Wednesday, May 18, 2011

By Royal Mail

Royal Wedding memento cushion and lavender bag.
I received this lovely gift by Royal Mail yesterday. It is a Royal Wedding memento cushion as well as  the most fragrant lavender bag I have ever smelled. Glorious. They are gifts from Gill after her dog had selected my name for her Royal giveaway! Thank you Gill!

I am off to the land downunder to spend time with my family as my Dad recovers from a medical emergency.

One good thing at a difficult time - I will be able to hand deliver the Bird House to my grandsons.

Happy stitching, and I'll be back here soon, Gilly

Monday, May 9, 2011

Cloth Coil Bird House and Thankyou

Bird House with doors closed
This has been a while in the making. It is a Bird House for my two grandsons. It is a Bird House of particular ilk! It is the home of a special type of bird - one that sits on little baby teeth, relinquishing them to the tooth fairy in exchange for a gold coin when he or she visits during the night. She hopes that the tooth fairy will find her nest without unnecessary delay and to this end has placed some clear signage inside the doors. When the boys lose a tooth it must be placed very carefully in the nest under the bird and the doors left wide open for the tooth fairy's visit. In the morning the boys will know whether the tooth fairy has been if the doors are securely closed. The tooth fairy always shuts the door behind him/her to make sure the gold coin is kept safe from predators!

Bird House with doors open for the tooth fairy.
Overall I enjoyed constructing this. It was a bit fussy and took way longer than anticipated. However it is made out of fine linen  and soft cotton and so feels lovely to the touch. I find it very hard to think in terms of making things for little boys. I have two grandsons and a third one on the way. No grand daughters on the horizon! Well, I hope the boys are okay with having a tooth fairy visiting house that is not an alligator, or train, or cricket bat. They have one that is a Bird House.

Closer view.
 I have a thank you to make to Nat for a lovely gift for me when I became her 200th follower. It is all the way from my home country, Australia and I am very thrilled. The pin cushion goes so well with my large coiled work basket. The blue moons are extremely timely as I am taking jude's SunMoonStars course.  (I have made a small start attuning my mind to this course by placing a star on the Bird House above)

Beautiful gift from Nat. Thanks Nat!
At close of weekend needle I had sewn more coils on the still-in-progress basket. However I am thinking about what to begin making for SunMoonStars. A break from coils will be quite okay for awhile.

Happy stitching everyone, Gilly

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cloth Coil Basket Completed

Close-up of felt base and side of basket
Well, I have finally completed the large cloth coil basket. This ended up much larger than I planned. I decided I might as well finish the roll of cord that I had bought at a thrift store. This is how far it went, including the handles. I decided I had better reinforce the base for strength. I did this by stitching in place a piece of felt I had with colours that toned in quite well. Now I have a lovely capacious work basket.

The whole basket - 18" wide by 9" high
 I learnt a lot through making this. For example, how to angle the needle and the coils, how tightly to pull the coils together, the effects of highly textured coils on the building process. This basket is nice to the touch - soft but pretty firm as well. I feel that I really improved my technique towards the end of the basket.

At close of needle I had begun a new coiled basket but this one has a much different feel to it. I'll post it soon.

Happy stitching everyone, Gilly

Friday, April 8, 2011

Embroidered Garden

Embroidered Garden - (trying to capture some light)
Embroidered Garden - from the side.

Embroidered Garden - from above.

Emroidered Garden is six and a half inches square with heavy textured, and three dimensional, embroidery. This was designed as a sampler in which I tried many stitches. Apart for the excitement and reward of learning new stitching methods I absolutely loved the process of planning the garden. My main resource for the stitches was Three Dimensional Emroidery by Patt Trott. This is a wonderful book with good illustrations, clear instructions and a simple layout.

My desire to plan gardens came originally from one of my favourite books. It is The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett in which some 'lost souls' find healing by the regeneration of an old walled garden which was shut down because of tragedy. It is a wonderful story of hope. I have fantasised about enclosed gardens ever since first reading this book when I was eleven years old. Now I have found an outlet for all my imaginary secret gardens.

At close of needle I was still coiling the large basket and I am nearly there!

Happy stitching everyone, Gilly

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Twined Nest with little Bird

Twined nest and little bird left hand view.
Twined nest and little bird right hand view.
I have been practising kaite's twining, with some help from Deanna. I made this nest out of twined scraps of thread and torn black linen. Very enjoyable way to use bits of thread that I have always hated throwing out.

I also made a little bird out of fabric and felt scraps. I did this partly because the nest seemed to request a little bird but also because I went for a walk on the weekend through a beautiful orchard and watched a lot of busy, very busy, robins going about their Spring business. I also saw little quail strutting around with gusto. So, really, this little bird combines the two birds from the orchard and serves as a sweet memento of a peaceful afternoon with my husband.

At close of needle I had only a few more rounds of my large coil basket to complete.

Happy stitching everyone, Gilly

Friday, April 1, 2011

Large Cloth Coil Basket

Closeup of where I am working right now.
And another, from the inside.
A different perspective.
Upon finishing the basket in my last post I had a lot of cord left on the reel that I had purchased from an op-shop. I decided to begin another basket. I enjoyed the process so much that I became addicted for few days!

I really liked a large shallow 'baby basket' that I had seen in Susan Breier's book, It's A Wrap. Susan's  work is inspiring and the book has good instructions. However it is all done by machine. I am pretty much committed to exclusive manual handling of cloth and thread and don't think I would give up the sensuous, tactile nature of hand work for anything - except  (haha) sewing curtains maybe.

The base of this basket is 14 inches, which doesn't sound much but it is really pretty large when you consider the diameter. I wasn't sure how I would go building up the sides and thought for awhile that my basket was going to be a failure. But I persevered and tried a few things and finally worked  out how to go upright. Susan's book helped here with her description of different angling. I used soft cording but as I am not machine sewing I think next time I might try something a bit firmer for such a large basket.

My aim in making this basket was to experiment as much as possible with building techniques and materials. I did. I have included many different textures and combinations wanting to see how they impacted the construction process. I explored what I like the feel of, what I could work with again, and what might be best for specific purposes. I haven't finished but I wanted to post it for you to see.

At close of needle I still had not fully completed my embroidered garden, but will post it next ...I HOPE!!!

Happy stitching everyone, Gilly

Friday, March 25, 2011

Cloth Coil Basket

Cloth coil basket - eight inches diameter.
I have spent all my spare time over the last couple of days making this cloth coil basket. I have always loved these baskets and have not tried making one until now. It was very enjoyable. Quite addictive. So therapeutic! I learnt a lot from trying different techniques throughout the construction. It is basically covered cord that is bound and then built using a figure of eight woven stitch. I used tightly woven fabric that I found at an Op-shop. It has lovely clear colours which are refreshing after a grey and white, but mainly grey, Winter.

I want to start another one immediately to practise what I have learnt. I want to improve the beginnings and endings of construction. I think I will make a cloth flower and bead configuration to cover the too abrupt ending on the right hand side of the bottom picture.

At close of needle I had almost finished the embroidered garden that I spoke of last post. Very nearly finished!

Happy stitching everyone, Gilly.
Postscript: The modifed basket looks better - not too fussy?

Closeup - not great lighting.