Saturday, 25 July 2015

RSC 15; week 30: A red (and pink) dilemma

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge is hosted by Angela at Soscrappy, who gives a different colour each month and many quilters concentrate on using that colour for the whole month. Some make blocks of  their own choosing, but Angela also publishes block patterns to use in a sampler quilt. This month's colour is red.

This week I have tried to assemble the alternate blocks next to the red stars.
I have a dilemma knowing which colour to use together with red in the alternate blocks. To both the left and to the right is a pink star (doesn't fit on the wall)

What would you do?
  • Pink or purple? 
  • aligned as above?
  • or like this?

 Help please!

I'm linking up to
RSC 15
 Have a look round over there and see more red stars and other wonderful blocks.

Happy sewing


A new technique: silk ribbon embroidery

This month I started my first ever Crazy Quilting project as part of the free on-line Basic Crazy Quilting Course run by Kathy Shaw. (I blogged about it briefly last week and although registration for this course is closed, registration for the next one will probably be starting this week.)

Crazy Quilting Project: quilting cotton fabric on a muslin foundation, embroidered with DMC split cotton and silk ribbon.
 So what's new?

Well to start with I'd never done Crazy Quilting before this month. Until I saw my own efforts, I'd never even seen a piece of Crazy Quilting in reality, only in photos.

Secondly, although I've been embroidering for over half a century, I've never used a ring before. It's a definite advantage here as very few of the patchwork pieces have been cut on the grain, and the danger of stretching the fabric is high, especially when working with ribbon. It does take getting used to, especially as it slowed me down considerably.

Thirdly, while none of the thread embroidery stitches was new to me, my stitching of stem stitch and French knots has improved beyond recognition (probably because of Kathy's tuition and the ring ).

But the real FIRST came this week with silk ribbon embroidery.

Until I started this course I didn't know it existed; until this week I'd never even tried it! I'm very proud of my first two irises.

I practised a little on a scrap of muslin:
This was done without a ring, and you can see in the row of running stitches how the fabric puckered. You can't see how it stretched, but it did, as I exerted great effort to pull the needle with ribbon through it.

The next part of the project is more silk ribbon embroidery: embroidering roses. I'm so excited!

I'm linking up to
Celtic Thistle Stitches 
so go and see what new things others have tried this month.

Happy sewing


Saturday, 18 July 2015

Camera Challenge part 6: Finding your inspiration

 Littlest Thistle Camera Challenge 2015
 For the Camera Challenge at the Littlest Thistle, Katy set the assignment this month to find photos on-line that we consider inspiring and interesting compositions, that we would like to aim for.

I found some wonderful photos in the photography section of Pinterest, and have acknowledged the owner where possible, but many of the photos were without the photographer's name. I apologise to anyone whose work I have included without giving recognition.

I was looking to learn lessons on composition and made some discoveries about the use of triangles in composing a photo (or a drawing or painting, for that matter). More about that towards the end of this very long post.

Here are some portraits:

Here the face is turned away slightly yet the eyes are looking straight into the camera, so that the left eye is at the centre of the photo. I like the way most of the head-dress is out of picture giving prominence to the facial expression.

Not full-face again; this time almost in profile, and again we have to imagine most of the head-dress. The face occupies the centre top sixth of the whole photo. I like this style of portrait, because of what's not seen - this creates mystery and raises questions: why is she dressed this way? where's she going?

It seems that the old

and perhaps also the very young can be photographed full face. This makes the subject open, hiding nothing, no mystery. The child below is interestingly looking to one side. These three portraits may or may not be posed but each gives the impression of being the natural state.

Perspective is another topic that features predominantly in my selection.

With the vanishing point in the centre:

03 New York black/white Photography by Frédéric Bourret

by Margaret Bourke-White Turbine, Niagara Falls Power Co, 1928.

by Robert Doisneau

Cars Paris 1950s Robert Frank
This one is humour! If you imagine a line linking the back wheels of the pram and the first car, and do the same with the front wheels you get a triangle with its apex in the foreground, as opposed to the usual perspective with the apex in the distance. Extend the line on the left and you find more wheels - another car and a bicycle. This can't have been posed; I wonder how many photos Robert Frank took that day to get this one shot, and that in the pre-digital era too!

and to one side:

Paris 1950s Robert Frank

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan by Not Quite a photogrphr
I love the play of light here - the over-exposed / under-exposed.

Werribee Mansion Melbourne, Australia by Scott Carr

Here I wonder where the vanishing point really is. I think if I wanted to photograph such a piece of architectural detail I'd be walking round it for ages, and never even see this view. This is photographic genius in my book!

The Burma Railroad
I know how to do this now (thanks Katy!) - low aperture value, single focus point about one metre into the photo - but I'd never have thought of it! It adds so much to the subject: no beginning and no end, neither to the railway nor to the suffering of the men who built it.

Miscellaneous I have included because:

I mostly photograph plants and here the lighting is perfect
Podoserpula Pusio (photographer or subject? Update: It's the subject: see Dasha's comment below.)
flowers are my favourite subject, and I must remember I don't have to show the whole arrangement; the blooms are in a triangle across the top half of the photo and I live in Holland!

and because some photos are just plain clever:

Linda Morand by Helmut Newton _ Vogue Paris, September 1973.
This looks natural, but it's posed: it's posed nonchalance; it's Vogue: it's fashion: it's all about the coat! The lines of the building and the fence posts and lamp-post (they have waists too!) draw the attention to the model's face, while the lamp-post and fence posts together extend the lines of the coat out to the right of the picture - another triangle. I imagine Helmut Newton on a Vespa or in a Deux-cheveaux whizzing  round Paris looking for the right location.

I don't want to take fashion photos but I think this is an interesting example of the use of the triangle in composition. Here the apex is off-stage right, in the "Cars" photo the apex is centre front, in the tulips it's centre right. In the perspective photos the apex of the triangle is the vanishing point, in the distance.

As for collecting other people's photographs I shall be doing that more often in future.

Meanwhile I'm linking up to 
Littlest Thistle Camera Challenge 2015
so head over there and see more inspiring photographs.

Happy snapping


Sunday, 12 July 2015

RSC 15: week 28: Red lanterns!

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge is hosted by Angela at Soscrappy, who gives a different colour each month and many quilters concentrate on using that colour for the whole month. Some make blocks of  their own choosing, but Angela also publishes block patterns to use in a sampler quilt. This month's colour is red

I have made two red blocks in the last week, and part of one alternate block.

Lantern and Lantern Light

I'm linking up to 
RSC 15

 Hop over there and see what else has been happening this week.

In addition, I've been working on my sampler for the on-line basic crazy quilting course given by Kathy Shaw.

I have learnt a lot in less than two weeks. The course is very intensive and Kathy explains the principles of crazy quilting and the practical techniques very well. I have most of the stitching done now, and then it will be time for ribbon embroidery and beading. I can't wait!

Happy sewing


Saturday, 4 July 2015

RSC 15: week 27: Mid-year review

 To all my friends in the US:
Happy 4th July!

To the rest of the world:
Enjoy the Day! 

Here we're having a heatwave (yesterday was the hottest day EVER), and the Tour de France is about to start in Utrecht. The heat will not be a problem for the cyclists who are used to these kind of temperatures, but the spectators will be hard pressed to find a cool place to stand. I hope everyone goes well-prepared.

And now out of the sunshine and into the Rainbow!

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge is hosted by Angela at Soscrappy, who gives a different colour each month and many quilters concentrate on using that colour for the whole month. Some make blocks of  their own choosing, but Angela also publishes block patterns to use in a sampler quilt.

This is an overview of my Sawtooth Star sampler blocks so far. They are in a random order here.

All stars in the night sky in a random layout

I'm not happy with the two on the right of the top row. In January the colour was dark blue, and when you have a dark blue background dark blue stars pose something of a problem, don't you agree? As Angela's background is neutral I decided on neutral stars, but now I'm wondering if I should remake them in a medium blue, like Royal or Kingfisher. What do you think?

Green and yellow in the final layout.

This is as far as I've got with the alternate blocks which take their colour from the adjacent star blocks (great design: not my idea, but Angela's). So far I only have one pair of adjacent colours: yellow and green and I'm really pleased with how this is turning out. Below yellow will be orange, so the second half of the block between the two yellow stars will be orange. (If that doesn't make sense look here on Pinterest; you'll need to scroll right to the bottom.) Above the green will be blue, but I'm going to have to do some rearranging of my blue stars first.

This month's colour is red, and I haven't made any red sampler blocks yet, but I have made 3 hexagon flowers:

two added to the pile
and one already sewn into the top.
The hexagons are all made from scraps, at least 2.25"square, but for this red one there wasn't enough of just one fabric. This project started during my holiday last year as a "take away project", but this week I've been working on it at home. Sitting in the sun on my balcony, I made a start on joining the blocks. There aren't nearly enough for a quilt, but I'll just keep going: there's no deadline, and the little scraps keep coming!

I shall be linking up to 

RSC 15

so hop over there and have a look at all the rainbow progress this year.

Happy sewing