The last few weeks have been really happy and good fun and I was a bit reluctant to see the end of 2011 as it's been such a lovely year for me. I've recently enjoyed looking back on the years photographs and reflecting. Certainly the highlight was my honeymoon to Lindos in May. It was the first time I had been to Greece and the first time my husband and I had been away on our own for more than a couple of nights. On the beautiful island of Rhodes with it's incredible scenery and architecture, we had a completely relaxing week of leisurely exploring. It was just perfect. I've being doing one of the exercises suggested in the 'Constructions, Buildings and Structures' booklet by Jan Beaney & Jean Littlejohn that I bought in Jersey this summer. The idea is good for when you are inspired but haven't the time, space or materials to stop and sketch. To get an essence of the experience, you select photographs that best describe the holiday, randomly arrange them without overlaps and stick them down when you're happy. Viewing frames focus in and you can find potential new design starting points.
|Lindos photo exercise|
|Inspired by St Brelade's Bay, Jersey|
I've enjoyed selecting the shades of yarn as it grows, deciding when to go variegated or block. As the rrp is around £5 and the original shade I had that ties the others together is discontinued, I've bought yarn on Ebay paying about £1/ball and now have a good stash to choose from. I've no ideas how big it will end up. It's rather heavy already, though it keeps my knees warm and not at all portable, unlike this little make!
|Needed something more portable to knit while the girls have their swimmming lessons!|
I got a little distracted on Ebay and also ended up with some interesting vintage fabric, a small collection of hand weaving looms and two captains chairs that my Dad helped me to sand and varnish! I now have a new comfier chair to sit on and work at the kitchen table. Just need to make a cushion.
|Ebay bargain - during|
|After - Just needing a cushion for working at kitchen table|
|Trying out new stitches the left handed way|
|New winter reads|
Also for Project 2 preparation I've had a go at dying some fabric to add to what I have for colour bags. I had a little stash of dye already that I bought when Woolworths closed so I dug it out and spent a few days preparing and dying fabric and recording the results. I used Dylon machine dye which was really easy - just weigh and wash fabric, leave damp and put in machine with dye + 500g salt. I got a good range of shades depending on the original fabric. The colour was very even, except for some speckles on the fabric that was directly on top of the dye as it went in. It was hard to completely cover the dye with salt as per the instructions. One of the thicker fabrics came out with some lovely streaks when I used the green but I couldn't recreate this with the other two colours. I liked the craft felt which felted further, bobbled and picked up bits of fluff when washed. The fluff that attached itself dyed to a different shade. I got quite excited opening the washing machine wondering what I'd find!
|Of everything I dyed, this was the only piece that came out with streaks and I've no idea why!|
|Craft felt bobbled and picked up fluff from other fabrics in preparatory wash.|
When used wiith orange dye, fluff dyed to a differed shade.
I tried Dylon Cold Dye too but instead of using the fabric I'd cut out and weighed, I put the remainder of the fabric in by mistake. As the fabric weight was now more than recommended, Mexican Red came out more salmon pink - which was rather nice anyhow! I wasn't so keen on cold dye. Although it's cheaper, you do need fixative as well as salt and you have to agitate it constantly for the 1st 10 minutes. This was hard to do without everything splashing out of the bowl. I bid for a huge pan on Ebay after this to keep as a dye bath but just missed out so still on the look out for a massive receptacle for next time. I still have some other cold dye shades left to try.
|Recording results. Good variety of shades resulted from each dye.|
|Preparing colour bags.|
I'll write up all the different techniques I tried later but one of my favourites was the simplest. I used tools and sandpaper to scratch marks into the surface of some shiny cardboard and stuck shiny and paper stickers on top. Ink was applied then wiped off and the piece put through the press. The different areas take up ink at different rates, I particularly like the way the edge of the stickers leave a dark border and love the effect of the overlapping rectangles. The star shapes were scored, then the shiny surface lifted off to reveal the matt paper underneath that soaked up the ink and left a dark area. By cutting shapes completely out you are left with just the background paper. I also like that you can wipe off as much ink as you like depending on the effect you want and like the circular marks left by the rag.
|Print from mark making, cutting and applying stickers to shiny card|
Project 2 is also well under way. Hope to have that completed in next few weeks......
|Stitching lines - Project 2|