Tuesday, February 03, 2009

COMING DOWN TO EARTH

Well, the girls have gone, and most of our holiday events and activities are finished, and life has resumed its normal routine. I have mixed feelings about this, because we had a really lovely holiday season, and Norfolk Island is the very best place to enjoy it.

The girls with Anna and Amy and Tony G. at the airport

I still have lots of photos of things that went on which I would like to use in future postings, but in the meantime, I shall share just a little of what I have been doing here on the home front.

Our fabric book Round Robin has got off to an early start, because this year we have 10 participants. There are some newbies, from both New Zealand and Australia, and I am really looking forward to seeing new techniques and approaches.

We have each chosen an adjective, which the other participants interpret for their contributing page. My choice was "Fertile", which I thought could be interpreted in a variety of ways, applying to landscapes, plants, animals and even minds and imaginations.

It was my intention to do a page for myself before sending my 'pack' off, but I really did not know how I would approach it. Then one day, out of the corner of my eye, I caught sight of a small jar of chunky red beads. I immediately thought of pomegranates. A quick session with my friend Google, and I soon discovered that not only are Pomegranates a symbol of fertility, but they originated in the Fertile Crescent. Add to that the fact that I am extremely nostalgic about this fruit, having enjoyed them in England as a small child - and I knew my page would be featuring pomegranates!!

To start with I painted a group of pomegranates onto a paper fabric. When it all comes down to it, that is the quickest way to portray something, and I don't know why I feel a little guilty about reviving this old skill of mine. It is not as if I am abandoning stitching altogether.

After a couple of attempts at collaging a background, I finally made one from silk fusion. I appliqued the fruit to the background with small backstitches.

Now it was time for the seeds/beads, which are abundant in pomegranates. The original red beads which had inspired me looked rather flat, so I made up a "bead soup". I am really pleased with the effect!

A few other beads and embroidery stitches completed the picture, and now it is ready to be forwarded on to Diana in Wellington so she can add her page.

What else have I been doing? Well, I have this supply of tapestry wool, and it comes in handy when someone in our Craft Group runs out of a particular colour in a kit. But there is so much of it, and I was wondering about turning it into felt.

Funnily enough, when I first thought of the idea, my friend Maggie, who now lives in Nelson NZ rang me for Christmas, and told me she had been knitting little jewellery bags and then felting them.

I sometimes get old woollen jumpers from the Op shop, and turn them into felt. I wash and agitate the blazes out of them in hot and cold water and detergent, and as long as it is pure wool, it will eventually felt up to a greater or lesser degree. Unfortunately pure wool jumpers are becoming harder to find. The "Machine Washable" ones will not felt, and many have a small percentage of nylon or acrylic, which also prevents the felting process.

I had a number of skeins of soft green tapestry grounding wool. I had visions of using the resultant felt for little birds, which I would embellish with pink and cream roses. After a week of knitting, with fairly fine needles, I had only a small piece. I am out of practice, having done my last piece of knitting 35 years ago!! Yesterday I cast off, because I wanted to be sure it would work. Besides, knitting in all one colour is a little boring.

I am afraid that half an hour of rubbing and rolling, and even boiling in sudsy water, the piece has shrunk very little. I will just keep throwing it into the washing machine with other things. It is definitely pure wool, and it must felt up eventually!!
My craft group members suggested that the other piece may have resisted felting because the tension was too tight. So I have started on another piece, with larger needles, and a variety of colourful tapestry wools, changing colours every second row. This really makes my heart sing! It is much more fun, and grows at a much quicker rate!




2 comments:

Karen said...

I love the pomegranite piece and have to admit that the coloured knitting is very striking.

Karen

Emily said...

hey granny.
We think your blog is really cool.
We had a great time over on norfolk and can't wait to come back over.
Anyway, I better go now
Love Emily and Sarah.
P.S would you happen to have some photo's of the gymkana 'cos i want to put some pictures on my bebo page. Thanks

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