What the heck is Wings of Goose?

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Passing the time and a possible pattern

Well today I am officially one day overdue. I can't imagine what it will be like to begin labour - I mean, I suppose it just starts pretty suddenly and you have to wait and count the time between contractions etc to work out if it is actual labour or not, but I haven't had any Braxton Hicks, or if I have, I haven't felt them, so I reckon when it does start it'll be the real thing. Its funny, before yesterday I had no problem with waiting up to the due date, but now its gone over I suddenly feel like I don't know what I should do with myself. I even did a little sketching today, which convinced me that I have gone over to textiles in a big way. I was never one to be able to sketch something very quickly and it turn out amazingly, and I always seemed to have a rubber to hand. Long, closely observed drawings were usually what I produced, with probably too much detail or too much time spent on small aspects. Perhaps I feel with knitting and working with fabric that the mistakes which can be made are of a different sort, and somehow cleaner; and I'm a very precise, clean person, so that figures!

Anyway, a few weeks ago now, I decided to design and make a baby changing bag as most of the ones I'd seen were not at all appealing and really rather ugly. I thoroughly planned the project and was very pleased that as I went through I had thought of pretty much every eventuality and barely had to make any amendments to my original design.

Here is the bag:

The fabrics I used are some that Ma gave to me ages ago which have been sitting in my fabric chest waiting for a suitable project, and this one was ideal. The nursery rhyme fabric is sweet without being childish, so suitable for something a parent will be using, but still very much with a childhood theme. The other two fabrics are a light and a dark brown checked brushed cotton which perfectly harmonise with the nursery rhyme fabric but also make it not too feminine, so my husband won't mind using it!

To be honest, the reason this project is so exciting is that I've decided to make a pattern and try to sell it. My husband is all for the idea of selling the pattern rather than a finished product, because of the initial expense in purchasing the required amounts of fabric but also because of the amount of time it takes me to make stuff. Unfortunately, I didn't do a very good job of documenting my making process, so I have had to buy new fabrics to make a new bag for the pattern. You may also have noticed though, that my photos are rubbish and not anywhere near good enough quality to include in a pattern I wish to sell. So my plan is to make a new bag, taking beautiful photos with my husband's camera which is a big, posh one I haven't a clue how to use, and make a beautiful pattern, to be available as a PDF and also printed if people want. The question now is, do I wait until after the baby is born and I've settled into some kind of routine, or do I just start tomorrow; I mean, who knows how long the baby will take before it decides when to come out!

Along with this, I know, goes the need to publicise my blog and to get myself recognised online. I'm planning to sell the pattern on Etsy and also, hopefully, through the blog, though I haven't a clue how to go about that yet. Lots of research to be done! And I know I'll need to pay my poor blog more attention than I have been. Maybe that means it'll be a bit baby focused for a while. I have some more designs in the pipeline as well; some bags and some clothes, but they're still very much at the drawing board stage, though I'm quite excited about them.

In the mean time, I'm slaving away at my hand applique for my bird cushion and knitting another Kim Hargreaves cardigan, Thea from Precious. I actually started it ages ago to try and get back into knitting. Not that I got out of it, I just hadn't done any for a while. Its not the most exciting knit, but when I get down to it its fairly quick and it will look nice when its finished. I've definitely learnt though, that knitting is very much for the process and not just for the finished product. The knit has to be enjoyable and challenging. In fact, I think challenging somehow equals enjoyable because, however long it takes to rectify a mistake, the satisfaction gained is immense. Challenging, in my opinion, will also include the learning of new skills or methods, or methods used previously but in a different way, such as lace work.

Well, I hope to have something to report soon, I just don't kniw if will be baby related or project related!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Ongoing experimental project

I think I mentioned this project in my last post and that I would elaborate on it. Since we got into birdwatching I've been trying to think of ways to incorporate birds in my work. There are so many designers and artists who use birds so I really wanted to think of something original, which is pretty hard. I started by messing around with some applique ideas, making different layers for different parts of the birds, and came up with these...


I began by doing a basic (for me) sketch of the bird, cutting that out into a template and then deciding which parts of the bird I wanted to emphasize with the use of different fabrics and applique. Then I made templates of those bits and when I had all the parts I needed, I cut out the fabric using the templates.

I only used two templates for the nuthatch as this was the first attempt so I kept it simple. I then ironed vilene onto the backs of all the parts to stop them fraying when I stitched the fabrics together on the machine. Then I pinned and tacked them down onto a plain surface ready to be sewn together.

I was really pleased with how these turned out, for a first attempt, but I was not entirely happy with the edges as the sewing machine still made them fray even with the vilene. So when I planned an actual project using this technique, being the perfectionist I am I decided I was going to hand sew the fabrics instead of machine them!!! Arrgh!!! So many months later, as happens with projects you make take longer than they should by using methods which are not the fastest, I am making a colourful bird and nest box cushion for our living room.
Here are some photos of the work in progress.

The birds are a Goldfinch and a Greenfinch, both birds which frequent our garden.

Close up of Goldfinch.

Close up of Greenfinch.

I just love the fabrics I found to do this project with, and they go so beautifully with the embroidery thread I'm using to applique them together. I had wanted to incorporate a lot of embroidery into the finished piece, hence my little samplers you can see in the first of these three photos, in the top right, but I don't know yet as this small little project is taking a big long time! I'm already planning a quilt I want to make in a similar style, though I'm thinking how I can do it considerably quicker. I love the idea of having home made quilts in reception rooms, so you can use them as throws and snuggle into them when you're watching a film, or sitting by the open fire in winter (we're blessed enough to have an open fire in our living room and a wood burner in our middle living room) - mmmmm :) I doubt that will be ready for this winter though!