Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Oh no - I started another project...

...but it's so much fun. Last Saturday my branch of the Embroiderers' Guild held a workshop with Fay Maxwell on "Crewel and Unusual". This is Fay's take on traditional crewel work, using dyed blanket felt and tapestry wool on silk to make cushions. This is as far as I got, always a slow worker. When all the decorative stitching on the felt has been done, the background is going to be quilted using kantha stitching. The design wasn't preplanned - Fay got us all cutting simple shapes straight from the fabric. As it is all by hand, I am hoping to work on it while I am hanging around at my daughters' gym/dance lessons. Except that I am partway through some knitting...

More Work on 'Cogitation'

I give in - it started out as a pun but it has stuck in my head as the name for this piece so I am making it official.

I have added some more colour to the background shapes and linked them by stitching across water soluble fabric. Dissolving the fabric in situ left enough adhesive to keep it all stuck to the metal and I brushed some of the colour off the cogs into the spaces. (Click on the pictures to make them larger). The overall size is a little over A3.

The next picture shows how the clock movements have been fitted to the back and I have also added battens top and bottom so it can either stand on a table or be wall-mounted (still dithering). I put felt onto the battens to stop it from scratching my table while I work on it.

In my last post I mentioned I had tried placing lutradur shapes as the moving parts to replace the original idea. I made a second set of cogs, this time with the lutradur backed by craft vilene as they need to be more solid. I used the same paints and stitching and heated the pieces to break up the top layer and make it look a bit like metal wearing and flaking. My idea is that this is a very old piece of machinery that is just slowly running until it finally dies, achieving nothing; the cogs still working have worn through less than the ones that have stopped, but bits have broken off over time.

On a more cheerful note, this is the paper left behind after spraying the shapes - definitely keeping this for future use.

The short video further down this post shows how the pieces move using the minute hands of the clocks - I used time-lapse photography to take pictures over the course of just over an hour to show a complete cycle greatly speeded up; in real life you need to look twice to see that they are moving at all. (If this sounds very high-tech here's how I set it up

- note the children's videos and coffee table, a vital part of any photographic studio.) The reason for the flickering is that the daylight kept coming and going.


Looking at this, I can see that there is no focal point yet - I like the way that three of the cogs converge and separate so I am thinking I could make that meeting point the focus - nothing has been permanently fixed in place, except the clock movements, so I can make adjustments to the cog positions and how they rotate by changing where they are attached. The moving pieces need more definition so the next step may be to add handstitching for texture.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Progress on Cogs

Coming back to this after the summer break and taking a fresh look. At summer school, we discussed ideas for backgrounds and also whether it needs to be wall-mounted or could stand on a table top. In particular, how to bring in stitching as an integral part. I messed around with threads and soluble fabrics but nothing seemed right so I tried using lutradur.

I machined lots of overlapping lines in gold thread on a piece of lutradur 70 coloured it, zapped with a heat gun then added more layers of paint before cutting out cog shapes. The picture above shows the front and back of these shapes so you can see the colour difference. I decided I liked this effect so I tried adding the mock-ups of the moving shapes...

... and didn't like it at all. Maybe a different arrangement?

Maybe not. It is all a bit too solid compared to the background. In a last effort before packing up for the day, I grabbed some of the cog-shaped off-cuts of treated lutradur and put them on as the moving parts - they looked pretty good but I forgot to take a picture. So I am going to colour and stitch some more cogs and break them into pieces, so that the top layer becomes fragments, and will see how that looks. I have pretty much decided that I will make this piece to stand on a table and be seen from above, and have attached battens to the back for it to rest on. It could be adapted for wall-hanging but it is rather heavy.

Cleaning the upstairs rooms may have to wait a few more days while I get this sorted.

August Stitch Explorer - Pattern Darning

This month's challenge was to explore pattern darning. I had a go using net backed with cotton to give a hexagonal grid to work on and changed the scale and direction. Have look at the flickr group here to see what other people have done.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

What is it with cats and quilts?

I guess it serves me right for using a fish design.

I decided it was high time I picked up this quilt again as my summer project having started it in May of last year (see here for previous posts explaining how one quilt turned into two). I find patchwork and quilting work well in school holidays. As long as I have done all the planning beforehand, I can work in little bits without losing the thread. I finished the piecing last week and I am quilting with digitised patterns of fish scales, waves and little fishes.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Quilts 4 London

I just came across this so I thought I would share it with you. It is a project to make small quilted pennants (based on A3 size) to give as gifts to the participants in the 2012 Olympics in London. Go to for more info.

August ATC - Sea and Sand

A quick post to show my ATC for the August Facebook swop on the theme of summertime. Wool tops felted on the embellisher with a little bit of stitching added. The organiser, Sue, has started a blog called Crafters Corner where you can see all the ATCs in this swop group.