27 January 2015

Textiles Tuesday

Rain, glorious rain! That's what we are experiencing here in Sydney and my garden is soaking it all. Wonderful to see the plants greening as I watch.

Here are 18 links for you to explore this month. Please leave a comment if you find something of interest.

* Want to yarn-bomb a bollard? Enter the National Folk Festival's competition! Entries close 13 March. 

* If you think it's OK to copy pattern instructions rather than pay for a pattern, read this strong message that Homespun Magazine posted on its Facebook page. Everyone needs to understand that this sort of copyright breach is illegal and takes potential income from designers and publishers.

* Do you love Liberty fabrics (like I do)? I've discovered this fabulous online source of Liberty lawn in Australia - The Strawberry Thief. Yum!

* Last month I alerted you to classes in Brisbane with Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr. Now the Sydney classes have been announced12-16 June 2015 in Parramatta. Classes with Weeks Ringle, Bill Kerr, Sarah Fielke and Kerry Glen. Are you going? Decisions, decisions...

* 20-22 March: Loving Indigo exhibition, Ballan VIC.

* Have you ever considered turning your hobby into a business? This blog series from Lily's Quilts may help. 

* An invitation to participate in a freeform crochet and knit artwork from Prudence Mapstone - 50 Years of Flower Power. 

* Sewing Up a Coastal Storm is taking expressions of interest now. Coffs Harbour, NSW.

* Do you pay retail prices for fabric from a business, even if you can pay less for the same product from a co-op or Facebook group? Here's a thought-provoking article from Sew Mama Sew that explores these questions. Abby Glassenberg also asks: where do you buy your fabric?

* Now, this is handy! Why didn't I know about this yarn substitution website before? Yarnsub's yarn database contains all the major yarn brands and a lot of lesser-known brands too. You can search for yarns by their name, brand, weight (e.g. worsted) or fiber content.

* Brighten up your notebooks with fabric covers. Tutorial by Bec from Handmade and Home.

* Oh my goodness! Esther Aliu is at it again - she is generously offering another free BOM quilt pattern. It's another stunner, Oma's Blues. 

National Wool Museum, Geelong VIC: Scarf Festival 2015 - the theme is Coastlines. Entries close 8 May 2015.

* As soon as I saw that Jinny Beyer is the instructor for this FREE Craftsy BOM class, I signed up. I may never make this quilt, but I'm always interested in picking up tips from my hand-piecing heroine! 

* Details of ATASDA NSW 2015 workshops have been announced.

* Design opportunity for Thermofax printing from Smudged Textiles Studio.  

* Pat Sloan has posted block 1 of her free mystery quilt on her blog.

* How to make your own fabric label, from Marinke at A Creative Being. Handy!  

26 January 2015

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 planet, even if we have to search back up to 70,000 years ago to find the source.

Of course we have some idiots amongst us; those who would try to incite hatred and violence. We don't allow them to define our country, nor do we let them make us fearful. 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 it's failing, thankfully. The lack of humanity in this government saddens me but we'll be able to have our say again in due time. Governments come and go. That's the joy of democracy - the jostling of opinions and options.

Our land is harsh - we have searing temperatures, droughts, regular bushfires, floods and wild storms. We often see tragedies caused by these events. Yet, we identify with our land and I wouldn't live anywhere else.

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. We are so fortunate.

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

Note: the fabric I've shown here was designed by Ami Hillege and Michelle Steel. The small pieces I have are so precious to me!

25 January 2015

Letting go

Sometimes we need to let go of objects that hold us in the past. Today, I let go of four chairs.

In 2013, I bought new chairs for my dining room table. I have loved the shape of these chairs for many years and they made me happy each time I saw them in the shop or in a photograph. My old chairs were over 25 years old and held memories, some happy and some sad, of my past home. It was time to let them, and the sad memories, go.

Yet even though I had replaced the old chairs, I held onto them, storing them under the stairs. They gathered dust and cluttered my home for all that time but I couldn't seem to move them on.

Today, I did. I put them out on the nature strip for council cleanup day, knowing they wouldn't last that long. Sure enough, within ten minutes they had been taken to new homes.

I stood at my window, watching two people carry away my chairs. As they disappeared from sight, I felt lighter as the emotional burden they had held was removed.

Sometimes, we just need to let go.

20 January 2015

A monthly treat

For the second year, I have been given a calendar from the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum by a friend who visits the museum on her textile tours to Japan. Featuring the textile art of Itchiku Kubota, these calendars provide monthly inspiration and leave me in awe of his talent. Amazing.


13 January 2015

Fair Isle fancies

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered the DVD of the wonderful Shetland series, based on the novels by Ann Cleeves. I have read all her books, so was familiar with the stories but was totally blown away by the physical landscape shown on the screen.

What amazing remoteness! We city-dwellers often need to be reminded that our urban areas are artificial, built by us and not by nature. That's why I love stories with a strong sense of place - they transport us to environments we may never otherwise experience.

One of the episodes is set on Fair Isle, described on the island's webpage as "Britain's most remote - though far from isolated - inhabited island." After I finished watching it, I couldn't stop thinking about the climate there and the need for indoor activities. Fair Isle knitting, of course!

I love Fair Isle patterns. I regard myself as a basic knitter but even I have been game to try one of these wonderful designs - a jumper for my baby nephew. Knitting the pattern from a graph and weaving the yarn across the knitting as I went, I remember almost going demented with the detail (and that was 24 years ago!). Here he is, wearing the jumper I knitted. Such a cutie!

Now I have the urge to knit a cardigan with Fair Isle patterning for myself, perhaps with just the top of the front sections patterned and the rest of the cardigan plain. I'm on the search for such a pattern so please leave a comment if you know of one. Or, perhaps, I should continue to live off past glories and just brag about this single jumper? 

10 January 2015

My book of the month: January

This month's choice is really about a series, rather than an individual title. I enjoy reading a series because it's always a treat when a new one is published. I don't have to evaluate whether I want to read it; if I enjoyed previous titles, chances are I will enjoy the new one, too!

Donna Andrews has created a character, Meg Langslow, who is a competent, fuss-free and sensible woman. She lives by her notebook, in which she jots down everything she has to do on a day-to-day basis. I love an organised woman with a notebook!

The downside is that Meg encounters dead bodies at every turn. It's not her fault, of course! If you like cosy mysteries set in a small community, this series is for you.

This is the latest book (number 18) but, as with any series, you will probably want to start at the beginning to enjoy how the character and her surroundings develop. You can see a list of  Meg Langslow series on Goodreads.

05 January 2015

Working, working...

I am immersed in an intensive bout of editing; technical editing of quilt patterns for a new book (not mine) to be published later this year. It's an exacting, but vital, task that involves an extraordinary amount of concentration.

It's a satisfying role; to organise and order instructions so that they are consistent and, if followed, will result in a gorgeous quilt. (I have to whisper to you that there are some absolute stunners in this book!) So yes, I do enjoy this type of work. Deadlines, though? Not so much although, after working as a magazine editor for six years, I am grateful to be now working with a single contributor instead of a multitude.

I'd better get back to it!

01 January 2015

Hello January!

Aah, January. That month when Australia is in full holiday mode - even when we have to work. Summer is in full swing and, while we are resentful that we have to wear respectable shoes to work, we are, more importantly, grateful for our workplace's air conditioning!

I was a January baby and it's always lovely to have another excuse for a celebration so early in the year. So keep cool if you are experiencing summer, like we are - stay out of that fierce sun!

The background in this photo is part of a stitched and foiled journal quilt I made a few years ago. The colours are hot, hot, hot!