Saturday, 31 May 2014

Chook Shed Party - I'm in.......

Chooky's Chook Shed Party
I thought, as my way of joining in with the sewing party would be too catch up on a couple of little projects as I am also in the middle of marking a big project just completed by Year 9.
So first up is a pair of lightweight trousers and the left over pair of jeans from making a bag.  These are hopefully going to be two shoes bags for when O go to Spain with a school trip and then our family holiday.  No need for plastic bags next time or that is the plan.
These jeans have some lovely detailing on them.
Next up as  bit of Textiles Club preparation for Monday as I need to check the dresses that we are making and cut enough bias binding.
I have printed the labels on to printable fabric and these need cutting up and stitching on to the pockets before being added to the dresses.
It is Saturday here in the UK so I think I have until Sunday evening for this even though the Chook Shed party will be over by then due to the time difference with Australia but if you look on Chooky's blog I think they are having too much fun to really notice a few hours here and there.
What are you all up to this weekend.
(Hubby is painting the outside of the house as it is the best half term in years for weather!)

Friday, 30 May 2014

Sweet Treats - Samples - OPAM

Been a busy half term and not blogged as much as I thought I was going to but earlier in the week I did manage to make up some project samples for next September.  I am not actually writing the project but I said I would make up some samples to see if an idea was possible in fabric.
See what you think.
Some iced doughnuts, two made from felt and Stitch and the third has been made from painted white cotton to see if a wider range of materials could be used as felt can be quite expensive.  The sprinkles are literally made by adding seed stitch with coloured threads.
A first go at a lollipop which may need more work, plus a candy sweet and a Humbug.  These are possibly the style that most of the students will be drawn to.  The fabric can be drawn or painted with much of the detail needed, with some stitch to extend the appearance and then stitched together and stuffed.
These did not take long and were really made out of scraps with some paint, stitch and felt and is one of the aspects of project planning that I love.
I have many more ideas but I now need to move on to some marking and report writing (completed three sets already).
I do need to write the project for a landscapes module which is textiles based as my subject has been "Altered" at work and that is all I am prepared to say here about it.
I am thinking hand stitch, applique and free machine embroidery, texture, paint etc.  I shall let you now how I get on with that.
I also hope to finish the Crochet WIP I showed you a couple of weeks ago as I am thinking of having a holiday giveaway in the next few weeks as I missed doing one for my Blogaversary (have I spelt that right?) last September due to other things going on.  Life used to be so much simpler once upon a time.............
Hope this week has treated you well.
Been lovely weather here in Cornwall.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Urban Knits - Book Review

I love reading and wish that I had more time to sit and reduce the book mountain that I have waiting.
On the other hand I like the odd book which has pictures.................just colourful pictures.
So when I saw Urban Knits at The Tate in St Ives I started looking at it to then have it whisked out of my hand and quickly purchased for me by my father-in-law!  Thank you!
The book is full of pictures showing ordinary items being covered in knitting which I  know as Yarn Bombing!  The best example I have seen was a few years ago on the South Bank in London where all of the trees had been covered in red knitting and it did look very striking.  I have been looking at some of the trees around the school site.................Mmmmmm maybe one day.
So lets have a look inside at just a few pages to wet your appetite.
This is a much better look for metal fencing.
Lovely buttons.
Much more colourful.
This is possibly my favourite and is a little similar to crochet which is probably why I like it.
Now... I did not know that you needed a head for heights with the craft of knitting but would be needed to climb up and reach those top branches.  It would brighten up a dull day, would it not?
I really like this book and it is quite small, about the size of a standard photograph.  It is fun to just flip through drinking a cup of tea.  Sophie has enjoyed looking at this book and I thought I would show it to my Textiles Club next Monday.
Hope you have enjoyed a few colourful pics and if you ever see this book perhaps you might be tempted.  It would be a good talking point if nothing else.
Now..........about those trees at school................


Saturday, 24 May 2014

Textiles Trip to Eden

Yesterday I took my Year 10 group to the Eden Project as part of their current project.  Wednesday was a gorgeous day, the closest we have got to a lovely balmy day.  As for Thursday......torrential rain and wind!
So off we went and we managed to get from the mini bus to the Biome and as we literally passed through the door the rain came down so hard it was bouncing back up just as fast.
So we started off in the Jungle Biome and it gave the students a chance to do the tasks they were set and for me to get some pictures for next year and to try out my new camera.
It was so hot in there I do hope I lost a few ounces!
This visit I saw flowers and plants that I had not seen on previous occasions.
Love this flower and could see this as a textile piece with wrapped cords and a printed background.
Photographing the signs helps as I can never remember what anything is once I get home.
This leaf is a lovely shape.
Now for some colour.

I have not seen this lovely flower before and it is quite large.  Gorgeous colour and just close enough to take a picture.

This photograph does not do this plant justice at all.  The colours are stunning.

Lots of pictures were taken and lovely drawings were created.
The next stage is to develop everything further with samples in stitch, fabric and fibres to name just a few options.
What did you do today?

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Mini Malden Paper

A change of topic on my blog today.  My mini malden is my handbag notebook as I was finding that usual notebooks were getting bashed and tattered over time.  So I decided to invest in a more permanent solution.
I needed some more paper and I could have bought or printed some but I do have small pieces of paper which are too small for much else but I thought could have a new lease of life.
So I used a paper cutter to cut some A6 sheets of paper using both lines and plain paper.
Then taking the dashboard I marked out the holes.
I then adjusted my A5 hole punch and carried out a test piece to check that the holes were in line with those of my plastic dashboard sheet.
 This may not seem very new but I thought why use up new paper when I can recycle smaller pieces that would perhaps otherwise be thrown away.  I can also mix up the papers I use to add colour and more interest to my mini Malden.  Scrapbook paper, craft paper, even scraps of thick gift wrap paper.
Fits in a treat and I am now going through my small scrap papers to see what else I can add.  Yesterday my mini Malden with its "new" paper came into its own whilst writing down important info when I was trying to buy a new phone in Carphone Warehouse.  Now there is a saga waiting to be blogged about, or maybe not!
Have a good week,

Friday, 16 May 2014

WIP - Crochet and a Thank You...

I have been working on this project on and off for some time.
I did have a few problems with this section of the project but I think I have finally cracked it.
I have been experimenting with the above and..........
I have also been having a little go at these lovely flowers.  I made a couple at Christmas but of course I can no longer remember how to make them!
Hopefully a trip to Truro tomorrow to get a piece of fabric will enable me to fully finish this WIP.
I would just like to say a huge thank you to those of you who have left a comment on my Le Challenge Post.  Such lovely words and the most comments on a post for some time.  I shall reply to each one as soon as I can.  You have brighten up what has been a very rubbish week at work.
Sophie had her SATs tests this week and has coped with them with such ease which am grateful for and hope she has done well as she has always tried really hard at school.
Supposed to be a lovely day tomorrow.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Le Challenge - Nature

Well, I have finally completed the WIP I blogged about in a previous post and it is also my entry for the May NATURE challenge for Le Challenge.
I bought this years ago in Exeter at one of The Creative Stitches exhibitions at Westpoint and started it quite happily and then for some reason did  not complete it.  I feel a sense of Dejavous here.....anyway.
The kit is designed by Richard Box and he actually sold it to me.  I think it was called Daisies but I can not be sure.  I love my daisies as regular readers will know and the lovely ox-eye daisies that were sent to me by a fellow blogger are starting their growth spurt ready for later in the summer.
This sample is created by cutting up fabric and laying on the background.  Roughly applique to attach it to a background.  Detail is then added using various thicknesses of thread by hand as well as free machine embroidery which was the technique which attracted me to this kit in the first place.
The next stage was what to do with it know and due to the size it is too big for yet another pin cushion or too small for a book cover so in the end I decided to..........
Brave the weather (bright sunshine one minute and monsoon rains the next) to go to Truro and buy a frame.  I had a real job trying to take this picture without catching the reflection of everything in the room including me but I hope you can see the overall effect.
So here is my May entry to Le Challenge on the theme of NATURE.
Plus another UFO completed.  Can not wait to see what the next theme is....hey I am on a roll after all.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Dress a Girl Around the World - Textiles Club Group Project.

Dress a Girl Around the World is a charity which I have been wanting to contribute to for some time.  Click on their title to go to their website.
I have been lucky enough to get some funding so that my Textiles Group can get some fabric and make the dresses from the patterns and instructions on their website.
I need to print off some labels which look like the logo above so that they can be attached to the dresses.  The intention is that every little girl around the world has at least one dress and in some unsettled places in the world girls are seen to be protected by an organisation and may then in turn be safer.  On the website is much more info than I can put here but if you like sewing then this may be for you.
So yesterday I made a mock up in some fabric I had so that the club members could see what the dresses will look like.
I looks very similar to the sun dresses we might have here (UK).  I am going to get the students to add a pocket to the front using the patterns on the website and I have found some lace and ribbon to decorate them.
The gathers at the front are achieved by elastic which the students will be able to do by carefully measuring the turnover and today they were brilliant at checking and double checking again.
The trickiest part for my students could be adding the binding on the armhole which then extends to form the strap but myself and a colleague who helps me with the club will have to perhaps take on this part.
So today we cut out all of the fabric, arm holes, stitched the side seam and pinned up the hem.   They wanted me to just double check what they had done before the next session and I am really proud of how they have taken this challenge on.  They may not be cut EXACTLY to size but they will be made very well and they were very keen to add lace tp create their own pockets to add and offers to bring ribbon in from home came from all directions.  A very lovely and generous group!
This is why I teach.
I will keep you posted on how they get on.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

BBC CountryFILE - Grow Wild Seeds

Recently we watched an episode of Countryfile and they were promoting growing wild flowers in gardens.
So I sent off for a packet of seeds and the other day they arrived in the envelope above.  I got really excited and today I am going to dodge the rain and sow them.
On the back of the packet it says that I should hopefully get:
"a mix of annuals and perennials such as
 corncockle, corn poppy, meadow buttercup and red campion.
So please keep your fingers crossed and I will let you now what happens in a few weeks time.
Happy Sunday.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

I have just joined.......

I have just had my membership approved for the above site.   I have been a follower of Jennibellie on Youtube for over two years and visit her blog a lot.  This site is going to have workshops and tutorials and seeing as I have officially finished by A level evening class and not signing up for anything else until September at the earliest, I thought this might be just the ticket.
Hopefully there will also be some swaps in the near future.  This is quite a new site but already it has a lot of followers and members.
I have nearly finished my WIP featured in the last post, in fact I have been fighting to get it straight in to a frame, which I do not usually do but felt it needed it.  it is also my entry for Le Challenge May and OPAM as well.  
At the moment I am watching The Eurovision  Song Contest and our entry has just sung so it is now the long haul called the interval and then the epic scores!

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

WIP - A colourful UFO getting some TLC.

Another UFO which is getting the TLC treatment and hopefully finished off this week
It has been a crazy week even thought it has only been a  four day working week.  Tonight I have had a parent's evening which went well and then iIdrove straight to my very last evening class where I gave the tutor one of my handmade zippered purses as a thank you.
It was a bit embarrassing when she passed it round the room but I am glad that she liked it.
Tomorrow I have a full day and a meeting after school so not much crafting, but last weekend I did manage to dig out the curtains which have been waiting to be made and Sophie and I had some fun with  air drying clay which I shall post about once it has fully dried out and I can pick it up without worrying about it.  iI is nearly done, just some damp areas so I must be patient.

I have also been dabbling with another WIP which I have blogged about in the past and might finally have a solution to the problem which has prevented it from being completed much sooner.  So not much time looking at blogs' but plenty going on behind the scenes.
Many thanks for the comments that have been left over the past two weeks.  I get a lot of page views but very few comments so I do appreciate those that say Hello and I do try to reply as soon as I am in the house and able  to email back.  So,thank you.
Sophie's blog also has items to add but she has her SATs next week so she has rather forgotten about it at the moment.  I am struggling to get an RSS feed to work for her but there is a follower button and I shall try to add Bloglovin for those of you who may wish to read her posts when she adds one.
So, Thursday tomorrow and it is my GCSE Art Textiles group and we have printing to look forward to which they enjoy very much.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Sewing Lessons in the 1950's

Quite a while ago I used to go to a ceramics painting class in the evening with a local ceramist.  We would pay for some bisque ware and paint it using different techniques and glaze.  Between sessions the teacher would fire them for us.  I painted quite a bit over a year but sadly had to stop going due to work commitments.
Anyway......there were 5 of us in total and one of the other ladies came to one session with an old school exercise book that she thought I might be interested in looking at.  In fact we all spent a long time look at it, passing it round and swapping stories of sewing at school.
You can see the book above and written in pencil on the front is the title Dressmaking 1954.
There is a school name but I can not read it.  I remember buying exercise books like these in red with all of these rules of measurements on the front, should have it on all school books now, I think.
Every page is filled with an intricately hand stitched sample covering a massive range of skills.  My eyes could not believe what they were seeing.  The opposite page in this case had details on how to create the sample shown above which are the French seam and Run and Fell seam.
Each sample is made on a light grey cotton fabric with red thread, which I think is ordinary cotton sewing thread which did use to be much thicker than the thread we have now.  I have a few vintage cotton reels upstairs which my sewing machine does not like.
Different ways to neaten a hem including binding my hand.  Sooooooo neat you can barely see the stitches.
There are many other seams but I thought that we would move on to the more pretty skills such as these Rouleau loops which are quite small and, again, very neatly stitched by hand.
A lovely sample in cream fabric, which made it quite hard to get a good picture, is Shell Edging on silk.  I have not seen this edging before and it is really very pretty, but some patience might be required!
This sample has so much in it.  Three variations of Froggart stitch, it says in the book, plus feather stitch but some close up pictures shows just how much skill has gone into this sample.
Very neatly created.
I think this is a lovely way to attach  separate pieces of fabric together, very delicate and I am not sure that I could create stitching as tiny as this.
Initials stitched in satin stitch.  I am ashamed to say that I have forgotten her last name.
Pockets in mini scale such as this side pocket sample.
Or this square patch pocket.
 I think I have left the most stunning sample last.
As a left hander and being taught how to do smocking by a right hander, I did find this technique a little tricky to master.  This sample however is soooooo detailed I really can not believe what I am looking at and I wonder how long it took to make.  Such tiny tiny pleats.
On the opposite page in the book  is a set if hand written instruction, which unfortunately did not show up clearly on my photograph so I decided not to put it here.
Close up of the middle section.  Sorry about the blur but my normal camera has broken so I am using another which is not set up for macro.
Another smocking sample in red gingham with a golden yellow thread, so neatly stitched on each row.
Well there you have it.........I left out many many other pages with more pockets, hems, pleats and gathers.  I know for a fact that my students would not want to learn any of this and I think others would feel that I had lost the plot if I asked them to.  A real pity as I feel that some traditional sewing is being lost and the skills shown in the lovely exercise book may not need to be done on a day to day basis but if I was ever asked to make a christening gown or decorate a bridesmaid dress many of these stitches would not look out of place or old fashioned at all.
Perhaps I should dig out my City and Guilds smocking samples and see if I can pick it up again or at least show my Textiles Club as I think they might wonder how it was done.
Are there any traditional skills that you were taught at school that you still do now or feel still has its place today?
Been a lovely sunny day today.  Enjoy the Bank Holiday in the UK and a lovely weekend to to all.

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