Friday, October 26, 2012

Craft and Sewing Show

Today some friends and I went to the Craft and Sewing Show at Caulfield Racecourse.  We were surprised with the timing of the show, given that it is the Spring Racing Carnival but apparently they had their last race there last weekend.  Actually, all I know about the Spring Racing Carnival is that we get a public holiday for Melbourne Cup day.  Not my thing at all. Bring on the footy season 2013 (don't ask me about the Grand Final this year).

Anyway ...  I had been thinking that I really needed a daylight lamp to help with my work - not getting any younger here.  I hadn't thought about getting one today but there they were, with show special prices and a free table lamp thrown in.  I usually look at these lamps when I am using public transport and can't be bothered carrying it but today there was free parking and it was way across Melbourne, so I had driven.  So I bit the bullet and bought one.

Beneath the Southern Sky was one of the exhibitions on display and I had to have another look - how often do you get to have work in one of these events?  The work was displayed slightly differently from the AQC, which is where I saw it last.  It had a light right on my work - very pleasing - and it was easier to see the connection with the surrounding works (at least, I thought so).  I remembered to take a photo of my work this time - but I had forgotten the camera, so it is taken using my phone.

Brenda Gael Smith was giving demonstrations of procion dyeing and we found that very interesting - enough for us to plan a dyeing day next week. Very inspiring.
She has a competition on her blog to comment on what we saw and we might win some of her fabrics: she says she has a lot since she has been demonstrating at a series of shows this year.  All in all, it was a very pleasant day.
Brenda and one of her wonderful works - as usual, the reality is so much better than images. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Will it be a waste of time???

I have decided to try one of the cocoon templates, that I have already posted about, in my tapestry weaving.
It is one that is on an A4 piece of paper which fits nicely across the loom.  As I am making it up as I go along, I think I might make it a bit larger, maybe a squarer shape, as I can't make the width of the loom any bigger but I can make the design taller. The free motion sample is fairly small once it is joined together, so I am hoping that by making the fringe parts longer it will be slightly bigger. The thicker fabric may have an effect also.  Hence the thought that I could be wasting my time, it might not work at all.

It consists of 13 separate sections that will join when I get to the correct height.  So I will get lots of practice making slits (which I don't have to sew up - yay!!) as well as keeping my sides straight, 13 times. Each section is only 8 warps wide so I can say to myself, "I'll just finish this section".  This seems to make it go more quickly, at least, it did when I used to do Fair Isle knitting, I haven't done enough weaving on this piece to know yet.

If this doesn't work, I won't know till I have woven it all and am trying to sew it together.  Tapestry is much slower than the free motion sewing but I have decided that I really want to try it, so here goes.

Here it is with the first fringe piece done - I started with left-over bits of warp from another tapestry.  I need to sew the ends together so that it is not obvious where the joins are and I thought that this might disguise the plaiting of the warp ends a bit.  Another thing I won't know till it is finished.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Working at The Alcove

I have recently joined the Alcove Art Shop which is a volunteer organisation that sells the members' work.  You can be a 'working' member and get a discount on the commission the shop takes for selling your work.  I have volunteered to do this - not that I actually ever make anything for selling (not sure why I joined really).
Yesterday was my first day minding the shop.  It was fairly quiet so I was glad that I still had a couple of cocoons to sew together.  It takes a surprisingly long time to put them together so it was a good time to be doing it, when I had to be in one place and couldn't wander off to do other 'more important' or 'more interesting' things.

Actually, it was a very pleasant space to be working in, all that lovely art and craft around me.

This one has a flattish bottom and can stand - as long as there is no breeze.
The two halves of a cocoon, one sewn into a bowl shape and the other waiting to be sewn.
I have been playing around with the templates and some are starting to look more and more like a chrysalis than a cocoon. The picture above became the piece below.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Trying a New Template

I recently bought the wonderful Exploring Dimensional Quilt Art by C June Barnes and loved it. But, as I am beavering away at my free motion sewing (and the occasional bit of tapestry weaving), I have had to put it aside for now.
Then it occurred to me that I could develop one of her designs using my own free motion fabric.
First I played around with some templates and made up one of the designs using paper.  I tried various ways of sticking it together before coming up with a design that I thought might work.

Then I used one of my very intricate templates - it is numbered so I can remember which bits I stuck together.

I made my fabric, making sure I had the same colour ends for the linking parts so that the joins would not be too obvious.

I started sewing it together.  It is a little harder than it looks because the fabric is hard in places, due to the soluble fabric not being completely dissolved so it will be a little stiff.

Now I have it hanging, I just have to decide if I like it.  It is also fairly small once it is sewn together.  I started with an A4 piece of paper for my design.  I think I will try it again with a larger template. Obviously I like it a bit or I wouldn't try again.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Uluru sunset

As I have mentioned earlier, a friend and I had a holiday recently and part of it was at Uluru.  We arrived in time to view the sunset and I took some photos.  We were advised to take photos every 5 minutes or so, to get good pictures of the changing colours of the sun on the rock.  Unfortunately, I hadn't thought to take a tripod with me, so I had trouble getting the photos very similar.  It also got darker (surprise, surprise) and I had to have  longer exposures for the later pictures which made it harder to hold still.

When I looked at them later, I realised I could have had a lovely sequence of images that I could make into a little movie.  So I gave the matter some thought and decided that I could hone some Photoshop skills and try to manipulate the photos so that they were in the same orientation on the canvas of the program.  I used the rulers and guide lines to get the photos as close to the same as possible.  I had to stretch some images, condense others and tilt others.  This then lead to some images having blank spots, so I had to play around with putting in the a fill that is based on the surrounding pixels (isn't Photoshop amazing!).  If you look closely at the images you will see a couple where I didn't do it perfectly but I decided that I didn't really care, I just wanted to DO IT.  So please forgive the jumping images, there was no earthquake at the time, just my unsuccessful attempts to get the shame shots.

Here is my little movie of sunset at Uluru, with music from Stuart Cardell.  I love the didgeridoo sounds in it.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Making the peel-based cocoon

As the paper template didn't seem to be working that well, I thought I would try it using a different medium. I traced the lemon peel to make a template and decided to use free motion sewing, on dissolvable fabric.
 It turned out rather small.

I decided to enlarge it, using  the photo I had taken of the peel.  I took out the colour and highlighted the edges in Photoshop.  I used the actual photo so the proportions would stay the same.  I divided the image into four pieces and made them A4 sized.  I printed them out, stuck them together and traced it onto the dissolvable fabric.

You can see the smaller cocoon on the right of the template.

I used some small pieces of fabric to give depth and some stability to the free motion sewing.

Now I have a larger cocoon.  It still doesn't fit together as well as I envisaged but it doesn't matter as I am aiming to produce distressed, abandoned cocoons.

I am not that happy with it as the colours change too markedly for my taste.  However, it is a good sample and I am learning as I go.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

lemon peel template

As I have been playing around with my cocoon theme, I have developed a few templates that I have adapted or devised myself. Someone mentioned that I might be able to use orange peel, done in a continuous piece, to give me a template for a sphere.
I looked around the internet and found some interesting images but not quite what I wanted.  I even found some mathematical sites that were of interest but a bit beyond me in terms of understanding what they were talking about! (Sample here)
As I am interested in a more elliptical shape, rather than a sphere, I decided to try making my own, using a lemon.
I peeled it very carefully and took some photos to give me an idea of the proportions of the template, of the twists, etc.

The peel doesn't lie flat, so I will have to play around with the template to see what I can manage.

That is as far as I have got so far - now I need to decide how I am going to make it, what technique to use, etc.
I wonder if I could make a tapestry that shape?  Hmm, that is a lot of weaving for something that might not work.  I'll try it with paper first, or fabric.

The paper isn't working that well so far.

Perhaps that is because it is very flat, it might work better with a softer, more flexible fabric.  More play needed.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

trying for 3D shapes

At the moment I am working on machine sewing, free motion.  I am trying to make some 3D shapes and have used a template that, when sewn together, draws the fabric up into a shaped piece.

 Here is the first stage, a flat piece of sewing. I have included some small pieces of fabric with the sewing. I drew the template onto the soluble fabric and sewed over the fabric and made some free motion lacey fabric. When I soak the soluble fabric off, the template distorts a little, so the shaping in a bit random but still works for what I want.

Here is one of the pieces with the uneven edges sewn together, drawing it up into a more moulded shaped.

I made two pieces, joined them together and here is the resulting 3D shape, hanging in the garden.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Royal Melbourne Show

Today a friend and I attended the Royal Melbourne Show.  It is years since I have been there and it was very pleasant.  We had no children with us and were able to do what we wanted, at a pace that suited us.

Our first port of call was the Arts and Crafts hall. We looked at the quilts first.  Some of them had an amazing amount of work in them, hand sewn, hand quilted and hand embroidered.  There were also beautiful ones made using sewing machines, of course.

 Other handcrafts that caught our attention were not part of the competitions but display only.

See video of making this here.
The embroideries, cross-stitch pieces and needlework tapestries were gorgeous too.  I decided to just enjoy them and not try to take a lot of photos.

We spent hours at the show, looking at the animals, watching the dressage and horse jumping, the working dog demonstrations, visiting the animal nursery (where the animals were walking around amongst the people), visiting (and tasting) the produce of Victoria Halls.  All in all, a very enjoyable and relaxing day.