Friday, November 16, 2007

This is not mine!

This beautiful tapestry is by Annalia Ferreri and she won the first prize at an Italian exhibition. This lady lives and works in Rome and I'm proud to say that she is my teacher! I discovered her at a local Adults' University organization and signed up for her tapestry course. She uses a very basic frame as a loom and she simply wraps it up many times to form a warp yarn. She then weaves in and out whatever weft material she fancies by simply using her hands or a mattress needle and voilà!
I had two lessons so far (once a week) and I'm enthused. Here is my frame to practice the different stitches, with a detail of sampler. We are told that before Christmas we'll start working on individual projects ... I'm starting to think of ways to integrate weaving into my Distant Stitch course and the other way round.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Module 3 - Chapter 4 Decorate with Stitchery (second part)

Monday morning, staying at home and waiting for a worker to come and repair my dishwasher. He was supposed to come at nine but in Rome appointments are rather a vague thing and there is not much you can do about it (call them? answer: we're almost there; call them again? answer: sorry madam there is a demostration going on in front of Parliament, we do what we can; call them again after an hour? answer: we just got an accident with a motorcycle and are waiting for the police to come ... yell? not possible, their mobile phone is now switched off).
So here goes the second batch of samples for chapter 4, the machine stitched ones.
SAMPLE 6 (22 x 24 cms)
In this first free machining sample I tried out several stitching possibilities:
free straight stitch telephone wire like in orange as a background, whipstich in orange, cable stitch in yellow/blue and finally free zig zag stitch to fill in spaces and underline whipstitch/cable stitch shapes.
SAMPLE 7 (18 x 22 cms)
Background of this sample is random-dyed cotton cloth.I first applied an orange dyed light cotton on top using reverse appliqué by free machining and then couched a woollen variegated yarn also by free machining obtaining two layers of spirals. I finally distressed the orange margins somewhat.
This other sample combines machine and hand stitching. I use free machined whip and straight stitch and added spirals in hand running stitch and irregular satin stitch, plus a appliquéd spiral.
SAMPLE 8 (20 x 22 cms)

And finally a first experiment in wet felt making. It was less messy than I thought and it didn't take all that long. I prepared a background felt with three layers of wool rovens and placed some knitting yarn on top, poured hot soapy water on this sandwich and massaged through a sheet of bubble wrap for ten minutes. I rinsed it well, massaged some more on a washboard and dried my piece of felt. How proud!
When dry I put some coloured accents and needle felted them, finally I drew on the whole surface by free machining spirals in zig zag stitch.
SAMPLE 9 (23 x 25 cms)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Module 3 (Spirals) - Chapter 4 Decorate with Stitchery (first part)

Today I'm uploading the hand-stitched samples I prepared during the summer. I scanned them all so hopefully they are clear enough, photos do somehow seem to come out better but I'm far from proficient in that area too (sometimes I think I should take a basic course in digital photography ... )
This is a first hand-stitched sample on dyed muslim. I darned multicolour pearl cotton, stranded cotton and metallic thread and then couched some orange and blue ribbon to give more definition.
SAMPLE ONE (18 x 16 cms)

This is another one. I used one of my monoprinted fabrics and simply back-stitched big spirals in pearl cotton. SAMPLE TWO (13 x 20 cms)
The background of the third sample was obtained by hand needle felting together two layers of cheesecloth dyed bright orange (bottom) and burgundy (top), with the orange threads becoming enmeshed into the top layer. When I did this I was obviously thinking of the fantastic effects we obtained during last summer school with the embellisher. I don't have one yet so I used felting needles but it's a totally different story ... Then I couched spirals in knitting variegated yarn and within these spirals other chain stitch ones in variegated pearl cotton No. 8.
SAMPLE THREE (20 x 25 cms)
Since I had the felting needles at hand I made another background. The bottom layer is blue self-dyed cotton with a yellow scarf applied on top and distressed.
Spirals in golden knitting yarn and tubular blue/light blue cotton.
SAMPLE FOUR (25 x 25 cms)
And finally a small sample to try my hand at machine stitching.
I whipstitched and zigzagged small spirals without a frame (I avoid using frames whenever I can) and finished by hand/machine couching two different knitting yarns.
SAMPLE FIVE (18 x 18 cms)

Monday, October 8, 2007

Module 3 (Spirals) - Chapter 3 Monoprinting on Fabrics

I was finally able to assemble my monoprinted fabric samples in a few collaged computer images using Paint Shop Pro. The background is not monoprinted, is a computer image.
In most cases I created monoprints in two to four successive layers on self-dyed fabrics waiting every time for each layer to dry. Samples vary in sizes but are on average 20-25 cm on each side. My colour choice for this Module is blue-orange with variations.
I used Liquitex acrylics slightly thinned with an acrylic painting medium to improve brilliance and flexibility and brushed them freely on polyester films, then scraped them with everything at hand (scrapers, pens, feathers, fingers, spoons , forks etc.). The dry films are quite nice in themselves so I've put them apart for later use (beads perhaps?).
And here are two more fabric collages

Friday, September 14, 2007

Please come in!

Hallo! Finally I'm taking my first swim out in the vast ocean of blogging after all the idle talking done about it at Urchfont. But now vacations are over, friends have left home, kids are on their way back to university and there are no more excuses ... In the next few days I'm going to upload the work I've being doing on my Module 3 (Spirals) but for today I would like to show some glimpses of my very special room under the roof.
How are you all? I would love to have you here in Rome for a chat and a cup of tea or better still for a glass of wine before dinner (remember?) ... but missing that would you like to have a look around? This is the area where I like to spend my time whenever I can. Here I keep all the odd bits and pieces of my old and new passions - dangerous and less dangerous, messy and less messy, dry and wet, bulky and so tiny that you keep losing them, you all know what I mean. I painted all my furniture in light blue and yellow thinking of winter days when light falls early.
But please come closer ... This is the area where I keep my Distant Stitch things, there are the books I'm using (on the little table on the right) and boxes full of fabrics and threads under the other tables. And of course Sian's module open at left ... This is my thinking/sketching/trying out/assembling area, with samples hanging around or in boxes and folders.

And here on the right is the stitching area with my Bernina and my Pfaff overlocker (this is a new animal and I'm still learning how to cope with it). My dear Barbie and Midge are sitting patiently beside and keep a friendly eye on me. They are still wearing their Sixties cocktail dresses and high-heeled plastic pumps from the old days. There is also a wet (and quite dirty) area with a basin where I can use dyes or dare other scary operations without too much trouble. So long for this time. I shall take another swim soon, promised!