Wednesday 30 April 2014


So much pattern inspiration!

I've recently come back from a lovely holiday in Spain. We stayed in a place called Nerja on the Costa Del Sol, the town is quite small and still quite 'Spanish' although we did hear a lot of English voices whilst we were there! One of the things that kept me entertained during the week was all the amazing tiles; so many of the buildings have beautiful tiles on them and I took more pictures of them than of us. There were also lots of other patterns to be observed, a few of which I've gathered together here.

Tile collage

Pavement and Wall collage


Sunday 27 April 2014

Something for the weekend

Recycled t-shirt rug

Something strange happened, I found myself with a free weekend! Well, I could have done my tax return but I decided that spending the time crocheting would be much more productive. I've been planning to make a rug for my studio from my old jersey tops since we moved in a year ago and so this weekend seemed like the perfect opportunity.

No longer worn tops

Making them into yarn

Fabric yarn ready to use

I had a big clear out of my wardrobe fairly recently so I had plenty of materials. I'm something of a magpie and find it really hard to get rid of stuff especially if I think I can re-use it for something else. The problem with this is that I end up with stacks and stacks of stuff and no time to do anything with it! So, it was very satisfying finally getting around to cutting all my no longer worn tops and vests into yarn, winding it into balls and admiring it.

Getting started

Second colour


I based my design on an old doily pattern, simplifying it to accommodate the oversized yarn. I had to use the sleeves as well as the bodies of the t-shirts for some of the rounds as this project uses a lot of yarn/fabric and I tried to stick to one colour/item of clothing for each round. For the final edging I ended up using two different fabrics but I think this adds to the quirky nature of the project.

Centre section


Edge detail

The finished rug is about 80 cm across and used four vests, six tops and some leftover  t-shirt yarn from Harry's cat house and a 12 mm hook. I'm pleased with the finished result, I think next time I make something like this though I will make it a bit more solid as I'm not sure how practical the openwork areas on this one are but it does look pretty!

As soon as I set it down Harry claimed it

Friday 25 April 2014

Life Drawing 24.4.14

Pen, continuous line

A slightly odd session last night because it was probably the last one at our current venue. Since the line dancers began using the main hall our peaceful group has become slightly less so, making it more difficult to relax and concentrate. I have been thinking about changing things with the sessions for a while anyway because although the group is lovely there are not enough people to make it financially viable and so I've been considering ways to keep it going without me losing money!

Permanent markers, continuous line

In terms of drawing it was a good session. Our model Jude gave us some really good poses; they were quite challenging and I found it really hard to capture them but I enjoyed it because they were interesting and it's good to be pushed out of our comfort zones. Jude gave us a lovely pose wearing the shawl and holding the parasol but however hard I tried I really struggled to get the proportions right so I tried drawing each element (body, shawl, parasol) in a different coloured marker. This seemed to help and I'm pleased with this drawing. Using the different but toning colours is potentially another way to develop my drawings. 


Overlapping sketches. Pencil, continuous line

Pencil, continuous line

As well as my pens and permanent markers I worked quite a lot with pencil this evening. I still worked with continuous line but tried to focus on getting different qualities of line for a different effect. I'm pleased with how some of these drawings are starting to develop, they have a different quality to my pen drawings and are a bit more subtle. 

Pencil, continuous line

I also tried to challenge myself this session by having a go at doing a portrait. I'm not very good at faces, I much prefer hands and feet but as it is an area of weakness for me I thought I should have a go at improving and the only way to do that is practice. It's not a great portrait but there is a likeness and I'm quite pleased with it as a starting point.

Pen, continuous line

Pen, continuous line

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Life Drawing 10.4.14

Permanent marker, continuous line

I've just got back from a lovely holiday in Spain, where there was sun and lots of beautiful tiles! What I should have done is written this post before I went but I didn't so I can't remember all the details so this post will mostly be about pictures.


I used a range of media in this session, including pencil which is quite unusual for me but I wanted to do something a bit different. I'm quite pleased with the head sketch, it was good to work in a slightly different way and using pencil rather than pen allows for more variation in the quality of line which is something I think I would like to play around with a bit more.

Permanent marker
I also used the permanent markers again, this is a great way of working for me because it forces you to work quickly, trying to capture what you see before the pen soaks through the paper. Although the proportions of the full body pose are wrong there are still elements of it that I like, in particular the energy that the drawing has because during its making the pen was constantly moving.




Of course no session would be complete without pen drawings of hands and feet! Tomorrow is the last session for a while so if you're in Carlisle come along and join in!

Wednesday 9 April 2014

Another year another quilt!

The first layer of tie dye

It's that time of year again when The Heathlands Project Textile group embark on another quilt making adventure. This will be the fourth year I've run a quilt making project with them and it's really great to see how their ideas and skills have developed over this time. I'm excited to see how this one turns out, some of the group have been involved in all the quilts so have built up quite a knowledge base whereas others are new to textiles.

Group designs for the quilt

Tie dye samples ready to be untied

Selected sample (stitched)

Selected sample (pleated)

This year the group have decided to do a whole-cloth quilt with a patchwork border and they wanted to try some different tie-dye techniques and some batik. So, over the past few weeks we have been tie-dyeing and practising our batik skills. We began by doing small individual samples which we then looked at together to decide which techniques we want to use on the quilt. We are going to do two lots of tie dye to the base cloth so that we can try a bit of colour mixing too.

Tie dye samples

Working together

Mixing the dye



Batik patches ready for the dye bath

The first tie dye colour we chose was red and the group decided to twist and pleat the main fabric, seeing everyone working on the same piece at once was quite entertaining! We also did some batik patches to go into the red dye, they've come out really well and I can't wait to do the second lot of dyeing later this week!

Tied and ready for dyeing

In the dye bath

Adding the batik patches
Dyed batik patch

Dip dyed threads