31 December 2006
30 December 2006
Today was a perfectly relaxing day, topped off with yum cha with my Dad - all those delicious dumplings stacked up in bamboo baskets that entice with their contents. We filled ourselves with delicacies and green tea - what a wonderful way to dine.
29 December 2006
There were tears, but the most emotion was shown when I passed over a friendship quilt that Brenda had made on behalf of Monica's friends at The Quilters' Guild of NSW. Each circle on the quilt had a personal message to Monica - some written, some embroidered. Brenda appliqued the circles to squares and pieced, quilted and bound the quilt. Monica was stunned and thrilled to receive such a treasured gift. Thank you Brenda, for the time you took to make Monica's quilt. It is a quilt that shows the power of friendship.
28 December 2006
It is heaven! Including short videos of techniques, Paula has assembled masses of information that will keep me busy for a very long time! Sometimes I don't know what I want until I see it, but I have certainly seen plenty here. I'd love to know of any other dyeing sites you'd recommend as well.
27 December 2006
26 December 2006
25 December 2006
24 December 2006
23 December 2006
Not only am I a sucker for any show that allows me to vicariously traipse through some stunning gardens, but also I love strong female characters. Oh, and I can also wish that my poor garden looked so divine! And did I mention I want hair like Felicity Kendal's?
22 December 2006
Followed by general socialising and a barbecue (and liberal numbers of drinks - it was very hot), we celebrated the end of our working year. I left about 9.30pm, but there were still others going strong!
So the holidays are here and I am ready for lots of r&r.
20 December 2006
Indoors or outdoors? Near the coast or inland? Do we have to travel? These are dilemmas that can't be solved until 1.30pm tomorrow, when we are told where the party will be held.
It will be a long day. Starting at 1.30 and going into the night...there may be some tired and emotional people by the end of the day.
I have a wrap-around blouse that I am thinking of wearing but only if I can work out how to hold it all together at the top. A small brooch may be in order, or maybe I'll just flaunt it. Sometimes clothing decisions are just way too hard to make.
19 December 2006
17 December 2006
Cricket and sewing go hand-in-hand. With the Ashes on at present, I find that the television coverage, turned down low, is the perfect background. You know that if a wicket is claimed it will be shown about 10 times on replay so you don't miss out on the action. Test games take up to five days, so there are plenty of boring bits too.
Last night, though, the cricket had my full attention as the Australian batsmen showed how to score runs. Absolutely fabulous viewing - and yes, I did finish the small quilt I was working on!
16 December 2006
I was at the local shopping centre bright and early this morning to buy the items on my list. Aaaarggghh! What a nightmare shopping centres are at this time of year. I was there before most of the crowds and I fled after an hour but it still took nearly 15 minutes to leave the car park. I need a soothing cup of tea to settle myself...
13 December 2006
12 December 2006
09 December 2006
The magazines were English and American patchwork magazines. It was interesting to see, after I'd put aside the pages I wanted to keep, the sort of subjects I'd selected - not a single pattern, but just articles about technique.
Obviously, my interests have changed. In the past, I may have opted to keep the odd pattern or photo of an appealing quilt. This time, I was hungry to learn more about HOW to do certain things. Amongst the articles I kept was one on dyeing techniques and one on various applique techniques as taught in the City and Guilds course.
It's always intriguing looking at quilting articles. It seems be be true that whatever you are interested in, somehow, some way, the information and inspiration you need will present itself. Do you find that is true for you, too?
06 December 2006
04 December 2006
The hearts are made with Chrissy's own created fabric and it is extensively machine stitched, embellished with hand embroidery and beading. It is simply exquisite and I am so thrilled to have it here as a tactile reminder of a very close friend who lives across the sea. How lucky I am.
03 December 2006
Yesterday I was physically at the Christmas meeting of the Quilters' Guild of NSW, but without much energy. Pity - there was much to enjoy with a change in the format of meetings and a wonderful afternoon tea (none of which I touched). Crawled home afterwards and was asleep by 6pm. Never have I loved my bed so much!
27 November 2006
26 November 2006
Earlier this morning, as I was searching for a particular piece of fabric, I unearthed this UFO. It's always a relief to me to discover that I still actually like the pieces I start! This one is made of felt, with inserts I created from offcuts of gorgeous fabrics and yarns. As you can see, I've only half finished the quilting (with lime green perle thread) and have a few beads and shisha mirrors on it. The thing with handwork is that it takes ages to do, which is probably why I put it aside after starting it last year, but now it is back on the to do list!
25 November 2006
Helen asked how the circular shibori patterns were made on the piece I showed last week. Here are my diagrams of how to form the stitching. Drawing is obviously not my best skill, so I apologise if they look a little rough.
You simply fold the fabric and stitch multiple lines in semi-circular shapes through both layers. Gather up the stitches and then dye the fabric. The diagrams here give you an idea of how to stitch a piece so that it is covered with circles, but for my piece I wanted a border. I made a single fold along a long strip and sewed four rows of semi circles along the fold, then gathered and dyed. That's all there is to it! Hope this helps, Helen.
21 November 2006
I woke up during the night with the smell of bushfires wafting through the window. The fires are many, many miles away in the Blue Mountains, outside Sydney, and now they are burning out of control in inaccessible areas.
Tomorrow is forecast to be even hotter - oh how I wish I worked in an air-conditioned office...
20 November 2006
19 November 2006
You may consider that I am over-pleased with the results of my dyeing day, but look at these 14 pieces! Aren't they simply gorgeous? One day, I may even cut them up and sew them...
This is my favourite piece, destined to be a border I think.
This is another favourite. It was simply folded, accordion-like, across the fabric and then folded again. I absolutely love the lines and the patchiness. Okay, no more I promise until I do some more shibori stitching.
18 November 2006
Here are our fabrics, cooking in their bags in the sun after we had dyed them. Yesterday we must have been on the same wavelength, because we seem to have dyed an awful lot of orange.
I had success with my wavy lines of stitching - I think this is a subtle pattern that I'd like to explore further. My grid of horizontal and vertical lines was a dud - not a single pattern emerged after the dyeing was completed. Maybe I didn't gather the thread tightly enough?
Here is my success. This will make a beautiful border, with its long, single row of larch patterns. Well, they are actually lopsided (who knew I couldn't stitch a perfect semi circle?), but that adds to the appeal for me. Brenda made a single piece with allover larch patterns and it is glorious.
The colours shown here look a little lighter than they actually are. It is a brilliant day here in Sydney and the sun is beating down on my fabrics as they flutter on the clothesline. More pics tomorrow.
15 November 2006
What an exciting and gratifying outcome this is. Before two weeks ago, she had never touched a sewing machine but expressed a pressing interest in learning.
Next step: she wants to make a quilt, so I suggested a cot quilt. Let's see how that develops!
13 November 2006
Well, no! Before you decide I appear to have lost the plot, let me explain what these textiles represent. Yesterday I spent a LONG time stitching some fabric in preparation for dyeing later in the week. The plan is to create some shibori patterns on the cloth. The photo above is a folded pattern called 'Larch' and the stitching involves four rows of semi-circular shapes.
This photo is the easiest to stitch - multiple rows of curved patterns.
This piece does appeal to me as an object, but in fact it is stitched both vertically and horizontally in a grid.
I can't wait to see how the patterns look and I promise to share photos if they work out. If they don't, I'll probably cut the fabric into tiny pieces and use it on my next batch of ATCs.
11 November 2006
The final winery was Tallavera - look at that view! Perched on the top of a hill not far from Cessnock, this vineyard was the place we all wanted to stay for a short nap on the grass, but sadly the host there made us sample more wines!
It was a wonderful day. Stunning weather, the company of friends - oh, and did I mention we went to a cheese shop and a chocolate shop? Sigh...
10 November 2006
Today is my friend Lois's birthday. I was lucky enough to celebrate it with her and 11 other women in great style. We travelled to the Hunter Valley for the day and visited three boutique vineyards for wine tasting and enjoyed a wonderful lunch in the shade. What a treat for a Friday!
07 November 2006
Guess who won the sweep? Not only did I receive the prize for first place, but also won third place! Not bad for a race that lasts a mere few minutes.
06 November 2006
Digital images of my quilts have been accumulating on my computer, but I hadn't organised them in any way and certainly hadn't written any text to go with them. I suddenly had a panic about them tonight and decided to deal with them in a couple of different ways: to keep the digital images (with meaningful names) together in a folder on the computer; to create Word documents that include the image and text; and to print these documents out for my spiral-bound folder. I'll probably also burn them all to CD once I truly get organised.
I would love to know how you organise your quilt records. Please post a comment and let me know what you do - maybe we can learn some new tricks from each other!
05 November 2006
Here is today's textile achievement - a fabric postcard to (hopefully) cheer a friend who is unwell. I'm starting to enjoy these 6 inch x 4 inch pieces. They are fun to make and provide the opportunity to try out new ideas. I thought a vase of bright flowers would be just the thing to add a dash of colour to her day.
02 November 2006
Sadly though, I also found that something had eaten all the leaves off my Italian parsley plants (I have a huge tub full) and left just the bare stalks standing upright. Who knew that there are gourmet insects in my garden?
01 November 2006
If you haven't seen any of Helen's work, check out her website. She is a brilliant artist. I had a peek view of this quilt some months ago and it is simply stunning. The winning quilts can be seen on this site now.
29 October 2006
Yesterday afternoon, she arrived with fabric, masses of fabric, because she had no idea what she was going to do. She had no concept of how a cushion cover could be constructed.
To be brief, she did make the cushion cover, using my sewing machine. She threaded the machine and she stitched, with me explaining every step of the way what to do and why. She knew absolutely nothing about the process before she started, yet after a couple of hours, she left with a perfectly functional and very attractive cushion cover. I haven't seen anyone that happy for a long time.
The exercise was interesting for me because, as someone with many years of workplace training experience, I was able to unconsciously apply that knowledge to teaching different skills. Having enjoyed teaching adults in the past, I realise that I still do find it satisfying. How much we take for granted.
28 October 2006
A friend wanted me to show her how to make silk paper, so today we had a how-to session. She happily made several sheets with a range of colours, but what did I make? Pink and yellow!
Now I'm itching to stitch this piece. It is smaller than my usual sheets (about half A4) and looks a bit like fairy floss.
27 October 2006
One objective achieved today - to purchase a copy of The Right Attitude to Rain. This is the third novel in the Sunday Philosophy Club series by Alexander McCall Smith and, even though I haven't read it yet, I know it is a story to treasure.
This series is set in Scotland and the carefully-phrased prose reveals many of the area's delights. The stories are very intelligent and provoke us to think more deeply about human interaction, while also being totally entertaining. Can you tell I am a huge fan of this series?
I will probably fondle and look at this book for a few days before starting to read it - prolonging the anticipation of the delight to come.
26 October 2006
23 October 2006
Ever the optimist, I bought another one yesteday and planted it in a large terracotta pot. I took this photograph to remind myself that, for one brief moment in time, I had a flowering lavender bloom in my garden. Let's see how long this one lasts!
22 October 2006
More importantly, for me, the Guild meetings offer the opportunity to catch up with friends I may not have seen for a while. This is when ideas are sparked, plans are made and we are stimulated by each other's work. Just to give you an idea of yesterday's discussions: Brenda gave a demonstration of her free-form curved cutting technique and we all coveted the portable sewing table she had; I showed my silk paper and we started planning a weekend away together where we could 'play' with silk paper; Monica, recently back from the USA, gave me a set of US stamps featuring the Gees Bends quilts and we all started talking about those designs; Pamela shared her latest piece of work she's making for a friend (lovely chiffon binding); Fiona told us about the workshop space and accommodation her sister has in Braidwood (maybe this could be a venue for the weekend?); and we swapped ATCs.
All-in-all, it was a most satisfying day. I returned home, stimulated by all the talking and eager to get stuck in to my current project. Such is the company of friends.
16 October 2006
15 October 2006
Susan asked if the lines were stitching - yes they are, with perle thread. The photo is of the left-hand side of the quilt and the strips of fabric are hand stitched to the background. I have the right-hand side pieces laid out, but not yet hand stitched.
14 October 2006
Here are the promised photos of the silk paper I made last weekend. I am not keen on solid mats of felt-like substance - I prefer the lace-like effect of colours and shapes. One of the pieces is very see-through and when I stitch it to a piece of coloured fabric, there will be another dimension of colour to enjoy. All the pieces were photographed against a white sheet, so you can see white through the gaps in the silk paper. Enjoy!
10 October 2006
08 October 2006
07 October 2006
05 October 2006
The miracle of the subconscious has worked its creative brilliance and processed the image. This quilt has to happen soon - I can feel the idea of these colours forcing themselves out. Truly, the brain is a miraculous part of us all.
04 October 2006
02 October 2006
01 October 2006
It has taken me 24 hours to come to terms with the one point loss of the Swans yesterday. Today we went to the SCG to welcome the team home and applaud them on their effort - here's a photo of the team today. I know many people just don't 'get' football or the effect it has on fans, but let me attempt to explain.
This is my tribe. It is human nature to belong to groups - families, friends and groups of like-minded people. AFL is in my blood - my Dad and his brothers played it when they were young men and I grew up watching the game on TV and local Sydney games. When the Swans came to Sydney 25 years ago, we adopted them. We sat through 26 losses in a row. We cheered for them and did the only thing a crowd can do: we showed our support. We wear the colours of out tribe, our family - I am a member of the Bloods.
Like any footy fan says: there's always next year.
28 September 2006
The meditative process of stitching by hand soothes me. It is important because it slows me down and provides plenty of time for my mind to wander. Sometimes I get my best ideas while hand piecing. The stitching gets into a rhythm and I don't really need to concentrate on it, so other thoughts can form. I guess that's because I first learnt to patchwork by hand and it has stuck with me.
Of course, this means it takes a VERY long time to finish anything!
27 September 2006
1. Thyme of Death
2. Witch's Bane
3. Hangman's Root
4. Rosemary Remembered
5. Rueful Death
6. Love Lies Bleeding
7. Chile Death
8. Lavender Lies
9. Mistletoe Man
11. Indigo Dying
12. Dilly of a Death
13. Dead Man's Bones
14. Bleeding Hearts
15. Spanish Dagger (due out in 2007)
I think that so far 1-12 are available in paperback as well as hardback. (Sorry, that's the librarian in me coming through!)
26 September 2006
Finally I have photos of a current project. Based on the simple rectangles from the book by Judy Turner and Margaret Rolfe, Successful Scrap Quilts, this is a hand-pieced top that I started last year and take along to monthly Scquilters meetings to piece. Since I never really read patterns properly (too keen to get started piecing), I pieced the rectangles in an arrangement I liked.
The other photo is of a piece of fabric I bought recently from Jane MacDonald of BeBeBold. I plan to use the fish fabric as a border, swimming around the centre blocks. Stand by for another year or so until I make some more blocks...
24 September 2006
There are 14 books in the series so far, and China's life gets more interesting in each one. In Bleeding Hearts, quilting is introduced, with the opening of a quilt shop next door and a quilt stolen from the local quilt show. The story line follows China and Ruby as they solve the mystery of the stolen quilt (and other challenges along the way). I want to be China!
23 September 2006
Here I am at 1 o'clock in the morning with my adrenalin levels still extremely high after a night's screaming and singing as the mighty Swans won the game that takes them to the AFL grand final next Saturday. This pic shows a view of the crowd just before the start of the game - a total of 61,000 people (most dressed in red and white) attended the game. Onwards!