Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Stitched yarn

Last Fibrecircle day, my friend Helen brought over some samples of stitched yarn. She made them by laying down yarns next to one another and zigzag stitching over the top.

I love the gorgeous texture of these pieces, so I just had to have a go with some of my ten thousand yarns.
This was my first attempt. My, is this process slow! After a while, I got so bored that I added in some strips of bright pink paper ribbon, to make it grow a little faster. The ribbon is not especially robust but there is enough yarn over it to hold it all together. I really like the way the ladder yarn gives an airy effect.

Then I thought, "there has to be a faster way!". So I tried with a bundle of yarns of different thickness, about six or seven strands. Of course, this is way wider than just two strands, so instead of the zigzag stitch, I used that machine mending stitch that's a zigzag shape but each zig is made of three straight stitches. I found that the outer strands still tended to get missed. So I tried twisting the yarns together as I went, and that worked better, though I still had some loops along the edge. Then I tried loosely plaiting the strands and that worked really well. I was using multiple strands so I switched them around as I plaited. This is how the whole lot looked once I had stitched the sections together: I like this so much, I've started another one! I like the way the strands twist in and out of one another. It looks very organic, like rock strata or sand patterns. And yes, it is faster than sewing them two by two!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Aw gee!

I just saw that Carol has presented me with this award! Thanks, Carol, that's high praise from you! Carol's blog is full of wonderful and inspiring things, so I really urge you go and have a look - just click on her name.

It's difficult to choose the five blogs that I find most inspiring and creative.
1. Creative Dabbling: I love to visit Erica's blog because she's always busy and she writes about so many interesting things. She always gives me a new way to look at the world.
2. threadsandthoughts because Rhonda's embroideries are just exquisite, and her photographs too.
3. Dyed and Gone to Heaven - Lisa is having such fun with the City and Guilds work and she does way brilliant work!
4. Digital Gran Fabulous work from Margaret as well as incredible photos of Wales
5. Magstitch The marvellous site of Maggie Grey, because her work always inspires me to try something new.

There are lots of others I could have chosen - maybe next time!

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

God is telling me not to felt

Well, perhaps not. But I have this very elderly UFO. It's my oldest UFO, in fact, because I began it when I first learnt to knit squares at about the age of seven. In fact, some squares have been cast off by knitting two together, before I learnt the proper way. (It makes quite a pretty edge.)
I stopped knitting squares when I got to 100 (I was probably about 16 by this stage).
I was going to sew them together into a rug (see, even then bright colours and patchwork fascinated me!) but then I hit a snag. I hate sewing knitting together. With A Passion. I sew my jumpers together because if I don't, well, I don't actually have a jumper. And that seems a bit pointless. But I have to grit my teeth and make myself do it, so I have the jumper to wear.

OK, I thought, I'll crochet them together. But by this stage, I was a penniless young mother, and buying a whole lot of yarn just to crochet these squares together really couldn't be justified on our budget. I tried cheap yarn - oh, yuck! I tried scraps of leftover yarn from my knitting projects on the principle of the brighter the better, but no, it just wasn't right. I have dragged this bag of knitted, half-crocheted-together squares around with me through fifteen house moves.

Then I had a brilliant thought. All these squares were knitted with 100% wool yarn and hey, I could felt them! Then I'll have a whole lot of brightly coloured felt shapes to use in my textile work. Or I could sew them together on the machine and embellish them a bit. I decided to do a test felt on a couple of squares by beating them around in a little bit of hot water in a bucket until I lost interest, and then washing them with other stuff and tumble-drying them. Result, two rather startled, slightly fluffy squares, not looking anything like felt. Hmm.

OK, do it properly. All the squares into the washing machine, add hot water at the lowest level and wash. Halfway through the filling process, the washing machine died.
It's hard not to conclude that this is a Message.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Wedding wrap

Here are some more photos of the wedding wrap:

You might guess that I am pretty chuffed at how this turned out! But I am even more thrilled to have received a commission to make one in black as an evening wrap! It's on the loom at this very minute, so stay tuned for a photo once it's finished.

Some generous friends...

... sent me these lovely postcards before I went overseas. They knew I was way too busy to make any myself, but they sent me some anyway. How nice is that! The theme was Share a Cuppa, because we are nearly all a long way apart and a virtual cuppa is all we get to share. Thank you all!

This one is from Kaite, who initiated the swap: Isn't it brilliant? Thanks Kaite.

This one is from Prue, whose great love is her garden: It really makes me feel like I am sitting in her garden, sharing a lovely afternoon tea!

This one is from Rory: This one has a very garden-y feel too, doesn't it? Love those colours.

This one is from Pamela: We must all be mad gardeners, mustn't we? Pamela has even added some embroidered flowers.

Finally, this one is from Di: Isn't it elegant? And so very English - I love it!

I've finally found a moment to make some postcards in reply.
These will be wending their way to their new owners early next week.