'If you make happiness your goal, then you're not going to get to it… The goal should be an interesting life."

Dorothy Rowe

Friday 27 February 2009

And finally ...

the last stamp of the month.
Something which Salisbury Cathedral has, and Winchester hasn't, is [are?]cloisters.
Some interesting shapes, although I find those roundels [daisies?] a bit heavy.
Just after you enter the cloisters, if you look down at the stones which cap the low wall between the arches, you may spot this little bit of vandalism.

Is it a cat? Is it a dog? I have no idea, but someone must have had quite a lot of time to scratch it into the stone.
My version in rubber took a lot less time - and has come out more cat like, I think.

So, one of my more successful efforts to end the month.

If you are looking for something else stamp related, try here, on Chris Gray's excellent blog. And look at the wonderful things she does with those stamps!

And now for something a little bit different ...

Still ecclesiastical, but a different cathedral and not a tile.

This is part of the west front of Salisbury. Well, I think it's the west front, I'm vague about such things ...

This is the stamp it inspired.

And some reflections. One new ecclesiastical stamp tomorrow and then something completely different for March.

This is my little orange book [it's about 3.5" by 5"], retrieved from the book press, although it still doesn't want to lie completely flat. It is just a simple 3 hole pamphlet stitch, but I did get a bit carried away with the ends of the thread.

And below is a successful experiment with transfer dyes. For some reason I have a lot of short lengths of satin ribbon - undoubtedly polyester - so I put them on a piece of baking parchment and ironed dye onto them.

I laid the first lot straight - you can see the effect on the parchment paper underneath. Stripy paper.

So I did the next lot on a piece of fabric, and just let the ribbons fall where they wanted to.

This is the fabric afterwards.

I did try some lace [probably nylon] and some tubular yarn from Texere [probably rayon] - but they didn't work as well. I have to recognise that when it comes to transfer dyeing - I like a nicy shiny fabric to work on ...

Thursday 26 February 2009

This is a bit of a cheat ...

While fossicking through the box in which I keep bits of stuff for stamp carving I came across this. It reminded me of something.
So today's stamp combines old and new, and demonstrates the staying power of that daisy image. Six hundred years plus.

This is my favourite. I like the rather ethereal result of the imperfect stamping. I think this would look great on a sheer, with just a little stitch, carefully done so it's reversible.
Mmm - I'm not good at 'carefully done'.

I have also made a slip to add to the orange book cover. I was thinking of using set stitches on some net and weaving it - my mind is running on flame and grids after photographing the altar cloth in St Laurence's chapel in Salisbury Cathedral. But I came across another sort of embroidery on another sort of net, in a book by Val Campbell-Harding and Pam Watts. This is the result.
And this is the raw material. Never throw anything away ...

The softer looser more fabric-like net [an orange bag - er - a bag that used to contain oranges] was easier to embroider, providing it was tightly hooped. If not the machine ate it.
My machine was less happy with the more plasticky net [not sure what it used to contain] and I found it difficult to see where the crossing points in the net were to FME round them.
But it was fun doing it and the result is on the book which is sitting under my 'book press' to flatten out. I hope to show you tomorrow.

Wednesday 25 February 2009

I've got to admit it's getting better ...

For a change. I've had a fairly successful day.

This is a piece of the transfer dyed satin I produced in the Creative Textiles Workshop. I knew I wanted to make book covers with the samples, which aren't very big, but I wasn't sure how to embroider them. In bed last night I browsed through Pamela Watts' book on machine embroidery, and read her suggestion for couching en masse by laying threads over the backing, covering them with chiffon and stitching over the top.

Good chance to get rid of some of those orange threads I don't like.

I didn't have any suitable chiffon but I have lots of net. I started by sewing a grid using Brenda Weekes' suggestion of triple stitch zig-zag at maximum length and width - it gives a nice wavy line and boy is it fast.

But then the thing said 'flames' to me - so I FME'd a few flames and some hot coals. That took a bit longer, but it got me over my thing about FME, though, as flames need to be wobbly. I actually found myself enjoying it!

I also finished a pair of socks - started during the snow when I felt I needed some thicker ones. So it will probably get warmer now.
And I even found time for two stamps - not that they are elaborate ones.

When I made the stamp from this, above, I decided too late that I would like to include that twisted cord running across the bottom - but there was no room for it on the eraser.

So this morning I drew 2 parallel lines on a small rectangular eraser, put in some slightly curved diagonals and carved the stamp. It looks like a ladder, which suggests open chain stitch - not my favourite as it is so easy to get uneven.

While I was making the first stamp I decided it would be even easier just to cut out the diagonals. So I turned the eraser over and carved the other side. For some reason it reminds me of bamboo, but could be couching over a lovely chunky thread.

There is no yellow on the original, the camera decided to add it.

In lieu of a proper daily photo for the stamp - here are some more of Salisbury Cathedral. Here is the exterior - you can see what a grey day it was. Although I have to confess I prefer the interior of Salisbury to the interior of Winchester - I like the plainer exterior of Winchester more than this. Bit of a Puritan really.

Wensleydale insisted on me photographing the thing below, despite the gloom and the camera shake. Modern art?

No - a stack of chairs.

These are the Mompesons - lots of lovely pattern there. Unfortunately by this stage our car park time was running out so I couldn't take as many photos as I would have liked.

A pillar from the Mompesons' tomb.

And finally - an upside down blurry picture of a window - which looks like stitch.

Actually it is a reflection in this. Which has to be the most amazing font I have ever seen. [That is 'font' as in baptism, not 'font' as in lettering!]
If you have an hour or so to spare, try the sculptor, William Pye's website. What that man can do with water!

Tuesday 24 February 2009

A Tuesday trip ...

means no new stamp today.

We went to Salisbury, to visit the exhibition by Wessex Textile Artists in the museum. Quite small - but worth a visit. Of course the first things I saw when I walked in were four embroidered medieval tiles ...

The next gallery has an exhibition of costume and other textiles, including a beautiful stump work mirror [ and I can usually contain my enthusiasm for stump work ...]

Then, after coffee and cake in the cafe [there's a surprise] we strolled across to the Cathedral. We haven't been inside it for years and I had forgotten just how beautiful it is. [Despite a shortage of tiles.] And someone was playing the organ, which made it perfect, despite being such a gloomy day.

Most of my photographs were a disaster as flash didn't work for long shots and the gloom meant long exposure times, which meant camera shake - but I could use flash for the wealth of embroideries.

This is a collage of some kneelers in one of the side chapels. More lovely mythical animals.

An altar cloth and kneeler in another side chapel. I love the circle - and the dragon.

The cloth below is, if I remember correctly, 16th century Spanish or Italian - but I may well be wrong.

A more modern cloth - does anyone know if this is the work of the Sarum Group? This is St Lawrence's Chapel, hence the grid and the fire. And I like the modern cross.

I looked in the book shop for something about the embroideries, but couldn't find one, which was disappointing. Winchester has a little booklet which was helpful for C&G.
I must apologise because my camera seems to be taking mega photos again - must have pressed the wrong thing at the wrong time. Again. Last time Cheese Minor fixed it for me, but unfortunately I can't remember what he did - just hope he can ...

Monday 23 February 2009

I thought things couldn't get any worse ...

but they did.

I thought I would spend this afternoon revisiting a stamp. I cut 6 repeats of the stamp out of transfer dyed paper and stuck them down, being very careful where I put the Pritt stick. [Never let it be said I don't learn from my mistakes.]

Then, because I had read in Kim Thittichai's 'Hot Textiles' that you can transfer print onto plastic, I decided to try it on a plastic page protector.

Kim does warn you not to have too hot an iron.

I did read her warning, honest.

I can report that when your page protector starts to melt you look at it and think 'I'm sure I didn't have any Bondaweb on there'.

And it sticks very well - probably better than Bondaweb.

One of those occasions when it is useful to have a spare ironing board cover.

I did try again with a plastic bag, a cooler iron and lots of baking parchment. [You will notice that although I started off with 6 repeats, by now I had only 4. The other two are snuggling up to a melted page protector in the bin.]
I'm not overwhelmed by the result, but when I'm feeling stronger [and have a new roll of baking parchment] I may experiment some more with different sorts of plastic. And a cool iron.

This is the another impression on some Vilene. Looks OK - except that lumpy bit at bottom right, where a bit of paper glued itself to the fabric and won't come off. I am hoping it will wash off . When I feel strong enough to try.

I wasn't going to bother making a new stamp today but after all that I decided I would. You may remember this.

Which has turned into this.

And then into this. The eraser says 'For Big Mistakes'. No comment.

And this is the result. For once this is not an inverted scan, I printed it with Opalite ink I got from Myfanwy at Winifred Cottage. It's really too runny for printing but it is so luscious I couldn't resist.

Then I bit the bullet and decide to give up on this bit of canvas work. Like the pattern - and notice that I resisted the urge to tidy it up? - hate the colours. When will I learn not to be too realistic when choosing colours, especially when I don't like brown?
OK - I don't always learn from my mistakes ...

Sunday 22 February 2009

A chapter of accidents

It was probably because I chose this tile to make a stamp from. The pattern doesn't look quite right, which is why I chose it - I was interested to see how it came out when I stamped it.

Although it has intersecting lines I decided it would be easiest to do as a string stamp, simplified a bit. I used double sided sticky tape over the tile image, rather than carpet tape, so I could see through it.

I find with string stamps, they either stick easily - or the ends keep lifting. Guess which sort this was? Fortunately it also dried very slowly, so I was able to stick the ends down again. [That's why you didn't get to see it yesterday.]

Then, when i stamped it - I kept getting it the wrong way round.

Then I added too much water to the paint. A soggy string stamp is not much fun - it squelches and slides and you get lots of blobs.

But after all that - I like it much more than I expected! Some sort of line stitch, like chain or stem or couching, I think.

As I forgot to do a proper daily photo yesterday, [i.e. one in the church series I seem to have inadvertently got myself into], here are a couple of extras and for once they are embroidery!
These are kneelers from the Cathedral. If you have done your C&G History of Embroidery you may have heard of Louisa Pesel, who was 'Mistress of the Broderers' at Winchester Cathedral in the '30s. I don't know if she had a hand in either of these - I suspect not - but the lower image reminds me that she is supposed to have told her embroiderers that when working tent stitch they should change to a slightly different shade every 20 stitches, to make the work look more interesting.
Sounds like a good way to use up left overs and dodgy dye lots to me, but isn't it effective?

Saturday 21 February 2009

It's been quite a productive day ...

not least because I woke at 5 a.m. and left Wensleydale to doze while I got the day started.

No new stamp, but I did revisit an old one.

The February challenge on Dyehards Surfacing is a painted quilt - painted after quilting. So this rather messy object was stamped and brushed with glitter after I had free motioned it. I have some heavy silver braid, which I think probably came from Glitterati, so I hope to couch that on tomorrow.

My inspiration came from snow - and tiles. Now there's a surprise. I have discovered from reading Hans van Lemmen's book on 'Medieval Tiles' that some of the earliest have relief patterns on them - which prompted the idea of couching.

I also discovered that the Winchester tiles are relatively simple. compared with those in other places. I don't suppose I would have embarked on all this stamp making if they had looked like this.

I have also finished the embroidery on the Stitched Textile design group challenge, now known as 'There's one in every crowd'. Perhaps more than finished - I am swithering about the beading and may take it off.
I like the wrong side nearly as much as the right side - or would have done if I hadn't been lazy about starting and finishing off my threads.

Unfortunately it has told me it wants to be a cushion, and I have no suitable fabric, so there will have to be a stash enhancement exhibition to get some, and a cushion pad. Of course pink and purple won't go with the decor in any of our rooms ...

Friday 20 February 2009

Never say 'Never' ...

On February 12th I wrote 'There are these sort of heraldic ones, which I don't think I will be trying to reproduce'.

OK - I was wrong. I have been re-reading Campbell-Harding and Grey's 'Celtic Inspiration for Machine Embroiderers', which seems oddly relevant to my non-Celtic tiles. They use animal motifs - and I like this insouciant griffin [?] - so I had a go.

This is the stamp, carved in some of that stuff for carving stamps, whose name escapes me. [It is 10 cm square and I don't think you can get erasers that big.]

And here is the result. Nominally this is gold ink, but I think I need a new gold ink pad.
I have also been working on my Stitched Textile Design group challenge, 'Hearts'. You may remember the quilted poly satin. Well, now it has transfer dyed hearts on it.
I cut the hearts out of the painted paper and stuck them on a blank sheet of paper, before ironing them onto the satin. If you try this, be very careful where you get the Pritt stick. Fortunately it came out with a little water on a cotton bud...
The ironing also flattens the quilting. Funny I didn't think of that before I tried this. Luckily I didn't melt the wadding.

I used polyester thread to quilt the piece and as I expected the dye transferred to the thread as well.
I think I am going to outline the hearts in stem stitch or couching - but I'm still pondering on the thread. Yes, that is an orange metallic. I'm feeling experimental.

While I had the iron out I used up the dye left on the paper on a poly sheer. I put a piece of Vilene under it becks I knew the colour would go through and I didn't want it on the ironing board.

Moving the sheer slightly gave this ghosting. I tried the sheer over the poly satin [right way up and upside down] but decided not to add it this time.

I realise that my 200th post has come and gone without me noticing it. I definitely talk too much ...