Saturday, 23 June 2012

birds of a feather

Making these little birds proved very entertaining, and as usual we all tackled the task in different ways.  We now have a group of little birds ranging from the demure to the flamboyant.

Alison made a neat little bird with a ruffled front and a bright beak.  She demonstrated expertise with wire work, making legs from the stiff garden wire available.

 Annie's little blue felt bird had neatly stitched wings and tail, embellished with french knots....those little blobby stitches for those of you who don't know about this favourite stitch of ours.

Work has now begun on a new bird using Anni's trademark aged jeans, building up from a calico bird.

I made a bird with felt, trying to mimic Kathleen's extremely neat handwork, and Anni's method of stitching embellishments before assembly.  This little lilac bird has quite a lot of character but rather imprecise edges.

Ann made an exquisitely embellished bird, using the alternative bird pattern Kathleen provided.  This bird is suspended rather than on legs, so is shown against one of Kathleen's tweedy cushions.

Katie stitched a flamboyant bird of paradise style bird.  The addition of a trailing tail, made with strips of fabric cut with pinking shears, transformed this little bird into a real eye-catcher.

Lindsay made a bird that with a quirky charm and some wild merino wool for a crest and tail.   The legs are a little wobbly so maybe some more frills to support these will appear soon.

This little purple and black bird was made from scraps of merino felt supplied by Sue Elliot,  who has a studio near that of my sister, Joy Parker.  She lets me have bags of brilliant scraps from her workshop, following on from an occasion when I asked if I could have the remnants I spotted in her wastebin.

This silky bird was also made from scraps of taffeta and felted material from the same source.  Many of the birds have some of these bright fabrics; we all provided materials for collective use.

Some of the birds were wired to small wooden blocks, left overs from a bookcase.  A few manage to stand up without this extra support.  Here are three pert little birds who can stand on their own two feet.

The birds on blocks- they look a bit as if they are taking a bow at the end of a show.  Note also the handsome owl on the top right, another Murgatroyd & Bean special, and the tiny faces peering around the cushion are brooches.

I enjoyed these little birds so much I made four of different varieties, ending with a large mad bird made using the giant leg template I had made as a model on day one.  Madbird has been offered a new home with Murgatroyd and Bean, so has a jolly future to look forward to once the summer house playscheme is complete.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Birds in the rain

hanging the banner - indoors

Following last year's excellent challenge 'Consequential Critters' we got together to make birds in the gazebo at Blue Ginger.

concentration - and recording each step

Yesterday was warm and sunny - good conditions for open air working.  Today started drizzly, foggy and cold.  It got worse.  By about three we were getting wet from all direction, feet were cooling to dangerous levels, and the chairs were sinking crazily into the ground.

true dedication to the task
Kathleen provided patterns for birds for those who wanted to use them, and we all set out to make a bird during the course of the day.  The tables were piled high with fabric, beads and threads.

fine work - the essential french knot
We didn't quite finish the task due to the rain, but so far the birds have character and charisma and charm.  They will make an entertaining display in the summer house.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

We're in!

Day one at Blue Ginger Gallery where we have taken up temporary residence in the Artist's Summerhouse until Sunday 24th June 2012...

After setting up 'house' we spent a very pleasant afternoon working on individual stitching projects and finishing off letters for The Wednesday Group banner, which you can see here.
Each group member was tasked with making two letters for the banner. The only stipulation was that each letter had to be A5 size. Choice of material, sewing technique, colour etc was entirely open to suggestion.

The banner will go on display tomorrow as a backdrop to our group activity challenge - to make a flock of birds in four hours. If you're in the vicinity why not call in and see how we get on?   

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Our name up in stitches!

After our last exhibition, we decided that we needed a banner to proclaim our name. As we live over the three or four counties, we thought the best way was each work on individual letters and celebrate diversity when it came together! (The only rule was that the letters should be capitals and fit on A5.)

A couple of months ago, one of our clan suddenly posted their first letter, a 'P'. My goodness, that sent shock waves round not only because it was fabulous and clever but that it was finished! It had the desired effect. I had had an idea but needed to get down to the stitching. So the 'U' was born.

Bites out of the 'U' swizzled round to become jolly little umbrellas.

 At our last meeting, we brought along all those finished and laid them out. It's always amazing to see what everyone has done. We were not disappointed. The variety of styles within our group adds to the overall interest. (What's more we all think that everyone else's is better than our own.)

There were gaps, of course, so I thought I had better get on with my last letter 'N' and not let the side down. My idea was to use a newspaper article about us that appeared in the local press for the body of the letter. An old joke kept coming into my head as I was doing it, so corny. ( What's black and white and read/red all over? sorry.) It wouldn't go away until I used red stitching to enhance.

Better not leave it in the rain. Next week sees us resident at Blue Ginger gallery, and we hope to put our name up in stitches there!
One spin off from the whole affair was we had a very amusing few weeks making up anagrams with letters from our name. To preserve the hilarity we have embroided these in a quilt which we are going to display at the NEC later in the year.
Come on you shy reticent group members! Let's see your letters!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Then what happened?

Well, we were 'sew ready' and by some quirk of fate the weather turned sunny! For our village get together proper, it rained cats and dogs the entire evening and I couldn't wear my specially crafted patriotic flower. (More about this later when I'm in a mood for bragging.)

Anyway back to the lane party. The flags went up early.
As you can see the sheep took everything in their stride.(ie they ignored everything.)

The cake maker was presented with a special apron to mark the occasion by a neighbour.
A gazebo was set up on an heirloom rug by the edge of the lane. The scene was set.

The first to arrive were granddaughter 1 on Disco. He looked ready for anything, splendidly dressed up in his red, white and blue tack. G.D.1 eyed up the strawberry cakes and decided not to share and urged Disco back to his stable for celebratory carrot.

Soon we were all seated and enjoying our tea party, equaling The Wednesday Group in the amount of cakes  scoffed. Though I have to say that as properly brought up adults we did eat sandwiches first. When we were discussing this, two older grandchildren present (not mine) thought this very amusing and started with strawberry cakes!

We had a really fun time and everyone stayed until 7.30 when the sun went in and clouds came scudding across. Some tea party...... well, the tea turned to wine about 6pm .... funny that!