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?