Monday, 29 October 2007

The winner is....

No new comments on my 50th post, so this morning I wrote Dot, Lucy, Sue, Julie, Angela, Micki and Lesley's names on bits of paper and put them in a hat....

But there was only me at home and I thought to be fair someone else should pick a name... so instead of picking a name, I did some drawing for my current Opus module which is all about light. I had to set up a group of objects, light them from different angles and then draw them in black, white and grey. I really enjoyed this and now can't wait for it to get dark so I can do some more with some really dramatic lighting. I was using chalk pastels and working on A2 paper and I've done three so far.

One of the comments I've had back from my tutor is to try to loosen up... I've always been very neat and tidy and quite controlled in my drawing (Stewart will confirm I'm a bit of a control freak!!) I hate to make a mess too, so working on a large scale and with messy media has been quite good for me... I even got really messy hands...

Oh! Nearly forgot... I'd just washed my hands when Jacob came in from school, so I got him to pick out a name....

...and the winner of the dotee doll is....

If you email me ( with your address Lucy, a parcel will be on its way!

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Deadline extended.....

Thank you to everyone who has commented on my 50th post so far. I've decided to extend the deadline for my "giveaway" until tomorrow as I'd forgotten about it being the end of British summertime this w/e and also 6pm Sunday will vary depending on where you are in the world! So competition is open until whenever I look in again tomorrow... how open is that (at least that should cover everyone!) Also wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to Barbara for this beautiful collaged ATC... it is exquisite. We did a swap a few weeks ago and I'd forgotten this was on its way to me so it was a wonderful surprise.

Not only did I get the ATC but Barbara put in some special threads and she has also decorated the envelope with stamping and collage so it is also a miniature work of art. This envelope won't be going in the recycle bin!

Results of the dotee doll giveaway tomorrow... and thank you for your kind comments about the sock creatures... there are more of those on their way!

Friday, 26 October 2007

More socks... and 50th post!

When I went for my interview with Opus before starting the degree, Alex Caprara asked me what other interests I had. I told him I liked to knit, sew, read, bake, make things etc and he gave a wry smile and told me I wouldn't be doing all that once I started the degree. This week I've started to realise the truth in those words!!! I'm quite happy with the situation because I'm loving all the drawing and research etc. that I'm doing for my first module but it is at the expense of other things... including blogging which is why there's not been much activity here over the past week. However I've had to find time to make some things because as always at this time of year I've got a stall at one or two craft fairs coming up soon... the first is next Wednesday (don't PANIC!!!!). In a moment of inspiration (brought on by conversations with Mr Sock) I decided to make some sock creatures to sell. These are the first "batch" which will be on my stall at the charity fair in our village next week. They are not entirely finished and need a bit more embellishment (except for the pink one!)

I think they need names... any suggestions???

How rude... sticking your tongue out!

Another thing I've been planning... what can I give away because this is my 50th post. I recently discovered Dotee dolls on Dot's Blog which I thought were lovely. So I've made one as a small present in appreciation of everyone who has read my blog and left comments over the past few months. I've "met" some lovely people and have found huge encouragement in this blogging world so...

If you leave a comment on this post between now and 6 pm Sunday evening, I will put all names in a hat and pick one to receive my first ever Dotee Doll... plus some other little odds and ends that might find their way into the parcel. A small way for me to say thank you to you all.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend... doubt I'll be back before Monday (I'll look in on Sunday evening)... it's back to the degree work for me....

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Bits and Bobs

As promised, a closer view of the ATC I received in the swap on Wednesday which is the turquoise/blue card on the left made by Sandy. The photo doesn't do justice to the colour which is gorgeous. The card on the right I got from Lesley. Lesley has done some lovely sketchbook work on churches and this is based on a church shape with beautiful piece of rust dyed fabic in the middle.

I had a fabulous day in London on Thursday. First stop was Charing Cross to see this statue of Oscar Wilde by Maggi Hambling. I think it's brilliant - all those lovely curving lines - although I know it's not a view shared by all and I think there was quite a bit of controversy when it was erected. I then went to see more of her work at the National Portrait Gallery. I think her pictures are so vibrant and full of movement. After that I went on to the Tate Modern where I had a lovely lunch followed by a couple of hours viewing in the galleries. I had gone particularly to see a collection of drawings from the UBS collection and I wasn't disappointed - there was a fabulous selection of work to see.

Then back home where I spent a relaxed evening knitting and I finished my socks at last... they are very comfortable and I'm already planning my next pair...

... From this fabulous multi coloured wool bought at the knitting and stitching show. I couldn't resist it.

Talking of which, here are some of my other purchases. I was quite restrained this year but even so I have no doubt these bits and bobs will stay in their bags for months. Some fabrics and tape...

Some matching buttons and grosgrain ribbon... I'm thinking jewellery here.

And some more linen fabric, thread and haberdashery from the Selvage stand. I'd like to say watch this space to see what I make from them but I think you might have a long wait : )

Yesterday I was up in Wolverhampton speaking to some lovely ladies from the Wolverhampton branch of the Embroiderer's Guild. They had the best "shop" I've ever seen at a Guild meeting and I came away with more purchases - some velvet and some silk scrim. Hello Wolverhampton!!!

And today I've spent all day catching up with various bits of work for my degree module and have ended up with several "stitched" portraits. I sketched people on the train and in the restaurant on my day in London and turned them into these little stitched drawings. I think I might display them all in a hand made book... if I get time!

Talking of time... it's time to cook dinner... and attempt to make some impact on the mountain of ironing sitting in my kitchen. There are cothes in the ironing basket that I'd forgetten I owned! My next post will be my 50th so I feel some "give away" might be in order. Not sure what yet... but keep watching.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Zig Zag!

We had a lovely group meeting yesterday and we've finally decided on a name. After several suggestions - some more appropriate than others - we finally arrived at a name we were all happy with. "Gina's Babes" was rejected outright (after much laughter) as it was felt none of us really qualified as "babes" and it sounded too much like a dance troupe or girl band! "Free Motion" and "Stitched Up" were also rejected because of connotations implied! We ended up with a short list of four - "In Stitches", "Nimble Fingers", "Zig Zag" and "Stitchwise" - all strong contenders but after a vote the winner was "Zig Zag"

The beautiful collection of ATCs above were the result of our challenge last month and they all went into a group swap. I came home with the lovely blue one in the middle made by Sandy. I'll post a close up when I've got a bit more time. Below is a small selection of work produced since the last meeting. Our theme was foils and gilding plus working with metallic threads. Some fabulous work as always. I find it it truely inspirational being able to work with such a talented group. Looking forward to Zig Zag next month!

Today I'm off to London for an exciting day visiting the National Portrait Gallery and the Tate Modern as part of my ongoing Opus studies. Should be fun!

Monday, 15 October 2007

Big Knit

My lazy Sunday finished with an evening in front of the fire with some knitting. Innocent Drinks are running a campaign called "Big Knit" where people are invited to knit hats for Innocent Smoothies. For every Smoothie sold wearing a hat, during November, Innocent and Sainsburys will donate 50p to Age Concern. You can read all about the campaign here, where there are even knitting patterns. It appeals to my sense of the ridiculous... little bottles wearing hats to keep warm in the fridge... so these were my first couple of attempts...

And then I got ambitious and produced these... definitely going for the "hat of the week" award!

Here they all are ready to send off to Innocent by the end of this month. My family think I'm the Big Nit around here!

A slightly more productive day today preparing samples and a lesson plan for the second meeting of our embroidery group on Wednesday (we might have a name this week). We also had a challenge for October to choose our favourite colour, then take the colour opposite that on the colour wheel and make an ATC in the second colour. I couldn't really choose my favourite colour but decided that yellow is the colour I use least... so here is my yellow ATC. Lots of cable stitch on tyvek, zapped and stitched to a yellow background. They are all going into a group swap so on Wednesday I should come home with a different one!

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Tulips from Amsterdam

I never did get to plant the tulips last week... one thing after another seemed to crop up and I didn't get into the garden. However, today was another beautiful day in Cambridgeshire and I've had a lovely day pottering about, recharging my batteries and planting tulips bulbs. These are what they should look like next spring...

If I had to choose a favourite flower I think it would have to be tulips with their wonderful bright colours and promise of brighter days to come. And my favourite tulips are the parrot tulips... they are so flamboyant and exuberant. So keep watching til next Spring!

I forgot to post this picture of the class yesterday... it really tickled me because here they were, fifteen ladies at a machine embroidery class... and every one of them was knitting! (Don't ask....) It was so relaxed and peaceful that I think maybe I should teach knitting instead of machine embroidery.

I found the three pictures I managed to delete from yesterday's post... so here they are. More lovely textures!

The auction of promises was good fun last night and probably more than a glass or two of wine were consumed. Considering that, we got off quite lightly and were out-bid on several items inculding a weekend in a holiday cottage on Norfolk, a two week holiday in France and a jeroboam of champagne. However, I've got a manicure and a handmade bag to come!
I keep playing with the spacing and have edited this post four times but still blogger is not playing... so good luck if you are trying to read it! My advice is not to bother!

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Hello Mr Sock!

The knitting and Stitching show was excellent as always with some fabulous exhibitions... hard to single out what I liked best but some of the new graduates' work was amazing (daunting too for a new undergraduate), the standard of work in the Pfaff exhibition was superb and I really loved the quirky charm of Julie Arkells dolls/creatures etc. No photos as I'm never sure about copyright with other peoples work... and I forgot my camera! Met with a special friend for lunch... also known as a close friend of Mr Sock! Mr Sock left a comment about the show on yesterday's post... I have to agree that although the exhibitions are always fantastic, one or two of the traders leave a lot to be desired! No Mr Sock... we will not be naming them!

No photos from yesterday but lots from today. The following are a selection of the work from the fifteen ladies who came to the Machined Textures class at Hertfordshire Embroiderer's guild today. They are all work in progress but even though they are not finished I think there are some wonderful samples. I've had a fabulous day... a very relaxed and friendly class so thank you ladies. I know I've missed out a couple so really sorry about that... I seem to have deleted some too but I'll try to retrieve them tomorrow! Sorry too that they are not all entirely in focus! One day I really will learn how to use this camera.

One of the ladies, Jane, had brought with her a delightful tyvek brooch, lovingly hand crafted. I promised to post a photo with a link to her Etsy shop. Unfortunately the photo was so out of focus I didn't want to post it but you can view her lovely things in her shop here... lovealittle.

And when I got home, look what was waiting for me in the post... this beautiful ATC from Sue which is made from silk paper. Thank you Sue!

I think you can all guess what I would like to do now... feet up etc... but we're out to an Auction of Promises for our local scout group this evening. At least I'll get the glass (or two) of wine!

Thursday, 11 October 2007

The garden beckons...

A very short post as today the sun is actually shining and I'd like to get out into my sadly neglected garden and plant the tulip bulbs that we bought in Amsterdam. I'm teaching a day class at the Hertfordshire Embroiderer's Guild on Saturday... Machine Textures again so it will be a condensed version of what I was doing last weekend. I've been finishing off the following sample this morning so here's a quick peek at what we'll be doing...

Tomorrow I'm going down to the Knitting and Stitching Show. In the morning I shall be on the Missenden Abbey stand so please call by and say hello if you are going to be there. I'm concerned this is going to limit the time I have for spending... but maybe that is a good thing! (Although there is always Sunday....)