09 April 2014

Digital dreaming

I love LOTS of things about the technology that we have these days. At the top of my list, though, has to be the ease of acquiring digital versions of magazines.

Reading digital editions online is tedious and I won't do it. All that waiting for pages to flip over - no thanks! I prefer digital magazines that I can download to my PC or tab and read later when I'm not connected to the internet.

That's my idea of technology working for me!

Zinio is my supplier of choice. I can pay for subscriptions and then I'm notified when a new issue is available for download. Even better, I can download free magazines from my local library with their Zinio interface. Brilliant! 

I'm a city girl who has no desire to live in the country. But I LOVE country-style furnishings and gardens. Love them! These three country-style magazines satisfy my need for home inspiration and all three new issues have arrived this week. Yes, all in one week!

Do you have favourite magazines that make you dream? Are you a country-style dreamer like me? Do you like digital magazines? Leave a comment!

Must go, I have new magazines to read... 

08 April 2014

Textiles Tuesday

Today I have NINE links to interesting sites for you to explore. I hope you find at least one of them leads you somewhere new!

Living Colour Exhibition

 * All the Living Colour Textiles quilts are finally revealed and available for viewing in the online gallery. They will premiere at the Australasian Quilt Convention in Melbourne on Thursday 10 April. A 36-page colour catalogue is available for purchase here.

*  If you are in Canberra on Saturday 12 April, check out the Mega Craft and Makers Day.

* Rachel from Coletterie shows how varying blanket stitch lengths can change the look of this basic stitch. She provides a tutorial for five simple variations

* Pretty up your computer, tablet or phone with these four free wallpapers from painter Elise Pescheret. I loved them so much they are on all my devices!

* Rita at Red Pepper Quilts shares another great tutorial; this time instructions and templates for a pretty Kansas Dugout quilt block.

* If you buy or write quilt patterns, read this article on the quality of quilt patterns by Sam Hunter. What's your opinion?

* Do you want to oganise your own quilt retreat? Here are some tips from Lindsay Conner

* Don't miss looking at photos of these stunning floral textile pieces by Jannick Deslauriers.

* If you want to set up your artist website, you really can't go past this detailed series of tutorials by TextileArtist.org Practical advice abounds!   

05 April 2014


I'm always so pleased when autumn arrives in Sydney. Already, the nights are cooler but the humidity has yet to disappear. Not long now - it usually all blows away around the end of March or beginning of April.

I made this small quilt a few years ago to reflect the mellowing of the season. Torn organza strips of different shades - some plain and some stamped - are woven with other offcuts and a strip of Angelina and yarn.

Captured under the organza are five green-yellow leaves, as if they have dropped from the trees. Stamping the season's name completes the scene.

I like using simple running stitches to secure the layers and add texture. This thread is a very pale green, representing the fading colour of the foliage.

Autumn is my favourite season. I look forward to it every year after the searing heat and ghastly humidity of a Sydney summer. As the temperatures decrease, I find comfort in the gentler days that autumn produces. 

03 April 2014

Three ways to make Flying Geese

Flying Geese blocks are so popular in quilt patterns and easy to make - if you know how!

I've found three great links to Flying Geese (FG) tutorials so you can choose the technique that appeals most to you.

None of these techniques requires anything more than standard quilters' supplies (cutting mat, rotary cutter and quilters' ruler). No specialty rulers required!

What's your favourite method for making Flying Geese? Let us know!

01 April 2014

Textiles Tuesday

Here's eight informative links for you to explore this week. Enjoy!

* Advance notice: International Bobbin and Needle Lace Organisation Conference, 18-20 July, Adelaide SA.

* 2-4 May: Creative Textile Show, Canberra, ACT. Bookings are now open for workshops at the Show. 

This is the centenary year of the death of Harriet Powers, probably one of the most prominent of Southern US nineteenth century quilters.You can read about her story on The Textile Blog.

* Take part in Wrapped in St Marys, TAS.

* Want to visit the Yokohama Quilt Show in Japan in November? Here's a tour with Lynn Hewitt and Deborah Segaert that sounds great.

* 4-6 April: Queanbeyan Quilters Inc Exhibition, Queanbeyan NSW.

*  Pat Sloan's quilt label writing round-up.

* From the International Quilt Study Center & Museum: an animation that demonstrates some of the common and uncommon ways quilt makers have designed Log Cabin quilts. 

30 March 2014

After the rain

We've enjoyed wonderful rain at my place over the past week. It hasn't been enough to fully satisfy the trees, but it has done wonders for all my shrubs. The grass has sprung back to life and is a deep green - you can see how much it has relished the moisture.

My garden is recovering from yet another hot and dry summer. Usually we have strings of storms here throughout the summer but that didn't happen this time. There have been two successive summers with multiple days of temperatures over 40 degrees. That's simply too hot for successful vegetable gardening becuase the poor plants get sunburnt!

I've decided I won't be growing veggies in summer next year (except maybe cucumbers). The plants don't thrive, they just focus on staying alive, poor things.

Now the summer's humidity is nearly gone (it usually disappears about the end of March but is still hanging on this year), I've planted some seeds for edible greens. Parsley, coriander, silverbeet, kale and, of course, snow peas. 

Last year's crop (above) was so bountiful that I gave away bags of snow peas and ate them with most meals for weeks. Wonderful, snappy veggies - they are my favourites!

Do you enjoy planting in autumn? Do you have favourites that you recommend? Please leave a comment so I can learn from your experiences.

27 March 2014

Hand stitched 3

This is my final post for the month's celebration of hand stitching on ...And Then We Set It On Fire. If you missed my other two posts, you can read them here and here.

This time I am sharing a couple of my small layered pieces from my Fragments series.

Last year, I started a Traveller's Blanket online course with Dijanne Cevaal. We were required to hand-dye three layers of fabric - light muslin for the top, cotton flannel for the centre and cotton for the backing. These pieces were then sandwiched and hand stitched.

Although I still haven't finished my blanket, I have taken some smaller pieces of my hand-dyed fabrics and created these two works. The three layers are so soft that my needle slips through easily.

For Fragments 1, I layered the cloth and cut a rough heart-shaped piece from the top layer. I tucked a small piece of a checked fabric into one side of the heart and secured it with cross stitches (kisses!) along the centre edge.

Using various threads, I used running stitch to sew through all layers. After fraying the edges of the muslin, I used a Derwent Inktense block with water to add some pink colour. (Have you tried these Inktense blocks? They are brilliant - it's just like using watercolours!)

Here's a closer photo of part of the piece. You can see the shadow that the tucked-under piece of checked fabric makes - it provides another subtle colour change.

I'm very comfortable with frayed edges - I love the extra texture they add to a textile work. Do you feel differently?

For Fragments 2, I added some freehand-cut, vertical strips of organza that I have screen printed with black and gold paint. Across the top, there's a strip of the plain organza.

There are a lot of subtle shadows on this piece. You can see through the organza, so the colours of the muslin come through. Sections of the muslin are only partially dyed, so more of the centre flannel layer (the green) shows through, too.

In this detail photo, you can see the effect of the variegated thread - stronger colour in some places but fading away in others. This is stitched with my favourite WonderFil Tutti 50wt variegated thread. 

Thank you for reading my guest posts. Hand stitching is an important part of my creative life. If you don't already hand stitch, I hope you might give it a go. You may become just as addicted to it as I am!

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