A year of Made on Monday – on Wednesdays!

When I committed to making a piece of textile art once a week for a year this time a year ago, little did I know how challenging it would be. After doing the Made on Monday challenge for 12 months I decided to reflect on my progress and processes so that I can use what I have learned in future pieces of textile art.

MoM Lyn Pecchiar #15

It was challenging in a number of ways:

  • finding time – although the pieces were small I don’t often find time every week to sew,
  • finding inspiration – it’s hard to be creative on demand sometimes,
  • keeping ideas in check – 5 inches square can be fairly limiting
  • trying not to get ahead of myself – thinking this would be great as blah, or I could make 25 of these and make blah etc.,
  • knowing when to stop or when a piece is finished – although this is not a challenge limited to only doing these smaller art pieces,
  • stopping myself thinking ahead about what to do with them all!

MoM Lyn Pecchiar #49

What I learned along the way:

  • why should I make something for anything other than “because”? In other words, it doesn’t have to BE anything,
  • a lot of people think that I should make coasters (!!!)
  • placing limitations on a project when I create something is a good thing because it makes me think more (or sometimes stop overthinking) to solve a problem
  • sewing and textiles IS problem solving
  • I do overthink things a lot – the less I think about some of these pieces the more I like the end result
  • I dream textile creations or solutions a LOT (although I already knew that)
  • It is very beneficial working alongside someone (thanks Cora!) even if we are not always together in the same room – technology is a wonderful creativity tool,
  • Ideas and conversation flow when we can encourage, critique and be inspired by each other’s work,
  • It is easier to recognise your own self doubts when you can call it out in someone else.

MoM Lyn Pecchiar #34

Where will I go now?

  • I plan on making more of these 5×5 inch pieces and adding them to the MoM gallery, perhaps not as frequently
  • I want to use some of the pieces as a stepping stone for some larger pieces
  • I will use some of the techniques I have used in textile art in dressmaking
  • I will try placing limitations or challenge myself to use certain materials, colour schemes, techniques or designs to develop new pieces
  • I recognise that I can recycle and reuse the smallest pieces of my stash to create textile art

I thoroughly recommend the Made on Monday challenge to anyone who want to challenge themselves to extend their creativity.  It has opened my eyes to what I always kind of knew I could do but didn’t want to commit to large pieces to try.  I get an enormous satisfaction out of looking at all 52 pieces in one go.  I have them in a folder currently but have had an idea to make textile boxes to store them in, so we will see how that idea progresses!

All my 52 pieces so far are in my gallery and on the Made on Monday site.

Here are some more of my favourites.

What sort of challenge have you undertaken to extend your creativity?  I’d love to hear about your experiences.

Until next time

Lyn

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Slow January

Happy new year everyone!

Although I have started the year slowly with my creativity, I have just sent in my latest Made on Monday piece and put it in my gallery.

I am contemplating some minor house renovations as well as slowly working on cleaning out my “studio” aka the “spare room”.

If anyone living in the north/west suburbs of Melbourne is interested in some Australian Patchwork and Quilting magazines, I have a shelf full that I would like to give to a good home.  See some pictures on my instagram account here.  They are mainly full of beautiful inspiration and traditional quilt ideas and patterns.  Unfortunately I find I don’t really use them much anymore …. so if anyone is interested please contact me via the contact page.  There are way too many to post and knowing the Australian postal rates it would cost a fortune.

Here’s hoping you are having a good January, not too cold if you are in the Northern Hemisphere, and not too hot if you are with me in the Southern Hemisphere.

Until next time,

Lyn

 

 

Quick update

I have just added my latest Made on Monday pieces to my gallery.  I decided to use a simple shape and do some variations with applique and stitch.  These are the first 2 pieces, I have another 2 started and there may be more.

I used the fabric that we painted a few weeks ago, and just experimented with backgrounds, although I didn’t get as much contrast as I would have liked.  Because the day was so hot I think I only painted about 4 pieces of fabric before I ran out of energy so I was limited in the colour choices.

As always, I forget to take process photos so I don’t have a lot but here are the basic steps I took:

Cut out applique shapes and pinned them to the background layer.  The background was already layered over some wadding and backing, like a quilt sandwich.

1-applique-pinned.jpg

Stitched the outline of the shapes.  I didn’t use glue or vliesofix, because both the background and the applique pieces were cotton, and the whole piece was small, they didn’t move very much.

2-stitch-outline.jpg

Then I filled in the shapes with freemotion stitching.

I will definitely try this idea again, I think using one shape and working on variations takes out some of the “What will I do” procrastinating and allows me to think of ways to create differences using stitch.  I settled on an apple shape, mainly because I often use floral designs and I didn’t want to do a heart (although I suppose an apple could look a bit like a heart!)

I will post the next pieces over the next few weeks.

Wishing everyone a lovely Christmas and happy new year.  I will be back with more in January!

Until next time

Lyn

Bits and Bobs

Wow this year is flying.  Since I haven’t blogged in ages I thought I would update on some of the sewing and textile work I have done in recent weeks.  I haven’t really had much time so have had to do things in “bits and bobs”

I made a dress to wear to a family wedding. Actually I made 2 ½ dresses – the first one I decided was not “wedding-y enough” so I made another one which I hated well before it was finished, and the third one was the goldilocks one. Just right!

The first one was the lady skater pattern, with some scuba knit purchased from Spotlight.  I really like this one, but as a more casual dress.

1.LadySkater

The second one was not the fault of the pattern, but my choice of fabric.  I didn’t finish it (it’s in the “what will I do with this?”pile) because it looked way too dowdy – not the look I was going for.  I always count the time spent on these things as “entertainment” as well as learning, so the time is never wasted.  I don’t even have a photo – but this shows the fabric. A bit stretchy and not suitable for the pattern.

2.Stretch lace

The third dress I made (finished the morning of the wedding) was inspired when I saw the fabric (after going to buy a zip!) I knew I had a pattern with an A-Line skirt (New Look 6184) which I had made once before so I searched for it and used that one.

3.NL6184

Cora and I had a day of stencilling/painting/colouring fabric a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately it was about a million degrees outside and quite windy so I only did a few pieces as we only stayed outside in the heat for about an hour.

I have made a couple of submissions for my Made on Monday (MoM) challenge out of one of these pieces, a larger piece is already stitched over and will become the front of a cushion cover and the other pieces I will use for some more MoM pieces.

Here are my latest 2 pieces which I just uploaded to the gallery.

While I was looking through my “What I made” book, I realised that I had made an A line dress in October as well – another New Look, pattern 6210.  I loved this fabric the first time I set eyes on it so I wanted to make as simple a dress as possible.

8.NL6210

One thing that I have done for the whole of this year is to keep a record of my dressmaking projects.  It is a small spiral notebook in which I write the date, the pattern number and any comments like “took in at shoulder blades in centre back seam”, which helps me if I decide to make the same pattern again.  I stick a swatch of the fabric on the page as well.  It’s also a reminder that I do actually achieve a fair bit, even though sometimes it doesn’t seem like it.

Next on the list – I have nearly finished a summer dress which only needs elastic in the waist band and I have cut out another dress with a high-low hem. Both of these were inspired by the hot weather which suddenly appeared in Melbourne for over a week but has since disappeared! I will post pictures of the dresses when they are done.  I will also continue working on my Made on Monday challenge pieces.

What have you been working on? Clothes or textile art? Or both?

Until next time

Lyn

More Inktense

Having had little time over the past few weeks to get into the studio, I was happy to spend some time there yesterday, experimenting with inktense pencils.  After a comment received on my Instagram and here, I tried using aloe vera gel as the medium. It was an interesting experiment, because I used the aloe vera growing in my garden which was all I had.  It was quite sticky getting it out of the leaves, but I guess it was very therapeutic for my fingers!  I only tried a little sample, and will compare that with the textile medium/water solution by washing them.  I am interested to see how/if the intensity of the ink fades and will get back to you about the results in a future post.

Having dreamed about scarves with multi colours, I found some very light weight fabric to try some samples on – I think it’s called muslin here in Australia. It’s very loosely woven cotton. Firstly I sewed a grid on the fabric using straight stitch and zigzag stitch using a soluble stabiliser because the fabric is so unstable.

2 grids

Then I used the inktense pencils to colour in the boxes, this time only using the textile medium/water solution.   I quickly decided that doing a large scarf this way would not be my thing!

On the second sample I simply coloured in small dots in the grid, which is a much quicker process.  I really like both effects, but if I was to do anything like this on a larger scale I would definitely use the inktense blocks rather than the pencils.

 

So I now have 2 new samples for my Made on Monday pieces.  I’m sure this will lead to other pieces because I really love the effects.

Until next time,

Lyn

Number 23

Last week was week 23 for my Made on Monday challenge.  I decided to continue my experimenting with Inktense pencils.  Numbers 21 and 22 were also created using inktense pencils, and although I don’t really like piece 22, I do like the idea of using a simple image, and outline stitching it with free motion embroidery.

The starting point was an offcut from a piece which had been painted using stencilled images. (Have I mentioned I have a LOT of STUFF in my sewing room which needs to be used/donated/thrown out?)  So I used it… and grabbed a bag of stencils which had come from some magazines meant for paper crafts.

1 fabric

Using the pear stencil I created the image by blending various colours of inktense pencils, wet with a mixture of textile medium and water.  I used less water this time, because number 22 showed me how much the ink spreads when wet.

I then experimented with a border, still using inktense, because the fabric did not have colour all the way to the edges.

 

Finally after checking the layout with my trusty pink board with a 5 inch window cut out, I stitched with free motion embroidery, using simple outlines around the pear.

6 checking size

The background was stitched in a leaf pattern, sort of following the pattern of the leaves but not really!  I stitched around the border triangles as well to try to make them pop up a bit from the fabric.

After a zig zag stitch to finish the edges, it’s finished!

8 final stitched

Detail of the stitching:

9 stitch detail

Currently I am borrowing Cora’s inktense pencils, and I am certainly sold on getting some of my own.  I might get some of the inktense blocks, because the pencils are great for small areas and detail, but I think it would be great to be able to cover larger areas.

Do any of you have experience with inktense? Am I the only one late to this party?

Until next time

Lyn

More Made on Monday – on Wednesday

Participating in the Made on Monday challenge has made me start to think differently about creating textile art, which I guess was my aim in joining.  Having to prepare a 5 inch piece each week is actually more difficult than I thought, as I tend to overthink things when I am being creative.

I am learning to just “do”.

I have read many books, blogs, articles etc on being creative over the last few years, and the common advice is to do just that – get on with it and create something.  There is no replacement for practice practice practice.

In that vein, I am just trying out different things, but set myself a time limit.  It also helps to do several pieces at once, or in a similar fashion (surely they are called a series!) and that helps to develop ideas.  I often find myself thinking of the next pieces as I am doing the current ones.  Making small pieces allows me to try new techniques as well, so my latest pieces reflect my experimenting.

I started my latest pieces which I showed pictures of in my last post by drawing with watercolour pencils on fabric.  Here is a photo of the large piece after I cut it into 4, prior to edging them.  I love the fact that the flowers and images go off the edge of each piece.

 

cut

And a photo of them after they are edged with black thread.

cut edged

I think I might try a similar idea again, I like the watercolour pencil effect and it’s not as messy as paints.  Has anyone else tried this technique? I am interested in how it might work on a scarf, or something wearable.

Until next time

Lyn