Archives for category: On going projects

I was tagged by Alex from underatopazsky, 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.


quilt inspired by woods





old suitcase retrieved from Dad’s loft cleaned up


vintage fabrics etc yet to be explored


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


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.



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.


ladybird fabric just had to go in my garden inspired quilt


nearly finished garden inspired quilt

My nominated blogger is writer Lois Elsden,  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 a french friend printer, he can’t take part in the blog hop, but well worth a look.





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.


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.


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).


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.


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!


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!



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


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


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.


For some reason when I posted this last week it didn’t appear! And only part of the draft was saved. Frustrating, but hey, so here I go again.

I’d nearly got to the end of this section when I realised it wasn’t going to meet up properly. It would have involved loads of unpicking, again. I decided to finish it off and see if it was obvious. I showed it to 3 observant folk and none of them could find it. Phew! I even have to look hard for it myself a few days on.

20140612-204639-74799672.jpg  The finished piece.

20140612-204639-74799891.jpgBut it wasn’t really as big as I wanted, and there is enough canvas to make it a bit larger. So I’m now putting on an extra border to make it bigger. I bought several feather filled cushions some years ago. One of which was ear-marked for an Indian cushion I received as a “thank you” for making a quilt for friends that was inspired by  several of these cushions. No idea what I was planning on doing with the others. But I want this cushion to be the same size.

This is it so far. I then had to take it to be photographed for “insight” open artist studios in North and North East Lincolnshire the last two weekends of September and first in October. More about this nearer the time. I was so close to finishing it but just ran out of time. Usually it’s not the whole piece that’s used for the brochure, so not really a problem. I just wanted to finish it off.

20140612-204640-74800089.jpgI’ve used the same pattern (just over more holes) as the outer border and the divisions of the sections.

IMG_1604The 2 small triangles and one large triangle give the impression of a heart, so it will have a border of hearts, once I get it back.


This is the stitch I’d started for the final strips a month ago. I was not really happy  with them, but wasn’t sure why, partly the colours, but mainly the stitch. I’d even sewn in all the loose ends, so I could assess it better. And finally, at the group this morning I realised what  the problem was – the main sections are diagonal stitches, the ziz-zag strips and the border are horizontal stitches and I was the adding vertical stitches. It was just too much. Also they didn’t cover the canvas well with the pinky yarn.



I then started on the other side with Creole stitch, this is worked on the diagonal. It was very small and the scale looked unbalanced (I forgot to photograph this stage before I took it out). I then did my own variation on this stitch, which I’m sure is not really mine, and has it’s own name, but I’ve not spotted it in a book – yet. I’d also done the Creole stitch going from right to left, and I wanted the stitching to go from left to right on this side to lead the eye in to the centre.


I started off with just two colours to make it a more restful area, but didn’t want it too stripy, so planned on doing two rows of one colour randomly. But the darker tone then became too dominant. (This sounds like Goldilocks and the 3 bears!!)


So more pulling out! And the introduction of a third colour, again randomly, not one, two, three repeatedly.


This is the opposite end, with a different random pattern of the three colours.



And is the stage it’s at now, it should be easy to pick up and work on again in front of the telly!