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A busy few weeks, but all the same I was surprised to realise it’s four weeks since I last blogged.

One of the fun things I’ve done was a procion dyeing workshop. I had done a little before, but it was much more hit and miss than this.

We all started with two colours and did a gradual run from one to the other (9 pieces). I picked Turquoise and Golden Yellow, knowing I would get some useful greens. We used 10 inch squares of calico and each piece was put in a plastic bag and left for 24 hours.

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We had two reds, two blues and two yellows to choose from, a warm and a cool one of each. For the next batch I did equal quantities of two primary colours. So deep oranges, purples and greens, four of each in various shades.

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The next few were playing around splashing reds and yellows on one piece, and blues and yellows on the other.

I ended up leaving them 36 hours as I wanted to wash them out in daylight to see the colours better as they emerged from the murky water.

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This is the gradual run from Turquoise to Golden Yellow washed out and still wet. I had expected them to be more mossy shades, but was happy with the results.

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The middle greens were Lemon Yellow and increasing amounts of black to give more khaki shades of green. The oranges and purples show the variations with the cool and warm mixes of the blue and red, and yellow and red.

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The whole stash drying out. I also did a few threads just to experiment.

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The whole lot ironed and sorted in to batches. Each fabric was labelled  with a laundry marker and the proportions noted so the shades are re-produceable.

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It was a systematic approach which I have not been disciplined enough to do before, but simple to follow. I will certainly use it again, but its also fun to have some happy accidents that are one-offs.

I’ve not used any of them yet, I’m still just admiring them.

This is one of the suitcases retrieved from my Dad’s loft a few weeks ago. It was originally his youngest sister’s who died of breast cancer more than 30 years ago. She also had Multiple Sclerosis for many years, but was a great advocate of positive thinking and looking on the bright side. She was very dependant on her siblings and friends for her basic needs towards the end, which must have been very frustrating for her, but remained cheerful and appreciative  of the support they willingly gave her. I often felt very humble in her company, and ashamed of moaning about the little things that ailed or irritated me. She was always more interested in what others were doing, rather than talking about herself.

So I will treasure this, along with the tiny passport photo of her and a gift card written by her in a very shaky hand a few weeks before she died. It would have taken her a huge amount of time and effort to write those few words.

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cleaned up

The case was full of paper and plastic bags filled with fabric, a few dresses and many memories. The things on the top are not familiar to me, and I’m not sure where some of the things came from, but it does reinforce my “learnt” hoarding tendencies! Some of the things I have no idea why my mum kept them when they down-sized from a largish mainly Georgian house (one end was 400 hundred years old) to a small lodge.

top of case

top of case

heaps of things out of case

heaps of things out of case

final emptied and cleaned out

final emptied and cleaned out

Some of the fabric is like looking at old photographs, they evoke as many memories. The two pieces below were used to make my sister and I ponchos in the early to mid seventies. They had a high rolled collar fastened with two hooks and eyes, mine the pink fabric had a black fringe and the other a brown fringe. I can recall the impatience for it to be finished so I could wear it.

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This red was made into capes, both the same this time, with a red, silky lining. There’s an old photo somewhere of us both sitting on the stone lions at the front of Blenheim place wearing them.

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It seems that there was a theme with these four blue, flowery prints. The “Wee Willie Winkie” was a nightie-case I made for my little cousin, there was also a “Wee Wendy Winkie” I made in pink, but no sign of the scraps from that.

When I peeked in the case last week I spotted what I thought were the scraps from this “nightie” I made in  needlework at school in 1972. The teacher was “scary” and very strict. Only 4 out of 200 girls were brave or stupid enough  to take needlework “O” level, me being one of them. I was the worst in the class (somebody had to be), and often told that I would fail, in the end it was the best grade I got (B). She certainly knew her stuff  and taught us well, I still occasionally refer back to my books to find how to do a particular stitch or method of doing something, and feel her breathing down my neck when I take a short cut!

We were supposed to make nightwear and use french seams, having looked inside at them this afternoon, I would be happy to make such good seams now. I thought it was much too good to wear to sleep in and used to wear it with my jeans.

vintage 1970's top

vintage 1970s top

But the cherry on the top of the cake must be this beautiful tablecloth which is just the right green to go in our dining room. I don’t recall seeing it before and don’t think it was one my nanna made (the back is not as good as the front). It has a couple of signs of wear and tear, but nothing a strategically placed plate won’t hide.

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I don’t know what I shall do with most of things but, for the moment I have put them all back in the case once I had cleaned out the bottom.

I was tagged by Alex from underatopazsky, http://underatopazsky.wordpress.com a great source of encouragement and inspiration to me, I get a regular fix of looking at her work for real at Scunthorpe Embroiderers Guild. Its good to spend time with like-minded creative folk in reality and in blog land. Thank you all for hopping over from her site.

I also live in North Lincolnshire, in a village with woodland on the doorstep. Regular walks whatever the weather all the year round are a great source of inspiration for me. My blog name of debbidipity was chosen because of the way I dip into all sorts of art and craft techniques with varying degrees of success. I finished a B.A in Fine Art Practice at Hull School of Art and Design as a mature student last year.

1.What am I working on?

As usual several (many) different projects: quilts; embroidery; painting; canvas work; finishing off lots of small mainly Embroiderer’s Guild projects; decorating; sorting, filtering, re-arranging and tidying my work spaces; writing; preparation for a large mosaic; a few little books; plotting, planning and designing new work; several running sketchbooks.

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quilt inspired by woods

 

 

 

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old suitcase retrieved from Dad’s loft cleaned up

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vintage fabrics etc yet to be explored

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fabric washed ready to use for a quilt inspired by a stained glass lampshade

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designs with paper for above quilt design

 

2.How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I always have several projects on the go at a time, this keeps the ideas fresh and lets the work develop further, one thing leads to another and techniques from one media lend themselves to others. This transfer of skills across different media is what makes my work my own.

 

3.Why do I write / create what I do?

It’s just an integral part of me as far back as I can remember. I’m a doer, which isn’t to say I don’t think, but the thinking is best when my hands are busy too. When I see somebody else making something I want to have a go, not to copy what they are doing but to put my own slant on the process. It always has to be a challenge, part of the learning curve. I may make more than one of something (quilts for example), but everyone is different. Some of the things I make have a repetitive element to them, but this is good planning and problem solving time for other stages of the project or for another project entirely.

 

4.How does my writing / creating process work?

I don’t write a great deal other than “my pages” every morning, something I have done for many years now, since reading Julia Cameron’s The Artists Way. It sorts out my head, letting go of the dross, the trivia and trivial, processing things that are bugging or worrying me, which in turn helps make space for the creative things in my life. Some days the muse just flows and as I’m writing ways to solve the project in hand just end up on the page.

The creative process mainly works in a couple of ways. Occasionally I wake up with an image in my head of a finished piece. This may sound great but usually when this happens I have little or no idea how to execute them. Often my creative writing comes this way, but usually in the middle of the night with words chasing around my head, going round in circles until I jot them down, and once I have I go back to sleep, if I resist they just keep me awake.

A large felt sunflower piece came to me in this way. It was only the second piece of felting I had done, and by far the largest piece of work, other than a couple of quilts, I had taken on at this time. I had no idea how to make this piece but once I set up the pre-felted background 1 metre by 2 metres and had the fleece to hand it just flowed, and once it was hung in the pre-determined place it looked just as I had envisioned it.

 

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felted sunflowers

 

Far more frequently some “treasure” be it a leaf, a thread or a piece of quilting fabric will inspire me to create. Sometimes this is sketched, planned and designed before the process begins, at others I make a start not knowing whether it will end or how it will look. It evolves as I go along, analysing and assessing each stage as it progresses.

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ladybird fabric just had to go in my garden inspired quilt

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nearly finished garden inspired quilt

My nominated blogger is writer Lois Elsden, http://loiselden.com  She is as intrigued by words and their meanings as my language teacher husband. Lois has published several e-books and continues to write all day every day.

Also take a look at Jean Pierre  http://jpgraveur.com a french friend printer, he can’t take part in the blog hop, but well worth a look.

For some reason I have not been able to get into my blog in the last few weeks. Time has been pretty tight, and on the odd few occasions when I’ve tried to blog, it just wouldn’t work. Frustrating!

This is one of the things I’ve worked on and finally finished. It needed sequins and beads, lining and cording.

I used two different size gold sequins put randomly around the embroidery. I seen one or two others finished and realised that I needed to keep the sequins in quite tight to fit them on the front and to keep them away from the seam at the bottom.

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A selection of beads in the same  and toning colours as the stitching were used to anchor the sequins down.

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This lemon printed fabric came with the kit for the lining.

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Much as I like it, it wasn’t right with the colours of the embroidery and the design was too large.

The burgundy and gold from my rose window quilt worked much better. I used the burgundy for the french knots and beads for the flower centre.

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The embroidered piece was machine stitched to the lining with right sides together, leaving a small gap for turning through on one side which was hand stitched. The two sides were hand stitching together to make the back seam.

The same burgundy stranded cotton was used for  cording that edged the seams across the top and down the back.

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Detail of the corded back seam.

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The finished scissor keeper. The end of the cord made a tiny tassel at the bottom.

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insight-postcard-2014-1smI’m taking part in this event again this year, you’ll find my details under artists (page 2), Debbie Drury on this  link:

http://www.insightopenstudios.org.uk/

I’ll be open 10.30 until 5.00 the two September weekends (20, 21, 27 and 28 September).

I have had a re-hash of my studio space, with a lovely big table to spread out my work, but also for teaching workshops to small, friendly groups.

The plan is to have a variety of media available for visitors to try out (if they want to) alongside my work on display, and various projects for me to continue working on.

Looking forward to meeting some old friends again and making some new ones.

For anyone who has not been before I am very easy to find: from M180 junction 4 towards Scunthorpe / Brigg, take right-hand lane and go straight on at A18 roundabout (Forest Pines) signposted Broughton 1 mile; turn right at Dog and Rat mini-roundabout, and 104 High Street is 100 metres on the left; my studio is under the arch down the garden.

(104 High Street, Broughton, DN20 0JR)

This is another Embroiderer’s Guild project I came across while I was tidying up, (one of many). It’s a scissor-keeper done in detached button-hole stitch. A new stitch to me, and it improved as I grasped it. This is the nearly finished first attempt. I then saw Alex’s and realised how messy mine was, big, uneven stitches. I pulled it all out and started again.

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I did more smaller chain stitches round the edge of each petal. This in turn means that there are more detached buttonhole stitches too.20140219-153735.jpg

I’m about to start the second petal here. I’m much happier with how it looks.
20140219-153819.jpg I like the effect of the varigated thread.

20140219-153851.jpgI done burgundy french knots for the centre of the flower. I want to put some beads amongst them too. Then it’s almost ready to make up.
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We’ve got two of our French friends from the local twinning coming to stay early next week. So I / we are on the usual tidying up mission before  they arrive.

It’s my long on-going battle to be more tidy / organised and every so often I read and try to put into practise “why am I so disorganised? sort out your stuff” by Dr Marilyn Paul. It’s certainly helped over the years; it’s now relatively rare for me to loose my keys / purse / glasses etc. because I do usually put them in their own place, and my time keeping is much better. But other things I’m still struggling with.

One of the things that came up was why you want to be more organised. Yesterday morning I’d written” … to have our home warm (cool) and comfortable with our interesting things displayed for our ( and others) pleasure and interest”.

I spent the morning sorting out books and embroidery and quilting magazines, and doing paperwork.

So going to Alex underatopazsky yesterday  afternoon  for a  break and a catch up was lovely. We did lots of nattering and exchanging of ideas, although we didn’t do any stitching I came away energised and inspired.

Her beautifully displayed collections made me think of my / our “treasures” that were hidden under a piles of junk and what I’d written in the morning.

Alex had given me a white cuff, which kept me awake in the early hours, ideas chasing around my head. So I was up at 5.30 to make a start (secret at the moment) and  after an hour of stitching and making notes, I went to look amongst this heap for a tiny wire butterfly. No luck, I’ll just have to tidy another area!

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This was an area that still hadn’t been sorted since our water leak back at the end of 2012. It just looked altogether too daunting.

But it did go from this to this. I don’t know why the print tray was facing the wall. It’s improving already.

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And soon, to this (just don’t look at the dining table!)

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Lots of things I’d forgotten about.

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Some I’ve collected since the original print tray (including another print tray) I did for  “Passions and Obsessions” for my A level art exam just over four years ago. It was a mixture of found and made “natural” objects: shells, pebbles, cones, butterflies (made in silk from my own photographs), feathers (all but one had dis-intergrated / been eaten), things that inspire and inform much of my work.

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The butterflies are about life-size and the silk is so fine they flutter in the breeze.P1010867

IMG_2480  IMG_2479 I also found this arch /gateway which was one of the starting points of the wooden discs  https://debbidipity.wordpress.com/2013/04/20/wooden-waistcoat/   and this old wooden nodding penguin had also been hidden away.IMG_2481

If I keep working away at small areas eventually they’ll all join together.

A small group of us from Scunthorpe Embroiderer’s Guild went and sat in the gardens of Scawby Hall yesterday afternoon to celebrate “national day of Stitch”. A beautiful setting and pleasantly warm. We were all working on our own projects and had a selection of finished work for folks to see too. As usual, lots of nattering alongside the stitching.

20140803-115135-42695009.jpgI continued with my memory quilt, the last two 9’s of 1999.

20140803-115134-42694747.jpgThen after just over an hour of stitching the heavens opened, a quick dash to the nearby greenhouse for shelter.

20140803-115328-42808080.jpgIt was good to be out of the raining,warm and dry, we’d all managed to put the sewing away before it got wet, but slightly soggy tops.

20140803-115135-42695275.jpgIt was beating down on the polythene,  reminding me of camping holidays, snug in your tent.

Once the rain stopped we retired to Scawby Church for tea and cakes. Cakes as good as usual Sue. The stitching and talking then continued. We were all enjoying ourselves and reluctant to pack up, but the tea volunteers were ready for home. We all agreed we should do it again soon.

20140803-115135-42695522.jpgI finished the last bit of stitching this morning, and hung it on the line to photograph. I’ve found the rest of the fabric to finish the sashing down the sides. Then it’s how to finish it off, my usual fleece on the back or something a bit more challenging? I’ve  some ideas, just need to try them out.

 

 

 

This carpet is the reason I didn’t continue work on the canvas work for eight dining chairs when we moved here in 1990. As you can see the colours were totally wrong , not to mention the pattern. Its proved very serviceable  over the years, red wine, and small children, but it really wouldn’t have been my (our choice), but it was far to good to change.

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But the colours go beautifully in the lounge now. So when I found it while sorting out last back end I decided the time had come to finish it. If you are new to my blog you can go back and look at where I started re-working it.

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I got so carried away once I started the final stage I forgot to take photos until I’d got the first two sides on. The learning curve was a bit steep as usual as the canvas work is not quite a square (15 inches in one direction and 16 in the other). I wanted the overall cushion to be about 22 inches square (to fit the pad I already had – 26 inch feather cushion – I like my cushions plump and squishy).

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On the photo above the four horizontal stripes were already done when I started re-working it. And although I found most of the original yarns, these have disappeared, used for other projects(?) in the long interim. (I’ll probably find them now it’s finished!). I did pull out some of the original work (the shape of the finished piece had to be different) out but wanted to retain as much of the original as possible.

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The fabric is brown denim and has a definite nap which I used to effect. I realised that if I put the short pieces on the longest sides and the long strips on the short going the whole length of the fabric and canvas work with the nap going in the same direction, it would optically make it look square overall (or nearly). The required lots of careful measuring and checking, more than the usual adage of measure twice and cut once. Then squaring off to end up at 22 inches plus seam allowance.

I have not put fabric with canvas work before in this way, so in the end for the first two seams I’d ended up doing five rows of stitching to get it right. I’ve got used to quilting where the pieces are the same size and the seam allowance comes off both sides, so I’d not allowed the seam allowance to add the long strips! Also I wanted the seam to be right next to the canvas work stitches and the first seam wasn’t quite close enough. So three unpicked seams! I’ve spent so much time on the canvas work I didn’t want to spoil the whole thing but not making it up well.

I’m not sure if readers think I am just totally incompetent or whether it’s reassuring that others make mistakes too!

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For the back I decided  to put in a zip. Yes, it’s a bit of a pain, but all the other methods I’ve tried, overlaps, buttons etc., have their disadvantages too, especially with over stuffed cushions.

I know that my old needlework teacher Mrs Hirons would turn in her grave if she saw the way I did it, but it seems an easier way to get an even seam overlap putting in what should be the second row of stitches first on a flat piece of fabric (and working upside down!). Then putting the other piece of fabric up close to the zip and stitching from the right side. These stitches are completely hidden by the flap so are much less noticeable if they are not quite straight. They are straight though I pleased to say. Looking at it I’m sure Mrs Hirons would have said it was a well put in zip, if she hadn’t know I hadn’t done it correctly. Also I committed another sin, I didn’t tack. Hence the unpicking on some of the seams!

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Made up ready for the cushion, not pressed, nor trimmed inside, just in case anything needed altering I’d not burnt my boats.

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It fits, it’s worked, it just needs taking out and cutting off the excess fabric and the corners snipping off (see bottom left).

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Finished at last. Looks better square in the chair, but will probably be mainly used as a floor cushion. I’ve realised as I’ve written that I haven’t taken any close up photos of the making up. I can’t at the moment as it’s been borrowed to put in a display of work by the Market Rasen group that I go to. If anyone wants to see close-ups let me know and I take some when I get it back in a few weeks time.

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