Monday, 23 November 2015

Fingerless mittens

I really love a bargain and half price yarn is right up my street. Trouble is, the best deals usually mean  rummaging through an 'end of line' bin for odd skeins. There's a limit to what you can create with just one odd ball but if you can find two that match......................

I like a mindless project to work in the evenings without having to think about it too much. These are just what's needed now the weather has turned colder. I used Rowan cotton yarn in a lovely flecked indigo colour and size 3.75 pins - that's an imperial 9 for us old folk!

A rectangle of garter stitch doesn't look very promising I know.

I cast on 44 stitches and just kept going until I almost used a ball for each mitten. I didn't have a pattern so I simply folded the knitting around my hand till it was long enough.

You'll notice from one of the pictures that I left a tail of yarn at opposite corners of the rectangle so that I could pick each one up and close the seam to make a tube. The thumb pops out of a little gap which I left unstitched. The knitting took hardly any time at all and if I can bear to give them away, these would make someone a nice gift for Christmas. I may yet decide to embellish them with a few buttons or I might leave them absolutely plain.

Linda x

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Stormy weather

Storm Barney blew through here last night - I can't remember such scary high winds! The power went off twice during dinner and we kept torches beside the bed just in case.

Turns out high winds are just what you need to fetch apples down from the top of the tree. We'd been looking up at these for the past couple of weeks thinking they were out of reach and just for the birds but this morning I could collect as many as I wanted from the ground!

It's still a bit wild this morning but after wending our way through debris and fallen branches we reached Laura's in time to start recording video for DMTV. There's always a bit of preparation and setting up required before we record and I don't like to be idle so I found time to stitch the binding onto the thorny, red moon panel I quilted recently. Here it is waiting to be attached to its canvas panel ready for display. It's very satisfying to finish something even if it is only small. This piece is 30cm square and was really quick to quilt on the PowerQuilter. I hate unfinished business so I'm really happy to be able to tick one more off the 'to do' list!

I mentioned last time that I was having a sale of work. Here's another quilt I would love to find a new home for;

This first version I made of 'To The Brim' measures 63cm x 98cm ( 24.5inches x 38.5 inches) It's constructed using hand dyed cotton, silk and linen fabrics. I've added raw edged appliqué and printed text with metallic gold paint.

The quilt is mostly free machine quilted.

And there's a little bit of detail added with hand stitch.

No, I haven't put this photo in upside down! The design runs all around the outer edges of the quilt as inspired by Paul Klee's painting, 'Ad Marginem'.

If you'd be interested to have this piece please drop me a line. It costs £195 plus postage at cost.

Thanks for reading today. Linda x

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Bonfire night

The local fireworks display was spectacular!

It's an annual event but the first time we've attended.

Wish we had sound on here so you could enjoy the complete experience - my ears were still buzzing when I went to bed hours later! It had rained heavily in the morning but by afternoon the skies cleared and the evening weather was perfect. Lovely food, lovely company, live music and dazzling pyrotechnics.

So far November has been unseasonably mild so it has been difficult to find the opportunity to get much wear out of my latest infinity scarf. On a trip to Knutsford and Liverpool yesterday it was 18C and we even sat in a courtyard outside the restaurant. Of course, now I've said that temperatures will no doubt nosedive!

I'd liberated the length of velvet from Laura's workroom. It's a gorgeous piece that she'd first dyed and then applied devore paste through a silkscreen. Finally she'd dye painted and digitally embroidered quotations from Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market. The pale stripes you can see are where the pile of the velvet has been eaten away by the action of the paste. It added quite an accent of colour to my otherwise drab outfit yesterday even if, once the sun came out, it spent most of the day abandoned in the car.

Full and Fine 2006 - SOLD!

Rossetti's epic poem was part of the inspiration behind this little quilt of mine too. It's made from a honey coloured, hand dyed, cotton fabric.

The pomegranates were printed onto organza and overlay a hand painted fabric.

The quilt was free machine quilted and the title digitally embroidered.

As a final embellishment I added masses of tiny seed beads to represent the spots of colour on the skin of the fruits.

I'm offering 'Full and Fine' which measures 40cm x 92cm for sale at £100 plus P&P at cost. Although I made it back in 2006 it was only exhibited a couple of times and never displayed again. Email me if you're interested to give it a home. (SOLD)

I shall be making a number of my quilts available here over the coming weeks as I do my best to downsize! I've already added a few new bits and pieces to the Small Items for Sale page. You can find the link at the top of the page. Hope you find something you like - just drop me an email if anything appeals.

Thanks for dropping by today - It's nice to know you're out there! Linda x

Monday, 2 November 2015

Where did October go?

I can't believe it's November already. October was just a blur! We had half term of course which means more days out with Amelie. We went to the zoo one day and I took lots of photographs to inspire my art diary pages.

I know these may look like mad cartoon characters but I promise you the Bald Headed Ibis were bizarre.

There were Guinea Fowl running free and we couldn't resist collecting a few of their gorgeous feathers from the ground.

Comical looking creatures - all feet, squawks and attitude!

When my girls were young we didn't acknowledge Halloween but the American influence has changed all that so the end of the week saw suitable preparations being made. There were cherry muffins with erratic green frosting and carved pumpkins lighting up the driveway. Scary black and orange bunting decorated the hall and black paper spiders dangled from the doorways. Sadly Amelie came down with chickenpox that night so visitors are currently being discouraged. Never mind - we had fun!

Back to what passes for normal life, one of our DMTV members was kind enough to send me a number of photos from her diary pages. Barbara's loving the autumn colours we've all been enjoying over the last few weeks and her artwork, stitching and knitting are all reflecting their warmth.

I love Barbara's trees, birds and combination of techniques in this image!

I also heard from Jennifer again - she tells me she's onto her second sketchbook already. The first is full and so stuffed with work it won't close!

It's great to see the drawings are inspiring stitched work too!

Now that the evenings are drawing in the weeks seem to be flying by so what will November bring? We've got a bonfire party and fireworks to look forward to next weekend. We're hoping Amelie's spots will have disappeared by then otherwise we may have to pretend they're part of a fancy dress costume!

Talk to you again soon - Linda x

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Art Diary - October

This month seems to be all about harvest. Of course I never need much encouragement to draw and paint fruit! I'm playing with a contrast of scale on this page.

I've been challenging myself to draw in a more economical way. Mostly my drawings rely on relative tonal values and, of course, colour but it's refreshing to try a different approach and just concentrate on pure line.

I'm also mixing up the media I choose. Pen has never been something I've used much before (it's scarily permanent!) but I'm loving the Faber-Castell Pitt artists' pens I bought recently. They work beautifully on their own but are lovely with a watercolour wash too.

There's no opportunity for fiddling about when you draw with a permanent pen - you just have to go for it.

Pretty much like Laura's students at yesterday's workshop! Screen printing mixed media drawings using an acrylic medium that couldn't be allowed to dry on the mesh meant there was a sense of urgency about the work. No bad thing if it makes everyone really productive!

The techniques were very experimental and somewhat unpredictable but that's what made the results so exciting and kept me keep popping back into the class to see what was being produced.

There are more pictures of the workshop over on Laura's blog

Can't wait till the next workshop - always sends me home buzzing with ideas for my own work.

Talk again soon,
Linda x

Monday, 19 October 2015

Apples, pears and printmaking

Last weekend saw us back at Dudmaston for their annual Apple Day. This year we took along some of our own fruit.

And enjoyed turning it into juice with the aid of the Dudmaston press.

Seeing the juice run out into a black bucket may not be the most appetising sight but Amelie certainly approved of the results.

There were other distractions of course.

You need to imagine the music, the whack of the wooden staves against metal and the whoops of delight to fully appreciate Morris Men in full stride!

And there were more apples - this time to be decorated with feathers, pipe cleaners and googly eyes! All this focus on the fruits of the orchard sent me straight to my art diary.

I've added pen drawing and a little acrylic ink to this mono print on rough paper.

And tried another monoprint onto a shiny paper for a very different effect. I've sewn the loose sheets into my diary with a large machine stitch. Attaching the loose sheet on only one edge means it can be opened to reveal the page below.

And that's the perfect secret hidey hole for a more detailed pen drawing of an apple leaf. I've lots more diary pages to show DMTV viewers soon. Printing is such a quick way to amass lots of work and I hope you're all keeping up with me this month!

This week's mono prints didn't need a press but I do have one and Laura's been itching to use it ever since I showed her some recent collagraph prints I'd made. Yesterday she popped over to make a quick intaglio plate and run off a limited edition of landscapes.

Of course they turned out beautifully - I can't wait to see them mounted and ready to sell!

Thanks for taking time to drop by - Linda x

Friday, 9 October 2015

Seeing red

And yellow and orange and gold! It's that time of year again when the turning leaves become such a distraction as you drive along the lanes around here. With the vivid blue skies we've been enjoying the autumn colour is impossible to ignore and it's hard not to end up in a ditch.

I probably showed very similar photos on the blog this time last year - I know what I like!! The fruits and berries glowing in the hedge at the back of the garden look good enough to eat and, judging by the activity I see from my kitchen window, the foraging birds agree too.

I had a few minutes to spare while dinner was cooking last night and made the most of them by adding a very quick pen and pencil drawing to a page of my art diary that I'd already collaged with a photocopied red oak leaf.

Using a fine liner pen is a good technique if you're normally a bit fiddly with your drawing. There's no rubbing out mistakes so it concentrates the mind wonderfully and eliminates hesitation.

The colour was applied within the pen lines using water-soluble pencils - scribbled on with a wash of plain water added, leaving some of the paper white to give the impression the fruits are shiny.

I strolled round the garden with camera in hand this morning and now I'm spoilt for choice. I'm undecided whether to paint these gorgeous leaves next or  the red apples from one of our trees. Both subjects sum up an October moment perfectly.

Mind you, a big bowl of apples makes such a lovely centrepiece on the table it almost wouldn't matter if we didn't eat or draw them - we could just enjoy looking at them! The tree was a gift from a schoolfriend to my younger daughter on her 5th birthday. It was little more than a stick back then but you have to have faith and patience don't you? I probably will paint both the leaves and the apples if I have time later today.

I'll let you know if I managed it next time.
Thanks for reading - Linda x