Sunday, January 30, 2011


My dragonfly is finished!

  I actually re did the wings a total of four times, but I learnt a lot along the way.
I have always wanted to do one of these and I am pretty happy with this first effort.
FME  and quilting artists always say, that you need a lot of practice before you become comfortable with the technique and I think I am starting to get familiar with what I can do, but let's push a bit further anyway...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Some thread painting

I have been away, doing the airport shuffle with my mum and haven't posted for a bit, but I have been working.
I have gotten my study schedule worked out,  and have been doing some thread painting.
I recently got two books by Alison Holt and have been studying them, even started one of her projects
I have bought a few small frames and one gave me the idea to do a stumpwork dragonfly.
This is the background for the piece.  It is only 2x3"

here is a sample of some variegated threads I thought might be good for the body, but I decided that they looked too even and artificial.
 and here are my wings set up to embroider, with tulle sandwiched between two layers of soluble stabiliser.
I will embroider the lines with gold and wire the edges with same.
Also, I have started back on a couple of pieces I was working on a while ago.
The first is a design by Richard Box from a really old copy of Needlecraft magazine (out of print) aug 1994. You can also see him working here.
and a needle point picture of a train which I am thread painting for the DH.
I have done a little bit of work on my large anemone quilt
As you can see, I have added the darks to the flower.
And, I have set up a sample for the first two layers and lace of my large walhanging

Not much to see, yet, and the chalk lines on the main fabric are a little hard to see.
Hopefully I will get some work done tomorrow when the DH is at work

Sunday, January 16, 2011

itty bitty landscape

Well the itty bitty landscape I started a little while ago is finished
It is just a little scribble really and is only about 4" by 6".  what i like about it are the red dots (or poppies) which miraculously appeared at the bottom. i was using a green variegated thread for the grass and hadnt changed the bobbin thread, which was still loose and all of a sudden these lovely flowers started to come up all over-
This is a close up of the bobbin thread at the ends of my grass.  I like this and will certainly use it again.  See sometimes it pays to be lazy

Saturday, January 15, 2011

a wallhanging and a bag

No embroidery to show you.  Only some designs.
I have been doing a lot of research and mulling over some design ideas in my head.  I have also been looking a student work.

Here are two designs in my sketchbook
The left one is my outline of a design for a large wall hanging and the other is for a bag
I will go through each bit by bit
 This is the layer that is underneath everything.  At this stage It will only be visible at the bottom of slashed circles, so I am not really sure about it yet.

This is the plan for the second layer which will form the insides of the slashes.  It will be composed of several layers of blue and silver sheers topped by black velvet.
This is the embroidery for the second layer and it is quite dense in red, orange, yellow and brown threads, with a variety of decorative stitches forming the lines.  The ovals inside the curves will be slashed to show the fabrics underneath.

the bottom border is actually a lace extension of the layer 2 embroidery.  The threads from the embroidery will be arranged in a water soluble stabilizer sandwich and free motion embroidered into a lace extension with black thread.  Also, the final oval on the main piece will be cut out and included in the lace, with a spider web.

the final layer is a free motion lace overlay which will be embroidered over an invisible grid, previously sewn into water soluble stabiliser.  This will not be sewn down, but will be tacked and allowed to move freely.  I have also considered making it longer in certain sections so that it will project out of the piece.
Wow, that was a lot, wasn't it?  Of course at this stage these are still preliminary plans.  I need to get rid of the urge to put every single technique in every single piece and ask myself "Does it add to the piece?"

Now, the bag, perhaps a little simpler to explain.
I saw a program on Talking Threads Christmas Show Pt 3 with Mary Gamester (here, you will have to type  talking threads into the search box to find the program) The bag is made with strips in sets of three, two of which  which are pleated in one direction on the top and the other on the bottom.

The pictures above show  the strip repeat and the number of strips and a sketch of the finished bag.  Below is my design for the strips, however as you can see above, only part of each strip's pattern will be visible so i will probably only do the top or bottom third on each strip.
The design is inspired by moorcroft pottery.  I saw an article many years ago about moorcroft's centenary in Country craft and Decorating v7 no 2 and it has stuck with me.  The relief or dimensional nature of the designs is so beautiful.  This is based on a design by Kerry Goodwin called wisteria flutter  You can find the design at and as you will see, my design is not much like it.
The wisteria will be appliqued in a paler silk or satin and FME will be used to shade to dark at the edges. There will be some dimensional blossoms at the top using fabric folding.  The dimensional nature of moorcroft pottery will be imitated by couching around each piece of applique in a gold thread (?) At this stage the background is to be black, although the real thing is cream, with window frames and butterflies.  I have thought to put a butterfly on one of the drawstrings, but.... we'll see
Go give your brain a rest after all that!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

some stitches

One of the things I am working on is increasing my repertoire of FME stitches.
I have worked up some samples.  I have used different colour thread in the top and bottom to help show the stitches in all their glory.  The first sample is me fiddling round with the bobbin tension, to see how the stitches will turn out.

Next, is the first stitch, feather stitch.

This is made by tightening the upper tension and having a loose lower tension.  when done in a circular fashion, the bobbin thread shows like red feathers.  I am looking forward to doing some of this with metallic in the bobbin.
The next stitch is closely related - Whip stitch
Like feather stitch, the upper tension is tight and the lower is loose (perhaps not quite as loose) and when you stitch in a straight line or a very smooth curve, the bobbin thread wraps around the upper thread.
The next stitch is my favourite, probably because it is so easy to do, moss stitch
Moss stitch is basically using a tight or balanced lower tension and loosening the upper tension  almost to zero and scribbling in little circles.  If you do it on wash away stabilizer, it will stand on it's own and look like.....moss.
The next stitch is really a set of stitches and is related to moss stitch and to pebble quilting.  It is called garnet stitch

This is just a scribble, really, but it is used a lot in landscapes to fill in and change colours
This is a heavier one
Bull's eye is just what it says and is used for putting dots for things like..... eyes!
Seed stitch, (this sample is not quite correct) is a circle with a tail
Spray stitch is the same, but has more than one tail.
I also try do do a bit of scribbling each time I sit down, so here is  some of my scribbling

Monday, January 10, 2011


Well after a few tries I have my second sample done.  This one, I think I will redo later with some fabric and coloured thread.  At this stage I am just experimenting with lines, being very patient because my fingers are itching to get on with more interesting stitching.
Here is my inspiration for this piece.
Here is my sketch
And here is my stitched sample

It doesn't look like much, but I'm only practicing at the moment and you would not believe the troubles I had today.  I ended up pulling the whole machine apart and cleaning out the tension assembly, but before that, I
changed the thread
changed the bobbin
adjusted the tension top and bottom
changed the needle.
each about  five to ten times. and this is the result!

Underneath, you can see where I originally started this sample before everything went pear shaped!
When I finally got my tension fixed, and finished the horizontal lines in the sample, I decided I needed to do something a little less like work, so I started doing some scribbling on a small landscape I had fused a few days ago as a stitch sampler.  In the sky I have just done some straight stitching and on the top of the first green layer, I have done garnet stitch, which is a technical way of saying I just scribbled in little circles to create the effect of trees or shrubs.
Obviously I was just using scraps for this and my cutting wasn't particularly tidy. but I must say I am much happier with this result than with my other sample.  I just have to keep reminding myself that later on I will redo these samples with lots more techniques and then they will be something to look at.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Visual diary

Here are a few of the pictures in my visual diary

Glacier flow lines

This is my first sample completed.

A picture of glacier flow

My sketch
My sewn sample.

This image is an example of sharp, parallel lines creating the illusion of fuzzy, uneven curved lines, it creates a texture reminiscent of taffeta.  In my sample, the lines create several art elements.   Firstly, the smaller, parallel lines create the illusion of larger, undulating lines, as well as the shape of the uneven lines.  The lines themselves create a texture.  Overall, the main principle in this work is the movement created by the lines.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Line type sampler

I have half finished this sample, been having all those problems you have with machines, especially when not using a foot.  I have also started a visual journal, where I am drawing lots of flow pictures and have been fiddling with demonstration videos.  I also have started another thread painted quilt.  This one is a floral one a close up of a cosmos flower taken by my cousin Jenny.
Here are two pictures, first of my pattern on my design wall and the first bits of my background on my table after being fused

Of course this has a long way to go but it is going.  I am looking forward to embroidering it.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

My Quilts

Some of my quilts never got photographed, but here are some of the ones that are.
 This was one of my first quilts, made quilt as you go.
 This is my latest quilt, and although not finished here, it is finished.  It is a Ricky Timms Kaleidoscope.  I cheated and paper pieced the wedges and was not happy throwing out the scraps, so I used them as a crazy patch border.
 This Rebecca's 21st quilt.  The star centres are photos of her, which I coloured in Photoshop to match the star fabric and printed on fabric.
 This is one of my own designs, which I love, however, the value choices are not wide enough to allow the applique to be visible.  Maybe I'll make another one....
 This is my split nine patch which we did with cathy.  The quilting and applique (not shown in this early photo) are becomming a trial, but I do hope to finish it soon.
 This is a small baby quilt using scraps and a shar jorgensen pattern of hummingbirds.  Although it is bound, it is not quilted yet.  Thinking.
 This is a convergence quilt (I made another one which I have no photo of and which I gave to Jodie for her 21st)  This one needs more since again, my valuse were not contrasting.  I have thought of perhaps putting some Libby Lehman threadplay ribbons on it.  It is intended for rachels 21st
 This is a quilt I did at spotlight QAYG.  I love the fabrics and the quilting, it will probably go to a new home soon.
 This is my masterpiece!  Every time I look at it I can't believe I made it.  It is a copy of a Namatjira painting in fused applique and thread painting and is 40" by 50" quite large.  It should go in my fibre art blog, but I put it her because it is a quilt
 This is an EQ6 of Mum's quilt, which was a very early one, made with furnishing fabrics, without stabilising and after much use is a bit the worse for wear
 This is a detail of thread painting on a quilt, which is finished, but I am considering unpicking the quilting as I am not happy with it.
 This was a medallion scrap quilt which I made up as I went along and which used a little bit of rose fabric I bought in Seymour
 This was my first (and last) mystery quilt workshop.  I love the quilt and it is very well worn, but I would rather make my own quilts and I don't think I really like cut and slash much
 This was a mosaic of a sunflower I made after watching an episode of simply quilts
 This is a very small thread painted applique
This is my log cabin (with a big mistake) which is now almost threadbare, ready for reuben