Friday, 30 April 2010

Embroidery Class 1

Remember I told you about the Embroidery classes I planned to do at my kids school? Well, I had the first lesson this past Wednesday.
I have 12 kids in the class - 10 girls and 2 boys. For the girls I made a butterfly design and for the boys a dragon design. One of the girls opted for the dragon too - fortunately I had an extra one.
None of the girls has done any embroidery before. Surprisingly both boys had some experience!

The classes are only 45 minutes and not an hour as I thought before, and boy, does that 45 minutes fly by!
I gave them a kit containing the design on a piece of linen, with a muslin backing, already framed in the hoop (don't you just love the brightly coloured hoops?), 2 needles and 10 different colours of pre-cut floss.
We started out by me showing them how to split the floss and thread the needle. That took some time...
Then I let them practice to push the needle through the fabric from both the front and the back. It takes some practice to aim the needle at a specific place if you can't see your hand behind the fabric.
Eventually we started with a running stitch... and then the time was up!

I sent the kit home with them to practice a little and to finish the line they started in class. Next week we will hopefully do some back stitching...

Sunday, 25 April 2010

1st Blog Birthday

I can't believe it is already one year since I started this blog! Some days I still feel like I'm just starting out, and other days I feel like I've been doing this forever...

After a year of blogging I thought it would be appropriate to give credit to the blogs that inspired me to do my own thing. I was a blog reader and a lurker for a long time before I took the plunge and started Sol y Sombra.
These people all had (and still has) a positive influence on what I do:

Alice Merlino is one of those selfless creatures who just loves sharing her talents and creativity with everyone. She crafts and crochets, does web-design, writes and teaches. She lives in San Francisco.
Sea Creatures designed by Alice (patterns available from her blog)

Heather Moore, a fellow South African, designs wonderful fabrics, makes paper cuts and is also an accomplished illustrator. Read more about her here.

Sevilla Rock range of fabric by Skinny Laminx

Paul Overton is a maker, blogger and writer. He is extremely creative, but what inspires me the most about him is his generosity and spirit of sharing and teaching. Through him I have learned a lot about the ethics of being creative, and using craft and creativity to better the lives of people around us.

Papercut by Paul Overton

Lynette Andreasen
Lynette is an artist who makes the most wonderful things with metal, pearls and embroidery. The contrast between the harshness of the metal and the delicacy of the pearls and embroidery just floors me every time I look at it. I think she is one of the most talented people I've 'met' in the blog-world. spoon and pearls - part of a collection by Lynette Andreasen

Jafabrit's Art

Corrine Bayraktaroglu is British artist living in Ohio, USA. She is very talented as a illustrator and painter but it is her embroidery art that really inspires me.

Embroidery by Corrine Bayraktaroglu

She is also one of the Jafagirls , a group of artists from Yellow Springs, Ohio who keeps themselves busy with amongst other things public art, yarn bombing and running a gallery in a loo!

An example of yarn bombing, also known as guerrilla knitting

Contemporary Embroidery

Karen Ruane calls herself an aspiring freelance embroiderer, but to me she is an artist! Her work is so delicate and intricate but at the same time so pure and honest. I can't stop looking at and admiring her work.

Embroidery detail by Karen Ruane

The most wonderful thing about this blogging world is that I have never met any of these people in person, and still I consider myself a better person for 'knowing' them.

Thanks guys!

Note: The copyright of all the photos belongs to the respective artists.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Soccer Ball Progress

I have finished 6 pieces of the soccer ball. 5 hexagons and 1 pentagon. After assembling the blocks into the first cluster it looks like this:

Positioned on the ball, it looks like this:

(6 down, 26 to go!)

As you can see the colours follow through from the adjacent blocks. By the time the ball is completed the swirls will wrap right around the ball. I can't wait to see that..

Just incase it looks very confusing to you, I thought I'll show it to you step by step: This is the pentagon in the centre of the cluster.

Round 1: (very fiddly and frustrating!) I started with 5ch closed into a loop. Each colour starts with 2ch,1sc after which I save it on a paperclip and start with the next colour. keeping all the strings apart at this stage is quite tricky...

Round 2: 1dc into 2ch, 1dc into sc...onto the paperclip and do the same with the next colour...

Round 3: 1dc-1ch-1dc into dc, 1dc into dc...onto the paperclip and do the same with the next colour...

Round 4: 1dc into dc, 1dc-1ch-1dc into ch, 1dc into dc, 1dc into dc...onto blah,blah,blah...

Round 5: 1sc into dc, 1sc into dc, 1slipstich into ch, cast off. Work away the loose ends in the middle, it opens the centre up nicely.

For a hexagon start with 6 different strings and follow the same instructions.
I tapered off and stopped after 5 rounds as that is the size I need for the ball, but if you want to make something else, just carry on with what you were doing in round 4 until you have the desired size and then taper it off.
I would also suggest that you start with 5 (or 6 in the case of the hexagon) different colours. Working with the same colours makes this even more confusing in the beginning.

Now on to the next cluster...

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Crochet confusion

The crochet soccer ball was coming along fine, or so I thought, until after 5 hexagons, the pattern wouldn't flow anymore. I was stuck. I changed the order of the colours a few times but I still got stuck at the same place.
So I decided to work it all out on paper first. A classic case of "when all else fails, read the instructions"! In this case it is more like "if all else fails, invent some instructions"

I made a few hexagons and pentagons on CAD, covered the soccer ball in it and started colouring. After a few tries I got the pattern to follow through all around the ball. The secret is that not all the hexagons are the same. In some of them the order of the colours are different. The pentagons also confused me for a while. The 3 colours are evenly spread over the hexagons, because of the 6 sides, but with the pentagons I ran into trouble. Only when I accepted that pentagon will have more of some colours than others, did the pattern work out

Now it is back to crocheting!

Monday, 12 April 2010

New Soccer Ball Ideas

I just started on my next soccer ball design, and look what I have so far...

Some really nice cotton from Mission Falls (Canada). I was looking for some variegated yarn and these are just what I had in mind - I loovvee the colours!

The first hexagon. The size is not perfect yet and I still have to work out how all the swirly bits are going to connect, but I love the look of it.

Looks promising, doesn't it?

Art from Africa

My husband and his fishing-buddies went on their yearly Fishing Trip about a month ago. This time they went to Malindi, on the Kenyan Coast. They caught a lot of fish*, but came back with only tall stories, lots of photos and sunburn. And a gift or two..

The boys received t-shirts and I got a Masai-blanket, but the gift that stole the show is definately this painting Dad bought for his little girl. He bought it from a roadside artist in the town of Malindi.

I don't have any more information on the artist except for these photos my husband took of his studio/shop. The painting is not signed. The work is really good quality oil paint on canvas. He bought it unframed and we had it framed here in Dubai.

It now has pride of place in Anika's bedroom - and she loves it!

If you know anything more about this artist, please let me know.
*The fish were photographed and then tagged and released.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Dubai in Pictures 9

Every visitor to Dubai have the mandatory picture of themselves with the Burj Al Arab in the background, so nothing un-touristy here.

(I have to admit that even though I see this building everyday, I still think it is one of the most beautiful buildings ever built)

But if you turn around and look the other way, you see quite a different picture. Like these two local men sitting on the beach wall, enjoying the view...

or this mosque under construction, with the Burj Khalifa visible in the background. (The Burj Khalifa is about 10km's away from the spot where I took the picture)

Easter Blessings from Dubai

In our family Easter is all about the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the whole Easter-egg tradition doesn't really feature in our home.

Although the UAE is a Muslim country and Easter is not acknowledged here, the supermarkets still sell Easter eggs and all the commercial paraphernalia that goes with it.

My friend Joan, a Canadian Expat here in Dubai, sent me this photo of the Arabian Easter Eggs.
Please enjoy it in the spirit it is presented: a bit of light-hearted Easter creativity.

May you all have a blessed Easter!