appliqué in progress

I made good progress today with the appliqué wall hanging which is my first assessment piece for City & Guilds 7822. I got all the shapes laid out ready to shadow quilt. On the left of the pic is the overall design; on the right, how it will change with painted silk organza pieces laid over it. After it’s quilted I’ll be cutting back into it to reveal some of the coloured shapes and the felt batting again. I’m sure I’ll be tweaking the composition but this is about it. I’m going to treat myself to some variegated machine threads at the Festival of Quilts, so I won’t stitch it till after that, but I can get the pieces fused to the felt and think about the quilting for a few days. Now that I see the appliqué pieces on the felt, I’m not sure that I’d go on to add the top layer if it wasn’t for a quilting assessment, but I think if I’m careful with placing the stitching I can cut back effectively to get some interesting contrasts.


I tried a technique from Tray Dyeing yesterday – not with Procion MX dyes (as used in the book), because I don’t have everything I need for that yet; but I dyed some strips of silk with Javana silk paints. These bits were torn off the edge of one of them to put in my sketchbook – I sent the piece off to my daughter with some other bits, and forgot to take a photo. I used lemon, magenta, and cyan together – I love the resulting zingy colours. The silk was dry and loosely scrumpled in a small box before squeezing the colours on with a pipette.


I was reading a very interesting entry a couple of days ago on Karren Brito’s blog Entwinements – What people will do to wear red – about the effects of dyes on the skin – in clothing, not just while you’re using them. Food for thought, especially as I hope some of my dyeing experiments will end up in my wardobe. If you’re interested in dyeing there is some wonderful shibori including wearables on Entwinements.

weekend’s work

I’ve been painting some colour wheels for OCA Textiles 1 – they didn’t turn out quite as I expected, though. I was using Brusho inks and I don’t know if it was the way I mixed them but the lemon and the golden yellow were so similar in hue that I didn’t get all the variations I was expecting. I’ll have another go with some gouache paints. Then I spent a bit of time mixing tints and tones in acrylics and experimenting with mixing in touches of a complementary colour. I could do this kind of thing all day long – I just love it.

mixing colours

I’ve also been painting silk organza and pongee for my appliqué hanging for City and Guilds – one piece of each in reds, one in greens and one in purples. These are fronts and backs to go with these felts. The next stage is to machine quilt the three layers, incorporating shadow applique, then cut back into it to expose some of the felt. The organza will be the top layer.


I found this picture on the camera as well – it’s the sky from my office window, one evening a few weeks ago when it wasn’t quite as wet as today!

Kendal sky

felt again

well, I now have three felts that I can use for the appliqué hanging – I don’t like the green as much as the first one I made, it lacks some shades of turquoise and some acidy greens that I didn’t have in the merino, but I’m trying not to be perfectionist about this. A layer of coloured silk chiffon is going over it, after all, and everything will be different in the end. Today it has rained endlessly but just about the time I finished there was a lull and I ran out to take a picture.


I can hardly bear to stop making felt now and get on with quilting and drawing and work and those kinds of things.

feltmaking today

I’ve been making felts for the wadding in my wall hanging. The red is prefelted, the green – well, it’s done and the colours are what I wanted but I used some alpaca fibre and it’s very fluffy – I think I’ll probably use it for something else and do another, but first I’ll get the purple made. The fleece is mostly merino, space-dyed by Jan Hicks, with some plain colours (maybe also merino) I got from Reticule here in Kendal, and a little pink and red fleece I still have from a workshop with Jenny Cowern many years ago.


samples for hanging

I took advantage of the sunshine yesterday to make a felt sample outdoors, and spent most of this afternoon stitching it to sample ideas for my City and Guilds appliqué assessment – I wrote about the design in this post. I’ve changed my mind and gone down to two layers now and if I need a third (I’m not sure if this actually has to be technically a quilt), I’ll add it to the back – two layers on the front will obscure the felt layer more than I want. My roses have become more open as they just looked like blobs otherwise – not abstract roses – just blobs…


I’m expecting some silk gauze to arrive soon and hoping it may be a little more sheer than the silk in this sample, which is just some I had in roughly the right colours. I need to practise my machine stitching too as it’s ages since I’ve done any – I like freedom and a certain rawness – but only if it’s deliberate!