30 June 2008


Yesterday, I saw Nola's new toy - an Ashford Knitters Loom. So neat! So easy! So tempting! I had a play with Nola's loom, but no way do I need one of my own. Really.

29 June 2008


I don't have blocks of time yet to sit at my sewing machine so, to satisfy my urge to work on a handmade project, I have started more textured brooches. This is one that I made about five years ago (sorry the pic is slightly blurry - I've given the brooch away so I can't take another photo). It's approximately two inches square and is hand woven with three different yarns on a taffeta base. There are a couple of beads attached.

I want to explore some different yarns and colours, so I have been dragging out all my 'hairy but not lumpy' yarns for play.

28 June 2008

Work balance

My blog has suffered in the past fortnight from infrequent postings as I try to establish the ever-elusive balance between work and non-work. One activity that hasn't suffered, and never will, is reading.
Last night I finished absorbing Georgia Blain's memoir, Births, deaths, marriages: true tales. Composed of stories about Georgia's life, this is a captivating and beautifully written book that shows us glimpses of people and events that influence her life.

Georgia is an Australian writer; the daughter of
Anne Deveson, writer, broadcaster, commentator on public affairs and ABC radio presenter and interviewer Ellis Blain. Not only does her book show us the impact of her family on her life, but some reminiscences offer tantalising glimpses of Australia from the 1960s onwards and the impact of the changes in society. I am now interested to read Georgia's novels, mainly to see if the stories are evocative of her own life and whether her style is just as seductive.

23 June 2008


Letters and text fascinate me. The shapes of letters can vary so much between fonts and become design features that enhance the words they form. New levels of meaning are added to text through shape.

When I read an article in last Saturday's Sydney Morning Herald about a website that provides online tools that allow you to design your own font, of course I had to go peek. The website is FontStruct, where you can create your own typefaces and post them for comment. There are some fun fonts there - I particularly liked Ransom Note, where each letter looks as if it has been torn from a newspaper. This website is definitely bookmarked for serious play.

21 June 2008

Shopping at the show 2

Was is only a week ago that the Sydney Quilt Show finished? The week has been a blur, mainly because I was immersed in five days of training at my new workplace. Fantastic to be back in library land, but what a lot of new faces, names and procedures to remember!

Back to the shopping. These products are all from Unique Stitching. Owned by Cecile Whatman, this business sells the most fascinating array of products for art quilting. I was lucky to work for three mornings on Cecile's stand, where I was able to talk to lots of quilters about how the products could be used, while also deciding which ones I would buy for my own experimentation.

I couldn't resist the temptation of Lumiere paints. These five paints plus a pot of Pearl Ex pigment powder (sky blue) and three sheets of Tyvek paper were sold as a kit. I chose the vibrant collection of colours and look forward to seeing what I can create.

This collection of metallic Pearl Ex pigment powders also called my name. Once I saw their shiny colours, I was a goner.
Since the appeal of working with textiles is their tactile nature, I bought this collection of silk products - cocoons, throwsters' waste, silk cap, silk rods and sericin fibre - all in shades of purple. Already I am enjoying stroking them!

Finally, I couldn't resist these brand-new Jacquard Tee Juice Fineliner fabric pens. I bought three colours, but there are five more in the range. They will be fantastic for writing on quilt labels, since they are washable after heat setting.

I think this booty will keep me entertained for quite some time!

17 June 2008


Here it is - winter - and an iris transplanted from Stephanie's garden to mine is flowering. Such a wonderful treat!

15 June 2008

Sunshine on Roses

My pink and yellow quilt has a name now - Sunshine on Roses. The first lot of blocks are on the design wall and are brightening up that end of my sewing room. I need to scramble through my fabric stash for more pink and yellow fabrics because variety is the attraction of this quilt.

Piecing this quilt is really enjoyable, but I probably won't get to do anymore until next weekend because tomorrow I start a new job. Back to the land of libraries, which I'm anticipating will be most enjoyable!

14 June 2008

Shopping at the show 1

The Sydney Quilt Show offers many opportunities to shop. Recommendations are passed from friend to friend - look at this thread I bought; did you see the bargain prices on that stand? Of course I indulged and bought some fantastic products.

Last year, I bought a wonderful sampler pack of yarn from Kaarlund Yarns. They were fantastic pieces for couching on my quilts and I made a beeline back to Kaarlund's stand to see what they had on offer this year. This time, I bought these glorious hand-dyed silk yarns.

The variegations in these threads are glorious. I limited myself to three balls (although Brenda and I are going halves in one of them, so I'll end up with four luscious colours). As much as I would love to knit with them (the silk would be light and soft against my skin), I bought them for hand stitching.

Stephanie stitched some gum leaves on a quilt in progress on Wednesday night with the front colour (Rainforest) and showed us the results. Stunning. Can't wait to get stitching myself.

There will be more shopping in future posts.

12 June 2008

Sydney Quilt Show

Excited, over-stimulated, tired - that's my state at present. If you really can't get to the Sydney Quilt Show this week (closes 5pm Sunday), you can see some of the winning quilts here. You can click on the photos to see larger versions, so get inspired!

10 June 2008

Pink and yellow

I'm in the process of quilting a quilt, so what do I do today? Do I sit and diligently work on it? Of course not - I started cutting out fabrics for a different quilt. Last month I showed you this design, to be made with pink and yellow fabrics I've been collecting for over a year.

There are other fabrics yet to be cut, but I'll be keeping an eye out for more at the Sydney Quilt Show, which starts tomorrow. If you can't visit the show, photos of the winning quilts will be posted on the website after the prize-giving ceremony tomorrow. Don't forget to check them out! I'll be working during the morning (on the Unique Stitching stand - all sorts of yummy things for art quilts there!), but will be roaming the quilt show in the afternoon. One more sleep.

09 June 2008

Stitchin' with Ash

It's raining here - gloomy weather if you don't have something to distract you. My day's been filled with Ash Grunwald on the CD player and a quilt on the sewing machine. Oh my. A blues voice to die for. Seriously addictive.

08 June 2008

The possum won

I concede defeat in the parsley wars. Chili powder didn't work, so I covered my latest pot of parsley plants in netting and staked it with spiky bougainvillea stems to keep out the possum. That worked for only a week. The possum wins and I stop sacrificing innocent parsley plants to certain death. In future, I will have to scavenge parsley from the gardens of friends.

Last night, Swans versus West Coast. We won by 5 points with a goal in the last minute. At least I know my heart is in good shape after the thrilling last quarter, although I was so pumped with adrenalin that I couldn't sleep for ages after watching the game. Onwards!

07 June 2008

Pinwheels 4

Lesson three: piece the quilt.

None of my pinwheels attract me enough to want to piece them. Since yesterday's exercise, I've tried to analyse the reason for this aversion. I've drawn different designs, using the principles of the lessons (I won't bore you with them here), and finally I've realised it is the symmetry that leaves me cold.

I love wonky, lopsided, and irregular designs most, not
symmetrical ones. I know it would be a technical challenge to piece these designs, and I expect to gain expertise from the extensive piecing notes provided in this course, but I think I'll just enjoy seeing how the designs of other students turn out.

06 June 2008

Pinwheels 3

Lesson two: experiment with value studies.

I added a couple of triangles along the sides of this block because I thought the piece was too big and then started to colour using black, white and three shades of grey.

Option 1
I don't like this much. It seems all over the place.

Option 2
This is ok, but doesn't scream out 'make me' to me.
Option 3
I like this one because the shapes seem to float on the dark background. The pinwheel in the centre seems to be more active, as if it had caused the other shapes to shatter. But hey, that's just me!

04 June 2008

In the mail

I love receiving envelopes that contain textile gifts. Jenny in Adelaide sent me the most wonderful pieces of blue hand-dyed silk, so of course I immediately made some ATCs. You can see the subtle shading of the dye on these pieces.

One of the silk pieces has the most gorgeous paisley pattern on it. It's subtle, but you can gain a sense of it from this close-up photo.
Thank you Jenny! Needless to say, there's an ATC in the mail to you.

02 June 2008

Observing progress

It's always interesting to observe the building progress each time we go to the football at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The new stand is meant to be completed by the end of this year and, for a while, I couldn't see that would be possible.

However, yesterday we were amazed at the progress between our visits. I took this photo on the 5th of May. You can see the frame of a new roof and seating on the left-hand side of the structure.
I took the second photo yesterday - the 1st of June. There are now three seating/roof sections in place, as well as an unexpected sight - a second light tower. This photo was taken about an hour and a half before the game, when there was still blue sky to be seen. These lights are obviously not connected to the electricity, because later in the game when it became gloomy and rainy, all the other towers were turned on, but not these.

Did I mention we won by 82 points? Excellent result.