Saturday, January 28, 2006

seahorse progress

ok a work in progress - i'm thinking of using the seahorse embroidery as part of a journal quilt challenge i'm participating in this year - run by the ausnzartquilter yahoo group the aim is to make 5 a4 size art quilts over a year reflecting some art of your life.

after my trip to the quilt convention yesterday i was inspired to try some ruching/tucking and decided to use the result as a panel on the quilt - i used some silk charm squares i bought from a shop in auburn called ummmmm, will get back to you - silk something... the little panel was a demon to feed through the machine - the foot plate kept catching the folds. it looks a bit scrappy now but i plan to embroider and bead it

i'm quite keen to keep the central seahorse panel stark cream - i want it to look like a specimen rather than something lifelike so the graduated panel is suggestive of sea depths not realistic

i'm quite happy with the progress so far with this piece - i like things to evolve and can feel a bit claustrophobic if it's all mapped out too early - probably why i don't feel inspired by patterns or kits unless i change it quite radically. i use patterns and projects in magazines for inspiration or technique not copying.

this one on the other hand has been stopped at this point for a couple of years - i like the colours but am not happy with the way i pieced the blocks and until today have been at a loss for how to rescue it. now i think i might sew them into squares and then slash them to make a virtue of mismatching points - a bit like stack and whack.

Friday, January 27, 2006

last weekend's wips...

seahorse - rajmahal art silk shades 221 pastel grey and 92 verdigris - backstitch

tree - marta's yarns 2 ply on viyella - split stitch

nappy trews - cleckheaton tapestry (these are now finished! yay me)

Australian Quilt Convention

I had a great time and came home with fairly restrained booty (restrained in that I didn't spend as much as I could have given limitless funds). I didn't buy much fabric - a couple of lovely Japanese strips (30x110cm) from logan's for my Nippon kitty quilt; the pattern for the sea dragon quilt that I saw in a recent DUQ, some angelina fibre from punch with judy, a fat quarter with cherries for my friend who couldn't come with me and a lovely bunch of stuff from the thread studio - I did go a bit berserk at their stall - they have such richly luscious embroidery silks and silk cocoons and silk organzas...

And the exhibits? Well I thought it was a bit crowded and you couldn't really stand back and see individual quilts from a distance. It felt like the venue space was smaller than last year (I may be wrong) but you couldn't really contemplate much - I don't think it helped having to walk through the exhibit to get to the café part - turned it into a bit of a thoroughfare. My other frown was that with the husqvarna exhibition there were no notices on the quilts to tell you who made them - you had to buy the $30 catalogue for that which I thought was a bit mean.

I did marvel over liuxin newman's tiny perfect appliqué and I loved Gloria loughnan's 'canopy' (I'm in a very 'tree' space at the moment) but my favourite pieces were the tiny art quilts from South Africa right at the entrance - lots of inspiration with the use of traditional African beading, layering of chiffon and organza, and using tiny traditional pieced blocks as part of an experimental work.

lookee here at my booty...

Monday, January 23, 2006

monday night poem

The Dead Woman

If suddenly you do not exist,
if suddenly you are not living,
I shall go on living.

I do not dare,
I do not dare to write it,
if you die.

I shall go on living.

Because where a man has no voice,
there, my voice

Where blacks are beaten,
I can not be dead.
When my brothers go to jail
I shall go with them.

When victory,
not my victory,
but the great victory
even though I am mute I must speak:
I shall see it come even though I am blind.

No, forgive me,
if you are not living,
if you, beloved, my love,
if you
have died,
all the leaves will fall upon my breast,
it will rain upon my soul night and day,
the snow will burn my heart,
I shall walk with cold and fire and death and snow,
my feet will want to march toward where you sleep,
I shall go on living,
because you wanted me to be, above all things,
and, love, because you know that I am not just one man
but all men

Pablo Neruda (translated by Donald D Walsh)

Saturday, January 21, 2006


E's quilt - started and mostly finished January 2004 - bound January 2006. I can't believe what a difference the binding makes - although i could see all the mistakes I made originally as i was handsewing the binding. still e loves it which is the main thing.

Zoe blocking (i know it's scrunched - i fixed it after i took the photo) - i hope she'll turn out ok - she was looking a bit saggy pre-blocking. but i am proud of myself for finishing, sewing her up and sewing on the buttons without pausing. usually i'm a bad finisher - i get bored and think i'll do it later but then the object gets cast aside and i'll start something new.

doing quite well with my finishing so far - do i get extra points for doing it in 40 degree heat? and it will be 43 tomorrow so we're unlikely to get any pictures of me wearing the finished zoe.... ack it's so hot!

Friday, January 20, 2006

almost finished objects

well i wasn't going to post until i had something to show - which i thouight would be last weekend. sadly i am three-quarters finished the button band on Zoe and three-quarters finished binding E's quilt..... delayed by franticness at work that meant that this week i worked 4 days instead of my usual three. this also meant that i was typing furiously for hours and have sore hands and elbows so had to ease up on the knitting....

anyway my goal this weekend is to finish both and have the evidence posted here. as this weekend is going to be (38 and 41 - eek) we will be watching the cricket and not venturing outside......

grumpy w is trying to hijack the keyboard - i shall return

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

self portrait tuesday

i took this on new year's eve in canberra. i was reflecting on our life there (we lived in canberra from 1991 to 2000, we bought our first house there, our 2 older children were born there and we have many good frineds who still live there. but i had pushed to the back of my mind how deeply unhappy i was for the first couple of years - we moved as relative newlyweds to an alien and friendless town. it wasn't until we stopped on new year's day to buy petrol in the first suburb we lived in that i felt a glimmer of that unhappiness and i remembered.

of course it got better and we made friends and the landscape grew more familiar. and i made things - i knitted and embroidered and later sewed.

i look at my hands 16 years on and think of what they have done - written miles of policy documents and reams of advice (any of it taken i wonder?), they have caressed and given comfort and patted to sleep and changed nappies and planted and weeded. they have manipulated needles and wool and fabric - cut and unpicked and measured.

they are looking more like my mother's hands - the skin is a bit looser than it was, they're definitley not smooth - the sinews stand out on the backs of them and the nails rarely get longer than the fingertips.

their most important task? communicating love - by making things for people i love as well as by just touching.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Happy Epiphany

well i haven't posted for a few days but i have been making some improvements to my little cyberhome - thanks to susan i now have a few more skills in blog decorating and have prettied up the sidebar.

i will take some photos of our 12 days of cmas calendar at the end of its incarnation - its success was tempered a bit by being out of the state for 4 days and i don't think we did many of the family activities but it was fun and the gnissing box was definitely a favourite. and we have promised the children that we will do the activities like fish and chips on the beach and visiting the bats at Yarra Bend before the school holidays finish. this new tradition has meant that it didn't all come to a standstill after cmas day and that there were things to look forward to beyond the visit of f cmas......

in crafty news i have finished the back of zoe (hurrah) and am zooming up sleeve #1 - i may even get to wear it this season.....

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


i started this last year inspired by melody johnson's work and the chicago school of fusing. i'm still not sure if it's finished - maybe it's finished enough? its working title is things fall apart but when i was taking photos this afternoon E (my 8 year old daughter) asked me if it was a king or a prince - she was looking at it 'portrait' while i have only ever looked and worked at it in 'landscape'

and this is my underwater tree of life - temporarily at a standstill until i can work out the next embellishment. i painted the fabric (cream homespun) last year with watercolour pencils, fabric paints and my daughter's special crayons (silky??) i got the tree outline from a photo i took of elm trees in earl st in kew. i traced the tree onto the fabric and then went over the lines with a sepia coloured fabric marker. there are bits of organza, velvet and tulle, couched wool fleece, super fine knitting wool, silk and cotton embroidery threads, gold metallic thread and beads. as with the other piece i'm not sure when it will be finished.....

mmmmmm fabric...

hurrah - my parcel from Hancock's arrived today with this lusciousness in it

free spirit piccadilly half yards that i plan to turn into the simplest of the quilts in Kaffe Fassett's Museum Quilts book...

on a more entomological note we found this in the cumquat tree - any ideas?? i thought they might be spider eggs as they seem to be in a sort of webby hammock.

back to gloat over my fabric

Monday, January 02, 2006


of course i also made steve and the sashiko cats (see below), a Santa sack for W and this needlebook

for Susan. the matching pin cushion is still in progress....

the reckoning

ok time to review progress on my 2005 resolutions and to make some concrete ones for 2006

last year i vowed to finish more projects and i did.

2005 UFOs
Long time coming quilt - finish quilting and bind (DONE)
E's quilt - bind (NOT DONE)
A's quilt - finish hand quilting (NOT DONE)
batik quilt - piece top, quilt and bind (NOT DONE)
Liberty Ultraviolet - finish piecing, quilt and bind (NOT DONE)
I Spy Quilt - put on borders, quilt and bind (NOT DONE)

on the other hand I did start and finish
Pauline's quilt (this is the unfinished top - I need to get a photo of the final product made for my Mother in Law Pauline)
the Sashiko cats
my paisley bag
my crow bag
some blocks for the school raffle quilt

and i did much better on the knitting front:
i planned to finish:
E's purple jumper (photo to come) (DONE)
W's blue pants (DONE)
Chris' hat (DONE)
W's brown handspun pants (DONE)
my humus jumper (DONE - well mostly - is it my fault if the pattern was unclear about the neck so it had to be ripped 3 times and so became discouraging - I think this means I actually finished it 3 times already. I WILL redo the neck so I can wear it before winter - this is not the weather to contemplate knitting with alpaca)
my pink sparkly cardigan (NOT DONE - I don't think I like the yarn anymore....)

I also made some crimson socks
some leggings for W from amazing handpainted yarn
soakers (or nappy cover)
a wrap cardigan for my new niece

i feel i should point out that i couldn't do much machine sewing for much of 2005 because i had a slipped disc which didn't start to get better enough to sew until September.....I think this has made me a better planner of projects though as i had more time to read, think and sketch ideas for quilts in particular. And I became quite good at knitting standing up!

planned quilts and quilts in their infancy
ok i am currently in the exciting stage of making
a hexagon strippy quilt with a central hexagon 'medallion'
luxe, calme et volupte - steeplechase blocks of cream homespun and moda's seaside rose charm squares. i have pieced the top and put on the first plain border and am embroidering around each circle and semi-circle in cream coton perle thread
a convergence quilt a la ricky tims just needs a plain border and quilting
a japanesy cat toile quilt in reds and creams
a pink quilt
a dear me quilt (vaguely related to the dear jane phenomenon)with embroidered blocks, blocks with my children's handprints and pieced blocks (from the dear jane book) made of fabric from my childhood frocks and other special fabrics...

i am also inordinately proud of my first machine quilting effort

i think that might be it... i am also going to be a bit more disciplined in my fabric buying and only buy every second month (well the intent is there)

Lily checking Steve's bona fides...


here's Steve the Cat, from Denyse Schmidt's Quilts He's made of wool fabric and his ear linings, tummy panel and nose are scraps left over from making W's Santa sack. There are 2 more Steves in the pipeline for the other kids

back from the fiery furnace

we got back from Canberra at midnight - not a pleasant trip as it was 40 degrees all the way down the Hume Highway with baby wailing for most of the time and warm in the car despite air conditioning...

we went to Canberra for our dear friend Julia's wedding on New Year's Eve

- the hottest NYE on record so we were all red cheeked in our wedding finery!

i did however keep on creating and knitted all the way up and down the Hume - I have to finish Zoe before I can start anything else and W needs more nappy covers and I want to make this. I have finished the left and right fronts of Zoe and am about 5 rows short of finishing the back.