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Tuesday, 21 April 2009 12:52 pm
elettaria: (Rachel's Star)
I really am stuck with what will hopefully become a wall hanging for above our bed. I'm not even sure I want a tree on it at all, though I'm fairly sure I want those autumnal tones and Klimty fabrics. I'm starting to wonder about something vaguely reminiscent of a sun, circular shapes shading to a gold centre (though not in the exact centre of the quilt), and I may look into mandala quilts. Meanwhile, I've discovered that making small items is really helping me develop as a designer, it's easier than getting stuck on big pieces, and I've remembered that I promised to make my parents a challah cloth. You can see the one I embroidered for my best friend's sister's wedding the other year here (which also explains what a challah cloth is); lovely work, if I do say it myself, but I'm never taking on that sort of embroidery project again. Also it was rather big (21" x 21"), especially for people like my parents who have one loaf instead of two. I've dug out a challah cloth of my grandmother's which is 18" x 21 1/2", and that looks a better size, so I'll work with that for the time being, plus I'll ring a shop selling them and find out what a standard one-loaf size is.

The idea is to piece the front, probably apply a lightweight interfacing (though I've never used interfacing in my life, so I'm not sure about that), add embroidery or beads as appropriate, then just give it a backing without actually quilting it, perhaps with piping around the edge. A tree of life would be ideal, I just need to work out what I can do given the size limitations. Ideas I may carry across from the previous challah cloth: incorporating their names; text (probably the same) in the border; "shabbat shalom" with one word on either side of the tree trunk. Since they're very lovebirdy, my parents (I painted them a plate with two lovebirds in a tree and a rather odd quotation in Hebrew my Israeli ex suggested around the border - which reminds me that there's no reason why this challah cloth should be rectangular, an oval might work too), it'd be great to put two birds in the tree as well, which I could create with embroidery and beading.

As for the tree, I think I'll try to develop an entirely pieced design first. I may also do something in appliqué, perhaps using Carol Taylor's arc-i-texture technique to create a tree using couched satin cord or similar (the Stoclet Frieze springs to mind for inspiration). If I appliqué the tree, then that does free me up in a way for the background, and it may be worth playing with hexagon-based motifs to create stars of David. I doubt that would look good, though, it would be too fussy to use as background to a tree and I don't think the shapes would mesh. Still, it's something to keep in mind. Meanwhile I'm going to Google Image olive trees and start thinking about tree shapes for this format.

Needle cases

Tuesday, 14 April 2009 05:26 pm
elettaria: (Rachel's Star)
I am pausing to make some needle cases. I owe a couple of people birthday presents, I fancy a small job, and it gives me a chance to start playing with ideas on a smaller scale before I turn them into wall hangings. [livejournal.com profile] mirrorshard, this is about your one, so don't click on the link if you don't want the surprise spoilt. Later edit: I've now done the piecing, but I'm going to put the picture next to the one where it was pinned up on the board for comparison.

Here's what I've pinned up on my brand-new design board )
elettaria: (Default)
I've been planning for a long time to make an art quilt to hang above our bed, in the same tones as the autumnal quilt but in fabrics reminiscent of Klimt, as were used in blues and golds in the Rachel's Star. I'm not still 100% sure they, rather than the batiks I used for the bedspread, will be the best choice for this quilt, but I've stocked up on loads of them and I'm pretty much out of the batiks, so it'll have to do.

I kept gathering fabrics without being able to work out how to begin my design. Because of the wall space, it'll need to be portrait rather than layout, which for a tree is tricky. I'm quite fond of Ruth McDowell's trees, especially that one on the front page, and some of her similar botanical work such as the witch hazel quilt and the sumac quilts, but her tree compositions tend to be strongly vertical in style and rather angular. I wanted something that flowed and curved more, something that could incorporate the style I used for one of the coffee cosies.

I started browsing Google Image the other day. I found that bonsai, while not my cup of tea at all, are useful in this respect, since the shapes are small enough to be usable, and sometimes in pleasing shapes. The weeping willow below is probably the prettiest I found. Incidentally, people talking about bonsai sound even more pretentious than people talking about fine wines. Anyway, this search led me to this artist, who makes wire tree sculptures.

Weeping willow - bonsai and wire sculpture )

Aha, finally something with lovely, simple lines and movement! Using a few of those wire trees, I tried a sketch.

My first sketch )

It's by no means the final version, but I finally feel as if I'm making progress. Unfortunately it's hard for me to tell exactly what's wrong, not being an artist, but I think it looks a bit witchy, a bit too stooped, almost unhappy. Less curve to the trunk, and make the first main branch (on the left) curve upwards instead of slightly down?

While I'm looking over those quilts again, I might try something similar to the second sumac quilt by McDowell for the loo, where I want to do something vertical and leafy. The loo is painted in apple white with pale green tiles, white fixtures and a white and pine cupboard, and it's also literally the smallest room in the flat, even smaller than the hall cupboard. So any artwork that goes up in there will be relatively limited as to size, will need to be washable (I imagine it could pick up smells eventually), and would probably need to be fairly light in colour so as not to be overwhelming. Leaves in dark greens and/or turquoises on a predominantly pale green background is where I think I'll start. Fewer leaves, most likely, as that sumac quilt of McDowell's would take up practically all of the available wall space.
elettaria: (Spiral aloe)
Returning to the blogging for Asus project, they have six computers they'll be lending out. Something that looks like a smaller iMac, a 17" gaming laptop, a 15" personal entertainment laptop, a 14" business laptop, a 12" "Ecobook" laptop in bamboo, and a 10" top-spec netbook, the S101. The last two immediately caught my eye. I already have a nice multipurpose 17" laptop, everyone makes those these days, they do what laptops generally do. It's the possibilities of ultra-small laptops, where it's more of a challenge cramming everything in and getting it to work well, that interest me.

Ecobook on bamboo


Decisions, decisions )

The Ecobook

I felt a visceral tug when I saw this laptop. Part of me took one look and joyously squealed, "Trees!" Like Ursula Le Guin, who prides herself on being "the most arboreal science fiction writer", I have a slight obsession with trees. My desktop backgrounds are always botanical, my quilts are becoming more and more so, and I could tell you every kind of wood that I have in my flat, from the rosewood Bluthner piano to the beech doorknobs on my kitchen units to the cheapie untreated pine bookcases in the hall. Anything which evokes trees is a instant hook-in for me.

I don't spend all my time metaphorically swinging about in the branches, though, so let's look at this a mite more analytically. Read more... )
elettaria: (Spiral aloe)
Returning to the blogging for Asus project, they have six computers they'll be lending out. Something that looks like a smaller iMac, a 17" gaming laptop, a 15" personal entertainment laptop, a 14" business laptop, a 12" "Ecobook" laptop in bamboo, and a 10" top-spec netbook, the S101. The last two immediately caught my eye. I already have a nice multipurpose 17" laptop, everyone makes those these days, they do what laptops generally do. It's the possibilities of ultra-small laptops, where it's more of a challenge cramming everything in and getting it to work well, that interest me.

Ecobook on bamboo


Decisions, decisions )

The Ecobook

I felt a visceral tug when I saw this laptop. Part of me took one look and joyously squealed, "Trees!" Like Ursula Le Guin, who prides herself on being "the most arboreal science fiction writer", I have a slight obsession with trees. My desktop backgrounds are always botanical, my quilts are becoming more and more so, and I could tell you every kind of wood that I have in my flat, from the rosewood Bluthner piano to the beech doorknobs on my kitchen units to the cheapie untreated pine bookcases in the hall. Anything which evokes trees is a instant hook-in for me.

I don't spend all my time metaphorically swinging about in the branches, though, so let's look at this a mite more analytically. Read more... )

Two quilts finished

Wednesday, 3 December 2008 08:58 pm
elettaria: (Rachel's Star)
A month or so ago, I finished the purple quilt for [livejournal.com profile] eye_of_a_cat. The story behind this one was that my boyfriend's mother gave me some matching fabrics last Christmas with peacocks on them. They were lovely but not my cup of tea, so I decided to make a quilt for [livejournal.com profile] eye_of_a_cat as a congratulations-on-finishing-your-PhD present. A few months later, she ended up house-sitting her PhD supervisor's peacocks and had many amusing stories to tell, so quite by chance this quilt ended up being very apt. You can see the quilt reclining in its new habitat here, and my photo beneath the cut. It's the third quilt that I made.

Purple quilt )

For my second quilt, which ended up put aside for a while and which I've only just finished quilting, I was inspired by a fish quilt I'd seen in a magazine and raring to try Ruth McDowell's freezer paper method. My cousin is planning to have a baby, so I designed a fish baby quilt. The background is this fabric, which meant that the background templates had to be very carefully placed on the fabric. The piecing, appliqué and embroidery took 2-3 days each. My cousin's still in the planning stage of having the baby (last I heard they were sorting out egg donation), but my lovely herbalist/aromatherapist is due in January, so I'm going to give her the quilt tomorrow.

Fish baby quilt )

Everything was completely hand-sewn. Larger images may be seen here and here.

By the way, sorry for not being around much lately, and not getting back to people on stuff etc. The ME's being entertaining, but that's nothing compared to the fun I'm having trying to find an electrician so that we can have the overhead lights in the living room/kitchen working again.

Two quilts finished

Wednesday, 3 December 2008 08:58 pm
elettaria: (Rachel's Star)
A month or so ago, I finished the purple quilt for [livejournal.com profile] eye_of_a_cat. The story behind this one was that my boyfriend's mother gave me some matching fabrics last Christmas with peacocks on them. They were lovely but not my cup of tea, so I decided to make a quilt for [livejournal.com profile] eye_of_a_cat as a congratulations-on-finishing-your-PhD present. A few months later, she ended up house-sitting her PhD supervisor's peacocks and had many amusing stories to tell, so quite by chance this quilt ended up being very apt. You can see the quilt reclining in its new habitat here, and my photo beneath the cut. It's the third quilt that I made.

Purple quilt )

For my second quilt, which ended up put aside for a while and which I've only just finished quilting, I was inspired by a fish quilt I'd seen in a magazine and raring to try Ruth McDowell's freezer paper method. My cousin is planning to have a baby, so I designed a fish baby quilt. The background is this fabric, which meant that the background templates had to be very carefully placed on the fabric. The piecing, appliqué and embroidery took 2-3 days each. My cousin's still in the planning stage of having the baby (last I heard they were sorting out egg donation), but my lovely herbalist/aromatherapist is due in January, so I'm going to give her the quilt tomorrow.

Fish baby quilt )

Everything was completely hand-sewn. Larger images may be seen here and here.

By the way, sorry for not being around much lately, and not getting back to people on stuff etc. The ME's being entertaining, but that's nothing compared to the fun I'm having trying to find an electrician so that we can have the overhead lights in the living room/kitchen working again.
elettaria: (Triffid geranium)
1. [livejournal.com profile] ghost_of_a_flea and I are getting addicted to stuffed peppers. My usual recipe involves rice, sautéed onion, vegemince, bit of tomato, and various different seasonings (last time there were raisins, pine nuts, garlic, and spices that focused heavily on the cinnamon side of things). For those of you who don't know how to stuff peppers, you cook up the filling, slice the top off the pepper as a lid, cut away the seeds, stem and so on, shove the filling inside, plonk the lid on, and stand them in a pyrex dish with about 1/2" water round them, proceeding to bake them in the oven for 20 min or until the peppers are starting to blacken nicely. Any recipe ideas for variations? What other veg are happy to be stuffed? I haven't stuffed an aubergine in years, although I recall it as being a bit more hassle.

2. I had a chap come to the door the other week doing a market research survey on attitudes towards environmentalism in the home. I answered various questions about recycling, light bulbs and solar panels (yep, very likely in a 170 year old B-listed building, where I don't even live on the top floor), and then he came to the question, "Do you think there are too many foreigners in the UK?" Has anybody got a clue what that question was doing in there?

3. My local library directed me towards Calibre, a free audiobook postal lending service for people with sight problems or other disabilities which make it difficult for them to read. This is very cool. You have to tick a box to confirm that you are happy to receive X-rated books, which means anything that mentions the existence of sex at all, as far as I can tell. I mean, I, Claudius is listed as X-rated. And the novels don't even have Patrick Stewart strutting around being a sexy sadist. (No, really, he was hot in the miniseries, and also looked surprisingly like a younger Richard Gere.) Also I've caught them putting phrases like "Homosexual practices" in the book descriptions, which is raising my hackles. It sounds worryingly like a warning.

4. Does anyone know how I could find out what this plant is, so that I may look at other photos of it and turn it into a quilt design?
elettaria: (Triffid geranium)
1. [livejournal.com profile] ghost_of_a_flea and I are getting addicted to stuffed peppers. My usual recipe involves rice, sautéed onion, vegemince, bit of tomato, and various different seasonings (last time there were raisins, pine nuts, garlic, and spices that focused heavily on the cinnamon side of things). For those of you who don't know how to stuff peppers, you cook up the filling, slice the top off the pepper as a lid, cut away the seeds, stem and so on, shove the filling inside, plonk the lid on, and stand them in a pyrex dish with about 1/2" water round them, proceeding to bake them in the oven for 20 min or until the peppers are starting to blacken nicely. Any recipe ideas for variations? What other veg are happy to be stuffed? I haven't stuffed an aubergine in years, although I recall it as being a bit more hassle.

2. I had a chap come to the door the other week doing a market research survey on attitudes towards environmentalism in the home. I answered various questions about recycling, light bulbs and solar panels (yep, very likely in a 170 year old B-listed building, where I don't even live on the top floor), and then he came to the question, "Do you think there are too many foreigners in the UK?" Has anybody got a clue what that question was doing in there?

3. My local library directed me towards Calibre, a free audiobook postal lending service for people with sight problems or other disabilities which make it difficult for them to read. This is very cool. You have to tick a box to confirm that you are happy to receive X-rated books, which means anything that mentions the existence of sex at all, as far as I can tell. I mean, I, Claudius is listed as X-rated. And the novels don't even have Patrick Stewart strutting around being a sexy sadist. (No, really, he was hot in the miniseries, and also looked surprisingly like a younger Richard Gere.) Also I've caught them putting phrases like "Homosexual practices" in the book descriptions, which is raising my hackles. It sounds worryingly like a warning.

4. Does anyone know how I could find out what this plant is, so that I may look at other photos of it and turn it into a quilt design?

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