Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bars & Stripes - Quilted Wall Hanging

"Bars and Stripes" is my latest piece of textile art work, entirely hand sewn. This wall hanging is made from a variety of cotton (one or two cotton mix) fabrics. The textiles used include repurposed (laundered) clothing, as well as some new fabrics.

The fabrics are cut and pieced, then quilted with a thin wadding and backing fabric. A sleeve is added to the reverse with a baton of wood for hanging. The wall hanging is tea dyed in hot water to give it an aged and wrinkled appearance.

The piece measures approx 21 1/2" (54.5 cm) wide, and 27 1/2" (70 cm) high.

The inspiration for this piece came from seeing the wonderful quilts of the Gees Bend community. I immediately grabbed some paper and started cutting and arranging irregular strips of paper to come up with my own design. Then I chose fabrics and colors to give a deliberately asymmetrical and 'improvised' look and feel to the piece. The wall hanging costs $175 from Fire Horse Textiles.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Golden Spring Days Treasury

Here's my latest treasury featuring artists and makers from the EtsyVeg Team.

Click on this link to find out more about the individual items.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Featured Artists: LittleBarb

Fans of LittleBarb's range of fabulous and unique button jewellery will be delighted to know that Barbara has opened two new shops in addition to her original Folksy shop: LittleBarb on Etsy and

Barbara says "On my site you will find necklaces made from buttons, ceramics and fabrics, often mixed together in the same piece. 

Each necklace is a one-off and designed and created by LittleBarb.  I try to use vintage buttons where possible, I find the colour and finish often more interesting than modern buttons, although I do use these too." 

"Fabrics range from silk to felt and the ceramic used is often porcelain, although I do use polymer clay too.  I am drawn to colour and this is often the starting point for a necklace.  I try to find colours that not only compliment each other but also those that have vibrancy because of their unusual juxtaposition.

"All in all my work is a mix of elements that interest and fascinate me.  I hope you too find them attractive too."

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Book Review: Rag Rugs - Old Into New By Debbie Siniska

My most recent book purchase, was, in fact, a set of three...

I was expecting a normal-sized set of books when I purchased these, so was a bit disappointed to receive a set of three stapled booklets with card covers. Each booklet has 36 pages and is filled with plenty of diagrams and colour photos of work in progress and of finished pieces. Size 8 1/4" (21 cm) high x 5 7/8" (15 cm) wide.

Book 1 looks at tools and materials.
There is a brief history of rag rugs, followed by descriptions of the tools used in making them. The rug hook, bodger, peg, latchette hook, shuttle hook, scissors, cutting wheels, frames etc are shown with a paragraph of description. The author describes choosing and obtaining textiles to use; backing fabrics; methods of marking out designs; and use of colour.

Book 2 covers techniques and starter projects.
One or two pages are devoted to each of the tools described in Book 1, also making simple tassels, and how to braid and coil rugs. Next are sections on finishing your rug and ways to display it and clean it. Some small project ideas will get you started:- flower brooch, herb pillow, memory mat, and seat mat.

Book 3 contains further projects to try.
There are instructions for making a child's mat, celebratory banner, wall panel, braided mat, welcome mat, flower bag, and penny patch rug. There are some sections at the back of the booklet for stockists, rag rug makers and places of interest to rag rug makers to visit.

In summary: I'm glad to add these to my collection of books on making rugs, and they are a useful basic overview for someone new to the subject. They cover, in brief, a good range of techniques and styles, which should provide the initial inspiration needed to give rag rug making a go.

I'm not sure why this material was split into three booklets, rather than a single book, as you would really want to have all three to complete the 'course'. The pattern line drawings are pretty tiny - you will need to be good at enlarging designs to make use of them.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Portrack Garden

Rob and I went to visit 'The Garden of Cosmic Speculation' at Portrack House at Holywood, near Dumfries on Sunday 1 May. It was opened under Scotland's Garden Scheme, for charity. It was just open for one day (and for the first time in many years).

This photo shows the sculptured landscape with lakes designed by husband and wife team Charles Jencks and Maggie Keswick Jencks. The view is seen from the top of the spiral mound (shown in the 4th photo).

Red Bridge with seat...

A beautiful rhododendron in the more naturalistic area of the garden.

The 'Snail Mound'. The people capering about on it give some idea of the scale.

Portrack House.

It was a hot, sunny day and there were hundreds of people there - picnicking, sun bathing and exploring every corner of the grounds.

We enjoyed looking at the Garden, but decided that all of that grass would be a bit too high maintenance for us ;o) I prefered the more natural looking areas with lots of plants, trees and, hopefully, wildlife. How on earth do they mow that mound?! The version at National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh is perfect, though, - just right for the setting.


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