Stitching, a reflection of my mood

I have been art journaling for self care for about 5 years now. I have become used to how intuitive art can express my unconscious and my emotions. Until a few days ago I didn’t realise how much this would also be reflected in my stitching.

I made a really calming piece last night whilst watching Tom Ford’s film ‘Nocturnal Animals’.

If you haven’t seen it it’s quite dark and violent. When I am drawing mandalas in front of a thriller my shapes get very small and tight.

Looking at the above piece now makes me feel calm- I made four with the same pattern of stitches. Normally I get bored doing the same pattern over 4 patches and need to mix the texture and colour up.

I can’t remember what I was watching when I made this one

But I remember being engaged with the plot and finding it stress full. I think I detached from the Ford film because I had to make my self feel remote and mindful to stay with the film. There was a lot of time spent lingering on Amy Adams face…….

I am working on my 5th quilt at the moment and am making small patches and then attaching them individually in a search for ways not to prick my fingers so regularly. I like working like this, the contained space and with my sense of design being restricted. However, I am also having to have another piece on had when it makes me feel too constricted. At the moment this is an apron with big loose circles.

Quilt number 5 – it taxing my design skills. In the last few quilts I have had an overal idea in mind and I just needed to step back from those every so often to check how my ‘vision’ was coming along.

Number 5 is different. I keep having to think about the balance of colour and texture- I can’t just do 5 patches without placing them next to those already attached and thinking about how I need to do the next 5. I am quite pleased with the results. Though some patches have had to have extra bits attached because they were too plain or I didn’t like one patch next to its neighbor.

This was just blue crosses but it was tooo plain and just jumped out at me……

Number 5 so far

I am laughing at my self – I just did some reading around Fords film – I recognised how beautiful it was and that some of the scenes were amazingly framed – with stunning art in – I hadn’t realised that they were originals …..

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.vice.com/amp/en_us/article/jpvydk/nocturnal-animals-art-tom-ford-shane-valentino

Art journalling weekend near Witney Oxfordshire

I had a fab weekend art journaling with my friend Debbie – she has a small conservatory set up to work in – I do like working in the light after my lower ground kitchen.

Debbie is a certified Brave Girl instructor and we worked with two of Melody Ross’s short courses. These are such fun to do – the workbooks are full of great ideas, images and text- check out http://bravegirlsclub.com/ for more info

I Worked in a journal that I had previously decorated with lots of watery mandalas. I am having some respite from drawing these with all my hand quilting. I found that if I add a layers of white acrylic with a credit card they make great backgrounds that I can add text and images to.

The first work book gets you to look at concepts around being true to yourself

I had fun layering up paint and collage (the tree was in a Psychologies magazine) and adding text using various stencils and found letters

We were quite prolific – having the backgrounds started already makes a big difference.

Saturday night we went out to Blenheim Palace and walked the Christmas light trail.

On the way home I thought I dropped my phone and left it on a park and ride bus. My calm thoughtful journal pages were disrupted by a bad nights sleep and the need to let out a lot of frustration.

However – after getting my daughter to hack into my iPhone account the phone was discovered in Debs car!

So my pages based on ‘flying free’ resumed at a calmer level

Lots of swallows, cages and let it go stuff for this one.

A denim bag panel and reflecting on my boroinspired quilt

Over the last five years I have been art journalling or working on ‘A’ sized paper. I have been working intuitively but thinking in rectangles. When I started sewing I loved the newness of the method and the feel of the material (though my fingers and hands are rebelling at the repetition and the skin on the top of my right thumb is rough and pitted where I clip it with the needles) .

I really enjoyed starting my big quilt. It is a rectangle, but I am struggling with being intuitive on such a large scale.

I sewed a bag panel and then started an A4 sampler. I realised I might kid my self that I work intuitively but I am always assessing the design….

I saw a couple of denim bags on social media and wanted to have a go at a boroinspired panel.

I found a denim bag in a shop sale which was decorated on the top 3rd – some of the design was heavily machine stitched – so I covered that section of the panel with patches and stitching. It needed more.

Boro is the Japanese term for mended cloth with sashiko stitching -I read that it was built up with layers over years. To make cloth stronger and warmer.Maybe working so fast over a couple of days means that the fabrics don’t have time to bed down or build up any sense of history.

Anyway, I didn’t like my panel as it was. When I am art journalling- or working in other pieces I have found my self in the mind set – that if it doesn’t look like it is working, I set it aside for a bit or add another layer…..

I looked back at the bags that I liked on social media – a stripy design appealed. So I added another layer to my panel

This ability to assess a design – look at the balance of texture/ pattern / shape is lost for me on my quilt. I am enjoying working on such a large piece and can see that there will be a huge sense of satisfaction when it’s finished, but the assessing, control freak is not a happy bunny. 😂😂😂

Attempting big stitch quilting with tea bags

I always need to try something new or develop what I am doing. I found a series of tutorials for big stitch quilting by Jo Glover. She explains what to do and what equipment to use. I adapted her ideas using a teabag top layer ironed onto interfacing. I decided to go back to 3×3 bag samplers. I basted the teabags to the layers of wadding and back piece. I won’t do that again because the tea bags don’t stay secure enough at the edges

Jo recommended buying a water soluble crayon and crotchet cotton and sewing with a number 7 needle.

Big stitching quilts use similar motifs to Durham quilts as far as I can see in my research. I found it tricky to draw a feather motif free hand so I used the above hearts – it ended up looking a bit like a Christmas cactus 😂. With the Big stitching method you are only supposed to use running stitch. I have left the top half of this piece just running and filled in the outline on the bottom section. I think this works better against the lines that Jo suggested using on the back ground. The blue lines are the chalk pen, which is lovely to draw with. The make I used was Aqua Trickmarker.

I had a go at a second piece drawing a feather wreath design……..

Again I had to go back and stitch the outline. I think I am working too small for this technique – though I like the background texture. I decided these two quilts didn’t work on their own as standalone pieces so I added text

I seemed to have lots of text floating around from this and my ‘Tea and home’ project so I decided to have a go at just doing the back ground pattern from Jo’s tutorials

I think this is one of my favourites – I do like a bit of text lol.

Links to Jo’s videos on YouTube – they are all very short

Art journalling and tea bag quilts

I have been enjoying experimenting with my teabag quilts. However, I fancied doing something a bit different. I made a collaborative quilt with Fran Halperin – she added text and pattern to my design and then I stitched a circle over it in white. I was really pleased with how it worked out.

I decided to have a go at using a quilt as the base for an art journal page. I do these usually on paper and build up lots of layers using mandalas/ printing and adding text.

On holiday in France a made a tea bag quilt that wasn’t doing anything for me, so I used that as a base

And I made a simple 3×3 teabag base.

I am afraid I forgot to take a few photos – blame it on the fact that I was away for two weeks and got over excited on the making front

I started by making a background using pen and paint stencilled through a couple of mandala stencils. I glued the lettering in place with Matt medium. Then added my white back stitched circles

I didn’t like the text it seemed too simple – so I added more – just stitching on top this time. I added a pale orange set of circles in between the white and drew on top of it with pen and gelatoes.

This morning when I got up it seemed too simple . So I attached the lettering

I attacked the other quilt which went through a similar process too

Details of the quilts – I chose the text flipping though a Psychologies magazine with soft eyes and picking out words that jumped out at me

Paper bag quilt

I wanted to do a quilt that represented where I am situated on holiday – rather than a teabag quilt. We bought some veg in a pretty bag with French words on.

I took the bag apart and cut out the decorated panel. I ironed some iron on facing on the back and used a paper towel for added strength.

I started embroidering my back stitch circles. I asked Dad if he had any old envelopes with postmarks or stamps on. He didn’t have any but he gave me a French stamp and an airmail sticker.

I decided to leave them just with running stitch around the edge

After yesterday’s cardabelle drawing I was delighted to find one on a bag Jon bought a croissant in from a bakers

I worked all over the bag in circles and straight lines – I thought I might add other pieces on top as I find them over the next week.

I like the back almost as much

New teabag quilt

I decided to try a new method of sewing with teabags. I used running stitch to attach 56 teabags to a pillow case protector that I picked up second hand. It is a nice weight of fabric with a bit of padding.

My adopted Granny was from County Durham. When I was younger I remember we had a quilt that she made- that looked a bit like this

I don’t remember Grannies being as complicated as those above but I remember loving it- how it felt and the patterns. I wanted it to be mine. ( picture from Pinterest )

I am quite pleased with how my design is developing- I wanted to stick with working in circles – following on from my mandalas ( the next one will have a more Durham themed pattern)

The fabric and padding that I am using isn’t quite thick enough to get the Durham effect. Though I like the feel of my piece, and the contrast of the white thread on the tea colour.

I decided to add some straight lines to join the pattern together – it feels more coherent. I need to photograph it in daylight

The spaces between my lines need to be more consistent- though I like the fact that it still looks like teabags. Some of my other work lost the individual bag feel.

When I was working I tried 3 ways of sewing the bags edges- I pinned the teabags next to each other- but they moved sometimes during the process. Depending how quickly they dried out – made some of the edges crisp and fragile

Crispy joints

Hidden joints

Darned

I think I like them left as they are – with the white fabric showing as contrast. I am going to finish the back stitching- edge the piece and may be back it. I will add a finished pictures

I backed my quilt with a favourite old pillow case and edged it with colour run absorbent sheets that go in the washing machine.