Saturday, 30 June 2012

Hand stitching , I'd rather be felting!

I have been doing a lot a stitching recently. This is not my favorite occupation. It's just to fiddly for me and I am never so happy with the end result. This is a bit strange as I come from a family of stitchers. 

My grandmother born in 1893 was apprenticed to a tailor when she was 14 in about 1907. The apprenticeship was in Blackburn approx 9 km ( 5 miles) walk from her home in Accrington where her father worked in the mills. At some point she moved to work for Jacques and Juby Tailors of Blackpool maybe after her father retired. She worked there until aged about 28 , in 1921, she married my grandfather . Less then a year later she gave birth to twins. The second baby who totally unexpected. We know this as she had only made one christening robe which we still have .


We have a photograph of her work as tailor. A dress she made for her mother.


We don't have the dress but we do still have the brooch, which is pretty amazing to still have after about 100 years. What a work of stitching and beading the dress looks.


She never sewed again for money but passed on her skills to my mother who made all ours clothes for many years , including my most hated camel coat! Which she and I both remember well.


I made a lot of clothes myself for years with a sewing machine including my own wedding dress.


But ask me to hand stitch a picture and I am sorry to say I'd rather be felting. My friends Els makes beautiful embroidered pictures incorporating all kinds of stitches and fabrics but I'd rather be felting. Even my love of knitting has been eclipsed by my love of felting.


So rather reluctantly I have been stitching a rock pool. Fishing in rock pools was always a favorite occupation of mine at the beach ,but this has not helped much and it's actually pretty hard to make rocks out of fabrics. Neither has my fabric dyed in random red , blue and green patterns helped much. Works well for seaweed , but I did not think I could just make seaweed. I needed I few mussels , starfish , barnacles and anemones and rocks to stand a chance of it looking like a rock pool.

Here it is and I think there should be a prize for anyone, who recognizes it is a rock pool , if they haven't read this explanation.



Saturday, 23 June 2012

Wonderful Wet Woolfest

Yesterday I went to woolfest for the first time. I am sorry that it has taken me 10 years to get there as it is such a wonderful collection of all things wooly.

Held at a cattle market in Cockermouth , it was a perfect venue , even with the constantly pelting rain hammering down all day on the tin roof. Inside , one ring was used for animals and the history of British sheep breads , whilst the other held this collection of small rather more colorful sheep.


In the stalls it was possible to buy every variety fibre known to me at least , I came away with lleyn, Gotland , Jacobs , manx longton plus a small fleece of blue faced Leicester crossed with swale dale. What fun I am going to have with all these!! There were silks and threads , pattern , beads , button , crochet hooks and needles, everything you could imagine and more besides to buy or just to look at and dream.

My sister learnt to do broomstick crochet , and bought one extremley large knitting needle to act as the broomstick. I await with interest seeing a finished garment from this technique.

I thought the hand dyed yarns from Edencottage yarns were lovely and treated myself to a skein , called lupin, to make a shawl.

Best of all was a visit the Artybird stall. I was proud to be part of the creation of such wonderful display with my small piece of felted pinkness.



Meeting Kate and seeing her warmth an enthusiasm at first hand was great and overall I was inspired.


I drank tea with my two sisters in laws , who are old hands at Wollfest and professional wool event visitors with stashes to match and at the end of the day met an old knitting friend from Yorkshire and enjoyed reminiscing about the good old days of our knitting club.

All in all a good day and one I hope to repeat next year.











Sunday, 17 June 2012

Keep calm and Blogsy

I am not really an Ap person.  I am a fibre person.

 I do not need news beamed to me 24/7 , I do not like computer games , or navigation aids whilst I walk about , I  do not have an iphone , and although I have a mobile, my family will confirm ,  I rarely answer it and I am certainly not seeking out Aps every day to help me improve my life.

The process of writing a blog for me , was for the last 9 months :

Have an idea

Write a few notes on my iPad

Think about it for a while.

Take some photos.

Upload the photos to my computer

Send my iPad notes to my own email address.

Copy my notes from my email address on the computer and paste into blogger

Add photos ,

Adjust layout ,

Preview at least 11 times checking for spelling mistakes,

then publish

quite easy really , but lots of steps.

Then I was away from home ,with no computer and I wanted to write a blog. Was there an Ap I wondered ???

Yes there is ----  Blogsy.

 It makes the whole process a slicker , leaner and more efficient and more fun. It is call Blogsy and it's wonderful. I can type straight into my iPad , spelling gets checked, layout and font are variable and flexible . I can upload my photos straight away and put then where want.

It is quite frankly wonderful and I am using it now.


Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Photography or Physics

As a child I was exposed to the mysteries of photography through my father , who was a keen amateur .Carefully setting his exposure and his F stops and then developing his own photographs in our blacked out kitchen. This was the bit I enjoyed most as in the dark , the prints emerged. It was very complicated and exciting. Thanks to the developments in electronics, I have since become a point and shoot photographer. Today my husband is heavily into his photography , but now not only do I have the F stops to contend with there is also a million adjustments possible via the computer .

I was quite content with my old camera except for one thing , it really ate batteries. So when I wanted to use it I was forever running down the road to buy batteries , as I couldn't usually wait for the recharger to work. I was a serous risk to the environment. I therefore requested a new camera for my birthday. Thinking again simple point and shoot. This was not possible . There was a perfectly serviceable , high spec Lumix going spare. It just wasn't quite up to the photographer's standards and I was his excuse for a new one!!. So I am having a trial of it and I cautiously asked for some advice on photographing my felts.

I wanted a normal picture on a nice background , some photos of the detail and a photo showing what the piece would look like framed. Simple ?. Well we got the light right and decided automatic plus a bit a computer adjustment of brightness and contrast was all the was required. Thank goodness, we didn't need to go through the F stop theory again . We did have to get out the super deluxe tripod , but that's easy to work.

Then we came to photos of the framed pictures. A big problem of squareness emerged. No matter how carefully we set up the angles between the sophisticated tripod and the picture hanging temporaliy at a crazy low height on the wall, the frames all looked cockeyed. No solution was possible. Until we had a brain wave , forget the wall and all those complicated vertical hanging mechanisms. Just lay the framed picture on the floor , and pretend its the wall. I think it's a paralax probelm. Physics not photography. And the solution requires no photography knowledge at all.

So here a selection ofmy attemptand the question is wall or floor?








Saturday, 2 June 2012

Right Royal Do

This week I have been in the UK and watched the appearance of flags ,and bunting every where


I especially like this window display. Very innovative , wouldn't you just love those Wellies.



Alongside this there are just so many events planed for the forthcoming weekend. Where I am staying there will be a play , a concert, childrens sports, a BBQ, a Hog roast and an ABBA tribute band.This is just a small place .



Imagine what it must be like in London, with the flotilla and free concert with all the great British stars.


Whoa this is some kind of celebration . I guess you don't get so many opportunities as a country to celebrate 60 years reign of a queen, so you should make the most of it. I do remember when in 1977 , the 25 year reign celebrations coincided with the week in which I was 21 . There were some good celebrations then as well.


All this patriot fever in the air was beginning to effect me. It was a rainy morning , and my thoughts turned away from walking and to felting. Just on a small scale . I had been given some fibres from world of wool for my birthday , with a goodies bag containing yes you guess red, white and blue . I had a small piece of bubble wrap, a rolling pin and one large plastic bag . Was it possible with this limited equipment to felt. yes of course it is. So here it is my own felted flag



I really feel a part of it all.