Sunday, February 25, 2007

wips and aqc

first AQC or the Australian Quilt Convention - and the main attraction for me was seeing my quilts exhibited for the first time. last year the australian and new zealand art quilters group set a challenge to make an A4 sized journal quilt every month or at least 5 over the course of 2006, either reflecting things happening in your life or different techniques.

here are my 5 little journal quilts hanging in the Melbourne convention centre along with 50 other ANZ art quilters - i caused a white glove lady great anguish by taking photos but she was very understanding when i explained that i was only taking photos of my quilts and that it was my first time ever having my work hung in public. we had a lovely chat about quilting and different techniques

then of course there was the frenzy of the trading hall - almost as bad as the melbourne show...i was quite restrained and spent my pocket money at the thread studio stall - look at these fabulous colours....

i took the photo below while i was waiting for the tram:

the loot included some glorious silk thread, some silk tops to make more paper, jute scrim, cotton scrim, silk ribbons, silk crunchies and some fusable film (the same stuff that angelina fibre is made from)

i'm especially looking forward to using this mulberry bark....

Part 2 - WIPS
Last week was week 1 of Sharon Boggon's Personal Library of Stitches online class being run at Joggles . The idea is to develop your repertoire of stitches and test the possibilities of colour, texture and design. You can do one long sampler or a number of smaller ones. I have opted to make a number of post card sized samplers in different fabrics.

Here is the first one which i found surprisingly difficult. It's on Dublin 25 count linen which is not a fabric i have tried before - i've got used to using less traditional, firmer weave fabrics and i found the whiteness of the linen quite off-putting. I didn't like this at all until the later stages - it looked stiff and lifeless to me but i am warming to it now - just some more gold chain stitch in the border and the last 15 seed beads and that will do. i didn't like doing the border as i couldn't get the straight edge right - see how it's curved?
i did find out that i love stitching with silk - the red and green feather stitch is done in stef francis silk and it's luscious to work with. but the linen thread felt dry and harsh and caught and frayed - it reminded me of knitting with bamboo needles which i also don't like for the same reasons. the variegated running stitches are done in the most buttery soft silk - it's called the thread studio opulent collection by jacinta leishman in the indian splendour colour

i felt so oppressed by all that white linen that i had to play with some purple shantung (it's much richer in real life and shot through with red- it's the same fabric as the island journal quilt i made last month)

it's great fun playing with different threads and numbers of threads and being allowed to build up stitches - like colouring over the lines!

Sunday, February 18, 2007


it's too darn hot - for the last few days we have had temperatures that would be better suited to a fifties starlet - 38, 36, 38. and hot, hot, breathlessly hot nights :( i know it's summer but really this year has been relentless - i can cope better with hot days when they're aren't so many of them in a row and when it cools down at night.

anyway i did rouse myself to make another soldered quilt - and remembered to take photos at various stages.

here you can see the pile of various diaphanous synthetics - mixed in with a layer of fake fur (that didn't work so well - juts made another thicker layer to sew through), and some shreds of gold sequin waste and a sprinkling of angelina fibre
then i used a double layer of red netting and a layer of orange/red shot organza and pinned strategically:
then pebble-quilted over the lot

and used the little blowtorch and soldering iron to melt

i love the way the top layers peel back and make new textures and colours as they melt

Sunday, February 11, 2007

spirals - looking for a vortex

red perle thread on calico - inspired by this post on altering threads. i think i have found the vortex effect i was looking for

Saturday, February 10, 2007

finished silk paper

here are my finished bits of silk paper

i was really pleased with the way the added extras worked although next time i think i'll work the lurex or angelina in with the fibres before i do the layering. the beads worked really well though.

i ended up giving them another coat of textile medium and they are nice and crackly stiff. i thinking of appliqueing one of them onto a piece of ice blue damask that i bought ages ago with no project in mind.

there has been a debate recently on the quilting down under email list about fabric stashes and whether you should buy for projects rather than on a whim. i tend to buy fabrics i like when i see then, sometimes with a vague or specific project in mind but more often simply because i like the colour, pattern or texture. this is now paying off in spades as i am making smaller "artier" quilts that don't need large amounts of fabric. for example the burnt quilts i made in the last few weeks have come out of my crazy quilting stash - i had a very brief flirtation with crazy quilting a few years ago but the legacy was a large bag of "magpie" fabrics, mostly synthetic but all shiny or glittery in some way and all perfect for melting.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

more firsts

this year is really turning out to be the year of playing with techniques.

this afternoon flushed with silk paper success i decided to have a go at bobbin work having bought the most beautiful cone of thin lurex yarn from the yarn barn in coburg (also a good source of wool and silk tops).

it's definitely a bit wonky but i really pleased that it worked. i just need to fiddle with that tension...

i had similar problems with this one (don't look at the back although it does look pretty if you don't know what all those loops actually mean). my first successful quilting with gold thread with minimal thread breakages and concomitant nervous breakdowns. the fabric is a piece i painted a couple of weeks ago and yes it is the ubiquitous pebble quilting, now a firm favorite chez seahorse...

silk paper

i found a fabulous tutorial over at susan's (nope a third susan - doing fabulous fibre art in the UK) - scroll down to the 2 february post on making silk paper. she has great photos and a clear explanation of the technique so i marshalled my forces and got stuck in although my results might be a bit different as i think some of what i thought were silk tops were actually mohair but it was all grist to this particular mill and i will end up with some sort of textile :)

it also took some research to find out what atelier medium was - i used jo sonya fabric medium. i also added some sapphire lurex thread and a handful of beads to my second piece which made the massage part of the process interesting :) and that leads me to another confession - when i went back to check susan's recipe there was no mention of massaging the fibres :( but i had already got stuck in and given them a vigorous going over...

i just rushed outside and took a couple of quick photos so you can see what they're like at this stage (still wet). i'm quite pleased with my first attempt

Sunday, February 04, 2007

tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.....

i did mean to do the words but last week was so flat out that i ran out of time. anyway i just did another heat altered quilt - see
i found Fay Maxwell's tutorial here

the technique is to layer synthetic scraps over a felted wool base then cover the lot with organza or tulle and stitch the layers together. then the best bit - getting tuck in with a soldering iron to melt through as many layers as you wish to reveal different colours and textures. some fabric melt quicker than others and i added some sequin waste and Angelina fibre as well to see what would happen.

it's huge fun but although Fay says not to oversew i think this week's effort went too far the other way on parts of the piece. i had to go back and sew around the perimeter. and beads don't melt :(

and i went a step further and attacked it with a little blowtorch..... although that it made the little quilt much crunchier than i expected.

i'm much happier with the other piece i did last week (here it is again to save you scrolling down)

(purple back ground, kimono silk, dyed and heated tyvek). i really enjoyed doing the contour and pebble quilting and i think the colours worked well although it does remind me a bit of a misshapen foot.