Sunday, 30 June 2013

Bloglovin' post

No pictures, just an audible grinding of teeth! Hope you can all click and follow with Bloglovin' after all the pain I have been through to get the damned thing on my blog!! Progress - HUH!!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Stitching and Sketching

Another late post. Ah well, while we aren't blogging we are living life! So it follows I must have been doing a lot of living!

I've certainly been doing an fair amount of stitching and sketching. I finally finished my Mystic Moonstruck Hare cushion, and it went with me to lovely Lizzy Doe's house warming party on Tuesday night; I think she liked it. You can never have too many cushions, and the hare is one of Lizzy's special images.

Not an easy cushion to photograph, as it is quite plump. The words say: Leaping, Lilting, Landbound no longer, Thou Mystic, Moonstruck Hare.  I searched all over the place for a short poem about hares to stitch around the leaping hare, but came up with nothing I could use. So I wrote these lines myself. Originally I had "leaping, lilting , landlocked no longer....' because I loved the alliteration, but then I realised that the hare is not landlocked, wrong word entirely. Earthbound would probably have been the best substitute, but I wanted to hang onto a bit of that alliteration so Landbound it is. A compromise.

Detail of  fastening. I don't do zips. To be honest I usually sew all round and unpick when necessary!

          The text is stitched using a whipped running stitch. The spacing gave me a lot of grief!

                     I'm very fond of using variegated wool when I work with felt or flannel.

There was a super spread at Lizzy's, she'd spent hours and hours preparing a vegetarian -vegan even - feast, and we all took a dish of something to add to it. I think she will be eating the tabbouleh I took for the rest of the week - it was a HUGE dish! And very garlicky.

                                               Part of the spread...there was lots more!

I was so enjoying working with the felt I had to start another cushion. The ground fabric is an old blanket, which last saw light of day as the base for Katy's "One Bird" cushion. The pattern is from the French magazine Quilt Mania, and designed by Kate Harmon.I would normally design my own, these naive flowers are not difficult to draw, but the design was there, ready to go, and I was working on impulse. (same old, same old!)

I'm using a mixture of hand-dyed felt and felted woollen blanket. I've tried to keep the colours fairly muted, I didn't want bright primaries this time.

I use a simple stab-stitch, which I prefer to blanket stitch. When all the applique is completed I shall embroider using wool yarn and cotton perlè, as I have used on one of my quilts; lovely to look at and very enjoyable to stitch. I might also add a row of triangles down each side; even when I 'borrow' a design I like to add my own elements.

I took this with me when I had a doctor's appointment the other day, I had time to wait so sat in the car stitching away happily.

On the sketching front I am still stuck with copying but I think it is good practice anyway. I did have a go at sketching a trout from a ceramic model Jim provided. I have to re-carve my trout block!

Not brilliant, but truer to life than the very 'carp' looking creature which I had previously carved! Now I just have to reduce this to a usable size.

                                                   Cabbage. You guessed, of course.

     OK, so I'm no water-colourist either. But I love filling this sketch book with images and colour.

                     I did a quick little carving and stamped out this 'proof' using stamping inks.

I'm trying, I'm trying. So many other things get in the way of sitting down and just drawing and drawing. Like music! I have promised myself I will sit down each day and actually PRACTISE not just PLAY. I'm a bit naughty about it but I know it makes sense.

So, to finish up I'll leave you with a couple of photos I took leaning out of my sewing room window - a bit tricky as it opens the wrong way for taking photographs!

It was a rather dull day when I took these photographs, so not the crispest images. However today - like yesterday - the sun is shining - HURRAH! I'll ignore the somewhat cool breeze! I hope it's nice where you are, and lingers on throughout the weekend. Have a good one, Y'all!

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Mollies At Welborne

                                           (Photograph courtesy of the Eastern Daily Press)

Most unusually, the musos got a look in with the newspaper photos! Here am I in my posh hat, Nicky on melodeon (it's a GIANT one!) and you can just see Erin on fiddle at the far end. The Ouse Washes Molly Dancers were invited to dance out at the Welborne Arts Festival last weekend. For a small village it is an amazing festival; unfortunately I had family commitments (mum!) so I could only be there for the Saturday, and the Sunday was the better day, weather-wise. We managed to time our dancing between showers, but there was some very hot weather as well, it was most disconcerting!

So mostly photos today, but if you want to know more about Molly Dancing, do go to the Ouse Washes website, there is loads of information/photos etc there.

Ellen, Rob, Linda and Nicky enjoying a beer break in the sunshine - it was really hot, for half an hour or so! Then the wind got up and the skies darkened. English Summertime!

                                                                    Me and The Hat!

   Ellen relaxing before getting her clobber on. She and Andrew were among the intrepid ones who camped over the weekend.

This gentleman is the Sheringham  Town Crier, a lovely man who did a terrific job at the Festival,     keeping everyone informed of what was happening where and when.

                                               Alex and Stuart looking somewhat pensive.

Yes, I want one too! This is Alex's beautiful camper-van, and I will be sharing it with her when we all go to Towersey Festival later this year. Yippeee!

Here is Bryan, in his favourite frock. Bryan is Andrew's understudy for Molly and Broom Dancer. Also seen is Bryan and Elin's cocker spaniel Porter.

   Bryan assisting with the repair of Alex's wardrobe malfunction! She almost danced her frock off!

And here are the Mollies in full swing. This is about half the full strength of the side. It is very energetic work, and they need to swap places now and again! I feel blessed being one of the musos, not required to thresh about!

So that's it for now, hope you've enjoyed the photos, do look them up, it's quite fascinating to read all about Molly Dancing and the Ouse Washes Molly Dancers in particular.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Mangle Printing

Having a cuppa with Amanda a week or so ago, it was decided we would have a printing day - when family commitments and diaries allowed! So last Friday I lugged my newly acquired printing inks, rollers, cards and papers, and carved lino plates round to her's and after much nattering and coffee consuming we set to work. We compared the inks I had purchased with the oil-based ones Amanda uses, and I chose my turquoise initially, to which I added some cerise which made a more purply colour. Then I tried Amanda's black which was tackier to use and is actually better quality than mine - though once printing got under way my more liquid ink printed quite nicely.

        The work station! Amanda is indeed a Kitchen Table crafts-person. But it all works well.

                                                            THE MANGLE!

It's quite tough turning the handle as the block goes through the wringers, but I eventually got the hang of it. It must be quite exhausting to print a long run .

                 The Drying Room! What an ingenious piece of kit - I need one!

We stopped for a lovely lunch of home-made cheese scones  and ham rolls, and I took a cheese-cake which we FORCED ourselves to sample! Then on to more printing and nattering. (much of the latter.)

     A completely gratuitous shot of some of Amanda's herbs. Love the blue of the planter at the back.

It was a lovely day, the sun shone and we printed and chatted happily until it was time for Amanda to nip off on the School Run. I'm very pleased with my results, I can't show you Amanda's as she is working on something new. Thank you so much for a brilliant day, Amanda, coffee at mine next time! And now I really am on a roll with this link-cut printing lark; hopefully will be at Sue K's  having a go on our own very soon.

If any of you haven't already checked out Amanda's work here (hopefully) is the link!

Next blog post about the Mollies at Welborne Arts Festival coming soon!

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Rag Rugs

Following swiftly on (for me!) from my Open Studios post, I thought I'd post some photos of my very small and select rag rug collection! Here you see my Primitive Vase rug, which I started years ago with Yvonne. I'd like to say I have finished it but to be honest it isn't bound, just sits on the floor in my sewing room. But I do love it, warts and all. I 'designed' it myself (ah you'd guessed that, hadn't you?) and it incorporates many of my quilting favourites - stripes, triangles, and naive flower pots.

On to something a little more professionally finished!

This is the lovely sunflower cushion I brought away from Sally-Ann's Open Studio on Thursday. It fits beautifully against a small quilt on my wicker chair in the living room. Love it!

Not quite in the same class - my unfinished Bird seat cushion.

Erm, yes, it is a bird, honest! I'm a bit cross with myself as I packed the wing and feet too tightly; the fabric is multi-coloured and I thought it might work but I think it perhaps doesn't. Oh dear. Perhaps I should get down to a spot of 'frogging', it's only going to bother me. (Frogging, so-called because the sound of swift un-picking is like 'ribbit ribbit') Yes, Lynne, come on, do it, you know it makes sense.

From the back, you can see the outlines a bit better this way round. Actually, now I come to think about it, this looks quite neat..............

             Close-up. No, that multi-coloured fabric doesn't work, does it? Out it comes. Sigh.

This is better! The tulip rug I purchased from Sally-Ann at Open Studios 2011. This sits on the floor before the kitchen sink, so it gets well worn; you can see it has faded a little, but it washes well - we just chuck it in the machine and out it comes sparkling clean and no unravelling.

       Here you can see Sally-Ann's clever use of colour mixing for a variegated effect. Love it!

And to finish up another peek at my Primitive Vase, laid flat on the garden table. You can see the colours a little more clearly. I'm still quite chuffed with this, I must say.

Thanks to Yvonne, I hope to be tootling along to a rag rug group later this year, so perhaps some of the undoubted expertise might rub off on me while I'm there! I live in hope! Happy Weekends to you.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Open Studios Re-visited

Right, are you ready for another Textile Jaunt? OK, check your look in the mirror and come with me!

          Lynne K and I set off through the sunny Norfolk lanes towards our first stop at Foulsham.

The lovely Shepherd's Hut Studio of Sally-Ann Rainey. What an incredible setting this is, restful greenery, and some very entertaining chooks of different varieties.

Sally-Ann paints these delightful ladies (and the occasional chap!) capturing their endearing personalities to a tee!

                     Also lots of other lovely things inside........................   .....................

 This gorgeous cushion came home with me. Drat, I meant to take a photograph of its big sister, the rag rug I bought last time I was here; it keeps my feet warm while I'm at the kitchen sink!

And here is lovely Sally-Ann herself, who treated us to refreshing elderflower juice to sip as we browsed. I hope the weather holds for the family celebrations later on this month, Sally-Ann!

Next stop, as we meandered our way northwards, was to re-visit Pauline Wrighton at her magnificent studio at Hindolveston.

                     I have told Pauline once or twice that she is living my fantasy life!

Pauline works in a number of different media, cloth, yarn, thread, paper and ink, using a variety of techniques. She exhibits and sells her work, and also runs workshops for small numbers.

                                    Pauline discussing her work enthusiastically with us.

I was particularly taken with a series of collographs, which she had printed on this wonderful old mangle - this seems to be a leitmotif in my blog-posts recently, doesn't it??

 This is an incredible piece of work, which my photograph does not do justice to. The Award winning piece was created by using tiny scraps of fabric laid down on a fabric ground much in the same way as a pointillist painter might use brush-strokes. Lynne and I are hoping to join Pauline for a workshop soon to have a go ourselves.

 Outside we went to re-acquaint ourselves with Pauline's gorgeous Haflinger mares. Gentle, friendly creatures, they ambled across to us for a fuss and a few handsful of fresh grass. What wouldn't I give to have this paddock at the bottom of MY garden!

Then we were off again, further north into High Norfolk, to the village of Glandford, near the river Glaven. Our destination was theArt Cafe, seen in the header photograph, owned and run by Roo Sangster-Bullers (I was once almost her Health Visitor, and years ago her husband purchased from me, as a gift for Roo, one of my Wacky Waistcoats; we later met and she commissioned another. Small world, living in Norfolk, it really is!)

Here we consumed a hearty lunch and people watched for a while. Then we popped next door to the Birdscape Gallery. Incredible art-work to be found here, with the emphasis on lino-prints - I was in heaven!

I particularly liked this running hare, by  Harriet Mead. I did ask about taking photographs and was given permission, but took too many to include here, and also wasn't able to remember the artists' names. I did buy a beautiful book though - perhaps will show you that some other time.
Then, we set off again, meandering up through Stiffkey before dropping back down to the Creakes, in order to pop in on Stitch & Bitch friend Yvonne Autie for a cuppa, and a chat.

Finally, back through more lovely sun-dappled lanes to Lynne's home where I left her to return to mine.

An absolutely fabulous day, weather did us proud, and such a pleasure to be able to meet such wonderfully creative people and feast our eyes on their work. I hope you managed to hang on in there with me - this has been a long post! Thanks LynneK for driving, and for your great company.