Saturday, 10 February 2018

Woodland Blanket update

I'm having to work hard on my Woodland Blanket to make up for lost time while we were away!  I try to get four stripes done each day and if I keep it up I should catch up by the end of the month.

This is a photo I took a few days ago so it has grown even more since then and I've got to the start of the blue sky rows.

It's looking fab! 

February JQ

For my February Journal Quilt I continued my journey around the colour wheel, moving from red to red and orange.  It's not strictly on the wheel but a combination of two colours suits my plan for this year rather than the accepted red-orange.

I started with a piece of the same red fabric I used in January, placing it on the corner slightly to one side and used different width strips in a combination of plain orange and red fabric as well as some orange fabric I printed with red fabric paint using bubble wrap on a gelli plate.  I also put in some extra folded strips of red for accent.

It's the quilting of the finished block that always gets me stumped and this was no exception.  In the end I opted for quilting in the ditch on each strip as well as free machine quilting in a bubble pattern on the plain orange strips using an orange, red and yellow variegated thread.

The finished quilt was then bound with some fabric that had also been printed with the bubble wrap.

Once again I found the second print was better than the first but I think this is because I was putting too much paint on the gelli plate - this must be a difference between fabric paint and the acrylic paint I normally use - so next time I will be more sparing with the paint.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Dyeing orange fabric

On my trip round the colour wheel for this year's Journal Quilts, I was horrified to find for the February one I had no orange fabric so this week I set to and created some.

Now my dyeing practice in the past has always been a 'chuck it all in and see what comes out' but this time round as I wanted a particular colour I thought I would be more methodical. As usual, I  turn to "Dyeing in Plastic Bags" by Helen Deighan and used her methods and recipes and even went as far as recording the recipes I used for the dyes and the salt and soda solutions.  I also pre-marked my fabric samples and made a note of the quantities of dyes I had used so hopefully I can recreate it a need them again.

I found being organised has made me more aware of the colours I achieved and also where they weren't quite right I can tell from the colours I used how I can adjust them next time.   Once the main samples were done I used up the dyes I'd mixed with a bit of   'chuck it all in and see what comes out'.

Really pleased with the results and look forward to using them on February and March's JQs.

The fabrics along the bottom are the eight pieces I was systematic about, mixing lemon yellow and golden yellow with scarlet and magenta.  The two red/pink ones were using 2:1 yellow to magenta.  The other fabrics were the others which used up the orange dyes I have left, some with red added.

Holiday Crochet

Before we went on holiday I had a big debate, mainly with myself, about whether or not to take any crochet work with me.   I couldn't really see when I would be able to do any and the thought of hot sweaty hands crocheting on a sandy beach didn't really encourage me.

When I shared this with my crochet daughter, she was horrified as she wouldn't go anywhere without something to do.  I also mentioned it when I was visiting a wool shop and again the lady there said she was sure I'd regret it if I didn't take anything.

So, as I had started a shawl for my non-crochet daughter and had rather neglected it once I had started on my Woodland Blanket, I decided to take it with me and see what happened.

Well I'm glad I did, because it filled the time between getting back to the hotel after and day on the beach while relaxing before dinner.  And as a bonus I got it finished!

I yet again used the Maid of Honour Shawl pattern by Buttonnose Crochet, and again made it using Scheepjes Whirl this time in Blueberry Bambam.   I don't think I will ever tire of this yarn as the graduations of colour really do all the work for you.


Holiday Inspiration

We've just returned from two weeks in the sun in Gran Canaria - not the first time we've been and hopefully won't be the last!

Following our visit last year, I used the inspiration from the local flora as my theme for my 2017 Journal Quilts.  My post about this can be found here.  Once again I was drawn to the trees around the hotel grounds and saw patterns and textures everywhere I looked so I came back armed with  photos and hopefully they will be translated in to some form of textile art in the coming year.

Here's a few to show you what I mean........




Saturday, 13 January 2018

Another Year of Journal Quilts

I have again signed up for making a monthly Journal Quilt with Contemporary Quilters.  This year it has to be  7" x 9" landscape which I think is a lovely size to work with - not too big and not too small.

I have decided my quilts are going to be based on a log cabin block, hoping to push the boundaries a bit which I know for me is going to be a challenge as I love the formality of a traditional log cabin!  I'm also going to use my own dyed fabric which I will overprint using my gelli plate, again using new ideas as I go.  And finally I will be using the colour wheel as my palette, using each of the primary and secondary colours and then a combination of primary/secondary in between.

So starting in January I used a red palette and a more traditional block to start. The gelli printing wasn't as successful as I had hoped and found less is more in some cases.  I did a bit of foiling over the top to give it a bit of interest as it looked a bit flat. The piece of fabric I printed for the binding was more successful which considering this was just using up what was left on the gelli plate, maybe this is telling me something for next time.

Good starting point but looking forward to the next one.

Block Printing

I have a growing collection of wooden printing blocks which I pick up mainly at shows as I find them lovely to work with, especially when using my gelli plate.

I was therefore thrilled when I received a late birthday present from my daughter Clare which was a kit for hand printing a scarf with a wooded block.   It came from The Arty Crafty Place who we saw when we went to the Sewing Bee Live Show.

The scarf if huge and I didn't know quite where to start and what to do.  I was also worried I'd start and then not have enough paint to finish as the pot in the kit looked very small against the scarf.  After a lot of deliberation and general phaffing I decided to start printing from one end, see how it went and then do the same from the other end, figuring that if I had enough paint and they met in the middle then great.

I worked on my ironing board as I thought that was the printed bit could remain fairly free and have time to dry.  I put a towel under the scarf to give a soft base to print into as well as protecting my ironing board.   I did give the scarf a gentle press as it had been heavily twisted and creased when I unwrapped it and although I preferred this look to a pristine flat surface, I was worried that if it was too creased it would affect the print.


My plan worked well and I managed to print about 20" in from each end which left quite a gap unprinted in the middle but I think it looks better for it.  My only problem was trying to make the printing look random - I don't do random so I had to concentrate hard.

I love it and look forward to wearing it somewhere warm!