Saturday, October 25, 2008


I have spent the last 2 Saturdays doing sewing related trips or workshops without too much complaint from him indoors. So decided to sew this fabric box for him as a thank you - handily sized for the many CDs and microphone he carts to and from work (singing karaoke every Monday afternoon does count as work). I also rustled up a little home baking. I tried out this Pflaumenkuchen from my mixer cook book, I think I will try something lighter instead next time. (although M would be happier if it didn't contain fruit at all)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Skirt of Excess

Inspired by Klimt's Beethoven Frieze which I saw at the Secession Hall in Vienna.

Some lunchtime leaves, which I snapped whilst taking a lunchtime walk. I have a few other photos which I will fiddle with a view to doodling in my journal.

P.S. to the 2 ladies I overtook whilst cycling up O. Hill this evening. I may be older, heavier and not so obviously as fit as you, but its called using a lower gear and higher cadence. Also your lights are pathetic. Hugs.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A look at Scheile

Egon Sheile's is best known for his figurative work - I preferred some of the few picutres I saw of his I saw that depictged his surroundings. So today I looked at them. I didn't spend a lot of time - just got pens, crayons and brusho out and just played with some shapes and colour. I noted there are some other avenues to look at, which I can follow by doing a little exploring of my surroundings (during daylight of course) with my camera. As far as trees are concerned the colours and shapes are at their best at this time of year.

The next one would be fun to develop of my road and surrounding roads: keeping it simple identifying the shapes and choosing an autumnal palette.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A sketch a day....

...might not keep the doctor away but should give me something to look at on Friday. I have ideas in my head - they flit in and out but are better down on paper.

Pastel on brusho watercolour, taken from Attersee by Klimt in the Leopold Museum Vienna.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Even more overlocker samples

I spent a day at a workshop learning all about the different feet available for my overlocker. As some of those babies cost about 20 quid a pop it was worth playing around with somebodyelse's before coming up with my wish list. I had a good day picking up tips, learning news tricks with overlocker and getting to play with some feet. Unfortunately I wasn't able to really play with ones suitable for the coverstitch capability that my overlocker had. Also, I had to get a new cutting blade (I think my overlocker's previous owner had had a run in with a pin or two) so my budget for a new foot was spent. Still, my birthday is coming up and Christmas is only round the corner!

Friday, October 17, 2008

How to ruin a sketchbook in one easy lesson

Whilst at the show I admitted to Sue, one of my new teachers that I hadn't done an awful lot of preparatory work for the first of the workshops which I will be attending next week. Despite my trip to Vienna, I had done very little art work unless you allowed for the Opie-isation of myself and my beloved. She gave me a few pointers to get me started on my sketchbook:

  • don't start at the beginning.
  • make a place for my sketchbook and just do a little at a time with whatever drawing implement (pencil, pen, charcoal etc.) each time I passed.
  • get some background already painted on those pristine white pages.
Whilst those words of wisdom were still fresh in my mind, I stole myself away into my cavern and spent no more than hour (or it possibly was only half) and rustled up the following:

12 paint brushes / foam brushes
Lots of Paint Brushes
12 pots of mixed up Brusho

Pots of Brusho

One unsullied, untouched, pristine sketchbook

I then set about sploshing (yes that it is a technical term) on the pages:
washing, scrubbing, hatching etc. turning each page as it was covered. I then closed it up and let it dry (as I had been generous it has taken a while), unworried about colours merging or my sketchbook being perfect or beautiful:
One "ruined" sketchbook

Now that it has "cured" I now have a "ruined" sketchbook I no longer feel precious about. Have now got some lovely backgrounds to add to:

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Reporting back - Knitting and Stitching Show 2008

I wasn't going to go to this years Knitting and Stitching Show, as I had been with the college for the last 4 years. Also, this year was the first year I didn't need supplies, research for course or anything else. I did however, want to see my new tutors work which they were showing entitled 'Bodies of Evidence' in this they were working together to see how an embroiderer and a quilter would inspire each other. Their inspiration point was the human form and took a look at dancing and sporting activities. They produced a very vibrant show - plenty of colour, texture and movement. They were just across from Ruth Issett's display 'Connected with Colour'. This was a rare treat as most years she has been getting her hands dirty demonstrating at the Art Van Go stall. It was lovely to see her vibrant work translated from her colourful paper and paint samples into a forest of colour. Very rarely for displays at past and present Knitting and Stitching shows we were positively encouraged to take photos, so here is one I snapped with my phone camera of Ruth walking amongst her work:

A visit to the K&S show wouldn't be without a little bit of shopping. My budget got blown on the usual yummy fabric from Euro Links Japan (and this year I will use it) and a bag kit. This bag sewing, however, was put on hold when my next purchase turned up earlier than expected on Tuesday.

***Warning : this is either going to get my sisters nostalgic or running out the door screaming ***

Wandering around I found a very busy stall which hadn't been there in previous years: Clothkits are back. The one and the same company of 80s and early 90s fame resurrected for the new century. Their range is not vast but has some very cute childrens kits, some adult sized skirts and the classic doll t-towel. I had known of their renewed existence for a while (thanks to C) and had stopped short of making a purchase but could no longer hold back. Unfortunately they had sold out of the "Big Birdie - I Want One Too! Skirt" but were happy to take an order and send one on. I was expecting the kit to turn up some time around Friday, but it turned up first class post Tuesday, which M fetched from the Post Office for me. He was rewarded with me disappearing off to the studio for 5 hours to sew it up. It would have been just over 4, but I had to fiddle about with my overlocker to produce some cover stitched hems on the skirt and the lining. I completed the overcasting of the edges in record time with the overlocker, sewing the seams with my regular sewing machine seemed rather slow in comparison.

This is a rather fuzzy picture of the skirt showing the gorgeous Liberty print lining. Needless to say the skirt was finished by evening's end (despite one or two stupid numpty errors) and was proudly worn to work the next day. If I had to give some feedback I would say that some of the instructions could be a little clearer for a newbie sewer. Luckily I am not but it still didn't stop me from nearly ruining the lining by using the whole of the facing as a guide for adjusting the lining. Also it is a BAD idea to sew in a zipper which has been pinned into a skirt. Pin yes, but then baste it in and remove the pins so that it is a flat as possible. (lesson learnt from my first year at secondary school where I had to sew my zip at least 3 times, and most of my hapless classmates got a few machine needles stuck into their fingers).

Monday, October 13, 2008

Workshop catch up

Before noting recent events I will just share with you the outcome from a workshop that I attended at the Winchester Discovery Centre. I was going to say new but realise it has been open for nearly a year now. One of the centre pieces of this revamped and "souped" up library (which is that and more - gallery space, performance space and so on) is a large embroidery hanging in the cafe by Alice Kettle. The workshop held at the centre was led by Alice herself - I leapt at the opportunity when C told me about it.

The day started off with us all introducing ourselves: we were a good mix of ex C&G, textile students and other enthusiasts. There was a lot to do in the hours we had. So we started with various drawing exercises. As I hadn't sketched for a while I was a little cautious and not overly enamoured of my results. This didn't matter however as we were then encouraged to tear, cut or manipulate our sketches in order to develop a collage:

Drawing and Collage

We didn't have a huge amounts of time to develop the collage but limited time meant that I couldn't procrastinate (too much). We then looked at various hand stitched to consider trying out - prompted from our collages. It was a huge treat to look (and touch) some of the samples that Alice brought along. It was a further treat when we got to dig around in the fabrics and threads she brought along for us to develop our stitching.

From the collage that I created earlier I wanted to develop the wave and movement and chose to do this in a simple running stitch. My final stitching sample didn't bear much relation with my collage. My collage was a good jumping off point though.

Running Stitch Sample

I thoroughly enjoyed my day stitching with C and learning from Alice. Any more workshops would be well worth following up.

Friday, October 03, 2008

I succumbed

To the overlocker purchase. I have had it for a few weeks now and I love it:

My City and Guilds training kicked in and produced:

Whilst some people get straight down to it and produce cute dresses, or great sports tops - I had to do some sampling. The Sadist in me had to try the full 8-thread stitch option:
Eventually I knuckled down and produced this exciting project:

Hmmm I can tell you are a little underwhelmed. (its a pockety thingy for all the trimmings from my overlocker, if you were wondering).

Okay I admit it, its freakishly fast (even for this seasoned free machine embroiderer) not only has it got needles - its got blades (and I want to keep my fingers intact). I am sure I will produce something more exciting but I think I have a little catching up to do with my "Summer" sketchbook (read last minute October sketchbook).

Random thought/rant/cry: Why oh why oh why do I get so terrified of drawing and painting and generally doodling? It should be something pleasurable and almost second nature. There is a lot behind G's theory that every 8 year old child can draw.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Vienna Part 5: Monday Art Galleries

Final posting - (its been over 4 weeks since we went!)

It was much easier to get up on Monday morning - although a little sad as we had to pack our bags and check out from our lovely hotel. After checking out and stowing our luggage for later collection we headed out to the Museums Quartier once more to use the second half of our duo ticket to go to the Leopold Museum. M had entered into Art hell whilst I returned to Art Heaven.

Leopold Museum, Vienna

Having learnt from our previous visit to the MOMUK gallery we took the lift to the top floor where we started with early 20th Century art. To be honest this is the only floor I actually remembered because there were more Klimts (including some of his very erotic sketches), poster designs from the Secession and Werner Werkstatte displays. This gallery also had the bulk of the work of Egon Scheile, whilst he was no doubt accomplished I found some of his potraiture quite grotesque and unappealing. It is debatable that more people would have known more about this artist if he hadn't died at the relatively young age of 28. He and his wife were victims of the 1918 influenza epidemic. In fact, 1918 was a dreadful year for the Austrian art world as four of their major artists died in that year: Egon Scheile, Koloman Moser, Otto Wagner and Scheile's mentor Gustav Klimt. We made out way further through the rooms and until we got to the lowest floor where there was an exhibition of art from the Faro Islands, this included pictures of Puffins in formal tie and suits. I think G liked it, I found it erm, forgetable.

M and I sought out a touch of lunch after this, and after a few crossed wires with G & Mr.T who were already on their way to another tourist visit, I managed to convince M that another art gallery visit could be squeezed in. The next excursion included a metro ride to the central station and then a 10 minute walk - making use of my excellent map reading skills. We were walking amongst some fairly unremarkable Viennesse streets in the outskirts when we came across our destination:

The Kunst Haus Wien, a building in the middle of a pedestrian street decorated in black and white squares. Our tickets weren't even the usual kind - I think if M and I went repeatedly (unlikely - his patience was tested enough) we could end up with a jigsaw puzzle. We didn't have a long time to look round the gallery featuring the work of Friedensreich Hundertwasser but what we did see was very colourful. I am pretty sure this guy inspired the Teletubbies house. I did not have very much time in the shop either but came out with the regulation guide book and postcards. I also couldn't resist some Opal Hundertwasser sock yarn (in colour 676A) it screamed C's name (the turquoise and purple are her colours), I think socks are off the menu though (baby cardigan for BabyBel is). G - if only I had known you were going to become crochet obsessed 2 weeks later........

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