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Thursday, August 30, 2007

New Camera!

Whoopee! I have a new camera! A Panasonic Lumix. Now I have to read the blinking book. Don't you hate that bit? Anyway, here is jacket I made at art college this summer taken by someone so smart he has no need to read the manual. The straggly bits are not me being delibately art, just things that still need hemmed.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Summer school

Just back from my annual summer school at Edinburgh College of Art. Costumer design this year with the wonderful David Wilcox. Only eight of us in class concentrating deeply on our own work so it was a very calm and quiet atmosphere all week. Now that I'm back I realise what a gift it is to be able to concentrate on one thing for days on end to the exclusion of all else.

We began with something called dot and cross paper designed for pattern drafting and a book of basic pattern blocks all written in numbers. Arghhhhh! Maths!!!!! We transferred the numerical information into lines and angles on the dot and cross paper and a pattern appeared as if by magic. I honestly thought I wouldn't be able to do it, but I did.

All the other people were serious students of historical costume who went on to make period toilles in calico but I just wanted to make a jacket, which the tutor knew and was up for. David is an excellent tutor who susses his students strengths and weaknesses very quickly and knows I'm a ram stam, let it hang as it grows kind of gal, not big on accuracy.

I wanted to take a pattern from an existing jacket and had absolutely no idea how to go about it. The way David showed me was very simple and suited my nature. Taking a panel at a time and working systematically I pinned calico onto my jacket, sketched round the pin marks in pencil, unpinned it and cut it out. Then to correct any stretches or mishappings I did the dot and cross measuring thing, straightening up what I knew should be straight, matching angles etc. When I had my pattern I cut it out in calico and make a toille. This is where the fun begins and you can start playing at Project Catwalk.

I took a trip to Harvey Nicks and checked out all the lovely wool coats and jackets around this year with wonderful broad lapels and integral scarf collars. With a few stolen ideas under my belt it was back to the studio to play with my toille until I has something I thought might work. Finally I cut it out for real from the lovely Loch Carron fabrics I found the the scrapstore a few months ago and a jacket was born.....and a camera died. Typical. Promise to post pics soon,

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Salt anyone?

I wanted the bottles of salt and soda solution for the schools dyeing project to be clearly labelled so I used red (or black for soda) electrical tape. No chance of it smudging into illegibility.

But why, you might ask, was I to be found caressing these bottles with best baby talcum powder yesterday morning? When you take off the paper labels there is a sticky residue left behind. Latex gloves tend to stick to this making all manner of spilling disasters a distinct possibility. Give them the baby's bottom treatment and they're fine.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

What it is, is....

Here is one of the projects I'm currently driving myself daft with while I wait for the school to restart. It's big, fat crochet from Doris Chan's book Amazing Crochet Lace. I also need big arm muscles to lug around the three cones of wool I'm combining to make it. They are shown here stuffed into the foot well of my partner's tiny sports car leaving not a lot of room for feet, as you can see.

This is all very well but what it is, is (ahhh, must just interject here to tell you that in my profession, shopkeeping, any tale preceded by 'what it is, is....' is bad news. This is glaze over time, breath into your back time, make a mental shopping list time and resist the urge to shout yes, yes, what is it? Spit it out but just get ON with it!!!!!!!!! Perhaps I'm in the wrong profession?)

Anyway, what it is, is I want to make tiny, delicate proper crocheted lace but somehow I seem to be going in the wrong direction. A friend was wearing a fab crocheted cardi of this ilk the other day and I have asked for a copy of the pattern. I'll probably produce it in rope and turn it into a yurt instead.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Well seasoned

Nothing like a bit of salt and soda for making your fibre reactive dyeing successful! Here's what should have happened last time. These are the results I want my 80 little would-be dyers to have. Feeling more confident now that it might actually happen for them as planned. The thing that always amazes me is that these three pieces of fabric all had the same red, yellow and blue dye applied to them but in a difference sequence and in different quantities. I'm sure you can guess which was immersed in the red, blue or yellow first because remains the predominant colour. The red one was in a concertina fold, the blue one just scrunched up and the yellow twisted. All were secured with elastic bands.

I dyed some t-shirts for myself to wear whilst explain the process to the children. These will also help me illustrate the fact that fibre reactive dyes don't dye synthetic fabrics. Why is it that our cotton T-shirts aren't stitched with cotton thread? See how the thread remains undyed on both t-shirts?

So that's me, ready to rock 'n roll. I have an introductory dyeing session scheduled with the science teachers on the 22nd of this month.