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Monday, 31 October 2016

The Saltwick Bay Poncho

Hi Everyone
We're back home from a lovely week in North Yorkshire. The weather was brilliant and we enjoyed lovely family time. We've been visiting Whitby for many years during October and always find something new. I also managed to knit my Saltwick Bay poncho. It needs a few ends to be sewn in and then blocking. The exciting bit was finishing the item at the place where it was named. The actual bay ie Saltwick Bay was very close to where we stayed. I had hoped to wear my poncho at Saltwick Bay but was suffering with flu (the week prior to our holiday and recovering much of the week) and knitting slowed down so much I struggled to finish.


It's back to work today and lots of washing. Not my favourite job !!

Thanks for calling in today.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Is it too soon ?

Hi Everyone
I'm quite excited about this little project - the next one for one of our regular Making Workshops. I know it's far too soon to mention Christmas ! However, in the world of Making everything takes lots of time and planning/prep needs to be done early. From now on (in this post) I will only mention the letter C rather than the whole word.
The project is a little fabric C tree. It's the next stage in our printing workshop series. We will print some fabric and make into a little stuffed C tree. The trees will then find themselves planted into little plant pots. I'm going to produce a painted plant pot and a decoupaged version. I have some fake moss to top the planted trees. I need to consider what the trees will be planted in ? The trees are inspired by a Tone Finnanger book 'Homemade & Happy'. Here is a quick peek at the inspiration :


Our plan is to print some patterns on plain fabric using a home made fabric paint. The patterns could be C patterns or not - the Tone Finnanger trees don't use C fabric but the shape leaves you under the impression it's definitely a C tree.
 I love making stuff from scratch and this is a perfect example of how we can live real creativity. We will have our own stamp, our own paint - in exactly the right colours and our own design on the fabric. I'm going to use a similar shape pattern for the tree but again we can design our own.
 I'm currently working on my samples and will share when I'm there. I think the project will be a few sessions long as there's quite a bit of designing and preparing to take place.
Our workshop Makers are so capable, I'm sure we can create something very special. The trees look great together in different sizes.

Have a great weekend. I'm off for a mini Grand Tour next week and will call in with a few photos - if internet connection permits !
Thanks for calling in today.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Art Dolls

Hi Everyone
I'm hoping I can move on the Art Dolls Project today. I've got the fabric together and thought long and hard about the production of the eyes. I'm going to try and paint the centre of the eyes and develop a liquid acrylic medium eyeball. The painted element will be embedded into the eyeball. My concern is the acrylic medium will dry to a dull finish. I'm probably going to need to experiment and try out a range of products. My initial plan was to buy some glass eyes but I can't find any the right size or the Miss Mitchell eye shape.
The finished eyeballs will need to be built into the face and at the moment I'm thinking about adding more paper to encase the eyes. I will paint the face and hands in a subtle beige colour. The jury is still out on the hair !!


Mary's clothes are underway and I'm hoping to finish a dress today. I'm looking forward to knitting a cardigan and some kind of stockings. The shoes are in design stage but I'd love to make something quite ornate/ a little Marie Antoinette !
I'm influenced by the great Julie Arkell re my dolls, so will hopefully go for some embroidered words somewhere. Julie makes little aprons with a message embroidered into it. I can't quite decide what I will do ? At the moment, I'm thinking about developing my words around the hem of the dresses. 

I will be doing regular updates on the dolls so keep calling in to check on their progress.

Thanks for calling in today.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Making Workshop

Hi Everyone
We had a great Making Workshop yesterday and I'm sharing some of the images today..
Everyone produced amazing results from our surface pattern design project. The aim of the workshop was to create a range of gift wrapping items using stamps created from scratch.
The enthusiasm and creative ideas flowed -

We made decoupage papers to cover little boxes and tags, bookmarks, envelopes/blank cards and some beautiful Pillow boxes. The colour combinations are lovely and all the items looked so professional.

Each item was of a very high standard. The pillow boxes and tags used embossing techniques as well as stamping surface designs. I'm sure every member of the group could make a range of wrapping items for special birthdays and other event - as and when they are needed. Which, I think, is a great option to have. A few stamps and some blank paper is all that's now required.
Well done to all members of the group.

Thanks for calling in.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

My New Art Yarn Scarf

Hi Everyone
Today, I'm sharing the progress of my Art Yarn Neck Warmer. I've worked on several versions - Inthink this is version 5 (read back yesterday for more on this) and I'm ready to embellish the neck warmer with the lovely coloured, fine curly yarn. I'm planning on adding extra beads as the design takes form. I'm not sure how this will turn out ? but I'm hoping it will work out well. I don't want to overdo the embellishment but I definitely want to get all the interesting yarn worked into the item.
Here's a quick look at the progress, so far ........


I've added some small pieces of yarn to resemble flower buds in contrasting colours and textures. I like the effect and think I can keep going with a little more. I'm planning on developing some polymer clay beads in a range of colour tones to highlight the flower buds. I think, I need a button too ? I'm considering making a polymer clay button. I think the button could attach on the back of the flap, this would give a hidden closure and allow the flower bud design to be the focus of the front. 
At the moment, the neckwarmer is a little too not and controlled. I need to get some loose textures going on the surface - possibly ?

Thanks for calling in.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Art Yarn

Hi Everyone
I had a great time over the weekend working with Art Yarn. My first experience was a workshop at my local knit group venue - Fine Fettle Fibres. The idea was to play with the yarn and create a neck warmer style item. The textures and colours of the beautiful yarn proved to be hugely inspiring. I loved working with different colour and textures combinations. The neck warmer was knitted - using large 10mm needles. Here is a look at the initial knit :
Fine Fettle Fibres


When I got  home, I was still 'gushing' !! - my family received a detailed commentary on the mornings activities. 
However, as I shared my experience, I realised that the neck warmer although beautiful to look at, didn't quite make it as an item of clothing (for me).
 So ....... it all came out !  

I've spend some time knitting and re knitting the yarn several times - over a couple of sessions. I've been trying out different stitches and various combinations to give me new textures. I've enjoyed the experience over and over. I think I'm now ready to keep the latest version of my neck warmer.


 I've kept a neater, more solid base for the item and intend to weave some of the fluffy lighter yarn into the knitted fabric. I want to get the textures back. I'm also inspired to make some polymer beads in just the right colours. The beads will be sewn into the piece. I may also add some glass beads ?

The whole experience was great. Big thank you to Julie Wilson from 
Barefoot Yarns - for presenting her workshop and creating her wonderful yarns.

Thanks for calling in.

Friday, 14 October 2016

More Fish Stuff

Hi Everyone
I'm still working away with my fish stamps to design extra elements for the gift wrapping project. Yesterday, I constructed a small pillow box and made a few little wraps and a label to embellish the plain navy card of the box. I also used an embossing technique with the stamps, I particularly like the results of the red embossing.


Another gift wrapping item I was keen to develop was an envelope. I almost always make my own envelopes. I like to use a range of papers and/or card to add a little something extra to encase a hand crafted card. I love to hear the sound of an envelope made from card dropping through the post box onto the floor. The hand crafted envelope is something to be savoured and admired. I love to see a subtle embellishment on an envelope too - not too busy !

Here's a quick photo story of how I built this envelope. I started my envelope with a simple piece of stiff white paper (not card this time). I used a basic folding board and a bone creaser to create folding lines in the paper. I simply halfed the sheet of paper and made a channel down both edges and one on the top (2) - I didn't measure these folds, just used my eye to choose the space. In picture (3), I trimmed the folding corners and in (4) cut the excess paper to allow the fold to be glued to complete the envelope.


The images below show the envelope flaps stuck down and a few fish images stamped on the front and back.


I need to arrange all my gift wrap items together (in a bit of a photo shoot) and assess if I need to make more ? I tend to prefer a simple look for gift 
wrapping but this approach often underestimates the work required.

Thanks for calling in today.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Gift Wrap Embellishments

Hi Everyone
Yesterday, my plan was to complete a collection of gift wrap items using my new surface pattern designs (read back for details).Things got in the way ! and my plan didn't quite work out ! However, I did develop a couple of items :


The top image shows a little line of fish which is a kind of ribbon for tying around a small parcel. I made a new stamp for the 'fish ribbon' as the other similar fish stamp had a couple of fish too close to cut out individually. I'm also using the cut out fish as a confetti which will be placed inside a card (to be developed). My third item (bottom right) is a tag, using the larger of my fish stamps. I can see lots of possibilities for this stamp.
My next experiments will add a couple more wrap accessories and I'm going to develop some home made ink pads. I want to be able to come up with some new colour combinations and the home made ink pads is the way to go, this will allow me to mix my own colours.

Thanks for calling in today.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Decoupage Printing

Hi Everyone
The decoupage paper plans (from yesterday) proved to be a great success. I was rather anxious that my ink would bleed and the papers would end up a bit of a mess. However, no such issues ! I had a great time covering a tiny little box and my only slight problem was the degree of white space on the pattern design. I should have printed my images much closer together and eliminated most the white spaces between the coloured parts.
I used the small fish stamp (read back a few days for more on this).


I used Decopatch glue for the job and tried both scissors and tearing to prepare the paper for sticking onto the box. My preferred method is to tear although I did cut certain bits to get a clear fish image on the bottom. The tear method allows the pattern to merge into one so any cut marks tend to stand out.
 The photo, bottom left, shows how little waste there was after the decoupage job but I was surprised at how much paper I needed - almost a whole sheet.
I do like the finished box and will complete the lid decoration with another little embellishment - an extra fish !
While I was pasting my papers onto the box lots of extra ideas popped into my head re using the papers for gift wrap. I'm hoping to complete a little collection later and will share my results tomorrow.

Thanks for calling in today.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Gift Wrap etc.

Hi Everyone
Yesterday, I spent some time experimenting with surface pattern designs for gift wrap. I'm using some of the small stamps I made last week for the latest Making Workshop. I chose to use a couple of fish stamps and played with their placement and simple colour combinations.


I've developed a couple of gift tags and a few sheets of lightweight decoupage papers. I'm planning to cover a small box with each of the paper designs. Here's hoping the colour and pattern will hold while using the glue in the decoupage technique - while covering each box. The ink pads I've used to print the pattern are a Tim Holtz Distress Ink pad (blue) and a Ink It Up pigment ink pad  (Orange) both are water based inks. Fingers crossed, the ink pads are suitable for the job as the colours are just right.
While considering the best ink pads to use, I came across some ideas for making ink pads from scratch with acrylic paint and a range of household substances/materials. I'm very interested in the idea of making colour specific ink pads for printing and will be checking out the process later today. I need to collect a few extra things and I'll share my findings later this week.
I'm also going to experiment more with heat embossing techniques to add extra dimensions to the printed tags. I love the little fish images and feel I can make other gift wrapping items to compliment my collection. I'm looking forward to developing this project, I'm sure ideas will flow as I play with my stamps. 

Thanks for reading.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Dye Job

Hi Everyone
Im sharing the results of my latest dye project today. If you called in on Friday, you will know that I was preparing  to re dye a cowl/neck scarf knitted a few weeks ago. The original yarn was a plain cream cotton Aran, perfect for dying (so I thought !).
My first attempt produced a range of colours but not quite as expected - see image bottom right. The colours, although pretty, needed to be much deeper. I had high hopes for my second attempt, last Friday.

However ! 
 As you can see, the intended colours are still not quite there ! I've managed to achieve a deeper range of colours but I've lost the Orange/teal colours that I'd  planned. The colours I mixed seemed perfect when applied - see image top right. I'm not certain what my problem is ? I guess it's all about testing the shade of the colour on a given material. I think I could also have washed the original yarn more thoroughly - I have an idea that the yarn was coated in something which stopped the dye from working. Perhaps, this will also interfere with subsequent attempts ?
After blocking the cowl for shape, Ive started to attach the fringe and it's looking good. The fringe goes all around the cowl so there's more work needed but the colours are growing on me and it feels great to wear.

Thanks for calling in.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Painting Yarn

Hi Everyone
I'm  going to spend some time trying to re paint some yarn today. A few weeks ago, I finished knitting a small scarf/cowl in a cotton yarn which I'd previously hand dyed. My original dyed colours washed out and although I liked the colours, it wasn't quite what I'd intended. My original choice of colours were much deeper and I'd like to go for something similar.


As I've knitted up the item the painting will also be a little different. I'm not sure how the colours will turn out or what technique I will use - I'm treating the process as an experiment. This time I will pay much more attention to my dye mix and be especially aware of timings. I will take note of what happens and share my findings next week.

Have a great weekend and thanks for calling in.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Stamping and Printing Report

Hi Everyone
I'm reporting on our great little Making Workshop (from Tuesday) where everyone enjoyed creating fabulous surface pattern designs. The idea was to create a simple sketch, transfer to an eraser, carve out the image and print on paper.

Here is a selection of the carved stamps.


The practice surface pattern designs will be combined (next time) with embossing to create gift tags and decoupage papers. The decoupage papers will cover a gift box to compliment the tags  - that's the plan !

Here is a small selection of images produced :


Everyone, successfully carved and printed patterns and we also had time for lots of chatting and coffee. I'm already looking forward to our next session.

Thanks for calling in.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Knitting Update

Hi Everyone
My current knitting project is a lovely blue/grey poncho (knitted in Dovestone yarn DK -aire ) and the weather is turning a little colder so I need it to be finished soon. I featured the project on 27/9/16 (read back for details) - here it is for reference :


Everything was going great until I tried on the piece, probably about 1/3 of the way into the body. After looking at it for most of the evening, I decided I didn't  like the stitch design on the middle of the piece. The pattern has a series of cable features and traditional looking rows around the middle of the poncho. It's easy to produce but you do need to concentrate. I needed to redo several sections, a few times ! I quite like the idea of the traditional pattern and do appreciate the idea of the link with the designers 'gansey' idea. But I didn't like it. I felt I would 'let down' the original design if I changed it !
I wasn't sure what to do ? - so decided to sleep on it.
 Next day, the patterned stitches came out - several hours of knitting gone ! I'm left with the cable, I like that part but have re knitted the whole section in stocking stitch. It's good. I like it and it's much easier to knit. All is well. Lots more to go but I'm looking forward to wearing it soon - hopefully another week will do it.

As you can see, there's a single cable down the centre. This cable is repeated on the back and down both sides. It looks good to me.

Thnaks for calling in.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Making Stamps

Hi Everyone
Today is a Making Workshop day. I'm looking forward to more experiments with stamps and being inspired by my fellow Artists.


I've still got a bit of an obsession with 'fish' - I won't be able to stop myself making another fish ! 
However, I'm hoping I can move on with ideas for creating surface patterns for the next phase of the printing workshops ie tags, decoupage papers and fabric. The idea is to explore printing and dying in a series of workshops, I'm convinced we can produce fantastic results.

I will take some photos as we develop the stamps today and share later this week.

Thanks for calling in.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Shibori Experiments

Hi Everyone
Today, I'm experimenting with Shibori. Shibori is a Japanese manual resist dying technique, which produces patterns on fabric. I've much admired this art form from a distance and it's time I started to experiment.
I'm hoping I can reproduce a simple pattern using a stitch technique as the resist. I've seen many lovely examples of this type of  Shibori on Pinterest (take a look and marvel at the results) producing a seed or flower type shape. I'm not sure how things will turn out ? I'm going to use a blue colour dye on simple cotton fabric and will go for a small Fat Quarter size piece to start.
Here is a quick look at how the stitching part of the technique will look :


I'm not sure how things will turn out ? Hopefully, I can create something which can combine with my recent stamp/printing experiments. I'd like to add stamped images to my Shibori experiment.

Thanks for calling in.