Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Not happy Jan

Today I decided that I just couldn't stand the fact that my second vessel is skewiff. The back is ever so slightly bigger than the front and it just will not stand straight.
I have redone the binding along the top but it still isn't right.

I unpicked the vessel and have started making a new back piece.
I was also unhappy with the back because one of the flowers had been caught up in the binding. That had annoyed me too, not enough to unpick it but enough to make me unpick it when put with the other problem.

I decided to make a totally different image on the back - partly because I used up a piece of fabric I had dyed years ago and don't have any more.

I made my drawing a bit smaller (the wonders of modern technology and what printers can do for you) and traced it onto some dissolvable fabric.
I wanted to try using some silk roving to see what it would look like. Then I remembered that I have some sticky dissolvable fabric and laid it out on there. I put the dissolvable fabric that I had traced the image onto on top.

I put it in a hoop and sewed along the lines. I wanted it to stay in one piece, so I have done a bit of random sewing, hoping to catch it all together.

It is currently drying on a towel.

I now have to cut out the back piece of felt, making sure that it is the correct shape, then sew on the backing and then attach the silk roving.

There will be several hours needed to sew it all together. But I was not happy with it as it was, so I can only hope this iteration works.

Monday, January 8, 2018

The date being 8/1/18, I had better post today.

I have spent the last couple of weeks working on the second vessel for the Unfinished Business exhibition.
The second vessel is based on a canvas embroidery, only partly done, of pansies. I made the front and back and then the sides.
They all have slightly different techniques on them but I hope they gel together well.

However, I think I need to think of a better way to sew it all together. It sits slightly on an angle and I am pretty sure that is due to the sewing rather than the cutting.
I have also noticed that you can see the inside edge of the top very clearly and that the top is also not straight. That will have to come off and be redone!

I had hoped it was finished but not so. More to do.

I have tried to keep the original work recognisable in case the donor comes to see how her work was used. It was sad to read that she had to stop doing it because of falling eyesight. I hope I have done it justice and that she enjoys knowing that it has been incorporated into another work.

I think I have learnt more about making vessels and hope to do some more in the not too distant future.
After all, I know the saying very well - practise makes perfect.

Thursday, January 4, 2018


I was invited to join a group of people who planted sunflower seeds last November. They were supposed to be planted on Melbourne Cup day, the first Tuesday in November. I think we anticipated the date by a few days.
We planted 6 seeds but only 4 seem to be growing.
They are definitely growing! They are quite tall - and they are starting to flower.

I am also in a group that does small art quilts and our current challenge is to be inspired by an artist. I have done two inspired by Van Gogh, as well as Kathryn Harmer Fox, using the technique she taught early in 2017 (last year now!). Both of these artists have done gorgeous sunflower pieces.

Now the challenge is to use my photos to come up with something. I am not bothering to try to emulate both artists, I can just be inspired by the fact that they have used sunflowers as their inspiration.

I am loving seeing the flowers slowly open. The patterns are gorgeous. Not sure how I will develop this work but am looking forward to it.

It is strange that the Unfinished Business piece I have been working on also has a sunflower theme. I am currently trying to finish another vessel that is inspired by a pansy needlework pattern. I have come to a temporary (I hope it is temporary!) standstill with it. I am hoping to get going again soon - but the forecast for rather hot weather is not auspicious for doing much work.

Still, there is lots happening in my mind. Here's hoping it translates to actual work soon.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

What you can do when you read all the choices on your machine.

Well, I needed some time to myself over the Christmas period and made it by trying to finish one of the vessels I am making.

I have finished one!!

I watched hours of television that I would normally not see because there were 4 or 5 hours of hand sewing involved. But it was worth it.

I have, once again, learnt things while making.  One important thing is to think about what settings your sewing machine might have!
I was sewing the cut up needlework tapestry, onto very thick felt, and the engine overheated - my wondrous new(ish) machine told me so. And would not work for a while.

And I bent the needle.

Undaunted, I got out the old one, that I rarely use but can't bear to get rid of yet, and did the sewing with it. It doesn't have pesky computer programs to tell me when it is getting overheated.

After successfully doing one little bit of the sewing, I had to do some more heavy duty sewing on another day. It occurred to me to choose another setting on my newer sewing machine. Lo and behold, there is one for leather and vinyl that has done the job magnificently. I did have to jam the pieces under the foot and push and pull by hand - the feeddogs didn't work at all - but no overheating.  What a relief.

Here is one side, balanced on an egg carton to keep it high enough for me to attach the sides by hand.

Finished article!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Here's hoping it works.

I have spent hours yesterday and today finishing off the sides, putting the binding on, making the bit that will hold it together and putting binding on that.

 Actually, I haven't finished putting the bindings on - I am waiting for Carols By Candlelight, on tv, tomorrow night so I can sit and sew them by hand.
I have done a couple and the felt is not as difficult to sew as I had anticipated. However, I haven't tried to put the vessel together yet!

I still have to put the binding on the tops. I am considering what fabric to use.
The yellow, for the actual repurposed piece, is done using the back of the fabric, it seems more muted. I am leaning towards to the bone colour of the other side for the top, I think it will be less intrusive on all sides.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Trying to work it out

I took a day off today, sort of, and did some sewing. A day off all the other things, sewing should have a bigger priority, I will try to give it that in the New Year. Maybe I will have to break my New Year's resolution from a couple of years ago - to never again have a New Year's resolution.

Anyway ... I have made a piece that could be one side of a vase-shaped vessel.

I used Kathryn Harmer Fox's method - to a degree.   I didn't want to make the piece too thick to sew onto the felt, so just did the flowers.

I found an online tutorial Kathryn has done, using a sunflower. I will have to have a closer look and do it with more care - in the near future. I am in a group that has a challenge to be inspired by an artist and I am being inspired by Van Gogh and Kathryn, I am also in a group that is growing sunflowers, so I am able to take photos of the development of the plant. I think I am meant to be working on a bigger sunflower piece soon.

For the time being, I used an image from 123RF as my inspiration.

It was just the inspiration, I traced the basic outline and then flipped it, then just cut up random pieces of tiny yellow pieces of fabric that I had. I think I must like yellow, I have plenty of tiny pieces!

Today I did the sewing. I had thought to cover the background with fabric but ended up not doing so.
Now I have the back of the vase, if I decide that it suits. I am not convinced, yet, that it will go with the front. 

I also have to work out what I will put on the piece that will keep the front and back, and bottom, joined. That is for another day. 

Then ... I will have to work out how to join it all together. I have an inkling of how to do it, I am just not sure I will have the hand strength to do the hand sewing. Time will tell. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Still thinking.

I have made two sides of the vase-shaped vessel. Now I am thinking it might be better to make two vessels. But I will wait a day or so till I have a clearer head.

In the meantime, I can make some little flowers to put on, just in case I decide to change it.

So far, I have made two sides of the vessel.
They did survive being cut up. Whew!\

One side is very much the sunflower side.
The other is the pansy side.

They are very different from each other, in terms of colour. So I may see if I can make two vessels, one for each flower.

Not having a lot of time at the moment (it is just before Christmas) I will see what I can manage to get done, then make some decisions.