Friday, 30 April 2010

You'll need to use your imagination!

The air has been blue while I've tried to write this post. It has taken so long to do anything on my laptop today that I nearly gave up, then having carefully organised the loading of my pics in the right order, a little box flashed up on the screen telling me that there was a download failure for the pic above and couldn't get it on to my blog. However, I tried again when I'd finished the post and here it is - in the wrong place of course. It shows a section of three of my strips which will eventually be joined together somehow (!) to make up a fairly large panel which will hopefully look a bit like a series of allotments. My inspiration came from seeing our local town allotments on Google Earth.
I started by tearing long thin strips of green fabric about 3-4cms wide then prepared a selection of other strips to be cut into short lengths and applied to them. I made these other strips by machine couching ribbon with automatic stitches, fabric paper, heavy yarn and anything else I could think of, in close rows on another green fabric. When all the stitching was done I cut the strips apart, ready to be reassembled on the main pieces. I was looking for variations in colour and texture.

I also made tiny pieces of knitting, some of which I embellished to felt and then worked from the back to push the felt fibres through to the front in places. These will be added here and there to provide variation in the textures of the piece and more stitching will be needed to unify all the little bits and bring everything together.

I discovered some failures in a bag and embellished those too - they might be cut into small pieces and applied to the green fabric. I may machine stitch on them first or when they are applied - I am having to make decisions as I go along. I prefer to know from the start what I am going to do but time was running out on me so I began work without being able to see the finished piece in my mind.

These paper beads are just the right colours. I could add one or two here and there if they look right. I have no idea how to finish this piece or whether it will be framed or be a wall hanging.

This has been recycled from another piece of work altogether and used to be a study in tree bark! I have unpicked quite a lot of heavy top stitching and may take off even more. It was also manipulated to suggest the undulations and fissures in a very craggy bark and I've had such a job to flatten it. In reality it is not as pink and blue as it appears here, but much more green and bronzey and quite a bit darker. I am hoping to turn it into another Google piece - possibly 'Moorland'. If I get stuck on either of these I can always start on Google Quarry and totally stress myself!

Monday, 26 April 2010

What is it?

This indoor plant flowered for me a few days ago. It has strap like leaves and the flower lasts for only one day. As it has only three petals I wonder if it is a member of the trillium family. I also wonder if I can keep it alive for a whole year and hopefully have more flowers next year.

I thought you might like to see a photo of my strawberry patch!! There is another pot with three more plants in it so we should have two helpings. Those strange furry things are pussy willow catkins - they are all over our garden and rain down on us from the tree just the other side of our wall. In places they look like a new kind of garden mulch.
This is the veg patch, though it will get larger when the dwarf french beans and runner beans are ready to plant out. I have to be careful to leave enough space on the patio to sit and enjoy the sun.

About a year ago this was a dark and dismal little area where nothing much would grow on account of our neighbours very high conifer hedge. The hedge height was drastically reduced, new fencing was put in place, I added more plants and already it is all paying off. Sunlight actually hits the ground here now and everything is growing nicely and beginning to fill out.

It's hard to imagine that only 6 or 7 weeks ago there was bare soil everywhere - if not snow! There has been such a surge of growth in the last two or three weeks and please note that I actually have one - albeit rather scrawny - black tulip this year. I had given up on them as they kept turning out a nasty faded mauve. You can almost see the plants growing and in the greenhouse all the seeds, apart from the sweet peppers, have germinated. All I have to do now is protect them from slugs and snails.
I haven't done much work on my textile projects and will have to pull my socks up. I have torn several strips of green cotton fabric ready to be pleated, appliqued, stitched and textured in as many different ways as I can think of. If I can make it work, they will be joined together somehow to become my interpretation of allotments as seen on Google Earth. I need one finished piece ready to be photographed by the second week in May so will have to get down to work.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Handwriting and more Embellishing.

Jackie, whose blog is Dog Daisy Chains and who makes the loveliest felt, tweed and velvet brooches, bags, birds, cuffs etc., suggested we write something for our blogs rather than just type it all as a sort of celebration for handwriting. Above is my contribution - I hope you can read it - clicking to enlarge might be a good idea!

I've had a lovely time today with the embellisher but sadly have loaded the pictures the wrong way round. You were supposed to see these last, but never mind. I had moved on from embellished knitting to using fabrics and above is chiffon over woollen blanket with silk tops embellished on top. I added the lumpy bits by hand as the embellisher didn't like them.

This one is silk tops straight onto woollen blanket - I knew I'd find a use for it one day! I can see possibilities for both these samples with added machine and hand stitching, and maybe found objects too.

This is my first attempt with silk tops onto embellished knitting. It now needs some hand or machine stitching - possibly a bit of both.

This sample is also ready for some stitching.

This is an example of what not to do! I think I have been too heavy handed with the silk tops here - lesson learned.

Here I have embellished over split silk carrier rods stitched onto handmade paper. I worked rows of hand stitching and then added individual lumpy bits. It has come out very pink and green in this pic but in reality is yellow and orange! I made several other experimental samples but didn't want to bore you by posting them all.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

My New Toy.

I have been intrigued by embellishing/dry felting for some time and seem some lovely work done by other people. Last week I took the plunge and bought a machine never having met one before and have had a great time felting small pieces of knitting on it, prior to adding wisps of fleece and wool tops. Today was only the second time I have used it and I am amazed at how easy it has been to adapt from using a sewing machine to working on the embellisher.
I love the texture of these three pieces. They have a look of gardens and plant growth to them, though the colours of the bottom piece are all wrong for that theme. I am still thinking about what to make with them and so far think they will be mounted on artists canvases and possibly become little landscapes.

These three are quite smooth by comparison and have quite a different character.

These are different again. It's fascinating to see the variation made by using a different type of yarn. All the colours are stronger than they appear in these photos - I really must get my camera adjusted to give more accurate colouring. I think I would like to incorporate appliqued shapes or hand or machine stitched shapes - perhaps leaves - in the foreground. I need to work things out in my mind and on paper before going much further. Don't watch this space in case things don't work out!!

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Fur, feathers and blossom - but not necessarily in that order!

This collared dove spent two days recently sitting on our pergola. There is no sign of a nest and I'm sure that had she laid eggs they would have dropped straight through to the paving slabs below. However, after two days she lost interest and went away.
I managed to get this nice close-up of her - she used to watch me through the window while I was washing up.
Our elderly ornamental cherry tree has done us proud this year. Several times we have thought it would die, but after rather drastic pruning it comes back to life again.

It was buzzing with bees yesterday, small ones as well as big fat bumble bees. I have also seen quite a few butterflies during the past few days, and several varieties too.
I think Poppy looks as if she should have a part in Cranford! Maybe I could find some lace to trim her 'bonnet' for her. She has just been spayed and is a model patient. I am dog-sitting tomorrow while daughter and son-in-law keep an appointment so will have to remember not to fizz her up.
I tried to post these pictures earlier but only got gobbledegook. Luckily I found out how to 'unlock' them so you've two for the price of one today. Nearly as good as Tesco or Sainsbury!

Gnashing of Teeth!!

I've several nice pics in my camera and have loaded them into my laptop but when I try to post them here all I end up with is five lines of gobbledegook. Infuriating. However, as it still seems to allow text, I will post my Poetry Bus contribution a little early.
This week we are in Niamh's hands (I think!) and she suggested we list the names of 20 people we know and pick two numbers and select those names, plus a word from our last email. This will be the inspiration for our poem. Mine has very little merit but may just raise a chuckle. I think I have invented a new genre of poetry - Garbage Verse!! My two names are obvious and my word is 'enjoyed'. Here goes:-
Maisie and Tim
were both a bit dim,
but terribly nice for all that.
They lived in a house
with a grumpy pet grouse
and an overweight stroppy old cat.
Both loved to talk -
enjoyed a good walk
and would often drop in for a chat.
Over tea one day
they happened to say
they were planning a weekend break,
and were hoping to go
to Westward Ho!
where they had a couple of mates
who took in guests
in need of a rest
and offered very low rates.
Their journey was slow
on account of the snow.
Tim wished they had packed their skates.
They arrived at nine
too late to dine -
had to go out for chips and plaice.
Maisie was miffed,
got stuck in the lift
and tore her blouse of lace.
Tim was worried
and nervously hurried
for help and injured his face.
The entire weekend
from beginning to end
was a total, dismal flop,
especially when
at half past ten
Tim was compromised by a fop.
Never again,
never again,
would they try to go away.
Given the choice
with united voice
'at home is where we'll stay'!
Sorry it's so long, but I got carried away and it has been a bit of light therapy for me this week. Lot's of imperfections and excruciating rhymes but no time to make improvements.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Monday, 5 April 2010

The Poetry Bus.

This week our suggestions for the Poetry Bus come from The Swiss Lounge blog where there is a group of four photographs from which we select one as a basis for our poem. I chose the timepiece.
Time rules our lives
travel times, appointments,
working hours and chores.
always on the run
with one eye on the clock -
always hurrying, trying
to fit everything in.
Years fly by without our notice
'til one day we wonder if there's
enough time left for all we'd like to do.
Could we learn to control time?
make it work for us -
apportion it for things which must be done
and have a little left over?
Make the most of our time
and not waste it mindlessly?
If we could to that
we might even find
we had time to spare.
No pics today as Olympus whatsit is not responding. Sorry about the technical terms but it's my bedtime and I'm wilting.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Even a sad day has it's lighter moments.

My dear Mum died this morning. She celebrated her 102nd birthday on February 24th but didn't really know what all the fuss was about - neither did she know that she had been diagnosed with bowel cancer. I don't quite know what I feel at present - everything is a bit unreal, but I can't feel sad for her as she often said she had lived too long, and I am so relieved that she didn't have to suffer the advanced stages of this horrible illness. She had enjoyed almost 100 years of good health, and a long and happy marriage and often spoke of how fortunate she was to have had that.
The lighter moments were provided by Poppy - who else?! Our youngest daughter brought her to cheer me up this afternoon and inspite of everything I had to laugh at her antics. They call her their 'healing dog' because no matter what woes they have, she always lifts their spirits. Julia has made a little video of Poppy trying to bury one of her biscuits in our living room! You'll have to wait a day or two to see it I'm afraid as I need Julia's expertise to put it on here for me, but it should be very entertaining.