Wednesday, 21 October 2009

More Markal and some stitching

The other Markal paintstiks I ordered arrived so I did some more playing.

I taped some textured wallpaper to the worktable with a piece of black cotton on top and made some rubbings with various colours. Somehow it reminds me of the maps you used to see where the countries were in different colours.

This was another rubbing with different wallpaper and some Cosmic Shimmer sprays misted on top.

And this is an abstraction taken from a photograph of an old rowing boat on the river.

I bought Maggie Grey's newest book, 'Stitches, Straps and Layers' a while ago and made a strap by embellishing some wool roving and fancy yarn onto acrylic felt with added built in stitching patterns from the sewing machine. I may make this into a belt, or maybe cut it up; haven't decided yet.

And a close up.

The thread was from the Pommie Bag won from Dale at the Knitting and Stitching Show.

The online classes to accompany Maggie's book and the Lynda Monk/Carol McFee book 'Stitching the Textured Surface' started on Monday and I've already been having a go at the extra techniques. Sorry I can't show you what I've been doing - you have to buy the books to find out for yourself but lots of messy fun!

Off to Italy on Monday. I'm excited but also more than a little nervous at studying with these two behemoths of the textile world. We shall see........

Friday, 16 October 2009

Playing with Paintstiks (and no, that's not a typo!)

One of the books I bought at the Knitting and Stitching Show was Ruth Issett's new offering, "Paintstiks". (Amazon are currently out of stock but you should be able to get it from

I'd had a couple of these in my stash for a while and had never got round to doing anything with them. So, after watching Ruth demonstrate and reading the book, here's my first attempts at using them on fabric.

It's quite amazing what you can produce with a few bits of calico, masking tape, a torn piece of paper and an old toothbrush. I'm well and truly hooked on these versatile rods of colour - more colours should be winging their way to me - postal strikes permitting - so I'm looking forward to some more experimenting when they arrive.

Click on the pictures to get a better view of the subtle tonal qualities you can achieve.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

More painting

Here are some more of the acrylic paintings I've been working on in the past week.

Misty morning

The pier


The Storm

Enclosed spaces

Saturday, 10 October 2009

A great day out

Had a great day out at the Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace yesterday. Lots of shopping and lots of admiration for all the work that was on display. It's on today and tomorrow too so if you haven't been yet, I'd strongly urge you to go.

I'd been trying to get hold of some Sheer Heaven but couldn't find a UK stockist and was loth to pay the shipping charges from the US. I noticed that Dale at The Thread Studio in Western Australia had some on her website so dropped her an email to find out if it was something she was planning to bring along to the Show. Unfortunately, her supplies had already been sent on ahead but she actually put some in her suitcase for me. How's that for service! She'd also posted a question on her blog before leaving Perth for visitors to the show. If they visited her stand, answered the question, they could win one of her 'Pommie Bags' and I won one! Lots of lovely little goodies including various threads, some hand dyed chiffon and a mysterious other piece of fabric that I've yet to identify.

I timed my visit to Maggie Grey's D4Daisy Books stand in time to see Carol McFee and Lynda Monk demonstrate some of the techniques in their new book, 'Stitching the Textured Surface'. Had a nice chat with them about the new books and the online course I did with Carol/Lynda a while ago and they were kind enough to gift me one of their gessoed lutradur pieces. How fantastic is that!

I also touched base with Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn to introduce myself before we meet on their course at Masseria Della Zingara in Puglia, Italy at the end of this month. We talked about the materials list for the course and the kind of work that they've planned. It all sounds very exciting and I can't wait.

Shopping wise, lots of threads found their way into my bag, along with more sari ribbons, screen printing textile ink, four new textile books and some fine yarn made from hemp that will be coming to Italy with me - not for knitting, but for hand stitching. I couldn't resist getting a lucet having been entranced by the flashing fingers of friendly and engaging Ziggy Rytka. Check out his website here for more info. Not that I need yet another new art/crafting activity of course!

After the show, I met up with John at the V & A in South Kensington (they open late on Fridays). On the first 3 Fridays of the month, they hold a free, hour long recital by a musician from the Royal College of Music in the Norfolk Room. And very nice it was too.

We grabbed an excellent pizza at a little Italian cafe next door to South Ken Tube station and then made a mad dash to catch the 9.30pm train home from Liverpool Street. That's when the lovely day turned into a bit of a nightmare. To cut a long story short, due to signalling problems, we finally walked into the house at 2.15am!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Something just for me ...

I'm off to Ally Pally next Friday so I decided I'd make myself a new bag to carry home all the 'stuff' I'm planning to buy to add to my ever increasing SABLE (Stash Accumulated Beyond Lifetime Expectancy).

At the Festival of Quilts in August, I found a bundle of gorgeously coloured sari ribbons which, being ridiculously cheap for real silk, came home with me. So, I took a piece of calico and, using the embellisher, attached the ribbons. Then some stitching and quilting. Then much headscratching and pondering.

I wanted to line the bag but couldn't for the life of me work out how and where to stitch it together but still be able to turn the outer through the gap I planned to leave in the lining.

I pinned it together and went to consult my dear husband. He was adamant that what I'd done wouldn't work. I disagreed. So off I went and quickly stitched a sample using my planned method and guess what - it worked!

Here's the result. And if you see this bag bulging at the seams accompanying me and several plastic carrier bags at K&SS, you'll know that I didn't make it big enough!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Which one is "art"?

I've been reading some acrylic technique art books lately and had a play at producing a couple of pieces of "art".

As usual, my dear husband, when asked his view of my efforts, thought the one that I didn't like was better than the one that I did!

Which one (if either!) do you like?


or 'Autumn rapids reflected'?

Apologies for the poor quality of the photos - I've discovered it's really difficult to take pictures in these gloomy, dark autumn days we've been having.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Transfers transformed

I've been playing around with some photos I took over the summer and transferring them to some bits of cheap, plain old calico using inkjet transparencies and acrylic medium.

The first one was a photo of ripples on the river near where we stayed in France:-

Can you see the scary faces?

The next one was a tree trunk covered with lichen. I took the original, mirrored, copied and pasted it, then took both images, mirrored and copied and pasted those.

This last one was a blue garden chair and the shadows it threw on the shirt of the person sitting in it. Again, I did the mirror/copy/paste thing and I'm quite pleased with the abstract design that came out as a result.