Archive for April, 2009

I have just received an advanced copy of my book hot off the press.


It is due for release on 3rd August (according to Amazon).

It was really nice being able to handle it and flick through the pages as you do at the shows.

I do hope it does well and embroiderers like it.

Cheers everyone


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Finally I now have Windows installed within my Mac so I can now use all the software which isn’t compatible with Mac.  My embroidery machine software isn’t compatible with the Mas so needs Windows installed to run.  I installed all the  embroidery machine software and connected everything – switched on the machine and then opened the module which enables the computer to talk to the machine. They weren’t talking!   Horror, fear, panic, despair, sinking feeling in the stomach.  After much checking and even swapping machines over with no success, I decided to contact a friend for help and even put out a plea for help on the Pfaffie site.  I lay pondering in bed instead of sleeping – hate going to bed with a problem unsolved – and as a result decided to try one of the installations on the disc which I had ignored as I didn’t think it was relevant.  The next morning, I took out the start up manual and the disc and yes, I should have installed this driver as per the manual.  Once installed, the machine and computer were talking.  Moral – read the instructions and follow them.  I was thrown because I had been connected by serial port previously and so didn’t need the driver but now I am connected by USB I needed to install the driver. Grrrrr. I had to then quickly get in touch and cancel my requests for help and own up to my mistake.   I have now transferred some machine patterns over to the machine which I have used on one of the pieces in this blog. Phew!!! All back to normal now thank goodness.

Following on from the butterfly book I went in search of some more suitable lace to use for relief work – preferably offcuts or samples.  I  found the kind of lace I wanted on the web listed as Venice lace much of which comes as motifs – the kind that is applied onto wedding dresses – and is of course, expensive.  I tried to find heavy lace net curtaining which is where the butterflies came from but again nothing. It must be out of fashion now.  I did find one suitable heavy lace curtain in a local curtain warehouse – the shallow kind which hangs from poles half way up the window.  I bought a metre of this and have used it to make a number of pieces.  I will have to resort to designing and digitising my own heavy reliefs.

The first piece I made was a notelet folder.  I used the same technique as for the butterfly book cover – pelmet Vilene and crumpled tissue paper.  Again I painted the tissue surface with black gesso.  Next I cut one of the motifs from the curtain and stained it with a burgundy Starburst stain.  This was stitched onto the gessoed surface and then I painted the whole surface with a coat of burgundy metallic acrylic paint.  When this was dry I brushed a light coat of black orchid silver Starburst Stain which toned down the shine slightly.


This net curtain had lace loops for hanging so I used one of these loops for the fastener of the folder.  I used a silver leafing pen to highlight the relief of the motif and the fastener.  The edges were over sewn, the bottom 5cms were turned up to create the note holder and stitched in place.  I used a black press stud to fasten.

lace-motif-notelet-folder-completeA very easy and simple folder.

The next piece I made used the bottom half of one full panel of the lace.  I stitched it to some stabilising backing first.  I  stained it with some dye, then painted it while wet so that the different colours would blend. It was highlighted with a gold leafing pen and finally embellished with sequins and beads.


The next piece was very much a ‘go with the flow’.  The size was determined by the size of the piece of calico I had.  I cut three of the motif and arranged them on the piece of calico.  Not wanting to waste the squared part of the net (see above) , I cut them up and arranged them on the calico. A design was beginning to emerge.  Now I needed to colour and texture the background calico.  I decided to use painted Bondaweb.  I chose my colour scheme and with the help of my grandson, wetted then painted the Bondaweb. I had a narrow length of Bondaweb which I wanted to use up so I used this piece and made up the difference with a newly cut piece from the roll.  Only after it was painted did I see that the two pieces were not in the same direction.  When Bondaweb is wet and painted it ruckles in the direction of the roll.  Th two pieces were not in the same direction so when they were dry, I cut the two pieces in half and rearranged them into a quartered pattern.  The Bondaweb was then ironed onto the calico.  I arranged all the pieces of cut lace over the surface again and decided it still needed something else.  It needed stamping.  I sorted out a string stamp I made a few years ago and had still not used.


I used the same colours as for the background and stamped the string daisies over the background.  Later that night I used this stamp as my image for the day and I played with it in Photoshop and created this digital image. (Two birds with one stone!!!)


Back to the piece.

Next I stained and painted all the lace pieces, arranged them onto the background and pinned them in place.  The  ladder pieces were stitched in place first using machine patterns. I cut petal shapes from synthetic web – angel fabric I think it is called – and stitched one petal of each flower.  Then I made up a quilt sandwich and free machined the large motifs in place followed by outlining all the flowers.  I used dyed and painted baby pasta for the flower centres.  I pondered for quite some time about quilting in between the flowers and which colour to use.  Eventually I decided to do the quilting.

Not wasting any part of this lace curtaining which wasn’t cheap – I stained and painted the off cut zigzag edges and machined them around the edges of the quilt.  The loops from the lace were stained and painted and attached to the top edge. Last of all I cut and painted a length of dowel for the hanger.



It looks a bit pink and blue here but it is more burgundy pink, purple and ultra violet. Couldn’t get the right light to take the photo. It does look much better in reality.  It is about 50 x 30cm.

This is a better representation of the colour palette I used.


I did complete another piece today but I will keep that for a future blog.

It was the most glorious warm and sunny day today so we went for a walk through Kildale woods and did some photography.  I have spent much of this evening processing all the photos we took.  Thought I would share a  few with everyone.




There had been a lot of tree clearance on the hillside but they have left all the cherry trees which were standing on the top of the hill against the blue sky.


Lots of new born lambs around too. Ahhh!!!

I am ready to begin designing some new pieces and I am also looking forward to a delivery of goodies.

So cheers for now everyone.

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In my last post I showed how I transformed a desk diary into a note book.  Well I am still plodding through the pages painting and doodling out the dates and calendars.  I can only do so many pages at a time as I have to wait for the paint and gel pens to dry.  Some dry quickly but others take ages so it is going to be a elongated project.  My grandson booked the colours for his birthday.  I have to use gold to paint out the dates and silver gel pen for the doodle.

While I have been doing this I have also created and completed two more art quilts.

As you know, I use photography and the computer a lot when designing and these two pieces were created initially in the camera and then in the computer.

The first quilt used a photograph which I have already blogged about some time back but here it is again.


It was a close up photograph of the leaves on one of my house plants.  I put it into the computer and played with it.  I liked this effect and decided to use it for a quilted piece.

The image was sized to fit onto an A3 sheet of paper.  The A3 sheet was to be the carrier for the treated silk onto which I would print the image.  After a trial run in greyscale draft print I mounted the silk onto the carrier and printed it using an A3 inkjet printer with a flat feed.  I wouldn’t attempt to print such large pieces on silk without the flat feed.

When printing onto silk, I always boost the saturation of the colours as they tend to print out paler than you see on screen.  However, even with the saturation boost it wasn’t as vibrant as I wanted it to be so I positioned the printed silk in exactly the same start position and then – after fooling the printer into thinking it was a clear new piece of paper – I put the silk through again with all my fingers crossed that it would overprint exactly.  IT DID!!!!!! and the colours were bright and vibrant just as the screen image.

While the silk was still on the carrier I used metallic acrylic paints and painted and highlighted the main central set of leaves leaving the background unpainted.

The silk was then made up into a quilt sandwich ready to stitch.  First I machined around the edges of the painted leaves and down the centre vein of some of them.  these leaves were to be left like this so the stood out from the background.

The rest of the image was free machined following the edges of all the different colours.  When complete it was edged with black silk.  I call it Psychedelic Leaves.


It is more vibrant than this image shows.  Not the best light for photographing unfortunately. And, I should have ironed it too.

Here is a close up of the stitching.


The second quilt was the result of combining two photographs of the Piris in my garden.  At this time of the year the new growth is bright scarlet and this one hangs over my front pond.



I put then into the computer and played with the special effects until I came up with this one which I liked.


The next job was to select and combine the images into one long one.  This image is made up of three images blended together.


As with the previous quilt, I printed the design onto coated silk, painted the foreground reds and pinks  and quilted it leaving the painted leaves unstitched.

piris-art-quiltThis quilt is about 60cm long and  24cm wide.


This is a close up of the stitched surface – a lot of free machining.

Now I am ready to start some new pieces but not sure what yet.  I bought a roll of pelmet Vilene a couple of days ago and quite fancy making some more book covers. We shall see.

I managed some gardening yesterday and planted up some tubs.  While sitting in the conservatory having a coffee we noticed a little wren pottering around.  It disappeared into the hole of the drum we wind the garden hose onto and it didn’t come out for some time.  Eventually it did come out and pottered around some more and then took some dried bits of grass into the hole. Yes, it is building a nest inside the drum.  While it was out I went and took enough of the hose to do the watering off the drum.  It will have to stay on the floor until the nesting is over.  A Dunnock was also pottering around and the wren gave it short thrift. Very aggressive.  The dunnock is bigger than the wren but it still chased it away.  Cheeky and brave!

It is the Easter school holidays so I have my grandson for company for a couple of weeks so not sure how much time I will get to sew or paint.  We want to do other things while he is with us.

Time to log off until I have time for another blog and something to share.

Cheers everyone.

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