Monday, 31 January 2011

Fair Isle

I've been playing around with an idea for a baby dress - Fair Isle intarsia to be precise - as a 1st birthday present for my niece. I have till April so hopefully that will leave enough time for me to actually complete it;)  I was thinking about this while knitting the bird in hand mittens before christmas but when they took about two weeks to knit, I quietly shelved the idea away as my completion rate for garments, even baby sized ones, isn't stellar!

And then, this month my friend Marilyn over at the Room on the Left started experimenting with intarsia and writing her own patterns. Just about the time when I was thinking I really must get focused on my art work and put away my knitting for a bit, lol! That's always the way life happens isn't it? You make a decision and then, wham! Something comes and whacks you out of your comfort zone again, just as you think you have a tenuous grip on what you want to do. I think I'm getting a big neon sign telling me to find a happy medium :))

But back to the lovely fair isle knitting. Yes, it is very traditional looking, especially on these clothes, but there is the potential to be cookie and cool at the same time. If I get the right shape for a baby dress I think I could pull it off - that and my love of all yarns bright and beautiful! I do love the adult dresses but I don't have the patience or the figure for them, but I can appreciate them from afar.....:)

You know, I think I may be subconsciously being influenced from my youth. I seem to remember having a knitted fair isle dress in soft bluey purples and greys that was lovely and warm - and well fitting - but a 10year old can carry that off! The only thing I hated was the really tight ribbed polo neck - aaargh! Strangled every time! So no polo necks in this design!! I like the little rounded pockets though, might try to incorporate them. Now I just have to decide whether to go for a dress, hoodie top, tunic style to go over long sleeves.... :)

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Seedheads study

I realised while I was over on my flickr account that I forgot to post about some artwork I made for my family as christmas presents. I couldn't show you at the time as they might have been peeking on my blog and I didn't want to give the game away but now I can show you a little more. As is the way of presents made at the last minute, I didn't manage to get as many photos in good light as I would have liked but hey, I'm just glad I remembered to take any!! So here is the first piece I made based on dried flower head drawings from one of my sketchbooks.

Quick sketch of flowerheads
Fabrics before stitching
 The background is two layers of different fabrics that were hand painted with dyes which were then stitched over using free embroidery. The background stitch size is a bit bigger than I wanted but my machine was playing up with the thread so I decided I could live with it:) The fabric strips for the stems were just stitched in place although I think it would be nice to fuse them with bondaweb to avoid having frayed edges - unless you want them as a feature. In fact you could just fuse the two layers of fabric together if you wanted to exclude the 'texture' of the free embroidery stitch altogether or keep the stitch and back it with wadding to have a quilted piece which would resolve the wrinkled effect.

The main issue I think with this is the close-up detail looks fine, all in proportion and balances well but when you stand back and look at the piece overall you realise there are areas that need a bit more attention. The stitch detailing is lost from a distance and it doesn't hold its own compositionally. I also got a bit carried away stitching the little curly stems at the bottom so I need to remind myself when to stop too! Hopefully I can get a really good picture of it in its frame soon as it looks so much more intense and detailed in real life. The poor light in these photos has bleached the intensity of the dyed colour somewhat.

This was more in the nature of a quick colour study in fabric and stitch. In retrospect, I would have planned the compostition a bit better beforehand if I had had more time, but saying that there are elements I really like and elements I'd like to change so lots of ideas to take forward for the next study.

Monday, 24 January 2011

New beginnings

Ruby - mixed media collage 2007

Hello, hello! I'm back! Yes, back with a plan - of sorts ;) It's still very fluid and will probably be subject to lots of change as I go but, hey, the best plans should be flexible! As you can see, I've been doing a lot of procrastinating this week by focusing on updating the blog rather than plunging in the deep end workwise but it has helped me clarify what I'm wanting to do and where I'd like to go with my work and ideas. I've written up a little bit about that in my new 'about me' page, if you fancy a read but to summarise things, I'm going to move back into textile art again and spend more time developing my creative ideas with the ultimate goal of exhibiting and selling work. A big goal for this year but I'm happy just to make a start and see how things go.

This doesn't mean I will be abandoning knitting or crochet - not at all! I mean, who can resist lovely lace scarves and bird in hand mitten patterns?  In fact, that is another thing I'd like to work on this year - designing patterns. I'm going to start small - hats, bags etc - and then work up to some big mamas like lace wraps or shawls. Ambitious, I know! But it will take as long as it takes and as long as I am enjoying the journey then who knows where any of this creative journey will take me?

It's taken me a while to commit to this new path - or more an extention of the old one - and I know the hard bit of just starting is hovering at my shoulder so I'm thinking about something I saw today on Kit's blog Diva Quilts.  She's taking part in a quilt journal where although you don't have to commit to make something every day and you can work at your own pace,  you do have the incentive to upload your work to a flickr group. I like the idea of some kind of structure to work to and a journal type of project seems more manageable to me. I think I would have to commit to a minimum of work per month though or I'd just drift! But how much is manageable? Maybe this week I'll give it a try and see how I get on. Some work may be 'in progress' but thats sometimes more interesting :) It may help me blog more regularly too!

So new week, new year, new beginnings. Let's see how it goes, shall we?

Saturday, 8 January 2011

A little time out...

'Music of the land' by Virginia Lee

There has been a bit of silence around the old blog since Christmas, which is pretty much a reflection on my creative state! But I don't think this is a bad thing. I just feel like I need some time to take stock - sweep out the old to make way for the new. Just what that new may be yet, I don't know but it's exciting thinking of all the possibilities.

In fact, when you get into the headspace that nothing is precious and you can decide what the story of your life is going to be - to be in full control of your choices in life - it's a heady thing! But don't worry!  I won't be making any hasty decisions that I may regret later. I will be trying out new aspects of my life as I go to see how well they fit - a bit like clearing out a wardrobe and only putting clothes back in that flatter and are a perfect fit:))

So I'm going to take some time out to absorb all these rambling thoughts and new ideas,  and try to make a new cohesive whole out of them. I will be posting on and off thoughout the month as I still have to catch up on all those infinished UFO's that are lingering, cluttering up the headspace as well as my storage  - and knitting or crochet is a good occupation that keeps the hands busy whilst giving the mind time to think.

I will still be around on ravelry, flickr and facebook to chat and comment on all your lovely blogs so I look forward to keeping in touch with you all.

elaine xx


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