Tag Archives: learning

Lino Loveliness

3 Dec

I’ve been spending a few days in the bosom of the Monster family as we enjoy an early Christmas. My brother and his girlfriend will be in Oz over Christmas so we decided to bring it all forward by a few weeks, more on that another time…

Today my Dad and I had the day to ourselves as everyone else headed home last night, so I took the opportunity to pick his arty brain and learn a bit about lino-printing. He’s been print-making for many years but recently started getting serious and has been creating some fabulous images.

I love to learn new things, so over a mince-pie and a cup of tea he showed me the basics. One minor injury and some dramatic bleeding later, I had produced my first lino-printed image. Drawing has never been my strong point, but I managed to sketch a design I was reasonably happy with onto the lino as a starting point.

Lino printThe process of carving out the design was both totally confusing and thoroughly absorbing. I found it pretty tricky to work out what I should leave and what I should take away, but once I got going I started to get the hang of it.

Lino printThe time slipped by un-noticed and three hours later I was ready to get inky.

Lino printExciting! I find that so much in the world now is instant, that I enjoy the anticipation of waiting to see how something will turn out. Carefully placing the paper, giving it a good old rub with a wooden spoon, and then the reveal…

Lino printYay! For a first attempt I’m pretty happy with that. Any new skill is a learning curve and were I to do it again I would have left some fur detail in on the fox. All in all though, I enjoyed the process and am being packed off home with some basic supplies to do some more when I get home, so watch this space!

 

Felted Fabulousness

18 Nov

For a long time now, needle felting has seemed like the most mysterious of sciences to me. I’ve admired things made this way on Etsy and at craft fairs; beautiful, intricate works of art with no idea as to how they were made. I love learning new things, especially if it helps me to advance my monsters, so when a needle felting workshop popped up on my doorstep, I roped mummy monster in and we booked ourselves places on the course.

Paper Village is part craft-shop, part craft-community and is a true Aladdin’s cave of delights. A great selection of unusual books and supplies, with workshops covering every skill under the sun. Nothing is too much trouble for the vibrant and knowledgable owner, and Mummy Monster and I spent a wonderful afternoon there yesterday learning the basics of needle felting.

Over a cup of tea and some jelly babies, and along with four fellow newcomers to the art, we turned this

Into this

I really enjoyed the intricate nature of the methods involved in needle felting. It is somewhere between sculpting out of clay, and painting a picture. We started with making a simple round shape and embellishing it with shapes and colours.  I admit I was really unsure of what I was doing at first but eventually ended up with this.

Once I’d worked out the basic techniques I was keen to try something a little more complicated so set about trying to make a bird. At first I was completely lost as to how to sculpt the basic shape, but once I’d formed a spherical shape to get me started, the skills started to click and I grasped the idea of heavily working certain areas to change the shape and add the details. I was genuinely surprised when I ended up with this.

My little bird of paradise has got me well and truly hooked on needle felting and I can see the practical applications it could have for embellishment on my monsters, as well as as a craft in its own right. I can’t wait to get all the bits I need and get going on a few projects.

The others in the group got on well too. Mummy Monster ended up with this little collection

And our fellow crafters produced these little treasures

Fabulous and all so different, what a lovely way to spend a Saturday.

Seams and Stuff…

1 Feb

Ooooo, what a marvellous day for little Miss Monster. I’ve spent a thoroughly wonderful day at Taunton’s Stitch Academy taking my first baby-steps into learning the ins and outs of technical sewing.

Sewing is my world, but as someone who has very much ‘picked things up along the way’, I’m ashamed to say that in many respects I know very little about the right ways to do things. My lesson started with a brief history of the sewing machine and some real back to basics stuff like needle sizes and machine working positions. I went on to cover a few different types of seams, inside and outside curves, and the right way to create gathers. The hours slipped by unnoticed as the veil of ignorance started to fall and I began to understand both my machine and the art of dressmaking that much more.

The one singular most amazing thing I learnt today was about changing the position of the needle. My new machine has 14 different needle positions to help create the perfect seam allowance. Such a simple thing, but one which has already completely changed the way I work and the quality of the seams I can produce.

I can see huge potential for techniques in terms of monster creation, and am excited about the idea of decking myself out in a new wardrobe of homemade creations thanks to my new-found dressmaking skills.

Now….to get started on my homework.

 

Queenie – The Love Machine

27 Jan

Oh my GOODNESS what a day it’s been. Fabric fans who have been following my little blog will know of my lust for a Brother Innovis-350 sewing machine, and that today was the day that through the help and support of my nearest and dearest, I was finally to get my mitts on one.

So this morning, after a broken nights sleep from excitement (it’s pathetic I know), I set off on the train to Taunton to go to my beloved Stitch Academy who had ordered the machine in for me to come and collect. When I got there, I got the most lovely surprise. I’d been given an upgrade!

The wonderful ladies at the Stitch Academy helm had ordered me in the Innovis-400 at no extra charge. I couldn’t believe their kindness and am completely over the moon with my new machine who shall hence-forth be known as Queenie. Lets take a few moments to admire her womanly curves shall we?

Brother Innovs-400

Brother Innovs-400

Brother Innovs-400She and I have spent the afternoon together, learning each others quirks and foibles. So far we are getting along just great and I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Now the challenge really begins. I’m pleased as punch that I can start monstering again as there has been a huge creative void in my life since I’ve been without a mechanical friend. BUT…I also need to start improving my dressmaking skills in order that I can tackle The Dress in time for my wedding in October. Fear not, I have a plan. I’m going to be having some one-on-one dressmaking tuition at The Stitch Academy alongside plenty of practice at home. I should have a whole new wardrobe in no time!

I have myself a little challenge to kick the learning process off and to test what I can remember having not really done much dressmaking since my teens. I’ve bought myself a really simple pattern to make an apron, and tomorrow, when I get up, I will be straight into the craft room to give it a bash. I shall consider it my second date with Queenie. I should have something to show you this time tomorrow so stay tuned…