Monday, 29 February 2016

Sashiko with Susan Briscoe

Sashiko by Susan Briscoe
Yesterday my C&G Certificate Class had a great treat as Susan Briscoe came for the day to teach them how to stitch Sashiko.  Sashiko is a Japanese stitching technique, which I have admired for a long time, but hadn’t actually tried.  So rather than quickly teach myself how to stitch Sashiko to share with the class, I got the expert in.  It also meant I spent a very pleasant day learning a technique I’ve admired for a long time!
More examples shared by Susan
Susan showed us how to mark the fabric with a grid – there is a definite technique involved - and got us stitching a rice stitch pattern.  This is my first Sashiko piece, still in progress. 
My attempt at the Rice Stitch Pattern
Susan is a wealth of information and experience and generously shared as much as she could in the space of the day.  In the afternoon we progressed to trying a hemp leaf pattern.  Rather than using the grid to measure the stitch size, it is free stitched.  It took a while to get the rhythm going – I can tell where I started, once you get going, the stitches end up more even. 
My in-progress hemp leaf pattern
As well as teaching us how to stitch these patterns, Susan showed us many examples stitched by her and other people – they were very inspiring. 
More examples shared by Susan
By the end of the day, we had two half stitched patterns, information on how to stitch other designs and heads filled with enthusiasm and ideas.
Lots of examples hanging on my design wall
Susan teaches lots of Sashiko workshops - you can find out more about her classes here.

A vintage book that Susan brought along
Sashiko by Susan Briscoe

Sashiko by Susan Briscoe - not just on indigo coloured fabric

Monday, 15 February 2016

Faux chenille or layer and slash update

Faux chenille after washing and fluffing
It's that time again in the C&G course when I have to demonstrate faux chenille.  I really enjoyed trying it out last time, so was keen to make more samples this time.  You can see instructions on my blog from last time here.  Here I'm going to tell you what new things I discovered this time.
The stitched fabric before cutting
This time, I had some cheap polycotton sheets and used these for four layers.  I got out my scrap bag and put pieces of brighter colours in between the layers, especially under the top one.  
Cut fabric before washing - so much flatter than after washing
For the first sample, I tried using thick thread for the top stitching.  It did look good before I washed it, but to be honest, it was kind of lost when it was all fluffed up, so not worth the extra effort.  
Stitching with the thicker thread, front and back
For the bottom layer of fabric, I used black and the thread on the underside was a variegated one.  It looks good against the black.  On the second one, I used a grey thread for some of it on the bottom and it doesn't look as effective.
The Clover cutter
I timed myself making it, and the first one from start to finished slashing took 4 hours.  It is approximately 20in (50cm) square.  Some of my students were surprised at how long it took, until they tried for themselves!  There is an awful lot of stitching in it and cutting the layers with scissors was hard on the wrists.
After that, I decided I really needed to try a proper chenille cutter and my friend Marjory recommended the Clover one.  It is fabulous.  It just tears through the layers of fabric and it took me half the time.  Wish I had bought one years ago!
For fluffing up, as I still don't have a tumble drier, I used a clean kitchen non-stick scouring sponge.  It seemed to work well.
Clover Slasher in action
Eventually I want to make a quilt using lots of these squares, but given everything else I have to at the moment, it may be sometime.  I really want to try playing with the patterns you can make and not just running diagonally across each square.  So many ideas and so little time! At least with the second C&G Certificate group starting a few weeks ago, I will have the opportunity to demonstrate it again soon.
The second piece

Monday, 1 February 2016

My not a New Year's Resolution: Daily drawing

25 January

23 January
I don’t really do New Year’s Resolutions – they tend to get broken and then I get down at my inability to be superwoman or even normal woman and just keep my resolutions.  So much as I would like to get fitter, lose weight and be a better person, i don’t make resolutions.  
This year, though I want to try and make a daily drawing.  It’s not a resolution, but something I would like to do and this gives me ‘permission’ to myself to make space to do it, something I enjoy.
So I started, a bit rockily on 1 January – perhaps a busy day with a mild hangover was not the best time to start and failed to do any on 4&5 January as we were away.  Just as well I didn’t make this a resolution, failed after 4 days!  
However, I decided this was okay as long as I made up the drawings.  So I have over 31 drawings from January and am really enjoying developing my sketches and trying out different media.  The hardest thing is knowing when to stop!

So these are some of the 31 drawings.  I thought 31 was too many to share, but you can see the quality of the drawings is variable ( I didn't just choose my favourites).  Obviously, I’m more pleased with some than others.  I had had the idea of the circle drawings floating around my head for ages before the 1st January, but when I started, they didn’t turn out anything like I was hoping for.  
11 January
I was relieved when the stand stones starting developing better!  
12 January
Some of the photos aren’t great as I have been drawing first thing, generally before the sun is up and so my shadow is in some of them. 
28 January
 And I’m pleased that I’ve already made my drawing for today, 1 February!
29 January

19 & 20 January

31 January

30 January

26 January

24 January

17 January

13 January

14 January

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