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archive for June, 2010

sketch sunday


a rather experimental sketching week this week, resulting in a pretty shocking set of sketches :D the best i can bring you is yet another half finished piece (after 2 hours work). i may try to finish this off tomorrow, if they don’t get moved in the interim. i got lots of compliments on these last night.

my experiments included:

- taking my sketchbook with me on a day out = truly dreadful sketch of pier in time it takes a 3 yr old to eat an icecream. i struggle with complex things as i never know what to include and what to leave out and end up putting in too much, usually.

- loose pen drawing = not as bad as i expected sketch of feet, you can at least tell what they’re meant to be :D

- first try at white conte on black paper = a sketch of a candle that was about as far as it’s possible to be from what i envisaged. i had fun playing with blending, and i’m reasonably happy with how i solved the problem of representing a diffuse glow (scraped the crayon into powder over the paper then blended), but i still need to work out how to make the mark i want from the crayon


so it was a relief to return to familiar old pencil drawing, where i’m marginally less at sea, although i’ve still a lot to learn about not just picking the 4b cos it’s the only one you have next to you at the time. the shoes could have done with a lighter touch, i haven’t left myself very much wiggle room in terms of available darker tones.

i’ve had a wonderful time researching this weekend - quilts and tattoo flash and captain scott and platinum printing. the latter two related (well, all related actually, but the last two more directly so) and involving massive amounts of drooling over the ponting portfolio. oh to be a very very rich person indeed who could dream of owning such an incredibly beautiful and poignant set of images <wistful sigh>

(btw please excuse crappy phonecam pix, will replace them when i can be arsed to drag my proper camera out. i’ll try to do some more work on the shoes before then too).

good news everyone

yes it’s back again :D

now you’re all reading this post in professor farnsworth’s voice :D

and even better news, i found more bell pincurl clips on ebay. yay. if you’re after some it’s worth setting up a search, they seem to come up fairly regularly.

buttonhole blues

i’m totally stalled on a current project for a dear friend thanks to my utter failure to make reasonable buttonholes. note to self: surprise people, never promise stuff in advance, it makes you look bad :facepalm:

trouble is, the buttonholes on my machine are unreliable (or at least i can’t make them work reliably). i wonder if something’s come misaligned because the rows of stitching seem very tight, and i ended up slicing through the side threads on my last couple of sets :(

i tried topstitching thread, with a heavy needle and reduced tension, but the tension’s clearly still awry cos i’m getting nasty – and unpredictable – snarls on the back.

i tried bound buttonholes using my magic doofer, but i’m not having much luck at getting them a) the same size or b) reliably tight, rather than gaping. to say nothing of the unholy mess it makes of the wrong side, and i’m sure bodgingly hand sewing the backs isn’t supposed to be the answer :?

i even tried hand sewing, for that bespoke look :D and whilst i think the front has a certain rough charm (this was my first try), the back is hideous.

and so i’m beginning to think that the very first buttonholes i did, with regular thread on the machine, are actually the best of a bad bunch. i briefly considered whether i could get a vintage buttonholer to work on my machine, in case that would be any better, but i think it’s probably lunacy. i did however get a tip from this recent tutorial (thanks susan!) to try two passes, one with a longer and the other with a shorter stitch length. i like the way this looks on the samples, so i’ll have a go, knocking down the density accordingly. and then i’ll just have to have a very steady hand indeed when i open them. gulp.

i mentioned to a (non-sewing) friend that i’d been battling with buttonholes all morning. she looked aghast and asked if i was really that much of a perfectionist that i cared how the buttonholes looked. i admitted somewhat shamefaced that yes, yes i was, but i was rather taken aback by her horror. please someone out there reassure me you understand …

in other news, i’m off to see the quilts next week. i expect to return full of renewed inspiration, with another million projects i just have to start right now this minute :roll:

sketch sunday take 2

i rather like this. it’s about an hour’s work, would have taken another to finish. i was enjoying it and would happily have done more but i was losing the light so i decided to drink the rest. cheers :D


sketch sunday

i’ve been really throwing myself into getting a grip on my portfolio this week. i’ve realised i have a lot to do. it’s going to be loads of fun doing it.

i’m keeping a sketchbook with a drawing a day, this is my favourite this week. i’m also working on a couple of conceptual/experimental pieces. i’ve not really done this before and the wide open spaces are alternately intimidating and invigorating. it was a good excuse  to dig out my polaroid and check whether the film is still usable, which – in certain conditions – it is :D

i really like the sketchbook thing. producing new stuff is good, and if it’s only sketchbook work that frees it to not matter if it’s not very good. and it makes a change to do something that’s complete in a few minutes, in contrast to most things i make that take weeks. and it’s nice to piece those little things organically together into something bigger (hopefully!)
and then i have a little light reading …

life drawing

i’ve finally got round to taking pics of the life drawing i did last year.

it was such a good thing to do, although the class was expensive and i think i might have gained more from the process with a different tutor. i’ve been assured by various people who should know that drawing can be taught, and i would have welcomed more direction. i do feel i progressed through the course, although i lost momentum rather towards the end.

i forgot to date anything as i went along and now i don’t quite remember what order i did them, i’ve put them in the closest i can manage to chronological order in the gallery.

i’d love to do more, but i can’t justify the cost of the classes. i am going to make a big effort to keep up a sketch book though, in fact i hereby reinstate sketch sunday :)

further adventures in pincurling

hmm this is starting to veer quite a long way off topic, but i couldn’t not post about my latest toy (courtesy of taste-t vintage).

it’s a bell kurl klasp kit which promises “perfect pin curls in half the time”. well i don’t know about half the time, it took me a good hour and then some to put them in, but they’re not a very long way from perfect i reckon, allowing for the fact that this is only the third time i’ve attempted pincurls and didn’t follow any kind of pattern for the direction of the curls.
i found the bell clips stay in much better than the spring loaded clips i got from superdrug and are way less fiddly than kirby grips. they also limit the amount of hair you can put in each curl, which helped me not to get lazy and make them too big, which was very tempting towards the end. i didn’t have enough to do all my hair since it’s so long (i could have used larger sections if i didn’t have to squeeze all that length under each clip), i used kirbies at the back.
i did the set on dry hair, using a gel spray to dampen down to the ends, and wound each curl around an eyeliner tube. i gave it a final squirt over with more gel and left it in all day. i could have got away with half as long i reckon, the wavy clips not only make sure the curls aren’t crushed, they also improve airflow to help it dry quicker (hence “half the time”). i’d be interested to see how long a wet set would take with these. my hair is naturally pretty straight and has never taken well to any kind of curling so i am super impressed with how well this set took, it’s still going strong after being slept on. above is before brushing out, and below is the finished product after a lot of brushing.

so now i can do it, i need to work out what to do with it. i didn’t have much luck styling the curls into waves, so i just rolled the sides back and clipped which gave a nicely fortiesish vibe without being too stylised (whilst i love some of the more “costumey” styles on other people they’re just not for me). apols for fuzzy webcam pic it’s the only one i have. also apols in general for rather odd pictures, trying to take hairdo pics that are also as anonymous as possible for internet purposes isn’t at all easy!

i’m going to do some more foraging around for ideas on what to do with my newfound curls, if anyone has any suggestions of places to look i’d be ever so much obliged :)

questions questions

debi tagged me for some questions, sorry it took a while to get round to answering!

1. Which pattern/vintage style have you been thinking about lately? no pattern in particular, but my mind has been drifting 30swards, for sure. there’s a line where vintage tips irredeemably into costume, and to my eyes that line falls at some point in the 1930s, i’m just trying to work out where.

2. What is one place that you really want to visit that you haven’t been to before? finland. fuelled mostly by a lifelong love of tove jansson. i urge every parent to read the moomin books to their kids. along with being great fun they have an unexpected depth, a darkness. and if you’ve not got kids try her adult fiction/autobiography that’s only recently been translated into english, the winter book, or the summer book. plus i want to see the northern lights :D

3. How do you relax? i’d love to say running, yoga and meditation (which i do, sporadically, natch), but to be truthful i mostly have a drink :oops:  after seeing the state of the lovely dylan moran on the telly last night :eek: i’m planning to revise this strategy sooner rather than later.

4. What is your favorite holiday? camping. we have a very nice tent.

either at a festival (ideally without the kids!) or in reach of somewhere like avebury. this summer i will get my kids to uffington.

5. What is one sewing skill you want to learn/try out? tailoring. i have a secret ambition to weave the fabric for a tailored jacket. oops. not so secret now.

6. Can you knit? Crochet? Any other crafting talents? my various dabblings are detailed over thattaway>>>

my most unusual “talents” are probably knapping flint (making knives by banging rocks together) and being able to count in binary on my fingers. i’m not sure i can really count that as a craft, although i for one welcome our new robot overlords.

7. How long do you spend reading blogs (per day or per week)? i only check a couple of blogs, maybe a couple of times a week, alhough every now and again i’ll go on a blog binge and hop from one to another for hours. i used to read a lot of blogs but i found it stifled any kind of creativity tbh. now i plough my furrow in blissful ignorance of what most of the rest of the world is up to and it suits me very well.

i spend literally hours a day on forums though :eek:

i know i should pass this on now, but as i said i don’t know 8 other blogs :oops: so i’ll post some questions here, in case anyone reading wants to answer – i’d love to hear :)

  1. what craft project are you most proud of?
  2. what song instantly takes you back to being 18?
  3. what was the last exhibition you went to see?
  4. if your craft room was on fire what would you save?
  5. best dr who?
  6. starter or dessert?
  7. favourite waste of time?
  8. if you went back to school/college what would you study?