Huge Time Saver    Monday, March 16, 2009

I absolute love the Etsy Forum. I don't think that I have ever left that Forum disappointed when looking for an answer to something regarding shop, blog, promotion etc. It makes me so happy that there are all these kind people out there always ready to give a helping hand. Especially when starting up SewDanish I found it a huge help. Now I try to return the favor when ever I can. I don't spend a huge amount of time in the forum, as there are just not enough hours in the day, but I try to stop by on a regular basis.
The best tip that I picked up from a thread, and that I have used over and over again is this: How to save a listing that you have made, but you don't want to publish there and then. You might already know this, if not this is how you do it:
You make your new listing. When you arrive at the very last page, where you normally would hit "finish", you "add" it to your "favorites" in your toolbar instead. Pictures and all. I have a section in my "favorites" called Etsy Listings, where I store them until I'm ready to publish them. When ready to go public, you sign into your Etsy shop as normal, you click on your toolbar "favorites", select your listing and click "finish". Believe me it works like a dream, and for me it has been a huge time saver.

Dyeing in the kitchen    Sunday, March 15, 2009

To day was the day. I spend all day dyeing in the kitchen. No, I haven't had food poisoning and I'm very much alive. I've been dyeing threads, bits of fabric, silk cocoon strippings, wooden coffee stirrers and beads. Luckily I didn't have to cook a meal today as you wouldn't have been able to find the cooker nor the counter tops. At some stage it looked more like a science lab. I decided to space dye in trays, as I wanted soft multicolored thread. I have been doing a lot of hand embroidery lately so I needed to build up my thread stash again, as well I have want to add mixed packs of the dyed embroidery thread to "SewDanish".

I use Procion MX, fiber reactive cold water dye for most of my dyeing. It is easy to use. Except for the dye powder it only needs washing soda ash/crystals to fix the dye and cooking salt to make the dye stock spread easily. You can add urea as well, but I rarely do that. I only got half of my dyeing done, as I ran out of soda, so I'll have to nip over to the supermarket tomorrow. Right now I have drying racks with all these wonderful coloured threads drying all over the kitchen. Cannot wait to see them all dry tomorrow morning. It is always so exciting to see the result. My dyeing is never a particular exact science, so I never know the result until it is all dry.

Recycled Bits    Thursday, March 12, 2009

I think our computer chair has a special sticky coating on the seat. Somehow I've been stuck to that chair all morning and most of the afternoon. The chair just didn't want to release me. Strange.... :-)

At least I have gotten a lot done, so it hasn't been a total waste of time. I've been preparing new listings for SewDanish. Lately I have been experimenting with making ACEO's (artist, cards, editions, originals). I know, that I'm totally behind the powercurb and that people collecting ACEO's probably have move on to something new. Please tell me if thats the case, so I won't miss the boat again. Never the less I have had a blast making these ACEO's. When ever I trim something from a project, have left over surface decorated papers/fabrics or my layered backgrounds, then I save them in my big goody bag. I just love having a good rummage in that bag. It bring bags memories from all these projects, that I have made at one time or another. I very rarely toss any of these small scraps, because you never know when they will come in handy. And why start all over, when you already have all these interesting bits laying around, craving to be used in something. I like having my own little recycle center in my studio. A very dear non sewing friend of mine thought I had lost my marbels when she discovered that I was saving all my sewing machine thread ends in an empty tissue cardboard box. I'm not quite sure that she ever understood, when I tried to explain, why I was saving them. Ah well, her loss :-)

Spiral of Life    Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I've been to my machine embroidery group ATW, Advanced Textile Workshop. Had a great day as usual. This group is an eksperimental free machine embroidery group. A couple of weeks ago our group had a display at an event called "Textile in Focus" which took place North of Cambrigde (GB). It is a yearly event with lots of workshops, vendors, exhibitions and lectures. A fantastic day out. Our group had gotten the brief to make a non conventional container. And this container was to contain a treasure and there had to be some hand stitching. My container ended up not looking anything like my initial plan, as I couldn't get it to work. So I was sitting there with this rather large stitched piece, that I just couldn't cut into pieces. So I started manipulating. And I just loved what started to happen. My initial treasure idea was something that represented life, as I treasure life. I ended up with an integrated "spiral of life". I really think that it is so important to trust and follow ones intuition, and not try to force something to happen when working on a piece.

A Difficult Question    Monday, March 9, 2009

I have been invited to write an artist profile for this fantastic website It is website/blog for mixed media art. I highly recommend having a look. There is so much great information. You just want to keep looking, making mental notes and print great tips.
I have been working on the artist profile today. It is amazing how questions can make you focus. I actually find it is quite challenging to write about my self. By any means some questions are easier to answer than others. The one question that I have been struggeling with is "how to describe my work". A simple question, but I have always had problems answering it when asked. Maybe because I work in so many techniques, maybe beause I haven't quite found my feet as an artist or maybe it's because I don't like to be labeled. Lables means limitation to me. And I don't want to be limited. There is so much to explore within my art/craft. I dont know. But I know it is a great excersice to actually stop up, pause and put pen to paper (computer :-)trying verbalizing it. It makes you think that's for sure. You should try it :-)

My Painted Quilt    Sunday, March 8, 2009

I have painted my quilt with a thin layer of tinted emulsion/latex paint! And I am really pleased with the result. The transferred pictures are now more integrated in the surface. They blend instead of sitting on the surface. I'd didn't "invent" the adding of emulsion paint to quilt surfaces. My former tutor and now mentor for my "Out Of The Fold" textile group, Anette Morgan is the one who introduced me to it. Anette Morgan, an international exhibiting textile/quilt/fiber artist, quilt judge, City and Guilds diploma teacher. She has had several articles published in "Quilting Arts" and "Cloth Paper Scissor" magazines, as well as being an author of several books on contemporary quilting and applique. Now that's a busy lady :-)
I have now started working on my next step of the quilt. I'm going to sew my repeated design shape onto gauze. My aim is to create depth with this almost invisible layer. It really does work in my head.... :-)now I need to try it on my small sample quilts.
I'm glad they didn't ask me at the pharmacy why I needed 10 yards of gauze! Sometimes it is difficult to explain in few words. A friend of mine has recently been visiting lots of hardware store in the quest to find builders scrim/cotton plaster scrim. I didn't envy her the job explaining all the men behind the counters, why she wanted this specific scrim and why she couldn't make do with the modern plastic version. But really, the plaster scrim dyes beautiful. It kind of collapses into a soft cord which is perfect for couching. In the end she did manage to get us two big roll which was great.

Exhibition Quilt    Sunday, March 8, 2009

I have been working on a quilt today. It is a quilt for our next exhibition. We are all making a 18 x 42 inches quilt on the theme of "Inside Out" to be hung in the entrance room of the exhibition area, to create a cohesive visual focal point.
I have a master plan for my quilt, but having said that, I'm taking it step by step, not to mess things up, so to speak. So far I have made a long panel with attached images. The images are transferred on to fabric from a mono print that was made as part of my design work. Four images slightly off set on an old recycled damask table cloth, quite densely quilted in long free motion parallel'ish lines. I love using the old table cloth that are beyond rescue because of too many stains. I find them in thrift/charity shops or flea markets/car boot sales. They are so soft. Dye beautiful, and I like the thought of re purposing them, giving them a new lease of life. A long side my main piece I've made three small quilts, trial and error pieces to experiment on. After having finished quilting the panel and the three smaller pieces, I took a deep breath, went and got my emulsion/latex paint from the garage. Diluted and slightly coloured the paint and painted the quilted trial pieces lightly..... It looks great. Tomorrow I'll paint the main piece :-)

Design Inspiration    Saturday, March 7, 2009

Ely Cathedral North of Cambrigde (GB)is a fantastic place to visit. This morning three friends of mine picked me up and we all went on a daytrip to Ely Cathedral. We belong to the same textile group, and we were looking for inspiration for a new body of design work. I had visited the Cathedral some years ago, so knew that I was in for a treat. The Cathedral was founded as a monestery in year 673. In year 870 it was destroyed by the Danes (sorry :-). Work on the present Cathedral began in the year 1047. So we are talking seriously old! After a lovely chat over a cup of tea, we all went our own ways. With in an hour I had taken 125 photoes. I love digital photos! Everywhere I turned there was another must have detail to take a photo of. There were wonderfull inscription in Latin carved in marbel, worn medival tiles, suprisingly spots colorful details, brass plaques on the walls with the sun reflecting the stain glass windows..... my head is buzzing with ideas how to translate what I've seen to day. How to capture the atmosphere. It is so exciting! I have had a quick look my photoes and will upload them on Flickr in the coming days.

Blogger Newbie Needs Advice!    Thursday, March 5, 2009

I have been working on my blog to day to really get it up and running. I have been looking at blog directories and have submitted to some of them. Here is my question. Which once are the important ones to submit your blog to? There seem to be so many out there. And what about "pingoat" ? is that a must? Then there is feedburner, RSS?
Maybe I just want to do too much in one go, but I must admit it is a bit overwelming. How would you prioritize? Any advice would be appreciated :-)

My Wensday Textile Group    Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I belong to three textile groups, all great and very different. Today was "Sindano". Sindano translate into "needle" in Swahili. We are 15 ladies, age between late 40 to late 70, that have been together, as a group for several years. We all got to know each other, when we were attending a course in creative hand embroidery. Our tutor decided, after I had been with her for +3 years, that she needed more time to develop her own fantastic work, so she moved on. We ladies had so much fun, so we kept meeting. In the beginning for pub lunches. Later we decided that we might as well get some work done, and we hired a village hall/community center in a local village. We meet once a month and we alternate between own sewing/working days, teaching each other a technique or having a "proper" workshop with a paid tutor.
Of the three groups that I belong to, this is the most social group, but having said that, we are working towards an exhibition end November 2009. We exhibited in 2007, and it was such a success, that we were invited back to the same place, which was a great compliment. We all bring different craft backgrounds to the group, which is a great strenght and very inspiring. There are quilters (traditional and contemporary), weavers, spinner, dyers, knitters and embroiderers (traditional and contemporary). We bounce a lot of info and tips of each other. There is always someone that can give a helping hand when stuck. Its a lot of fun and always a great day out.
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