Sunday, 24 June 2012

Tag Tuesday - Green

Over the years I've dabbled with various different crafts and most enjoyment has come from textile related crafts.  For my green tag, I have raided my supplies and woven snippets together, then added machine and hand stitching together with some beading. 

Snippets include
  • Wensleydale curls
  • merino fibres
  • silk fibres
  • stranded cotton
  • wool and other yarns
  • metallic thread
  • perle thread
  • sweet wrapper
  • suede strip
  • suede-like rounded thread
  • mulberry paper
  • tissue paper
  • sheer fabric
  • cotton fabric
  • scrim
A button completes the tag.

I missed making the purple tag.  I think I was overwhelmed by all my purple stuff as it's one of my favourite colours and didn't know what medium to choose.  Green is much less in abundance and I decided to use a bit of everything!  Now that I have made this green tag, I can go back and use the same idea for purple.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Tag Tuesday - Camping

I've been on several camping holidays over the years but have chosen last year's trip to Herm, one of the Channel Islands, to make into a tag for this week.  The island is just a mile and a half long and half a mile wide with wonderful unspoilt beaches.

We travelled by ferry to Guernsey, stayed overnight, and took the smaller ferry to Herm the next day.  No cars are allowed on the island, but thankfully, there is transport for your luggage so we didn't have to carry our camping gear across the island.  It may not be far, but there is a steep hill to climb.

 The top photo shows the view from inside our tent looking out over the sea.  The second photo shows our plot which was probably one of the best on the site for views.  I was working on a weaving/crochet project just before we went so I took it with me and the yarns have been incorporated into my tag - the blue yarn in the sky of the top photo and the green bamboo yarn on the bottom photo.  Whilst we were on Guernsey waiting for our ferry, I went into a department store where they had a 75% off sale and bought some yarn to weave into cushion covers - a small piece of this is the string of the tag.  I have recently finished weaving the cushion covers and am sewing them up.

The background to the tag is a Guernsey £1 note and I have just realised I have put 2012 instead of 2011 oops.  I'll amend it but it's too late for this post before the Tag Tuesday deadline.  Please have a look at the tags the others have made.  Camping invokes fond memories for some but for others it has been something to endure.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Tag Tuesday - Diamond Jubilee

This week I liked the suggestion of using the queen on postage stamps for my Diamond Jubilee tag.  Looking through my stamp collection I picked out the loose definitive stamps, some of which were pre-decimal with a young Queen Elizabeth II and some decimal with a different portrait of the Queen. 

I dismissed the idea of a general mosaic of stamps as I wanted it to be Jubilee themed and was lucky enough to have the stamps needed for writing 1952 in pre-decimal stamps and 2012 in decimal.

As well as English stamps, I've been able to incorporate a Scottish one and a Welsh one, unfortunately I didn't have any to represent Northern Ireland.  To complete the theme I printed the Jubilee logo and used a crown rubber stamp.

The background is textured wallpaper with sheer fabrics and I've also attached somebeads and individual onion seed heads.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Tag Tuesday - Found Objects

Whenever I'm at the seaside I love collecting shells with the plan to create something with them, however, most of the time they just get added to my shell stash.  I've always been aware that different shells can be found on different beaches but over the last few years I've noticed something new.  One time recenlty, there were lots of broken shells with sea-worn edges just like the broken glass you find on the beach.  Last year I found lots of limpet shells with their peaks cut off.  It is some of these I have used in my tag.
I thought this fabric was ideal - it's got a turquoise/green colouring in the bottom third and blue at the top.   I was disappointed that the shells which I had sewn on blended into the background and so glued the other two on.  These two now represent shells swept onto the beach and the bottom three are tumbling in the surf. 

Monday, 21 May 2012

Tag Tuesday - Gardening

I've been neglecting tag making and the rainbow scrap challenge lately due to other commitments both craft and non-craft.  A nudge to get going again was what I needed and so I made two gardening tags yesterday.

The first is loosely based on my Chelsea Pinks competition entry for my local Embroiderers Guild a few years ago.  As I was rummaging in my scrap box for some green scrim, I found a small piece of knitting which used the same yarn as I'd used in Chelsea Pinks and also a photo printed onto a sheer which was perfect to use.

My second tag shows some of the photos I took whilst visiting the Chelsea Flower Show a few years ago and are of design features I liked.  As the show opens this week it seemed apt to incorporate them into a gardening tag.

 I'm not going to the show this year but if you're going I'm sure you'll have a lovely day out.  I'll be watching some of the television coverage.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Rainbow Scrap Challenge - Pink #2

I went back and trimmed the scrappy edges from my pink fabrics and made this today.  It's about 9" by 6.75" and will go in the pile of scrappy blocks to be made into something later.
 These are the only scraps left!

I've spent most of the weekend weeding so not a lot of sewing done, but after dinner tonight I spent over an hour working on a UFO and it's no longer a UFO. Yippee - another one to cross off the list.  I've yet to take a photo of the finished piece so will post about it another day.

Hope you've all had a good weekend.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Rainbow Scrap Challenge - Pink

This month's colour for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is pink.  I don't have a lot of pink fabric as you can see from this photo (they're fat quarters which have had bits cut off for other projects in the past).
There weren't many scrappy edges to them so I cut 3.5 inch strips from them, none of them as long as the original full width/length.  I then cut the strips and randomly sewed them together, just making sure that the same fabric wouldn't be next to each other or next-door but one.

None of the blocks I've made so far have been made into anything yet as I'm planning to use them together in one or two rainbow projects.  I was unsure what the pink strips would look like with the red and green blocks but was pleasantly surprised when they were placed together.
This weekend was the first opportunity I've had this month to make anything for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge but hopefully I'll be able to do some more before the next colour is announced.

Friday, 2 March 2012

UFO Challenge - Feb completed

February's UFO was number 1 which is my small weaving piece.  I saved it for taking with me on a train journey and managed to do quite a lot that day.  I've since finished it and taken it off the loom. It was a sample piece to see how the wools worked being woven so no plans for it yet but it's in colours I work with a lot so will be incorporated into something.

These wools were leftover from a cardigan I was knitting which turned into another UFO.  Guess what - it's number has come up for March.  I need to do some thinking about how to resolve the issues I had so it won't be a quick finish.  The UFOs for January and February were both quick hits so it was bound to be a bigger job this time.  I also plan to make something for my mum for Mother's Day so will only have time for the thinking not doing for the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Tag Tuesday - Valentine

As well as the customs and traditions of Valentine's day this week's theme encompasses marriage, anniversaries and more hearts if we wish.  I chose to celebrate my grandparents' golden wedding anniversaries and made a tag for both sets of grandparents.  Each tag has a photo of my grandparents on their wedding day as well as one at their golden wedding anniversary parties.  I converted the golden wedding photos into black and white to match the wedding days but decided to keep the photo in colour for two reasons.  Firstly, the colours are 'golden' and secondly, being in colour emphasises the passage of time. 

I don't have any wedding dress material but did have some offcuts of when I made a christening robe so used that for the background.  For privacy reasons, I have obscured the date and names.

If you haven't already, have a look at the other tags on Tag Tuesday.  There's a great variety and everyone seems to enjoy taking part in the challenge.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Tag Tuesday - Hearts

This week's theme is hearts and I have used a heart from a collagraphy session at college a few years ago.   I made some hearts - some were patterned and others were in the negative with a pattern surround.  I've already used several of them on greetings cards but have a few left and thought this one would  be ideal as a tag.

To add some extra interest I have sewn beads onto the plain heart.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Rainbow Scrap Challenge - more green

I had thought that I would throw the scraps left over from the last piece away – some were just slithers and I couldn't imagine them being useful.

However, before they went in the bin, I decided to use them with my embellisher machine.  When looking through my felt to attach to I saw that I had odd bits of felt too and instead of having to use a complete sheet I was able to join my felt scraps with my embellisher.
 front and back, the khaki is showing a bit brownish on these photos

 The next task was to embellish the cotton scraps on.

Then I softened it with some merino fibres and a couple of strands of scrap yarn

Realising I couldn't see much of the cotton fabrics, I picked some of the merino fibres off to reveal the fabrics again

 close ups

Here's what it may look like, cut up and mixed with pieces created in different colours

I'll keep it as it is until I have made some more pieces in future months, then decide what to use it for.

This has been a great opportunity to use all of those scraps to create a new fabric.

Apologies for the difference in quality of the photos - some were taken in daylight and others in artificial light.

Monday, 6 February 2012

TAG Tuesday - Lace

This week's tag is a reminder of one of my pieces I made for my City and Guild Embroidery Course.   It was called A Metre of Mushrooms as it was a metre wide and the design came from one of my paintings of some mushrooms - hence the words on the tag.  The photos on the tag are of the design (top photo) and the finished piece.  The background of the tag uses leftover lace, other leftovers from the project used for the tag are beads for the tassel and top, and wool for the 'string'.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Rainbow Scrap Challenge - Green

This month's colour for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is green.

Here are my green fat quarters to choose from.
 I enjoy a variety of textile crafts but haven't done any patchwork and quilting for quite a while.  These fat quarters (or should I say partial fat quarters) are leftovers from various small patchwork and applique projects.  When I got them out I found this

It's a wonky flying geese pattern.  I don't remember doing it but I must have done.  My intial reaction was great - I can continue this and make it into a large block to go with the red one I made last month.  I don't want to make all of the blocks the same so auditioned the pieces next to each other and was happy.
I merrily cut squares from my fat quarters for the base but couldn't quite work out how to cut the pieces to form the sky as they wouldn't be proper squares.  Then I thought - hang on a minute.  The reason I joined this challenge was to use the odd bits of the fat quarters where squares, strips and other shapes had previously been cut.  By cutting fabric for the flying geese this would create more odd bits not use the ones I already had!

I changed tack, and went back to the fat quarters, opened them out and cut the odd bits off.  Over the last couple of weeks I've come across new terms such as crumbs.  I don't have any boxes of crumbs or scraps, at least my take on these words.  My cut up fat quarters may be scraps to others but they are still fat quarters to me.  The tiny pieces I would think of as crumbs have either been thrown away or are still attached to the main piece by thin strands of fabric.  These are the crumbs I cut from my red fat quarters last month but struggled to use them.
There are lots of curved shapes in there from a flower making project.  I'd like to thank Cathy Tomm for pointing me towards Bonnie Hunters crumb tutorial. Unfortunately, I've not had time to have a go with my red crumbs as we're now onto green and I've been making tags for Tag Tuesday as well as other projects I'm in the middle of.  I still want to make something from these red bits though.

With my green fat quarters I didn't have a crumb problem.  They'd been cut but most had what I would call tails which I could cut off and use as scraps.

Looking at my greens I wondered how they would look together - there are dark ones, light ones, yellowy ones, bluey ones, greyey ones, grids, circles, pea green.  Some I liked, some I didn't.  To me, they don't go together.  I wondered about  putting them into groups for likeness and make several small blocks but decided to use them randomly.  It seemed easier to do it that way and other scrappy quilts I've seen have a mix of fabrics I wouldn't necessarily have chosen to put together but they seem to work well.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained, as the saying goes.  If it looked a mess when it was finished I could put it down to experience.  They were only small bits of fabric I'd had for ages after all so I wouldn't have wasted any money.  Surely being in my stash for that long could be seen as a waste by some.

I've used the general technique from the crumb tutorial matching pieces by size to put together.  I didn't want to be worried by scale and tonal values but I think instinct kicked in so there aren't clumps of similar pieces together.   In the beginning, I had several little blocks and I wondered if they would have sides the same length to make one piece.  I busily kept stitching and quite soon I realised that a couple of my blocks had grown to 9 inches along so decided that this would be my final block size.  In the end I'd made four blocks and have very few bits left over so I'm pleased with what I have created - all from the odd bits.  Today I saw the term poverty piecing.  I thought it was something to do with making quilts for charity but it comes from the idea of not being wasteful and putting all good fabric to a good use.  I think my blocks qualify for this term - well, once they have been made into an item they will.

I haven't decided what to make from the blocks yet, ideas kept floating round my head and I've been inspired by lots of blogs I've been reading.  For the moment I'll keep the blocks separate whilst I create more in different colours and create an ideas file.

I'm going to work on other projects now but am looking forward to see what next month's colour is.

Monday, 30 January 2012

TAG Tuesday

With a different theme each week it’s going to be difficult to create them in the same style but I would like to use photos I’ve taken in the past and old family photos, together with words for as many of the tags as possible.

When I first saw the vintage theme I immediately thought of a photo of my grandmother taken in 1967 as I have a piece of fabric from the dress she was wearing.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember where it was so my next thought was a photo of my grandparents with their three wheeled car.  I don’t know when it was taken but it would have been at least 40 years ago.  However, I couldn’t find it but I came across one of my dad in a toy car with his mother and grandmother.  This one was taken over 70 years ago.  The tag actually came from my grandparents house so is quite old itself, at least 30 years.  The buttons are old cloth covered ones which I think came from my other grandparents’ house.  I tried several arrangements with the buttons but wasn’t happy until I decided to use name tabs.  

I’ve since found the dress fabric and will be making that tag as well.  Here it is in progress.

I started this challenge during the third week and wanted to complete the set by making tags for the first two themes – snow and snow sports and games.

For snow, I have used a photo taken in my garden showing footprints in the snowfall.   Ribbon, beads  and words are used as embellishments. 
I also have some photos of frosted spiders webs that I took to use as a design source which I’ll use for another tag. Here it is in progress.

The second week’s theme was snow sports and games.  For this one I have used a photo of my youngest son playing with snowballs.  We don’t usually get much snow where we live but in 2008 it snowed over the Easter holidays in the April.  My son is wearing a scarf that I knitted for him.  I don’t have any of the main wool left but used the same wool at the ends of the scarf for the tassels on the tag.   It’s embellished with some words, beads and hand embroidery.  
I’m also in the middle of making one with photos of my other son taken in 2009 sliding down a hill on a skateboard without its wheels.

I’m having fun making these tags and will certainly make some relating to lace – the next theme.

I hope you like them.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Red and White - Rainbow Scrap Challenge and TAG Tuesday

This weekend has been a red and white one.  Yesterday was red as I was working on a piece for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I tried using some crumbs but didn't get on very well and have put that idea on hold for the moment.  Instead I cut strips from the fat quarters where they'd had odd bits already cut from them.  Matching the same width sized strips I sewed them together and produced this, finishing it this morning.
 I'm going to see how I get on in the next few months to see how many 12x12 squares I make before I decide what to turn them all into - bag, wallhanging, small quilt, bed quilt?

This afternoon has been white.  Another challenge I've found is making tags at TAG Tuesday.  There are lots of inspirational tags from other crafters.  Unfortunately, the group is full but Carolyn, the host, has suggested that I play along on my own blog. Others are in the same situation and Carolyn has created a list on the side of the blog with links to ours so that everyone can have a look at the tags we have created.  Each week a new theme starts on Tuesday and this week's theme is white.  I cut a tag from pelmet vilene and bonded three white fabrics to it.  The white label has been made from tyvek onto which I soldered the word 'white'.  Embellished with some hand stitching, buttons, ribbon and beads I finished the edges with a machine buttonhole stitch.  I'm really pleased with my first tag and looking forward to making another one next week.

Thursday, 19 January 2012


I’ve been looking at lots of blogs in the last couple of weeks seeing what people are up to and what other challenges are out there to join.  A lot are quilting based but I don’t seem to do much patchwork or quilting any more.  The last time I bought a fat quarter (or larger pieces for patchworking) was several years ago.  Don’t despair; I’ve bought lots of other textile goodies like silk fibres, embroidery threads, yarns, mixed media bits and pieces since.   Some things are allocated for projects I’d like to make, others are leftovers from things I have made.  I’ve enjoyed making things for the FAMM and 3 Creative Studio challenges from my stash but these have stopped.  I’d like to join more challenges – ones where I can make things quite quickly as I will have other main projects on the go. 

So far I’ve joined the UFO challenge and Colour PaletteChallenge.  I’ve already completed this month’s UFO challenge and have started preparing for the Colour Palette one.

Two other challenges which caught my eye whilst exploring blogland are the Rainbow Scrap Challenge and Crumb-Along.  Not sure if I officially have enough ‘scraps’ (how small is a scrap?) but I have lots of fat quarters which have been partially used, some with odd shapes cut out and this challenge would be a good way to slash that stash.  As I enjoy a range of textile crafts, I also have lots of yarns, silk fibres, merino fibres, buttons, handmade papers.  Some haven’t been used yet but others are leftovers from other projects.  Perhaps it can be my leftover challenge!  I have been thinking of what I could make with the fabrics – fabric book?  book covers? bags? wallhanging? even a quilt!  This month’s colour is red and I’ve got quite a few different red partial fat quarters so it will be a good starting colour. 

Reading about the crumb along I’ve decided I don’t have any crumbs to use, or only very few, so I won’t be joining.  However, it has given me some ideas for the rainbow scrap challenge.  Remember those odd shapes already cut out from my fabrics?  I thought I could square off the fabrics, then I’d have some crumbs which I could make into small squares.  These could be used in conjunction with some of the rest of the fat quarter to make a block or two.  Nothing would go to waste.

I need to go and get my boxes of fabrics out and have a play.  I’ll let you know how I get on.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

First UFO finished

I've finished my first UFO from the UFO Challenge.  It didn't take long and I got it finished in an afternoon.  Makes me wonder I didn't find time to do it before now.  Perhaps it was not having asked my son what colours he would like, combined with always being busy with other bits and pieces. 

To dye the Tshirt I first soaked it in a mix of soda and salt solutions, then I squeezed the excess liquid out.  Using a syringe I squirted three colours of dylon dye all over the shirt.  Next it was into the casserole pot and micowaved for 4 mins.  I've got a separate microwave for my crafting to the one we use for cooking.

When it was done, I undid the stitching and rinsed it first by hand to get the excess dye out, then used the rinse cycle on the washing machine to get rid of the rest.

One happy son who now has his Tshirt at long last and one happy mother who has one less UFO

Thursday, 5 January 2012

UFO Challenge 2012

After following the link from Vicki's blog to Judy's blog I found that she is also hosting a UFO challenge.  She did this last year and is continuing it this year.  The idea is to complete one UFO each month and share with the rest of the participants.

I’m quite good at starting things and then putting them aside when either I have new ideas or a problem crops up.  However, I could only think of a few things that I’d put aside.  I have some WIPs (works in progress) which I thought I could include together with a couple of things I am actively working on at the moment and need finishing in the next couple of months.  That still wouldn’t make 12.  However, I had a look in my craft room and found some more.  Counting them up I have 14 without the WIPs or newer projects.  I thought about including the WIPs as otherwise they are likely to become UFOs but I’ll go for 12 actual UFOs.  Some should be quite quick to finish so the WIPs can be worked on as well during the month.

My UFOs are an eclectic mix as I enjoy a variety of textile related crafts.

1.       1 - Small pink weaving – I started this ages ago but as it wasn’t for anything specific I didn’t get it finished before starting something else and it’s been sitting in my basket ever since.

2.       2 - Hugs and Kisses wall hanging – I made this about 10-11 years ago.  It spends the night-time as a curtain for my hall window and the day-time hangs just round the corner on the wall at the bottom of the stairs.  The original design was made up in plaids but I prefer brighter colours.  For some reason I didn’t hem the bottom binding to the backing – there was a reason but it is long forgotten.  I also started hand-quilting the sky but the whole area hasn’t been completed.  I’m not bothered about the quilting as there is only a small area which has been done but I aim to finish the hemming.

3.       3 - Advent calendar – this is from the Quilting Arts special winter edition back in Winter 08 which was the first gift edition.  The reason I didn’t finish it was that I didn’t start it until the last week in November!  I thought of using photos I’d taken at Christmas over the years to put behind the windows and doors and have even printed miniature versions and worked out which go where.  We already have another advent calendar with pockets to hold sweets and nativity characters to put onto the felt centre so we didn’t really need it but I’d started it as I like the photo of it in the magazine.

4.       4 - Christmas ATCs – I made two or three a couple of years ago and started another two but didn’t get them finished. I only found them the other day so didn’t get chance to finish them off for this Christmas.

5.       5 - T-shirt – my son asked me to dye him a shibori t-shirt after he saw the one I had done for myself.  I’ve got as far as stitching it but it has never seen the dye.  Luckily he’s a teenager who wears adult sized clothes so the t-shirt will still fit!

6.       6 - Books – I took part in a workshop at my local Embroiders Guild with Frances Pickering who creates wonderful books.  I did finish the book in as much as I finished the construction.  We’d just had a lovely holiday on a Greek island and I printed some photos to put in it.  A couple have been added and a few of the pages have been stamped but that’s as far as it got.  I also created some pages for another book which I think I was planning to use for some more Greek photos.

7.       7 - Felt bag – I had a period of making bags from woollen felt which I embellished and then put in the washing machine.  This one was for me, but didn’t get sewn up.  I think I was waiting until I’d found the right handles to go with it.  I’d better make a concerted effort to either find some or design some.

8.       8 - Knitted Jacket – I made this by knitting rows and judging the sizing by laying it on one I already had.  The original one has a large collar and this one still needs a collar.  When I last tried it on, the sleeves were far too long, the back neck was too wide and open and the front didn’t overlap as much as the original.  I’ve lost about 2 stones in weight since, (not sure exactly how much I weighed when I made it) so hopefully it will be a better fit.  I need to sort out the back neck and then make the collar.  I don’t know what I can do about the sleeves.  It’s quite heavy as I’m using three strands of wool so it would be ideal to wear outside when it’s chilly but I don’t want to wear a coat.  

9.       9 - Entrelac knitting – about two or three winters ago I had knitting fest, mostly making bags with wool and then felting them.  I found a pattern on ravelry for a bag made from entrelac knitting.  I started making it but I’m not sure if my choice of yarn wasn’t right.  The needle size was the same as on the ball of yarn but it was very loose and the stitches kept slipping on the needles.  I persevered for a while, but then I cheated and made another version of the bag by knitting whole rows in wool to the shape the entrelac knitted version. When felted and moulded it looked great.  The original is still on the needles.  I’m not sure if I will finish knitting it or use the piece as part of something else.  I made a fabric version but the sewn up shape is a bit weird and felting knitting wool is better.  As this piece isn't wool I'm tempted to turn it into something else.  We'll see what happens when it's number comes up.

10  10 -  Silk fibre stole – I went on a workshop with Christine Benson at Art Van Go and using the embellisher machine we made a stole from silk fibres.  My design included some freemachining on chiffon to be appliqu├ęd.  I only had a wooden embroidery hoop which wasn’t suitable so Christine lent me her hoop for the day.  It’s taken me a couple of years to buy a similar hoop but I’ve not used it yet.  Hopefully this challenge will get me on the road again with it.

11.  11 - Brown felted piece – this may have come immediately after my session of making felted bags.  This time I used my embellisher to needlefelt with merino and silk fibres.  I have stitched some wool in wavy lines across the piece and wet felted it slightly.  It was going to be a bag, but I may make it into something else.  Brown is not a colour I wear so it would not be any good as a bag for me.  Perhaps it will be a gift for a friend.

12.   12 - Straps – I made these after buying Maggie Grey’s book entitled Stitches, Straps and Layers. However, I didn’t get any further with them.  I think they need some more embellishments or stitching on them before being made into a vessel.

         I am looking forward to getting them all finished by the end of the year.