Patterns and blogging experiments

I’m just experimenting with using the WordPress app on my android tablet and if it is successful it will hopefully encourage me to get blogging again!

The ease of adding photos will be the crunch point to this experiment so let’s wait and see.

The last few weeks since the first module of my pattern course finished, I’ve been busy getting to grips with Photoshop and building more patterns. You can see one in the Graduate Showcase of the course on Rachael Taylor’s blog -  I was so excited when it turned out to be the first one!  It was based on a thermofax screen design I made from some Markmaking. Here it is:

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This week we were excited to go up to Warwick University where DS1 was graduating from his degree in PPE – here he is in all his finery (sweltering in the heatwave!) with his proud parents :

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Follow me on Feedly

Just after I wrote yesterday’s blog post, I read an update from Feedly about how they had altered their service to provide a seamless transition from Google Reader. They now have a button for bloggers to put on their blogs to help people to subscribe via Feedly so if you would like to do this I have added one to the sidebar underneath my email subscription form.

It is over on the right >>>>>> or this one here will work too:
follow us in feedly

Pattern crazy

Apologies for the lack of blog posts.  I’ve been busy with the pattern course I talked about last month.  Module 1 has finished but I’m still enthused by it and busy creating patterns and coming to grips with Photoshop.  And observing patterns everywhere.  Such as this row of colourful wellies outside a shop in one of the arcades in Cardiff…

wellies

I dug out all the various sketchbooks I had accumulated over the last few years and was a bit horrified that they filled three plastic crates! Of course, they are not all full…. some of these are pretty empty…. There are quite a few handmade books and some little ones that I made from watercolour paper and bound with my little blue Bind it all machine.

sketchbook pile

One of the things we’ve been learning to do on the course are moodboards – this isn’t strictly a moodboard but a collage of the images that grab me, made quickly and roughly in Picasa.

collage

I have also been trying to add more colour and pattern to my studio – this had unforeseen consequences last week!  I took down a pile of patterned fabric from the top shelves there and relocated them on to one of the lower shelves – which promptly fell off the wall!  Luckily my precious thermofax machine, which was on that shelf, didn’t end up on the floor in pieces….

Remember if you use Google Reader to read this blog, that it is being shut down on 1st July so you will need to export all your subscriptions and save them on your computer.  I like the look of Feedly as an alternative – if you log in with your Google account it pulls in your subscriptions automatically and it has now introduced its ‘cloud’ service so it will no longer be dependent on Google when it shuts down Google Reader but will pull in the feeds on its own servers.  If you would like to get updates to this blog by email, you can do that by filling in your details on the form in the right sidebar and then you won’t miss a post or have to keep checking back to see if I have updated it!  I use Mailchimp and as far as I can tell it works quite well and I promise not to send you any unrequested mail.

Pattern course and a bit of colour!

For the last few weeks I’ve been doing an online course called The Art and Business of Pattern Design. I decided to embark on this because I noticed that a lot of my artwork consists of lots of overall pattern and texture and I needed something to get me organised now that my boys are all flying the nest and I’ve got more time to set up a business in it!

I’m finding it really inspiring and you’ll probably see quite a lot of it popping up in the next few months but just now we’re doing colour and here are a few photos that I’ve dug out to get colour swatches from…. UPDATE: I added the swatches I got from them at the Color Palette Generator

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A cliff in Cornwall (didn’t do one for this as both the colour generators I tried seemed to ignore that gorgeous red/orange and green and focus on the browns/blacks of the rocks).

colour-london-building

 

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A building in Bloomsbury in London

colour-london-graffiti

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Some graffiti near Brick Lane in London

colour-london-rain

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Rainy pavements in London!

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More rain!

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Yes, it rained a lot that time…

colour-newport-housesetc

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Colourful containers in Newport

colour-paris-metro

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The Paris metro

Can you use an old Singer sewing machine?

Okay, this is a different sort of post than usual, but still textile related!!  My husband is involved with a local charity called Health Help International which sends various supplies/support to Zambia and India.  One of their projects is a sewing studio in Zambia and they regularly send out old manual sewing machines – manual because the electricity supply there is unreliable.  

P1000276 

These machines have been given to me because they don’t work (or in some cases might be because they have one of the older type transverse bobbins which are difficult to get hold of, I’m not sure).  But I’m tripping over them in my workroom and wondered if anyone locally (South Wales) would like one for a small donation to HHI (since they were donated originally I don’t think I should just give them away outright)? 

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These are photos of the ones I have and I thought that if you sold at vintage fairs etc you might be able to use one as a display.   I’ve seen people using them for hanging necklaces and pendants on or as decoration in shop windows.  These old machines are very ornamental, aren’t they?

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If you are interested or know someone who might be, leave a comment or email me on liz@lizplummer.com and I’ll get back to you.  They will need to be collected from Newport in South Wales.

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Great British Sewing Bee and some upcycling fun!

I hinted in earlier posts that I’d been doing more dressmaking and upcycling than quilting and dyeing recently, so I thought I’d tell you what I have been up to.

I bought a secondhand Harris Tweed men’s jacket on Ebay very cheaply and altered it. 

harris tweed jacket 

I can’t find any ‘before’ photos but this is it when I had just started and was auditioning that orange silk fabric with it.   First of all I unpicked the lining from the main jacket from about halfway up the front and along most of the bottom edge apart from the back vents where it was too firmly stitched on!   Then I took out the shoulder pads and restitched the top of the shoulders to make them a bit narrower, more rounded and less military-looking.   I then stitched more darts to shape the waistline. 

altered harris tweed jacket  

Here it is just pinned.  I had to be a bit careful not to pull the pocket flap out of shape.  I also made the bottom of the armhole a bit smaller and stitched more tucks in the upper back to take out some nasty puckers that had developed.  Once I was happy with the fit, I restitched the lining and then added a few embellishments.

detail of pocket trim   

This is some of my printed fabric which I stitched on to the top pocket.  I also stitched some narrow burgundy ribbon along the piped top of the bottom pockets and replaced all the buttons with dusky pink ones to make it clear that this was now a woman’s jacket!  I thought I took a photo at this stage but the only one I can find is the one below.  The buttons on the sleeve are pink too.

upcycled polo neck 

The Great British Sewing Bee started last week and inspired me to do a bit of my own!   This pinky mauve top started life as a Landsend polo neck top and after a while I decided I didn’t like to wear polo necks anymore but I still liked the top and didn’t just want to chuck it.  So I took the neckline off and stitched that burgundy satin bias binding around the raw edges.  I also wanted it longer so I thought I’d put a flounce on the bottom.  I wasn’t sure about mixing stretchy knitted fabric and woven cotton, but I thought my hand printed fabric which I made with the wisteria screen shown at the bottom of this page of my blog matched the colour well so decided to give it a go.  I found a webpage on How to make a pixie skirt and it was incredibly easy – this piece is just a square piece of fabric with a circular hole cut in the middle.   A couple of lines of topstitching with a triple straight stitch finished it off and I’m wearing it as I type!

top with jacket 

Here it is with the finished jacket.

  another view of top

Not sure whether to sew this flower on or not…

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