Saturday, 13 October 2012

Playing with Textiles - Week 1

I recently started a City & Guilds Certificate in Craft & Design course at my local college and it is an amazing amount of fun, so I've decided to share the ideas and techniques here on my blog in the hope that it will inspire a few others to have a go at playing with textiles.  As the course started a few weeks ago I have a bit of catching up to do, so I'll start right now with week one.

The first step was some quick sketching of leaves and seedpods for inspiration while the wax was heating.  Next up I drew some wax patterns onto different weights of discharge fabric using tjanting tools.  These tools really do take practice and I ended up having to incorporate a lot of drips and splodges into my designs.  Once the wax is dry the fabric is soaked in sterilising fluid to remove the black dye.  I let my fabric have a fairly good soak for a lighter colour.  After rinsing and ironing to remove the bulk of the wax, this is how my designs turned out.

Even the papers I used to absorb the wax were put to use.  As they now sported the pattern from my discharge fabric I was able to colour wash them with varying degrees of success.

While the wax was hot I also got to try a batik technique on tissue paper, building up layers of wax and colour washes.  Each wash blends with the previous ones (so you do need to think about colour mixing) except where the wax has been applied.  With a little planning this technique can be used to produce beautiful batiks but I was happy with my "work it out as I go" effort.

An added bonus is that I share my day at college with a lovely group of ladies in various years of both the certificate and diploma levels of the course - so there is a range of different work going on all at once and plenty of textile eye candy for us newbies.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Sunshine and Singers

What a great day!  For a start it was blue skies and sunshine which have been pretty thin on the ground lately.  My son suggested a trip to the beach this afternoon, which means going swimming in the freezing cold ocean (which I managed to avoid) and then eating icecream (which I didn't).  Strolling along with our treats we passed a small second hand/antique shop that had a notice mentioning vintage clothes so I decided to take a quick look.  Although none of the clothes took my fancy I browsed the rest of the shop and my eye was caught by a rectangular domed box with a key in the side sporting a tag which read "key for sowing mashine dont loss hte key".  How could I resist?  So I lifted the lid and this is what I saw:

This one turned out to be a Singer Model 99K made around 1932 (approx. 15,000 produced).  When I asked if they had any other machines I was pointed to the following, which is a hand operated Model 28K from 1907 (approx. 20,00 produced).

After mentioning I'd love them both but wasn't sure if I had space the shop keeper said he could do me a deal and I could have both for £20.  Deal done!  I know they will need a good clean,oil and possibly some repairs but there was no way I could walk away from these babies who just need a little love.  Now all I need is an old treadle machine and my collection will be properly underway.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

One Week, One Pattern Success!

Recently I took part in the One Week, One Pattern challenge where participants wore items of clothing made by themselves from one pattern every day for a week.  I chose a self-drafted skirt pattern of which I have 3 incarnations.

Day One

This is the second version of this skirt that I made.  It uses a lightweight checked cotton that I bought as a furnishing fabric about 12 years ago.  It then sat unused in my stash for about 10 years but I think it was worth the wait.

The photo here is from Day 3.  I wore this skirt on Day 1 and 7 with a blue cotton top and on Day 5 with a navy fitted T-shirt.  Four outings indicates some favouritism here.

Day Two

This is the original skirt which I then loved so much I made more.  It is made with a fairly heavy, slightly stretchy black pinstripe fabric I bought in Walmart in Canada for $2 a metre.  This was a good choice for a day at the ice rink watching my son skate (although covered with a long coat, scarf and gloves).

Only one other outing for this skirt on Day 6 with a flowing white top.

Day Four

Here is the dress version.  The skirt is in an olive viscose with a peasant style top in a cream brocade.  Although I still love the skirt part, I think the top needs work so this one may have to undergo some alteration.

If you would like to know more about the OWOP challenge you can find the details over at Tilly and the Buttons

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Reading Caitlin

I am in the middle of reading "How To Be a Woman" by Caitlin Moran.  I have to keep stopping and attempting to read sections out to my husband while giggling until my eyes leak.

I don't watch TV or read newspapers so this is my first experience of Caitlin and I'm enjoying it immensely.  I like her no nonsense style and her storytelling.  After reading some other reviews, it's clear that this book is not for everyone but I do consider that some of the criticisms are wholly unfair.  This is not an academic study of feminism but one woman's real, ranting and rather rude opinion, which is why I love it.  I don't have to agree with everything Caitlin says but I admire that she has the courage to say what she thinks (which, surely, is one lesson we could all benefit from).

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

In Memory of Anne McCaffrey

An author who inspired and entertained me since I was a little girl, Anne McCaffrey has brough joy to many with her writing. Her books are a treasured part of my library and have been read many times. The world would be a lesser place without her dragons and I send out my heartfelt thanks for her part in my life. Rest in Peace, Anne. We will not forget you.

A little collection for the dragonlover in us all ...

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Batik in Blue

I've had these photos, taken at the Spey River near Craigellachie one beautiful sunny day, on my hard drive a little while now. They have just been sitting around, waiting for me to be inspired to write something entertaining to go with them. It is said that success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration so I decided to give up on being inspired and just get stuck in.

Many years ago I bought a lovely piece of batik cotton fabric while on holiday in Bali and it has been sitting in my stash untouched ever since. Admittedly this was partly because it was too nice to use and partly because I had no idea what to use it for. So finally I bit the bullet and made a decision. As the piece was too small for a whole garment I had to make a feature of it and design a dress around that. The rest of the fabric came from a roll of navy poly cotton that had also been biding it's time.

I wanted something easy to wear and comfortable for the occasional warm day we get here in Scotland, so this dress just slips over the head and pulls in behind the waist with matching fabric ties made from the batik. The neckline is finished with bias binding also made from the batik and has a false underskirt effect to achieve the length I wanted. It was very much a "make it up as I go along" process.

Overall I'm pleased with the result and have recieved some lovely comments when wearing it. This success prompted another experiment which I will blog about shortly (when I can produce some photos I'm happy with).

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Beads, Glorious Beads!

Whoops, I think I lost May! But it's a new month and a very sunny day and I just got a nice package from the post office - my latest glass bead order. It may seem very sad to the non-beady but I always get excited when I have parcels of new beads to open. All those shiny pretties to look at. So here's a peak ...

My son will perform the essential secondary quality assurance check when he gets home from school. Every new bead I make or buy must be examined and given the seal of approval. I wonder what his favourite of this lot will be?

Then I just have to think of what to make with them.