Rocket Vest

So I made my extra panel and was careful to take some measurements this time. The piece was 91cm long. It lost 6cms when it was washed! But I have learnt a lesson and there was plenty to spare.

I followed the instructions in my Beginners Guide to Saori Clothing Design book for making a Rocket Vest. It took a bit of tweaking and a few extra hems to make it fit me but that’s the joy of working with Saori. I’m finding it quite hard to go with the flow but I know that it’s good for me! I think I like it. It certainly feels warm.

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Almost ready…

I decided to make a top out of some Saori weaving. I wove the fabric, measured and measured again, then took it off the loom and washed it. Delighted that it had dried in just a morning, I laid it out on the floor ready to cut it. Oh! Not long enough. Had it shrunk in the wash or can I just not measure properly? Anyway, here’s one side of the prewashed fabric and some close ups. I’m pleased with the colours. Just have to make another panel. I’ll make it twice as long as I need it, just in case!

Cushions!

Now that I’ve told you about my Saori Loom, I can tell you about my cushion production line. A friend who gave me the jacket to which I added some weaving, also gave me a beautiful velvet jacket. I really want to give her something in return and decided I would make a cushion for her. Well it’s been a while coming. The weaving was completed a few months ago but the sewing has taken rather longer. Now the cushions are complete, I can arrange to meet her for lunch! It’s quite good timing as she has a new home too. I’ve decided to give her the 2 blue and gold cushions.

Also, I finished a cross stitch cushion – a birthday gift, which I found surprisingly addictive and enjoyable! I never thought I’d hear myself say that. Here it is:

Saori Weaving

I realise that I haven’t told you about this – my Saori Loom purchase, back in June 2021. I think my blog is going to have to be rebranded. I’m enjoying the freedom, the colours and the speed of Saori Loom weaving. I’ve made a few things and discovered that I can incorporate them into stitched things too!

Find out more from SaoriMor.

In and Out of Lockdown

Finished in January 2022 for the Embroiderers’ Guild competition. I’ve finally had a moment to write about it. I’m on holiday, at home this week, catching up on craft things, trying to kickstart the old or is it the new me? To be decided…

As ever with EG competitions, the size of the work is restricted to 30cm x 30 cm. Probably just as well as the stitching was intricate; the whole cloth covered. There was still space for my patched and pieced frame. The bandstand is edged with silver threads. I did an online class in Goldwork with the talented and inspirational, Hanny Newton during lockdown, so a little nod to that.

In & Out of Lockdown: Seasons Blur

I wrote a poem of sorts to summarise the inspiration:

Seasons Blur
Time passed so fast,
Unremarkably.
Morrab bandstand a monument of home
Stitched in my
Imagination
For peace and pleasure.

Some steps in the process:

Hand in Hand: From Vine to Wine

Hand in Hand: From Vine to Wine 120cm x 50 cm

I am delighted that my embroidered wall hanging, mentioned in an earlier post, has been selected to tour with Guldusi‘s Hand in Hand exhibition. This is my second piece to have been selected, the first, Colours of Flotsam and Jetsam, is still on tour. With the terrible situation in Afghanistan, sadly, the future of the organization is uncertain.

Hand stitched throughout onto cotton drill fabric. The background and some leaves and grapes are coloured with water-soluble oil pastels. Leaf shapes and amphora are applied using Bondaweb and stitch. Hands, grapes and some leaves are made using canvaswork techniques. Large vines are handwrapped cords, couched to the surface. Small vines are hand stitched.

I love working on this scale, but I need a goal to spur me on. Guldusi provides that, and plenty of advanced notice to complete the work, so it feels achievable.

Tapestry weaving

I decided to join the British Tapestry Group, mainly to find inspiration and learn more about this enjoyable technique. A well organised and communicative group, I am indeed feeling inspired and eager to learn more. As an Associate Member, you don’t usually get to exhibit but the current exhibition, Threads in Sheds at Whitchurch Silk Mill, encouraged small works from all of its members. Just what I needed, something to work towards. It was quite a challenge as works were supposed to incorporate silk and be no more than 10cm x 10cm. I decided to use a couple of sketches from a recent trip to Cornwall, as inspiration. Chopping them up into approx. the right size helped me to select the interesting colour blocks.

I decided to incorporate recycled sari silk into my designs as I already had some. After a bit of trial and error these are the 4 pieces I submitted.

Dabbling with spinning

As life begins to return to a bit more normal, I thought I would spend some time just reconnecting with my creativity. The last 18 months has seen me dabbling with lots of things, but they are all wool/thread based, so probably worth recording here.

I decided to delve into my box of tools and found my drop spindle, together with a fleece batt – one of those show purchases that seemed like a good idea at the time. Well it proved to be a nice activity and I created a skein of wool to weave with.

The weave included the wool I had spun and it created an undulating pattern which I filled in with some recycled rug wool in perfectly matching colours. Very tactile and very satisfying.

Adventures in Goldwork

This 4 week online course led by Hanny Newton at Ardington School of Crafts was the most enjoyable thing that I did during lockdown. It was the first time I had encountered the venue and they looked after us so well throughout and even following the event. A lovely touch was sending participants recipes for the cakes and biscuits we would usually be welcomed with on campus. I’ve never really fancied the precision of goldwork although I enjoy using gold in my work. However, Hanny’s approach was much more experimental and her teaching style was just so encouraging it made me want to experiment a bit more. She was generous with her own ideas, inspirations and motivations and was keen to encourage participants to share their work each week. I decided to try and incorporate some techniques into my work, rather than totally develop something new. This piece, Tate St.Ives, incorporates couched gold, silver and bronze passing threads. We were encouraged to apply the techniques to other materials so there’s a bit of couched chiffon in there too. We also experimented with padding and, although not covered in gold, I have included it and couched around the edge. The patched and pieced frame works well with the gold fabric and I’m pleased with the result. I think the learning point for me is that this is an expensive hobby if you’re going to work it on a large scale but the techniques can be applied and maybe its good to work on a small scale sometimes!

Tate St.Ives
Starting out
Patching & piecing

Other things

I write this blog for myself to record what I’m doing and right now I need to focus; I’ve been dabbling in too many things. Or, perhaps I’ve just been learning new skills. Here they are! A proud moment – I followed a knitting pattern – hooray – to make this lovely coat for Gwen, our Greyhound. Maybe a bit big underneath, but you need to get her legs in somehow and its easily adjusted by fixing to the inside of the rib instead of the outside. Excuse the peg tin balancing on her head!

Then I’ve been weaving diamonds with Alice @humelooms. This was an online workshop and completed with Alice telling us when to go under and over – Not sure I’d be able to do it again!

Then I decided that I would use some of the money I had placed with West Dean College for a course that didn’t happen last year and signed up to a Small Twined Baskets Zoom day with Mary Crabb. It was a really nice day making 2 “big toe” sized baskets out of paper string, using basketry techniques. Something nice to do with your hands. I like the little round bottomed basket.

Last year I purchased some Indian woodblocks from the Arty Crafty Place. They work with artisans in India to commission the blocks and then show you what you can do with them in a series of videos. Well worth visiting the website to take a look. I decided that I was going to make some gifts for friends but hadn’t got much beyond stamping a few cards, until now. I made this t-towel for a friend – she is probably wondering what’s wrong with me – I didn’t tell her it was hand printed!

I also attended a 4 week workshop, Adventures in Goldwork with Hanny Newton at Ardington College but I’ll save that for another day!