Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Embroidered portraits

This is a picture of my son. I loaded it onto Picnic and made a few adjustments: And then it looked like this:
I then transferred it onto some cotton and embroidered it. Then it looked like this:

It looked OK but I wasn't quite happy with the way the eyes and mouth turned out. It also looked a bit boring on the plain background, so I made a new portrait with a few changes . I chose green because it is his favourite colour. Now it looks like this:

Please let me know what you think. Should I colour only the face? Or maybe make a solid green backgroud? Or use different shades of green to fit with the shadows? I shy away from the last option a bit because then it becomes an applique and not an embroidery piece.

I would love some fresh input, so please send me your comments.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Blog Challenge

I joined Probloggers 31 days to Build a Better Blog Challenge. I have a feeling it will take more than 31 days to implement everything I learn, but I am confident that by the end of this challenge you (and all my new readers) will find my blog better and more enjoyable.
Just in case my stellar rise to success is not so obvious to everyone :-), I will give a weekly update on my progress.
Today I am working on my "elevator pitch". If you don't know what that is, please join the challenge too and we can learn and grow together.
Enjoy the ride...

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Dubai Quilt Show

The Dubai Quilters Guild held their annual Quilt Show yesterday at the Sheik Zayed University in Dubai. Here are some eye candy from the show. Enjoy!!

Earlier work 3: Leather quilt

Years ago (and I mean years ago) I bought a bag of chamois leather off-cuts from a upholstery shop. This bag of off-cuts landed between my fabric stash and stayed there. I kept on thinking I have to do something with it, but I could never come up with a good idea. After about 10 years and 3 house moves I decided I either had to do something with it or throw it away. So I started to cut all the off-cuts into 5cm wide strips. When I had a small mountain of strips I started to add the pieces together into one looong strip. After that I made log cabin blocks with the strips.

Instead of using paper as a base I used squares of flannel. I joined all the strips by just placing them side by side and zigzagged over the edges. The leather was to thick to make seams. I just carried on making blocks until I turned the mountain of strips into a pile of blocks. I then used the same method of zigzag stitching to add the blocks together.

Finding the right fabric for a backing was also a problem. I had to use a heavy weight fabric to go with the heavy leather so in the end I chose an upholstery fabric in a complementary mustardy and brown colour to finish it off.
In the beginning I was worried that the circles on the fabric wouldn't go with the squares but now I thing it takes the hard edge of the squares and gives the quilt a softer look. I hand quilted the squares with a dark brown thread to complement the inner squares of every block.
The quilt is quite heavy but have a very luxurious feel to it. It looks better that the R25 ($2.86) I paid for the bag of off-cuts!

Monday, 11 May 2009

Buttons, buttons and more buttons...

When I was a child of about 9 or 10 a great-uncle of mine gave me boxes full of buttons that he got from a clothing factory that closed down. I have been hanging on to these boxes for about thirty years (let's not get into to much detail here...) without using any of the buttons. Then about 2 years ago I got the idea to use some of the leather buttons (yes, leather buttons!) to make a place mat. I first tried to weave it together with string but that didn't work, so I ended up sewing the buttons to strips of recycled denim in such a way that it gave the impression of being weaved. This is the result:
Let me show you some more buttons from the boxes:
These have a camo appearance and my boys love them. Ideal for army play suits!Some more army-type buttons.Some coat buttons...and some more coat buttons.A few one-offs.These ones does not come from the box but was acquired somewhere along the lines... can't remember the details. The coloured ones on the left are painted leather, the small ones in the middle are denim covered and blue and pink ones on the right are painted clay.

Maybe I must open a button shop. Does anyone have some ideas on what to do with all these buttons? I would love to hear from you.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Hearts and flowers

After the birth of my daughter I decided we need at least one pink and girlie quilt in our house. Up to now everything was very boy-orientated, so it was time for a change. And what is more girly than hearts and flowers. I started by cutting lots of hearts in 3 different sizes from different pink fabrics and lots of squares from different green fabrics.I then pinned them together from large to small...trying not to put the same fabrics next to each other.
By putting the heart-filled squares together in fours I created flowers. I then pieced them all together with plain squares in between to seperate the flowers from each other.
Add a bright pink border and some hand quilting and voila! One very girly pink quilt. (that the boys had to hold up so I could take some photos - Thanks boys!)

Earlier work 2: Uganda

We had the privilege to live in Kampala, Uganda in 2003 and 2004. We had a great time and we loved living in the African Jungle and on the equator. I have very fond memories of those times. I bought a few fabric paintings at the local craft market but never did anything with them until after we left the country. I wanted to make a memory quilt but it took me quite a while to decide how to do it. While in Kampala I also bought a big piece of bark-cloth. It is a textile the locals produce from the bark of a local wild-fig tree. The trees are stripped once a year. The bark then regrows, so it is a renewable resource and ecologically friendly as no trees are destroyed. They use it to make household goods and clothes.
Eventually I decided to make another mola-type wall-hanging by combining the fabric-paintings, the bark-cloth and some African beads. The nice thing about the bark-cloth is that it doesn't fray so it is very easy do cut-away work. The scenes depicted on the fabric paintings are very typical Ugandan scenes and I sometimes get very sentimental looking at them.

The creative use of bicycles always amazed me. It can be anything from a family vehicle to a complete shop on two wheels.

These wire bicycles are made by a local Kampala artist. Unfortunately I do not know his name but his bicycles are in high demand and as you can see in these photos it is a very realistic depiction of live in Uganda.
This wonderful collection of sculptures is in the foyer of the Sheraton Hotel Kampala.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Mother's Day Special

With it being Mother's Day tomorrow, I thought it would be a good idea to show off some of the things my mother has made.

This cross-stitch pattern was published in an Afrikaans womans magazine called SARIE. It came just in time for the birth of our first son and Grandma got to work immediately to make this for her first grandson.

Then 16months later our second son was born and Grandma had to make another sampler. But where to get a different pattern? Eventually we ordered a pattern sheet from Jeanette Crew Designs and Mom made up a new sampler layout for Stefan.

Now, 9 years later, we are blessed with a baby girl, so again Grandma had to make a sampler. This time we had to look for a girlie theme. After much debating about fairies, angels, butterflies, etc we decided to make it a nature/South Africa theme. My mom had over the past few years completed a huge variety of the Mollink Designs Bird series so we decided to use some of those images. We included a few butterflies from Jeanette Crew. The other detail are my mom's own design.

I inherited my love for needlework, craft and creativity in general from my mom and my wish is that I can pass it on to my children too. Happy Mothers Day!!