Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Vintage Cami 1944

It is amazing what you can find in book shops. I came across a 1964 Stitchcraft and they seemed to be just as interested in vintage designs as we are today. Here is a beautiful knitted cami from an age when people had the time and inclination to knit such things. I think though given the shortage of materials during WWII and especially this late in the war, it was something of an aspirational design even then.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Yarn Bombing and Subversive stitches Hand Grenades

Knitting doesn't have to be boring as a quick search on the net for "yarn Bombing" will attest. One with an overtly political anti-war message can be found on Castoff. With the slogan "Drop Stitches not Bombs" get your knitted hand grenade bags (ideal for ipod or mobile phone) from: http://www.castoff.info/

Magnolia's Last Blast

It is always sad when the gloriously beautiful magnolia blooms come to an end. The pale pinks have all but disappeared now but there are a few darker pink varieties still going strong in Sheffield Park. Here is a reminder of what the pale pinks looked like last week.

Blue Phase Machine Stitch Doodling

I seem to go through colour phases and at the moment is seems to be blue! My sister pointed out when I was 13 that practically everything in my wardrobe was blue - I have since gone through many sartorial colour phases but this time blue has not infiltrated my predominently black wardrobe! I enjoy the process of stitch doodling because although it is time consuming it does hone skills and lead to more expressive designs. That's my story and I'm sticking to it! Inspiration for this was taken from a gardening book as I am still deep in my floral phase.

Vintage knitting

On one of my many quests for all things vintage I came across a really super Patons and Baldwins knitting pattern yesterday. I really love the fit, the closely spaced buttons and the round neckline. For those knitting aficionados out there it is on size 11 and 13 needles. If anyone would like any more informatation about it, just post comments on the blog.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Synchronicity: Primroses and Circuit Boards

Synchronicity - the experience of two or more events that are causually unrelated occuring in a meaningful manner. So how are primroses and circuit boards linked in the Kimba universe? Its spring and the sun is shining outside my window highlighting the beautiful primroses peeping through the undergrowth - I should be warm but its freezing in here despite the sunshine - the central heating boiler has expired and this little devil of a circuit board is going to cost a whopping £300 to replace! So whilst the yellow primroses warm and lift my spirits the green circuit board is responsible for my chill tootsies. Therefore both are linked in the same moment to my senses. How can I exploit the synchronicity? I have used circuit boards before in my design work and I often use flowers, now I am going to find a way to integrate them in the same design. The creative exercise should warm me up till the plumber sorts it out1

Friday, 9 April 2010

Moonlight Stitching

One of the interesting things about moonlight stitching is the way that colour drains away despite the white light. With that in mind I have been working on one of my monochrome designs, stitching in blacks and shades of grey on a faded out background which is made up from digitally manipulated image of a selection of my brooches. (See brooches in my Etsy Shop - just click on the link to the right). Representing fading is becoming one of my major preoccupations in my work at the moment.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Vintage Undies

I, like at a large slice of the textile community, am currently really interested in all things vintage and particularly vintage underwear. I haven't yet been able to get hold of a sewing pattern - I keep missing out on ebay, so I have decided to embark on a pattern cutting course to design my own! Watch this space - it could take a while, especially as the course does not actually start for a couple of weeks. [Check out JULIANA SISSONS in Brighton - amazing knit designer, pattern cutter, lecturer and author.] In the meantime if anyone (in the UK) reading this blog actually HAS any vintage sewing patterns in size 10 - 12, please let me know. I am happy to trace out and return in good condition. Annoyingly I did have some vintage undies (circa 1940) which I bought antique shop years ago but they were lost - along with a lot of other "treasures" when a packing case went missing during a house move.

I found this wonderful knitting pattern on ebay - I was outbid on the item but had the forethought to copy the image. Enjoy!


I try to make my designs "of the moment" and select my muse accordingly. So while the Wonderful Amy Winehouse was an absolutely perfect foil for my knit designs last year, I feel that my fabric designs are taking a new direction and are therefore in need of a new muse. Soooo it just has to be the Glorious Lady Gaga - as she is completely other worldly, she fits my criteria as a modern, zany contemporary icon who is already associated with cutting edge design. La Gags is everywhere - this images courtesy of the cover of Elle. With much appreciation to my former muse I also include a picture of Amy "wearing" one of my knit designs - thanks to the magic of Photoshop! In the coming months keep a look out for Lady Gaga "sporting" my designs!

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Easter Bonnet revisited

I had the bright idea of transferring my design onto fabric. I bought some printable cotton but the inks really sink into the fabric and it has come out far darker than I imagined. Reminder to self in future - lighten images in Photoshop BEFORE printing on wildly expensive A4 printable cotton!!!! This is going to take some fairly serious hand stitching to lighten and brighten it up. I might also overlay with some transparent layers. If I bleach it I risk trashing the image and or eating away at the fabric. Let's hope it turns out to be one of those happy accidents. Of which there have been many, not to mention a fair number of creative tragedies.

Overall I rather like this, there is a certain serenity about the image. What I love about embroidery is the way the back of the work takes on its own character, especially when you are working with faces. There is an element of randomness that creeps in. Would you believe that these two were sisters, let alone alter images?
Oh! And my apologies to all the embroidery purists who hate to see knots at the back of work!

New Day New Technique

Image Bottom: The Frame and Stitching
Image Top: The Result - the work cut from the frame

I thought I would have a go at weaving and free machine embroidery with beading. As I didn't have a suitable frame I decided to improvise. It is amazing what you can do with a PG Tips box! No point in being a creative if you can't do Playschool!
So I made a frame, I did some yarn wrapping, I did a little free machine embroidery and hey, presto! Watch point: I didn't use any stabiliser on this so I had to take care not to catch the embroidery foot in the cross threads. This is the result1 Although I quite like the outcome it has limited possibilities; Maybe a greetings card.

Friday, 2 April 2010

I must be going through a floral phase!!!!

I bought some roses to plant in the garden yesterday, so of course, I just had to start playing with cutting out stencils and squirting fabric paint in every direction. I think this design definitely has mileage. Not sure about the colours though.

Easter Bonnet

Despite the blustery wind I was inspired to create "Easter Bonnet"! Mixed media with pastel. I really SHOULD stitch into this!

Daffodils and Japonica in Sheffield Park

A blast of spring colour! Glorious!

Sheffield Park on a Blustery Day

A quick visit to Sheffield Park yesterday in the blustery spring weather. When will the sun finally arrive? Not much colour but pleased to see lots of cheerful daffodils and the odd Japonica bravely blooming despite the bitter wind.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Wild, windy melancholy days

The weather here on the south coast has been rather wild and windy. BUT! The sun has come out this morning - if only fleetingly so I am off to Sheffield Park today with my camera and will be posting some less melancholy scenes later today. Fingers crossed!


With no yoga class this week because of the Easter break, I needed to find a way of connecting with my creativity in a more concrete way.