I’m lucky enough to be on the flower arranging team for my church. It’s always a joy to be able to create a large arrangement using beautiful flowers and foliage. In church there is a need for something large and a bit dramatic, which would be overwhelming in most people’s homes. Every time I do the flowers I mean to share them, so here are a few of my arrangements, starting with my most recent.Looking at these it looks like I love pink, but I think it’s just what was best at the time. There is usually a gap in between so I forget what I’ve done. I’ll be making a conscious effort to do something with autumnal colours next time.
I’ve been collecting worn out jeans for at least a couple of years and I’ve finally got enough to make a quilt. My plan is to sew 6 inch squares backed with felted jumpers and blanket. The great thing about this is I can quilt each square and then sew the whole top together.
It turns out there was quite a lot of planning needed as I had to have a pattern. I’m not a random kind of person.I’ve ended up with 9 by 13 squares – a slightly odd amount. That’s 117 in total, so then I started cutting up wool. Despite having loads of blankets and jumpers I still didn’t have all the colours I wanted so ended up dyeing a few extras.
This is the layout I finally picked after experimenting for ages and going back to my stash to get yet another colour several times.
I’ll post later when it’s done.
My sampling has led me to paper. I started by plying some paper yarn I made when I did City and Guild. It was too weak to knit or crochet, which is why I plyed it together. I tried to knit it, but it still snapped, so I crocheted it very carefully.I think this is too stressful to do anything with, though it was fun. Previously, I made some cord from strips of plastic bags, which I knitted.
I’m trying to create the feeling of bone, which is full of holes if you see it in close-up. In fact the structure is visible to the eye.
My next thought was to create a mesh, which I could dip into paper pulp. So out came the papermaking supplies. I soaked some old paper pulp in water and then dunked some chenille threads wrapped around a frame.Going clockwise from the top left are the original mesh, the chenille dunked in paper pulp, the dried paper and a close-up.
I wasn’t that keen on the chenille, but it was to hand and I quite like the result. While the chenille dried I used some vanishing muslin to make a net with white thread and once it was dissolved I laid it out and using the turkey baster squirted pulp onto the threadsLook at those gorgeous textures. It’s on top of a piece of handmade paper.
My next experiment was using wire. I wrapped a piece of wire I’d picked up in the street round my frame and dunked it in pulp.I love this, the texture and the delicious rusty colour. There are definitely some possibilities here, but I need to find some wire that will rust.
When all that was done I did some paper making with the rest of my pulp. I included some snowy glitter to look a bit like fish scales.This paper was made with pulp I’d dried out from a previous paper making session, which is why it has a rather blobby appearance as the pulp only dissolved partially. I stuck the blender in later to make a smoother consistency.
I also experimented with soluble paper and puff paint.Clockwise from top left – paper drawn on with puff paint and free machine stitching, dissolved, heated to puff the paint and a close-up. I was a bit impatient and scorched the paper. It’s qite fun, but a bit fiddly and hard to control.
My next experiment will be with paper clay I think, but I’m beginning to think that sooner or later I need to make something.
I haven’t been doing much lately as we had all our downstairs wooden floors replaced, which meant clearing out absolutely everything from those rooms, including all my craft stuff. It’s been worth it as they are beautiful and make everything much lighter. Here are a few before and after shots.
As you can see it was quite dark. That sitting room carpet sucked the light. The room is north facing anyway. It also used to show every dog hair!
We had new skirting boards throughout, which is lovely as they were pretty chipped.
So this is how it looked when work was underway. We couldn’t have done this when we still had our lovely dog.
We included insulation under the floor, so it should be toasty warm next winter. The flooring is engineered oak.
So what has this got to do with rust dyeing you ask. Well, while the floor was up I was collecting lots of nails.
Today I finally got down to a little rust dyeing. These are inspired by something I’m working on for our exhibition next year.
I’ve been inspired by a story ‘The Bones of Djulung’ from the Lilac Fairy Book, which is edited by Andrew Lang. In the story the bones of the fish grow up into a tree with an iron trunk, leaves of silk, flowers of gold and fruit of diamonds. So, my thoughts turned naturally to my rusty nails. This was another fish, where I tried to control the spread of rust by not soaking the fabric, but instead wetting the nails, washers and other rusty bits.
These were all just experiments to see how easy it was to create an image rather than just random patterns. I’m not sure what to do next, so any suggestions will be gratefully received. Meanwhile, I’ve been pursuing other ideas, which I’ll save for another post.
I have a new little sketchbook from that highly tempting shop Tiger, which I use for a bit of doodling of an evening when watching TV. I heard some research recently where they found people remember things better if they doodle, so now we can justify doodling in meetings, talking on the phone or in class.
I decided to keep mostly to black and white, concentrating on pattern.
This is the page I’m playing with at the moment. I’ve given the pages captions according to the end result, but each page simply evolved as I messed around, which is the joy of doodling.
Has anyone else discovered the fun of messing around like this?
These embroideries are all made using my natural dyed fabrics and threads, so it seemed appropriate to use images from the natural world. My inspiration comes from sketches I’ve done.
The background is silk chiffon and scrim embellished onto blanket. The grass is stitched with wools and silk then needle felted slightly.For those of you who follow my blog you may remember I was working on some pieces based on the seashore. I’ll hopefully come back to them along with other work. I’ve still got a whole bag full of dyed fabrics to use!
I’ve been planning a new bag for ages and finally got round to making it last week when trying to keep my mind off losing the darling dog. It’s made with some absolutely gorgeous Irish tweed bought a couple of years ago at the Knitting and Stitching Show, which I’ve been saving. You know how it is with some fabrics you just keep it and take it out and admire it occasionally!
Here is the inside showing the pockets, which are the right size for my phone and (sad to say ) my glasses. There is a zip pocket on the other side. The lining is an old Laura Ashley fabric I bought about 15 years ago for a quilt.
The handles and magnetic snap were recycled from an old bag.
And just to finish spring is almost here!
I’ve been making some more felt books to sell at Ramster, which is coming up this month, so I thought I’d share them.
They are made of scraps of felt and fabric dry felted together using my embellisher attachment on my Bernina. I couldn’t resist adding some beads as well. Hope you like them.
I found this absolutely gorgeous haberdasher’s cabinet last week in a local charity shop.I wasn’t sure if we had space, but we managed to squeeze it in next to the sideboard in the dining room /workroom.
I had a happy afternoon collecting most of my fabric together and colour co-ordinating it.The glass fronts lift up and slide in to reveal the contents. From the side you can see it is put together in sections. I put this picture in to show the lovely glass 1950s lamp. It’s Danish by Kastrup, and is rather more turquoise in real life.
Hopefully seeing all my fabric will help me find what I want more easily.