Wednesday, November 30, 2011


My set of accessories for Module 11 were a felted hat and woollen shawl.  I'd only ever made one hat before (remember the "brain" hat in a previous post ... or as some thought - a world globe on my head!!) and was a bit nervous about making another but I'm happier with Take 2.
This is my lovely daughter in law, Jess, modelling the accessories for me.
I based my design on Module 2 - Shape.  The requirement for that module was to find industrial shapes, and my favourite was this pile of sea containers. 
Which progressed into this collage .... I do like simplicity!

It took me ages to decide on a set of accessories, as I wanted something I could wear that was artistic and creative, without looking like a Zandra Rhodes look-alike.  I'm not one for outlandish fashion and wanted to make something that was going to be functional and not just an assessment piece that would be shelved after the course.
I found some lovely poly/wool fabric that had a nice drape and feel about it, and appliqued purple and green cotton and spandex fabrics to it, then machine stitched around the squares.
I made tassels in the same way for the edge of the shawl, but wish now I'd appliqued both sides of the tassels.
The hat wasn't as difficult as I'd expected and the shape came out more or less as I'd hoped.  The hardest part was machine stitching the applique pieces over the rounded shape ... a bit awkward.
I needed a model in a hurry to get my instructions typed up, so popped around to our sons house and caught Jess on the hop.  She was a rather reluctant model, but I think she was perfect.
If I were to make the articles again, I think next time I would try and felt the shawl myself, so that both items are made of the same material, but I'm not sure I could manage all that rolling of something so big.
Now I've got to wait 6 months until winter comes around again to be able to wear my pieces.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Eleven down ... one to go

Finally, I completed Module 11 and sent it off yesterday for assessment.  I couldn't believe it'd taken me almost a year to do, which means I can't dilly dally with Module 12 as I want to get it all finished by cut off in May.
I can now show you some of the finished pieces I submitted.  This one above is my experimental cut work done with hand made felts.  Unfortunately the photo doesn't do it justice .  Its one of my favourite pieces.
Below is my experimental pulled work.  I used two layers of loose scrim and bamboo thread and randomly gathered the threads in a circular motion. 
I completed a notebook on all the techniques relevant to pulled work, cut work, drawn thread and needleweaving - which really come under whitework.  This is just one page of my notebook, on Dresden work.  I spent a long time too, researching museums and galleries - and was a bit peeved to find that there was a musem on Ayrshire work, just around the corner from where we were staying in Scotland a few years ago, and I didn't know anything about it. 
 And now for something completely different ... I couldn't help but include this photo I took of the little piglets at the Royal Show in October.  There's something really cute about those little bums .. and I did feel guilty the next time I ate bacon.
 We mainly went to the show to take some elderly friends to see the Clydesdale horses, but I couldn't help but disappear for an hour to view the craft section, and wanted to share some of the work I saw there.
This one won the contemporary embroidery and appealed to me because it was done with a lot of the Casalguidi techniques I like.  It was stitched by Geraldine Peterkin.
And this one won first prize in the "Any Category" and 2nd prize for the Overall Exhibition in Embroidery at the show and its no wonder, its beautifully stitched and looks just like a photograph.  Its created by Mary Pearson in free machine embroidery.  What I would give to be able to stitch like that!!
 Before we finally left for the day I had to have a peep at the cats and dogs, and fell in love with this gorgeous cat who's the mascot for the Swan Animal Haven.  I love the way she's got her paw on the collection tin ... how could you resist heh?
So now its a breather for a day or two, and then into sorting through the past 6 years of work and making sure everything is in order and putting it all together. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Many paws make more work

Sammy's never been one for coming into my studio ... until recently.  Now I can't get him out.
He decided he wanted to come in and help me.
We call him the QA Controller, as he always has to check out everything we do, usually after we've gone he snoops around and does his final inspection, but this day he decided to sit with me and make sure I was doing my sewing to his standards. 
He seems quite pleased with it.  Not sure I'm happy about him sitting on my work.  It's nice to have him share my day with me, and have big cuddles, but not a good thing when the item you're working on is a black woollen shawl.
But with a moochy "kiss me mummy" face like that, how could I ever be cross with him.