Wednesday, September 30, 2009

land sea alchemy

the fourth challenge quilt for the art quilts around the world group and for me the most straightforward - all of its major parts were former experiments that came together to create the triptych. i was trying to capture the feeling of borders and transitions - the alchemical spot where the water meets the land - where coastlines change and magic is washed up

the base is indigo dyed recycled blanket

the land is rust dyed silk - the silk salvaged from an old shirt

the sea is a felting experiment which includes silk and wool roving, yarn offcuts, sequins and heat treated painted tyvek felted onto a piece of old sari

the middle section is my handspun yarn knitted with copper wire (a gift from my Mother's cellar and probably belonged to my dad back in the 30s).

i layered the silk and felted piece over the blanketing, put a thin layer of appropriately coloured synthetics and organza and then free motion quilted over the top, breaking four needles in the process on the sea part which is quite thick - (don't read this bit Mum) this alarmed my 14 year old so much he moved out of range as there were bits of needle ricocheting around

then i sewed the knitted section down and added a number of glass and pearl beads and bits of paua shell. there would have been more beads but i was holding some in my mouth (never a good idea) and swallowed some - which rather put me off beading.

roll on the next challenge :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

next challenge quilt finished...

but you can't see the whole thing yet - come back on wednesday when all will be unveiled.

here's a tantalisation - and i learned the hard way why it's a bad idea to hold beads in your mouth.....

and then i assembled part of the next exhibition quilt

what i'm up to

(inspired by the always cheery pip)

Watching :: the world
Reading :: dante's inferno (as previously advised),also the latest interweave knits - not quite as bleh as it has been in the past but still not very inspiring and not much for the grown up lady with bosoms, people!)
Making :: what do you think??? shall we say art quilts and leave it at that
Eating :: ham and cheese toastie
Feeling :: Cold, icy cold
Thinking :: of colours and textures
Hoping :: i will be able to finish everything in time (will i look like this in january as deadlines loom??)
Wondering :: ditto
Hearing :: rain on the roof
Liking :: ditto
Wanting :: more of the same
Playing :: with fabric and ideas
Wishing :: for serenity
Enjoying :: inspiration
Coveting :: endless supplies of silk, linen, cotton, fabric paint, thread etc etc - you know

btw the pic at the top is the to-be-finished-this-afternoon-or perish challenge quilt for the art quilts around the world group. the latest challenge will be unveiled on wednesday

Friday, September 25, 2009

diving into the frog pond

i have had a nasty virus this week that sent me back to being as mute as a swan... the sore throat, headache, ear ache, body ache, bone ache sort of virus. not conducive to any sort of work or creativity.

time not spent in bed reading dante's inferno (which is a cracking good read - although i keep finding a spot for myself in almost every circle of hell) i have been trawling around the far reaches of ravelry - also a cracking good read. apart from finding amazing patterns and marvelling at the productivity of some knitters i was inspired to sort through my wool stash, consolidating it into yarn weights and having a good hard look at some stalled projects.

this cardi thing is my first project using the famed noro silk garden and although i loved the experience of knitting the yarn (so soft and silky), i am not convinced about the stripes and much much worse, when i sewed up the first sleeve it is too small. so i am contemplating undoing the sewn together bits and blocking the pieces to see if they will expand and, failing that, sending this project to the frog pond.straight to the frog pond goes the shrug that deflated when i ran out of yarn (rare yarns cocoon in raspberry) inches away from the final cuff. i was so downcast that i then cast it down into the lowest pit of the yarn basket.and i have made the painful decision to frog the interminable cardigan. i tried a couple of rescue attempts with this but it is just too big and boxy and i can use the yarn (jo sharp silkroad tweed in cedar) for something else.

Friday, September 18, 2009

this week

has been a bit of a blur with an unexpected whirlwind trip to the delights of mildura for a project committee meeting. mildura, for non-victorians, is a regional town up in the furtherest north western corner of the state, in the area known as the mallee. famous for oranges, dried fruit and dust storms and it also has the largest Aboriginal community in the state - the reason for my visit.
it is a sunny, dry place with huge skies and stunning landscapes which mesmerised me as i flew in
(btw these photos were taken through a plane window with my phone so are a bit dodgy but give you the impression)
mildura is usually such a sunny dry place that i was more than bemused to be woken at 5.30 am by the sound of monsoon type rain. i went for a walk when it calmed down a bit and saw the murray river (one of the major rivers of Australia) through rain spattered glasses and in a completely different light.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


we were woken up this morning at 8 o'clock by the builders next door merrily hammering away instead of being at their devotions. there was resigned grumpiness - the abrupt demolition of the little house next door and the sloooow process of building the new crammed on not-as-ugly-as-it-could-have-been duplex has been going on since january and is wearing mighty thin.

it does mean however that the day has been long and relatively productive - i spent a happy half hour or so sorting through my button stash (seen here in the round box on the right) looking for replacement buttons for some shirts i am gussying up here is a closer view of my bedside catastrophe - moving anti-clockwise (natch) see if you can spot dante's inferno (dorothy l sayers' translation - brilliantly gripping), the old digi camera, some rae's rags threads from beautiful silks, the 5+ metres of lace i bought at a little treasure trove of a shop in clifton hill yesterday along with some mightily bargamonious clothes, my faux-toby scarf, the button stash, some hen's teeth treasures, my jewellery box, a little bastet brought back from egypt by my friend deb, a photo of me as a baby (sadly in need of a frame) and a buddha i bought in darwin.

less appealing was this ghastliness i found in the fridge when i was doing a clean out before the scrumpster returned from his odyssey to the supermarket. at least i could recognise what was in the le creuset casserole but this anonymous foulness - who knows? at least it didn't smell - just glowered.....
finally i took a pale pink linen shirt i was fond of but didn't wear because it was too short and the sleeves too long - so i chopped off the cuffs to make the sleeves 3/4 length and added some of the deep cotton lace i bought yesterday. i going to replace the buttons with some vintage ones i inherited from aunty joan of blessed memory but i'm not sure what to do to add some length - a ruffle might be too much given the voluptuous restoration cuffs - perhaps some dupioni silk in relaxed pleats??

and thornberry - the gathering foot is yours - send me an email so i can post it to you

Saturday, September 12, 2009


i have been having a lovely play with my new new gathering foot. you may remember i bought a generic one that didn't fit (which no one has baggsed by the way - it's still on offer - free to good home)

today i went to the sewing machine shop and bought a proper fit for purpose janome foot and it is SUCH fun. i have been avidly reading colette woolff's manipulating fabric (buy it - it's wonderful) and spent a happy 45 jminutes after dinner hooning around with a piece of soft cotton and then then even more fun with a piece of woven cotton fusible - like sewing clouds :)
the next step is to paint both pieces and then apply them to some background fabric and do some handstitching - blissorama

Friday, September 11, 2009

one of these things is not like the other ones

a marble serendipitously resting in my growing collection of avocado pits - being saved up for fabric dyeing experiments

jam fancy

today has been a bit odd - we're all in various stages of lurgy-dom with my voice threatening to depart again - children somewhere along the spectrum of fever and consumptive cough. the weather has been ferociously windy and unpleasant.

so when w and i fought our way through the blusterousness to our usual friday bun shop tryst and i saw these luscious strawberries on sale at the greengrocer's i thought - jam.

for some reason the jam took an awfully long time to cook - the recipe said to boil the strawberries, lemon juice and sugar for 20 minutes or until it jelled. i stopped looking at the clock and just kept testing on cold saucers for what seemed like many waxing and wanings of the moon but was probably an hour.

so the finished product is rather darker than expected although entirely yummy.

and it was a good excuse to wear my new etsy purchased apron

Monday, September 07, 2009

monday night playing

tonight's efforts
painting the landscape i machine stitched last night - canvas, silk and cotton. the cotton backing is a chunk of op shop sheet.
and this is another chunk of the same sheet machine stitched with my new pintucking foot - rather unorthodox pintucks, i admit.
and if anyone wants a low shank gathering foot let me know - i bought one for my machine today and it does not fit my janome. the girl in the shop i could only return it if if was still in the packaging - unfortunately it was impossible to judge its fitness for purpose unless it was out of said packaging...

Saturday, September 05, 2009

marmalade and such

am still recovering from the shock re-immersion into work

in the meantime here is some marmalade i made using my Mother's recipe - you zhouszge the oranges in the food processor, add the sugar and microwave the crap out of it and 20 minutes later - marmalade!

and here is a shot of the canvas and silk experiment from last week
and the trio of baby artichokes i bought at psarakos yesterday - very soothing

and in answer to previous comments - no i don't have an embellisher - i have struggled with temptation to buy one but at the moment can't see that the price justifies the use it would get when i can make backgrounds in other ways... of course if someone gave me one i would be extremely happy :)

and the emu feathers were bought in alice springs at the todd market - i was assured that they were plucked from consenting farm raised emus.