Category Archives: playing

classwork whilst away

I’ve been away from my class materials since working on this new work project. which means I haven’t had as much fabric, paints, threads, the sewing machine etc to work with. I found an app called art set on the itunes app store and tried it out on the flight home last week. it’s pretty good. it has a large range of colours, and background “paper” with different textures and colours and weights – actually more than I have at home. plus multiple pens, pencils, felt pens, paints, crayons, sponges, erasers, water for smudging edges, and the app is really easy to use. it’s not the same as using the materials by hand of course, but I think it does replicate the styles / effects the materials have quite well. and it was only 99cents. wish I’d known about this prior to spending a couple of hundred dollars on a much smaller range of pens and paints! I tried a few simple mark making exercises, then I took a photo from the front airplane camera (was my first time on an A380 & it has camera views on the tv/entertainment system – a view from the front of the plane, below near the wings, and looking towards the tail of the plane) and made a drawing of the view.

knit a year

I’m going to try the knit a year project after hearing about it from Michelle from Reef Knot (& recently 107 projects). the aim is to knit a minimum of 2 rows each day, using a different colour to reflect my mood for the day & leaving a thread at the edge of the piece to show the start of each day

knitrageous has written a great post about the project – she travels also so has similar issues to me, ie not having your yarn stash with you all the time.
I think it’ll be an exploration in colour and texture – perhaps I’ll add some embroidery over the yarn, or try some weaving also.

as I’m traveling at the moment, I don’t have my yarn stash available so I brought some multi-coloured sock yarn with me and will use different colours from this whilst away. it means cutting up the yarn and thereby ruining the skein but this should be OK – I can always join threads if needs be.

I cast on 23 stitches, which is different to the instructions, but 23 has a bit of maybe logic flavour to it. I think I’ll leave tails on both sides too
traveling yarn stash

day1: I chose the blue for day 1 as I’d woken at 3:15am to catch a 6:30am flight to Auckland, and had napped briefly on the flight but was surprisingly still awake when I began. though due to the hypnotic, relaxing state of knitting the rows, I was nodding off before the end of row 2, so it was a slow start to the project!
day1 – knit a year

day2: I chose a dark, muted green coloured yarn as I was so tired – the whole day was spent in a fog. it felt like the world was muted for me.

day3: I had really good news today – finding out that my friend is pregnant so I chose the brightest, happiest colour I have here – gold. after I’d done a few rows the gold started to become more brown than gold so I stopped early.

day4: today was a mixed day, I woke to the news of friend posting on facebook that his mother – who suffered from cancer had passed away. a good day at work. my friend’s birthday. another couple of friends’ 21st wedding anniversary. so I started with blue, but the yarn changed to a purple/grey colour.
during week2

hotel room patterns

I’ve been staying in the same hotel for the past few weeks in Auckland, in different rooms each trip. I have been noticing the different patterns in the furnishings and textiles in the room. the room I’m in now has a mixture of lines and circles – none of them perfectly shaped. they have a nice feel about them, and match the nearby building’s outer surfaces too. the carpet lines in the corridors flow through to match the blanket on the bed which has similar curves stitched onto the ends of the blanket.

Globe service

I put the sewing machine in for a service at Chatswood Sewing Centre prior to my work trip & collected it on saturday. it’s working much better! the dropped stitches problem from my previous attempts has been fixed – apparently this is caused by the timing being out, so the position of the bobbin & needle are mismatched which cause it to drop stitches intermittently.

I tried some machine embroidery and had much better results too! I haven’t worked out the full control of the machine in freehand mode but I made some marks with it, and some circles. I also did another test swatch with straight stitches (in normal sewing mode) and the decorative stitches, and they’re all looking much better.

the fabric is bunching a bit with the stitches. I just grabbed the first scrap of fabric from one of my bags, so I’ll have to try some plain cotton too to see if that helps. also I think I need to guide the fabric more carefully and perhaps hold it taut more whilst moving it around, so it doesn’t bunch up more.
zoomed in: (I need to rescan this – the scan came out blurry in parts)

I really like the stitches underneath the fabric too (rear view). I’ve been reading a book by …(fill in during week) and noticed that she often uses the technique of machine embroidery on the wrong side of the fabric and turning it over. this might be something to practice more. I won’t have access to the machine for a while but will try this again.
zoomed in: (I need to rescan this – the scan came out blurry in parts)

freestyle machine embroidery

I can’t get the sewing machine to do freestyle machine embroidery. it seems to sew in the wrong direction – ie sew up the excess thread from the threaded needle and then the thread comes out of the needle. 🙁 I’ve tried holding the threads but still no luck. I’ve tried with a foot on (I think it’s actually a clear buttonhole foot), the foot off, tightening & loosening the screw on the bobbin holder to adjust bobbin tension and the feed dogs down. when I put the feed dogs up again it sews normally (well, as normal as it usually does – see the stitching in this first photo, with white thread plus red bobbin thread). I tried pulling the fabric tauter on the hoop and trying a thicker fabric. I haven’t tried using fusible interfacing on the fabric yet though, so maybe the fabric is too thin? basically it doesn’t seem to pick up the bobbin thread at all either.



feed dogs down & feed dogs up



I tried watching some videos and following their instructions but I’m still not having any luck. I’ve had some problems with it when doing straight stitching too – so possibly it’s the machine’s problem – it skips stitches irregularly when stitching normally (I quite like this in some cases though – it has a nice glitch). but maybe this means it’s not suitable for freestyle machine stitching?

am tempted to try find a bernina 1008 sewing machine – the books I read by Sue Stone mentions she uses one and I like her work and stitches. in technique & stitch vocabulary she says she has two! one for normal stitching and one for machine embroidery. I also like the darning stitch she uses over the top of her layered stitches, she makes it look like hand woven stitches

tonight’s web wanderings

tonight I’ve been reading the following articles online

Age-old crafts become next generation technology tools via OCA blog
A Computational Model of Knitting & other articles combining knitting and computing via bit.craft
Audrey Walker of the 62 Group in the UK – I love how some of her stitches look painterly, like Van Gogh’s night scenes painting style in this one
Radical Thread book – a sample of it anyway, from the 62 Group
Observed Incident by Audrey Walker
Textile Artist website
Abstract Fabric Collage by Margaret Kaye
11th Century embroidery pictures – I like the satin stitch (I think!) in this one
Sue Stone
on slow craftivism
threads of life – Indonesian fibre arts and textiles

and a couple from last week, the Game of Thrones embroidery pictures & site
Michele Carragher’s embroidery for Game of Thrones TV show
These Close-Ups Of “Game Of Thrones” Fashion Will Take Your Breath Away
love Daenerys’s dragonscale dress – there’s a page showing how to create dragonscale too (I’m up to book 3, and just started 2nd series of the show)

Zandra Rhodes’ sketchbook + indigo + Adam Curtis

tonight I watched videos on Zandra Rhodes’ tutorial page on her website. the first video about Sketchbooks was great. I liked how she speaks on photographs vs drawing in sketchbooks: “to me, i never get to know something unless I’ve drawn it & suffered it”
there’s also some great videos on screenprinting and making the prints for some of her fabrics. it’s interesting that she uses layout paper for her sketchbooks too – I might have to try that for the pens

Tutorial 1 Zandra Rhodes: Using sketchbooks from UCA Learning Technologists on Vimeo.also I started reading through “Indigo – The Colour that Changed the World” by Catherine Legrand, after finding it at Potts Point bookstore yesterday. I’ve almost bought this book a few times online, but hadn’t quite pressed submit on the order. it’s a visual feast – interesting to learn more about indigo following the shibori class I did a few weeks ago.

and, a non-art-textiles related article to read is, “In Conversation with Adam Curtis, Part I” by (one of my favourite curators) Hans Ulrich Obrist – they do speak about art in the article