposed to be running parallel to the legs in case you are thinking that I hadn't noticed :) 

The elasticated ribbed waistband was a real struggle to get on, so I think next time I will attach the ribbing back and front with a gap at the back to thread the elastic through rather than trying to attach the waistband with the elastic already stitched to it. 

Both these and the smaller pair are patterns from the December issue of Ottobre I do like flipping through each issue deciding what I would like to make. I thought the fluff from the gold corduroy was bad but there was bits of wine coloured fluff everywhere by the time that I had finished these :) 

Now that looks like a full outfit for a boy doesn't it? Well wait there is a bit missing!

Granny-made underpants to complete the ensemble! These are made with the free Speedy Pants pattern from Waves & Wild and were another first for me. The fabrics were remnants from last year's t-shirt making so they were a very cheap make indeed. Our grandson was so happy with his surfing koala pants that he sent me a photo of him wearing them with the matching t-shirt :) I think there might need to be Speedy Pants tucked in with all clothes parcels from now on (as well as a little something chocolatey!).

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Small stitching

 Recently I have been enjoying myself with some new embroidery projects. I have long wanted to improve my free machine embroidery but never really known where to start :( However, a few months ago I had an opportunity to watch classes with  Wendy Dolan and Pat Archibald which were the perfect opportunity to kickstart that wanted improvement. 

As it happened I already had Wendy Dolan's book Layer, Paint and Stitch and just before lockdown last year had purchased a Pat Archibald kit, so having the chance to take a class with both of them (albeit remotely) was too good to miss. 

The Pat Archibald kit was called "Twilight on the Moor" and was really straightforward to do. As you can see it involved piecing the strips of fabric together and then some wavy line quilting to attach the pieced fabric to the backing. You can just see at the bottom of the piece the beaded embroidery embellishment. The kit also contained metallic foil and glue granules to add a bit of shimmer. I wasn't overly happy with how that turned out as it took a couple of attempts and the glue granules seemed to be concentrated in the same spot so the shimmer is not quite as light and random as I would have liked! Overall though I am pleased with it and would definitely give the metallic foils and glue granules another go. After I had completed this I came across a video tutorial in which Pat Archibald recommends using an old salt shaker for scattering the glue granules and I think that would probably have solved the problems I had with the granules clumping together.

It was possible to buy a kit for Wendy Dolan's class too but I decided to go with what I had on hand. The background is painted calico and the sea is free machine embroidery with various threads and scraps of organza. I really enjoyed having a go at this. I used a mix of metallic and polyester threads for the machine embroidery and scraps of whatever organza I could find. It was difficult at times to get the tension right with all of the different threads being used but I got there in the end. 



Here on the West Coast we are lucky enough to experience some amazing sunsets so I would like to have another go at these techniques with a palette similar to the above sometime.

Emboldened by the classes I have been using free machine embroidery in the Embroiderers Guild Artist Trading Card swap I am taking part in. The theme for the first one was January brings the Snow, and I used FME for the bare trees in the foreground.

February thaws the frozen ponds again was the theme for the second one. The ripples in the puddle are hand-embroidered with beads for the splashes and the boots and legs are Free Machine Appliqued. I really enjoyed this one :)

March brings breezes was the theme for the latest one. I could not get my head around this one for ages so it ended up being very last minute :) I had lots of ideas about dancing daffodil fairies but in the end went for a pieced background with a hand embroidered wind when I ran out of time! 

Whilst this swap was in progress the Embroiderers Guild pulled the rug out from under the membership by freezing all the Branch Bank Accounts and advising members that Branches would cease to exist! As you can imagine tensions ran high with legal challenges being proposed and petitions being set up. It has been an interesting few weeks :) 

Monday, 1 February 2021

Lost Connections

 The start of a new month and it's time for another Endeavourers  reveal and the theme for this quarter is Memories. As ever the problem is pinning down a project for the theme from the multitude of ideas floating around in my head :)


 During my deliberations I kept coming back to Alzheimer's devastating effect on my Dad's memory in the last couple of years of his life. Lost Connections above is my attempt at representing some of the confusion and frustration that he, and we, felt as the disease took an ever stronger grip on him.


 I started by creating a collage of family photos which were then printed on to fabric by Print me Pretty 


Then I pulled fabrics from my stash to represent the layers of confusion behind which my Dad's memories were hidden.


I decided to use the same technique for this quilt that I had used for my Tucked Away Treehouse for the Endeavourers Improv Challenge, so these fabrics were layered up over the background photo squares for 6 of the 9 blocks. 

Then using the techiques from Ann Small's Layered Cloth, the fabrics were stitched together and the layers then slashed. As you can see I used a mixture of parallel lines, squares and concentric circles for the stitching and slashing. 

Two of the remaining 3 blocks, my parents' wedding photo and a photo of my Mum, were backed and outline quilted.

 The final block, a photo of my Dad, was also backed and outline quilted but it was covered with two layers of organza before being edged with a zig-zag stitch. 

These three blocks portray the strongest recollections my Dad had during this time. I suspect that if he had lived longer it may not have remained the case, but throughout his illness he did not lose the knowledge of who and what my Mum was to him. 

The strength of that connection is also portrayed in the thick, multi-coloured thread joining the two photo blocks.

I used this Newspaper Yarn (from Oliver Twist) to connect the blocks vertically and when one of the lengths snapped as I was stitching I decided to leave it in place as an apt accompaniment for the fraying blocks. 

Once again this Endeavourers Challenge has been a really interesting and thought provoking project to work on. Each step of the process makes me question and ultimately justify my choices of technique and materials to best represent my chosen theme. Needless to say there are always things that I might do differently were I to repeat the project. Unusually though, this Lost Connections quilt is pretty close to the idea I had in my head at the start of the process so I can't ask for better than that! 

As always my thanks go to Catherine and Janine for hosting the Endeavourers Group and organising these challenges so well. Head on over to the Endeavourers blog to find out how my fellow Endeavourers responded to this theme.


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