31 December 2013

To you all

I am grateful to every one of you who takes the time to read my posts, look at my photos or leave a comment. Thank you for visiting in 2013 and I hope you find something of interest here in 2014. Happy new year!

Textiles Tuesday

Here are this week's links:

* Do you need a calendar for the new year? Here are links to seven free designs that you can print yourself.

* 6-7 July 2014: The Quilt Study Group of Australia has announced a special seminar in Sydney to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the formation of the Group. Details here

* The American Folk Art Museum in New York has digitised issues of 'Folk Art' magazine (formerly 'The Clarion') published between 1971 and 2008. High-quality, digital, and text-searchable scans of each issue are available for FREE. Perfect for holiday browsing!

* On my blog: free tutorial for making stencils with a glue gun. It's such fun!

* Free tutorial for cute pom pom crochet edging. 

* Links to lovely basket quilt patterns. 

* Have you heard of the Great Tapestry of Scotland? Wonderful story and great work by many talented people. 

* Bren Boardman: sketchbooks and mind mapping for artists.

Call for entries: The Alice Prize - National Contemporary Art Award. Open to artists working in Australia in any medium, any genre. Entries close 31 January 2014.

* 18 & 19 January 2014 at Islington, Newcastle NSW: Dyeing and printing by nature workshop with Gina Ermer.

* 12-17 Jan 2014, Wagga Wagga, NSW: International Millinery Forum. 

Please leave a comment if you enjoy exploring any of these links. I'd love to hear from you! 

29 December 2013

Fragments 1

Earlier this year, I took Dijanne Cevaal's online Traveller's Blanket class. Although I haven't finished my blanket yet, I have been playing around with some small pieces of the cloth I dyed for the class. (Dijanne is starting a new class on 10 January - email her for details if you are interested.)

These small pieces are a delight to hand stitch. I'm pleased to show you Fragments 1 (16cm x 18cm). There will definitely be more Fragments to come.

28 December 2013

Summer stars

Yesterday, I explained how I made stencils with a glue gun and I showed some sample fabrics I created with those stencils.

Here is my Summer Stars piece, which I created from one of those samples. 

 Summer Stars, 24cm x 18cm

I love making these small stitched pieces because they don't take a long time to sew yet allow me to try new ideas. Such fun!

27 December 2013

Glue gun stencils

Did you know you can use your glue gun to create great stencils for use on fabric? Whether you prefer geometric designs or organic shapes, you can have hours of creative fun with this technique.

I first saw this method of making stencils on Traci Bautista’s blog and immediately wanted to try it. Doodling with a hot glue gun appealed to me because I prefer wonky, simple shapes rather than precisely drawn lines. Just as well, because it is quite a challenge to draw meticulous lines with a hot glue gun!

Of course, this tutorial is free for your personal use only. It is not for commercial use. Please do not copy my instructions and photos.

You will need:

  • Hot glue gun – choose a glue gun that takes glue sticks the thickness you want for your stencils
  • Plenty of glue sticks
  • Wooden board (I used a bread board)
  • Baking paper

Safety note:
Before starting, read the manufacturer’s instructions on the hot glue gun label. A hot glue gun melts sticks of solid glue. These sticks are thermoplastics, which are plastics that melt and can be reshaped when they are heated. You should always use them in a well-ventilated room or outside so that the glue vapours are dissipated. Consider wearing a mask if necessary.

Keep the hot glue gun away from flammable materials and don’t lay it on its side while hot. Use the metal safety stand to hold the hot glue gun when you are not using it to glue items. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions at all times.


  •  Insert a glue stick in the hot glue gun and turn on the gun.
  • Tear off a piece of baking paper and place it on the wooden board.
  • When the glue gun is ready (it usually takes about five minutes to heat up), draw shapes on the baking paper. I find that it is best to hold the point of the gun slightly above the paper as I move it. You may have to practise a few shapes before you get used to drawing a shape while applying the correct pressure to the gun’s trigger.
  • To create a successful stencil, you need to draw shapes that have crossing lines. You can see in this photo that I have made sure that all the pieces of the stencil join.
  •  If your lines are too thin, go back over them with more glue. It is important to have lines that are thick enough to later peel off the baking paper.
  • If you find it difficult to use the glue gun to make the shapes you want, try drawing your shapes on a piece of photocopy paper. Place the drawing under the baking paper and then trace the shapes with the glue gun.
  • Place the baking paper aside and wait until the glue sets.
  • Carefully peel the glue stencil off the baking paper. If there are any fine ‘strings’ of glue that you don’t want on your stencil, carefully remove them with scissors.
  • Use the stencil on fabric with fabric paint to create patterns on cloth. The stencil is fragile, so take care when placing or lifting it. Paint will easily wash off the glue stencils once they are removed.
Here are three more of the stencils I made with my glue gun. Enjoy creating your own hot glue gun shapes!

I enjoyed creating patterns on fabric with my hot glue gun stencils. Here are a few samples.

Hand-dyed base fabric with diluted shimmer jet-black Setacolor opaque fabric paint sprayed over the stencil.

Hand-dyed base fabric with diluted shimmer jet-black Setacolor opaque fabric paint sprayed over the stencil.

Sun dyed with violet and grevillea Sun Dyes fabric paint and stencil.

Sun dyed with sky Sun Dyes fabric paint and stencil. I also used the stencil to cut a shape from a piece of painted fusible webbing and fused it to the fabric.

Visit my blog again tomorrow to see what I have created with one of these fabric pieces!

24 December 2013

Textiles Tuesday

I hope you enjoy this week's links.

* Fantastic news for Sydney lovers of 1920s clothing! Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries Costume Exhibition will be on display at Old Government House, Parramatta NSW from 1 March to 1 June 2014.

* Here are some fabulous online workshops from Susan Purney Mark for 2014.

* Laura Kemshall shows how to make cute mini bunting. 

* New lineup of online classes from the Academy of Quilting. 

* Liberty Betsy and Lodden prints: why are they so adored? The Liberty of London blog reveals the answers. 

* Knit little penguin jumpers for Phillip Island’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre.  

22 December 2013

Summer solstice

Summer is not my favourite time of the year, but I welcome the summer solstice as a sign that the seasons change.

Detail from my quilt, February. Machine applique, foiled and machine stitched.

20 December 2013


There's nothing like a little fun when making a stitched gift for a friend. 

17 December 2013

Textiles Tuesday

As we slide into another lazy Australian summer, take time to check out some of these great links!

* Diamond stitch crochet tutorial from Esther at Happy in Red.

* Paper-pieced Star of Mystery Block tutorial from Faith at Fresh Lemons

* See the patchwork uniforms for USA snow boarders at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

* See photos of the winning quilts in the NYC Mod Quilters Double Wedding Ring challenge. Congratulations to all the winners! 

* Art quilt portraits by Jennifer Day. 

* These are my kinds of art quilts! Map-inspired work by Valerie S. Goodwin. 

* Tutorial on embossing velvet by Lisa Walton. Looks like fun! 

* Handy tutorial on making photo collages using Photoshop Elements by Linda Matthews. 

* Don't forget: entries for Living Colour close on 31 January 2014.

Living Colour Call for Entries

10 December 2013

Textiles Tuesday

This week's links for you to explore:

* Starting 15 January: Enrolments are now open for Online Bead Embellishment Class with Lisa Walton. You can learn all these techniques.

* Pantone has announced its 2014 Colour of the Year - Radiant Orchid.

* The last Braidwood Maker's Market will be held on 14 December at Braidwood, NSW.

* Until 6 January 2014: Natural Wonders exhibition at Narek Galleries, Tanja NSW. New textile works by Julie Ryder resulting from her three-month residency in Malaysia.

* Rosie James created 20 life-size stitched drawings of commuters on transparent cloth for the 'Twisted' exhibition. Wonderful.

* Here's a great opportunity to purchase original textile works by Dijanne Cevaal.

* 6-11 January 2014: Sturt Summer School, Mittagong NSW. Some fantastic courses here. 

03 December 2013

Textiles Tuesday

This week's links for you to explore:

* Free class (in pdf form) by Sian Martin (via Maggie Grey) that considers the way that observation helps you to produce work for textiles.

* Until 15 December: Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor: 100 Women 100 Brooches 100 Stories exhibition at Hurstville, NSW.

* Enjoy browsing photos of journal quilts made by Pauline Barnes. 

* For quilters who like cats: Elizabeth Hartman is having a Cat Quilt Along.

Step 1 of Bonnie Hunter's Mystery Quilt is now available.

* Make your own storage containers from fabric. 10 links from Cindy at Skip To My Lou

02 December 2013

Making life lovely 3

I am growing miniature dahlias this year because they flower prolifically  and are perfect for popping in a tiny vase. Aren't they cheerful little flowers?

I'd love to grow the tall varieties as well but the tubers are not cheap and, to have a worthwhile display, there would need to be quite a few in the garden bed. Perhaps I'll invest and plant a couple at a time?

26 November 2013

Textiles Tuesday

This week's links to entertain you:

* How to make no-trim Flying Geese: a free tutorial from Rachel Hauser at Stitched in Color.

* Handy app that turns your tablet or phone into a lightbox. I've used it for template tracing. Also available for iOS devices.

* Published this year, Patchwork Prisoners by Trudy Cowley and Dianne Snowden is a study of the 180 female convicts who were transported to Van Diemen's Land from the United Kingdom in 1841 on the Rajah.

* Opportunity for textile artists in Sydney NSW.

* Interview with quilt artist Velda Newman.  

23 November 2013

Making life lovely 2

I find so much pleasure in my garden - and surprises! After today's storms had passed, I ventured outside for a brief break from work. What a lovely discovery - the first of this season's crop.

Perhaps I'll soon be pleading with friends to take surplus zucchini off my hands but when the first one appears, it's so thrilling.

21 November 2013

Making life lovely 1

It's usually the small things that make life pleasurable. All the hard work and planning we do can sometimes make life seem like a treadmill but we all need a zing in our day.

So here's my way to make life lovely. I'll be sharing regular photographs of simple things that make me happy. If they make you smile, too, that's a bonus!

From my garden - gorgeous hydrangeas in delicate shades of blue.

19 November 2013

Textiles Tuesday

Here are this week's links to explore:

* There's a fabulous series of posts about different Shibori folding patterns by Nienke Smit on the And then we set it on Fire blog. Currently there are 17 ways to fold fabric for patterning.

* Great art and great gifts will all be at arc Gallery Yinnar, VIC until 13 December.

* On now until 21 December: Australian Quilts in Public Places exhibition at Whitehorse Art Space, Box Hill Town Hall, Whitehorse Rd, Box Hill VIC.

* Free tutorial for fabulous crocheted rugs.

* Quilt Show in Geelong, VIC.

* Kaffe Fassett will be visiting Australia and New Zealand again in January/February 2014. His classes are listed on his webpage.

14 November 2013


I am pleased to show you my first Reaching quilt. It is hand stitched, as is my usual style, on my own hand-dyed, coloured and stamped fabric.

Reaching for Words
27cm x 35cm

12 November 2013

Textiles Tuesday

Here are this week's links for you to explore:

* See Dianne Firth's distinctive art quilts.

* I love these tactile fabric beads from Victoria Gertenbach.

* Here's a treat for those of us who love Miss Fisher's clothes. Costume designer Marion Boyce gives an exclusive look inside Phryne's wardrobe. 

* Ebony Love is running a Downton Abbey Mystery Quilt Along and has posted the first step.

* View photos of the winning quilts from the South Australian Quilters Guild 2013 Festival of Quilts. Congratulations to all the winners!

* Great news for lovers of pieced quilt blocks. Barbara Brackman's out-of-print Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns is now available as an ebook!

* For Sydneysiders - great chance to win a new Bernina sewing machine from Kim Bradley Creations. 

Your chance to win this fab quilt from the Sydney Modern Quilt Guild.

 Thanks to the SMQG for permission to show this photo.

05 November 2013

Textiles Tuesday

It's a busy week here, so just a few links for you to explore this time:

* ATASDA Pop-up shop

* Unique Stitching is planning "three days of surface design, mixed media, art quilt heaven" on 26-28 September 2014 in Townsville QLD.

* Conversation with Australian fibre artist Pam de Groot.

* Do you know Janet Bolton's fascinating textile work? So appealing. 

* Bonnie Hunter's handy guide to working out the maths for diagonal quilt settings. 

* See the winning quilts from the 2013 Quilts: A World of Beauty exhibition of the International Quilt Association, Houston USA. 

31 October 2013

New stitching

I couldn't wait to start stitching this piece and I'm fairly sure it's the first in a series called Reaching. My creative subconscious knew about this series before it presented itself to my stitching fingers. I love that!

30 October 2013

Ready to stitch

I have an idea for my orange circle fabric, so I abandoned the other two projects I have in progress to get started. I cut the fabric it in half and have assembled the quilt sandwich.

I may or may not use all these threads but don't they look gorgeous on the cloth? Mostly my favourite WonderFil threads, with a few Aurifil as well. Let's see where the stitching takes me...

29 October 2013

Textiles Tuesday

This week's links for you to explore:

* World of Threads Festivals weekly online series documenting local, national and international fibre artists.

* I have loved Carolyn Sullivan's work for many years, especially her kantha pieces. Her new website showcases these and her other work.

* Plan for next year:

* Fill your diary with some of these fabulous workshops from Timeless Textiles, Islington Newcastle NSW. 

* Art Quilt Australia 2013: People Place & Nation opening: at 6pm 1 November 2013. RSVP by email.

* Want to learn how to make a Hawaiian quilt? Here are three free pdf patterns to get you started.

* Rachael from Blue Mountain Daisy is at it again! What a fun quilt and exciting photo styling around Sydney Harbour.

* See how to stitch Paperclips quilting design by Leah Day. 

* I know lots of you eagerly wait for this each year - and here it is! The introduction to Bonnie Hunter's free 2013 mystery quilt is now available.

* A Stitching Affair 2014, Lancefield in the Macedon Ranges VIC – bookings open now. 

* Spread the word about Sunshine 4 ALL - a fundraiser organised by Simon Haskins.
Make an 8″ x 8″ quilt block that will be used to make quilts that will then be auctioned to raise money or given to a child who has Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.

26 October 2013


Have you been to Daiso? Amazing place, once you get used to seeing so much plastic in a single store. Every item in the shop costs $2.80. Every single thing.

22 October 2013

Textiles Tuesday

Some links for you to explore:

* Discover the best in contemporary art quilts, painting and mixed media from a group of UK artists: Through Our Hands newsletters.

* Canberra textile artist Beth Miller has a new website. I'd encourage you to browse through her gallery - wonderful!

* Interview with Anne Biss, who often uses ideas from maps when designing her embroideries.

* Arranged by Tracey Greenaway: Springwood Winmalee Bushfire Quilt Appeal 2013.

* Issue 2 of the Sew Liberty magazine is now available. Includes all about this season’s Liberty Art Fabrics collection and meet the creative collaborators.

* See photographs of the winning quilts at the 2013 Queensland Quilt Show.

* New! Esther Aliu has released her latest quilt pattern, Lily Rose. Free for one month only.

* Do you enjoy listening to creative podcasts while you are sewing? Try Pat Sloan's Creative Talk Radio - they're fun and free! (You don't need to have an ithingy device - just download the appropriate free software to your PC and you can download all the podcasts from iTunes.) 

Don't forget: if you have any great links you think we would enjoy, please leave details in a comment. 

15 October 2013

Textiles Tuesday

Enjoy this week's links!

* The Bedford Mystery Quilt will be back in 2014! Read about it here.

* Want a quilter sticker for your car window? Check out this one - new from Lynette Anderson Designs.

The Australasian Quilt Convention call for entries for the 2014 Challenge, themed ‘Ten’. Entries close 21 February 2014.

The class timetable for the Australasian Quilt Convention is now available. April 10-13 2014 in Melbourne VIC.

* Intriguing fibre works by Aly de Groot.

* Free podcast interview from ABC Radio's Life Matters programme with textile artist Jane Whiteley.

* Call for entries: Stanthorpe Art Festival:


10 October 2013

Thursday in my garden

I love the flowers on this vine so much. Years ago, I bought some seeds to start my own vine, but none of them germinated. Very sad.

I was at a friend's place a couple of years ago and noticed she had the flowers in bloom in her garden. I asked if I could take a cutting but, instead, she laughed and ripped a piece out of the ground for me and said it would grow like a weed. I planted it in my garden and it has never looked back. She was right!

It is the snail vine (Vigna caracalla). I love it because the flowers are so quirky and are the softest blue-mauve colour. It is easy to look after; I just cut off the sections that are growing where I don't want them. This encourages flowering. Isn't it a fun flower?

08 October 2013

Textiles Tuesday

Links for you to explore this week:

* May-June 2014: Quilt Surface Design Symposium, Columbus, USA.

* The delicate textiles of Dorothy Haig.

* Fascinating thread works by Jane Theau.

* If you haven't seen any Design Matters TV (DMTV) videos by Linda and Laura Kemshall before, here's your chance to watch a few for free. I have subscribed to DMTV for a couple of years and find them so informative. 

* Coming soon: Tasmanian Art Quilt Prize 2013 exhibition. 17 Oct-3 Nov, Hobart TAS. 

* West Australian textile artist Ruth de Vos is featured this month on the SAQA website. 

* Do you want to learn how to print on fabric using an inkjet printer? Linda Matthews' website is just what you need. 

* 29 October-3 November: Ozquilt Network Conference Gala, Canberra ACT. Information and registration form available here. 

* How to create a felt flower: video with Wendy Bailye.

* Free BlockFab HD app for iOS users only. Choose from library of quilt blocks, change colours and estimate fabric allowances - and more!

* New! Free mystery quilt by Sarah Fielke.

* Some Dresden Plate quilts to get your creative juices going. 

* Sue Daley's top 10 tips for English Paper Piecing. 

03 October 2013


Do you know about SAQA? The abbreviation is for Studio Art Quilt Associates, which is "a nonprofit organisation whose mission is to promote the art quilt through education, exhibitions, professional development, documentation, and publications."

I am a member and am finding it a great resource for my quilt making. Check out the SAQA website here.

I am so proud that my friend Lisa Walton is now a member of the SAQA Board of Directors. What a fabulous achievement! Congratulations, Lisa.

02 October 2013

Orange circles

A couple of weeks ago, I read on The Printed Fabric Bee Facebook page about an exchange of hand-printed fabric between a group of surface design artists. Each month, one person chooses a theme. The first one is orange circles.

I decided that this might be a fun thing to do myself: to create a piece of patterned fabric each month, using The Printed Fabric Bee themes. That way, I would be challenged to creatively use colours and shapes I might not have normally tried.

This is my orange circles piece - I love how it looks!

To create it, I used a piece of fabric that I had previously folded and hand-dyed to make a grid pattern. I overlaid the fabric with one of my glue-gun stencils and used one of my wonderful Derwent Inktense Blocks and water to colour circles.

This is my glue-gun stencil. I made it earlier this year (I wrote an article about my glue-gun stencils in issue 11 of Down Under Textiles magazine) and it was perfect for this purpose. I will put a tutorial about making glue-gun stencils on my blog later.

Now I'm keen to stitch this fabric to make a wholecloth textile work. So exciting! Thank you to The Printed Fabric Bee for the impetus.

01 October 2013

Textiles Tuesday

This week, I want to show you this book: Fabric Surface Design by Cheryl Rezendes.

I came across this at the library. It was published this year (Storey Publishing, ISBN 9781603428118) and is a great resource for anyone who enjoys creating pattern on fabric.

Having read a lot about different surface design techniques over the years, I was prepared to quickly flick through the book. Instead, I found myself dipping in and out of it as I found different examples to try.

You can see from the contents page that the book is comprehensive.

As well as lots of step-by-step photos (oh, all that work to create them!), the book contains many brief artists' profiles that I found interesting.

Have you seen this book, too? Did you find it useful? 

30 September 2013


This cheerful little cactus is one of three that now live on a sunny windowsill in my home. It was worth fiddling around to pot it because just looking at it makes me smile. Happy.

25 September 2013


Simple things often please me the most. I'm glad I photographed this, because most of the pink petals quickly detached from the stems soon after.

How sweet are the delicate shades of mauve in this pansy? Simple, unadorned beauty.

24 September 2013

Textiles Tuesday

This week's textiles links:

* Dare to Differ exhibition - South Australia.

* A new fabric collection by Sarah Fielke - Millefiori, exclusive to Spotlight. In store from October.

 * Handy! Fabric collections from Connecting Threads ready for download into EQ7.

* Opportunity to be an artist-in-residence in 2014 at the Australian Tapestry Workshop in Melbourne, VIC.

* 28 & 29 September: Egyptian Tentmakers in Canberra, ACT.

* Enjoy looking through the gallery of work by Carol Larson. 

22 September 2013

The morning after

The perfect craft for a Sunday morning. My first finished coiled vessel. Happy, happy.

21 September 2013

Saturday morning

What a lovely way to start the weekend! This morning I was fortunate to meet Lisa Tilse from the red thread. See - here's proof!

Lisa was teaching a workshop at the snazzy new Freedom Furniture store at Castle Hill. (It's a beauty - the settings and arrangement of furniture and accessories encourages you to linger - I did). 

Back to the workshop. Lisa was teaching us how to make coiled vessels like these. Aren't they great? Lisa made them using coloured raffia to make the stitches, but we could use any sort of yarn to get started.

 So, this is how mine started. Interesting multi-coloured yarn over calico.

By the end of the session, this is how far I had progressed with my small bowl. Very happy with that.

If you have the chance to take a workshop with Lisa, do! But if you are yearning to make your own vessels right now, go straight to Lisa's step-by-step tutorial to get started. It shows you everything you need to know.

I hope you enjoy making your own coiled vessels. I have plenty of ideas for future pieces, so thanks Lisa and Freedom Furniture for the fab opportunity.