Tuesday, 19 January 2016

1916 Easter Rising Project Part III

You have been very patient so far, and at this stage the quilt is nearly finished. The dolls are each unique already because each has a different pattern in shape and colour of fabric used. But they do need a little bit more personality to enable the viewer to really emphasize with the victims and their families.

If you read some of my previous posts you know that I picked up needle felting recently, It is this new hobby that provided a solution for the previously daunting question of "how to add hair?". I took about 3 different colours of roving and mixed small amounts together in different combinations to achieve a nice variety of natural looking colour.

These are the girls hair bits, needle felted to make it look like it is parted in the middle.

The hair is then needle felted onto the dolls heads and tied with ribbon. I worked the ladies first, you can see the lads await their turn in the background.

NextI had to add some facial expression, the faces are drawn on. As all of them died during or because of The Rising I gave them all closed eyes.

They all have slightly different faces and fit perfectly into their pockets. My husband took some photos with his good camera, so I am not torturing you with low quality pictures of the finished quilt. 

It is called "Child Victims of The Rising"

1916 Easter Rising Project Part II

This part is all about the spirit dolls. I had to make 38, and I also wanted to make sure they were all unique and not mass produced. My decision about how to make them fell on crazy patchwork, where basically all kinds of random shaped patches are sewn together to form a multicoloured fabric, in with different colours used for girls and boys. I wanted the faces to remain very pale and so my base for the crazy patchwork was a cream calico. You can see the outline for the head, the colours for this particular one are from the "girl fabric selection".

This is the back of a doll, pinned to the front right sides together. This one is a "boy".

As you can see the doll on the left side is already sewn and trimmed, all the curves got "snipped" to ensure they could be evenly turned inside out. The final size for each doll is about 6" x 4".

Here they all are, stacked neatly and divided by gender. There were a lot more boys killed than girls, the ratio is 29 boys to 9 girls.

Let's get stuffing...

Here they all are, stuffed, closed up and waiting for some personality. The girls are separate in the plastic baggie, until after being fitted with their unique identity.

This post is getting kind of long again, so I will section it off and continue in the next post. See ya there...

1916 Easter Rising Project

I know I have been a little absent on this here blog for the last month or so. That's one of the reasons why I now want to share a pretty big project I have been working on now for quite a while now.There is a little bit of history involved as well, so sit down comfortably, have a cuppa and read on.
This year is the centennial of the Easter Rising in Dublin, in 1916, over the Easter week. It was an extremely violent uprising of the Irish, and brutally crushed by an enormous amount of troops by the English. 
(hope the link works, if not, just c&p)

The local art gallery in the town where I live will be hosting an Exhibition called "100" to mark this important event in irish history. I, together with 2 others, was approached by the secretary of my patchwork Group "Schoolhouse Quilters", asking if I was willing to make a small quilt for this exhibition, what theme I would like regarding the rising and if I could outline how to go about it. As spaces in the Gallery are limited, we had to apply to participate, delivering at minimum the idea of what we wanted to do. Our ideas seemed to please whoever in the local town council was the decisionmaker and so the 4 of us got in!
We were to make a quilt each, about 1mtr square, all with a different theme for The Rising.
I had read a couple of years ago, that in the Easter Rising, as in any violent conflict, there were child victims, too, shot either accidentally by ricochet or on purpose by the armed forces. I have 4 children myself and so this particulary struck a nerve with me. Never under any circumstances anywhere should children get in the crossfire of something like this!
So I decided to make my quilt in memory of them and to remember them. There are 38 child victims of the rising and my intend was to have each and every single known child victim represented by a spirit doll, placed into a fabric pocket and with a name and age tag so we know who they were and so we can remember them.
I asked the Gallery if I could publish pictures on my blog and they were delighted about the idea, so here we go.

Look at this closely! You will likely never see this again! It is my sewing and arting workspace cleared of everything to concentrate on this one thing! (Tehehe, just had to throw this one in ;-))

These are the pockets. Each pocket is made individually from folded fabric squares, sewn onto a quilted background square and then joined together in rows. The white rectangles at the top corners are my row markers and you can already glimpse some of the ribbon I am using to tie the dolls into their pockets later.

This is it upright, if you look closely (I know, it is not a high quality picture) you can see some of the quilting lines in the backgound squares. The pockets are made from the folded green/brown/grey fabric, with green and brown ribbons. Here you can see I tied the ribbon neatly so it would not be in the way of my quilting the lines between the squares, or "in the ditch" as we quilters say.

I picked the orangey green fabric for the binding because it reminded me of flames and since Dublin was literally burning during the rising I tought it was very appropriate. The flower fabric you see behind the corner is the fabric I used for the backing and will generally not be seen by anyone later, unless they take a peek behind it that is.

And now the pockets are ready, the white rectangles with the rounded corners are the name tags for each individual child spirit doll.

Now, I am going to continue this in my next entry, I want to make a clear distinctive line between the pockets and the dolls, as they are made in totally different ways and even styles, so I hope you will read on in my next post :)

(Also I find it hard to keep track of the amount of pictures in a long post when I keep having to scroll up and down for every picture I add, but don't tell anyone...)

Friday, 8 January 2016


I have decided what I want to do with my felted Lady from my last post. I am going to make her a box with a partially felted landscape, a tree, some rocks, maybe some water and a background divided into a day and a night sky. (And also the awesome Nisse family with adopted pickle Nisse daughter I was sent for a pickle swap) 
I have to start somewhere and for me the most prominent choice was to felt the tree next, because it is going to be just slightly off centre in the box, with the Mother Earth in front of it. It also will keep apart the skies.
You can still see the wire armature I used inside, then I needle felt all around it. This is only the main stem.

And off we go into the branches...

And this is how far I got. As you can see it has no leaves as of yet and it also is as wobbly as it looks. The wire I used is not the most sturdy stuff and I will have to glue it into the box.

After I made the tree I received news of a different project of mine, and about the fact that the anticipated deadline has moved forward by nearly 2 months. So this landscape is as of two weeks ago  put on hold while I complete the other project in record time. I am going to dedicate my next blog post to said project, how it was made, and also a little background info on all my overseas readers (I hope you are still there ;-) ).

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Felted Lady

Happy New Year everyone!

I had some hopes that I could have a nice and peaceful start into the new year, but far from it. I am currently working on a patchwork project (a wallhanging about 1 mtr square) that is to be displayed in our local town art gallery in March. I received a call last Wednesday stating they want to bring out a catalog and I had to submit a picture of the finished work by January 15th. Gosh am I glad now that I started months ago already, I know I am under time restrictions from my busy family and so I have a headstart now. But I still have to stick to a strict evening and (while hubby is still home this week) daytime regime to get it all done. I am not sure if the gallery is ok with me posting pictures here before they have the piece in hand so I won't until March. But what I can disclose is that it is a wallhanging with 36 pockets to hold 38 rag spirit dolls (I was under size restrictions and the 36 pockets have even measurements). Two of the dolls will be affixed to it by other means uet to be determined. I have the quilted pockets done and now all that's left is finishing the dolls.

But other than that I have discovered the new medium of felting, wet and dry. And I admit that Pinterest is a great source of inspiration, I am sure that I am not the only one. And one of the pins was a needle felted Mother Earth figure, mot tutorial, just an Etsy listing. But as soon as I saw her I thought I had to have one! Since I already had the wool and the needles to hand I got busy (that was before I knew about the new deadline).

The first picture shows the basic wool I used as filler and to define the basic shape.

Then some more definition around the head

And I learned that she -like me- needs a bum to sit...

I then proceeded to cover her skin with green roving, some hair on her head I and gave her an Earth belly. My first Earth impressin, so please be kind with judgement...

I really love her hair like this...

But if she was to ever entertain guests or some such I had to tame it.

And also side view and rear view, since I love her bum, too ;)

After I took the pics I stabbed her a bit more with the felting needle to define her arms and legs a bit more and to make her a bit denser. She will be part of a little scenery for my living room, but more on that in a later post, after I finished my quilted project...