Saturday, October 29, 2011

A brooch with a face/Eine Brosche mit Gesicht

Now I've used one of my free motion machine stitched faces for a brooch - and as I was listening to a historical audiobook novel while working, I guess it was something of that feeling that influenced my hands here.

The hair is stitched with a thin organza ribbon, the background consists of fabric and wool punched with the embellisher and then embroidered on with my hand-dyed threads.

I sew on a big, coloured safety pin on the backside, as I'm going to use it for holding a shawl in place.

(German summary: Ich habe jetzt eines meiner Gesichter für eine Brosche - oder vielleicht eher Schultertuchspange - verwendet.
Beim Arbeiten habe ich gleichzeitig ein historisches Hörbuch gehört - ich glaube, daß man es auch an dem Gesicht erkennen kann ...)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Working on faces/Gesichter sticken

'You can never have too many faces', Jude Hill/Spirit Cloth once wrote in her blog - and that's true.

A face gives your (textile) picture a personality - and makes it tell a story. I learned that when I made 'The Goose Maiden' - and I also realized that I need to do my very own faces.

So I've been working on some faces now - using my new sewing machine and a piece of cloth, which I have sun-dyed with the breakfast teabags and dried walnut skins in a jar on the windowsill.

Even if my new sewing machine is a wonderful improvement to the old one (so quiet! so exact! and with an embroidery foot!), it's not easy to make the faces much smaller than this. And of course it's more of an effort than having them printed - but on the other hand, I like the idea that each one of them is unique, and has a character of its own.

(German summary: Ich habe Gesichter gestickt, mit meiner neuen Nähmaschine, auf handgefärbtem Stoff - und auch wenn sie nicht so klein werden können, wie gedruckte, gefällt es mir sehr gut, daß sie alle ein bißchen eine eigene Persönlichkeit haben!)

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Goose Maiden/Die Gänsemagd

So this is The Goose Maiden - a small wall hanging, different fabrics, wool and ribbons punched with the embellisher, decorated with hand embroidery, beads, sequins and free motion machine embroidery.

When I visited Sara in Alicante earlier this year, she gave me a few printed faces of hers - so yes, this is one of her fabric faces which I've used for the maid. Ah, and the goose itself is actually a painted tin button - you can still get hold on some buttons like these in old Viennese haberdashery shops!

(German summary: Die Gänsemagd - ein kleines Wandbild, daß ich mit dem Embellisher gepuncht und danach mit Hand- und Maschinenstickerei, Perlen und Pailletten bestickt habe. Das gedruckte Gesicht ist von Sara - sie hat mir ein paar von ihren geschenkt - den bemalten Zinnknopf habe ich in einem Wiener Kurzwarengeschäft gefunden.)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mongolian Warrior Pullover/Mongolischer Kriegerpullover

At last, at last - I've finally managed to finish that Mongolian Warrior Pullover, which I promised my daughter more than a year (shame, shame!) ago ...

When she saw the design in Nicki Epstein's book 'Knitting On Top of the World', she asked me to knit one for her too - but in black, with just a bit of olive green - and if possible, with detachable sleeves (which is of course not in the pattern), so that she can wear it both as a pullover and as a sleeveless vest/waistcoat.

As I had already knitted a red vest for myself using this pattern, I wasn't that eager to make another one (I hate knitting the same pattern twice!) - but nevertheless I bought some nice wool & bamboo yarn and started on it -

Well, now it's finished, at last! (And when I finally started, it didn't even take that long ...)

For the detachable sleeves, I crocheted a row of single crochet along the outer strips, working some short chains as 'buttonholes' on the shoulders - which you would hardly notice when the sleeves are off. The buttons themselves were spread onto the top of the sleeves.

The buttons on the hips are just for decoration - I thought it would look nice to repeat the brass buttons there, giving it a slightly 'military' touch - well, it is after all a warrior pullover, isn't it?

And - I've got a big parcel from Susa again - wonderful handdyed wool, to knit and to spin -

this one makes me think of an old fisherboat, lying on the shore:

- and the spinning wool (I've already begun spinning it!) - which Susa dyed upon my request, on Wensleydale sheep wool - will become a wonderful, soft 'deep lake in the forest'-sweater ...

(German summary: Endlich habe ich den 'Mongolischen Krieger'-Pullover fertig, den sich meine Tochter schon seit einem Jahr wünscht - wir haben ihn mit abknöpfbaren Ärmeln abgeändert. Und dann habe ich noch wieder wunderschöne, handgefärbte Strick- und Spinnwolle von Susa bekommen - und natürlich schon angefangen zu spinnen ...)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Spinning a rainbow/Regenbogen spinnen

I'm spinning again - enjoing the very, very last late summer days with the spinnig wheel outside in the garden - spinning more of that beautiful handdyed wool from Susa (earlier posting here).

It's funny how different a yarn can turn out, depending on the plying thread used. For the rainbow roving, I first used a thin matching thread for plying - and wasn't convinced at all:

So I searched my stash and found a ball of lace yarn (Schoppel Crazy Ball) and plied my rainbow Masham wool once more with that (ah yes, I mixed in some dark blue wool at an end too) - and suddenly, I could really see the rainbow coming through!

Due to the different colour sequences in the plying yarn, there were exciting new colour combinations - made me think of the Hundertwasser colour scheme here and there -

The next is a very light-coloured Cheviot roving, which I'm planning to use for a plain Victorian lace shawl - I'm plying it with a vintage rosé silk thread (one more of those rayon silk threads dated 1936 which I found in my mother's cellar a couple of years ago!) It will be a gift for a friend of mine.

And for the last one, a Falkland wool - the colours are deeper and more 'cloudy' in real! - I've spun it in a soft thick & thin manner, plying it with two skinny wool threads.

I'm not sure what to knit out of this yet - it's very fluffy and delicate, so it would be quite suitable for some kind of shoulder shawl too - and even if I already have some, I still adore those kind of wraps now that the nights are getting colder ...

Of course, I'm not a spinning artist like Jana, who I admire very much indeed - but at least I'm beginning to feel that I'm getting closer to controlling the spinning wheel (and not vice versa :-) - and that I can at least roughly make it produce the yarn I'm aiming at. I'm so glad I bought that wheel and just kept on trying until it worked out!

(German summary: Ich spinne wieder - wunderbar gefärbte Wolle von Susa - und freue mich, daß ich damals das Spinnrad gekauft und einfach so lange herumprobiert habe, bis ich annehmbar spinnen konnte - es ist so eine Freude!)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pixel Patchwork Project/Modernes Pixel-Patchwork

What if one was to combine a pixel pattern with patchwork?

When I held the latest issue of the French magazine 'Marie-Claire Idées' in my hand and saw this beautiful work, it seemed to me like a rather new and exciting approach on patchwork:

Still, this would mean a lot of time and fuzzy, tiny patchwork pieces, each to be sewn down with a 5 mm seam - real miniature work - which I'm not up to at the moment.

So I decided to simplify both the pattern and the technique - aiming at that fabric pixel effect, but in a more 'malfatto' way ... faster, easier - and not too exact. :-)

In one of my cross-stitch books, I found this somewhat smaller rose pattern - with not too many colours.

As there are three different reds (and one pink) in this pattern, and I wanted to use the scraps available, I sorted the red ones in three colour 'families', instead of using the same fabric allover for one specific shade of colour. - This is an experiment on the go, so we will see how it turns out in the end!

Then I started cutting up suitable fabric scraps into 3 x 3 cm pieces - using a roller cutter and a cutting mat. Some of the thin or fraying fabrics needed to be doubled with a thin iron-on-vylene.

For guidance, I drew up a 3 x 3 cm grid with a pencil directly on the background fabric and sprayed it lightly with a temporary positioning glue.

I worked the pattern in smaller segments, bonding the squares with a zig-zag seam and then attaching a new piece of background fabric, when the first had been completed.

It's almost like laying a jigsaw puzzle!

(German summary: Pixel patchwork - die Idee an sich aus einer Zeitschrift, allerdings habe ich sie etwas abgewandelt, um ein schnelleres und nicht ganz so aufwendiges Ergebnis zu erreichen. Ich verwende einen Haftspray und nähe anschließend die 'rohen' Quadrate mit Zick-zack direkt auf den Untergrund fest.)