Monday, August 29, 2011

The continuing story..

The Traveller's Blanket is my main creative outlet at present, apart from knitting which is always on the go.  Perhaps I'll show some of that next time.  For now, I've been concentrating on the embroidery as I have a lot on my mind and hand stitching is very soothing. 

The large one I wasn't happy with in the last post has been added to, and I like it better now.

And here are 4 new ones. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

More embroidery

The irregular shapes of some of the circles make the embroidery rather challenging - I have to decide whether to treat the shape as essentially a circle, or whether to embroider in line with the white areas.

Mostly, I have tried to keep a circular design.  I'm not sure that this large double circle above has come out very well.  Perhaps I'll come back to this later if I get some inspiration.

This smaller circle works better, although it has irregular features.  I can't find my box of embroidery cottons, so today I bought 20 more so I can get some more colours onto this.  Hopefully, the silks should arrive soon.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Linocutting class

Today I went to a local linocutting class, to pick up from where I left off a year ago after doing Dijanne Cevaal's online class.  Here's a few photos of my work:

 As usual, I can't resist playing with colours.
 For oversea readers, these are nikau palms, New Zealand's only native palm tree.   I drew these from an original design done in glass by my classmate, Ben Christensen.
I particularly like the orange one on the right, which I made after adding yellow to the red and blue linocut at left.

 Here's a beautiful building done by Lesley du Mez of Southland Education (with permission).
Lastly, here's a sketch done in Drawing this week  just to show you that my drawing has improved.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Today's Embroidery

If you're an experienced embroiderer, you may think my geometric designs with their uneven stitches and wonky shapes are nothing more than poor workmanship.  However, the circles I have dyed into the blanket are uneven, and each one is slightly different.  As a result, I decided it would be pointless to try to produce perfectly shaped designs.  Instead, I'm aiming for "overall effect".  The Blanket is not being entered into any competitions, and it's for my pleasure.  I hope others with no real embroidery experience (like me) will feel that they are able to attempt a project of this kind.  Do please leave me comments of your thoughts.  Thanks.

The designs all come out of my head - when I doodle, I always draw geometric and symmetrical designs like these.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I haven't done any sort of embroidery apart from blanket stitch around applique since I was about 10 years old, when we had to do simple embroidered stitches on a tray cloth in Sewing class.  Some of the other members of the group are using photos from their trips as their inspiration, but I just can't think of how to translate my photos into the stitches for this blanket, so I'm just letting the circles dictate to me.  I find hand stitching to be very soothing, so I'm enjoying this.

Here's the first one:

 And here's a gratuitous cute animal photo of the poodles reclining on my bed.  No, they don't sleep with me at night!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Traveller's Blanket back

After dyeing, washing and ironing the flannel for the back, I had a horrible realisation - my top fabric had stretched widthwise when I ironed it, and my backing flannel had shrunk 5% during the very hot wash after dyeing.  Result : 2 pieces of fabric that started out more or less the same size, but ended up with the top longer and wider.  Aaaaargh!

Fortunately, I had bought extra flannel, so I dyed that with a mixture of the 3 parts special mix red and 2 parts chocolate brown.  This came out a lovely rich colour and I liked it better than the nutmeg, which has been consigned to the middle of the Blanket.

This is what the top and back look like, and I've placed the embroidery threads on them so you can see how they look together.  There will be other threads, but these will form the base for the embroidery.
I'm really pleased with the colours - I wanted them to be rich and glowing, and I want the Blanket to be a sumptuous and voluptuous textile piece.  Tonight, I've pieced the flannel to fit the top, and pinned it all together, with the aim of starting embroidering tomorrow.

Traveller's Blanket top

Here it is, and I'm happy both with the colour and with the circles.  I made them different sizes, with a few doubles for interest.

I'm not so concerned about the depth of shade of the backing and middle, so I'm off to rinse and wash those now.

Dyeing the fabric for the Traveller's Blanket

I mixed up a special red for my Blanket top - mainly Turkey Red, but with the addition of Scarlet, Carmine Red, Cotton Black, Deep Purple and Fuchsia.  I want a rich red.  The top is currently in the wash, so I'll wait till it's washed and ready to go before photographing it.

Some of you may be wondering why I used cotton threads to bind the circles - I am not looking for white areas such as you would get with synthetic threads that won't allow the dye the penetrate them, but rather for a paler circular zone that I can embroider around.

The middle and back of the Blanket are going to be made of lovely soft flannel.  I decided to dye them Nutmeg - a rich orange-brown.  The darker piece is the back, and the lighter shade is for the centre.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Getting ready - the start of the Traveller's Blanket

 The muslin tied before immersing in dye.  I am aiming for a rich crimson red.
This is what I tied the fabric with - soft cotton string, and a thinner cotton yarn.
 I have all sorts of embroidery cottons, but I bought these earthy Eastern colours especially for this project.
And for pizzazz, I bought some bright rayon threads.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Travellers' Blanket

Immersed as I am in a traditional art degree, with side helpings of photography and web design, my textile art has gone out the window.  While I'm learning to appreciate frescoes and suchlike, I have not lost my love for fabrics which I still consider to be vastly underrated.  In order to get inspired, I've enrolled in Dijanne Cevaal's online  course "Travellers' Blanket".  You can see more about it on her blog, and here's a photo of what she's doing.

Yes indeed, that is embroidery that you can see.   This is actually a quilted project, because it has 3 layers.

Dijanne has recently had her Gypsy Blanket published in Magic Patch magazine - here it is:-

Click on the image to make it larger so you can see all the wonderful stitching.

Interested in doing the Travellers' Blanket after seeing these?  You can enroll  for only A$50 and it's open till August 13th.  Contact Dijanne  by email - it's on her blog.