27 November 2006

Ta da!

Here it is dear blogging friends! Watermelon Summer is finished and will make it to its destination by the deadline. Whew!

26 November 2006

A blast from the past

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

Larch shibori

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

Hot, hot, hot

I know summer is just around the corner, but really! It was 39 degrees at my place today and that's just way too hot. Luckily, I wasn't here - I was at work where it was a very mild 35 degrees.

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

It must be November

Welcome to November in Sydney. Taken last Saturday, this photo shows a quintessential Sydney November day. We always know that when the jacarandas are in flower, summer is not far off. Look at that sky! The brilliancy of the pure, saturated colour stops you in your tracks and makes you feel as if you can wrap yourself in a cerulean cloak.

19 November 2006

More colour

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

Playing with colour

Yesterday, Brenda and I had a play day with dye. When she initially suggested a day together, I thought that it would be fun to do some shibori stitching and dyeing. I had just finished reading Janice Gunner's book, Shibori for Textile Artists, and wanted to experiment with some stitching. With hindsight, I think this probably marks the beginning of a new addiction.

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

It's amazing where it takes you...

You may recall I wrote about a recent afternoon when I taught a friend to use a sewing machine. Well, much has progress has been made since she made her first cushion cover under my instruction. Yesterday, I received an email from her, in which she says that she has since made "more cushion covers than cushions I am actually willing to have in my house!"

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

A new type of soft sculpture?

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

Hunter Valley NSW

The Hunter Valley of NSW is known for many things, but is famous for the number of vineyards and fine wines in the area. Yesterday, we travelled there on a small bus from Sydney and enjoyed visits to three boutique vineyards. "Boutique" in this instance means that the wineries do not produce enough product to sell it to shops, so the only way you can sample their wine is from the cellar door. Our driver, Ray from Boutique Wine Tours, looked after us all day. Here is a photo of us at the second winery, Iron Gate. The look of anticipation is clear, as we await our tasting.

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

Happy birthday Lois

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

A little flutter

You can't be an Australian without knowing that the first Tuesday in November is the Melbourne Cup. It's not just a horse race, but it is an event that everyone throughout the nation stops to watch - in Melbourne, it's even a public holiday! Of course, at work we joined in the festivities with a glass (or two) of bubbly and a very tasty afternoon tea.

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

Documenting our work

I am very lax at recording the quilts that I make. Sometimes that is because I am in a rush to finish a piece and forget to photograph it before I give it away and other times I just move straight onto the next project. Tonight, though, I started to work out how to document my quilts.

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

Cheerful postcard

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

I so love daylight saving

Look what I found when I visited my pot plants this evening! This epiphyllum is in flower and aren't the blooms gorgeous? I so love daylight saving because now I can actually see my garden in between weekends.

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

Go Helen!

It has just been announced that Aussie quilter (and, I'm pleased to say, my friend) Helen Godden has won the Maywood Studio Master Award for Innovative Artistry at the International Quilt Festival in Houston for her quilt Mekong Gold. Helen has won $5000 (US!) plus a trip to the Festival.

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.

Go Helen!