Wednesday, September 21, 2016

And now for something entirely different....

Last weekend I took a workshop in Polymer Clay-Complex Canes.  This wasn't my first workshop, but I tend to make a bunch of stuff and then leave the clay alone for lengthy periods of time.  So what does this have to do with Needle and Thread?  I love to use the clay items in both my hand work and art quilting. Sometimes I use pieces as a focal item and design an entire small piece around them.  This is particularly effective if I use a background of needle felting, hand embellished , and then add a clay button or cabochon as the focus.  These pieces are usually about 8" by 10", and have sold well at craft and art shows--so well that I have none to show.

I also make beads.  One of my signature techniques of the use of mass beading on some of my more art-y pieces.  I love the challenge of making the pieces, and many of them have sold well, and for a good price. Again there is no picture, as I lost them all in a computer crash.  Oh Dear!

Well the best bet is to show you the items I created this weekend.
Beads, Cabochons, and some molded pieces. 

 Using the mold is very useful.  While one of the best features of the clay is the vibrant colours available, all polymer clay items can be painted with acrylic paint.  I've even toyed with the idea of using gold leaf on it. The grey faces are headed for the next reliquary I make, and the white ones may come into use, if the grey ones aren't quite right.  The discs are headed for a small embroidery.  The beads will just go into my collection of beads, to be used when the right project turns up. ( Oh do I have beads, more than I'll ever use, but great fun to play with!) The flat pieces toward the upper right of the photo will likely become focal pieces in smaller works.  I've got to think about the flat molded pieces, but tend to think they might end up in a reliquary as well.

And I still have lots and lots of clay to play with.

I plan to link this with The Needle and Thread Network.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Starting over

With the exhibition piece "going south", ( see previous post)  I decided to take a bit of a break before starting over.  This piece has been bugging me to finish it for awhile.  I have a pile of hexies that I hand piece, during those few moments when I'm watching tv.  It's always a challenge to figure out what I'm going to do with them once they're pieced.  I was going to make a knitting roll (organizer) with these, but it kept telling me that it wanted to be a tote.  Since the knitting roll would take another metre or more of fabric, and I don't knit, I agreed.  I FMQ'd it using Superior Theads' Fantasia 5207--a yellow/orange/red/purple variegated Trilobal Polyester, that I've found to be a very useful and versatile thread.  I use  my take on McTavishing, but once it was finished found that the quilting disappeared into the hexies.  The whole piece looked much better on what was to be the inside than what was to have been the outside.

Above is what was to have been the inside of the piece, with the FMQ'g complete. and below is what was to have been the outside of the piece complete with FMQ'g.  The basic square ( and it must be a square) finished to about 17 1/2" square, which was then bound.

Here it is clipped together ready to hand stitch.  

 Once it was stitched, I added a twisted cord of #8 perle cotton, and a plastic curtain ring wrapped with the same #8 perle cotton, so the closure could be tied, as well as a small carrying handle.

The finished tote is large enough to hold a hand work project and supplies.

I plan to link this with The Needle and Thread Network

Sunday, September 11, 2016


Finished quilting my exhibition piece.  Very nice, I was well pleased.  Then to trim it.  I mis-calculated , and cut it 1" too short.  I cut it exactly as calculated and measured, but my calculations were wrong.  A whole week's work down the tubes. After some bad language, and a trip out to Starbuck's to defuse,  I sat down to talk to myself and ask " What now?"

Well, it's not a large piece.  I can probably start over again, and may well have enough fabric to re-make it.  I had used all hand dyes.  What a waste!  However, I don't have to have it in to the show until late December.  Lots of time.  And none of the appliques had been attached, so I have them ready to go.  One thing that I struggled with, and had to re-do was the actual size.  I had to add to both the length and width, and that can sometimes show.  So maybe not so much of a disaster.

But, not today.  For today, I think I'll sit down and read a book, maybe listen to soft music, and generally relax.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

More green

The leaf prints came out very well, and I ended up with many more than I will use in the current project.  I plan to applique them onto a pieced background, and am now piecing that.  I have cut the squares 1 3/4 " by 1 3/4" so that they will finish to about 1 1/4".  

I have a  "portable flannel wall" made out of a piece of 2" thick styro-foam, 2ft by 4 ft.  I can take this anywhere I want to work, and lean it against a table or chair.  I did this, and then sat in front of it to arrange the squares in a good array.  They were then pieced, row by row.  Here it is in progress, and a close-up of the finished rows.  All of the fabrics are hand dyed, most of them by a low water immersion process.  I have tried to create a slow gradation from light to dark, from top to bottom, of the piece. Sorry about the poor colour in the close-up, The first picture is close to actual colour.  I had trouble with the flash, and the second one got over exposed.  I didn't realize that until I actually posted them.

As the finished piece will be entered into an exhibition, I won't be able to post it when it's done.  Sorry about that.

With the left over cut squares, I plan to piece them together into a square about 10" by 10", to use as a "doodle cloth" to try a couple of different options for quilting the piece, and for attaching the leaf prints.

I plan to link this with The Needle and Thread Network