A fabulous discovery and Stitching texture

I had a thought the other day, so went to seek out my grandmothers old suitcase, buried deep in the back of the garage. In it, as I had thought, I discovered most of the samples I had made during my time studying textiles in 1989-90. These included lots of hand weaving and a mound of hand sewn and dyed Shibori samples. Some of these are now beautifully aged having spent 20 years in an old 50’s suitcase! I had dragged that suitcase around with me from house to house and literally forgot what was inside..until my brilliant thought….

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This shows the mound but not the gorgeousness of this find! So much fabulous fabric to work with..

I recently borrowed a book called ” Stitch, Cloth, Paper and Paint” by Angie Hughes from my local library. I am a huge book borrower, especially art and textiles books….always a bookworm at heart. I still can’t help but get upset when my sun uses Google for homework and doesn’t look it up at the library lol.. Anyway, this book has some great techniques in it, so I decided to use some of my new sun printed fabric to try one.

It’s very simple really and I’m sure plenty of you out there already do it, but I have always been nervous about doing too much with the tension dial on my machine. This technique involves turning the tension really high then stitching circles or spirals.. The high tension distorts the fabric beautifully without misforming the stitches, so it adds a lovely texture to the spirals.

Here is my pebble printed fabric before..

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And after stitching.. normal tension in the bottom corner so it’s flat.. then the highest towards the top.

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I have stitched it with some of my new rusted fabric and some of my gorgeous old shibori.. Not finished yet, but you get the idea.

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A new dress for an old doll

This lovely little china doll was one of my special friends when I was a child. I saved her to pass down to my own daughter, but that isn’t going to happen (mum of 3 boys and NO more babies!). I have decided to pass her on to my gorgeous little niece who is about to have a birthday.

Thirty five years or so of playing and storage have wreaked havoc with her dress however so I decided to make her a new one..and a new bonnet. In the true spirit of vintage , I made it from a pretty vintage embroidered cotton hand towel. I had to hand stitch a fair bit of it so unfortunately it is not removable ..that just got a bit too fiddly to do.

 

 

I even made a little nappy to go under. Her body and socks are still age stained but I think that adds to the character.

 

I hope my niece will love her as much as I did.I have to say it is a little sad now to say goodbye to her, she looks so pretty in her new dress.

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Textile: Gum leaf with spots

This week I decided to go back to painting on felt. I painted a copy of a drawing I did many years ago, based on a photo I took of a diseased gum leaf. The colours were so beautiful I couldn’t resist. The sad thing was that the leaf was probably going to die from the disease.

I painted the leaf onto wool felt then machine stitched the details then did a series of french knots by hand for the fungus.  It is quilted onto bamboo batting with a quilters cotton border and vintage fabric back

I decided to give it a really simple border as there is a fair bit of detail in the leaf. It is hard to see from the pictures but I have quilted the border in leaf shapes reminiscent of the large leaf.

 

Or maybe it goes this way?

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A stitched Blue Bowl

Leading on from my last quilt..in which I pulled out all sorts of very old things to use, I decided yesterday to finally …and I mean FINALLY, use the water soluble fabric that I bought close to 20 years ago!!. Yes that is how long it takes me to get around to doing things!. I bought it when I was textiles College as it was the latest and greatest thing. I then proceeded to be a bit scared of using it. Probably because at the time it was quite expensive and as a poor student I really couldn’t afford to buy it but HAD to. I then lost it for quite a number of years.

Well after all that, yesterday I pulled it out of the plastic bag it was bought in, wondering if it would actually still work, or whether it would just disintegrate when I started stitching it. Well the miracle was that it didn’t. I didn’t get too carried away for my first attempt, just free motion stitched a graded circle using a few thread colours. I did cut some short lengths of silver thread and scattered them around so that they got stitched in as well. When it was finished,  I rinsed it and it still did it’s job perfectly!. I moulded it over the bottom of a vintage sugar bowl…may as well keep the age thing going!

Terrible photo as I had to take it inside last night!

It came out like this..I sprayed some starch on it to stiffen it a bit more. I probably need to get some spray varnish or something similar I think.

It’s not very big ….. kind of small and sweet..great to keep your rings or similar in. I love the shadows it casts so it would have to be placed in just the right spot to catch the sunlight. I will definitely be making more , and have loads of other ideas as well…..thank you 20 year old disolvable fabric 🙂

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In the Beginning

Since this a journey through life, I thought that I should start right at the very beginning, my first experiences with stitching. This little sampler with it’s sweet little house was my very first, I stitched this at around four years of age and loved every second of it…it did take a while!Image

The other images here were all completed around the ages of 6 – 8 when I was well and truly involved with stitching. I was part of a weekly stitching group so many more pieces were made, sadly lost over the aeons of time that has passed since then!ImageImage

Yes, I know there are dirty marks and signs of lack of care, but these pieces were used for a while, washed and loved..and then popped in a box for many years.

I am now bringing them back out into the light and may well use them in a creation some day soon. Just need to decide the perfect thing to keep them safe so that I still have them when I’m 80.

This bottom set was a Mother’s Day gift for my mum, made when I was about 8…yes, showing my age there, I think you can tell what decade we are talking about here!…. At some point it was obviously put in the wash with something red, so now has a lovely pinkish hue!…I don’t even know who crocheted the edges for me..it wasn’t me, I have never seemed to master crochet!. I may make a new Mother’s Day gift out of them now!

So that was the beginning. The middle has been filled with many years of happy creating..not always in stitches. I did do a stint with power tools and wood and rusty metal !! But now my new journey begins……I hope you’ll share it with me.Image