30 April 2007

Smooth illusions

I photographed this fabulous rock at Brooklyn. It is glorious sandstone and has the most wonderful curves and ridges etched into it. Looking smooth, but since I ran my hands along it I know it is gritty with millions of tiny sand grains. Aren't the colours amazing? The pale colour of the sand, the shades of the stone, and the grey-blue of the water. This combination screams to be used in a quilt!

29 April 2007

Soothing times

Yesterday I returned from Coffs Harbour, where I visited the Be Creative by the Sea retreat. It was a work-related visit, and it gave me the opportunity to chat with other creative women and catch up face-to-face instead of the normal email and phone correspondence we have. If you have ever thought of going to this retreat, it is well worth investigating next year.
A small piece of this fabric was given to each person at the retreat's dinner on Friday night. I think the soothing colours of the frangipani sum up the retreat. (Sorry about the moire effect. I know I should fiddle around with my scanner settings, but honestly I have more interesting things to do today!)

26 April 2007

Inspiration is everywhere

I have to confess that nothing interests me less than making a textile piece that shows a realistic picture. I have no desire to replicate a photograph in cloth.

What intrigues me is line and colour, both of which are evident in this photograph I took last weekend. I love the way the grain of this timber has weathered, with deep cracks in some parts and a few ridges along the top. Some knots are obvious in the timber as well. The top of the timber is greyed as it has been exposed to the elements whereas the side retains more of the colour we normally associate with this material. The shading is subtle and enhances the texture. I was attracted by the solidity of the bench (for that's what it is - a bench made from a sleeper) which speaks to me of strength withstanding the weather. I just love it.

25 April 2007

At last

Finally the goal that necessitated the operating system upgrade to my computer has been achieved. Don't you hate the changes that are required when you just want to add one little software upgrade? Windows upgrade - driver upgrades for printer, scanner, modem, camera - leads to problems with internet connectivity - the whole process takes forever.

However, this morning I installed my brand new Electric Quilt 6 upgrade - the point of the total exercise - hooray! Many hours of fun are finally within my grasp. I enjoyed using EQ5, but I am looking forward to learning new skills and working through the lessons and videos.

Today is ANZAC day - Australia's most important national day. We remember those Australians and New Zealanders who died fighting in wars for their countries. To learn more about the ANZACs visit the Australian War Memorial website.
Lest We Forget.

22 April 2007

Aah, Sunday

Today, being a day of leisure, I lunched with friends at a riverside restaurant at Brooklyn, a small settlement on the Hawkesbury River. We had a table on the top deck, overlooking the river and enjoyed the relaxing effect that the bushland had on us.

Brooklyn was created in 1884 and five years later, the railway bridge was built across the Hawkesbury River, one of the country's great rivers. This view of the river shows Dangar Island on the left. The river was beautifully calm and you can imagine how soothed we were after a tasty lunch, good conversation and a stroll around the shore.

21 April 2007

ATC swap

What a variety of styles, colours and techniques were included on these ATCs I received last week. The swap was arranged by Cecile, to raise money for the Cancer Council of NSW. I made three sets of five and received the same number in return - 15 more glorious pieces of textile art to add to my collection. The swap raised $500 and Cecile plans to run it again later in the year - won't you join us?

18 April 2007

Words

Sometimes, after I've written many thousands of words during a day's work (I wrote 5,500 words in two days last week), my vocabulary disappears. It's as if all the words I know have run out. This is how I feel tonight, but I just had to thank everyone whose ATC I received today in the fundraising swap organised by Cecile. I have 15 new ATCs to add to my collection! I will endeavour to photograph them over the next week or so and share their delights with you.

15 April 2007

Look what they've done

to our beloved Sydney Cricket Ground.

The hill area, the Doug Walters stand, two light towers and the scoreboard have been knocked down to make way for a new stand to fit between the O'Reilly and Churchill stands. They say it will take until 2008 to complete the works - let's hope it doesn't take any longer. The SCG is the home of the mighty Sydney Swans, who won convincingly today (whew!).

14 April 2007

Quilty lids!

Remember my strippy pieces from earlier in the week? Well look what Monica has done with them! They look fabulous and this is an idea I will be sure to use. Wonder if we can buy those neat little tins here?

Real woman

Last Monday, while I was busily eating chocolate Easter eggs, Sheila tagged me to describe a real woman. Sneaky Sheila, doing this while I was blissfully unaware! So here goes, my totally biased perspective of what makes a real woman.

A real woman:
Buys shoes that she can walk in. This comes after a lifetime of pretending her feet don't hurt in the fashionable shoes she usually wears.

Doesn't judge other people through the prism of her own experience. There are many ways to live a life, and just because other people live their lives differently, it doesn't make their way wrong.

Defines herself and doesn't allow other people to force their definitions on her.

Loves chocolate.

Has empathy. This includes trying to understand why some people don't like chocolate.

Believes in herself. If she doesn't, who else will?

I'm sure I could write a lot more, but these are the ideas that spring to mind first. Interesting challenge, Sheila!


11 April 2007

Techniques

Welcome to Kate, a new reader of this blog. She asked about my techniques for the Liberation quilt strips I showed yesterday.

There are no secrets to this. Use a rotary cutter to free-hand cut strips. Do not use a ruler. (This is Liberation technique number 1.)

Sew the strips together in random colour combinations, taking no notice whatsoever of seam allowances. (This is Liberation technique number 2.)

Free-hand cut the joined strips into lengths - mine are about 10 inches long. (
This is Liberation technique number 3.)

Play with them on the design wall and show photos to your friends!

Seriously, that's all I did. Now I have to look at the strips a bit longer, then decide how I want to arrange them and sew them together to make a small quilt. I won't be able to do this until the weekend so who knows what ideas may emerge by then?

10 April 2007

Liberation

Remember this challenge I mentioned? The one to make a quilt inspired by a Gee's Bend quilt? Well I got cutting yesterday.

Part of the challenge is to use only fabrics we already have. That's no problem for me - I have more fabric than I will probably ever use in my lifetime. I'm not the sort of person who likes op shops - I hate fossicking around in other people's old stuff. It doesn't have any appeal at all. However, my own fabric - well, that's a different matter!

The quilt already has a name: Liberation from the Quarter-inch Seam. Here are the strips hanging on my design wall.
After I took this photo, I rotated it so I could see what they would look like if I used them sideways.

I think I like them both ways, so maybe I'll plan to make a couple of small quilts, so I can explore different ways of working with the strips. I just love these colours, but I'm not sure I have much left of some of the fabrics. There will be some other fabrics involved once I start cutting up some more units. This is my idea of fun!

Comments anyone?

09 April 2007

Binding

I have an aversion to binding my quilts; not because I can't do it, but simply because there are many more interesting things to do (like start a new quilt). Yesterday, though, I stitched the binding to my Indigo Marble quilt, shown here.
The reason I photographed the quilt this way is that it is too big to photograph flat, I don't have a clothesline where I can stand back far enough to shoot the photo and there wasn't a convenient pair of extra hands to hold it for me. This is my entry for the Sydney Quilt Show in June and all it needs now is a hanging sleeve, but I think that can wait for another day. I hear my rotary cutter calling me to cut strips for my Gee's Bend challenge!

07 April 2007

Bliss is...

Sleeping in.
Sewing and chatting with scquilter friends at out monthly get-together.
Eating chocolate chip hot cross buns.
Watching TV with my Dad as we see our Swans win the game against Richmond in Melbourne.
Seeing the rain pour down onto our parched earth.

This was my day - blissful.

06 April 2007

Tangelo Time

I like to enter the annual challenge organised by my State quilting Guild, whenever I can think of a design that responds to the challenge theme. This is my Tangelo Time, the quilt I made in 2004 for the 'Exotica' theme. It arrived home a few weeks ago, after travelling as part of a suitcase exhibition for the past two years.

In addition to responding to a theme, another requirement is that a challenge quilt be a specified size. I struggle with that sometimes because my quilts just want to be the size they need to be.

The theme for 2007's challenge is 'Looking Forward, Looking Back'. I guess this may be interpreted to reflect on the Guild's 25th anniversary this year. If you are interested in the members' challenge, you can find more information here.

Do you struggle with themes? I confess I don't have a single idea for this one. I'm not good at coming up with clever and witty designs but I always admire those who do. I had a fantastic idea for a past challenge but ran out of time to make the quilt. A friend reminded me that I could still actually make the quilt if I would enjoy to do so. That though has stayed with me and the idea is still on my to-do list.

02 April 2007

Wonky challenge

Challenged by Monica, a few of us have agreed to make a quilt of any size, inspired by a Gee's Bend quilt. Brenda, Stephanie and I agreed to use only fabrics we already have to make this challenge. I had already liked a quilt I saw on one of the American stamps and Brenda kindly referred me to this site for a larger picture. Have I mentioned before that I love wonky designs? It's not due until August, so let's see how it all turns out!

01 April 2007

Textile gifts

If you'd like to pop over to Rhonda's blog, you can see the two gorgeous ATCs she sent me recently. Both are made in shades of my favourite colour - blue - and display some interesting techniques. Rhonda is an awesome embroiderer and I recommend you linger on her blog. There is so much to inspire us all!

PS I don't think my team was quite as ready for last night's game as I was. We lost by one point - AGAIN. Thanks for the sympathy Pennie and Stephanie. There's always next week...