Saturday, 12 April 2014

Back from Our Holiday. Normal service will Resume Soon

We have just returned from our holiday.

I will write a lovely post about it soon. But for now I leave you with some chickens.

They liked my boots and kept pecking them, which was a strangely satisfying feeling.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Hillarys Blind Country Crafts Fabric Competition Part Two

Continuing the Saga of the Useful Skirt. Part One is here.
I must apologise for my photographs. As my laptop was away I had to use my tablet which does not have a macro function, and apart from that I am not the best photographer.

So far I have cut out the pieces, using the Calluna fabric from the Country Retreat range, fitted them to Diana and sewn the darts on the back. Then I placed both back on front on Diana to make sure they matched.

Putting Back and Front on Diana

When happy I sewed the side seams together.

But only went up a few inches on the left side as I wanted to be able to get it on and off (naturally) and therefore needed a fastening.

Please bear in mind that I was doing this as I was going along, with pattern. Therefore some of the things I did might have been better done earlier.  Anyway, I then thought about the facing. I used more of the lovely fabric and some interfacing.
Thinking About Facing

When the facing was sewn on, I then proceeded to make a placket for the fastening. Before watching the latest British Sewing Bee episode, I had know idea what a placket was although I had obviously had one on a garment before.  I kind of did one without really knowing what to do. But it worked. I have a little flap of fabric onto which I sewed hook and eyes to fasten up the skirt. And when they are fastened you cannot see them.

The Placket

Oh I have just looked up placket, and it is the whole opening not just the flap of fabric - '
noun: placket; plural noun: plackets
  1. 1.
    an opening or slit in a garment, covering fastenings or giving access to a pocket, or the flap of fabric under such an opening.'

This is the skirt finished. I hand sewed the hem.   At this stage you may notice it looks a bit wider than in Part One. That is because it is. After I sewed the seams I tried it on and it was too small, so I redid the seams. So please try it on yourself before sewing the seams. (You really get a good idea about my prowess as a confident, knowledgeable sewer, don't you?!)

And here is the skirt on me! Done. And I am rather pleased with it.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Hillarys Blinds Country Crafts Fabric Competition Part One

I like competitions as they challenge you. So I was excited to see this competition by Hillarys Blinds.
I chose the lovely Calluna Amethyst fabric, from the Country Retreat range, and when it arrived I waited for it to speak to me and tell me what it wanted to be!

It took a while as I knew I did not want to make a bag but was not sure what I did want.  But inspiration came as I thought how much I need more tunics to wear over my leggings and jeggings, and skinny jeans.  What about a little skirt which would come to the same length of a tunic but would also be a useful skirt?

I made a quick sketch on the bus one day.

After washing and drying and ironing the fabric, I started to create the shape I wanted with the help of Diana, my mannequin.

The back of the skirt
I started by creating shape with darts.

At this stage everything is still just pinned.

I am aiming for a slight A line, and used one skirt to give me the other side, by folding the fabric in half along the back line.

I then used the back to help me cut the fabric for the front, trying to keep the pattern in line.

NEXT PART - finishing the useful skirt.

Friday, 14 March 2014

A Walk in the Fog

After dropping my daughter off at school, and armed with my camera, I went for a short walk to the park and creek near us.

Trees in the park


A feather caught in the grass

I need to work on my macros shots. I think for these type of photos I do need a tripod as I wobble a bit.

an old boat in the creek

There is a path that goes round the Creek. 

But today I decided not to go there!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Taking part in a Textile ATC Swap

In the Autumn of 2013 I took part in a textile art card swap, organised by Very Berry Handmade.  I had seen the earlier one and regretted not taking part, so as soon as I saw the Autumn one, I signed up.

The theme was Autumn and after a bit of thought I decided to go with a tree or leaf. Walking to work one day I saw a lovely coloured leaf and that inspired me to concentrate on a leaf and its beautiful colours.

An art card is 3.5 inches by 2.5 inches. In this swap it had to be textile.

I do like embroidery and mostly do it free-hand. The last bit of this type of sewing was a card for my sister's wedding.

Using a real leaf as my inspiration, I drew a leaf noticing how the veins grow from the base. Then I cut out my leaf shape, pinned it onto my fabric, then using little green stitches traced around it. So I was left with the leaf shape on little stitches. 

Then I used a couple of colours together and did a split stitch.  I had wanted to use split stitch since watching a documentary that talked about medieval textiles, an example can be seen here.

The leaf. You can see the outline green stitches.
Finished and mounted onto card.
The Finished Art Card
When finished I made a fabric, card, fabric sandwich to make it firm.

And then I sent it off. The recipient kindly gave me lots of positive feedback and I am so pleased she liked it.

I sent my card to one person, and another one sent one to me.

And when it came in the post it was so lovely I nearly cried.

This wonderful card has been made by Chris Butler, she was so thoughtful and seeing that we had been to Belgium and loved it, made a card based on the houses in Bruges.

It sits on my mantelpiece and will one day be framed.

And so to the next swap. I have signed up as soon as it was announced and I am sorry to tell you that it is now full, so keep an eye out later in the year on Very Berry's website for any future swaps (her website is lovely anyway).

Joining in with a swap like this makes you consider techniques and materials that you might not usually use. It really stretches me creatively and I love that.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

The Unveiling of Charles Dickens

There have been no large statues of Charles Dickens in the UK. This has now changed as recently the new life sized statue of the author was unveiled in Portsmouth, his birthplace and my city.

So I went along with my camera.

And luckily it was a lovely day, compared to the rainy and windy days we have been having. 

There were some cyclists to keep us entertained (did they have bicycles in Dickens's time?)

And there was the statue waiting....

It was a lot smaller than I thought. But then I realised it was life sized which is rather lovely.

There was a wonderful talk by  Joanna David and Edward Fox, with readings from Dickens's works which makes me want to read him again.


Here is is

Ready to talk into the microphone as he did love orating.  (Thanks Lois, I hadn't notices it was so close!)

The boy behind him is Charles Dickens's great, great,something grandson.

So that is the life sized statue. If you want a smaller one then may I recommend this one

Isn't he wonderful? He is made by the talented Amy of The Greedy Crocodile.

It was a bit busy that day so I am still waiting to go down to the Guildhall Square and see him and have a more personal meeting.