Friday, 29 April 2016

From emulsion painting to oil painting


The painting above was a challenge from a fellow Kiwoko supporter. Trevor ensured me I could do a still life for his golf raffle at the end of May and so I thought I would give it a go. It took me a while playing with one of Jonathan's clubs,tee and ball in the back yard until I got the composition I wanted. I have no idea how long it took to complete as it sat on the easel on the kitchen table for weeks as I added a little every few days when it had dried adequately in between. The album sign of craft or painting ceased as I decided to revamp my guest room to make more space for craft. The double bed went off to a charity who help the homeless whom you can find in Facebook called "Fed and Warm" along with quilt pillows and bed clothes. Whilst I wait for my new day bed I have emulsions all walks with Dulux cotton white. I thought I would make new curtains but by the time I laundered the present ones I felt they may do another 25yrs!.
I almost forgot I did make this little guy for a gift for my cousin in USA. I posted it surface mail to cut the cost as I sent it 6 weeks in advance and would you believe it arrived in 4 days. I may not have been doing much craft but I was still receiving donations for the N.I Big Sock.


We were delighte to be invited to the crafting event. At the Titanic exhibition centre and met so many. Lovely ladies who are already working away on hexagons and some more day to start.
We have had sunny days and freezing cold days as well as some snow but since I didn't have time to be out and about it didn't really matter. Smudge wasn't bothered either as she was having problems with her leg and had to undergo investigations and some treatment which is still not complete


We are thankful there is no sign of arthritis but she still has a limp so still requiring some protection and spooling which is what we do best anyway. She may have cartilage trouble but. There is still the possibility of some ACL damage.
She was a start though and seems less anxious now at the vets than previously.

N.Ireland Patchwork Guild at Mossley Mill

I am a fairly new member to the guild but have gained so much inspiration from the members.
Their exhibition  on "memories" was amazing. It's always interesting to see each individual's take on a subject. It would be impossible to say which was the best as each one involved different skills and ideas.  Do hope you are able to read the name of each quilter. This particular one I loved the randomness of it.

This one above shows the light and dark well and the skill in making circles remain like circles after stitching to me is a skill in itself.

The quilting in this one was so perfect and I particularly liked the fabric used. It reminded me of an old Indian one I did a number of years back.
I love applique on quilts as it really does tell a story then.
I have a particular interest in old quilts and although the one above isn't old it's compiled of many old table covers that were embroidered a long time back.

The quilt on the left was bold and determined to make a statement.i loved it as do my friend who accompanied me.i especially liked the odd 3D poppy. The one on the right impressed me because of the felting involved. Having tried this myself I am aware of the work involved.
There were a number of quilts were photographs were printed into the fabric. Whilst not something I would choose its a wonderful heirloom and way to keep family history. I scrapbook and see this as a similar way to keep memories on hold.
Printing on fabric is only something I have done when working in miniature but must try again in a larger scale some time.
I actually seen this one by Janet as a workin progress and the way she matched the fabrics to portray the individual cats was incredible.thehand stitching is also to perfection.
I embroidered long before I quilted but live to see the two skills combined.
Mossley mill was a lovely exhibition area both inside and outside the building as so pleasantly landscaped. Parking was easy and a coff shop on hand. I will be back even to walk my dog in the area if not to visit the theatre or peruse the museum again. No one is left out as there is also a little play area indoors for the smaller kids. A big thank you to the ladies of the Guild for organising and displaying their quilts.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Spring with the National Trust- The Argory and Mountstewart

This time of year causes a lot of conflict for me. I want to be outside walking with Smudge exploring the beautiful countryside we have here in N.Ireland but at the same time I want to be inside crocheting or sewing. Hopefully if we get a decent Summer I can combine the two but the weather is still indecisive where when outside you need to keep in the move.
Yesterday I took mum and Smudge to the Argory where there was a bit of a food celebration and in particular the orchards of Co.Armagh which is my home county. I didn't get to taste as on a body cleanse diet this week but didn't stop me buying to try later. Despite Smudges wonky. Hip she enjoyed her walk. Mum still in her boot for her fractured foot also managed to get around and had a house tour.
Smudge and I stayed outside and took a walk along Tiver Blackwater.
I enjoyed watching the demos and chatting to sellers.


It was quite warm when in the sun but needed gloves in the shade
Mountstewart is afternoon, our local Trust property where we are very familiar with the seasons. It was unusual to see four adult swans todY so a couple must have been visiting.

We did the woodland walk although it's still a bit mucky as the sun not getting to a few areas yet.

Smudge loves the smells here.

We met some lovely people who stopped to chat, westie lovers,who reminisced in their previous puppies.
Of course Dmidge appreciated their comments.


Again quite warm in the sun but still nippy in the shade

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

My Glimpse of New Zealand through Gail Lawther's Workshop

I am not new to patchwork as you know but in a formal setting I am very much a beginner. I am enjoying my level 2 City&Guilds patchwork and design course more than I imagined. I really get lost in the time I spend especially looking at designers. Gail Lawther is one of those designers and I was delighted when she attended our Guild and gave a workshop. We all have our own styles and ideas and I am very traditional in my choice of home decor and design but open to others views and opinions as I feel everything has a place.

Being involved in the Dollshouse and miniature hobby I always put more emphasis on the skills I learn from a workshop rather than the item I make. The skills can lead to more things whereas the item is usually put away in a drawer or passed to a friend.

It is because of this I was very enthusiastic in taking Gail's workshop. Her stained glass style wall hangings are very bold and bright but I was keen to learn her techniques. Her talk at the guild was inspirational.I have never been to New Zealand but following her talk which she illustrated with her quilts I feel I have been. If you ever get a chance to listen to her or take a class with her I would jump at it. She says she talks to fast but if she didn't we would have been there all day. In saying that I would have been more than happy to listen to her all day. She is not just a designer and speaker and editor but the skill in the quilts was amazing with the various designs and embellishments.

Back to the workshop...
She was very relaxed and put us all at ease as she was very quick to point out things could always be fixed and in many ways there isn't always a right or wrong way to attempt something. However her useful hints and tips along the way ensured we came out with more than acceptable wall hangings. She taught each of us at our own individual paces which I feel is very important as speed can lead to errors and having to wait can be frustrating.

We started off by tracing our design into plain cotton which proved very easy with a soft pencil.
The next part got us all thinking and swapping fabrics because even though you thought you knew what to prepare for you really didn't.
Oops...this picture managed to go on its side but you can get the idea. We took snippets of each fabric to arrange on the hills so that we would remember as we went along. Then it was time to really get started. We started with large areas first and as I was doing the lake scene that was the sky and the lake. The right side of the fabric goes down on the table with the marked cotton on top. Pin in place before using a long narrow zig zag stitch along the lines as you can see below.
It did seem strange to sew on the back but it all came together when we turned over the piece and trimmed off the excess fabric. Gail recommended applique scissors but my decoupage scissors worked a treat.
You continue with this method for all the pieces of fabric. This means at times you sew over a line you already have because maybe the lake or sky borders it.
She said it was a good way to use up odds and ends of thread as this zig zag is eventually covered by bias.
You can see above all pieces in place ready for the fusible bias binding.
Gail demonstrates this above. We used a marbled brown but she did admit this was hard to get at the moment due to a problem with the factory. It molds really well to the contours of the hills and she gave direction to ensure all ends were covering each other.
If you purchase one of her kits (www.gaillawther.co.uk) there are very clear directions on this. It's at this point you add the wadding to the back. I used a twin needle, which she recommended, to sew the bias once it was ironed in place. This procedure, as well as securing the bias, quilted the hanging at the same time.
At this point I am ready for my binding and backing and as well as having a Glimpse of New Zealand I have learnedly very useful techniques.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Busy creating

I have been a busy bee creating and actually finishing things which makes a change. The quilt above made with moda 1.5 inch jelly roll. This has been in my stash for some time and then within two days it was completed. I trimmed it with some Tilda cotton.
This was my sky blanket completed from January to March using the spice of life pattern and choosing the colour of the sky each day. The next three months I will be using the cay blanket by attic24. I think the sky blanket works well with a stripe pattern.
It's been a while since I did an oil painting and at that have very little experience but dabbling a little this month.
Smudge hasn't been too happy with the time I have been spending at the kitchen table whether it be sewing, painting or dyeing and printing.
Using procion dyes from kemtex. My first attempt and certainly pleased with them.I love how I can use them to dye or print.

My papercraft stamps are working well with the paint.

Next I will try some secondary colours