Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Microphotography Inspiration

OK.  This might be a little out of line with my other posts; nevertheless, I think it's interesting enough to share.

I can't remember how, or when, I first hit upon this idea, but I regularly look for unusual sources of inspiration to bring to my crafting - whether that be art, embroidery - whatever.

Here are a couple of examples of microphotography which had a real impact - they just 'sing' to me.

I've also been known to rewind and pause the tv when I see something I think is really beautiful so I can  take a photograph of it for future inspiration.  This is, perhaps, my very favourite from that source...

Tomorrow...another idea like these for inspiration.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Variegated Threads

I originally posted my small gold cushion which I made using this pattern, a while ago.  But I thought I'd point out how using variegated embroidery threads can really add interest to a project like this  Also, I'm going to add a useful tip on coping with complicated and/or very detailed patterns.

For this sample, I chose a silk thread, from Oliver Twists, in blues.  (Cotton variegates by DMC and Anchor are widely available, though in fewer colour choices and I much prefer sewing with silk, anyway)  I think this thread gives an interesting 'chinese porcelain' effect.

The design itself is a form of counted thread work and consists solely of straight stitches.  That said, I found it a particularly challenging piece of work.  When I'm faced with something like that - complex, in one way or another, I resort to a technique I devised purely out of necessity.  If such patterns are presented in the form of a graph, then the threads are usually marked in tens by more heavy print.  I mark my piece of fabric in the centre, then mark out the same grid of tens, working from the centre marked on the pattern, using a very sharp 2B pencil.  It helps enormously in aiding concentration.  The pencil lines are easily removed by washing on completion.

If you click on the photograph to enlarge it, you can see on this, better than on the gold variation, how each 'flower' is different.  I embellished the centre of each with a tiny, opalescent sequin.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Floor Quilt

For this small quilt, I took a block pattern and repeated it to get the size I wanted.  At the time, I was also very much into 'inchies', - still am, really - so used them for the middle border.  I like to think it adds some interest to what could otherwise be a very ordinary design.  I like leaves and this project contains all of my favourite colours: my whole living room is done out in them.

It was originally intended as a wall hanging but, somehow, it's become a rug, in front of the fireplace.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Grandmother's Little Angels

This is a small quilt with 3D 'little angels' made separately and appliquéd.  I love it.

It's from this great book, which has lots of really different and innovative designs...

Click here for link to book on Amazon

Would also love to do the design on the cover.  Ah so much to do...

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Hand Lettering

I wrote in my last post about really wanting to get into lettering.  Well, I've actually made a start.

This really is my first attempt, so I wasn't too careful, nor was I prepared to waste good-quality colouring materials on it.  That said, I think I could produce something acceptable using this technique - perhaps for a card, or certainly in the art journal (once I get back into it).

The inspiration for this came from what I think is a wonderful book...

Click here for link to book on Amazon

It includes all different sorts of alphabets, ideas for creating your own styles of lettering and lots of suggestions for using them.

Here's another example...

...and this novice's attempt to do something similar...

Yes; if you look carefully, there is an 'E' monogram in there - somewhere.  I'm keen to carry on with these, incorporating my stash of really beautiful colouring materials - blending and embellishing them.  I've also started to formulate my very own special lettering alphabet.  More of that later.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Alphabet Sampler

On 32 count linen, using various colours of embroidery thread.  One of my favourites.



Sunday, 15 April 2012

Peter Pan Collar - update

Well - here's the finished product.  Yes; I know: I should have made sure it lay flat before I took the photograph.  Grand-daughter is delighted with it and blatantly intent on telling all her friends back home in London that she made it herself.  Shameless!

I've now been commissioned to crochet a collar for smaller granddaughter.  Hey ho.

She and I spent a wonderful couple of hours at The Crafts House this morning with the wondrous Sandra, who took said grand-daughter through the basics of creating a craft journal and filling her with confidence in her budding efforts to reach the artist within her.  It was awesome to watch.  I spent the time starting on a relatively new skill - that of lettering:  it's something I've wanted to explore for oh so long.  Again, Sandra was an absolute inspiration.  I'll certainly be pursuing this one.  After all, it's not as if I have anything else to do!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Peter Pan Collar

Something current.  My daughter and two grand-daughters have been staying with me for a few days and the eldest, 14 year old, hinted, strongly, that she would like a detachable Peter Pan collar.

She chose fabric and lace from my craft room and so I got down to it.

After I'd added the lace, she decided she wanted to embellish it in her own special way - at which point I stepped back a bit.

On the plain half collar above, I would have liked to just add a lace daisy.  The photo below shows what she actually chose to do with it.  Don't miss the three tiny star buttons at the narrow end!  And apologies for the different picture exposures - they really are the same thing.

It's obviously a generational thing!  Just off to put the two final parts together and sew satin ribbons on the back to tie in a small bow.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Bed runner

When I first came across this image, I fell in love with it.  At the time, I was redecorating/refurbishing bedrooms and would have loved to simply do the whole thing.

Reality set in and so I decided to take just one element and use it in my spare/guest room.

I have become a bit overwhelmed with full quilts of late, so thought I'd translate the 'check' design into a bed runner.  The overall colour scheme of the room is sort of mulberry and gray.

So, here's my take on it - close up.  As you can see, I appliquéd flower motifs on it, just to make sure the total effect wasn't too 'masculine'.  Another project in progress  (don't like the term 'unfinished' - too negative).  I'll post a photo of the finished project when it materialises.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Repeat Motifs

It occurred to me only recently that something I do regularly is take an embroidery motif pattern and repeat it.

This example was made into a small cushion - with a 'dimpled' button in the centre - originally for Christmas.  That was several years ago and I never did put it away with the rest of the decorations.  I like it too much.

As always, the fabric is 28 count evenweave and the embroidery cotton is variegated red.  The photo doesn't show up the embellishment well, but it's metallic gold.

Of course, you're not restricted to making a 4-square like this: I've used the same technique for table runners and rectangular cushions.

All down to imagination, again.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Crocheted motifs as window hanging

Not the best of photos, but I decided to join up all of my motifs and hang them over the kitchen window.  AND they flutter in the breeze!

I think I'll be doing the same thing for the kitchen door.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Crochet - now that's more like it!

In situ

Having refamiliarised myself with crochet after many years, have now managed to produce a doily.  All set now to tackle some of the wonderful stuff I mentioned in my last post, from Pinterest.  Hooked!

Monday, 2 April 2012

Make your own perfect pressing board...

Practicalities today.  Despite the photographs, this isn't really about crochet, but what I think is an invaluable technique for all sorts of crafting.

From the beginning...

I taught myself to crochet over 40 years ago, when I was pregnant with my first child, but it was never my first craft love and I certainly can't claim to be anything like an expert.  However, while trawling on Pinterest recently, I've been greatly Pinspired by all the beautiful photographs of, and ideas for using, it.  (If you're interested, just click my Pinterest button on the top right of my home page here.)

Or just click on these links to get the general idea...

Classy band of crochet on cushion

Beautiful lace and crochet hearts

My favourite - polymer clay bowl with crochet/lace embellishment

BUT now for the main purpose of this post.  While refamiliarisng myself over the past few days, I was reminded how important the process of pressing is, in order to get the motifs symmetrical for finishing.  When I say 'pressing', I''m not talking about normal 'ironing': crafters usually know the important difference.

Last year, I came across great articles and a video tutorial on how to make your own 'pressing board'.  I was convinced.  Having paid all of £2 for an offcut of wood at my local DIY store, I used a staple gun to cover it first with wadding, then with thick cotton twill.  The board doesn't 'give', so you get a far more 'crisp' press.  It made such an improvement when working with quilting blocks.

Here's the link to Sharon Schamber's video, courtesy of Leah Day

One important extra - I went a step further and drew a measuring grid on the edge of mine. (Waterproof marker, of course.)   I use pins to place the piece I'm pressing very precisely.  Perfect!