28 January 2014

Textiles Tuesday

Another week of links for you to explore!

* Entry details for the 2014 Brother Under 35s quilt competition are now available.

* Read about the Winter Olympics patchwork quilt

* Fabulous article from Sew Mama Sew about how to have a stress-free hobby. Be kind to yourself!

*Urban Stitches is on in Sydney and Melbourne in 2014. Details here.

* Want to learn to use your arms to knit? Tutorial here.

* 2 February: lecture by Marie-Christine Flocard, at Quiltsmith, Annandale NSW. Subject: French Toiles de Jouy, the history and printing process in the 18th century. Details here.

* Need a free printable calendar for 2014? Here's one from Always Quilting. 

* Do you use a gelatine plate to monoprint? Lots of great ideas here.

* Call for entry for two international book projects by Textile-link.com

* For those who live on the Central Coast, NSW: new Art Studios Cooperative.


26 January 2014

A love note to Australia

I know our country is not perfect. It never can be while it consists of people, all of us different. We all have our origins in other parts of the world, even if we have to search back up to 70,000 years ago to find the source. It's inevitable that, as all those different influences rub together, there will be grizzles. Yet, we make it work.

Our current government is trying to undo many of the structures that support our society but governments come and go. This lot won't last long; we just need to wait it out until we can have our say again. That's the joy of democracy - the jostling of opinions. Yet, we make it work.

This land is harsh - we have searing temperatures, droughts, regular bushfires and floods and wild storms. We often see tragedies caused by these events. Yet, we make it work.

Living in Australia is a privilege. Every day, I am thankful that I was born in this country. It's worth remembering that when times seem tough.

I love you Australia, completely and unreservedly. I'm grateful we can celebrate Australia Day together.

22 January 2014


Sometimes, it's not about the thread but more about the packaging.

How cute is this? Sajou thread from France - a birthday gift.

21 January 2014

Textiles Tuesday

Some links to explore:

* Fantastic idea from Mel Forrest - plant tags decorated with beads, ink, paint, wire and fabric and netting scraps.

* New workshop from Brenda Gael Smith: Logs and Ladders: Building with Improvisation.

* Blocking fabric: how to get fabric on grain. Craftsy shows you how.

* Did your ancestors live in Bendigo VIC in the 1890s? Strathdale Quilters are seeking decendants of the signatories on a Heritage Signature Quilt from 1895. The quilt features 270 signatures, including some of Bendigo’s most prominent figures of the time.

* Want to enter a quilt in Houston this year? Here are the competition rules and entry form.

Embroidery stitches booklet from Sew, Mama, Sew. Handy!

* The Bedford Mystery Quilt is on again in 2014! In 2012, quilters across Australian joined forces to raise over $75,000 for the Bedford Group. Please share this with your quilting friends.

* Free guides to some techniques used by textile artist C. June Barnes. Try a new idea! 

* I'm fascinated by maps and have discovered the textile work of Wendy Dolan. Fabulous.

* Judy Coates Perez to teach in Australia in 2014.

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

18 January 2014

Making life lovely 6

I cannot resist pens with coloured ink. These new Ink Joy pens by Paper Mate are delicious. The ink flows so smoothly that it makes writing a pleasure. A small Saturday treat!

14 January 2014

Textiles Tuesday

Links for you to explore this week:

* Free patterns for cute miniature knitted jumpers! Add a pin to the back and they would make fun brooches for your knitting friends.

* I love playing with fonts - do you? Kim Layton has collected links to free fonts that are so cute!

* Looking for a free quilt pattern? Choose from the selection on Nancy Mahoney's webpage. Thanks Nancy! 

* Free Block of the Month program from Janine Burke and Amy Walsh for Craftsy in 2014. Colourful! 

* Fearful of applique? This free applique self-help brochure by Kay Mackenzie might help you overcome that fear and get started! 

* Interview with Lucie Summers by Kerry from verykerryberry.

* Handy tips for thrifty quilt making from Elizabeth Betts.  

* Free Civil War block of the month from Barbara Brackman starts 25 January. 

* Keep your cables tidy with textile wraps! By Judy Cooper. 

* Another great resource from Kim Layton at EverythingEtsy. Free printable labels for your handmade creations - go forth and label!

* Check out the beautiful frocks on the cards by gonerustic. Available to purchase through Etsy. 


12 January 2014

Silk tops

I love receiving comments on my posts and I thank every one of you who takes the time to comment. Diane asked a question on my How-to: silk paper page recently and I thought the answer might interest some others of you as well. Diane asked: what are silk tops?

There is an explanation of how silk is made here. It is a fascinating process and interesting to know that all silk comes from the same source - a cocoon produced by a silk worm. The cocoons are processed in different ways to produce a variety of products, most of which are treasures that textile artists enjoy.

The initial processing involves unwinding long, continuous silk filaments from softened cocoons. Leftover or broken threads are known as throwster's waste.

Silk tops are produced from the remains of the cocoon after as much filament as possible has been removed. The long fibres are combined in parallel lines to form continuous lengths. Here is one of my silk tops:

You can see how the fibres come in long sections.

I use silk tops to make silk paper but they can be used in many other ways by textile artists. If you are interested in exploring this medium, I recommend these books: Judith Pinnell's two books, Take Silk and Silk Paper Creations for the Fibre Artist and Sarah Lawrence's Silk Paper for Textile Artists.

I buy silk tops from Unique Stitching and Treetops Colour Harmonies. You can buy them already dyed in a range of gorgeous colours or you can purchase them in their natural shades.

I hope this has answered your question, Diane, and whetted your appetite for making silk paper!

09 January 2014

Playing with printing

I know I've told you before how much I enjoy using my Gocco machine to create screens for printing. Here are a couple more samples of my screens on my hand-dyed fabric.

I'm drawn to using black paint on coloured backgrounds at present!

07 January 2014

Textiles Tuesday

Enjoy this weeks' links!

* Do you want to start the new year with an organised craft space? Here are some tips to help.

* Fantastic video on sun printing from Lisa Walton. It's so easy to do!

* Free pattern for her Solstice quilt from Jinny Beyer until 31 January.

* Want a new image for your desktop? Fabulous images from the Textile Museum of Canada.

* The British Library has released over a million images onto Flickr Commons for anyone to use, remix and repurpose. These images were taken from the pages of 17th, 18th and 19th century books. Imagine how we could use these on cloth! 

* In this video, Sue Daley shares a fabulous way to make fussy cutting fun and simple.

* Call for entries: World Quilt Competition. Entries close 19 May 2014. More information here.

* Fun online January Journaling course from Unique Stitching to start your creative year! 20 mini projects to spark the creative juices for 2014.

* Hand-printed fabric giveaway from The Printed Fabric Bee.

* This article by Candace Edgerley shows interesting ways to get your art out and about. 

03 January 2014

Blog changes

Have you noticed the new tabs at the top of my blog? I spent some time yesterday reorganising the layout and making my how-to tutorials easier to find.
I've added this picture so that those of you seeing this through a reader can see what I've done. More how-to tutorials to come!

If you've ever found one of my tutorials helpful, please let me know. It's always useful to receive feedback!

02 January 2014

Fragments 2

I am so enjoying hand stitching these small pieces! This one features strips of organza that I screen printed with a leaf pattern using gold and black paint. 

Fragments 2, 16cm x 19cm

01 January 2014

On the back

Making labels for the backs of my quilts and other textile pieces is fiddly. I usually do it for quilts but it's so tedious and, by that stage, I've mentally marked that quilt as finished and am keen to move on to my next project. 

This year, I've decided to screen print on the back. I'll still make a 'proper' label for the back of quilts, but everything will be screen printed with my name and the year.

I printed what I wanted on paper and then burned a Gocco screen with the words in two sizes. (I love my Gocco machine - it feeds my need for instant gratification!) This year, I want to make some textile postcards, so I'll need a smaller size font for those.

One swipe of the screen with fabric paint and I have quickly branded my Summer Stars quilt. After it's dry, I pressed with a hot iron to make it permanent. Yay for instant labelling!